Get my App

Android app on Google Play

Link to Me

Save the badge above and link to www://

Blog Archive

Most Popular Posts

Featured on Buck Books

Monday, September 30, 2013

How to change a blue Monday to a super Monday

Woman excited to be going to work

Why do we hear about Blue Monday?

  • What adventure may lie ahead?

How do you start YOUR work week?


  • Set your alarm 30 minutes early 
  • Get to work 30 minutes early
  • Forward your office phone
  • Review last week's notes
  • Plan your day
  • Check your calendar
  • What three goals do you have for the week?
  • Do something early
  • Attack that email
  • Clean up your desk
  • Prepare for the day, plan that meeting, gather supplies
  • Better yet, prepare for the week
  • Smile and enjoy your cup of coffee or orange juice
  • Attitude is everything. Put on a positive attitude and go kick a**!!!
  • Try this forward thinking to plan the rest of your week, too

You can take a walk at lunchtime

Don't forget to pack a healthy lunch

Sit on a park bench when the weather permits

Feed the pigeons

Come back to the office refreshed

If you work at home, get out, take a break

How do YOU change a blue Monday

To a super Monday??? Let's hear from all those enthusiastic workers out there.

Enjoy the video - Monday Monday from the 1960s by the Mamas and Papas 



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Four Reasons I Love Sundays

Yummy cinnamon bun

1. Sunday Brunch

Lots of places to go for brunch on weekends in Edmonton, just Google them or try the major restaurants, they have excellent selections. Or try the SugarBowl, near the University of Alberta campus. The SugarBowl opened its doors in the 1940s with the "best cinnamon buns in the world," as well as excellent burgers and fries. I quote from their webpage:

Over the last 5 years SugarBowl has evolved further into one of Edmonton's premier modern comfort restaurants, offering a full menu, a variety of Belgian and import beers as well as an extensive wine list. Our service includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch and, although our menu has grown to include items like Pepper Braised Lamb and Autumn Harvest Burger, we still offer the best cinnamon buns in the world.

2. Yoga in the morning at Lion's Breath Yoga

Woman practicing yoga on seaside by ocean

For seventeen dollars drop-in, Lion's Breath Yoga on trendy 124 Street and 105 Avenue offers hatha yoga on Sunday mornings at 9:15 am. They used to offer this great workout for the price of a Food Bank donation but finances dictated they must charge for this relaxing yet invigorating way to start the day and end the week on a high note. More yoga classes and kettlebell also offered later in the day.

3. A church of my choice

Until recently I attended an evangelical church on Edmonton's south side but became disillusioned with the small congregation and its problems. I attended RCIA at St. Joseph's Basilica for six months but again this wasn't right for me, and I questioned some of the beliefs and behaviors held dear by the Catholic church and the people who attended RCIA with me.
Figure on a cross with Roman soldiers

I now am a free spirit and sort of like it that way. I am a Christian who believes in universal salvation and the spirit of the law not the letter of the law. Like Jesus.

This church has evolved through eight years since my experience with the original evangelical church from which it has slowly emerged. My understanding is that presently they meet in a house which they have purchased and sometimes they have services in Rundle Park. They have two ministers who have excellent stories to tell, and the congregation seems sincere and open. 

4. A Run Sunday Mornings with the Running Room

The Running Room offers a FREE group running class every Sunday morning from their 109 Street location. As I've registered for a running clinic in late October, I'll be running on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings with the 109 Street Running Room group if all goes according to plan. You know what Robbie Burns said about the best laid plans of mice and men, though...I hope to become a runner with this group. Wish me luck.
Man running by seashore

I've met John Stanton, founder of the Running Room, and he signed my copies of his books, Walking and Running. Meeting him was a thrill of a lifetime and I hope to run in the same group some day.

My running shoes

Those are only four of the reasons I love Sundays. It's the end of an old week and for me, the beginning of a new week, with all its surprises and adventures. Often a time for visiting friends and family, Sunday is a favorite with many of the "old skool" like myself.

Traditionally, it's a day of rest. Now one may shop or attend a movie matinee, a play, or concert/symphony on Sundays, and do this perhaps at a savings over the rest of the week.

Also, Sundays are quieter and traffic is less severe. No parties or pubs letting out late on Sunday, business aren't generally open, and my workload is less. 

That may be one reason why some don't like IS a time of rest, of family dinners, and summer picnics, outdoor skating in the wintertime, and much more.

Next week I'll blog on four reasons I love Saturdays!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Walls and Bridges

We all build walls and then we build bridges. Why build walls at all?

Yoko Ono left John Lennon for 18 months and encouraged him to move to New York with another woman.

He did.

He later referred to those 18 months as "the lost weekend."

