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

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

Vacation Adventures

Time for a vacation. I’m taking time away from the hotel life to spend with my family in Nova Scotia. I will be working but I don’t consider it “work”. Writing for me is not work, it is my passion. I will be preparing for NaNoWriMo and then on November 1st, I will begin the writing adventure of writing a novel of 50,000 words in one month. I should also clarify that the hotel life is not per se, work, it’s part of my life. I enjoy what I do at the hotel and there are days that it doesn’t feel like a job. I feel like I do when I’m writing. I’m going with the flow.

For now, I am packing my suitcase and trying to figure out which books will be in my carry on along with my laptop and earbuds. I tend to over pack my carry-on when I know at some point I will take a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief and relaxation and fall asleep to the white noise of whatever movie I choose on the airplane. I love to travel and I go with the flow.

I will be travel solo this trip. My husband visited his family in New Brunswick at the end of August, and we usually take a trip to the east coast together every three or four years. It’s nice to connect with family as a couple, but we both know we have our own little family quirks and even after 15 years together we still don’t get our families inside jokes and isms and I don’t expect my husband to understand when at times I may not quite understand my family. I love them and that’s all that matters. We go with the flow.

This trip I will be spending time with my dearest friend of over thirty years. We met when we were six. We may have moved away from one another, but it’s like not one moment of time has passed when we get together. We are like Anne of Green Gables and Diana, we just get one another. I am looking forward to connecting with family and friends. I crave spending time with family and friends. I need them. They need me. We are not only connected by blood, but by spirit and energy. We are in each other lives for a reason. We all go with the flow.


I’m in the flow at the moment and it feels good. Every step I’m taking feels natural. It feels like I’m in the zone, very much like when I am writing. When I am here on the page, sharing, letting go and going with the flow.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…


NaNoWriMo Adventures

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. NaNo what? It is a writing challenge for the month of November where you write a 50K novel in one month. There is a whole community of writers who commit to this creative adventure. We connect by writing forms within the NaNoWriMo website and Facebook groups. This is a great way to connect with other writers. We help each other by words of encouragement, sharing about our progress, there are laughs, tears, and great energy.

What Kind of NaNo Writer are you?

In the past, I have been a full-on rebel NaNo writer. I didn’t really plan. I had an idea and went with the flow. I knew other writers were planning with outlines for their stories. I was sitting down and putting words on the page and thought I would edit at a later time because the goal was to write 50,000 words in a month. Then last year I used NaNo to shape my debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers. I made an effort to plan what I was going to work on and by the end of November I had my draft completed and was actively looking for an editor by January and I self-published on September 15, 2018. What a journey!

What’s Next?

This year I’m going to be a bit more active in the NaNo adventures. I am part of a local NaNo group where we will meet up every Monday in November. We will write and share our progress. We had our kick-off event this week and I’m excited to cheer everyone on.                                                                                                                This year, I am planning to write the second memoir of my trilogy hotel memoirs. I have loosely outlined with the stories to share and that has made a big difference for me. I look at the list now and I’m still happy with what I want to focus on. I know if I am prepared that it will be a lot easier to execute throughout the month of November. I am very grateful for finding NaNoWriMo and the community that I am involved with.

Have you participated in any writing challenges/contests? What has been your experience? Any recommendations?

Have you ever wondered what it was like to work for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies? Find out in my debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors,~ The Summers, how I survived three summers of working atop a mountain.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Words of Wisdom #Monday Blogs

Mary shares her thoughts on trying and learning. Thank you, Jo-Ann, for sharing.

Jo-Ann Carson

Have I told you how much I love podcasting lately? Well, I’ll say it again. I love being a podcast host.

I love interviewing people and talking with them about writing, their passions …  their lives. People always surprise me. I’m humbled that they let me into their lives.

Mary's photo 300dpiThis week I interviewed Mary Buckham. The episode won’t go live until December, but I couldn’t wait to talk about it, at least a little part of it. One of her statements that blew me away was about making mistakes.

I always say if you fall down, you get back up again. You know the Chinese proverb that if you get up one more time than you fail, you succeed.  Don’t we all say: If  you try something and you fail, you try again. At least that’s what I always said.

Mary stopped me, “No, no, no,” she said. “You don’t…

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What is Quinoa?

qui·noa  ~ pronounced ˈkeen-wa’
When I first heard of quinoa I had no idea what it was. I think I must have pronounced many different ways. As many as I get with my first name, I get everything but Marion-Ann from time to time. Just last week I had a woman say, Marion-and-ann – that version makes me shake my head every time.
Quinoa is an interesting grain to work with. I didn’t know it was part of the spinach family and it is gluten-free ~ a bonus for everyone looking to eat healthier. My first time making quinoa didn’t turn out so great, it was moist and had no flavor. After a few practices and spices and the right dressing, I finally was able to get the grain to a fluffy texture that both my husband and I enjoy. Sometimes I will add couscous with quinoa for different textures and flavors. That’s what cooking is all about, having fun!
I found a great salad recipe for this diverse grain, it’s full of flavor and is good to bring to any potluck. Thank you too, Two Health Kitchens for providing this easy recipe: Corn, Edamame and Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette

What is your genre?

