Wednesday, October 28, 2020

It's Alive! Flesh Failure Lives!

 



Flesh Failure is another study in my exploration of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus.

Flesh Failure is set in 1888 London, the year of the Ripper, along with many other interesting historical pinnings that shape events in this story. 

Our heroine claws her way through a maze of lies, attempting to discover who she really is. 

She doesn't have much time, as someone such as herself isn't built for this world. 

Flesh Failure was originally published by Samhain Horror Publishing as an eBook and was packaged with Captured Souls as a duo in a print version called Experiments in Terror

Both Flesh Failure and Captured Souls are currently published by Scarlett Publishing. And both riff on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. 

Flesh Failure is available right now in eBook on Amazon. It will be out in print soon. It will likely be available with other distributors in a week or two. 





Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Take a Self-Publishing Course at George Brown College Beginning November 2, 2020!







My next course for Self-Publishing begins on November 2, 2020. 

This online course from George Brown College in Toronto will take you through the steps to publish your own book! 


There's still time to sign up, just click this link!

Hope to see you there!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Living in a Covid World





Living in a Covid World

Well, back on March 15, 2020, I retreated to Isolation Station, which is, of course, my little studio apartment in Toronto.

I’ve been doing quite well in these pandemic times.





In The Beginning

The first few weeks, I was panicked, and glued to the TV watching live updates from Trudeau, Ford, Tory, health officials, and sometimes even Trump.

As time has moved along, I have a better understanding of how the virus works, or perhaps how I’ve decided it works, and therefore, am not afraid anymore.

Afterall, FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.

Once you have facts, you don’t have to fear.

I’ve adjusted my lifestyle, admittedly not by much.

I’m home way more than I used to be.

The first few weeks I didn't even leave my apartment. Nope, not at all and I live in a small one-room studio. 

I bought a bike so that I can get out and about not worry about walking into people who don't care. 




Friends
I’m alone about as much as I’ve been normally over the past three years. I live alone, my kids are gone, I’m single, no admirers or potential lovers, and so, things haven’t really changed in Isolation Station.

I got used to loneliness after my second marriage blew up. People don’t really come around when you get a divorce and when you’re home licking your wounds, it’s hard to get out there.

Certainly over the past few years, I’ve really come to see who my friends REALLY are. I’ve learned who has kept me in the dark and who brought me into the light. I’ve learned that I am my own friend. I’ve learned that some people who I thought were friends, actually weren’t, and other people are more friends than I ever dreamed. Some people have remained constant, good loyal friends to me, and me to them.

I’ve come to learn that I have a bad habit of dealing with people who are not good for me, who think I’m stupid, who think I’m disposable, who only talk to me if I can do something for them and believe me, if I ever get power back, I’m remembering all of you.

I have not been as outreaching to others as I should have been over the years. I know that but …and I hate buts…but, I have been mentally fucked up and trying to sort shit out.

And I have a lot of family stuff on my plate that I don’t speak about publicly that can get me sad and not in the space to rally around others who might need cheering up.

Over the past few years, a lot of my friends have died. And that’s sad and sobering.
And makes me want to be a better person during the time I have left.



The Virus

I wear a mask when I go out, even to throw out the garbage two doors down. I wear it to protect you. Maybe it protects me. Maybe it’s a placebo. I just know that it’s no big deal to slap a mask on to go shopping. I wear/wore an N95 at one of my jobs for the past seven years and have worn an N95 to do housework, stage managing and walking around in allergy season, so I truly don’t give a fuck about all the crybabies who don’t want to wear a mask. If you want to walk around showing you’re a heartless bastard who doesn’t give a shit about others, you do you.

I wear nitrile gloves to the grocery store.

Otherwise, I don’t wear gloves but carry sanitizer.

I don’t wear a mask on my bike or walking around alone with no stores to go to.

I agree that things should open slowly so we can keep track of outbreaks and such.

I have no idea what to think about letting the kids go back to school. They need socializing, they need teachers in-person, they need to play and have fun. I don’t know what’s best. Let’s keep on social distancing and hopefully starve the virus away so that the kids can go to school.

I’ve not seen my parents since February and really want to see them, but I don’t want to kill them dragging Toronto germs to London. I will try to see them soon, as the numbers keep going down.

I have driven in the car with one of my sons three times now.

That same son bought groceries for me for the first couple of months of lockdown to protect me. Now we’ve been going together. He doesn’t live with me.

I don’t go out shopping much but the past three or four weeks, I’ve gone shopping about twice a week.

I’m still staying in my apartment as much as possible.

And now there’s a heatwave too! I think we’re on Day Nine of over 30C, more like 35.

I'm ready for in-person tarot card readings!



Jobs

I have no real jobs anymore and not sure if they will come back.

No background acting for film and television.

No dogwalking/catsitting.  (I did two shifts of catsitting on the holiday weekend but that’s not going to pay the rent! Lol)

No patient acting or other work at Humber College.

