Read Aloud


Writers are by nature and necessity introverted. It takes hours of quiet concentration to sculpt images with words and our greatest conversations occur in our head.

So to stand on stage, mike in hand, and read those words aloud is daunting, but it’s also thrilling to gaze out at attentive shadows and know that people are listening to your every word.

Reading GB (1)

I read from my new novel, To Sleep With Stones. You can listen to the first two scenes here.

It’s paramount to read your work aloud, whether it’s a school essay, a business email, a creative piece, or a love letter. Yes, it will help you catch the errors, but there’s more to it than that. Each phrase is music in the reader’s head, directed by tone, punctuation, and pauses. The only way to ensure the rhythmic flow is to add air and curl your tongue around those syllables. If you stammer or run out of breath, the reader will too. So, always read aloud, whether it’s in the privacy of your home or in a space of supportive listeners.

Thank you to my friends who supported me, to my daughter who calmed my jitters and recorded my twelve minutes, and to the organizers of this event.




An Elemental Prayer

Recently I discovered a prayer given to Celtic shaman Caitlin Matthews in a dream. I tweaked it slightly to work for me and have been affirming it during my first awakening meditation  and again just before going to sleep. Over the last month it’s brought me comfort and peace; as well as, a sense of focus. As I chant this in my mind, I walk a medicine wheel beginning in the east, and at each point I visualize a symbol from the natural world that represents the element. I see myself in the centre, surrounded by my ancestors, and then the elements. Sometimes I walk it more than once, depending on what I need in the moment. I offer it here, with gratitude to Caitlin Matthews, and hope that it may aid you in some way as it has aided me.

Blessed be the precious and preserving air which sustains us

Blessed be the precious and preserving fire which warms us

Blessed be the precious and preserving water which cleanses and heals us

Blessed be the precious and preserving earth which nurtures and nourishes us

Blessed be the divine spirit within and around us

Blessed be the ancestors, now, then, and forever.


cedar circle

Cedar Circle (Nootka 2014)



In the late 13th Century, our ancestors created a word for people who were believed to go insane due to changes in the moon’s cycle. Lunatic. Derived from the Old French word lunatique, and late Latin, lunaticus–folks could be moonstruck during a full moon, when changes in mood and temper precipitated all kinds of erratic behaviour. In 1824, Britain even passed a Lunacy Act, which stated that people often went mad during a full moon.

Long before that, our ancestors knew that the moon was a powerful sacred entity, something to be watched, worshipped, and admired. Associated with dreaminess, the goddess, and water, Luna is a feminine entity whose shifting cycles mirror our own.

Because of this, witches have long been associated with the full moon. As have werewolves. Lycanthropes. Her bold female presence had the power to transform a man into a terrifying creature–by day he is man, by night he hunts man.

So, does she really make us crazy?

Police, firefighters, and hospital emergency staff, often claim that on a full moon the crazies come out and they are run off their feet. Is this just another urban legend or can the moon really turn us into lunatics?

In 2007, Dr Michael Zimecki of the Polish Academy of Sciences revealed that scientists have discovered physiological evidence of what our ancestors have always known. The moon affects us in a myriad of ways. In short, it messes with our hormones:

The lunar cycle has an impact on human reproduction, in particular fertility, menstruation and birth rate. Other events associated with human behaviour, such as traffic accidents, crimes, and suicides, appeared to be influenced by the lunar cycle…At this stage of investigation, the exact mechanism of the lunar effect on the immune response is hard to explain. The prime candidates to exert regulatory function on the immune response are melatonin and steroids, whose levels are affected by the Moon cycle. It is suggested that melatonin and endogenous steroids [which are naturally occurring in humans] may mediate the described cyclic alterations of physiological processes. Electromagnetic radiation and/or the gravitational pull of the Moon may trigger the release of hormones.

How were you feeling two nights ago as the April full moon struck? Were your hormones in a tizzy? Did you see anything odd? A flash of teeth in the shadows? Can you even remember?

There’s Magic in The Truth About Cancer


Since Hay House began running daily episodes of Ty Bollinger’s “The Truth About Cancer–A Global Quest” last week I haven’t missed one. It’s hopeful. It’s intelligent. It’s magic.

Tangled in Tangled FX

But the episodes are so intense and so jammed with information, I fear that people might become overwhelmed and tune out. Did this happen to you? Did you stop watching? Did you watch but not act? Is the content too depressing or too scary?

Processing this amount of new information takes time and engenders questions. Am I doomed? What should I do first? How can I convince my loved ones to try this or this or this? What is right for me, now?

