January 27, 2014

EPIC blog tour for #TheLastSnowman!

Right. So here's something: I'm doing a virtual book tour.

From today all through the month of February, the 27 wonderful writers listed below will be offering up their impressions of The LAST Snowman picture-book and along with each, the chance for their readers to win prizes and swag-stuffs.
Tadaaa! I overcame my shyness enough to approach to some of my favourite brands.

Boiron® are a featured sponsor of this blog tour! They're a world leader in homeopathic medicines for the whole family. Since the book is winter-themed and winter is cold and flu season, The Boiron Prize Pack* is a selection of 'winter essentials' to help you stay healthy so you can get outside and build a snowman in this polar-vortexy-wintry wonderland.

The prize pack will include Oscillo, Coldcalm, and Chestal for giveaway winners in the USA, and Coryzalia, StodalOscillo and Cicadermine (great to relieve a red and irritated nose!) in Canada.
*These homeopathic medicines might not be right for everyone. Always read and follow the label.

I'm so pleased to be able to offer this to my blog hosts readerships in both the USA and Canada! These are brands that I use myself all the time, especially the Oscillo and also their Arnicare gel, and I trust them. It is a real thrill that they also love the book.

Dot & Lil are a featured sponsor too! They create luxurious bath & beauty and skincare products with a fresh, young feel, all handmade in their Montreal studio. Dot & Lil are designing a custom soap just for The LAST Snowman blog tour - a "Hot Chocolate Swirl" limited edition soap! Creamy chocolate scented with chocolate-soap sprinkles on top, and the book cover design on the label. Fun right? 

Because after playing in the snow (or just freezing your buns off out there) the best thing ever is to come inside and soak in a hot bath with soap that will leave you smelling good enough to eat.

You won't be able to buy this actual soap because it's specially made for this giveaway. So definitely enter for a chance to win!

Also included in Dot & Lil's gift bag will be the Shea Rescue Butter for lips and nails. This is just what you want when the extreme cold leaves you dry and chapped.

Dot & Lil's spring line is about to launch - surfing their Instagram and Pinterest is a real tease for the new products. You can almost smell the lusciousness...

Ahem. In addition to the above swag, I'm also gifting:

A cute mug featuring one of the illustrations from the book: perfect for a little hot chocolate after playing in the snow.

And of course, a paperback copy of The LAST Snowman.

This blog tour is going to be EPIC. Because all these people are in it:

Resplendent By Design
Mundane Magic
Life With Roozle
The Guavalicious Life
The Angel Forever
Kat's Book Buzz
Ginger Sass
Good Day Regular People
Jefferson Parish Parent
Pajamas & Coffee
Where's the F#*cking Mommy Manual?!?
That's What She Said
Last Shreds of Sanity
The (mis)adventures of Mamakujo
Musings on Motherhood & Midlife
The Smartness
Brookly Berry Designs
World's Worst Moms
Dragondreamers Lair
A Day in the Life of Kat
My Book Addiction
Don't Take the Repeats
They Call Me Mummy
Frosted Fingers
Am I a Funny Girl?
Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva

All different, all special and each with their own diverse readerships. I love them forever.

Go check out them out! Enter the giveaways! Tell them I said Hi!
The LAST Snowman is available on Createspace and Amazon. If you've read this book and you feel moved to do a short review on Amazon or Goodreads, it will be very much appreciated.

January 20, 2014

HOT LIST of Valentines Day GIFTS - It's time to prove your love.

Here's some groovy and totally original Valentines Day gifts that I made for you. Order them NOW and impress everyone by having your shit together before February 14th.

Prove your love; don't just say "I love you...."

Say, I love you more than chocolate, coffee, bacon...

Just to be on the safe side, I'd recommend giving this gift WITH some chocolate.

The tiny fist gets bigger if you haven't had your coffee.

If someone gives you this mug, you prolly shouldn't trust them.

...I love you more than tea, Twitter, wine (red or white...yeah even Chardonnay).

Don't tell the darjeeling.

This one's a best seller. 

Love triangle! This was obviously a threesome at some point.

It's almost unthinkable, but it's possible to love someone even more than BEER.

This is true love.

Just shoot me an email and lemeeno if you prefer a t-shirt.

