Settings for My Current Novel

I am participating in a January Instagram photo challenge and this week has been fun with finding pictures that match the daily theme. Research can spark my memory which is helpful as I work on my second memoir about working in a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

What is the setting of my current novel? 

This is the Victoria Dining Room at the Chateau Lake Louise. It was where my hotel life pretty much started. When I first set foot in the dining room, the sea of tables overwhelmed me. I was accustomed to the fast-paced environment of working at McDonald’s, which prepared me for the intense environment of the grand dining that could serve up to five hundred people at a time. But the golden arches didn’t prepare me for the five-star level of service I was expected to provide every time I stepped into the 6000 square foot dining room.

What I learned

I learned quickly to keep my permanent smile on and agreed the guest was always right (even when they weren’t). The guests of the Lake were paying hundreds of dollars to stay at the luxury hotel and they paid for the service.                                       I mastered the act of grinning and bearing a lot of the guests. Snapping fingers, ‘hey you’s’ and all around arrogance from the guests who didn’t care about the employees. They cared about being in one of the most beautiful places in the North American and telling their friends all about the time they vacationed at the Banff National Park. But, there were a lot more grateful guests than not. I witness a lot of memorable times as well, wedding proposals, anniversaries and celebrations in the dining room. I am very fortunate to have had these experiences and adventures. I learned how to be a better server, host, trainer, and leader from my time in the Canadian Rockies. I got my training wheels at the Lake and was prepared for the next lessons in life. Love. That’s a whole other story.

I am currently working on my second memoir about working at the Lake during the Winters. Going from serving hundreds of people a day on any given summer day, to working three nights a week for fifteen hours for a banquet was a shift I couldn’t get used to. But once I started to cross-country skiing I didn’t mind working less and taking advantage of the outdoor adventures the Lake offered. What fun!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

How did I stumble upon my hotel life? Find out Here

Help! I’m Having Title Troubles

I’ve been writing my second memoir about working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. I self-published my debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, in September. I planned on my second memoir to be published in February of 2019. That date has been pushed a little later due to ego/writer’s block. I don’t have writer’s block per se, I’m having a little trouble organizing the material in a better way. One of the negative reviews nags at me, ‘could have used some editing’ which I did have, but I question myself and my choices of what I shared in the book. Could I have shared more? How do I make it better? How will I make the next book better? That’s key, I haven’t stopped writing, I’m ready to dive deeper. I’m ready to make my writing better.

Secondly, I am struggling with is the title of my second memoir. Can I ask for your help? Thoughts, suggestions are welcomed.

My intentions are to write a trilogy about my hotel life. The first two memoirs are about working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The third memoir is about working for a city hotel and then breaking away from the luxury chain hotel life into independent hotels while trying to pay attention more to my writing life.

The first memoir was always going to be Behind the Kitchen Doors. Then I added The Summers because the second one was going to be ‘Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Winters.’ The thought was to share stories about working in a mountain resort in the winter. The long winters were hard. Many of us were not working a lot because not many people were traveling. Yet, it was busy enough because senior servers took weeks off to travel, leaving me and other servers to work groups like Billy Graham, Mary Kay, Olympic ski teams, and what seemed like endless Christmas parties starting early November until the first week of the New Year. The winters were long atop a mountain and when I worked a ten-hour day serving a group breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the last thing I wanted to do was write. So I hit the bar and drank, which became a nightly ritual for not only myself but many servers. Some of us fell into the trap of alcohol and drugs, some of not so much. I tried to be neutral, but I also didn’t want to miss out on any parties. It was a vicious cycle. I may be getting ahead of myself now.

The title I originally had for the second memoir was:                                                           Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Winters, It’s simple and tells the story. Or does it?

The other titles I have been thinking about:                                                                           If You Can’t Stand the Heat                                                                                                       Get out of the Kitchen                                                                                                                 How may I help you?

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What do you think? What title would grab you? What speaks to you? What makes you want to read the story of a young woman trying to survive in a resort town?

Thank you for your help. Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a sneak peek of my debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, head Here ~ Thank you.

The First Week of 2019 ~ How’s it Going?

Happy New Year! How is your first week of 2019? Did you make any goals, set any intentions for this great new year filled with endless possibilities? I did. The first one was to clean out my clothes closet. I know it sounds small, but I’ve been thinking about this for months now. Every time I opened my closet doors I would think, why haven’t I worn that white shirt? I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said this in six months. So with that thought, I wrote down in my day planner and my wall calendar on January 1, 2019 ‘ if I haven’t worn it in six months it has to go to grow.’ 

