August 2014.

Be a Kid Again

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Let me share with you something I read somewhere a long time ago… It said,

If you don’t grow up by a certain age, you never have too!

Wouldn’t that be nice? In some ways at least. Obviously it’s not a reality for the vast majority of us. Which suits me just fine. BUT, on occasion I highly recommend that each of you rewind to your younger, more carefree selves.

I took an impromptu trip with my family just recently to Waterton Lakes National Park to do just that. While we were there, we rode this crazy four person bike. Which, when peddled at rapid speeds only went about 5km hours. We ate waffle ice cream cones as big as our heads, finished every last bite, and went in to mild sugar comas. We played at a park in the pouring rain, and awed at scenery and wildlife like it was the first time we’d ever seen it.

It felt great to relax and be silly. Not just for me but for my kids too because some day they’ll be all grown up, and I’ll undoubtedly become hopelessly ‘un-cool’. When that happens, I hope they’ll remember these fun times, and know that life isn’t all about being grown up and sophisticated all the time. That sometimes it’s good to not be too grown up.

When I listen to these songs it’s like hearing my own personal soundtrack to my latest novel I’m working on. These songs have inspired my stories, helped me put depth into my writing and ignited deeper passions in my characters. Just like a good book, songs can take you places you’ve never been. Here are just a few of the songs that have had a role in inspiring me to write my latest young adult novel Harmless. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

I won’t give up – Jason Mraz

Kiss me – Ed Sheeran

Let her go – Passenger

Magic carpet ride – Stepphenwolf

Demons – Imagine Dragons

Hair Salon

Just recently I was at the hair salon getting the ol’roots touched up. That’s right, my blonde hair isn’t as blonde as it used it be but I guess only my stylist knows that. Well, she and all of you of course. Anyway, I’m sitting in the salon chair reading my trashy magazine while my stylist is ‘foiling’ away on my hair when another stylist comes by and interrupts her.

“Excuse me,” The girl says to my stylist. “but, do you know who’s in the bathroom?”

This, being a strange question to ask gets my attention. The other stylist goes on to say that the person in the bathroom has been in there for at least twenty-five minutes and she needs to use the facilities. You may have guessed by now that the place where I get my hair done only has one bathroom. So tying it up for long periods of time can be an issue.

The second stylist stews for a bit wondering what to do, when she hears noises coming from the bathroom. What she hears is a blow dryer. Now, there are always a lot of blow dryer noises at a salon, but not in the bathroom. Having gone to this salon many times I can tell you there is no a hand dryer in there. Finally, the second stylist knocks on the door to the bathroom. The door opens to a regular salon client that had just finished having a color done on her hair. For any of you who don’t dye your hair… When you have a color done, the stylist must wash the hair dye out of your hair when the product is finished processing. Leaving your hair wet of course from the shampoo and water.

Now it’s cold outside and this isn’t one of those cheap hair cutting joints where they just wet your hair, cut it and kick you out the door like a drowned rat. No! They blow dry your hair for you. Who knew? It’s even included in the price of the dye job.

So… The regular client emerges from the bathroom. She’s going on and on about how she had a ‘hair emergency’ which required her to bring her own blow-dryer to the salon bathroom to dry and style her own hair. Now, in her defence I’ve had stylists do my hair and it ended up looking like a blind person cut it with play-doh scissors and a Barbie comb. But, I’ve never scuttled off from the salon sink with wet hair claiming a bathroom break just so I could do my own hair… at a salon… where I’ve just paid someone else to do it.

The disgruntled regular client left out the front door of the salon with the manager complaining about how rude it was for the stylist to knock on the bathroom door. She scoffed in disgust that she should be allowed to do her own hair… and that it was a hair emergency!

So what is the point this story? Well, in the world today a lot of us are used to getting what we want and most of the time… that’s good. But that doesn’t mean you should act like a weirdo. So here are a few tips from me in the area of common sense, politeness and etiquette. Don’t bring or drink Tim Horton’s coffee at a Starbucks. Don’t bring food from home to restaurants. And last but not least… don’t bring your own hair dryer to a hair salon even if it’s a hair emergency!

The Promise of Amazing - Book Review

Anyone who knows me knows I read a lot of books. I read so much in fact I often have to pace myself so I can get other things done. This probably isn’t a problem for most people but, I’m not most people. Eighty percent of what I read is young adult fiction, which is also what I write. So, if YA is your favorite genre look no further for a great book review. And if not give it a try, you just might like it.

I’ll tell you about this book I just read. The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine. Now, I know I’m not the only one to have reviewed this book. So when I say that The Promise of Amazing delivered just that. I hope I’m not being too cliché.

This story is your classic coming of age love story between two teens trying to find themselves. And answers the question a lot of us still ask. ‘Who am I?’

Robin Constantine took two average characters; Wren and Grayson and let us dive head first into their private lives. She lets us see that there is much more to people than the labels they possess. Especially those bearing the tag of ‘That quiet good girl’.

By far, my favorite part of the whole book was a scene between Luke and Wren. The two were sitting together on the school bus heading to St. Lucy Retirement home to volunteer with a group of students from their schools.

Luke: “Has he ever mentioned Brinker Hadley or Mike Pearson?”
The name sounded vaguely familiar.
Wren: “Brinker Hadley? A Separate Peace, right?”
His eyes changed, softened the tiniest bit.
Luke: “You’ve read that?”
There was an edge of disbelief in his voice.

I won’t spoil the entire book for you, but this is a major turning point. Wren doesn’t know the impact she is having on the other character (Luke). Which make this scene even better. It’s like a secret only the reader knows… That even a cold and calculating heart can have a soft spot.

This book speaks to the diehard romantic in me. I give it four out of five stars. 

Partials - Book Review

When it comes to young adult novels I generally lean towards books that are part of a series. So that if I fall in love with the first book, I know the characters will carry on in to the next book in the series. So far, I’ve read the first two books in the three book series Partials by Dan Wells. (Fragments, Ruins.)

This young adult, science fiction novel is set in a post-apocalyptic reality of the year 2076. This is eleven years after an isolation war between the United States and China. In an effort to end the isolation war, the US contracts Paragen, a manufacturer of bio-synth organisms to create an army of almost human super soldiers, later know as partials. The partial army ends the war but unfortunately they are not welcomed home as heroes. They are segregated, oppressed and pressured into rebellion.

The first book starts eleven years after the partial rebellion and isolation war. Tensions are still high between partials and humans, especially since 99.6% of the world’s population of humans has been wiped out by a virus called RM. It’s believed that RM was released by the partials to wipe out the human race, which it almost did. Now the remaining population of humans immune to RM struggles to survive, all gathered together on Manhattan Island. In the eleven years, the survivors have not had one baby born immune to RM and are now facing the reality that their generation will be the last.

This book is thrilling, amazingly detailed, fast paced and will keep you reading to the last page of the last book in the series. If you like books like I am number four by Pittacus Lore, Once by Anna Carey or The hunger games by Suzanne Collins you’ll love this book series.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5.