Being on set every day last week was only part of what made it awesome. I played a high school student, a cop, a bookstore patron then wrote my book in holding without ever being brought to set on the fourth day. Not a single one of them lasted the full 8 hours, so I made it to Jiu-Jitsu on Tuesday and Wednesday, got a whole bunch of writing done and had supper with my parents. Their visit was the other thing that made this week so much fun.
My parents drove to Toronto on Friday to hang out with me, so we had supper before I asked my dad to check out my car because I felt like one of the tires was low. Turns out it was completely flat with a nail sticking in it, so we (okay, he) replaced it with the spare so I could drive home.
On Saturday we stopped on our way to a celebratory lunch so I could attend a Go-See. I had never been to one before, but here is my assessment. When a show needs a lot of background or stunt people, they hold a go-see, where everyone who fits their broad categories will come and either hand in their resume (for stunts or dancers and such) or get their picture and measurements taken (as I did). I got a star in the corner of my sheet, so I think I’m good.
I want to mention that although right now I am focusing a lot on the writing and taking a lot of background work, I have not given up on the acting dream.
Lunch was fun and delicious, at Glenn Abbey golf course, then we went back to Toronto and I dropped my car off at Canadian Tire. I just had time to walk home before my parents came to pick us up for supper at my boyfriend’s parents’. It was their first time meeting each other (my parents and his) and I think it went fabulous. We had so much delicious food, excellent company, and only a few embarrassing stories.
On Sunday I tried to get some writing done before we went for brunch at Mars Diner. It was too loud for us to hear the music, but the food was yummy as always 🙂 We got my car and I drove back to Montreal with my parents and got to see an almost-finished version of get-together, which is looking amazing. I am so proud of what we have accomplished with this project, and can’t wait to share it with the world. Or work on the next one 😉
“Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.”
On Monday I had a meeting with the cardiologist, to try and figure out why I fainted. I did a stress test first, where I had to walk on the treadmill at increasing speeds and inclinations while they measured my heart rate. Then I got hooked up to a holter heart monitor that I got to keep with me for the next 72 hours. The holter monitor wasn’t so bad, it just kind of felt like I was wearing a purse 24/7. I kept reaching to take it off and remembering it wasn’t a satchel, it was my heart monitor. The worst part was definitely the stickers. The stress test involved disinfecting my skin, then scratching it with sandpaper before applying a multitude of electrodes that were taped on. For the holter, I needed a complete different set, so after ripping those off my skin, we repeated the process. As in rub alcohol onto the skin that had been scratched and torn, then scratch again and tape some more. As I write this post, 4 days after I returned the equipment, my chest still has marks and scabs on it.
Once I had the holter monitor, I drove to Montreal, where I met up with a friend and his girlfriend for ice cream. He’s the uber talented author/designer of my book cover, so we spent an hour or so walking around and talking about books and publishing, which was awesome. I got home and finished the last of my masterclasses before going to bed.
On Tuesday I was babysitting my niece, so I went to get her and hung out with her sisters for a bit before spending the day at my house with a new family member. She is the easiest baby, but I still realized how much harder even the simplest tasks become. Sure, I could strap her into her bouncy seat, but if she sits up enough, she can flip it over and get around. Cooking lunch, folding laundry, going to the washroom…everything had a new difficulty level. I’m not saying this to discourage anyone, but can we all appreciate how awesome parents are? They do all the adulting we do, but with a tiny human who is constantly demanding and requiring their attention.
Tuesday evening I went shooting with my dad and brother, then out for supper for Sam’s birthday. Siam was delicious, but the service took absolutely forever. Luckily, I had really good company so I didn’t mind.
On Wednesday I went on a hike with my mom and aunt, then went home and got some writing done. In the afternoon I hung out with Chelsea, walking around in the rain and having tea, then went to Rikki’s for a delicious supper and some catching up. Sometimes I have trouble justifying the trip to Montreal when I’m not working and there’s no big event, but when I get in this much face time with the people I care about, how can it not be worth it?
I finished off the visit with some American Ninja Warrior with my parents, then headed out very early on Thursday morning. I could have left much later and still delivered the holter monitor on time, but I got to have lunch with my grandmother and her sasters along the way, which I would wake up at any time for.
