Thursday, December 31, 2009

No resolutions here!

I don't do New Year's resolutions anymore. In my experience, they don't have the staying power to see you through a month, let alone a full year. So you won't hear me vowing to lose weight or exercise more--at least not on January 1st.

What I will do is declare my business goals for 2010. By making them public, I make myself accountable for honouring them and increase my chances of meeting them by the end of the year.

I set out my goals in concrete, measurable terms the other day and posted them to the Apollo's Lyre blog.

By sharing them here as well, I'm reinforcing my commitment to accomplish certain things over the next 12 months and, if all goes according to plan, turn 2010 into my best year ever.

PS: One of those goals is to blog at least once a week!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two new books from InkSpotter Publishing

Just in time for that last minute holiday shopping, InkSpotter Publishing has released two new books.

First up is The Communal Desk, a chapbook featuring flash fiction by eight members of the Literary Lapse writing group. Contributing writers approached this project as a true cooperative, from initial concept to final proofreading. John Cowan, Krys Douglas, Mary Ellen King, Gail A. Laursen, Laura Salamy, Tevia Wall, Gretchen Wilsenach and Kerry-lyn Witherspoon all deserve kudos for their efforts in bringing this project to completion.

We're also proud to introduce our first children's book, A Boy Named Wish. Richard and Esther Provencher's story of a young boy making the adjustment to life in foster care will pull at your heartstrings and make you believe in the power of wishing.

For more information on these and other books from InkSpotter Publishing, visit or

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shift: A Woman’s Guide to Transformation

Shift: A Woman’s Guide
to Transformation
I want to share this book, Shift: A Woman’s Guide to Transformation, with you because it seems like we finally have a manual for ridding ourselves of nagging issues that never go away...those issues that creep into our quiet minds and trouble us endlessly and wreak havoc on our health. This book offers easy solutions, and, if you go to the website, you can get a sample chapter and view a video on EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), a healing technique you can do yourself by tapping acupuncture points.

Shift: A Woman’s Guide to Transformation (for men, too) was created by Tracy Latz, M.D., and Marion Ross, Ph.D., following repeated requests to share in written form the information they had been teaching for six years. Prior to using these tools on anyone else, they used them to shift their own lives. Tracy transformed anxiety, stress, and an acute physical issue, while Marion used the techniques to transform chronic physical pain and an inner restlessness.

Their system is a discussion of the 12 self-sabotaging obstacles that we all unwittingly place in our paths, followed by a menu of easy-to-use techniques for removal of each issue blocking your path. Tracy and Marion do not want you to struggle as they did to find the 12 keys that they discovered! They share their solutions with the sincere intent of assisting you so that you too can shift your life--only more quickly than they did!

Bernie Siegel, M.D., a retired general/pediatric surgeon (and the author of Love, Medicine & Miracles) heard about Shift: A Woman’s Guide to Transformation and offered to write the foreword for the book. He says: “The lessons to be learned from this book are age old but reframed in ways that are easy to incorporate and appropriate to our lifestyle today…cancer patients who display a survivor personality, exceed expectations and more often survive when no one gives them any hope… It is easier to have coaches and guides to help you on the path to transformation and this book can do that for you.”

Shift is a melding of Chinese medicine, cognitive behavioral therapy, guided meditation, and energy psychology. This book can be used as an intensive personal healing journey and a reference guide to be consulted whenever a specific issue arises.

Drs. Latz and Ross give bullet points at the end of each chapter to show you how to most rapidly dissolve the obstacle in your life, along with examples of how others have shifted their lives using these tools. If you're truly serious about changing any long-established habits of emotional patterns/thoughts that have kept you STUCK then you are ready for Shift: A Woman’s Guide to Transformation.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Free Teleconference on Living Well with Advanced Breast Cancer


Advanced Breast Cancer: Living Well Through Information and Support – New Evening Time! Understand the latest research and treatment advances and learn how to improve your quality of life during our this teleconference series.

Speakers: William J. Gradishar, MD, FACP; Patricia S. Steeg, PhD and Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS

Register for part or all of the advanced breast cancer teleconference series.

Teleconference series, Advanced Breast Cancer: Living Well Through Information and Support, on Wednesday, October 14, Wednesday, October 21, and Thursday, November 5. All teleconferences will be held from 8:00pm to 9:15pm (Atlantic)/8:30pm to 9:45pm (Newfoundland).

Part 1, Treatment Update: Medical and Quality-of-Life News, will provide you with information on recent clinical trial findings and the latest research. Speaker William J. Gradishar, MD, FACP, will also give you practical advice on how to manage symptoms and side effects.

