Merry Christmas Eve update

sleigh-rideI just have to get this update done before Christmas–even with the craziest cold I’ve had in years, thanks, I suspect, to my grandson who’s been visiting frequently in the past week since he’s been on school holidays. Apparently, his Christmas gift to Naanii is coughing all over me to force me to actually relax during Christmas break by passing on this amazing cold that has totally fogged my brain and body! Anyway, what have I done in the past 2 weeks and 2 days? Let’s see…


  • “Only God Never Fails” on My Church Journey
  •  “Blends and Digraphs” on Pen and Paper Mama


  •  Complete my “Hill Gang” illustrated family stories–well, completed from the time I met my hubby until the birth of daughter #2. I’ve printed the stories and photos out, placed them in binders, and sent them off to our children’s families. Now I only have stories to write up till the time daughters #3 and #4, and our son are born … and then all our family adventures over the following 10 years until the grandkids start to arrive. My plan is to keep writing, and send off print-outs to each family as gifts for upcoming holidays (Valentines, Easter, Canada Day, etc., etc.) until the story is completed 🙂
  • Our son arrived early for Christmas (Dec. 10), and I quickly converted my office into his bedroom (although I left up the table as I still had to do some tutoring, and meeting some editing clients in there for the following days). I have brought my “daily work” (editing and writing) downstairs to the living room by the sliding doors where I can sit in my easy chair and type away while I gaze happily outdoors at the lovely “white Christmas” view of our back yards and the mountainsides beyond.
  •  As mentioned already, the local grandkids have been here several times in the past couple weeks. We’ve had great fun making old-fashioned Christmas decorations like making “bells” out of egg cartons covered with tin foil and decorated with stickers and ribbons; popcorn and cranberry chains; colorful paper Christmas chains; cardboard snowmen covered with fluffy cotton balls; etc.
  • Attended the grandkids’ school concert–so cute!
  • Enjoyed visitors dropping in, including a totally unexpected visit from Manitoba friends, as well as visits from family and local friends, and a number of long Christmasy phone calls.
  • Talked hubby into putting up the outdoor Christmas lights (just hanging them on the clothesline, LOL!).
  • A writer friend took me out for a Christmastime lunch at a nearby community, and then we dropped in at the library there for a book signing event featuring some writers who are part of our writers’ group.
  • Got out my art supplies which I haven’t used for several months due to my arm and hand injuries–and made a little “creative package” to do some sketching and other activities between Christmas and New Years. I’ve even done some “adult colouring” over the past few days, although I’ve been a bit dismayed over how I am “colouring outside the lines” due to my fingers still being a bit gimpy…
  • Went with my hubby to watch “Star Wars: Rogue 1.” I love Star Wars! I still remember going to see the very first Star Wars movie way back in the day–watching it 5 times in different theatres. I was hooked on Star Wars from the get-go!
  • Talked with my sister for 2 hours on the phone–which is pretty amazing, considering I’m not really a “phone” kind of person. Only at Christmas!
  • Did my “motherly” thing, sewing up a big rip in my son’s work jacket. He asked for a needle and thread when he arrived–and after they sat for two weeks, I took pity on the poor little boy (26 years old, LOL) and repaired it myself. Do you suppose that was his hope to start with? 🙂


  • I’ve been thinking carefully about my goals and activities for 2017. Some of the ideas are my own; others are opportunities that have been suggested by others. For example:
  • Try to find a local writer who would like to mentor a grade 5 child who loves writing (or mentor her myself if I can’t find another volunteer!)
  • Create and submit a proposal for a series of a half-dozen writing workshops for local high school youth at the Shatford Arts Center on Saturdays this coming winter/early spring season
  • Read books and articles and listen to webinars on topics I’m really interested in as possibilities for 2017
  • Respond to new editing requests for 2017
  • Get together with my co-director of our local writer’s group, who also happens to be the director of the Okanagan Valley Writer’s Festival, to discuss plans for activities for local writers in 2017.
  • Bought a wonderful planner (agenda book) for 2017!


  • Publishing Success Summit: Interview with Marnie Marcus (Preston) re overcoming sabotaging beliefs; anthologies; building a tribe; and more.
  • Also interview with Brook Warner on distribution, wholesalers, metadata, IngramSpark and CreateSpace, as well as getting your self-published books into bookstores. Both were excellent interviews.
  • Charlene Kingston webinar on your “Best Year Ever.” As always, I really enjoy Charlene’s presentations.


  • “Four Things to Decide Before You Write Your Memoirs” (Dawn Field on BookBaby)
  • “Building Your Author Platform 7 Day Step by Step Plan (Tim Grahl)
  • “Five Steps to Have Your Blog and Business Run Without You Over the Holidays (Nathalie Sisson on ProBlogger)
  • “How to Avoid Blogger Burnout” (Darren Rowse, ProBlogger)
  • “What is a Hybrid Publisher?” (Jane Friedman)
  • “Writing a Memoir? Avoid These Mistakes” (BookBaby)
  • “While We Weren’t Looking SnapChat Revolutionised Social Networks” (New York Times)
  • “Revising Your Book: Eleven Ways to Take a New Look at Your Story” (Dawn Field)
  • “How to Self-Publish Your Book” (Chandler Bolt)
  • article comparing different kinds of book writing software (Self-Publishing School)
  • “CreateSpace Webinar” transcript (
  • “DIY MFA Starter Kit” ( – Gabriela Pereira)
  • “Micro Memoirs” (BookBaby – Dawn Field)
  • Writer’s Digest, January 2017. Some favourite articles: “A Life Well Written,” “Using Mini Memoirs to Puzzle Your Story Together Piece by Piece,””How Setting Shapes Things,” and some great stuff on person/POV and on tenses.
  • Book: Teaching HeartSpeak (by Ruth Rogers) (a great alternative to the traditional “formal” writing courses offered by schools and colleges, by an experienced author and creative writing teacher). I also wrote a review for it–one of my goals for 2017 is to write more reviews.
  • eBook: WordPress for Your Business, No Matter What Your Business!
  • eBook: Discover Your Writing Self: 31 Days to Deeper Understanding of Who You are As a Writer (by Andi Cumbo-Floyd)


  • I have to admit I haven’t done a lot of writing, as I’ve been trying to finish up reading books and articles I’ve wanted to complete before year-end. Oh, and of course, helping other writers with their editing, and working with a writer on her book back cover blurb. Amazing how such a short piece of writing can take so much effort!
  • However, I did do a couple blog posts (see way above) and one night I had an amazing dream; I wrote all about it on a Facebook post, and got some awesome comments, likes, and even some shares 🙂


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