December 29, 2014

Daze of darkness and light.

Depression is a funny thing. Which is to say that it's not funny at all. One moment you're fine and then next you're crushed. I call it "losing my ball". When I lose my ball I can wander in darkness for long months and even years. The cloying sadness is pervasive. Clouds hang over every waking moment. 

Push it away, ignore it. It comes creeping back like a gollum, never far.

I feel like I want to die. Which is not quite the same as wanting to kill myself. And at the same time, I have a weird apathy about everything, like even dying is just too much trouble. Fixing myself is too much trouble. Caring is too much trouble.

I laugh at it...but it's badLoneliness closes in on me and yet I shut myself away.

If I try to tell people about it they always want to remind me of all my accomplishments in life. It really pisses me off. They're just trying to help but they don't get it. 

"Come and visit me! We'll have fun."

"Have you tried exercise?"

"Just change your diet!"

"You can decide not to be depressed, you know."

I can't fall asleep and if I do sleep I cannot wake up. When I finally wake up, I hide under the blankets for as long as possible. 

And then one day the darkness lifts. It is literally just like clouds evaporating and sunlight streaming in. I feel fine and strong.

My sun came out a few days ago and I found my ball. I have no idea why or for how long, but I'll take it. 

December 15, 2014

Tacky Christmas photos of my books.

This post is sponsored. By me.

I'm going over the top with tacky photos of my books surrounded by Christmas decorations. If all the shops can do it, why can't I? Amateur is the new Awesome!

I used to get down on myself for sucking.

But you know what? I've sold 17 books in the last 17 days: there are at least 17 people who will see my books on Christmas morning. That may sound pathetic to some but I think I'm doing pretty well for someone who is very bad at marketing.

Those 17 books would not have sold without the help and support of those who shared my books, did book reviews and blog posts and took the time to be generally encouraging and say nice things. I love you forever and back.

And I suppose I should give some love to my bad self for even drawing those books in the first place.

"Three books in one year, JC, on top of everything else that you do. Focus on those 17 people unwrapping your books on Christmas day and smile."

*pats self on back*

December 10, 2014

Ello - The Beta Community.

Frolic all day and late into the night on a brand new social media platform: Ello. Everything is magical and there's genuine engagement everywhere you turn. There's nothing like the kind of friends you make in the early adopter rumpus.

And then suddenly there is a shift in behaviour. I feel it. More circles are populating and intersecting. Ellozens who gain more than a certain number of followers and followees begin to interact differently. Some of us lose one another.

It's like a stretchmark on the ballooning Ellosphere.

Some of us begin to seek ways to stay together. Over a few short weeks, there is kinship, support, commitment, ...and love.

Beta is bittersweet in its innocence; it doesn't last forever. Like a child.

These graphics were inspired by the beta Ello experience, and may speak to the ever-changing social media community needs.

Original post and comments are here.

December 8, 2014

Observations in Black & White.

Here's some observations in black and white that I've been posting around the Internet. Surprise! I call them "Observations in Black & White".

This definitely qualifies as satire and social commentary. I got enough requests for these as posters to make it worth taking the time to upload them to my Zazzle shop. They come in different sizes and paper qualities and the prices start at $11.65.

Buy it.

Buy it.

Buy it.

Buy it.

Buy it.

Buy it.
Buy it.

Buy it.

Buy it.

Zazzle has sales pretty often so keep an eye peeled for those.

I love you madly,


December 4, 2014

Interactive Book! PickleWeasel Picture Riddles on Kindle.

You know when you get a print book and you can hold it in your hands and turn the pages and really feel the paper between your fingertips? It's sooo lovely. I love books.

Of course, you can get the Kindle version of a book that pretends to be a paper book but it's just not the same. And why should it be? It should be different! It should be ...EXTRA.

You guys. I'm leaking books.

PickleWeasel Picture Riddles on Kindle is EXTRA - it's got extra clues, extra surprize jokes (also known as 'easter eggs') and extra interactive "pop-ups". It has more stuff in it and it's a little more fun for older readers too.

Screencap time:

Punny hints.

Double-tap the key for the answer.

There are ten hidden pop-ups from PW in the book.

Picture-riddles are word-games: most of the hints are in the drawing, but if you need a clue, simply double-tap the lens and one will appear. The clues come in several forms - jumbled letters, number of letters, first letters, rhyming words, and punny hints (those are my faves). You can check your answer by double-tapping on the key. There are also ten hidden pop-ups from PW, so have fun finding them all.

Bonus: As you flip through the pages, PickleWeasel cavorts along the top of the screen. It's fun to make him animate.

See? It's a different reading experience than the paperback. Buy it here.
Now here's the deal - PickleWeasel Picture Riddles is enrolled in the Kindle Matchbook program - which means that if you purchase the paperback from Amazon, you'll be able to own the Kindle version for one third the price - $1.99.