January 1st is also my birthday. This closet purge was one of my presents to myself. I told my husband what I was doing and he said, ‘can I hold the bag for you?’ he is more of a minimalist when it comes to clothing. I have a larger wardrobe due to my job and I also love my oversized sweaters and jeans. I have two black pencil skirts, eight tops, and five dresses to swap around during the week. I won’t count how many sweaters I have. I wear them all the time though, so I’m making good use of them. (That’s my rationality about my sweaters and I’m sticking to it.)                          I walked into my bedroom and knew exactly where I would start (with the white shirt I haven’t worn in almost a year), then within twenty minutes, I was done.     My husband: that was fast.                                                                                                 Me: like a band-aid, rip it off and move on.

One of my intentions is much like the band-aid analogy. Do it quickly and move on. No regrets. I started 2018 much like this when I sent the first email to my editor, there was no turning back. I was ready to share my work and now that I have self-published my first memoir, I don’t know why it took me so long. I was able to create more space for my writing. I realized I was more than my full-time job at the hotel life. I knew I had my writing life, but I wasn’t giving it the attention it fully deserved until I made that one decision. I feel the same way about my closet. Now that I have cleaned it out, I have made room for other things. I have more storage to declutter other areas of the house. What a feeling!

 

I started to sit with my next memoir. I wrote it during NaNoWriMo and it is in that rough first draft stage. My goal is to polish it for my editor by the end of January/early February and self publish by end of February/early March. Then I can move on to a new project that has been showing up from time to time in the past two years. My intentions for 2019 is to give the attention my creative life deserves. How will I do this? By working every day on the writing. By taking one action towards my writing business each day. The actions don’t have to be grandiose, but they need to be attainable and realistic. Polishing my draft is realistic and doable. Contacting my cover designer and editor. Setting a date for publication. All attainable and realistic. I am the only one who is going to write the book so I better get to it.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

Find out more about my debut memoir, BEHIND THE KITCHEN DOORS ~ The Summers, HERE

What’s your 2019 Word?

Happy New Year’s Eve! 2018 was full of adventures, learning, surprises, and love. I am so grateful for the amazing experiences this year. I fulfilled one of my dreams of publishing my debut memoir. It was over ten years in the making. It was time to let it go and share it with you all.

I haven’t practiced choosing one word for the new year in the past. Why this year? I am participating in an Instagram photo challenge and one of the prompts is what’s your word for 2019? I’ve had some time to think about the word that will guide me through the new year, and it’s not easy to choose one word for a writer. Many words came to mind, grateful, loyal, honest, adventure, abundant and faith.                           I write a lot about being grateful for everything in my life and what is to come.         I am loyal to creativity and 2018 pushed my loyalty to my writing life more than ever. I pushed myself to the end of the line as I hit the submit button on Amazon and started my self-publishing journey. I have faith in creativity that keeps me honest and knowing I will have adventures and have an abundance of love and support from family and friends. This is where I say how grateful I am.

2019 will be prosperous, joyful and with ease.

I’ve chosen, prosper as my main word for 2019. I am aware that I am the only one who will write my books and everything else that comes with being an indie-author. I am going to prosper by learning more about my craft and the self-publishing world to thrive so that I can fulfill my big picture goals. For my writing career be my only job. This is a huge statement for me. I love my hotel life. It has provided me with exactly what I need to excel and maintain my creative life. I love serving people and being part of their experience. I have to come to terms and be honest with myself. I have to remind myself that I have to be as loyal to my writing life as I have been to my hotel life. It’s scary to say it out loud and to write it and then put it out there. But guess what? If not now, when? Being prosperous in my health and wellbeing is a priority as much as my writing life. I will be taking more time for my spiritual life, meditating more and diving deeper into the creativity.

As we say goodbye to 2018 and welcome in the new year, I wish you all a prosperous and joyful 2019!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

Christmas Memoires

Ready or not Christmas is here. It is Christmas Eve and I’m looking forward to spending time with friends and family. The holidays are a fun time of year. Also, a hectic time with the hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping, holiday parties while also trying to maintain your work and writing schedules. This week I wanted to share a few holiday memories with you. It is a bit difficult to pinpoint one event that I am fond but, but a series of Christmas memories that are put together like a snowman with coal buttons and everything!

Christmas morning started off with opening our stockings. I would jump into bed with my parents and we would open the individual wrapped smaller items that stuffed each sock. There was always a small toy to keep me entertained before the main event of the gifts. My parents would clean up and start their coffee as my attention span dwindled. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the shining wrapping paper that sparkled under the Christmas Tree.

My parents would get toys that I would entertain me, like Lego. I would get a new set of Lego’s each Christmas and my dad and I would build tall buildings as I created stories that evolved around the blue, yellow and red shiny pieces of Lego bricks. Those Christmas mornings were special. I would play all day with the creative presents. When I got a new book I would sit on the sofa and read as my parents made breakfast. My nose would be tickled from the smell of bacon as it sizzled in the pan on the stove top. We enjoyed our family of three breakfast and depending on where we were living, we would either stay home and call family that lived afar or we would get into the car and journey to aunt’s and uncles homes to spread the Christmas spirit with hugs and exchanges of food and presents.

