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If I've neglected this blog, it's with good reason. Did I mention I had a baby?


Little Mara was born Oct. 22, 2015 at 12:43 pm, 8 lbs., 9 oz. She's almost 3 months old now and is a squishy little bundle of cute.

To answer the usual questions:

  1. Yes, labor was hard, despite having an epidural, being induced after 2 days walking around with a ruptured water, less than 3 hours of real contractions or pain, and only 1.25 hours of pushing. Relatively short and easy and uncomplicated, but definitely the most difficult thing I've ever had to do in my entire life. No, I have not forgotten the pain—to all the people who say you'll forget everything once the baby is in your arms, I say LIARS, ALL OF YOU.
  2. Yes, the baby does actually sleep quite well now at 12+ weeks. She's been doing a solid 5-8 hours at night before stirring. Most of the time, I'm the one who wakes her up to eat because, despite my tiredness, boob pain demands baby eats or I explode. Overall, Mara's a pretty chill baby, for which I am eternally thankful.
  3. I'm on mat leave until November. Hubby got 2 weeks off right after the birth. But I've got lots of family support.

I think I called my mom and apologized for being alive and told her I love her after the first week home from the hospital. Jeebus, momming is hard. I mean, Mara's adorable and easygoing for the most part. Aside from the usual first-time hiccups with breastfeeding and such, I've had a relative easy go of it. But MAN, dealing with the inner fears, guilt, need to do better, do more, on top of still trying to get basic chores, personal hygiene and writing done is really difficult. I'm lucky I have so much family and help nearby. I can't imagine being completely on my own.

The thing about writing is that I need a lot of mental leg space to trot out ideas, test dialog, and just generally BE. With a baby, or frankly anything that requires me to utilize my right brain (or is it my left brain? I've no idea anymore, it's all baby brain...), that space shrinks down A LOT. This post took me two days to write over several hours split up while baby was napping. And if you're a SYWTBAW follower, you know it takes at least 20 minutes to really get in the writing groove.

Baby brain is expected, and so are many other post-partum symptoms. I just didn't expect to have to deal with so many of them at once. No one ever tells you about the cramps, nausea, deep-seated hunger and nipple pain that comes with breastfeeding, or about all the other wonders that go along with breastfeeding, like jets of milk hitting the baby in the eye, or that agonizing pain that feels like Iron Man has grabbed your boob and electrified it, and not in the sexy way. No one mentioned severe carpal tunnel turning into De Quervain's. No one said I'd get plantar fasciitis after delivery, either. Or that I'd need to go to the eye doctor again because being with baby narrows your field of vision because you're watching her all the time, straining your eyes and making your head all wonky.

Of course, I don't regret having her. I just wish my body weren't so broken.

In other news:

  1. Basement renos are FINALLY finished. Contractors started a full dig out, underpinning and finishing back when I was about 6 months pregnant, with hopes of finishing just after the delivery. It went over that, of course, but I didn't mind. For one, there were always workmen around. My regular reminders that I could pop at any minute and that I might need a drive to the hospital probably sped things along. They completed work just before Christmas. As a contractor's granddaughter, Mara slept through everything like a champ. Literally, she slept through a jackhammer. The end product is fantastic, and now Mara has an extra place to play. PLUS there's now a second bathroom in the house. No more emergency evacuations while hubby is showering!
  2. My fifth book is out! RED CARPET ARRANGEMENT is available as an ebook at all your favorite online retailers, and in print from Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and Harlequin.com. Check out my Books page for more details. It's my first pregnancy book, and I turned it in when I was 6 months along, so it'll be interesting to see what I got wrong in comparison to my own experience.
  3. I've got one more Harlequin SUPERROMANCE coming, but after that, I'm hoping to work on other projects. Maybe I'll even get to do more blogging...but that'll be up to Mara.



On my birthdayFunny how much time can go by when you're pregnant and have all the best intentions for keeping up your blog...

So, yeah, I'm 8.75 months into my pregnancy, with a due date of Oct. 25. Most of my time over the past few months has been focused on completing my contracted books with Harlequin Superromance. My fifth book, Red Carpet Arrangement, will be out January 2016, and I've completed a first draft of my sixth Superromance, another foray into the small town of Everville, which will either be out late 2016 or early 2017.

Pregnancy has not been easy. I mean, compared to some women's experiences, I've had it easy. The baby's healthy, and while I've experienced about 80% of the symptoms that go along with pregnancy, I haven't suffered any serious issues. Mostly I'm fatigued and sore, with the numerous bodily complaints common with pregnancy and many of those no one ever talks about. (Carpal tunnel syndrome and nose bleeds? Really, body? You don't think I've suffered enough?)

On top of the pregnancy, my husband and I decided to finish our murder basement and turn it into a more usable space. We've hired a contractor to dig, underpin, install a new bathroom and finish the space into a multipurpose room. When it's done, we'll have a second bathroom, a laundry room and a big space to do with as we please...which probably means scattering toys everywhere for the coming baby. It's a huge job, and we've already had several delays, but I knew that was likely. Considering that the baby is currently head down and wearing my cervix like a yarmulke, I'll probably give birth before the job is complete, meaning those poor construction workers will probably see me waddling their way, declaring, "Guys...hate to bug you, but could one of you drive me to the hospital?"

