Seeing Beauty In All Bodies

Writing The Longest Nine Months took a LOT of motivation, patience and brawling with discouragement tossed in with some existential questioning regarding my story.

I knew that I wanted to explore the theme of abortion but that was it.

Then the notion of conflict between Campbell, my main character, and her husband Chand began to flutter in my mind. And so the couple conflict took shape but it still wasn’t all that I wanted to write about.

romance was my vehicle to get to where I wanted to go even though I hadn’t a clue where that was.

Slowly, as I continued to write, the abortion subject turned into one of disabilities and Down syndrome.

I began to read on it and listened to interviews and one thing linked to another, as things have a habit of doing, which led me to Riva Lehrer, the marvellously amazing Chicago based artist.

 

A lot of what I do in my work is – almost of all of what I do – is deal with what it means to be looked at. What it means to be in a stigmatized body.

For an inspiring glimpse of Riva Lehrer listen to Mary Hynes interview Ms. Lehrer.

Instead of seeing impairments, Lehrer sees bodies that are – in her words – unexpected, charming, exciting.

What would you do if you knew that you were carrying a child with a disability?

 

The Longest Nine Months.jpg oct. 2017

Amazon

 

 

 

The Longest Nine Months Update

 Dear Fellow Bloggers,

This is simply to let you know that some updates have been made on The Longest Nine Months and, if it hasn’t already been updated for you, you can download the update through your “Manage Your Content and Devices” page.

To receive updates to your eBooks automatically:

  1. Turn on the Annotations Backup* for your Kindle device or Kindle reading app. This will sync your notes, highlights, eBookmarks, and furthest page read

  2. Go to the Manage Your Content and Devices page

  3. Select “Automatic Book Update” under the Settings tab

  4. Select “On” from the dropdown menu

Thanks for reading my work.

 

the longest nine months 2

 

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00QYYX008

FREE BOOK PROMOTION

This coming weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada.

There is lots that I am thankful for. The list is long and includes you, dear online friends.

Thanks for your inspiring posts, your amazing photos and art work. Your wisdom, your spirit and your support. Thanks for sharing part of your life with me. 🙂

 

The Longest Nine Months.jpg oct. 2017

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00QYYX008

If you’re downloading to an IPad You cannot purchase content through the Kindle app due to Apple Store restrictions; you’ll need to use Amazon’s website instead and scroll down to Part 3: Purchasing New Kindle Content on Your iPad. keep reading.  

This promotion is good from October 6, 2017 to October 10, 2017. Don’t miss this free book offer!

I’d love your thoughts on it!

Thanks

 

 

 

 

Back in the Groove

Two things have been happening since my last blog post eons ago.

Number 1

I moved.

Moving is much like doing a major spring cleaning of every room in your house. Every nook and cranny and every spec of dust. In a way, it was very liberating and made me practice minimalism. It struck me as incredible and depressing to see how much stuff I’d accumulated throughout the years.

I moved into a smaller apartment and so I needed to downsize and trim my possessions. I still haven’t been able to let go of a small beige colored handbag which I haven’t used in years but it used to belong to my mother. What am I holding unto?

And then there was the move itself during Montreal’s heaviest snowstorm of the season!

beach-84631_960_720

Source

Oops! Sorry, wrong photo!

montreal-que-march-15-2017-sq-officers-on-snowmobile3

Source

My poor dog, Bau, didn’t at all like the move.

Wake me when it’s over!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Number 2

The second reason why I haven’t been posting on my blog is that I had nothing to say.

Then, I received an e-mail from Thelma Mariano, the editor of my women’s fiction novels:

New Picture (9)  balawydermissisdatingadventures  cafe paradise a  Not by Design

Thelma was recently interviewed by Duke Diercks where, along with 12 other editors, was asked this question:

What is the #1 mistake that you see first-time authors make?

 Here’s part of her answer:

 Most first-time novelists underestimate the amount of work required to bring their completed draft to a publishable level. This leads to what I believe is the #1 problem with early manuscripts: a lack of story tension.

If we lack a “story-worthy” problem, something strong enough to pull a reader through hundreds of pages, needing to know what happens next, no amount of editing will make it better.

Click here to read more on Thelma’s answer

and here on the editing process

World MS Day

 World MS Day

A day to celebrate global solidarity and hope for the future

World MS Day is officially marked on the last Wednesday of May every year, though events and campaigns take place throughout the month of May.

It brings the global MS community together to share stories, raise awareness and campaign with and for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis.

In 2009, the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) and its members initiated the first World MS Day. Together we have reached hundreds of thousands of people around the world, with a campaign focusing on a different theme each year.