PS. We've got a PickleWeasel drawing app (for ages 9+), so if you want some of that, just go here.

December 3, 2014

Ultimate Book Lover's Gift Guide

Hey guys, the following post is a gift guide for book lovers, kind of like a guest post. I hope you can find something in here to gift to someone special over the upcoming holidays.

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Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

This gift guide was compiled by Audrey van Petegem and Suzanne Letourneau of the ballyhoos, who support Indie Authors with their Branding and Marketing needs.


The Holidays are coming and you know what that means…..It is that time of year where you start looking for inspiring gift ideas to give to friends and family! Sure you can give gift cards or flowers but why not give something that is a bit more meaningful?

Everybody loves a good book! Whether you are looking for a unique hostess gift, something for the office gift exchange or the perfect gift to give to that someone special, a book is always well received.

To make it easier for you, we have put together the Ultimate Book Lover's Gift Guide. There is something for everyone on your list. From Inspirational to fun reads and titles for the younger readers (or young at heart). And, hey, you may even find something for yourself!


stackedBooks Over iT - Mary Buchan

We all have an “iT” to get over, some challenge in life that seems difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. This may be a problem with health, a past trauma, or stressful situation in our finances or career. Sometimes the “iT” stems from broken relationships or negative judgments we’ve encountered during our journey. In this award winning book Mary combines lighthearted personal stories with ancient wisdom keys. She shares life-changing insights that will help you drive away the dark shadows from your life and break free from whatever is holding you back from your full potential. These keys transformed Mary and they can change your life! Great gift that can be bought here. Buy here.   
Deborah Hall

Million Dollar Moments - Deborah L. Hall

What if everything you’ve ever been taught is a lie? What if we’ve been living under false assumptions? How can we know for sure? How can we find the truth? Today’s internet bombards us with daily information creating cognitive dissonance as we struggle with who to trust and what to believe. Million Dollar Moments sorts through the noise of these mixed messages bringing usto the only possible truth: your own truth. In 5 minute bursts of brain change each day, Million Dollar Moments shows you the path to uncover and claim your truth. These daily gems of inspiration will illuminate your values regarding business, love, creativity, and resources while encouraging and supporting you to step into who YOU are! Need a quote for a presentation or a speech? You'll find some gems on these pages. Need a boost for the day? Open the book randomly to any page and you'll get the inspiration that is meant just for your eyes for that day. Buy here.


SOAR with Vulnerability
- Suzanne Letourneau

This is your book. The book that is inside of you all-ways. We all have a story to tell. In mine, I share how the biggest turning point of my life has opened my heart to receiving the best gift of all - Vulnerability.
Vulnerability works hand in hand with Authenticity. And from the moment you experience your authenticity, your true self, you will not want to be anything else but authentic.
Vulnerability is about daring to be more than who you think you are. Get Curious. Be Outrageous. Buy here.

oh La La! Réalité


Being French - Francois Roland

François Roland is thoroughly, irrepressibly French – Parisian, in fact! His book, Being French! A Frenchman’s Guide to a More Sensual Life, is a memoir as well as a collection of essays about sensuality. In it, Roland shares his own experiences and insights gained from a rich and intense sensual life, and from that perspective, the book proposes to its readers that they envision sensuality from a distinctly French point of view.
What allows some people to have satisfying, harmonious, and happy sensual lives while others are miserable and unfulfilled? Roland came to realize that the French probably handle sensual life quite differently than people elsewhere and maybe with a better prospect of making it delightful, fulfilling, and an integral part of a full and balanced life. Buy his e-book here.


LOL;-) Living Out Loud
- Veronica Tanzen

An estimated 30 to 40 million North Americans use online dating sites, and the growing industry can now take credit for 17% of all marriages on the continent. Not surprisingly, a myriad of online dating self-help books have popped up on shelves—how-to’s and self-proclaimed success stories of finding a mate. This story is definitely not one of those. Living Out Loud takes you on a fresh and quirky ride through one woman's attempt to master the science of cyber-dating while navigating her way down the road to finding true love. Start with a once-conflicted, twice-divorced single mother, toss in some humorous self-discovery, sprinkle in a smattering of questionable dating profiles, and wrap it all up in a very colourful package that will make you want to laugh, cry and have you want to read the whole book in one sitting! Just click here for a fun and enjoyable read. Buy here.

Thought Provoking

A God for all seasons

A God for All Seasons - Patti Tingen

Based on Ecclesiastes 3, A God for all Seasons takes the reader on a year long journey, month by month. Starting with winter, the book moves through the natural seasons of the year. Each chapter correlates with a month and offers personal testimony and insights for the various spiritual seasons that we all experience. The theme of the book is that God’s love and presence is with us through every time and every season of our lives. 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Silver Medal Winner in the Christian Non-Fiction Category. Great gift idea for the person of faith that can be bought directly on Amazon.- Buy here.  


