#YoungWriters Series: Writer’s Block

Welcome to my #YoungWriters Series!

With the isolation and quarantines in place for COVID 19, many students are off school and at home. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing writing prompts and writing articles to hopefully inspire and motivate you.

A Young Writers Guide To Writer’s Block

Rogers Wallpaper“You can’t think yourself out of a writing block;
you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.”
~John Rogers

Some people will tell you there is “no such thing as Writer’s Block” and to some degree they are right. But there will be days when writing just isn’t working for you. You know what I mean, those days when you sit in front of your computer and it feels like getting a cavity filled would be easier. Unfortunately, the only way to overcome this dreaded feeling is to write or refill your creative well… Here are five tips to help ignite your creativity…
Keep a journal. Set the timer on your phone, computer, whatever works for about 20minutes. Your goal is to just write continuously without stopping until your timer goes off.  Write down whatever comes into your head, however random, strange or unimportant it may seem. No censoring and no over-thinking.

Brainstorm. If you are stuck on a particular plotline grab a large piece of paper or a mind-mapping app and write down as many ideas no matter how unusual they may seem, they might trigger something that will work. It’s all about getting ideas down. A page full of ideas can jumpstart your creativity.

Talk with other writers. There are some moments when it’s easier to speak to others about ideas than to write them down. Try talking your story out with another trusted writer. If you are not yet ready to share ideas with another record your ideas on your phone or computer, talking things out can often help.  Take a look at online groups via social media.  On both Twitter and Instagram there are groups that share under various hashtags. Check out #writingcommunity #amwriting #writersofinstagram #writersofig. Facebook has so many groups and pages for the writing community and often they are genre-specific ie. urban fantasy, mystery, ya, romance etc. so you can connect with a community geared to the genre you wish to write in.

Writing Prompts. Sometimes all you need to get the creative juices flowing is to have some fun with silly or thought-provoking writing prompts. If you search google there are many sites that offer prompts, I will be sharing some here in the coming days too!

Create an Atmosphere or Ritual to get you in the writing mood.  I absolutely love my writing area. My original workspace is no longer available so I recently set up a new one in a corner of my bedroom and I love it! I have bookcases filled with inspiring books, vintage typewriters, inspirational pictures or quotes and a few kitsch items that are prominent in my story. I listen to music that helps evoke images in connection with my current WIP, light candles, grab a tea or coffee and snuggly blanket, something to stimulate each of my senses.

These are just a few ideas that work for me but often just sitting down and free writing helps. Journaling, prompts, or just documenting the moment by just writing about the room you’re in, can be enough to ignite that creative spark!

Urgent: #Foster Families needed for #Cats #Toronto #Ontario #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief

Worldwide, COVID-19 has stormed across the continents causing millions of people to isolate themselves at home, only going out for essentials such as food and medication. For most, this is an especially stressful time since many of our workplaces, schools, churches, gyms and restaurants have been closed indefinitely and many people are now more than ever feeling lonely and vulnerable.  A sad side effect from our busy culture is that many people who work have avoided having pets because they feared they wouldn’t be home enough, and their pets wouldn’t get the attention they deserve.   

What we are facing now is an unusual situation and we have no idea when our lives will return to “normal”.  Many regret the decision of not having a pet to help keep them company not to mention the added stress relieving benefits pet ownership offers.  

There is something you can do though, a temporary situation (or perhaps if wanted, a permanent) until things return to normal that would be a win-win situation for all involved. 

Cat rescues are struggling right now too with an increase in the number of cats coming in.  Many shelters and rescues are normally fortunate enough to have local pet care businesses showcase their rescues that are up for adoption but with stores being forced to close or limit their staff, many rescues are struggling to find foster families to care for those animals being displaced. Scarborough Bluffs Cat relief is one of those rescues after another rescue had to close its doors when the owner passed away, they decided to help rehome their cats too.  

Now here’s where you can help if you’re in the Toronto/GTA area and one of those people who would love to have a feline companion to ride out this COVID-19 storm Scarborough Bluffs Cat relief desperately needs you as a foster parent.  If you are interested, please contact Katherine at 647-476-4797. 