In 2016, the theme for World MS Day is ‘Independence’. It will explore how people with MS can be independent, acknowledging that independence can mean different things to different people.

MSIF provides a toolkit of free resources to help everyone to take part in World MS Day. Anyone can use these tools, or make their own, to create positive change in the lives of more than 2.3 million people around the world.

 

What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults.

There are 2.3 million people with MS worldwide. It is likely that hundreds of thousands more remain undiagnosed and many lives are affected indirectly, through caring for someone with MS.

Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 31, with around twice as many women diagnosed than men.

The cause of MS is not yet known and as yet there is no cure, though there are treatments available that can help some forms of MS and many things you can do to improve the symptoms.

The severity of the course of MS as well as the symptoms can vary widely among individuals.

The severity of the course of MS as well as the symptoms can vary widely among individuals. These can include blurred vision, weak limbs, tingling sensations, unsteadiness and fatigue.

For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission (meaning it gets better for a while but then can attack from time to time), while for others it has a progressive pattern (meaning that it gets steadily worse with time). Some people may feel and seem healthy for many years following diagnosis, while others may be severely debilitated very quickly.

MS makes life unpredictable for everyone.

To find out more about MS, get in touch with an MS organisation near you or visit the MS International Federation website.

Read more at www.worldmsday.org/

 

In honor of raising MS awareness I am offering Not By Design at 99 cents (US) during the month of May. 

NOT BY DESIGN (1)

Click here to buy

“Sometimes we have control over our destiny… and other times life simply happens, and not by design. That’s what Felicity Starr, the protagonist of Carol Balawyder’s fourth book in the Getting to Mr Right series, finds out when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Not By Design is not your typical “boy meets girl, they overcome various obstacles and live happily ever after” romance.” Ana Linden. 

 

“The book was well researched, and the story took us through Felicity’s depression and hopelessness for future happiness to learning to lean on friends for the love and support they so willingly gave, and finally to acceptance of what her life with MS would be, and making the best of it.” Michelle James.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

As writers and artists we are often asked where our ideas come from. The answer is complex and usually never just from one place. Take for example, Felicity in my latest Getting to Mr. Right series. What made me choose to have her interested in fashion rather than music, sports or photography – all interests of mine?

The answer lies in part, I think, with my mother and her love of fashion. Whenever she watched television she commented on what the women were wearing, just as after an outing she would give a critical expose on how the women were dressed. In the last years of her life I would visit her and we would watch together What Not To Wear, a show I haven’t watched since her death seven years ago.

One of her favorite movie actresses was Audrey Hepburn, especially the role she played as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I suspect what my mother loved about the movie was not the gangster/call girl plot of the film. Nor Holly’s capacity, in her femme fatale manner, to seduce the men in her life in order to get what she wants. Nor was it the script’s chick-lit style of presenting Holly as an independent woman, unafraid of thwarting feminine customs. What made my mother love Breakfast at Tiffany’s was most likely Ms. Hepburn’s wardrobe.

My mother’s own style was more of the sensible cardigan and slacks (who uses that word these days?) as she puttered around the house. But on those rare occasions when she dressed up she was meticulous about what she wore adding a string of pearls around a plain dress  which, in the imagination of my memory, she might as well have been wearing the sheath black dress or double breasted orange wool coat which Ms. Hepburn wore in the movie.

In Truman Capote’s novella, Holly Golightly (don’t you just love this name?) … was always well groomed, there was a consequential good taste in the plainness of her clothes, the blues and grays and lack of luster that made her, herself, shine so. One might have thought her a photographer’s model, perhaps a young actress.”

Along with my mother’s influence and my love for the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s  I was likely subliminally drawn to creating a character who is involved in the world of fashion.

In this scene Felicity, is with Eduardo, a gallery owner:

This is the second time in less than twenty-four hours that I have been asked if I love Marco. “Absolutely? Can we ever be absolute about our feelings?” I say aware that I’m avoiding answering his question.

“Enough about your love life,” he says almost impatiently. “Tell me about your art project. How you combine it with fashion.”

As he sits beside me, I tell Eduardo about the project with Tina and show him pictures from my cell. “They’re painted graffiti jeans. It’s  a lot of fun to do.”

“These are incredible,” he says. “Do they make these jeans in my size?”

Eduardo is a hefty man and I really can’t see him in a pair of these jeans, even though many of them are made wide and loose. Still, I say, “I’ll make sure to get you a pair. Which design do you prefer?”

He chooses a dark indigo jean with designs inspired by Miro on the legs and back pocket. I feel myself beaming. It’s wonderful getting recognized for my work.

 

DSC_0002

Photo courtesy of The Laurent Brisson collection 

 

I’d love to hear about where you get some of your ideas.