Free Copies of An Alphabet of Men!

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Until Saturday, February 25th, you can download the Kindle version of Alphabet for FREE! My book is being promoted through Amazon this week, so head on over and grab your copy today! No Kindle? No worries! Download the free Kindle app and read on any device! Get An Alphabet of Men: Dating My Way from Adam to Zak here!

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Now In Paperback!

img_4936The paperback version of An Alphabet of Men: Dating My Way from Adam to Zak is now available! I held the first copy of my book today — and I’m still deliriously excited about it! Even though I’ve seen my memoir about online dating for sale on Amazon, downloaded the book in Kindle form, even read my first five-star review, it was only today, as I held my book, that I truly felt like an author. And when I was asked, for the first time, to sign a copy? So cool! I’m sure that there are lots of long-time authors who see book-signing as an ordeal, a necessary evil of marketing. But not me. Today, I’m choosing to celebrate. I’m choosing delight!

If you’ve been waiting for the book to come out in paperback, it’s here now!

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An Alphabet of Men

finalYou guys! I’ve done it! My book, An Alphabet of Men: Dating My Way from Adam to Zak is now available on Amazon!

Here’s an excerpt — a dating tale I don’t think I shared in my original Alphabet Dating series.

Lawrence of the Five White Evils

Lawrence had a Zen-like aura, a laid-back, totally chill approach to life and to dating. At least that was what I had decided, based on his brief profile and the occasional messages he’d send, messages that would breeze into my inbox weeks apart.

“Hey! Sitting here sipping on some rosehip tea and breathing in the divine spirit of this amazing afternoon. Hope you’re having an equally sacred day.”

I’d get these messages after I’d rushed home from work, after I’d raced my three boys around from one after-school activity to the next, after I’d cooked dinner, cleaned the kitchen and put everyone to bed. It was hard to identify anything particularly sacred or divine in my day. But his messages kept floating in from time to time.

Then one day, he invited me out for coffee. Actually he suggested herbal tea.

“Hey! I’m going to be out in your neck of the woods tomorrow afternoon. Not sure if you’re around, but it would be great to meet you. Is there a quiet coffee shop somewhere out that way where we could grab a pot of tea?”

Normally, I didn’t meet a guy for coffee unless we’d been chatting regularly and I had a pretty good sense of who he was. I hardly knew anything about Lawrence except that he was deeply interested in holistic healing and was heading out soon to attend a month-long spiritual retreat. But there was something so laid back, so flaky, so harmless about Lawrence, that against my better judgment, I agreed to meet him.

He strolled into the coffee shop completely serene and completely oblivious, it seemed, to the fact that he’d already kept me waiting for ten minutes. I was already feeling deeply not serene. “Hey!” he drawled, a beatific smile spreading across his face. He dropped his lanky body down into an armchair across from me and gazed over at my latte. “You’ve got a drink already. I’ll just be a sec while I get some tea.”

I watched him head to the counter to order. He was dressed in all natural, probably organic, and very rumpled clothes, and he was wearing Birkenstocks. Now I love my Birkenstocks. Don’t get me wrong. But I had the distinct impression that he might only own earthy looking sandals. “He’s heading off on a spiritual retreat,” I reminded myself. “You’re just having coffee. Nobody says you have to marry the guy.”   (This last part, by the way, was one of my dating mantras: it’s just coffee; nobody says you have to marry the guy. I found that it was a very effective way to talk myself down and avoid bolting half way through a meeting).

As I watched Lawrence return to our corner of the coffee shop, a pot of tea and mug in hand, I took a deep breath, recovering from my pique at his tardiness. I smiled my most charming smile and said, “So tell me about your retreat. It sounds fascinating.”

Yep. I’ve got the bright and shiny coffee-date thing down cold.

So Lawrence told me about his retreat and his commitment to yoga and how he was meditating an hour every morning. I smiled and nodded, adding a brief comment here and there, well aware that retreats and hour-long daily yoga sessions were not ever going to be a part of my single-mother reality and wondering why I had agreed to meet a man who was clearly so unsuitable for me.

Taking my polite nods and comments as encouragement, Lawrence moved on from meditation to whole foods. It took me a while to notice that his serenity was, almost imperceptibly turning to quiet conviction. But as I reached for my latte, I saw his eyes narrow. “Most people do not understand at all about The Five White Evils,” he said, looking at my drink meaningfully. I felt myself sit up a little straighter, my dating hackles activated. I’m not really one for calling anything evil. Especially with those implied capital letters. His voice gained power, at first in a way that was a little embarrassing. “They don’t know how dangerous it is to consume milk,” he declared. As I put my latte back on the table, he continued. “Milk is poison,” he stated, his eyes bulging just a little.

Drawing away from him, I smiled gently and said in my calmest voice, “Everything in moderation, right?”

I don’t think he even heard me. “And white sugar,” he declared, “is even worse.” Now a vein on his neck was bulging and his voice was reaching an alarming volume. At this point, I’d pulled as far away from him as I could and was holding on to the arms of my chair. “People don’t understand the danger of consuming salt!” The quiet conviction was fast approaching hysterical fanaticism.

And I was pushing myself out of my chair, smiling in a way that I hoped would assure him that this whole conversation was really cool with me, but that I’d suddenly remembered a pressing prior engagement.

He didn’t seem to notice. “And white flour!” He was shouting now.

I’ve always regretted that I didn’t have the courage to stick around to find out what the Fifth White Evil was. Rice? Cauliflower? Cocaine? It’s been nagging at me for years.

So that was Lawrence, and if there is any wisdom for you to take away from my crazy coffee date, it’s this: screen your dates carefully, people! Screen your dates and always have a rock-solid excuse for why you can’t possibly see somebody a second time.