Thursday night the boyfriend and I went to see Good Boys, which was hilarious. Really well written and fun for…probably not the whole family, but we both enjoyed it.
On Friday I had a late call time, so I got a bunch of writing done, took a nap and showed up in holding at 8:30. When they told me they had no 8:30 call times, they looked at my email and informed me 22:30 is 10:30. Which I knew, I just didn’t think of at the time. I very much regretted not bringing my laptop, but still managed to clarify some plot points and work on writing and admin stuff until my actual call time. They gave me a costume, did my hair and put makeup on, then we went back to the holding I spent hours in and waited a while. I was a passerby, so it was mostly sitting on the stairs and writing, waiting for my cue to walk for 30 seconds, then going back to the stairs to sit and write. We wrapped at 4:30, so I was exhausted, but it was a really easy day as far as working goes.
I slept as much as I could on Saturday before going to the Blue Jays game for some costume work. I brought supper home when I finished and tried to get writing done, but I mostly just typed up what I had written the night before and during breaks.
On Sunday it was another day at the Roger’s Center before spending the evening with the boyfriend’s family for some delicious food and discovering Charlie Chaplin. Me, not them. I know exactly who he is and can tell you exactly what he looked like and was known for, but as far as I know, that was the first time I watched any of his work.
On Labor Day Monday I finally caught up on my word count, and even got ahead. Not to mention, the cover has been ordered. That might be the wrong terminology, but I filled out a form that asked a bunch of questions about what I was looking for in the cover and they should be sending me something within a week or so. I am nervous and excited and can’t wait to see what they came up with.
Once I was far enough over my word count, the boyfriend and I tried another Italian restaurant in our area (I think we’re on a mission to try every single one and find the best pizza and pasta) then hunkered down to watch IT. I hadn’t seen the original or the remake and the sequel is out this week, so we went for it. I was never really afraid, and it bugs me when there’s a villain that can’t really be defeated, but there were definitely moments of great worry for certain characters.
How was your week?
“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
On Friday I was slightly procrastinating with the book writing and cover ordering, so when I got the opportunity to have a masterclass subscription, I decided to go for it. Because I haven’t given up on the acting dream and am interested in producing and directing as well, I had a whole lot of classes to explore. I’ll write a full post on the classes once I have a chance to go through my notes and absorb them, but I am definitely learning a lot and getting inspired, which is often the most beneficial part. I don’t think anyone watches Gordon Ramsay’s masterclass and immediately wins competitions and becomes a Michelin-starred chef. But they might try a new recipe, submit an application, or have the confidence to believe it’s possible.
On Sunday I took most of the day off. I slept in, then the boyfriend took me to Toronto Island, because I had never been, and he said he would show me Toronto. We walked along the harbourfront while we waited to take the ferry across. It wasn’t a long ride, but it is definitely colder up on the upper deck.
Once on the Center Island, we followed the crowds to the little amusement park, which is geared towards children. The lines for each ride were short, but there was a big lineup to get tickets. We opted against rides, but the line probably took less time than the Beaver Tail one that we did join. You can’t go to an Amusement Park without some form of really unhealthy treat, right? Plus, we got bananas and Nutella on it, so we basically got nuts and fruit.
Instead of the rides, we rented bikes and rode around the island. It is really well designed with a lot of paths, and it was nice to just explore. The boyfriend had so much fun he might get a bike for next summer, or come back to Montreal with me to do it again.
It was a really great morning and we are looking forward to going back for some Stand Up Paddle Boarding soon 🙂
We opted for lunch in the city, ended up at a brunch place after walking around for quite some time.
It was mostly back to work when we got home, but it was a perfect Sunday to end a really productive and inspiring weekend!
“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down the rainbow.”
I am loving the pictures everyone is sending me as you receive your copies of Shards of Glass. It really means a lot to me. You guys are the bomb!
I spent any free time this week plotting out my trilogy, writing it, and doing research. People on set think I’m weird, but every time they’re setting up a shot I take out my notebook and write a character description or figure out some backstory.