 Here are some of the cats desperately looking for foster homes… 


Sassy is a 3 1/2-year-old female, spayed and up to date vaccines. She’s a pretty, small cat, very affectionate and has lived with small dogs and another cat. She’s not that comfortable with dogs but ok with cats after the proper introduction. 


Moggie is a tiny little girl with a big personality. We’re not exactly sure of her age but guessing around 5. She was found roaming the streets for some time. Moggie was in a catfight and sustained injuries and developed an abscess but she is fine now. We did test her for FeLV and FIV and tests came back negative. She is declawed, so at one point she did have a family that we were unable to trace. Like many declawed cats, it takes some time to reassure her that she is in no danger and to make her feel comfortable. 


Juliet is semi feral and her age is unknown. Juliet was from the rescue which had to shut down its doors. Rescued on June 6th by the other rescue she has been spayed. She is a beautiful calico tabby. Juliet is an adorable smaller girl who is receptive to head pets but will hiss at you first. She has never attempted to bite or swat at a hand and has even taken treats from fingers. Once again, in the right home, she would more than likely become a very loving cat. 


Sneakers also brought in from the closed shelter is roughly nine years old. She is generally a friendly cat who loves attention and rolls over and over while she enjoys being petted. She will give head butts and rub on you until you take the time to give her some loving. She can be a bit skittish at times but with time and patience, she will be your best friend. 


Dublin, a big boy looking for a kingdom to rule, with servants. He is about 3 1/2, vet checked, neutered, vaccinated and he’s also had dental work done. He is one of many that an elderly, frail couple had surrendered as they can no longer look after them. Dublin developed an abscess from a catfight which resulted in a pretty large wound on his head, which is still healing. Very affectionate, he prefers the company of people over cats, so a single home would be ideal. Of course, with a proper, slow introduction he would adjust to a home with another cat, preferably female. 




#YoungWriters Series: Keeping a Writer’s #Notebook

Welcome to my #YoungWriters Series!

With the isolation and quarantines in place for COVID 19, many students are off school and at home. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing writing prompts and writing articles to hopefully inspire and motivate you.  For those who read my previous post about Camp NaNoWriMo yesterday perhaps you are starting to brainstorm ideas, be working out plotlines, doing research or creating characters. Here are some tips to help keep you organized.

Most writers can’t control when inspiration hits. Our ideas often come at us at unusual times and often unexpected or inconvenient places. Most of my friends and family have laughed at me for the number of journals, notepads and scraps of paper (post-it’s in particular) I have around me at any given time. While in bed or busy I used to get a great idea for a new story or something to add to one in process, and I would jot it down whether it was on the back of an envelope, in a notebook or even on a coffee-stained napkin which was disorganized and let’s just say it….downright messy.

A while back I started using a traveller’s notebook to capture everything and I am hooked.  They are journal covers with elastics that slip into the centre of smaller notebooks allowing you to carry multiple notebooks at a time so that you can swap them in and out as they are filled. You also can add pockets, folders and dashboards (clear plastic pages for post-it’s) to keep all your notes in one place.  I keep four notebooks in mine, one general all-purpose one for ideas that don’t necessarily have a home just yet, and one for each individual project I am working on at the moment. I place post-its with ideas, to-dos or quotes on the dashboard. I attach interesting pictures, articles or jot down useful links that I want to research further. I personally love analogue over my phone, tablet or computer although I do rely on those on occasion. I find it easier to let my ideas flow with ink on paper and I find this way is easier to keep those ideas organized.  I go all out adding sketches, washi tape, pictures, stamps and postcards relevant to my projects. Traveller’s notebook can be found online or if you’re handy you can make your own. If you run a search on YouTube, Instagram or Pinterest you can find hundreds of tutorials and inspirational ideas on creating a system that works for you.

Misc notebooks, paints and pictures


With the isolation and quarantines in place for COVID 19, many students are off school and at home. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing writing prompts and writing articles to hopefully inspire and motivate you.   If you are one of those students and love writing, why not work on some prep work for this coming Camp NaNoWriMo.


