Growing Iris – Released from Limbo


Set in Vancouver’s West End, Growing Iris delivers a comedic adventure where karmic balance is sought through pumpkins and prosciutto.

After weeks of quietly existing among the thousands of books on Amazon, my book Growing Iris is ready for purchase and Iris is prepared to meet the world!

Growing Iris – available at your local computer – follow the links:


Paperback (5.25″x8″)


If interested, just click away.



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Half-Marathon Race in the Heat

half_blogAs an eight-time marathoner, I wanted to say that the Scotiabank half-marathon race was a breeze, but I can’t. It was a harder run than anticipated. I blame my slowness mostly on the heat, which was intense, but it was also a slack training schedule that made me perceive the last kilometre as 42 instead of 21.

Feeling cavalier and confident, I wanted to go for a PB (personal best), but at the starting area, the announcer warned against pushing for PBs – and I’m glad he did. Since the run started along a stretch of highway where the tarmac emitted heat at 7:30 am, I slowed considerably realizing it would only get hotter and the hills ahead would be steeper.

And so many hills!

Somehow I misread the description of the race – believing it was more downhill than uphill. Wrong! And of course, the ups were in the sun. I veered to the shade of any tree I saw, and in a city known for its huge trees, they seemed to have disappeared. But at least I could count on a breeze along NW Marine Drive parallel to Spanish Banks. Yet today the air was still.

A few extra water stops, a run through a sprinkler at the side of the road and a sigh (relieved it wasn’t a full marathon) – I came to the last leg along Beach Avenue.

At two hundred metres from the finish line, and feeling like a snail, I saw my little girl waving and cheering me on, which surged me towards the red Scotiabank banner and glory(?!) Finding energy for a final burst of speed, I lifted my knees and pumped my arms and ran as if I was qualifying for the Olympics. But suddenly the woman beside me veered left and cut me off! I barely caught myself from tripping on her. She didn’t even notice me.

“Hey – watch it lady!” I yelled at her. She said nothing.

I shook off my annoyance and finished with more of a grimace than a smile on my face. But what would a race be without the unexpected? That’s what keeps me signing up for more.

PS… if you want to achieve a half-marathon PB, train as if running a full marathon.

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Run Stronger, Not Farther

running_shoesIt’s time for a new running challenge – the half marathon – 21 kilometres seems like a breeze compared to a full marathon. By running 8 marathons, I’ve also run 8 halves. Knowing that the first half is easier than the second – I shouldn’t have a problem. But I still need to train as if I’ve never run a marathon, and try not to be glib about the new distance.

Psyching Myself Up After Achieving a Big Goal

The first race after Boston – feeling burnt out having put all my energy into accomplishing that feat – I needed to set new goals. For the longest time I felt as if the half was a cop out – that I was too lazy to train for the full, but now I realize that it is a strength challenge – can I finish looking as if I had run a casual 5 k?

To find my pace is the key. Not to start too fast, but to build to a strong finish is always the best strategy. I have to set my mind to understanding the distance.

The goal: run with good form, less pressure and more fun.

A week to go before the Race…

In full training mode – no wine and more sleep. It is the training mindset that gets me out the door on the mornings that I really don’t feel like it.

If I had any glibness, it is gone. I am feeling the heaviness of the kilometres.

My mind is hindering me more than my body. It hasn’t been cooperating – it keeps asking me – “why do you need to keep pushing yourself?” And the answer is “because not pushing myself would be boring.”

Yes, I’d love a glass of red wine and an extra scoop of ice cream, but I can wait until next Sunday (I will appreciate it so much more after the run). Training for a race gives me a sense of strength and discipline that is necessary for my competitive nature to thrive.

I am growing more fond of the number 21 – it is doable without too much pain.

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Run Through Othello-Quintette Tunnels

othello_7The five dark forboding Othello Tunnels (named after Shakespeare’s character) in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, British Columbia wait upon me to pass through. Actually, run through.

It is a quiet Sunday in June. No one around. Hot sun on my head. Running along the winding trail through trees – I curve left and then right where the sound of a rushing river and birds calling are the only sounds. And just ahead is the tall, dark entrance to the first of the five railway tunnels. Having walked through the previous day with my partner and little girl, I know what to expect, but now that I am alone it feels more intimidating. I am not fond of dark tunnels or caves so this is a challenge.

othello_5I pause slightly checking if my flashlight works and then  – go for it. The light in the blackness adds nothing to my vision. Now I point the light at my shoes and I can see a few feet in front of me.

It’s cold. I keep moving watching my feet guided by the dim light. It seems longer than the day before. I can see the exit but I am in the middle of nowhere in the dark. I start to yell.

“Whoooo, whoooo, oh yeah, yeah, yeah!”

I am moving faster along the uneven graveled surface. I yell louder and breath faster. Time has slowed down, but I feel like I am running very fast and getting nowhere.

Finally, I am outside surrounded by canyon rock walls, othello_6with the rushing Coquihalla River gorge below me.

The hot sun feels comforting and I am relieved that I persevered. But should I continue? If I don’t, I will have to go back through – too soon. othello_2I continue through the next tunnel, which is shorter and I am slightly braver. Done. I can run easily along the wooden bridged othello_4trellis with ease until I reach tunnel 3. Exhausted (even though I haven’t run very far), I give myself a pep talk: “no one is around, don’t let your imagination get to you!”