Whenever I’m in the car, I listen to self-publishing podcasts. While some are informative, most are inspirational. One of them discussed the one thing that sets successful authors/book launches apart. It wasn’t having a huge list, an amazing book, the best cover or any of the things you would think. You could find an exception to every one of those. According to Tim Grahl, “In a successful launch, the author believes that buying their book is actually a good thing for people to do.” Basically, you need to believe that your book is worth buying. It sounds simple, but I recognized myself when he said that some authors see someone buying a copy of their book as doing them a favor. I am so grateful for every one of you who has purchased a copy of my book. Who downloaded a free copy. Who shared my post. Who commented to congratulate me. Who liked it. It’s not that I don’t think my book is good. I poured my heart and soul into it. I just couldn’t imagine people spending their money to read what I wrote. And how can I expect anyone to do that when I treat my book like something they buy for me rather than for themselves?
It goes back to my self-confidence/self-worth issues that I work so hard to get past. I guess this was my first writing venture, so I had to overcome it in this aspect of my life as well. I’m not saying I’m cured, but being aware of it makes a huge difference. And you feel less sales-pitchy when your mindset is “I wrote this awesome book I’m really proud of and I think you would like it” instead of “please do me a favor and buy this book I wrote so other people can know it’s out there”. My marketing was based on people’s relationship to me rather than what the book is about, which is definitely not the way to go.
What does this mean for you? Hopefully less annoying posts from me 😉 I really, truly appreciate every single person who is encouraging me. More than you could possibly know. But I don’t want you to feel like you have to read my book because I wrote it. If it sounds interesting or you want to check it out, please do. It means the world to me. But if fiction or young adult novels are not your thing, there are a million other ways to support indie authors: Like and comment on my posts. Share them with the people you think would actually enjoy the book. Tell people about it.
Acting-wise, one project we were working on has been pushed to the spring, but I’ve been on a few sets for background. One of them was really small and I got to have conversations with the director, who was awesome. He treated everyone with respect, whether you were background or the main actors, and wasn’t above standing in for his actors or spraying wheels with WD-40 so they would stop squeaking. It was also for a Christmas Movie, which is up there on my Bucket List.
“The fundamental difference between someone you trust and someone you don’t is your belief in whether or not they are looking out for your best interest above their own.”
Shards of Glass has been out for a week! I couldn’t be more touched and amazed by all of the wonderful comments and support I have been receiving. I was terrified to put the book out there because only my mom had read it before I decided to go on this publishing journey. Now I have sold way more than the 5 copies I was expecting, and people are actually reading it.
That was the part that scared me the most, because I knew I had family who would get my first book to support me, but I wanted them to like it. I wanted people I didn’t know to get the book and enjoy it, not because I wrote it, but because it’s a good book. I have teared up several times this past week over the beautiful reader responses. Thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed it on amazon and goodreads!
I drove back to Toronto from Montreal and was on set doing background the following days. I also worked on my next book, the first in The Owens Chronicles. It’s a paranormal/fantasy series, and Emily is a few years older than Rachel, but I’m sure you’ll love her too. Research and plotting has been so much fun, but I am excited to be in the actual writing part now, as well as getting cover ideas whenever I need to procrastinate.
That pretty much covers my week. What about yours?
If you have a copy of Shards of Glass, post a picture of yourself with the book or your tablet. I would love to share them. It’s incredible to think that this book started out as an idea in my head. Now it’s something tangible that you can hold…Crazy!
“Follow your dreams. If you have a goal, and you want to achieve it, then work hard and do everything you can to get there, and one day it will come true.”
Shards of Glass launched on Friday and I am amazed at the outpouring of love and support that I have received since then. People I have never met bought the book, my cousin downloaded the kindle app just so he could get my ebook while he waited for the paperback to arrive, a stranger left me the most beautiful 5 star review on amazon…not to mention all of the family, friends and acquaintances (like people who went to school with my parents) who have liked the posts, shared them and actually purchased my book. My face is a constant smile and I don’t see it going away. Ever. I am astounded by the wonderful people that surround me.
The launch was definitely the biggest part of my week, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t keep busy. On Friday and Saturday I got loads of excitement at the WWE’s Summer Slam Meet and Greet, before driving to Montreal. On Sunday I helped out at the launch of Wyngaert Wealth Essentials, which included tables of delicious food, being serenaded by Matt Mardini, crooner extraordinaire, and hanging out with some of my favorite people.
