Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sayings by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

Sayings by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

Be Careful What You Wish For is an old saying with an ominous warning to it and Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining is also an old saying but it has an upbeat tone to it. Both of them apply to my story.
Be Careful What You Wish For

For years women who had had breast cancer surgery were told not to use their arms for any strenuous activity for fear of causing lymphedema, a build up of fluid in the arm. Don McKenzie, a Canadian sports medicine specialist at the University of British Columbia, opposed this idea. In 1996, he formed a dragon boat team composed of  24 women with a history of breast cancer in Vancouver, B.C. They called themselves Abreast in a Boat. And they proved that strenuous exercise was good for their arms and for their overall health.
A few years later, they entered in the Vancouver dragon boat festival and I saw them on the television news. I had never heard of dragon boating before and I said to my husband. "That looks like fun. I'd like to try dragon boating sometime."
In January of 2001, I was doing a breast self examination and found a small lump. My annual mammogram at the Breast Centre in Edmonton was scheduled for February but I called the centre and told them my news. They booked me an appointment in two days. Although no one said the C word, after the questions, the mammogram, and the ultrasound, I was pretty sure it was cancer. Then I was told that I needed a biopsy and that it could be scheduled for the next week. However, they added "We have an opening in the next hour and we can do it today." I knew for sure it was cancer.
At my pre-op session a woman came in to tell me about a group of women living with cancer or who had had breast cancer that met every month for coffee and to offer support. I asked her if she knew of a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team in the city. She found the contact information for Breast Friends for me and two weeks after my surgery I joined the team. I wasn't allowed to get in the boat until three months after my last radiation treatment so I didn't get to actually paddle until 2002. Each summer we attended dragon boat festivals in Alberta and British Columbia.
When I moved to Vancouver Island in the fall of 2004, I joined Angels Abreast in Nanaimo. We went to festivals up and down the island and in Vancouver.

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining
In 2006, an international breast cancer dragon boat festival was held in Vancouver to celebrate the ten year anniversary. Besides the Canadian teams, teams came from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Italy, and Asia. It was great to walk through the paddler's village and meet fellow survivors from around the world.
In Sept. 2007, an international breast cancer festival was held in Caloundra, Queensland, Australia, and Angels Abreast went to that. What a wonderful time we had. The residents were friendly, the venue was excellent, and the hosts did a great job of organizing. The 100 teams of twenty-four paddlers, steersperson, and drummer paraded through the streets dressed in pink, and many people yelled "Canada" or honked their horns when they saw our Canadian flag hanging from our balconies. The festival lasted three days and again I met many special women. After the festival some of us toured around Queensland and New South Wales. Even with my fear of heights, I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. From there we flew to Fiji for a week.
A year and a half ago my team received a notice that the next international festival was going to be held in Sarasota, Florida, October 24, 25, 26, 2014, and we decided to attend. The other members were going to fly down, tour around some of the sites and head home. I wanted more than that, so my husband, Mike, and I decided to do a three month tour of the U.S. Since I needed to be in Sarasota by October 22 to practice with the team, we picked Sept. 18 (later changed to Sept. 23) as our leaving date and Dec. 16 as our return date. I applied for and was given three months off work.
Mike had had back surgery on Dec. 17, 2013, but we were assured that he should be healed in time to go. However, that has not been the case. His back hasn't healed properly and he is in constant pain. It took a lot of thought and discussion whether he should accompany me because he tired so quickly. But we decided he would be in pain if he stayed home or if he came with me so he finally decided to come. We found a motorhome and are now bringing our four cats. (my daughter suggested a title for my next book: The Crazy Cat Lady On Tour)
Since my diagnosis I have met so many strong, caring, fun-loving women plus I have visited some wonderful places. I am looking forward to doing the same this year and many years to come, a silver lining to my cloud.

Books of The Travelling Detective Series boxed set:
Illegally Dead
The Only Shadow In The House
Whistler's Murder

Friday, September 12, 2014


What defines you as a successful writer?  Do you have to write a number of books . . . say over twenty, maybe over a hundred?  Does it mean you’re writing for a traditional publisher?  Could you be writing for an eBook publisher?

You see ‘success’ is something different for each of us.  I just finished my sixteenth book with Books We Love!  Yep, I’m proud of it . . . and I feel very successful.  I remember when I just wanted to see my name on the cover of ‘a book.’  Now I have sixteen books with my name on them!