Let me just say that I believe in the power of manifestation: what we focus on we attract. So, normally I would stay far away from a show like this. I don’t even like to say the c… word. But something told me I needed to watch it, and I trust my internal guidance, so I’m watching and taking notes and acting on what I’m learning. If you do nothing else, please share this blog by passing it on to someone you care about.

If you haven’t heard about this documentary I’m going to outline some of big ideas that I’ve come away with.

We are living in a toxic soup that suppresses our immune systems (viruses, parasites, yeast, environmental chemicals, pharmaceuticals and processed food). This creates a communication breakdown inside our bodies and allows the cancer cells to run wild and wreak havoc. We must detox and cleanse ourselves and our Mother Earth.

Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation might result in a “clear” diagnosis but the stem cells that caused your cancer are still circulating in your body. This was a wake-up call for me. I had an ovarian cyst that was deemed “borderline” three years ago. After it was removed an oncologist at BC Cancer Clinic told me that it “actually was cancer” and now they had to remove everything else. “The only way to see if it’s spread is to put your cells under a microscopic. We have to take it all out in order to do that. If it’s clear, then no chemo.” So I had a second surgery, and fortunately, was pronounced clear. It had not migrated. Now, I realize I have stem cells floating around in my body waiting for the right trigger to start reproducing.

Thousands of us are in similar situations. Thousands of us are undergoing these therapies right now. Has this happened to you or someone you love? Is it happening right now? Know that this content is not depressing, it’s enlightening and hopeful.

Doctors routinely tell patients the only cure is chemotherapy and radiation, the faster the better. This is not true. Giving sick people these treatments is like blasting them with napalm. Both are toxic and destroy already taxed immune systems. Go another way. Bollinger’s documentary is packed with alternative therapies that have worked and continue to work for people, many of whom were sent home to die.

There is so much information packed into the seven hours I’ve already watched the only way I can make sense of it is to chart it. This is just a fraction of what I learned during the last week.

Much of this is preventative and will change your health, and ultimately, your life. Anyone who’s ever had a scary diagnosis can attest to that. If you are given that diagnosis, do not accept chemo and radiation as inevitable.

There are oncologists, doctors, and natural health practitioners saving lives every day by using a myriad of brilliant alternative therapies. Find this documentary and watch it. Contact Ty Bollinger for referrals. The following are just a few of the names of doctors who contributed to this documentary: Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Russell Blaylock, Dr. Rashid Buttar, Dr. Xavier Curiel, Dr. Jonathan Wright.

Let’s hope you never get that diagnosis, but if you do, know there is hope. For now, live left.

“The healthy human body is self-regulating and self-repairing.”
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ~Hippocrates
Eat a variety of flavonoids. They block glutomate receptors, decrease inflammation, and kill cancer cells!

Eat a low glycemic diet. It lessens spiking and helps your immune system. Eat cruciferous vegetables. Drink green tea, eat dark chocolate.

Replace sugar with real fruits that contain more fructose than sucrose (berries, figs, cherries, red grapes.)

Eat sprouts and start sprouting in your kitchen, especially sunflower seeds, broccoli, legumes.

Start juicing with leafy greens.

Take supplements. Curcumin, from TURMERIC, kills cancer stem cells and strengthens normal cells.

Take probiotics. Sauerkraut is a wonder food.

Start your morning by drinking the juice of one lemon, a pinch of salt, and honey in warm water. It’s cleansing and tastes wonderful.

Check out Essiac Tea.

Do not eat products containing SUGAR, MSG or Aspartame. Glucose (sugar) and Glutomate (Excitotoxins) fertilize and fuel cancer cells.

Do not eat fast food, processed chemical laden foods, anything labelled with wording you can’t pronounce or understand; anything that was not created in somebody’s kitchen that you trust.

Do not drink water bottled in plastic. It contains BPA which is carcinogenic. Do not drink tap water unless it’s filtered–it’s treated with flouride and chlorine.

Do not use plastic for anything, especially your food and water.

Move regularly throughout the day and do exercise that brings you joy: dance, run, walk, swim, stretch, play sports. Do not sit for prolonged periods (in front of the computer, TV, at your desk).
Investigate essential oils. Some can balance hormones. Frankincense is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It shrinks tumours. Do not get vaccinated. It’s not the vaccine itself; it’s toxic substances like mercury that trigger cancer and other diseases.
Take care of your breasts. Massage them. Love them. Set them free. Go braless as often as possible. Do not get mammograms. They can cause cancer. DNA and genes do not control your life.
Detox. Cleanse your colon, urinary tract, liver, lymph system, parasites, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals.
Destress. Stress increases cortisol, depletes melatonin, vitamin C, niacin, and nutrients. Every day do something to reduce stress levels: yoga, meditation, visualization, prayer, affirmations, walk in nature, create, exercise, laugh, cuddle with your pet, hug your loved ones. Nurture your body, mind, and spirit. Believe that you will heal. Do not stay in situations that cause you stress. Chronic stress will kill you.
Get your mercury fillings replaced by a biological dentist who does it right. Then do chelation therapy to remove the accumulation of heavy metals. Do not get root canals–97% of breast cancer is related to root canals.