Have you heard of NaNoWriMo.org? Every November thousands participate in an online writing event to complete 50,000 words in just 30 days. Now they’ve made it even better, CampNaNoWriMo.org is a virtual writer’s camp, designed to inspire you and keep you motivated while you work on your masterpiece. Camp NaNoWriMo.org runs twice a year in April and July and unlike NaNoWriMo welcomes word-count goals of 30,000 and up. Writers can tackle any project they’d like, including new novel drafts, revisions, poetry, scripts, and short stories. So sign up today!  See you at camp!

#Netgalley #Book #Review #Genealogy for Beginners by Katherine Pennavaria


Geneaology for Begginers

Genealogy for Beginners

by Katherine Pennavaria


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Genealogy for Beginners by Katherine Pennavaria from Netgalley  Rowman & Littlefield in order to read and give an honest review.

… a fantastic book for those who are just starting out to those, like myself who began the process but abandoned the search…

Genealogy for Beginners is just that an amazing guide for newbies like myself. It is an easy to understand, comprehensive and well-written guide to getting anyone started on their search or just back on track if they have gotten stuck.  

Author, Katherine Pennavaria walks us step by step on the search for our long lost family. We learn effective strategies on how to be a researcher from where to begin, how to manage and record our findings to interviewing existing family members. Pennavaria gives us sage advice on how to manage and organise family photos and documents and directs us to endless resources and how to find information in real life and online. 

A fantastic book for those who are just starting out to those, like myself who began the process but abandoned the search out of frustration. This will be a book that I will return to time and again on my genealogy journey. 

This poor, cuddly boy “Dublin” is looking for his “furever” home! #Toronto #Ontario #Cat #AdoptDontShop #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief

Dublin ~ Orange Tabby

Meet Dublin

Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief is seeking the perfect home for Dublin, a sweet three and a half-year-old male, now vet checked, neutered and vaccinated.
The group has been helping a senior couple find homes for the many cats they have taken in over the years. Dublin is just one of many.
Sadly, while in foster care, he got into a fight with another male, which resulted in a very bad abscess. Under vet care, it is healing but will probably leave a scar. Hopefully, once his hair grows back, it will not be very noticeable.
Dublin is a very gentle, affectionate boy who loves people and has been raised in a multi-cat home. The fight was a result of these cats not having been neutered. Dublin has the adorable chops that male cats develop if not fixed for years. Like most ginger cats, he is very special and deserves a loving, forever home of his own.
If you or someone you know is interested in meeting him with adoption in mind, please contact Katherine at getset2001@gmail.com .

***Please note: GTA/Toronto adoptions preferred***


#NetGalley #BookReview of The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold #UrbanFantasy #Noir



The Last Smile in Sunder City Cover

The Last Smile in Sunder City

by Luke Arnold

Release Date: February 25th 2020


I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold from NetGalley and Orbit Books in order to read and give an honest review.

In his debut novel, author Luke Arnold does a masterful job with The Last Smile in Sunder City combining urban fantasy with the noir detective stories of old.

When magic disappears from Sunder city it leaves behind its magical creatures, powerless and living life like an average human. When a former vampire, now beloved old and frail teacher goes missing our protagonist Fetch Phillips is hired to find out what happened to him.  Some say he turned to dust or ran away some say his dedication to his students wouldn’t let him just leave.  Fetch a self-destructive, alcoholic living in his detective agency office, spending his days trying to assuage himself of his guilt-ridden past put himself in peril trying to get to the bottom of it. When a student goes missing too, he feels even more pressure to solve the case.  Sunder City feels like a bit of a character in itself, a typical noir city fraught with seedy back street bars, brothels and greasy spoons with disgusting food but excellent coffee.

I wasn’t sure about this book when I started but I have to say I was carried away, the characters, the pacing, the writer’s voice, his twisty plot turns, completely engaged me. With an intriguing mystery and interesting backstory, this is a fantastic book I highly recommend! I will definitely look forward to Mr Arnold’s future books.