Success is your goal.  If your goal is to write twenty book in your lifetime – I’ll bet you won’t feel successful until you type ‘the end’ on that twentieth book.

I actually believe it’s difficult for writers to define or measure success because we are only as good as our next book.

Success is how you measure it . . . what it means to you.  It could be one book or more, it could mean a guest spot on TV or radio, it could mean your first book signing at a popular book store, or it could mean being asked to be a presenter at a writer’s convention. 
For me it didn’t happen until a Blackfeet woman, who bought my book, Whispering Sun, asked if I’d be willing to have my picture taken with her and the book.  See – for each of us that feeling of success is something different.   I’m always humbled and touched when I receive a ‘fan’ email or letter.  The reader took the time and effort to reach out and compliment my book!  That feeling of happiness and pride I call success.

How about you?  When did you feel successful?  Tell me . . . I’d like to hear it . . . it’s fun to relive and share our successes.  J
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Karla Stover Takes On Movies vs. Books


Ghost Stories:

The Uninvited, based on Dorothy Macardle’s book, Uneasy Freehold. Both are really good. TCM likes the movie, too. I prefer the book, but only because it’s longer.
            The Haunting, based on Shirley Jackson’s book, The Haunting of Hill House. Again, prefer the book.
The Woman in Black, based on the same named book by Susan Hill. The book had a better ending.
Twilight, based on Stephenie Meyer’s book of the same name. Neither encouraged me to read or watch beyond the first one.

Love Stories:

Doctor Zhivago, based on Boris Pasternak’s book of the same name. I struggled with the book but love the movie.

Gone With the Wind, based on Margaret Mitchel’s book of the same name. Love them equally.

Musicales and Comedies:

Meet Me in St. Louis, based on by Sally Benson’s book of the same name. I love the book but the movie has a joyousness the book lacks, not that it’s gloomy, just different.
            Our Hearts Were Young and Gay based on Cornelia Otis Skinner’s book of the same name. Both are delightful.
            Cheaper By the Dozen, based on Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey’s book of the same name. The book is a hoot but the movie skimped on everything that happened to the family in this combination biography/memoir.
            The Egg and I, by Betty MacDonald’s book of the same name. I regularly reread this just for the laughs. This is where Ma and Pa Kettle came from. They were real people. The movie was a big hit but I thought it was so-so.


            The Jewel in the Crown, based on Paul Scott’s book, The Raj Quartet. The movie was on Masterpiece Theater and I loved it so much I bought a copy. I started the book once, but got bogged down, will have to try again.
            Rebecca, based on Daphne duMaurier’s book of the same name. Really like them both.
            Nicholas and Alexandra based on Robert K. Massie’s book of the same name. I’m a nut about Russian history and loved the book, but there was too much history in the book to be covered in a movie.
            Winter’s Bone, based on Daniel Woodrell’s book of the same name. I really liked them both, but the movie had Marideth Sisco singing—what a plus.

Obviously, this is a very incomplete list and, just as obviously, most of the books are older. I don’t read anything that might appear on the Hallmark channel or the list would be longer, and so many current movies are all about special effects or are from young adult books. Producers aren’t looking for what I read. Nevertheless, I always stay through the credits, just in case.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Picture Perfect Selfies - by Cheryl Wright

Every year my long-time writing group has an annual retreat.

We work hard, with lots of workshops and critiquing being held throughout the weekend. But there is also some time available for socializing, getting to know each other better, partying, and selfies!

I'm not photogenic - never have been - and hate having my photo taken, but still my friends come up and snap selfies with me in them. (Insert sad face here.)

So when I saw this stamp set from Art Impressions, I just had to have it! It is totally representative of my friends, both at retreat and at our regular meetings.

Instead of using Copics this time, I decided to watercolor this image. It's been quite a while since I did any watercoloring, and I can see I need some practice!

Before I close, I want to let you know that my romantic suspense novel, Running Scared, is on sale for just 99 cents. Go here to check it out! 

 Thanks for stopping by. Til next time,


My website: 

Make sure you join my Facebook page as I run regular giveaways for followers!

Titillating preview by J.C. Kavanagh

WINNER Best Young Adult Book 2016, The Twisted Climb I've been prepping for Autumn book signings and excited to meet new and...