A River of Tears, The River of Hope - Orit Murad Rehany

A River of Tears The River of Hope centers on the saga of the Two Torah Scrolls, and of an fluent and thriving community living peacefully for 2600 years until World War II and the events of Nazism, anti-Semitism and hatred took place in the ancient region known as the Cradle of Civilization, or modern days Iraq.
A River of Tears The River of Hope follows the enchanting and fascinating Murad family. The Murad family brought to Israel a proud heritage to share with the world including the two Torah Scrolls of their beloved father and grandfather, Rabbi Ezra Murad. Rabbi Murad’s two Torah Scrolls traveled with the family to Israel. While settling in Israel the Murad family showed us the most valuable elements of hope, drive, and determination as they continued to thrive in Israel and Canada. A River of Tears The River of Hope will welcome readers into the history of the Murad family and their amazing journey from a world filled with oppression and tyranny, to one supported by acceptance and support. Buy here.

Fun Reads

are you kidding me

Are You Kidding Me? - Stacey Gustafson

My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives, a compilation of hilarious, surprising, and relatable stories. The book reached #4 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list for its category during its debut week. Hop into your minivan and get ready to cruise through the crazies of Suburbia! Humorist Stacey Gustafson makes an entertaining tour guide in Are You Kidding Me?, a brash, voyeuristic peek inside the topsy-turvy world of suburban motherhood, midlife madness, and all points in between. If you’ve ever called SWAT on a neighbor, faked a heart attack in church, or pulled your hair out while questioning the sanity of your family, Stacey’s tongue-in-cheek brand of humor will resonate with you. Enjoy the ride and don’t forget to fasten your seat belt. Buy here.

Drink Wine and Giggle

Drink Wine and Giggle
Deb Mangolt & Julie Smethurst

(101 ways girlfriends can connect, have fun and be inspired) combines friendship and personal growth in a collection of easy-to-follow activities that have been tested and proven to turn girlfriend get-togethers into life-shifting experiences. The activities in DWAG include short projects, exercises or excursions. The book is divided into four sections—mind, body, soul and funny bone—with twenty-five activities in each. The perfect get-together companion, Drink Wine and Giggle uses the power of girlfriends to inspire women to get the life they deserve. Buy here.


Empowered Women Empowered Women of Social Media

Empowered Women of Social Media - This book is perfect for the woman who is looking to find her VOICE. Finding ones voice means a deep self-discovery of life at its core. Read about women who have used Facebook, Google and Twitter to get support while they were going through breast cancer, midlife crisis and depression. Many women used social media to find their business path and create successful companies. Empowered Women of Social Media is a timeless collection of first time stories written by first time authors. Finding their voice meant writing their story, transcending pain and transforming their life. This book is for you if you are a woman who has been muted from abuse and violence, scared into silence from childhood trauma, or was simply raised to be seen not heard. A great gift. Buy here.

Laurie Dupar

Inspirational Ways to Succeed with ADHD - 
Laurie Dupar

The fourth book in the best-selling ADHD Awareness Book Project series, Inspirational Ways to Succeed with ADHD: Real Life Stories and Strategies to Help You Thrive with ADHD is a one-of-a-kind informative and inspirational resource for people with ADHD containing over 100 strategies and stories to empower, enlighten, educate and entertain. Laurie Dupar of Coaching for ADHD asked 40 ADHD experts: “What is your best strategy or story to help people succeed?”Within these pages is that one tip, strategy, resource or story that is the answer or inspiration to help you succeed with ADHD! Buy here.


Find Your Self-Culture - Victoria Lorient-Faibish

Find Your “Self-Culture” takes you on a journey of case studies, exercises and teachings from Victoria Lorient-Faibish’s twenty years of working with clients in her busy practice as a Relationship Expert and Holistic Psychotherapist . Learn to move beyond depression and anxiety, rewire your brain towards profound joy and transform your inner bully into a supportive coach. Learn also how to set healthy boundaries while healing the hurt child within and moving past shame, anger and guilt. This empowering book will facilitate you breaking the cycle of family dysfunction and setting you on the path of self acceptance. Buy here.

New Mom's

10 months

It's Really 10 Months? - Natalie Guenter, Kim Schenkelberg and Celeste Snodgrass.

No one ever tells you about all of the crap that happens to you when you’re pregnant. We are three thirty-something women who were fortunate enough to be pregnant at the same time. We began sharing our questions, fears, humor, and experiences through emails, which became a lifeline and virtual support group. We are here to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of our experiences. This book is for anyone who wants to have fun, who wants to laugh, who wants to know what it is like to be afraid for your baby, who doesn’t mind poking fun at herself, who can lay it all out there. Even if you never have any intention of being pregnant, you can laugh with us – or at us. Perfect for the mamma to be that can be bought directly from Amazon. Buy here.