On Monday morning we went on a hike and had lunch before I drove back to Toronto for an early morning call time. Every spare moment was either spent responding to all of the messages of encouragement I have been receiving, or outlining my upcoming trilogy. I put the first book up for pre-order so I could give myself a deadline to clean up my first draft and get it edited, but I want to have my series planned out as much as I can before then so I don’t get to the last book and wish I had done things differently. I also signed up for Cancon in October, which I am really excited about.
Before I go, Shards of Glass will be free to download for one last day (August 13th), so if you wanted to get a copy, or try out a new author, this is your chance to do it at absolutely no cost to you. I hope you enjoy it and would love to hear what you think!
At long last, after first having the idea back in 2003, Shards of Glass is available in paperback as well as ebook. I am so excited to share it with you!
I would love it if you could get a copy, read it and let me know what you think. If you liked it, leave a review on amazon, goodreads or both 😉 If you didn’t, feel free to leave the review as well, but also reach out to me. This is my first novel and I would love to know what I can work on to be better.
Thank you so much for all of your support. It constantly warms my heart and reminds me just how lucky I am. I hope you enjoy the book 🙂
I took the month of July off from Jiu-JItsu because of the whole vasovagal syncope thing. I still got to practice a bit with the 4Points Summer Camps. We did Jiu-Jitsu and Obstacle Courses in the morning, then spent the afternoons acting. Every week of camp, the kids got together to come up with a story idea, write a script, then put it all on camera. Dave is editing the videos and I can’t wait to see how it all turned out.
I spent a few days in Montreal for my cousin Steve’s birthday party and a Baby Shower for my two nephews. Chelsea and Rikki will either be grateful or super annoyed by my semi-constant presence. Hopefully their babies will love me for it.
While I was in town, I also went to a shooting range with famjam, and met with JF for cover designs. Let’s just say I was beyond excited.
Speaking of covers, Johnny finalized the poster for our short, get-together, and it is amazing!
We celebrated the boyfriend’s father’s birthday, but I had to wait a few days to see my dad for his. We were supposed to film the Encounters, but setbacks piled up until we had no choice but to postpone. Luckily, Hubert and I met and got the first steps ready for our next project. He is all about building momentum and I am all for it.
I also had a doctor’s appointment, where we still don’t know what caused the fainting, but she is still looking into it, which is reassuring for me.
I finished the month in Montreal, where I celebrated my niece’s birthday, went hiking, worked for my Uncle, finished my July CampNanowrimo project and researched a trip to Hawai’i!
As for August, I have been fully immersed in preparing for something HUGE that happens tomorrow. Except for the 2 days I spent in the heat dressed as a turtle, but such is the hustle. I am so nervous and excited to share it with you all!
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”
I started writing this post with the intention of publishing it a few weeks ago, but something happened on the morning I was going to finish it that made me reluctant to post it at all. Writing it the way it was planned felt like I was being dishonest, while editing it to include my new circumstance felt like I was looking for attention. But this is where I share my story and get held accountable, so here it goes.
June was a very fun and productive month. I got booked through a stunt coordinator for 2 days of SSE (Special Skills Extra) on a movie. I got to wear a really cool costume while making sure the stunt performer didn’t land on anyone in the crowd. Definitely something I would love to do again.
A problem I was pretty excited to have was that I booked so much work that I had to cut my trip to Montreal short. I spent a day in Quebec with my mom for the Premiere of Deep Web on the 9th, had a fake Father’s Day on the 10th, then drove back to Toronto after little more than 24 hours.
What was supposed to be a couple of days turned into a full week of background work as a high school student. It was long days with a lot of downtime, since they were mostly filming by section, but I was in heaven. I brought my laptop with me and got to finish my 5th Draft of Shards of Glass while we were in holding. There was an entire day where I was only used for 30 minutes, so I was basically paid to write. Whenever we were called to set, I brought some loose pages with me and plotted out a 17 book series. I am so excited for all of the things I will someday get to write! This was probably my most productive week ever.
