Saturday, May 30, 2020

Check Out These Online Courses for Writing, Tarot Card Reading, and Self-Publishing!

Do you want to learn some new skills during this Pandemic?

Maybe you're one of the lucky ones who isn't juggling jobs and kids and are looking for something to do to amuse yourself while we're still in various degrees of isolation. Or maybe you already do tons of stuff but want to explore something new! Maybe you want to brush up on your Creative Writing skills. Or freak out your friends with fortune-telling!

At any rate, you know I'm a writer, a teacher, an editor, a tarot card reader, and an actor, which means I love to entertain.

I thought I'd put my various offerings on this blog page in case you're not aware of some of them.

George Brown College, Toronto

I begin my new career at George Brown College next week! You can sign up for these courses at any time, even after they've started as these are online courses! George Brown College is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, however, the courses are taught online so you can live anywhere!

Novel Writing Begins June 4, 2020. This 12-week course will help you write an original novel! In fact, if you don't have to work long hours and are motivated, you might be able to write your novel in 12-weeks as well!

Self-Publishing Begins June 1, 2020  Have you spent your pandemic time writing journals, stories, and books? Maybe now is the time to think about sharing your craft with the world in a self-published book! This 6-week course will teach you all the things you need to know to self-publish your book!

Udemy Online

Now, for more courses that I teach, let's check out Udemy!

Udemy is an online school where I've successfully taught for three years!

 Every student who takes my course is a real student. I didn't stuff my courses with non-paying students as many others do. Each student is real and all the reviews are real and quite varied as you can see for yourself. What one person loves, another person loathes!

Udemy often has sales so save the links and they will take you right to a sale when there's a sale. If you use my links, I earn more than $1 a class!

Learn How to Be a Psychic Entertainer in One Day

Learn how to read tarot cards, read a palm, and freak out your isolation family! This course is a shortcut for fun and entertainment. You can use a simple deck of cards or even make your own!

Learn to Write Erotica

If you like to read erotica, you might want to try your hand at writing it. The best writers write what they love!

Life Magic for All Aspects of Your Life

You may have read House Magic: The Good Witch's Guide to Bringing Grace to Your Space and Love Magic: The Good Witch's Guide to Healing Your Heart. This course combines ideas from these two books as well as adding fresh concepts. There's even a new lecture about living in the pandemic.

Secrets of a Background Performer in Film and Television

One of my part-time jobs is being a background performer in Film and Television. I've been on loads of shows including What We Do in the Shadows, Handmaid's Tale, Designated Survivor, Taken, Schitt's Creek, Love Guru, Titans, and more. This little course gives you tips and tricks of what is expected of you as bg, what to bring to a gig, how to get an agent, and more. Of course, it's hard to know what will happen in the film business as we slowly come back to life after the pandemic. We also have to brace for a second wave. It's unlikely that there will be huge crowd scenes for a while, but you can bet, there will be jobs once more for bg even if there are only ten people on set six feet apart! This course can help you be ready for that day!

Learn to Read Tarot Cards

This course is designed for beginners and those who want a refresher course in reading tarot cards. Of course, tarot readers and teachers all have different styles so you might want to see the methods I was trained in. You can use any pack of tarot cards or even a pack of playing cards!

So You Want to Be a Horror Writer?

We discuss the elements of the novel and some of the things you need to know to help you in your horror career.

Write a Short Story Using Tarot Cards

Grab your pen and notebook, a pack of tarot or playing cards, and see what kind of story you create! This course will be your guide!


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Isolation Station: Day 64

 Pandemic Life May 17, 2020

Life goes so fast in Isolation Station. Here I am on Day 64. Now, I'm not saying I'm living my best life or most productive life but it's not been too horrible so far and hard to believe I've been pretty isolated for sixty-four days!

I've gone for a few walks but stay in my hood, up and down a pretty empty sidewalk for the city. I often just stay on the sidewalk and don't go to any stores or touch anything most of the time. I've bought items at little local stores like the drugstore, bakery, butcher, and fruit stand that I used to frequent before the pandemic. Some of them shut down for a while but now seem to be back, or least were last week when I last walked there.

I've ridden my new bike three times. It's been raining or just plain cold and windy. I wouldn't go out if life was normal in this weather and I sure wouldn't ride my bike as I'm still uncoordinated about stopping and such.

The only person I see at a social distance is my younger son when he brings me weekly groceries.

I've been keeping busy with my online courses for Udemy and for the college, online tarot readings , making YouTube videos, and working on my apartment. I finally have a chance to go through thirty years worth of boxes; sorting and organizing my trinkets and crafts and papers.

I've been trying to figure out how to reshape the horror book I'm working on to incorporate the pandemic.