When I am not writing memoirs, I write an assortment of genres because creativity provides me with an idea and go with it. Many of my author friends have one main genre and they are successful authors. One of my friends writes historical western romances. Another friend writes fantasy, romance, and adventure, and started to dabble in Bête Noire. There are so many genres and I love that each of us has been chosen to write different stories to share.

So what is my genre if I’m not memoir writing? I would have to say a little thriller, mystery, and romance. The one story I’m working on that came to me in flash is a thriller romance. More Thriller/mystery with a romantic element to keep the story interesting and just because the characters are keeping me on my toes.

When we first moved to Victoria, BC, we lived in a new condo building that was located right across from the hotel I work for. I know, it’s a little to close for comfort but the circumstances of how quickly I got the job and needed to move to the city from a three-hour away small town, was indeed how my husband and I end up places. Say yes first and then figure out everything afterward. So we find the one bedroom condo and my husband ended up moving to Canmore, Alberta, for a job for about six months. I was so grateful for the universe to have moved into the condo that I only needed to walk across the street to my place of employment.

There was a gym in the condo building and the same people would be in the gym at the same time. They became my gym friends, except for one guy, who, well let’s just say he was the typical metrosexual man. I’m not kidding you, he was obsessed with himself. He would jump off the treadmill when his phone rang and say ‘go for Dean!’ (Not his real name). I would see him come into the lounge located in the hotel where I work. He would have a different date each time and for some reason, he triggered an emotion in me that I just didn’t like him.

One night as I got in the elevator he walked into the building and sauntered to the elevator and just stood in front of the elevator. As the elevator doors shut he gave me this look, his eyes were peering into the elevator like he wanted to say something. I glared back at him and the image of a woman who killed her victims in their hotel room appeared and there in the elevator was born Catherine Harris, a serial killer who kills couples who are cheating on their spouses. More about Catherine later.

Now I’m working on the rewrites of my hotel memoir. It is my passion and my main focus at the moment. I will be honest that there are times when I am editing that I feel overwhelmed. I am aware that the ego is trying to run away and stay in its comfortable old ways sitting on the sofa and watching Saved By The Bell reruns. (Who didn’t like Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski?) I use to write episodes to be part of the Bayside Highschool crew. I embrace my imagination and all the ideas that are shared with me by creativity. Oh, how I love the creative process.

What genre do you write? What story are you writing now? How do your stories get inspired? I love hearing from you.

Sign up for my Newsletter for a sneak peek of my hotel memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .


Deadlines and Everything In-Between

Ten days and counting. Ten days to submit my manuscript to my editor to keep on track with my goals. To self-publish my first book. I’ve said it out loud and now it is happening. Yet, here I am now working on my manuscript, while I’m typing this blog I’m also in-between making breakfast cookies for the week. I did work on my manuscript for most of the day but I took a break later in the afternoon and I thought I would get back to it sometime tonight, but my mind is not on the work at the moment. There are times where I could blink my eyes or twinkle my nose and the vision I have for my book is complete. Then I remember I’m not in TV land and Samantha Stephens is not here to work her magic. Darn!

I’m still with creativity. I’m reading Jacqui Nelson’s latest book, The Calling Birds, a historical romance filled love, promise, laughter and great advise by Grandpa Gus. Here is a little taste of Birdie and Jack’s world:

Many years have passed since Bernadette Bellamy fled the Cariboo Gold Rush and her reputation as the sister of a French-Canadian gang of thieves. Armed with only an honest talent for sewing and a willingness to lead a solitary life on the run, she stays one step ahead of everyone seeking her brothers’ last—and now lost—heist. Until a craving to settle down makes her reinvent herself as Birdie Bell, a dress shop owner. The arrival of an old foe combined with her desire to hold onto her treasure trove of fabrics has Birdie joining a wagonload of brides bound for a remote town.

After losing his leg and his wife, Jack Peregrine buries his pain under a mountain-high pile of work. He only agrees to sign up for a mail-order bride to save the town of Noelle, keep his freighting business, and care for his absentminded grandfather. But Jack’s request for a sturdy bride who won’t crumble under his burdens brings him a woman as tiny as she is troubled. Can two mismatched people band together to become the perfect match?

One of my favorite lines that captured me from the start:

Lives had ended. Memories had faded.