No tarot readings or parties.

BUT

I have my new online teaching at George Brown gig. One class ran so far and it’s over this week. 

Two courses will be available in the fall and hopefully, people will take them. (Self-Publishing and How to Write a Novel)


I have my online Udemy courses that run all the time but I only make a buck or two per course and my artsy courses aren’t very popular as most courses on there are about technical stuff and how to make webpages.

I have been able to take CERB but not much longer. I don’t know what I’ll do if the other jobs don’t come back.

I’m still freelance editing so that’s always ongoing although these days, everyone is an editor, so I get much less work than the glory days. I refuse to lower my rates as I’ve been doing this for over fifteen years professionally. The rate I charge is still very low, pretty much the same rate for the past ten years, and for some books, not even minimum wage.

I’m still doing tarot readings online if anyone wants any. I’ve not been advertising as it feels ghoulish in a pandemic.

And of course, I’m a writer.



Now What?

Over the past couple of weeks, as I’ve finished up freelance projects and now that I have clarity about the virus, I’ve been working on my books, stories, and have even gone back to screenwriting.

CERB has allowed me not to panic but to focus on my art and get work done that might make me money in the future.

It’s only been a couple of weeks that my head is clear enough to write fiction and I am!

But CERB will be done for me, sooner than later. It’s a tricky system. CERB is to help those who lost their jobs but if you make more than $1000 a month, you can’t get it. However, CERB is $2000 a month. So, if I take a book editing job, I will lose CERB but I won’t be making any two grand. It’s a stupid system and why so many turn down work. You should be able to earn up to two grand not one grand. That's a whole grand difference and why so many game the system. I have not turned down ANY work, just for the record. 

I still have my Patreon. I make posts like this one several times a week. Patrons get first look at some stories. They get pictures. They get thanked in published books. On the tarot reading levels, you get tarot readings. You can even ask me to dress up like one of my characters from my books for your tarot reading. I’ve been doing that for months for a couple of patrons. You can join for as little as $1.

Coming Soon

You can pre-order Phobias 2 where I have a story in the same anthology as Stephen King, my idol! I’m so happy! So pre-order that book and be the first to read it.


Conclusion

When this virus started, I had hope for humanity pulling together, helping each other, that THIS would be the thing that people would put their differences aside to beat. After all, we aren't going to war with guns in fields and ill-fitting shoes. We don't have to shoot anyone or be shot at. No, we are paid to stay home and watch Netflix and when we go out, it's simply requested to mask up your moistly speaking hole so that you're not a spreader. 


So easy and yet, instead of society pulling together, it's never been so pulled apart. It's bad in Canada but a million times worse in the States where they think the virus has political leanings. 


I'm still in Isolation Station. I talk on the phone for hours to many friends and message with others. I'm pretty happy and pretty content. And, sometimes I feel guilty, but I know I'm lucky. I have safe, good place to live. I live alone. I don't have to deal with a spouse or kids in this pandemic. I don't have to try to work and homeschool at the same time. I don't have to worry about getting evicted. I just have to worry about staying focussed long enough to do the jobs that I get and write books and screenplays to sell in the future. 

I am super hopeful about the future and am even thinking about going to Stokercon in Denver. 

Over the past couple of months, because I didn't have to worry about paying the rent in my freelance world, I've been able to use the time to think positive thoughts, retrain my brain, learn new skills, reading books I've been meaning to read and binge-watching shows I've been meaning to binge-watch. I've written a book and a screenplay, working on more stories that are due next week, more screenplays, more books...I'm one of the few who is actually thriving and NOT depressed in this pandemic. I'm quite happy and content, to be honest. 

Maybe I don't feel like I'm missing out on stuff as I was feeling for a few years there, as there's nothing to miss right now!

I also know this pandemic is not forever and will be over sooner than later if people keep being vigilant about social distancing and wearing masks.

I've only seen one of my sons a few brief times for shopping/errands. I want to visit my parents and my friend whose husband recently died and other friends who are good, loyal friends. But baby steps. The numbers are low and super encouraging. If everyone can just stay on target for another few weeks, we can beat the virus and get a new reality going, earn an income, see our friends, ride roller coasters without screaming in our hearts, and dance! 


 
Masks are a great tool for self-expression! Have fun with them while we have to wear them!

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!









Patreon


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 PETER PROBLEM by Steven Carr
THE ACQUISITION by Kealan Patrick Burke
GRAMMA by @Stephen King
WHAT YOU BELIEVE by JG Faherty
THE MAN WHO HATED FOLEY by John Peyton Cooke
SIXTY-EIGHT DEGREES by John Palisano
MOUSETRAP by Colleen Anderson
VERMICULTURE by Nancy Kilpatrick
COMPULSION by Jill Hand
ANOTHER DOOR OPENS by Sèphera Girón




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

Exercise

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.