Like most, I miss seeing my friends in real life, Wonderland would have opened last week and I would have ridden the coasters, miss not going to various functions and jobs, had to cancel several tarot parties, but I'm old and wise enough to know this isn't our life forever. It's just a pause to figure out the best way forward for millions of people.

I'm willing to be patient a while longer. I'm lucky I live alone and can do what I want. I'm lucky that I live walking distance to every amenity I want, our part of town was never out of toilet paper although now it seems to be out of rubbing alcohol and peroxide (I use both for my rashes but I'm not out yet), I can get fresh fruit, fresh bread, fresh meat. I can walk to the lake in half an hour. I'm well aware of how lucky I am to have landed in this spot two years ago.

Like the rest of you, money is a concern. But I know everyone is struggling on that front. 

My custom-made Kylo Ren mask was ready on May 4th, Star Wars Day!

I've been doing more binge-watching than usual, as is everyone, as I have lost all four of my parttime jobs and the ones I have online aren't the ones that paid the rent. Yes, I even watched Tiger King back when it came out. 

I got through eight full seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm while sorting and organizing. I'd seen most of them at least once before. That show makes me laugh out loud. I watched them on a Crave subscription. But when I went to watch Season 9, it said I had to subscribe to HBO to see 9 and 10! I'm soooo pissed as I don't think I've seen them yet because they're on HBO. How many subscriptions does one need? I was ready for all ten seasons!

Last night, I binge-watched Ryan Murphy's Hollywood on Netflix. I made a little video about it. I keep remembering more things I wanted to say about it. Ah well...

I made a video about What We Do In The Shadows. Mark Hamill was on Shadows this week and that was cool!

Mark Hamill did an interview on What We Do Before The Shadows with Harvey Guillen, who plays Guillermo on WWDITS and now has his own YouTube show. 

If you need something to read, check out my latest book!

Taurus: A Hearse of a Different Color

I hope you are staying safe and healthy!

Click this link to see my Patreon! You can Join or Leave anytime!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Brand New Course at George Brown College

Hello Everyone!

How is everyone doing in this pandemic?

Are you going crazy in isolation station or is this the life pause that you needed?

Personally, my life hasn't changed too much except that I don't have all my in-person jobs and likely won't for a long time. You know, things like working as a background performer on TV shows and movies or reading tarot cards at parties...

However, what I can do is continue to write and do other things. 

New Story Being Published!

I have a story coming out in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias, Volume Two any minute! 

In case you missed it, I also have a story in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias, Volume One!

Love to write about phobias!

Coming soon from Lycan Valley...
The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias, Volume 2
Edited by MJ Sydney
Cover design by Kealan Patrick Burke
Illustrations by Luke Spooner
Narrated by Desmond Manny

13 tales of phobias and fear featuring:
THE SECOND STORY by Mehitobel Wilson
MöBIUS by Michael Bailey
RIGHT HAND MAN by Donna JW Munro
THE ACQUISITION by Kealan Patrick Burke
GRAMMA by @Stephen King
THE MAN WHO HATED FOLEY by John Peyton Cooke
MOUSETRAP by Colleen Anderson
VERMICULTURE by Nancy Kilpatrick

My New Bike!

Yesterday, I bought my first bike in years and as the weather gets warmer, I'll be getting my exercise that way. There was a great bike sale I couldn't pass up. I figure that I've been in isolation station for forty days and have only been outside a handful of times during that time for walks to essential places. Maybe on a bike, I won't have to worry about people coughing on me and walking too close to me and so on!  I'm also just thinking that now I live in a nice place near the lake, I can take advantage of the bike paths when the world opens up once more.

The Biggest News

I've been hard at work for the past few months, since last fall actually, preparing two new courses for George Brown College, wearing my brand new hat as a professor!

One of my courses is now live and you can register to take the class beginning June 1st!

I'm so excited I can't stand it!

This is a self-publishing course! If you've been wanting to self-publish your book but weren't sure how to do that or how to deal with "all that other stuff you have to do" when you're self-employed, this is the course for you!

Self-Publishing at George Brown College

This self-publishing course is all online so you don't have to go anywhere or worry about social distancing!

Sign up today and spread the word!

I thank you all for your support!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Working from Home Tips!

Tips for Working at Home

Hello, Everyone!

As the COVID-19 spreads around the world, more and more people are finding themselves working from home. This may feel weird to you. You may be resistant. You may need to have a few tips to stay organized and productive.

I’ve been working from home for over thirty years. Yes, I’ve had “outside world” jobs as well from teaching musical theatre to chopping veggies at a grocery store to patient acting and background acting and dog walking and reading tarot cards at parties and so much more.