About two years after I met Lawrence of the Five White Evils for that ill-fated latte, he tracked me down through my work and sent me another breezy email. I promise you, I am not making any of this up.

“Hey! Sorry not to get back to you sooner, but I really had fun meeting you and wondered if you’d like to get together for another cup of tea?”

Two years later?

When I showed the message to my girlfriend, who had heard the story about Lawrence of the Five White Evils, she laughed, and then gave me some excellent advice: “Tell him you’re married and are expecting twins.”

Sometimes I’m all for a little White lie.

You can find An Alphabet of Men here. I’d love for you to read it!

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Seasons

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Summer is drawing to a close here on Vancouver Island. You can hear it in the low moan of morning fog horns and in the crackle of russet leaves falling in the forest. You can smell it in the jammy scent of over-ripe blackberries drifting through the afternoon.

It’s been a different summer for me. No long holidays away camping or backpacking or kayaking. This was a summer interrupted, a holiday season without long stretches where we could get away. It was a summer spent close to home, enjoying time with overseas visitors, attending weddings, spending time when we could get it with the two oldest boys, both of whom have busy lives.

It was a good summer. Just different. We’re in a different season.

I’ve been thinking about those seasons as I put the finishing touches on my book,  An Alphabet of Men: Dating my way from Adam to Zak.  Married for more than two years now, I feel as though my years as a single mom in her forties were a long time ago.

But the stories about my adventures in online dating demanded to be written. Every time I put the stories away, deciding they were too self-indulgent, somebody else would ask when I was going to write that book. They wanted to know how I did it, how I got through that period in my life with my sanity and my sense of humour intact.

So I wrote the book. And revised it. Sent it out to beta readers. Sent it off to an amazing editor. Spent another six months rewriting and revising entire sections.

And finally, it’s finished!

I’m ready for this next season, for fall to arrive and for me to turn my creative energies toward getting this book out into the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Love Letter to My Boy at 16

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Dear G___,

As you turn 16, I watch you venturing out into the world, my heart filled with pride for the young man you are becoming and with fierce mother-love for that part of you that will always be my little boy. You are an amazing kid and it is so lovely to have you around the house.

brothersYou have no idea how much I appreciate and enjoy your sense of humour, your easy-going nature, and your extraordinary patience, especially with the two 11 year-olds in the house. They appreciate you most for your willingness to play video games with them and your ability to pass gas on demand. I hope that as time goes by they come to understand how lucky they are to have in you someone so kind and so generous. Our home is a happier (but stinkier) place with you in it.

brothers2I have seen so many of your strengths reveal themselves through your participation in team sports, especially rugby. Over the years, I’ve watched you practice in July heat and in the bitter chill of November rains; you never complain. I watched you stand on the side lines for most of your first season of club rugby, the most junior and least experienced player on the team.  That year, I never heard you complain either. I’ve watched you focus on the drills at practice, working your hardest, determined to improve, to excel. And even after the hardest sessions, I’ve watched you stop before leaving to thank your coaches.

In games, I’ve watched you score beautiful tries and impossible penalty kicks. And while I am happy that you are becoming such a skilled player, what really counts for me is watching you encouraging your teammates. What counts is seeing you playing hard until the last second of a game, even when a win is beyond imagining. What counts for me is watching you stop to check on a fallen opponent before joining your team to celebrate a victory.

futureYou have heart, my love. You have courage and loyalty and determination. You have compassion and humility. I see it on the rugby pitch. I see it here at home and I know you show it at school. I see it when we’re out in the wilderness, with our backpacks on.

And it’s these qualities that will bring you contentment and success. These qualities will serve you well throughout your life.

As you turn 16, I want you to know how grateful I am to have you as my son, and how very much I love you.

Love,

Mom

xoxo

****

To whom would you like to write a love letter?

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Crafting Loveliness

  The summer breeze gently shakes the cedars, cools me as I rock slowly in the hammock and play with words. I’ve been writing out here practically every day, spending hours crafting sentences and scenes. Who knew that I could find inspiration in this space? 

This is the summer I finish the book I’ve been working on. I’ve made myself the promise. I have the time, and I’m following Julia Cameron’s advice just to “fill the form.” I’ve written on planes, in parking lots waiting for my son’s karate class to finish, at my dining room table, in bed. But I have to say that I’m liking the hammock! 

I’m filling the form.

Showing up. 

Every day. 

And making that commitment fills me at once with a sense of power and a sense of peace. There is power for me in the focus, in the routine, in the satisfaction of seeing the word count build day by day. And there is peace – and joy- in creating, in spending my days doing this thing that I love. This summer, hanging out in the hammock, I’m crafting loveliness.

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Cape Scott Magic

The fog is so thick when we wake that we can’t see the ocean from our campsite on the beach. The air is heavy and damp, and fine droplets of mist form rivulets down the side of the tent. It’s hard to believe we’re in the midst of a heatwave and that when the fog burns away we’ll be seeking shelter from the sun.

But this morning it’s foggy as we head out along trails green and lush, across deserted stretches of white, sandy beach, through forests filled with old growth spruce and hemlock, cedar and Douglas fir.

Our destination this morning is the Cape Scott lighthouse, at the northern tip of Vancouver Island. We’re four days into a five day backpacking trip, and despite sore feet and blisters, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.


Its 25 years since I was out here last and the place is every bit as spectacular, every bit as wild and desolate as I remember it.


And this time, I’m here with my middle son, backpacking more than 50 km of trails over five days, just the two of us, out in the wilderness together.

 This is pure magic for me: the challenge of the hike, the wilderness, the wild majesty of the forest and ocean, and this precious time with my boy.

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