Motherhood - JC Little

This is the universal story of motherhood, from the gentle moment of birth to the inevitable letting go. In the playful and poignant simplicity that is her signature style, JC Little has captured the tender bond between mother and child. Motherhood is a timeless picture-book for mothers, sons and daughters of all ages. Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Buy here. 


Greenmama: Giving your child a healthy start and a greener future - Manda Aufochs Gillespie

What are the most pressing problems facing new parents today? As the world has gotten increasingly complicated, so has parenting. Manda Aufochs Gillespie, The Green Mama, brings 20 years of green consulting, research, and lots of humour to a variety of topics that affect the health and well-being of our children. You’ll find help getting back to the basics at a time when the “basics” are being redefined: clean air, nutritious food, simple play, healthy indoor and outdoor environments, and less stuff.

The Green Mama helps parents become what they were always meant to be: experts on the care of their own children.

[Green Mama] is a how-to book, but it’s also a manifesto of sorts: a manifesto declaring that no corporation or manufacturer is the boss of you, and that you have more control over the development of your family than an advertise-and-buy economy would have you believe." —Jordan Yerman, Vancouver Observer.

A great gift for a new family! Buy here

Children, Tween and Teens


 PickleWeasel Picture Riddles
 - JC Little

There are 101 tricky PickleWeasel Picture Riddles to have fun figuring out. Some of the words are easy and some are more of a challenge, with clues in every picture. You can "hide" and "reveal" the answers with your very own thumbs, and the words are inverted, for those who pride themselves on their upside-down reading skills.
Story artist JCLittle has created a wacky, zany, super-fabulous and slightly educational collection of PickleWeasels for kids 8 - 12.
Bonus: Flip the corners of the book to see a little animation, just for laffs. PickleWeasel is a jaunty fellow! Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle - Buy here. 

Magelica 1

Magelica's Voyage - Louise Courey Nadeau

A Magical Fairy Tale about Believing in Yourself, Love and Positivity. The Perfect Gift for Children This Holiday!
Who ever heard of a girl being hatched from an egg the color of sapphires? Magelica doesn’t know where she came from or who she really is. But when she is transported to the Isle of Dreams in a flying bathtub, she launches into an exciting adventure of discovery. Come fly with Magelica and discover for yourself the power of imagination, positivity, believing in yourself and love! This first book is part of a trilogy that with touch not only a child’s heart but everyone who reads it.
Magelica's Gift set includes the beautiful Magelica storybook, and magical feather necklace making it the perfect gift for a child ages 5 -11. Wear the feathers together or share a feather with a best friend. Available in French, English and Spanish. Buy here.

Janie Emaus

Mercury in Retro Love -
Janie Emaus

A story about crushes, conflicts and astrological PMS.
When fifteen-year-old, Emma Siegel lays eyes on hottie Evan Randolph, she knows he is the boy for her. Using her school newspaper column, Emmastrology, she deliberately and craftily manipulates the end of his present relationship, and sets herself up to be his new girlfriend. Unfortunately, Emma does not predict the mess she gets herself into.
MERCURY IN RETRO LOVE follows Emma on her journey toward self-awareness. Her unflinching belief in astrology sets up more than a few roadblocks and threatens to derail her friendships with her best friends in the whole world. Available on Amazon. Buy here.

the snowman

The Last Snowman
 - JC Little

“This afternoon it snowed. It was probably one of the last snows of the winter, so it was lovely sticky snow…perfect for making a snowman.” So begins the funny and poignant tale of a teenage girl and a dangerously tall snowman.
The LAST Snowman is a book with timeless appeal for children and adults alike. Award-winning story artist JC Little has playfully captured a tender “moment” in family life, marking the ephemeral grace between childhood and adolescence. Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, and hardcover direct from the author. Buy here.

Can't decide? Buy the Netflix of Books

E-Go books

UNIQUE Gift for Book Lovers! The e-GO! Library is today’s Top 1,000 Indie eBooks, picked by 5 million avid readers, PLUS 250 Bonus Classics – all on preloaded & portable USB drive. Fiction & non-fiction titles span all genres.

No WiFi or Internet required. Saves downloading time. Holds 3 file formats PDF, Kindle (PRC) and EPUB for Kindle, Nook, iPad, laptop, computer, tablet, and or smartphones too. Works with all devices to enjoy anywhere, anytime! This great gift idea puts 1,250 books in anyone’s pocket. Help them escape boring reading. Find the Best Sellers of tomorrow and discover the undiscovered today. Check out their website here.

From our bookshelf to yours...Have a wonderful holiday season!

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