I keep going. Focusing on my feet, I reach the end and another wooden walkway. Determined, I go through 4 and finally tunnel 5. Challenge completed, but I still have to go back the way I came. I could continue running to the town of Hope (5 kms), and take a taxi back to the campground (highly improbable).

I turn around and stare down the darkness from whence I came. Feeling less panicked I sprint back through the four tunnels until I reach the first – the longest.

othello_1Plunging into the abyss again, my light catches the dripping water, but in my mind the water is transformed into blood, and any minute a vampire will jump out at me.  I run faster. The dripping continues. My heart is pounding heavily in my chest and I start singing: “jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…” Louder and louder until I am out and in the sunshine.

The longest (short) run I have ever done.

Never again.


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A Novel Looking for a Purpose


Novel sits alone on a shelf

Did anyone hear that sigh?

That’s me – a novel frustrated by its lack of purpose in the world.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself, but the potential ridicule (for being unworthy amongst a myriad of superior books) makes me want to pull out my pages and start again!

To be published, or not to be published – that is the question. If I wait too long, my words will fade and my spine may break. No, I am strong and I am woman – I am Iris, Growing Iris that is. (If Bridget Jones had a  daughter with Buster Keaton, she could be me, Iris.)

Now that I have released my angst, I am ready to throw myself off the shelf and on to the site of Amazon to see what unfolds. With my fonts held high, I’m convinced that I can entertain and possibly, enlighten.

Stay tuned for the next installment of: where will I (Growing Iris) end up – stuck in digital purgatory or pondering life on the author’s bookshelf?


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First Novel – Completed… Finally


Revisions and More Revisions

Iris has been uploaded to CreateSpace – my first novel will be a solid entity in a few weeks. A relief and a letdown. Saying good-bye to my characters is sad. Every morning for the past two years, my phone went off with text message: “Write 3 pages of Iris.” Most days the reminder encouraged me, but some days I’d cringe thinking about having to rewrite the same paragraph for the sixth time or trying to figure out how to make Iris a three-dimensional person (she’s a solid 2 1/2 dimensions).

Revisions and More Revisions

The pages and pages of revisions sit beside me in a pile and my 3 notebooks where I jotted down revisions, and formatting issues along with three printed versions of my cover and a partridge in a pear tree. No partridge, but an inch of dust. The next step is to put the pile (without the dust) in a folder – for safekeeping – on a shelf in my closet. I clear the floor of a stack of books that I read for inspiration and reference. Once my writing space is purged, I will be ready to rid my mind of the world of Iris and move on to my next project.


Books for Inspiration and Reference

I have learned so much about the process of writing – in the initial stage – it is all about the idea. The real writing skill comes in the rewriting phase, which can be arduous – or more like it is arduous. But I have persevered and haven’t been struck by lightning after completing my 264 page book – a good sign.

The Process Begins Again

The notebook for my next novel sits beside me – from NaNoWrimo 2013 – waiting for me to open it as well as the computer file folder that sits on my desktop.

All systems in place to continue the process of delving into a world of my creation where anything is possible.

I have ordered two copies of my book for proofing which should arrive by March 20th. Once I have a hard copy to hold in my hands, I will see the culmination of my effort. And if I can get a few people to read it, I will have done my seemingly impossible life goal – carried out an original idea to the end and produced a book to read.

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Writing with Effort Makes Reading A Pleasure

My third NaNoWriMo (30 days to write 50,000 words) is over and I did it – a new novel is born. The 2014 National Novel Writing Month  has been my least painful writing challenge (since I still have all my hair).

Winner-2014-Square-ButtonNow I must return to completing my first novel, which was the product of the 2012 challenge. On the verge of self-publishing, I’ve re-worked that first draft for the past two years, and I’m nearly done.

  • Editing (97.8%)
  • Formatting (97.2%)
  • Front cover image (one more colour adjustment) (99.6%)
  • Back cover blurb (98.77%)
  • Ready to give it to the world? (67.3%)

Almost. Not quite. The moment of doubt rears its gnarly head. What if no one reads it? What if someone reads it and hates it? What if someone reads it and likes it? Those are the ‘what ifs’ that haunt me.

I have to put it out there or else I can’t move on.

NanoWriMo has helped me prove to myself that I am capable of completing a strange creative process that scares, thrills, bores and like a vacuum sucks every word, past experience and idea that I have ever had and blasts it onto a page. A purge of creativity that is exhausting, arduous and stimulating.

But after the initial thrill of getting the words out, the hard work of making them readable begins.

Scribbled on a file card, tucked beside my computer, is a quote by Samuel Johnson:

What is written without effort is usually read without pleasure.

I look at that quote and continue honing my final draft. I know I haven’t expended enough effort because the sentences don’t quite flow. Almost lost in my own story – a few rough edges, but I hope to have them as smooth as a shot of Don Julio Tequila.

When someone invests a significant amount of time and concentrated energy to read a book, it should be worth reading. If not, it’ll never be finished and the characters will forever be stuck on the pages, never to be heard from again.

I like my characters too much to let that happen.

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