On the 15th, we had a production meeting for Touched, where we got to explore our filming location. We were incredibly lucky that Hubert’s friend had his house for sale, so we got to film in a multi-million dollar home. Once the Touched meeting was done, I had a coffee date with Steph, our 1st AD. She was also the 1st AD for get-together, but this was my first time sitting down and actually getting to know her. All I can say is that I wish I had done it so much sooner, and can’t wait to spend a lot more time with her.
The 16th was the boyfriend’s birthday, so we did whatever he wanted to do, which included open mat. Not sure if I’ve explained this before, but Open Mat is where a bunch of people practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from different gyms come together and roll with each other. You get to try out your technique on people who weren’t trained exactly like you, learn new things and in my case, roll with people my own size.
On the 17th we met with our business rep at ACTRA and I applied for my permit, which gives me my 2nd of the 3 credits I need to be a full ACTRA member. I spent the next 3 days working as a Brand Ambassador, which was stressful with all of the pre-production stuff going on with Touched. In the future, I would try my best to not book work up to the day before we go to camera on something I am acting in and producing.
I’ll make a separate post all about our 2 days of Touched, but suffice it to say it was an awesome experience that I hope to be repeating soon, and often.
The day after Touched was a day of rest, and to celebrate a year with the boyfriend <3
I did my last day of background on a show I was doing continuity on, had our last TAWC meeting before the summer break, then drove to Montreal.
Once there, I established a routine of Hike, Write, Repeat. I would wake up around 6 in the morning, go for a hike on Mont St-Hilaire with my mom, then spend the day writing/reading my latest draft out loud with my mom to make sure it all sounded good. I can’t thank her enough for the countless hours she spent helping me edit Shards of Glass.
Of course, I also did things like hang out with my grandparents, have a book meeting with JF and watch my niece play soccer, but Hike, Write, Repeat was the routine. I was all set to continue this routine on Friday. I brushed my teeth, got dressed, sort of slipped/mostly caught myself going down the stairs, walked it off, then woke up with my mom trying to shake me awake while crying on the phone with 911.
This wasn’t my first time fainting. It happened like that in May 2012, and I passed out one of my first days as a reader, but that time I woke up as soon as I hit the floor. This time, I had no recollection of crossing the room to where I passed out against the couch, then apparently flung myself backward, slamming the back of my head against the side of a table before convulsing on the ground. Which is how I woke up. All I knew was that I did not like seeing my mom cry like that, so I sat up as best I could, ignored the pain in my head and tried to assure her I was fine and she didn’t have to worry. She ignored me and called an ambulance, who brought me to the hospital. They drew lots of blood, monitored my heart and I totally bombed the neuro exam, but they didn’t seem concerned. Whereas last time this happened, I wasn’t allowed to drive for 2 months while they made sure I wasn’t epileptic, this time I was given the okay to drive 6 hours to Toronto the following day. Not because I was fine, but because they couldn’t figure out a cause. They labeled it a vasovagal syncope, with no actual trigger. They told me it could happen more often now, or never again, they had no idea, but they could mostly guarantee it wouldn’t happen while I was driving. Let’s just say I wasn’t reassured.
My mom would re-enact my episode a lot over the next few days, partially as a distraction from the heartbreaking funeral we were a part of on Saturday, but also to convince herself it wasn’t that big of a deal. Still, she would occasionally look at me and start crying, and she avoided being alone with me again.
On Sunday I convinced her and my dad to go on a hike with me, because I knew that if I didn’t go, they would be nervous and maybe never let me go again. We got caught in a torrential downpour as soon as we reached the top, which I felt really bad for, but it also shows that I have the best parents in the world.
I drove back to Toronto, with a friend who did most of the driving, and had a game plan in case I fainted during the tiny bit at the beginning where I was the driver. So overall, a pretty awesome month, but not all of the excitement was welcome.
I could have made this post and left out the fainting episode, but it happened. I have been taking it easy and am seeing a doctor in Toronto to try and get to the root of the problem, so no one should worry, I am fine. If anything, now you know that random fainting episodes do happen, not just in the movies, and please, if ever something happens to you or someone you love, don’t just put it off or assume you’re fine. Listen to your body. Take care of yourself. You need to stand up for yourself like you would your best friend or little sibling. As L’Oreal says, You’re Worth it.