During Part 2, speaker Patricia S. Steeg, PhD, will talk about Research and You: Understanding Clinical Trials. She will discuss topics such as:

How to access clinical trials
What trials are available for women living with metastatic disease
The benefits and risks of participating in clinical trials
The latest research on breast cancer metastasis

During Part 3, Living Fully: Making Treatment Decisions, speaker Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, will discuss how to have the best quality of life while living with advanced breast cancer, including:

How to make the right treatment decisions for you
How to communicate your short-term and long-term goals with your loved ones
How to adapt to a changing treatment plan

About Our Speakers

Dr. Gradishar is professor of medicine in the division of hematology and medical oncology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. He is also a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and serves as director of breast medical oncology, associate director of the Lynn Sage Comprehensive Breast Program and program director of Northwestern University’s hematology/oncology fellowship training program. His research focuses on the development of new therapies for breast cancer treatment. He is a reviewer for numerous journals and has published many articles on breast cancer therapies.

Dr. Steeg is chief of the women’s cancers section of the laboratory of molecular pharmacology in the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She leads treatment development efforts by focusing on the molecular aspects of tumor metastasis. Dr. Steeg serves as president of the Metastasis Research Society and deputy editor of Clinical Cancer Research. She has won many awards, including NCI’s Outstanding Mentor Award in 2005 and Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s 2008 Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science.

Lillie D. Shockney is University Distinguished Service Assistant Professor of Breast Cancer and assistant professor in the departments of surgery and gynecology at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is also an assistant professor at John Hopkins School of Nursing and co-founder and vice president of the national nonprofit organization Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer. Ms. Shockney is a published author and nationally recognized public speaker on breast cancer and serves on the medical advisory board of several national breast cancer organizations. She is the recipient of numerous leadership and community service awards and was selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Maryland for her leadership and community service efforts. Dr. Shockney’s research interests include quality of life issues for survivors.

About the Program

Both teleconferences will feature a presentation by the speaker, followed by a 45-minute question-and-answer session. To participate, you need only a telephone or computer (listen-only) with Real Network Player or Windows Media Player. Social workers may be eligible to receive continuing education credits; see our registration form for more details.

The teleconferences are free, but pre-registration by October 7 is required.


Source: Atlantic Breast Cancer Net

Friday, September 18, 2009

Halifax Community Learning Network needs Volunteer Literacy Tutors

One of my long time "babies" is the literacy group Halifax Community Learning Network. I've been a board member for several years.
Every year, we face the challenge of recruiting new tutors to the program, and this year is no different.
We're always interested in hearing from potential board members, as well.
If you're interested in getting involved or just in knowing more, call 422-7648 or email hcln(at)sympatico(dot)ca

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Women's Healthy Living Fair

The following is provided courtesy of Atlantic Breast Cancer Net


Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia is hosting a Women's Healthy Living Fair to provide an opportunity for women in Dartmouth to enhance their knowledge about health and community resources. The Fair, generously funded with a grant from the Dartmouth Community Health Board, will feature a series of educational booths that will highlight women's cancers, nutrition, exercise, financial planning, self-esteem, breast feeding, skin care, parenting, safety, employment, stress reduction, and much more. Educational talks will feature: Boost Your Self-Esteem, 5 Secrets to Healthy Eating, 5 Values for Life, Stress Reduction, and Defend Yourself.

To help women attend the Fair, a bus service will be offered at Scotia Court Community Centre, Farrell Hall, East Dartmouth Community Centre, Dartmouth North Community Centre, Holly House, Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre, Findlay Centre, and 7 Parker Street. Childcare services will be provided.

The Fair takes place from 10am to 3pm at the North Woodside Community Centre, 230 Pleasant Street, Dartmouth, on Saturday, September 26, 2009.

For more information or to have a poster emailed to you, contact the Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia office at 465-2685.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marvel Comics is looking for a Supervising Proofreader

Oh, to live in New York! If only it was a telecommute, this would be my dream job.

Found this job opportunity in this week's Writer Gazette Update (

* Supervising ProofreaderMarvel Entertainment, Inc.