During that time he released his 1974 album "Walls and Bridges." Released in September 1974 in the USA and on October 4, 1974 in the UK.

What walls do you build and why? To protect you from other people, or to protect yourself from within?

Do you build bridges to connect with people?

Read DISCOVERY: A Collection of Poetry.

Those are the walls I built, and the bridges.

Let me know your thoughts, please, kind readers. It's available on Amazon worldwide, and selected bookstores.

THE INSANITY MACHINE, my nonfiction adventure with schizophrenia, co-authored by Austin Mardon, PhD, CM is also available on Amazon worldwide, and in selected Chapters bookstores here in Edmonton.

SPACEHIVE is available through Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, as well as libraries and selected Chapters bookstores.

Ask for them in your local bookstore or library, and please get them ordered in.

BIGFOOT BOY: Lost on Earth will be released October 30, 2013 by Mockingbird Lane Press. Look for it then!

You'll love the walls and bridges I wrote about.

Love you.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


"I want you both to know I love you very much." The man sat hunched beside his sister and mother, with the news of the terminal illness which would take his life within a few weeks.


Somewhere in the darkness his father waited, dead for 41 years, long and difficult years for Steve without a father. Difficult years for the growing boy, whose mother in the past was an alcoholic and mentally ill, and whose stepfather abused him emotionally and physically. Happiness eventually trickled up from high school friends, work friends, school, work, play, and family. He loved to sit in his boxers after work and be a geek. He loved robots, video games, expert tunes on his guitar, computers, and reading.

The robot was a kindly automaton, patient as death for the crossover between worlds. Its eyes glowed in the black outside the open curtains where Steve lay in pain, the cancer snaking throughout his entire body from the original source.

"We were made for each other," the robot said, and spread its arms. Steve stepped into the void between them, which was kindlier than the world, full of stars and darkness—he took a breath then did not take another one, and was gone.

His sister had waited for the last day of summer. He had waited, too. The night closed on a light snuffed out and a little bit of love gone from the world.

Our memories keep him alive, but the apocalypse came—as inevitably, for all of us, it will.

   ***September 21, 2012***

 "Take it to the Limit" - The Eagles1976

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Diet for Christians

A friend sent me a suggestion for a dieting plan taken from the Christian Bible. It's called Flowers over the Wall. I've started reading it and it's a bit dry, not detailed enough in terms of the diet, but more of a philosophy.

It might hit the target for some people, though, to change our way of thinking. It's a free download from Smashwords and also available on Amazon for a price.

Here it is and a little video about the writing of it:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Grapes of Wrath

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings The Battle Hymn of the Republic.


The American Civil War. Does anyone really win a civil war?

See my infographic a few days ago. Sobering and sad.

More lives lost than any other American war, including WWII, the Vietnam war, the Korean War, Iraq/Afghanistan, and of course, 1812, when the British set fire to the White House! The latter isn't even mentioned in most histories, at least not accurately.

The War of 1812

We in Canada and Europe refer to Napoleon's siege of Moscow as the War of 1812.

The Russians retreated and burned their villages, livestock, and gardens behind them, leaving nothing for Napoleon and his soldiers to live on during the harsh winter that followed.

Very smart and risky, winner takes all. It's said the brutal Russian winter defeated Napoleon.

The Confederates and the Union

What, then, of the Confederates and the Union? Brother fighting brother...Virgil Caine is my name...

Those American history buffs and native Americans know much more of American history than I, but two Canadian authors, Alison Bruce and Kat Flannery, have brought it alive.

Read about a fictional Civil War Christmas love story here:

 War is hell.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Space Duct Tape and the Search for Ron

Space and its denizens intrigue me, how they spend their time and so forth.

Here's the search for Ron.


How would you feel if you were an astronaut on the ISS and one of your friends was missing?

Here's the sequel, Space Station Blues. Like it? Please comment.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Kenna: Hello, Alison, and welcome. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer. I'm curious, too, whether you are American in your ancestry or background, or how you came to be so knowledgeable about and intrigued by the American Civil War? 

Alison: Thanks for having me on your blog, Kenna. I am Canadian, born and bred. My mother was English. The closest I come to American ancestry is having Empire Loyalists in the family on my father’s maternal side. On his paternal side, the Bruces go back to Scotland via Ireland. My interest in the Civil War goes back to the 1985 mini series North and South which came out around the time I was taking an honours level American History course at university. Nothing like comparing notes between fact and fiction.

Not long after, Ken Burns’ Civil War came out on PBS. I went back to that documentary when I was researching HAZARDOUS UNIONS.

Kenna: How has your degree in History/Philosophy helped you to craft your genres of mystery and historical romance? What is your favourite time in history and why?