My curiosity was tickled and I have laughed out loud and turn the pages eagerly to find out what happens to Jack and Birdie. I hope you to do too, see more about the Calling Birds here.

The creative life is not always about sitting down to write. The creative life is engaging with creativity, with other writers and reading as much as you can. The more you read the more you dive deeper into your own craft. When you spend time with other creative minds and writers, the ideas flow and stories are written. How I love the creative process.

Now, back to the page. I have 2500 words to cut from my manuscript and at the moment my virtual red pen seems to be drying up. Any advice on how to slash some words from your manuscript?

Until next time, keep on typing. . .

The Blank Page

Whom do I tell when I tell a blank page? ~ Virgina Wolf

The blank page is waiting for what is already known. I look at the blank space and know it’s up to me to let it go, to put down the words that swirl within me, to share my fear of what I already know. The blank page is welcoming to me – I want to see what appears on the page, I’m eager to answer the questions that show up either through a character or simply an injury during my morning pages. What questions do I want to have answered now?

I’m a solitary writer – I enjoy being by myself, not so much an introvert, but I’m perfectly content to spend time with myself Yes, I love my friends and spending time with them is important, to connect with like-minded people is what nourish my creative spirit.

One year my husband and friends of ours were on vacation in Maui. It was my second time to the magical island and I was looking forward to spending time with the writing, along with enjoying the tropical island life. The first time my husband and I were in Maui I wrote a screenplay or a version of a romance screenplay. I had fun with it. This trip I was open to any idea that creativity provided. I’m open to creativity and the ideas it whispers to me.

We went on a snorkeling adventure to Molokini rock. There may have been sixty other people on this boat and I felt this great creative energy, I was ready for this experience. I watched people interact with one another and with one small glimpse of a woman fawning over the good-looking Captain who was giving us safety instructions of the boat a story sparked within me. Instantly I felt myself be removed from the other people, my husband, and friends. Yes, I was there in body, but my mind and spirit quickly pulled out my notebook and I started to write.

I wrote two thousand words that morning on the boat and I was grateful that no one interrupted me. They know me, I’m their writer friend, I tend to write at the drop of a pen (I know, I know, sorry for the pun). Once I finished this spurt of writing I was back on the boat gazing out at the ocean, engaging with my husband and friends. The story was started and lingering within. I knew once the characters started talking, sharing their stories I couldn’t walk away. I was hooked and wanted to write their story. The rest of the time in Maui I would sit on the beach and scribble away as my friends paddle-boarded or snorkel. I enjoyed my time by the ocean and soaked up the sun. I honored the creativity and took the time to get down the words when they came. For that I am grateful.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

Write a letter


When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone? I don’t mean a business letter, but a long handed letter, where the pen glides along the paper, emotions pouring onto the page trying to tell a story. I have an idea of putting together a book filled with love letter and calling it ‘The art of a love letter’ or ‘The art of the love letter has died.’ I know it sounds depressing but it’s true, no one I know sits down and writes their partner a love letter just because, and if you do, I applaud you. I write little love notes to my partner and recently I went into his wallet (because he was driving and he needed the Visa for the ferry fare) and what did I find, one of the love notes I recently left for him. Let me tell you, I smiled with great pleasure. He smiled and I know what that means, he loves me and he loves my quirky little love notes.

love letter

I also write letters to myself from time to time, especially when I am writing my morning pages. I’m pouring onto the page to please keep writing and I do. I use to write a lot more letters when I was younger, before email, instant messaging, Facebook and every other social media form. But it’s important to keep writing letters, there is something about putting pen to paper. Or am I the only who still thinks letter writing is worth the time?

When I forget about letter writing I pick up the Observation Deck by Naomi Epel and reread the ‘Write a letter’ reminder.

If you are stuck in your work, write a letter describing your current dilemma. Outline what you are trying to accomplish and name the obstacles in your way. As you write about this thing you want to do, you may very well find it taking shape right there on the paper. Writing a letter helps relieve unnecessary pressure. You don’t have to create perfect prose, you are simply playing. And out of your attempt to understand and communicate, new ideas and the words to express them will emerge. ~Naomi Epel


I tend to express myself much better on the page than in person, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing down first what I wanted to say to someone. This little trait came in handy recently. I’ve been reconnected to a good a friend and I found myself feeling nervous about what to talk about when we decided to talk on the phone. I started to  write him a letter and once I was able to put down on the page what I was stuck on it became easier to express myself when we did talk.

Is there someone from your past that you would like to write today? A friend? A teacher? A former spouse? Express things you were never able to tell this person. Share some of the insights you’ve gained since your last communication. You need not mail this letter – simply voice your thoughts and feelings on paper. You may come to understand an unresolved issue that has blocked your progress or haunted once of your characters. ~ Naomi Epel

Until next time, keep on typing…

black and white