Summary: In addition to proofreading documents, the position is responsible for managing a small staff of part-time and contract proofreaders and prioritizing the department's workload. Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following:

* Read comics and covers and mark grammatical or typographical errors

* Copy edit text for magazines and ongoing character encyclopedia

* Proofread work from licensing, marketing, advertising, creative services and other departments as needed

* Help usher in a digital workflow for Proofreading

* Supervise any freelance proofreading

Education and/or Experience: Bachelor's degree (B. A.) from four-year college or university; or one to two years of related experience and/or training; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Please direct all resumes to Mary Sprowls, VP Human Resources, at msprowls(at)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

International Literacy Day Media Release

Truro – September 8th is International Literacy Day and The Power of Literacy is the theme for 2009. Literacy empowers many Nova Scotians as we participate in our home life, communities and workplaces. Literacy also means empowerment for the Nova Scotians who are participating in programs and classes that help them improve their literacy skills, earn a high school diploma or work toward a better career.

The International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (2003) reported that about four in ten adult Nova Scotians do not have sufficient literacy skills to fully participate in their family life, communities or workplaces. Many Nova Scotians are working to improve their literacy and other essential skills. So many learners tell us that their return to learning has made a difference in their lives.

I have gained ten years worth of confidence in a matter of months… I am doing something worthwhile, and working towards a career that will add richness and texture to my life. A sense of purpose that will shape my future into one I can be proud of…. because I knew enough to know I needed more. ~ Marcia recently graduated with a high school diploma.

As I began my journey on the road of lifelong learning…education (through my workplace) gave me a reason to believe that I can make a difference not only in my life, but also in the lives of others. I have acquired skills that have proven to be invaluable not only in the rapidly changing workplace of today, but have become essential on a daily basis in my personal life. ~ Earl participated in a program offered through his workplace in Halifax.

Something that has always bothered me was the fact that I didn’t complete high school when I was young. When you’re young, you don’t realize how leaving school could affect you in so many ways later in your life. A wonderful opportunity presented itself to me during my last layoff, a program where I could obtain my high school diploma, as well as a certificate to become a Continuing Care Assistant. I applied and was accepted. ~ Sharon graduated in June in Truro.

Learning is key to adaptation in today’s world, and will become even more so in the future. To build the future we want, we need a long-term commitment to lifelong learning for all Nova Scotians. We all have a role to play.

On September 8th, join millions of Canadians in reaching their full potential by celebrating literacy. Practice lifelong learning with literacy activities.

  • Read a book, newspaper, magazine or on-line article
  • Read a story to your children or listen to them read you a story
  • Find a new recipe
  • Use social media, like Twitter, Facebook or a blog
  • Sign up for a course
  • Write a letter or email to a friend
  • Update your resume
  • Visit your local library and explore the many offerings. Renew your library card.

For more information on International Literacy Day, visit UNESCO’s website at

For information about an upgrading or literacy program, call Literacy Nova Scotia at 800-255-5203 and for more information about literacy in Nova Scotia visit LNS’s website at


For more information:

Ann Marie Downie
Literacy Nova Scotia

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Frick Up List

Welcome to the first of (no doubt many) Frick Up Lists.

In case you're wondering, Frick Up is shorthand for "Friday F*** Up." It's been a big week for bonehead behaviour, and today's the day to list a few standout moments.

1. Connecticut Marriott Claims Assault Victim Was Careless And Negligent - Stamford marriott rape - Jez - ah yes, feels like old times!

2. Facebook notification of "pending family member requests" links to invasive "virus scan" of computer - but Facebook wouldn't allow malicious links disguised as valid, personalized updates! :-(

3. Quarterback Michael Vick signs deal with Eagles - Yahoo! News - because every team needs a convicted dog killer in the ranks

4. Sarah Palin's "Death Panel" Claims - so many articles, so little time, but this is as good a place as any to start

I'm sure there are many more that could make the list, but I think you get the idea of the kind of week it's been.

I could say, "Better luck next week," but I know better!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Is this your favorite writing blog?

Maria Schneider wants to know. That's why she's running a contest and welcoming nominations for the Editor Unleashed 25 Best Writing Blogs.

Perpetual Prose already got a couple nods, and I'm hopeful that Apollo's Lyre will make the grade, but I can't help promoting InkSpotting, too.

Now it's back to romance editing. More blogging to come tomorrow and over the weekend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August 2009 issue of Apollo's Lyre now live

The August issue of Apollo's Lyre is now available at

According to Editor in Chief Lea Schizas, "Jim Harrington has an interesting article in this month's issue along with one of his flash fiction pieces.

"Kim[berly Brown] and Betty [Dobson] have another round of amazing flash fiction and poetry to suit all 'reading' buds.

"Earl Staggs impresses us once again with his writing know-how.

"And we have a short article on what the buzz is all about with The Top Ten list.

"Enjoy. And our submission lines are open. Check out our guidelines. And just to let you know our flash fiction editor of 501 - 1000 words is really hard to throw out acceptances so take this as a challenge and let's see who can break that barrier."