I'll be off work in less than three weeks, taking two weeks before the due date to relax and nest. While I know I'll probably disappear into the internet ether once more when the baby comes, I hope to get a few blog posts in, and maybe even manage a weekly update post where I just post random stuff I find cool. (Shill: you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter for a lot of that, too. I'm also on Pinterest and a bunch of other social media platforms.) Having a baby is a whole new adventure I'm both dreading and looking forward to--exactly the kind of experience I like to share.

Some other things going on in my life:

  • Had my legs waxed for the first time in my life. I've always wanted to have that experience, and now that I can barely bend over to shave, it seemed like the time to try. It was not as painful as I thought it would be...which I hope means something good come labor time.
  • Had to get a new netbook laptop. It's the Acer 2 in 1 Switch tablet. Budget friendly, compact and versatile, but it has flaws, the main one being that sometimes while working on Word, the cursor jumps around randomly, or typing stalls and doesn't appear. Not a terrible piece of machinery, but not perfect, either.
  • The Blue Jays are doing well! After 15 years together, I only recently learned my husband enjoyed watching baseball, and he got an MLB.com membership and has been watching steadily since August. We are watching them play the Yankees as I write this.
  • I'll be signing books at Toronto Word on the Street this coming Sunday. Check out the Events page for more details!

Well, that's it for now. Apologies for not being consistent with content here. Making a human is difficult work, and while I have so much to say about it, I will save you from the gritty details...for now.

With baby on the way and deadlines to meet, I've neglected my blog terribly.

Poor blog readers. Poor blog. I'm sorry. (The traditional Canadian greeting.) Can I make you all feel better with some hot Canadian men to celebrate Canada's 148th birthday?


ABS-olutely Arrowtastic Stephen Amell, from Toronto


Save a Horse: Ride a Cowboy--my man, Tahmoh Penikett, from Whitehorse, Yukon


Ravishing Ryan Reynolds, from Vancouver


Dapper Drake, from Toronto


Galant Ryan Gosling, from London, Ontario


Fantastic Funnyman Nathan Fillion, from Edmonton, Alberta


Just Joshua Jackson, from Vancouver

Happy Canada Day!

Got more hot men you want to add? Comment below!

It's Oscars night! And despite the disappointing lack of diversity among the nominees, I still admit to enjoying the pageantry of the red carpet.

dressEvery year at work, we send around an email listing our choice for dresses and red carpet dates. This year, I'm "wearing" this vintage Rudolf dress, which would probably look terrible on me.


tennantMy date: Tenth Doctor and rough-voiced Broadchurch detective David Tennant. I think he'd be fun to hang out with.

Who would you wear and bring as your date? Comment below!

ARFR 9780373609024 416x663My shiny new cover for my March 2015 release, A RECIPE FOR REUNION, just arrived! Whaddya think?

Check it out:

Nothing about working with his former high school crush, Stephanie Stephens, is ideal. Still, if Aaron Caruthers intends to save his grandmother’s bakery, he must. Good thing he has a lot of ideas he can’t wait to implement. He never imagines Stephanie would have her own ideas for the business. Or that they would clash with his!

It doesn’t take working with her long for Aaron to realize his impression of Stephanie as a helpless ex-cheerleader is way off. And the more of her kindness and strength he sees, the more attracted he is! Now to convince her…

Not watching CBC's Strange Empire? Well, you should be. Here are 9 reasons to watch:

1. It's about women. Strange Empire's is about how women in a tough situation survive and thrive without their men, and the lengths they'll go to to protect what they hold most dear.

2. It's about women in the Wild West. Most Westerns focus on men, the West being a rich source of hyper-masculine tropes and stereotypes. Women are rarely more than bit players in these tales, as fallen women with hearts of gold, innocent schoolmarms, rich trophy girls or down-home ranchers' wives. And while there are certainly many of these archetypes in the show, we get to see them all fleshed out with agency of their own.

3. It's about women in the Wild West of Canada. More specifically, the border area between Alberta and Montana, an area rich with history and a diverse blend of cultural groups all struggling under harsh conditions. One of the most taut episodes this season addressed racial tensions with far more realism and directness than many other Westerns have. And few (if any) have been set in this particular region.

4. It's got women of color in diverse lead roles. Cara Gee plays Kat Loving, a tough-as-nails Métis rancher with a questionable history searching for justice for her husband while keeping her adopted family safe. Tattiawna Jones plays ruthless and conflicted con woman Isabelle Slotter whose power plays could give Cersei Lannister a run for her money. And Melissa Farman plays the mildly autistic Rebecca Blithely, a brilliant medical savant tied to a man who sees her only as a genius curiosity.

5. It's a Canadian production. Support great programming and great Canadian talent on CBC!

6. It's "Deadwood light". I loved Deadwood. The first two seasons of it, anyhow. But the HBO series failed to address many of the issues Strange Empire tackles head on, with all the grit and grim peril of the HBO series. Strange Empire manages to tell good stories at its own pace. Plus you don't have to listen to Ian McShane swearing all the time.

7. Aaron Poole: There's something too greasy about him to like, but too broken to hate. As the ruthless and felonious Captain John Slotter, you can't help but love to hate him. Or possibly hate to love him. I'm undecided which.

Tahmoh Strange Empire8. Tahmoh Penikett: He's made an appearance in 2 episodes so far. I hope he comes back for more. I always said he'd look in cowboy gear, He proved me so right.

9. Strange Empire is available free to stream on the CBC website! It airs Mondays at 9 p.m. EST.