Eat good oils: coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil.  Omega 6 oils are cancer fuels: canola, corn, palm, soybean, rapeseed, sunflower
 Cannabis is the “Gateway to Health” (Dr. Joseph Mercola.
 Music heals. Singing and playing an instrument changes how the brain works.
 Sunlight accumulates in fresh organic food. Chlorophyll contains magnesium; it goes into the cells and makes sunshine inside the cell!
Check out the Budwig Diet (flaxseed oil and +charged protein like cottage cheese).
 Breathe clean clear oxygen. Check out oxygen therapy.












Coming Out

For the last few years I’ve been writing under the covers–not with a flashlight, but with similar stealth. I self-published To Charm a Killer using a pen name and did next to no marketing. With the support of friends and relatives, I sold a few copies of my book, and carried on writing the sequel. Because it’s the writing that I love.

This year “because it’s 2016”–thank you for that line Justin Trudeau–I decided to come out.

I’ve been invited to read at an event in Port Moody on April 28 at the Gallery Bistro. It’s called “Writers in our Midst”.  I am honoured, and slightly petrified, to be asked to stand up among polite society and read the first scene(s) from my new novel, To Sleep With Stones. It begins six months after To Charm a Killer leaves off and features the same characters–the witches of Hollystone Coven–along with a Scottish cast, and of course, a new murder. No pen name this time. Just me, writing as myself.

Tangled in Tangled FX

Port Moody, BC



Lessons from a Master: Stephen King

Reading Stephen King’s 1991 article “The Symbolic Language of Dreams” blissed out my writer’s spirit–that seed deep in my soul that ruptures occasionally when watered with truth. This phenomenon occurs rarely and signalled that the man had something to tell me.

Stephen King.



I remember reading Salem’s Lot in the late 1970s. It was the book that turned me off horror–not because it was bad. Because it was sinister. We were living in rural Ontario at the time, and my husband, a musician, was on the road three weeks out of four. Our farm, set well back from the road, was less than a mile from the old Salem Cemetery.

So, I closed King’s books.

Ironically, I’ve watched movie versions of those books over the years: Misery, Hearts in Atlantis, Carrie, Stand by Me, The Green Mile, Dolores Claiborne; and I love Haven so much I’m ready to relocate clear across the country. But books are different. Perhaps because the images emerge from our own imagination … words perch at your fingertips, thirsting for a stream of blood, an opening where absorbed through the flesh and synapse, they become real.

Yes. Stephen King had something to tell me. So I opened the cover of Salem’s Lot and began again.

Salems Lot
What did I learn from the Master?

pacing: keep the reader in a slow pant so by the time you hit the climax they’re craving it like a drug
detail: slow it all down by painting graphic pictures with your words
heroes are not always leading men. In Salem’s Lot, the unlikely four who take on Barlow, the vampire, are an elderly English teacher, a young novelist, a doctor, and a twelve year old boy who makes models of monsters.
allow your eccentric beliefs to emerge and flourish. The following dialogue from Salem’s Lot reflects a personal belief that nonhuman objects can take on the emotions of a human and certain people who are sensitive can feel it:

“Probably I was so keyed up that I hallucinated the whole thing. On the other hand, there may be some truth in that idea that houses absorb the emotions that are spent in them, that they hold a kind of… dry charge. Perhaps the right personality, that of an imaginative boy, for instance, could act as a catalyst on that dry charge, and cause it to produce an active manifestation of … of something. I’m not talking about ghosts, precisely. I’m talking about a kind of psychic television in three dimensions. Perhaps even something alive. A monster, if you like” (42).

Joseph Campbell, another mentor, says that if you are attracted to a writer, read everything they’ve ever written, for therein lies a secret worth realizing. Next up: Stephen King, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, 2015.

Are You Ready for Branding?

When I hear the word branding, I smell scorched hair, envision charred flesh, and bawling cattle. The word signifies ownership and control at best, and at worst, slavery.


So, why would I want to brand myself an author? Well, according to Robert Wood, developmental editor for Standoutbooks, branding is a necessary step in marketing your book. You can read his savvy article here.