Say Hello to Cafe! An incredibly cuddly boy looking for his “furever” home! #Toronto #Ontario #Cat #AdoptDontShop #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief


Meet Cafe

Cafe Feb 21 2020

Cafe is a handsome, affectionate lap cat looking for his forever home.
He is a one-year-old male, vet checked, neutered and vaccinated.
Cafe came to us through a phone call from a lady who had been feeding him on the street. He had been coming around for a few months but the lady was moving and wanted to see him settled in a home of his own. After being trapped and taken to the vet, he was pretty scared. In a short period of time, he felt comfortable enough to let his wonderful personality shine through.
Cafe loves to play with his other foster buddies and is extremely affectionate with people. He seeks out attention and is quite happy to stay on your lap, being petted and loved up.
For further information on Cafe or to meet him, please contact Katherine at getset2001@gmail.com.

***Please note: GTA/Toronto adoptions preferred***


#Book #Review of #VoodooShanghai by Kristi Charish via @PenguinRandomCA #UrbanFantasy



VooDoo Shanghi Cover

Voodoo Shanghai

The Kincaid Strange Series, Book Three

by Kristi Charish

Release date: February 18th, 2020


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Lipstick Voodoo (The Kincaid Strange Series, Book Three) by Kristi Charish from Penguin Random House Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

… fast-paced mysteries with an urban fantasy/paranormal twist but with plenty of intelligence, wit and dark humour, making this series quirky, fun and extremely entertaining…

I am a huge fan of Kristi Charish so I was thrilled to get to review the third and final (?) offering from her Kincaid Strange Series. I really have fun with this series, the books are definitely fast-paced mysteries with an urban fantasy/paranormal twist but with plenty of intelligence, wit, and dark humour, making this series, quirky fun and extremely entertaining.   

Our protagonist, Paranormal Practitioner, Kincaid Strange, is on the case again picking up where Lipstick Voodoo leaves off with Kincaid now working as Gideon, a powerful sorcerer’s spirit’s, new apprentice. Although no longer working for the Seattle PD, Kincaid is getting her life back together and she is finding a moderate amount of success.  When her ex Aaron, asks for her help on an investigation in Portland, a case involving the ghost of who they believe to be Martin Dane, the White Picket Fence Serial Killer her newfound success in on the line. Something doesn’t sit right with Kincaid, she knows she is not being told everything and it’s making her a bit wary of taking the case but a young girl is involved.  When she receives a warning from the other side, her curiosity and sense of justice prevail and she pursues it even if it means her walking into a trap.  When she arrives in Portland she runs into more trouble than she expected, a magic bog, missing ghosts, zombies and witches just to name a few.

I love Charish’s female protagonist in both this series, Kincaid Strange and her Owl books
She writes strong, smart and sassy but also flawed female characters which make them easy to find empathy for and appreciate.  Although not a fan of zombies, in particular, Charish writes them in a fun way that enhances the quirkiness of her books.

All in all, a fabulous fun read but with one doozy of a cliff hanger at the very end which I really hope indicates we won’t be seeing the last of Kincaid Strange!  If you are looking for a fun, intelligent and quirky urban fantasy, this book is for you.


Meet Coco, an affectionate boy looking for his “furever” home! #Toronto #Ontario #AdoptDontShop #caturday


Meet Coco

Coco Feb 8 2020

**UPDATE: Great News! This handsome boy has finally found his “furever” home with an amazing family, and we couldn’t be happier!  


Coco is an absolute delight. This 1 1/2-year-old boy is playful, affectionate and knows how to get your attention by stepping on your foot, just to remind you he’s waiting. He has been vet checked, neutered and vaccinated. Coco was surrendered with his sister as the owners were unable to care for them. He’s comfortable around other cats, having been fostered in a multi-cat home. If you’re looking for a complete love bug, you’ve found him.

To meet this boy, visit him at Ren’s Pet Depot, 8 Lebovic Ave in Scarborough.

Or contact Katherine at scarboroughbluffscatrelief@gmail.com for more information. Application forms are available at Ren’s.

***Please note: GTA/Toronto adoptions preferred***