Alison: I think the three most important things I learned at university were how to think critically, how to research, and how to write to the point. Sometimes I still waver on that last one. All of those skills come in handy writing fiction. For instance, my American history course focussed on the Industrial Revolution up to the end of the nineteenth century. What I studied about the Civil War, at the time, was looked at from that specific angle. So, I knew that north versus south had more to do with industrial wealth versus land-based aristocracy than whether or not blacks should be citizens. To get the background information I needed for HAZARDOUS UNIONS, I had to look at social history as well as political and economic history.

Fortunately, there is a wealth of information on the topic from academic works to collections of personal letters and journals.

It’s not my favourite period of history, but it’s an important one, especially if you write historical westerns. I’m not sure I have a favourite period on history.

Kenna: Do you have a favourite of your stories or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?

Alison: My favourite story is the one I’m working on. That pretty much goes for characters too, but I have to admit that Kate Garrett in DEADLY LEGACY has a special place in my heart because I named my daughter after her. But don’t tell Marly from UNDER A TEXAS STAR or Maggie from HAZARDOUS UNIONS.

It’s interesting you ask about actors. Because we were writing about twins, Kat Flannery and I had to have a common vision of what Maggie and Matty would look like. We decided to cast the character and came up with actual twins, Hilary and Haylie Duff. This gave us a common reference for physical descriptions. I decided to cast other characters in my story. You can see some of them on my Pinterest Dream Cast board. I cast Supernatural lead, Jensen Ackles, as Maggie’s love interest, Captain Seth Stone.

Kenna: Which authors did you read when you were younger and did they shape you as a writer?

Alison: The two biggies are Georgette Heyer and Louis L’Amour. I was introduced to both in my early teens and their books still have a place of honour on my bedroom bookshelf. I also grew up reading golden age mystery authors like Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Rex Stout.

Georgette Heyer, in particular, influenced my approach to historical romance. Her books were well-researched and her characters were true to the period they were set. Her heroines were strong but not anachronistic. When there was a mystery, she played fair.

Kenna: Do you manage to write every day, and do you plot your stories or just get an idea and run with it?

Alison: I write most days but sometimes it’s this kind of writing or writing for a client. I’m project oriented so when I’m working on something–whether it’s a book or blog or contract writing–I focus my creative energies there.

When I’m working on a book, everything non-essential goes by the wayside. The kids cook meals, the house gets messy and I have to be reminded to go to bed.

Kenna: What are you working on next?

Alison:  As soon as HAZARDOUS UNIONS is launched, I have to focus on editing MEN IN UNIFORM for Lachesis Publishing. I’m expecting to see that book out in 2014, but I haven’t got a date yet. After that, I have DEADLY SEASON for Imajin Books, continuing the Carmedy and Garrett story started in DEADLY LEGACY.

Kenna: Where can we find out about you and your writing?

Alison: My books and latest goings on can be found on my blog: You can also find out about my books and business at I’m active on Facebook and have an author page: And my twitter handle is @alisonebruce. Don’t forget the “e” or you’ll get the Alison Bruce who is a mystery author in England… or possibly the librarian in Scotland.

Kenna: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Alison: Only to say thank you for this interview. I hope you enjoy HAZARDOUS UNIONS and if you do, please let me know.

Kenna: If you would like to include a short synopsis of your latest novella, Maggie, or Hazardous Unions, here, feel free (see below).
Book cover of Hazardous Unions, a Civil War Christmas

Twin sisters separated by war, bound by love…

After the death of their father, twin sisters Maggie and Matty Becker are forced to take positions with officers’ families at a nearby fort. When the southern states secede, the twins are separated, and they find themselves on opposite sides of America’s bloodiest war.

In the south, Maggie travels with the Hamiltons to Bellevue, a plantation in west Tennessee. When Major Hamilton is captured, it is up to Maggie to hold things together and deal with the Union cavalry troop that winters at Bellevue. Racism, politics and a matchmaking stepmother test Maggie’s resourcefulness as she fights for Bellevue, a wounded Confederate officer and the affections of the Union commander.

In the north, Matty discovers an incriminating letter in General Worthington’s office, and soon she is on the run. With no one to turn to for help, she drugs the wealthy Colonel Cole Black and marries him, in hopes of getting the letter to his father, the governor of Michigan. But Cole is not happy about being married, and Matty’s life becomes all about survival.

Two unforgettable stories of courage, strength and honor

Kenna: If you would like to include a self-contained excerpt of your writing please add it here.

Maggie by Alison Bruce

Fall 1862.