Once he convinces you of the reasons why branding is necessary, Wood suggests three exercises to help you discover your unique brand. I decided to try it, more or less, and see where it would lead.

Question 1: How should my work make the reader feel? Brainstorm.

  • intrigued, suspicious, excited, curious, richer for the reading of it, entertained, surprised, and emotional.

I want my readers to feel that anything is possible. I want them to need to know more about something, any little thing that arises from the story. I want my readers to feel like they’ve just indulged in a glass or two of their favourite beverage while reading.

I think we need to add another question here. Question 1b: Why? Why should the reader feel anything at all?

  • because I take readers on a journey. My characters literally travel. While on a quest to solve a mystery or save a life, they explore unfamiliar territory, finding friends, lovers, and enemies along the way. In To Charm a Killer, Maggie and Estrada travel the west coast of Ireland on paths I’ve physically trod. In the sequel, To Sleep With Stones, Estrada flies to Scotland to save his friend Dylan from a life in prison and what he believes is certain death. They are not travelogues, but the settings are real and accessible. I am intrigued by Celtic mythology and pre-Celtic archaeology (particularly megaliths) so both appear in my stories.


  • because my books feature myth and magic. The witches of Hollystone Coven solve mysteries. They are intent on saving the world through rituals and ceremonial magic, so I incorporate elements of magic realism into my work. In this modern profane world, the characters encounter vampires, druids, and gods; yet in the end, they are just people, like you and me.


  • because my books are interwoven with literary text. To Charm a Killer is wrapped around Macbeth, while To Sleep With Stones explores The White Goddess, a treatise by poet Robert Graves. I’ve taught literature for several years and I see it slipping away from us. This is one way that I keep it alive.

Question 2: Think of an author who you’d like to be compared to, especially in terms of how they make readers feel.

Well, wouldn’t we all like to be compared to JK Rowling or Stephen King? Though I write about magic, the Harry Potter set is simply too young for my books. They are not intended for children or even young adults. My characters engage in sex…consensual sex that has consequences, as sex often does. That’s the realism in the magic. Estrada falls in love hard, fast, and often. And, his best friend Michael is a libertine, a faux vampire who believes himself the reincarnation of Lord Byron. Both are free spirits who don’t discriminate when choosing lovers; both are flawed and find themselves enmeshed in tricky situations more often than not. Still, I would love to be compared with JK Rowling. I am impressed by her world building, her skill as a storyteller, her strong characters, and the simple complexity of her hero’s journey (from orphaned boy in the cupboard to saviour of the magic world).

In A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King writes: “If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

I like this quote because it’s my licence to write. King gives me the courage to tell the stories I want to tell, the way I want to tell them. I’m no longer afraid of offending my neighbours.

I want to be as bold as King. I want to write a Carrie or a Salem’s Lot or a Misery.

3) Now, taking as long as you need, whittle the entire list down to the three adjectives that you feel most accurately describe your aims when writing.

When I write I aim to be intriguing, entertaining, enriching. Do I? No, not really. When I write, I just tell the story as it comes. Conversations banter in my brain, images appear, and I just know, this is what happens. I don’t think, “I want people to be curious,” but I am curious myself. I am intrigued myself. Writing entertains and enriches my life. And this is why I write. My hope is that my passion will filter through the text and envelope the reader like The Mist.

At this moment, in a Stephen King novel, the word AUTHOR would suddenly appear etched in blood across my forehead. Branded. Forever.

PS. Thank you Robert Wood at Standoutbooks for a post that made me curious.

Eve Ensler: Woman With a Purpose

What is your life purpose? This is one of those questions that can hurl you on the passion train, derail your dreams, or stop you cold.

If you can’t answer the question, how do you go about finding your life purpose? Is it hovering in the ethers just waiting for you to name it? Do you seek it through meditation? Or counselling? Do you abandon all else to whatever it is that gives you joy? I used to advise abused women to look back into their childhoods for moments of bliss. What gave you the biggest buzz when you were a kid? Most could not remember, had forgotten who they were in the time before. Some were too afraid to look.

I came across this video of Eve Ensler yesterday and the raw truth of it disturbed and astounded me. Here is a woman who escaped abuse only to walk out on the world stage and confront it head on; a woman bold enough to write and perform a play called “The Vagina Monologues” and create V-Day.

Eve Ensler talks to girls and women all over the world and helps them tell their stories, for in the telling, healing begins. You can read her biography here.

She is a woman who shaped a life purpose from the battered bones of her past. I can only stand in awe and celebrate her courage, passion, energy, and dedication. Thank you Eve Ensler.