As a young girl, I loved playing with my cousins when we were all together at my grandparents Berry’s, farmhouse. We would play cards, board games and in the snow until our parents called us in for the big turkey dinner. There may have been up to twenty of us in the house and it felt like a hundred with the amount of love and Christmas spirit that filled the home. I may not be able to vividly see the memories of the past but I feel the joy of being with the family tingle all over my skin.

My husband and I have our own traditions now. As I am part of the hospitality world, Christmas tends to be either a few days before or after December 25th. It doesn’t matter to us, as long as we are together and embracing the spirit of kindness and love. What is one of your favorite Christmas memories? Do you have new traditions? I still bake cookies every year – I love the smell of sugar cookies and the icing is half the fun!

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

My Lesson During the Countdown to the Holidays

Eight days to Christmas – where has the time gone? It feels like I went to sleep on November 30th and now it’s December 17th. The time gap is real and now the crunch is on for getting prepared for Mr. Claus to visit us.

During November while participating in NaNoWriMo I pretty much let all my domestic obligations go by the wayside. Thank goodness for my husband who did the laundry and made the majority of our meals. I did find time to vacuum and clean the bathroom only to get a mini-break from the laptop screen.

The beginning of December was busy for me at my full-time job at the hotel life. I am not one to give excuses for why I don’t write, because I am the only who can make a change in my habits to get my but in the chair and get the words on the page. However, I was not in control of a slight change in my work schedule to accommodate a third parties schedule. It is what it is and I usually am able to go with the flow and be in the moment. But…

…when my writing schedule is interrupted I feel it. I am aware of my crankiness and lack of patience with people. I have been learning a bit more about myself in the past sixteen days and I don’t like what I see. This calls for some serious writing sessions and meditation. I need to be grounded and realize that I am not in control of certain situations and accept that fact. I can’t always be in control of a schedule and be okay with that. Guess what? The ego does not like this at all and it fights tooth and nail to have control. The ego wants to know what is going on all the time, to be right. Yikes! The ego can be a tricky little villain at times. I am aware of my ego trying to be in control. I feel the struggle and it’s real. I’m onto you, ego, and I am here to kick you to the curb and accept in this moment I am here typing and sharing my thoughts. This is how I will discipline myself, by writing.

My lesson is to keep writing and don’t let my schedule ever to the wayside. I remember when I first started to work for the luxury hotel and resort chain in Lake Louise. I was caught up in the excitement of exploring a new place in such a beautiful part of the Canadian Rockies. I forgot who I was and didn’t write. I had some amazing experiences during those times and I am very fortunate to have written my debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, from those experiences. I am learning from my past and present. Keep writing.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

 


BEHIND THE KITCHEN DOORS ~ THE SUMMERS

Have you ever wondered what it was like to work for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies? My memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors, is about my journey and start of my hospitality career and I didn’t even know I would stay the entire summer that first year.

Ebook and Print book available on AMAZON. US | CA | AU

 

 

 

 

NaNoWhatNow?

Whether you reached your November goals or not, the most important things that NaNoWriMo provides is writing on a daily basis. The gift that has been given to me over the years has been creating a writing habit. It’s important to carve out time for your writing life. I insist on making creativity my number one priority.

Why NaNo? I have been able to sit down and write for long periods of time for many years, however, I would get myself into a rut where I wasn’t inspired with my story any longer or I didn’t know what to do next after I came close to finishing a story. I followed my ego’s old behavior of thinking. There will be more time to work on this later. Take a break. The story isn’t going anywhere, let’s make up a new story. The ego and I had many debates over the years and sometimes I gave in and left a story unfinished.

When I found out about NaNoWriMo I was determined to finish a novel or at least hit the goal of 50,000 words. I wanted to prove to myself and shut the ego down on knowing I was able to finish a project. My first NaNo challenge I finished the story and two years later I self-published my NaNo project. Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers. What did the ego have to say? Nothing. I stepped up to the challenge and worked my way through the month of November and filled the pages with my experiences of working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. I felt alive as I shared some of my intimate and humbling moments. Now, I can’t go back. I know how it feels to be in my truth. I know how it feels when creativity takes over, I step out-of-the-way and go with the flow. After hard work and love of what you are writing a book is created. That I call beautiful magic.

Eighty percent of success is showing up. ~Woody Allen

Now that NaNo2018 is over what is next? For me, I will keep writing. I have about 10,000 more words to fill into my next memoir. Then the editing process begins. I am focused on moving forward and seeing how this next memoir unfolds.

