My Jam

Yip, I too have my own squad, tribe, or as I call it, my jam gals. I am blessed with kind people in my corner. These fellow bloggers are part of my online community, that sometimes meet in real life for hugs, good food, and program planning.

When I first signed up to help “volunteer” for a bloggers conference I had no idea I would become part of the team that actually help make it happen. Krista Montelpare from Halitrax (second from the left) inspired me to take one of the leads on helping make BlogJam Atlantic a reality.

I somehow managed to snag the lovely Kerra AuCoin Mansfield from KA Social Media (first on the left). When she said yes to help ‘spread the word’ about BlogJam, I knew we would be in great hands. (I must put the ‘pun thing’ out there right away, I love them)

These gals lift me up when I am down, inspire me to do better and have helped shape me into the blogger I am today.

Oh ya, and that lovely lady in the center is, of course, Erica Ehm from The Yummy Mummy Club. Not only did every gal want to be her in the 80’s, today bloggers look up to her for inspiration. And yeah, BlogJam Atlantic was lucky enough to bring her on board for BlogJam 2016. And by lucky we mean, we asked her to come and she said yes!

There entails my blogger story, the short version. If you want more about me, please read below.

PS: The lady behind the camera is our BlogJam photographer Michelle Doucette. Check out her beautiful blog called East Coast Food Stories. Michelle has become a new member of the BlogJam team. 

Born & Raised

Long Island, Green Bay, Newfoundland is where I learned many important lessons; especially when it came to cooking, baking, and eating together.

Being born and raised on the rock meant that everything was local, from the fish in the sea to the rabbit on the plate. Sidebar, I never ate rabbit, couldn’t do it. But most everything else was fair game, especially when it came to meat. By meat I mean moose. Have you ever tried a moose burger? Me neither, but I have had it in soup, stew, pie, steak, and slow roasted. Still haven’t gone the burger route yet. Something to look forward to.

Seasonings were mostly salt and pepper, with lots of onion. Which is why when I moved from the island to the sapid city of Toronto, trying new flavours became an obsession.

That zest is alive and well and churns inside still. Every day is a new opportunity to ignite my palette. I will forever enjoy the traditional dishes I grew up with, while never limiting myself to one cultural plate.

Education-School & Otherwise

ABBA DaysAs a kid, I stormed the stage to lip-sync performances of ABBA, Madonna, Debbie Gibson, to name a few. The drama club was my after school special along with my secret writing club that only I belonged to.

I didn’t like to share my words back then; not unless we needed something written for a concert or drama club. If we did, I wrote it and tried not to worry about the 101 spelling mistakes. If it got me to the stage I could get over my anxiety about writing.

It came as no surprise to anyone when I applied to theatre school. I left my little home for Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, nestled in the valley, Corner Brook, NL.

Four years of intensive theatre training felt like living out my own version of the TV show Fame. Stories of my young adulthood alone could fill a book. But I am not telling those today.

Happiness After The Curtain Closes

After Grenfell, a move to Toronto seemed like a sensible next step. Going from one extreme to the other changed me forever; island life to city madness was overwhelming at first. But it wasn’t long before I fell in love with the many wonderful cultures that surrounded me. I wore many hats and played many parts during my five-year stint in TO; not all of them were on the stage. There is another book in there somewhere.

Eventually, I settled down with a Downs and got busy making one. SARS and the collapse of the dot.com business brought us to Nova Scotia. With a baby growing in my belly, NS soon became our middle earth between Ontario and Newfoundland.

Thirteen years and counting and we are still calling NS home. I haven’t been back to the stage for over 9 years now. The last being at the Halifax Fringe Festival in 2006. That is when baby number two came along.

The Book Opens

After many years of doing this and pondering that, all while growing my own family, I have finally stopped worrying about spelling mistakes. I now call myself a writer, warts and all. After losing my father 5 years ago I had to find something to distract my grief.

Writing became my therapy. But when it came time to share my work, I had no idea that spontaneously casting a small net would lead to such a magical catch.

On a whim, I submitted my film script to the PEI ScreenWriters Bootcamp. When they said yes, my life’s course changed forever. That is where I met Tom Shoebridge. The man who inspired me to write a book first, or second actually. “Let them come to you for the script”, he said.

When I pitched my book idea at the 2013 Word on the Street festival during their “Pitch the Publisher” session, I was blessed once more. I found a publisher first time out of the gate. A miracle as far as I was concerned. But the real work had not yet begun.There were months of writing, rewriting and do not get me started on the editing process. I did not get so lucky there. My editor had to leave the project due to personal reasons and I was left with a book I had promised would be ready by June 2013.

Photo c/o STG

About the Book

In retrospect, one would think I should have waited to put the book out but I badly needed to go back home to celebrate something good; we were losing too many family members, all at once. I sold out of all 250 copies that I had printed for the first edition print. I spent the month of July in NL with my two boys and had a summer that neither one of us will forget anytime soon. I drove from one end of the island to the other selling copies of Sisters of Avalon to anyone who would let me. What a great show of support for this first-time author.

I also gifted copies of the sisters to some of my favourite Newfoundlanders.(Mary Walsh, Alan Doyle, Mark Critch, Shawn Majumder, Susan Kent, Sherry White, and Michael Winter, to name a few). And honestly, that has been a very special part of this journey. Each of them has inspired a character or two throughout my writing.

There is much more to the story. I have gone on way too long already. You will have to read my blog to find out all the ups and downs of this mother, wife, foodie, author, blogger, program coordinator, and pun lover. These days it is mostly about food!