However, my biggest chunk of working has been at home; writing books, editing other people’s books, copywriting, transcribing, making videos for YouTube, going live on Twitch, teaching online at Udemy and soon for a college, and so on. These days I live in a one-room studio in an Artist’s Co-op by myself but the patterns of working from home don’t change.

1.       Have a dedicated work space. This is the most important. You may have the luxury of an office area on your own floor with a door that shuts. Or you may have the kitchen table with your laptop. Wherever you choose to set up your home office, be consistent. Yes, you can take your laptop around the house or onto the balcony, and you can do that sometimes to break up the monotony. But for the most part, have a dedicated space. Believe me, it really helps mentally to have an “office.”

2.       Have a routine. This is super important. Get up every day at the same time. Your routine may fluctuate, especially if you have other people in the home, but really get them and you into a routine. My routine forever, when I was a single mom, when I was married, when I was single living alone…is to get out of bed between seven and nine, depending on how late I was up the night before and how many times I was up in the night. I go to the bathroom and put on a pot of coffee. Sometimes I’ll take a shower while waiting for the coffee, sometimes I’ll have a cup of coffee and then take a shower.

3.       GET DRESSED. Even if you just change one set of pajamas for another, take a shower and get dressed. This is a work day. You must mentally prepare for one. You can wear your underwear but take a shower and change your outfit.

4.       Assess your day. Make a list on a piece of paper or calendar of your goals for the day. What needs to get done. Include exercise, kids, etc. in your list.

5.       Be flexible. You can try to keep a schedule and if you live alone, you can likely keep it. However, with the constant news update, the anxiety of the pandemic, it’s better to keep a list of what you need to do but be a bit flexible about when this is going to happen.

6.       Give yourself a break. Sometimes, especially in these times, it’s good to work hard for a chunk of time and then stop for a bit. Some people use timers. It also depends on the nature of your work and if you have meetings or if you’re doing live online teaching.

7.       Have an end to your work day. As a creative type, I don’t really have a workday end, but those of you who aren’t used to this lifestyle, give yourself a proper beginning and end to the workday. You can do it by tasks or you can do it by time. Stephen King has been doing this forever, he writes a set amount of words per day and once that’s finished, the rest of the day is his. If he takes all day and night to create those words, so be it. If he gets it all done by seven am, the whole day is his!

8.       Take meal breaks. Make yourself a proper lunch. Eat it properly with the family or at a table. Try not to eat at your desk if you’re not used to working at home. You need to get familiar with working at home so use your snack and meal breaks to clear your head.

9.       Exercise. This means standing up every hour and stretching. This is vital now that we all can’t leave our homes. Do good things for your hands, fingers, wrists, neck, shoulders, back, lower back, legs, etc.

For more intensity: You can jump around to a Zumba class or do stretches or anything else. There are tons of routines on YouTube and Twitch that are pre-recorded and now a lot of people are doing live exercises as well. Stretches are vital for desk sitting. Also, get some cardio in at some point. Walking in place, marching, jumping jacks, dancing. You can walk in place watching news updates. You can dance around to your favourite songs.

Stretching and walking around is very important for blood flow. Try to do this every hour. Then pick a time or two during the day/night to do a bit of cardio, even five minutes a few times a day can really add up. I know someone who had a stroke because she never stood up from her desk or went to the bathroom or took walks at her real-life day office job and she was only in her forties. Now she’s a disaster. So, don’t discount just standing up and stretching to keep blood flow going, prevent blood clots, prevent heart attack and stroke.

10.   Stop working at some point in the day or night. Or at least, turn off the email. Turn off the phone. Or, you could set up your email and phone text with different notification sounds so that you know which are work and which are play. You are allowed to not work twenty-four seven.

11.   You don’t have to answer emails, texts, phone calls right away. You are allowed to prioritize them just as you would at the office. People can wait a day or two for an answer, no one is going anywhere! Don’t feel obligated that you have to answer everyone all the time the minute you are dinged.

12.   Have a routine. I can’t stress this enough. Be flexible but have a routine.

I’ll likely add to this list as I think of more things. The biggest takeaways are:

Have a routine

Get dressed


Take breaks

Good luck!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Here's hoping you have a spectacular 2020!

These are a few pictures from the fireworks at City Hall on New Year's Eve.

I had to work, reading tarot at a party, but it was only a block away and I was finished before midnight so I was able to wander over to see the fireworks at midnight!

New Book!

In 2019, my book Taurus: A Hearse of a Different Color was published in both print and e-book. You can grab a copy anywhere online! Don't forget to leave a review.

And, hey, speaking of reviews, here's a nice one for A Hearse of a Different Color!