If you participated in NaNoWriMo this year, please share your experiences. Did you create any new writing habits? Did you write every day? What were your goals? I love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

NaNoWrioMo Update – It’s getting real now

How is everyone doing? Anyone participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge? (write a novel of 50,000 words in the month of November). This is my fourth year that I’ve dived into this great writing adventure, and it is some kind of an adventure. This year I took the first seven days of November off from my full-time job to get a good start on my second memoir about working in luxury hotels in the Canadian Rockies. It is now day 18 and I’m still going strong. I’m taking the time to get the words down and I have to be honest, the words may not be good, and first drafts are just that, a draft to be massaged and shaped into what you know it will be.

I’m also participating in an Instagram photo challenge with a NaNoWrioMo theme, actually, it’s focused on memoirs. A great challenge for me. One of my favorites prompts during this week: Who didn’t believe you? Do you write for fun or hope to publish. Great questions to spark the memory.

1. Who didn’t believe you?
I would have to say that everyone I ever told I was going to write books believed me because I believed me. Yes, there were times self-doubt and ego hung heavy over my head, but I stepped pasted those dark times and kept writing. I believed in myself and creativity to keep writing because I have stories to share that creativity what to share through me.

2. Do you write for fun or do you hope to publish?
How fitting to be paired up with the first question.
I always wanted to publish my work. I didn’t mind if only knew person read my work but I saw my book on the bookshelves and now they sit on a local bookstore waiting to be read. I’ve #selfpublished my debut memoir in September and over 100 people have bought and read my book. Thank you! What a blessing!

I will continue to write and publish my work. I believe that when we share we contribute for a reason. We share to say we are not alone. We are not going through the joys or sorrows alone. We can celebrate and heal together. This is how we connect and grow.

Do you have a story to share about who may not have believed in your writing? Do you write for fun or hope to publish or are you already published? I love hearing from you all.


Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you ever wonder what it was like to work for a luxury hotel? My hospitality life started in a beautiful hotel and resort in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

My debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, is about my journey working for a luxury hotel. I knew my life was about to change when I had to share a staff accommodations room with three other girls. Talk about a reality check for this only child.

Ebook and Print book available on AMAZON. US | CA | AU

How Does Your Memory Help Your Writing?

We are half way through NaNoWriMo and I’m feeling good about my progress. I hit the 20K mark on Saturday evening and I’m on pace for the goal of 50K by the end of November. I may go over the 50K but that’s okay, it’s all about the writing at the moment.

I am also participating in an Instagram photo challenge, NaNoMemoir, and NaNothatWriMo. Both hosts have created daily write prompts that have sparked my imagination and memory. I’m also entering the world of Instagram Stories, by using videos to introduce my latest posts. I am trying new things and having fun. On day 10 the questions asked triggered more than a memory. They sparked the pure joy of being in the moment.

Here is my post that I shared:

Day 10 #nanowrimo questions of the day:
* What smells do you remember?
* Writing block busters
💫
This picture is of my wonderful grandmother Laura Berry. I share her name as my middle name. What I have a middle name too?! I thought Ann was your middle name? Lol, I have to have fun about my name.
I remember walking into my #grandparents farm and the smell of baking pies fills my memory. Also, greasy, spattering bacon in a cast iron pan. Oh man do I ever smell these two #delicious smells as I#write.

I loved watching my grandmother dance around the kitchen creating #magic from flour, butter, apples and other yummy berries that came from their berry bushes.
I loved laying in my bed on Sunday mornings as my grandmother would start frying bacon. The smell lingered through the heat ducts and woke my nose up to get me out of bed and down to the kitchen. What a great way to wake up and spend time with family.
💫
Writing block busters: I write every day and even if it is only my morning pages I believe if I am writing every day then there is no room for a block. I may not write for one or two days due to my #hotellife commitments, but as long as I have written my morning pages, I am good to go.

I loved these two questions of the day. I could write more about my grandmother and the Berry Farm. Maybe I will start a memoir from my times on the farm. I am so #grateful for these amazing experiences to share with you.
💫
Happy writing!

What smells do you remember? Any writing block busters you can share with us? I love hearing from you all.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Quotes to Survive NaNoWriMo #MondBlogs

It’s is NaNoWriMo season. For the month of November, I will be writing to meet my goal of 50,000 words or even more to complete my second memoir. I am sharing a few of my favorite quotes that I have on as my background screen on my laptop and on vision boards. I hope they inspire you and your writing journey as much as they do mine.

Happy Writing!

As a memoir writer, Natalie Golderg’s quote hits me to the core. There is no hiding behind a memoir. I am going deeper each time I am on the page.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you liked Kitchen Confidential and the Grand Budapest Hotel, you will enjoy this eye-opening life experience of one employee’s journey of working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

My debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, is about my journey working for a luxury hotel. I knew my life was about to change when I was faced with a black bear in our staff accommodations.

Ebook and Print book available on AMAZON. US | CA | AU