That's right. A challenge! Surely there must be flash writers out there who think they have what it takes to break through Jim's icy reserve. Go get 'im!

Monday, August 10, 2009


In celebration of my latest editing gig (a poetry book), I feel like sharing one of my poems tonight, so here's one that first appeared in Sol Magazine.


Stones grow from barren rock,
Balanced one upon the other, like
Men in step with nature, standing
Testament to Inuit passage through time.
How will the people know they were here
When each permanent path that forms
Through melting ice floes
Spells the end of ancient ways?
Stones rise but ice recedes
In the wake of passing ships,
Crews heedless of the cost of
Balance overthrown.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Help! It's Saturday and I can't get out!

Just when I think I have Blogger figured out, I find myself stuck in a time loop or something.

That last post ("Pop Quiz Show") just went live a few minutes ago but somehow showed up as being posted yesterday (which is when I first pasted the link and saved the message for later).

Mind you, there are worse places to be stuck than Saturday!

Grammar Made Easy, Episode 3: Pop Quiz Show

Perpetual Prose has added the latest installment in the Grammar Made Easy series: Episode 3 – Pop Quiz Show

Don't let the words "pop quiz" scare you. Yes, it's a test, but it's not that hard--at least, it's not supposed to be hard.

Go. Try. Better yet, do.

Don't make me go all Yoda on your sorry behinds. ;-)

Saturday's Chide (or is it Sunday already?)

See what I mean about missing a day? I dropped the blog ball on Tuesday, and here I go missing Saturday, too--if only by a nose.

In my defence, I received new information on a previously unknown ancestral line recently, and I've been tracking down more info online. Genealogy can distract me like few other activities. Time simply falls away.

I now have Oulton ancestors and, through them, several others that I'd love to research. But there's no time. (That's not to say I couldn't give over time to the pursuit, but then nothing else would get done.)

PS: Don't let the date stamp on this post fool you. In my corner of the world, it's already Sunday morning.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yard Arms

When I started working on my back yard earlier this summer, I never imagined I would start to look forward to the task. Nor did I consider that I'd start building muscle!

Yet here I am with firmer biceps--mostly from pulling out vines at the root. I feel stronger over all. Losing weight doesn't hurt, either. It's all tied together, of course. Lose weight, get more active. Get active, lose more weight.

Best of all, I'm experiencing far less pain in my knees (arthritis) and back (scoliosis). After years of daily pain, I'm sure I could used to that!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy...

It's just been one of those summer days when nothing much happens...and you don't much care.

A little sun bathing. A little yard work. A little glass of wine (or two) with dinner.

Time enough tomorrow to worry about bigger issues like work and errands.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Reunion Recap

Yesterday, the Dobson family gathered in Half Island Cove (Guysborough County, Nova Scotia) for a long-awaited reunion.

We started with a quick tour of the Lighthouse Museum. The building used to be the community school, and older family members shared their stories of being students there (including some of their less than studious behaviour).

Then we stopped by the "old homestead" where Dad and his siblings grew up. The house is currently for sale--and a lingering source of temptation for a few of us.

Across the road, the beach was just a short walk away (see photo). While time has eroded the shoreline, it hasn't altered the memories of those who used to swim there in their youth.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm Not Really Here

Ah, the beauty of technology! This post can go live without me.

Rather than miss a day or fight with dial-up access at my parents' house, I can write this on Saturday morning, while I'm still in my own home. It's almost like being a time traveller.

Okay, not really, but it sounds like fun!

The only travelling I'm doing is to the country (specifically Guysborough County, for those of you familiar with Nova Scotia). My father's family is having something of a reunion this weekend. Cousins and aunts and uncles and assorted others are here from across Canada, and my 94-year-old grandmother is the star of the show (just the way she likes it).

Bigger plans were afoot initially, but circumstances made it necessary to scale things back. An all-day affair turned into an afternoon picnic on the beach at Half Island Cove--assuming the weather stuck to the forecast.

If all goes as planned, I'll have an update on the festivities tomorrow. I might even post a picture or two.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Same Blog Time, Different Blog Station

Trying out Blogger for a change, since it lets me "post date" my entries for days when I know I won't have access to the Internet (like this Sunday).

I'm officially tackling National Blog Posting Month for the first time (I started in mid-July, so previous daily posts don't really count), and I don't want to fail on day two just because I'm going away for the long weekend.

As soon as I get this posted, I have to start working on Sunday's post and decide what time I want it to go live. And I think this might feed into the old blog service. But it's more likely that I simply misunderstood the feed option I selected. Fingers crossed!