January 15, 2014

The Spotter.

This is a story I wrote and read this weekend at my dearest and oldest friend's 50th birthday party.

*   *   *   *   *

Do you know what a spotter is? It's someone who stands across the room on the gymnastics mat, knees bent, arms outstretched and ready.

You run towards them as fast as you can, skip once and round-off back handspring. They're there to guide you, and support you in the more difficult and dangerous acrobatics. Having a spotter gives you confidence until you can do it on your own.

*   *   *   *   *

Dear QQ,

It was 1977. I was fifteen and you were thirteen... but you acted sixteen and I acted fourteen. It somehow seemed to even out.

You went to a private school for girls high on the hill and I went to public high-school down near the train tracks. By rights we never should have met....but meet we did!

We tumbled our way through weekly gymnastics classes at the YMCA where the high walls of school-only friendships didn't exist. Somewhere in those Saturday cartwheels, walkovers and handstands, between the balance beam and the vault, a friendship sprouted that would last a lifetime.

We spotted each other in those days; I wanted to do a back handspring - you would spot me.

You wanted to do an aerial ....wait, no... actually you never needed spotting for that. You could do that and so much more all on your own.

One night we had a sleepover at one of our houses:

"We need to find some boys!" one of us said.

"Boys? I know where there's some boys," said the other. "There's a home for juvenile delinquent boys just behind my house!"

"No way! Let's go sneak in there!"

Off we went and we managed to find our way into the very quiet and dark building. We giggled in the halls, creeping around for a whole ten minutes but found no boys and retreated back to the house for a mid-night snack.

I'm sure the parenting jury is still out on who is a better influence on who! It matters not. One is always there to spot the other.

As high school concluded, gymnastics petered out and I didn't see you for a few years until one night I caught a glimpse of a vivacious blonde in a downtown bar. I was seventeen and you were fifteen.*

*Please never ever tell my own teenage daughters this story.

I called your name and when you saw me you ran right over and hugged me. It was like we'd never been apart.

This phenomenon of timelessness was to endure through the years. You moved to Toronto, I moved to England. For a few months we intersected in Vancouver before you moved back to Toronto and I returned to Montreal. No matter how long we miss each other, nothing changes between us.

There were broken hearts, terrible losses, risks and leaps in our professional lives and also great successes in love and work. Betrayal and weariness wounded other friendships, but never ours.

We lived in different cities, traveled around the world, bought homes and cars, changed jobs and hemlines. Through all this the spotting continued. When I faltered, you reminded me of who I was. When I doubted my abilities you reminded me what I could do.

You were at my side for our wedding, witnessed the birth of our daughter and taught our ten year old son to snorkel while I trembled in the shallows, afraid of sharks. I wonder how you will spot me next?

How can I describe the depth of our friendship? Are there any words that can go there? Loyalty comes close...understanding, care, and love, all evident in abundance. But none of those words is exactly right.

My husband, our children, my mother and brothers, aunts and uncles and even my grandmother before she died, consider you to be part of the family. The meaningfulness, purpose and love that you bring to our lives is unwavering and true. Because you are my spotter, my friend, and my family. You're the closest thing to a sister that I'll ever have. Sister is the word I'm looking for.

So Happy 50th Birthday!

May we have many, many, many more years of spotting each other!

*   *   *   *   *

I've known QQ for 37 years. How long have you known your spotter?

January 8, 2014

Life drawing birds.

I flipped open my sketchbooks in the Paper app and found these drawings. It's bone-chilling freeze-your-face-off January outside so naturally my mind drifted easily back to summer when the sparrows were hanging out in the garden.

I liked to watch them in the trees and grapevines near the pergola.

Birds are always moving, so they're hard to capture. I suppose that's the point if you are a bird.

I wait until a sparrow hits a pose I like, and I let it imprint in my minds eye, holding it there for a few seconds while I lay down the drawing.

I guess I'm not so much drawing what I see, as drawing what I've just seen.

Sometimes I don't even look down at my drawing, even if the bird has flown away. I'm still staring at the picture in my head.

When I'm happy with the silhouette, I add the details. It's important not to spend too much time or it loses its spontaneous quality.

You'd be surprised at how few lines make a bird.

So I'm watching the sparrows.

But I think they're watching me too.