The Yankees were coming.
We'd seen the signs days ago. News was, most of west Tennessee had fallen under Union control. Thaddeus scouted them out while hunting rabbits in the brush that bordered the plantation's cotton fields. We'd prepared as best we could as fast as we could, and now I was waiting for them on the front veranda of Bellevue.
"Why me?"
"Someone has to meet them, Miss Maggie," Mammy said, setting out tea things as if the neighbors were coming to call. "Mrs. Hamilton hasn't got your nerve and Miss Patience wouldn't be a lick of good even if she would come downstairs."
"I'm just a servant," I objected half-heartedly.
"Yeah, like Tad here is just a dumb nigger." Mammy cocked her head to one side and a moment later I heard the faint but shrill whistle of the kettle. She smoothed the skirt of her greying white pinny over her faded grey dress. Eventually, the two garments were going to match. "Watch out for her, boy," she said, before heading around the corner of the wraparound porch toward the kitchen door.
Only Mammy could get away with calling Thaddeus "boy" or "nigger" without coming under the resolute stare of a man who looked like he could have been carved out of a huge block of obsidian. Mammy was his aunt and had raised him, along with Major Hamilton, from nursery age. The boys had been more like brothers than master and slave, Mammy said, until Master Ned was sent off to West Point to be made an officer and a gentleman. It was hard for me to reconcile her picture of Master Ned with the aloof man who had employed me to take care of his wife.
I was barely sixteen when I was hired by the Captain, now Major Hamilton. Some days I felt that I was twice that age now, instead of just a couple of years older. Today, watching the Union contingent approach, I felt like that frightened girl again. I took small comfort in the pair of pistols hidden in the pockets of my crinoline. Knowing that Thaddeus was watching over me from the shadows, armed to the teeth, was more reassuring.
Half a dozen hard looking men approached the house. Four of them spread out, some facing us, some partly turned to keep an eye on the out buildings. Two of them rode up the path towards the porch. I felt like I was being ringed in by a pack of hungry wolves. The leader of the pack rode up to the bottom of the front steps.
Wolfish was a description that fit him. Hard muscled, wary eyes, shaggy dark hair spiking out from his cap, he looked old with experience and young in years. His uniform had seen better days and his beard was untrimmed, but it appeared that he had made some effort to clean up before approaching the house. That was a good sign.
I had also made an effort for appearances sake. Instead of my usual long braid, I had twisted my blonde hair into knot and allowed tendrils to fall free on either side of my face. I was wearing one of the calico dresses Mrs. Hamilton bought me in St. Louis. She wanted to make it clear that I was no mere servant any more. I was using it today for similar reasons.
"Afternoon, ma'am. I'm Captain Seth Stone. I have a cavalry troop under my command that needs to set up quarters for the winter."
"I see." My voice was steady, but I could feel my knees wobble beneath my skirts. "And?"
"And this looks like a good place to stay."
"How many are you expecting us to accommodate?"
I heard a chuckle from one of his men. It was stifled with a sharp look from the grim-faced sergeant behind the captain.
"Not so many as there should be," the Captain said, ignoring the interruption. "If you'd oblige me by asking your man to lay down his arms, maybe we can discuss terms."
Gott hilf mir,” I prayed, but held my ground. "You have your protectors, Captain. I have mine."
With a hand gesture, he signaled his men and they all dismounted as neatly as if they were on parade. Then he dismounted and held out his reins to the sergeant.
"Thaddeus, would you lead these troopers and their horses to water?"
Thaddeus stepped out of the shadows, empty handed. "Yes, miss."
The two men passed on the stairs. Thaddeus was significantly taller and broader than the Union officer and was doing his best guard dog imitation, but the Captain didn't flinch when they passed. He did keep his eye on Thaddeus until he was in the range of his own men. Then he turned his attention back to me and I lifted my head up to make eye-contact. He may not have been as tall as Thaddeus, but he was not a small man and I am on the short side for a woman.
Having asserted his dominance, he backed up a step.
"I understand this is the Hamilton home. Are you Mrs. Hamilton?"
"No, sir. I am Magrethe Becker, Mrs. Hamilton's companion."
His eyes widened. "Maybe I should be speaking to the lady of the house."
"Mrs. Hamilton is indisposed and asked me to..." I stopped, looking for the right word. Meet with him? That sounded too friendly. Deal with him? Almost rude. "Negotiate terms with you."
He let out a short bark of laughter.
"My terms are simple, Miss Becker. I need to winter seventy men and three officers, plus myself. It'll be tight, but this place looks like it has enough room with the house and out buildings. We'll need food and fodder of course. You can either offer, or I will take."
I shook my head. "No."
He barked out a longer laugh. "What makes you think you're in the position to say no?"
"Twelve wounded union soldiers in our care, Captain Stone."

Author bio:
Alison Bruce and her wonderful reflective gaze

Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, suspense and historical romance novels.