New Year, New Look

Happy new year! If my greeting comes rather late, it’s because life has been unexpectedly eventful in recent weeks, and not necessarily in the most positive way. I’ve needed to spend a little time just catching my breath.

There have been some exciting new developments. Virginia’s Ghost, the novel I never thought I’d finish, finally went to my colleague Irene Kavanagh for a manuscript evaluation in December, and I’m eagerly (but patiently, I should emphasize, since I don’t want to rush things) awaiting her feedback so I can resume work on it. Based on her reactions so far, it seems the novel has provided her with a few good giggles, but I expect I’ve still got plenty of work to do. As well, I’ve recently finished editing the first in a series of thrillers featuring an investigator with a wonderful canine sidekick.  Any book featuring dogs as characters is always a delight; this series is right up my alley.

If you’re familiar with my website, you’ll notice it has a fresh new look that I hope you’ll see as an improvement over the old version. I hadn’t actually planned to make any changes; I don’t know my way around WordPress that well and was content to just let things be. But I discovered four days before Christmas that I could no longer add new material to my site. A friend put me in touch with a WordPress specialist, who would ultimately end my frustration and update the look of too.  But fixing my broken-down site would have to wait, as Toronto was struck by a devastating ice storm unlike anything I can remember.


Toronto Ice Storm, December 22, 2013
Toronto Ice Storm, December 22, 2013


Overnight, everything was glazed in a thick coating of ice, and I could hear ice cracking and cascading from enormous branches as they crashed to the ground. Sadly, Toronto lost an estimated 20 percent of its tree canopy. Our building lost most of its power, and we had no heat from the radiators and no hot water. We toughed it out for a couple of days, boiling water, running a couple of space heaters, and praying that the power would go on in time to make a turkey dinner. But when the temperature dipped to -10C and the dog began shivering and whining, it was time to go. We were fortunate to be able to drop Trinka off with a caring friend who had power (and a boisterous wire-haired dachshund for her to play with), and we also managed to find a hotel, which was where we spent our Christmas. It was four days before we could go home. Yes, we were a lot luckier than many people who had no friends or relatives to depend on, but it still made the festive season a bit dismal. In truth, I felt a bit numb from the ordeal–and not just from the cold.

Thank goodness all this is behind me and that 2013 is gone at last. By all accounts, it was a challenging year for many. The destructive energy of that year lingers on, however–it’s still the year of the snake on the Chinese calendar, and will be until January 31st. But I for one will be awfully relieved when that old serpent hisses its last and gives way to the year of the horse. Happy 2014, everyone.


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