“Don’t like someone. Love someone. Don’t stand up for yourself. Fight for yourself. Don’t be strong. Be indestructible.”
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of work opportunities, family and writing. There were ups and downs, but overall I am so excited for what I hope is to come.
I have a list of priorities, that I tried to find an acronym for. I eventually ended up with WRAMPS, so that is how I am going to break down this Blog Post.
As you may have read in my last post, I’m in the thick of the 4th draft of a book I started in 2003. I realized it was partially written by a 13-year-old and I was trying too hard to stay true to that story. So I decided to rewrite it. Instead of starting with a blank word document (which I would have copied and pasted most of the original draft into), I started with a blank notebook. This way I have to rewrite everything and think about my words instead of settling for what was there. I am on my second notebook, and I think the story is definitely getting better as I go along. And I am catching so many bad writing habits that I have, words I like to use way too often.
I am hoping to publish in August, which is possibly overly ambitious (my friend was very convincing when he suggested 6 months, but I’m a little hard-headed). Either way, please sign up for my newsletter. I am aiming to put out one a month or so, and I’ll try to make them interesting 😉
Writing isn’t first because it’s my top priority, this is just how the letters scrambled into a word. However, I make lists and goals and schedule things all the time, and I’m always excited at the possibilities. This is the first time that one of these plans, my writing plan, has given me purpose, and felt 100% achievable.
This includes the romantic variety (like date nights, hand-holding and John Wick watching), but also family, which means a busy trip back to Montreal. I went hiking with my mom, hung out with my parents, spent some time with my grandparents, ran around with my nieces, had brunch with my cousin and got a ton of writing & publishing advice for my friend, who happens to be a published author.
This is where I had most of the ups and downs. Basically one down and a lot of ups.
My agent removed me from her roster. I can defend myself against some of her reasons, but it was a valid decision. She raised some good points about my priorities and efforts lately. I have been doing a lot of things to try and move my career forward…but they weren’t the things that my agent needed me to be doing. I submitted a self-tape knowing it wasn’t my best work. Not how I would want a casting director to remember me. I told myself I wouldn’t get the part anyway, so I sent something okay, but nowhere near what I could have done.
The whole thing made me take a good hard look at my priorities and what I am working for. Right now I am so busy in writing and pre-production mode that I wouldn’t be good on a new roster. So I am going to clear my plate, do some research and build up my team.
The ups for acting are obviously a lot more fun. I went to some TAWC meetings. I’m figuring out which amazing writer to bring in for our workshop this month. We had our Nell Shipman Award Gala, which was wonderful and inspiring and magical and everything I hoped it would be. Sherry White is amazing and should give Ted Talks. I tip my hat to my fellow TAWC members, who are so dedicated and supportive and inspiring. They are go-getters who don’t sit around and wait for things to come to them, they make things happen. I am so proud to be one of them.
Right now, I make my money from Background, Standardized Patient and Brand Ambassador work. I enjoy all 3, for many different reasons. One gives me the opportunity to be on set, one lets me hone my acting skills and all 3 give me the flexibility to be available for big opportunities. Lately, I really enjoy getting paid to write. There’s a lot of downtime with these jobs, and I have been using it wisely. Being paid to write usually means a book advance or someone paying you to write something, but I still think this qualifies.
I hope to produce a project at the end of August, but for now, my Producer-brain’s focused on TOUCHED. We went to our meeting with ACTRA, have most of our crew and are missing one location. We even held auditions to cast our leads, which was so interesting. Not because our actresses screamed bloody murder and aroused the attention of the receptionist. Actors need to see what it’s like on the other side of the casting table. The decisions are hard. So many actors brought it and a lot of them made me cry. So many factors make a person right for a part. Most of it is out of the actor’s control. It’s even out of my control, and I was sort of the casting director. I am happy with our choices, and can’t wait to see how it all comes together in a few weeks.
(Being in) Shape
This one is mostly jiu-jitsu, which I have been missing out on lately because of work. I can’t complain, but I hope to get back into the groove and work on my moves 🙂
“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.”