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!

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Source

Oops! Sorry, wrong photo!

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Source

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

Wake me when it’s over!

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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

My Interview With Aimee at Hello…Chick Lit

Some of you might have read my guest post as author of the week on Aimee’s blog. Today, I am being interviewed there.

Here are some things you should know about Aimee:

 

About the Author:

She’s an Authors Assistant and Publicist (freelance) and thinks most authors are awesome, which is probably why she so generously opens her heart (and blog) to writers.

She’d love to be a Literary Agent.

She loves romantic comedy movies… Father of the Bride, You’ve Got Mail, which she may have them memorized and claims that she never watches other genres because, no one can make her.

Read more about Aimee on her fun About Me Page

 

Author of the Week – An Interview with Carol Balawyder

What was your inspiration to start (and keep) writing?

I really can’t remember when I started to write. Maybe I was ten. Maybe twelve. I just had a desire to write. There was no horrific incident happening in my life and no urgent message that I wanted to share with the world. What has kept me writing is more complex. I am basically an introvert and in a group I tend to listen more than talk. Writing is my preferred way of expressing myself. I draw a lot of my inspiration to write from books and blogs I read. Sometimes I draw inspiration from my past life experiences that I transfer to my characters. The creative process of writing fascinates me and I find the challenge which writing presents inspiring. Of course, there are times when I don’t feel inspired at all. These are the times that I have to accept this flat period and trust that inspiration will come. It usually does by my pulling away from my desk and engaging in something different – listening to music, going to an art gallery or taking my dog for a walk on the mountain.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write in and how it found you?

I write chick lit with my protagonists being older than most chick lit novels. How did it find me? I’ve always loved reading good chick lit. I find it entertaining and relaxing.  I like the lighthearted style of chick lit. The way the protagonists are able to self deprecate and the humor of chick lit. I guess I just feel comfortable in this way of writing..

Is there any author whom you’d admire and read every book they publish?  Who and why?

I admire tons of writers of different genres: crime fiction, literary fiction and biographies. Since we’re talking about chick-lit I’ll read anything that Helen Fielding writes. She’s clever, funny and heartwarming.

Click here to read more

 

 

 

 

Follow Me Today at Hello…Chick Lit

Meet AIMEE

About the Author:

 

Aimee has worked in Publishing for almost a year as a Book Marketing Manager, & Author Assistant. She has years of experience in Customer Service ranging from Call Centers (Netflix) – to Hospital ER’s.
She owns her own freelance Virtual Assisting Service/Blog Tour Company and is available for hire as an Authors Assistant/Personal Assistant. She also runs a Book Tour Company and is an aspiring author and freelance writer.

HCL Book Tours

 

This week I have the honor of being author of the week on Aimee’s blog 

Author of the Week

Posting Schedule:

A Guest Post – 06.14.16
An Interview – 06.16.16

You’ll find me as guest post today where I’m giving away

5 FREE ebooks of Not By Design. 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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Helping Author’s Gain Exposure

Today I’m at Don Massenzio’s blog. Don is not only one of the most prolific bloggers I know but he posts about a variety of interesting subjects. One of his series is helping authors gain exposure and strengthen the blogging community. Don is always looking for authors to feature on his blog so if you’re interested just click here.

Don Massenzio author photo

In the meantime, here’s my interview with Don. 

THANKS, DON! 

Comments are closed here but open on Don’s blog.

May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

 

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This Mother’s Day weekend think of offering a bouquet of carnations – the symbol for Multiple Sclerosis – to your mother in support of raising awareness of MS, a disease which changes the lives of young people affected by it – In general, it strikes people who are between 15 and 40 years old.

 The video below shows what happens in the central nervous system when a person has multiple sclerosis.

  What Is MS?

Felicity Starr, the protagonist of my latest novel – Not By Design – develops MS. Like many other writers, I like to give the reader a bit of information as well as entertainment so that they come away with a feeling that they’ve learned something and had some fun as well. In Not By Design I look at  the effects that this complex disease can have on family, friends and the person suffering from MS.

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

Sources used in this post:

http://mssoc.convio.net/site/TR/MiscEvents/DivisionduQubec?pg=entry&fr_id=5302&s_locale=en_CA

https://www.youtube.com/embed/KGzsriXqg6U

Book Chat Reviews Not By Design

Sometimes you just have to toot your own horn and sometimes someone else toots it for you! Thank you Michelle James at Book Chat for this great review of my latest book Not By Design.

Michelle’s Review

When I began reading Not by Design,  I expected it to be a twist on a traditional romance novel but was delightfully surprised to find it was much more than just a variation of the conventional romance.  Felicity left her father’s company in Montreal and moved to Rome to pursue her career in art causing a rift between Felicity and her father that could not be healed.  While in Rome, she found love and a proposal of marriage, along with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. When Marco, her fiance, learned of her diagnosis, he said, “Arrivederci.” Frightened about what was in store for her in the future, Felicity decided to move back to Montreal where she could have health insurance and be near her life long friends Missi, Suzy, and Campbell. But what frightens her the most is whether or not with her diagnosis, will she ever be able to find true love.

The characters were true to life, and as much as I loved Felicity from the start, I equally disliked Marco.  Felicity had a love-hate relationship with her mother Nicole in the beginning, but I was happy to see some of the walls between them torn down and a much better mother-daughter relationship take hold.  I love characters that serve to lift up a friend or family member. Missi, Suzy, and Campbell convince her to get a puppy and a cane. Her friend Eduardo, who ran an art gallery, and her new found friend Jeff who walked his dog Clyde at the same dog park where Felicity walked her dog Bonnie, all figure into Felicity’s acceptance of her multiple sclerosis and her outlook on the future.

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.

I don’t often read a book straight through, but I couldn’t put this one down.  I honestly can’t find anything I didn’t like about it, other than Marco.  It was a heartwarming story of a person learning to accept and live with a debilitating disease.  There is no reason for me to award Not By Design five stars.

Read more at Book Chat.