Several of my short stories were also published; another magician story in The Pulp Book of Phobias, a couple of monster stories, and more.

Of course, the new horoscopes are up. Don't forget to subscribe to me on YouTube so that you don't miss when I post new horoscopes, Writers Behaving Badly rants and positive messages of the day!

If you've been thinking about checking out any of my courses on Udemy, today is the day! There are huge sales on Udemy until January 8 so click on these links to enjoy deep savings on all of my courses!

If you click a link on my website, I receive a bigger percentage. If you don't click my links, I make about a dollar per class but if you use my links, I can make five bucks and sometimes ten, depending on how they are calculating it. So that's some information that you might find useful not only for me but for anyone you take classes from on Udemy!

Here are links for my courses. You can use these links any time and they will always show the lowest rate on the day you click.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Few Lessons I've Learned Along the Way

It’s been a while since I’ve sat and written a normal blog post. I’ve been distracted making YouTube videos and for a while, was pretty consistent with my TwitchTV channel. I blog nearly daily on Patreon so you’re always welcome to go over there.

 And so, this blog has been neglected, especially with regard to my TV and movie observations!
As I’ve been getting used to my new digs, I’ve been doing a lot of self-exploration. I’m really forced to look at myself and my actions these days as I live in an open concept apartment. This means that there are no walls, no place to “hide my crap.”

I’ve been really proud of how much I’ve let go these past ten years. Material and emotional. I’ve thrown out a house full of stuff. I continue to throw out stuff I never thought I’d part with in a million years but now I know, none of it means anything. By “throw out” I mean donate, unless it’s broken and unusable. I refuse to rent a storage unit anymore. I want to only have the stuff I need and of course, my toys and photos and manuscripts.

I’ve come to terms with letting go of my beloved books.

I visualize my book collections out in the world, being read by people who are excited to read them instead of me hoarding them in my dragon’s lair. I continue to let go of more books all the time. I never throw them in the garbage. I take them to charity places and now I have people who are taking them, and the ones they don’t want, they will take to charity. Why do I need thousands of books to stare at every day? I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I will still likely have over 1000 books by the time I’m finished. Those can’t be helped. Books written and signed to me by friends and celebrities. They add up over thirty years!

My world continues to be rocked as I return to the spiritual roots I was exploring in the early 2000s before I took the wrong turn at Albuquerque and got derailed for nearly twenty years! But every day is a lesson and a blessing. We need to learn from our actions and face ourselves in the mirror eventually. I’m learning. And now, so many great things have been happening this past year, I really am excited for 2020.

My judgment day came about ten years ago, and I wasn’t too pleased with who I saw in the mirror.
So I’ve spent a few years doing a deep and not so pleasant dive into who I’ve been turning into and who are really friends and my lifestyle habits. Some stuff was fine, other stuff, not so much. As the kids were adults, I finally had time to breathe, to just think about me, which is still hard, admittedly, but instead of being a mombot, I had to mutate to the next level.

But these days, the past year or so, I really like who I see. Maybe it’s age…that wisdom that makes us crones, maybe it was the very hard life lessons I learned along the way, maybe it’s my quest for meaning and curiosity about life not just here in Toronto but everywhere, from middle earth to the deepest trenches in the sea, to beyond the second star to the right, beyond the limits of any galaxies. My mind is caught up in the Big Picture and beyond instead of worrying about trivialities and pettiness and material possessions. I have a place to live in one of my favourite cities in a first world country. 

What’s to complain about?

But whatever is going on in my head, I think I’m finally “getting it.” 

My gratitude for my life thus far has no bounds.

A lot of those revelations are freeing and it’s one thing to kind of know them but it’s another to know them at a cellular level. Freeing and in my former life, I would have seen some ideas as depressing. Now I just say, “knowledge is power.” My favourite saying lately is something like, “We don’t know what we don’t know until we know that we don’t know it.”

We all live, and we die.

We all make mistakes.

We all want what we want.

Not everyone is your friend.

Maybe no one is your friend.

Maybe no one is meant to have friends.

Toxic people do, in fact, show themselves from the start.

Some people are born toxic.

Some go through phases of toxic.

Some grow toxic through unexpected life changes and transference of power.

Some can learn how to shed their toxic skins.

Some will never admit that they are the toxic ones.

Toxic people are never sorry.

Toxic people will always blame others.

Transformation is possible with a lot of will and work.

Some toxic people can never change.

The less contact with toxic people, the better.

Positive energy attracts positive energy.

Words have power.

Attitude has power.

Time is a construct.

Trust no one.

Trust your first gut feelings.

Don't be afraid to say no.

I am the Star of my own Life!

You are Star of your own Life!

We can all shine together.