Mark My Words, It’s No Time for Kings

I know many of you are waiting to hear about the Celebration I had after the half marathon, but quite frankly I am STILL exhausted. It has become a mental fatigue from the busy summer I have had. Luckily, I have blogger back up! One of my most favorite bloggers, (as in the top 2) recently became a published author!  I was so excited for him, I wanted to spread the word! I invited Mark Petruska, from Mark My Words to share his journey from writer to published author. Mark took the initiative to self publish his book because he believed so strongly in it and himself. This garners huge respect from me. I think we are entering an era where self-publishing will be the new norm given technology and social media are currently a powerful tool. I have several friends and blogger friends who dream of becoming writers. Who are we kidding, most writers dream of seeing their name on a book on a shelf in their favorite bookstore and Mark made his dream come true. I invite you to read about how this happened for Mark and then run out and buy his book. When he is wins a Pulitzer Prize you can say “you knew him when”.


Hello, ET readers! R was kind enough to invite me to guest blog today. I recently self-published a novel called No Time For Kings, the culmination of a lifelong dream. R was interested in hearing all about the process and wants to help me get the word out, so without further ado – here goes!


All my life I wanted to be a writer.


(That’s my requisite dramatic entrance. It’s not entirely true – at one point a firefighter sounded like a good career path – but it has been a goal for most of my life, anyway).


My first stab at creative writing took place when I was thirteen years old. I entered a short story contest and, to my surprise, won first place for my age group! I was hooked ever since. Over the years I’d written a few novels, nothing that I was proud of – until No Time For Kings. It’s the story of a radical group of eco-terrorists who resort to murder to further their agenda, and the plucky female news reporter who makes it her mission to bring them down when things turn personal. The novel has action, suspense, and drama. There are explosions for the guys and a love story for the girls. I believe in it with my whole heart, and so when I finished writing it in December of 2009 I sent out query letters to literary agents (because that’s what you’re supposed to do) in an attempt at getting it published. I probably contacted 50 agents over the next year, to no avail. They all politely declined for various reasons without even reading it, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and self-publish my book.


A few years ago, I balked at the notion. I thought of self-publishing as nothing more than a vanity project for people who wanted to see their name on the cover of a book. But the publishing industry has been undergoing a change and more and more people are taking control of their work and publishing it themselves these days – even big-name authors. It has, in short, lost much of its stigma.  So, game on!


The first step was figuring out which company to go with. There are a lot of big names out there – Lulu, Xlibris, iUniverse, and CreateSpace, among others – but I chose one of the smaller guys, Booklocker. They are selective, nurture their authors, and have competitive pricing. Once they approved my manuscript, the fun began. I got to choose a size and format for the book (paperback or hardcover), picked the paper, and – best of all – worked with their in-house graphics designer to come up with a cover. I explained my vision to him, and he delivered a finished product that I was extremely pleased with. Within a week, I had a hard copy in my hands for approval, and there is nothing about my book that sets it apart from one that was traditionally published – it’s as “real” as it gets!


Within a few days of final approval, my book was up for sale. It’s available through Booklocker as well as all the major online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, and Chapters Indigo in Canada. Because it’s POD (Print On Demand), I don’t have to buy a thousand copies and store them in my closet – a new book is printed every time somebody orders one. That alone saves any self-published author a ton of money and makes the whole process quite feasible. There’s still an upfront cost, and it isn’t exactly “cheap,” but I figure this was an investment in my future and a chance to see my biggest dream become a reality. I don’t expect to become rich or famous from my novel, but maybe – just maybe – people will like it and recommend it to their friends. Who knows what could happen next.


If you’re interested in checking out No Time For Kings, you can read a free excerpt on my blog, where I’ve also posted links for ordering. Go to for more information!




Mrs. Weasley, We Should Meet for Coffee!

Apparently I am a Magical Being. Surprised? I sure am! It is just like when Harry Potter discovered he could talk to snakes and make glass disappear. He was busy being mad at Dudley when magical things started to happen to the world around him. The exact same thing happened to me this morning!

No, no, no, I cannot talk to snakes, I use to when I worked in the family business…but I digress. Nor did I make a window disappear. It was more magical than that! I was making lunches this morning. When it was time to leave for work, Chatterbox said,”Did you make me a sandwich?” I sure did! I hate making lunches, I distinctly remember making them by the coffee pot. (Sure I drooled a bit looking at the cold empty coffee maker, thinking about how delightful a hot creamy dark roast might taste.But no drool dripped onto the sandwiches, I SWEAR!) I left all the lunches and sandwiches on the counter. Everything was there except HER sandwich! What the? I was baffled. Where did it go? I checked the pantry beside the peanut butter, no- not there. I checked the fridge in the fruit bin, no- not there. I looked in the microwave, silverware drawer, coffee cup cupboard, and I even checked the trash. We simply could not find it! I started to doubt my mom skills! I looked at the clock and realized I needed to make a new sandwich for Chatterbox.

I was pretty excited as I drove to work. Think of the possibilities! I would just need to learn to harness this power! I was sure someone would show up today explaining to my about my new-found magical abilities. I couldn’t wait to be able to pop in and out of places or use charms for household tasks. I knew how it worked, I read all the Harry Potter Books! I couldn’t WAIT to get started! This theory is much more appealing than the real possibility that I am losing my mind due to old age.

I arrived home all happy and excited. I couldn’t wait to tell Honey how magical I had become. Chatterbox interrupted me in mid-sentence. “Oh, By the way, I found my sandwich in my lunch bag. So I ate two sandwiches.” Then she walked away. I was crestfallen. So much for all my fantasies coming true. I was so close to hanging out with Mrs. Weasley.

Lesson learned. Focus on the task at hand, THEN dream about magic.

For Sale: Ocean View Home – but which Ocean?

I live in this great fantasy world where I have an infinite amount of money and can go live where ever I want. On the news tonight the local couple who won 10 million dollars said “we play that game of “what if” we won 50 million. But once you really have it, it’s a different story” I think they are lying. They are just “saying that” for the cameras. I think winning 50 million dollars would be a big boost to my spiritual tourism quest.

So lets play What would you do with  $50,000,000.00? ( I use to play the $1,000,000.00 game but that isn’t very much any more – not that it would hurt my feelings to win that much, just so you know in case you wish to give me that much)

What the Edmonton Tourist would do if she won $50 million:

  1. Round the World Disney Style! All 5 resorts and a cruise for good measure. Plus Adventures by Disney Hollywood tour. I know my friends would think that would cure me for all time, but it would just fuel the fire!
  2. Buy a house on some beach looking at some ocean. But I want a good deal. AND I want it inconvenient enough that crazy “relatives” that I don’t know won’t come looking for me. AND by “ocean” I don’t mean Arctic or Antarctic.
  3. Shoes. I want the same or better shoe collection that my sister has. She has fab shoes but I want Choo’s and lots of them. And not one of then can have steel toes. AND I will buy her a pair.
  4. A Car with Electric Windows and Heated Seats . I have spent years building up the muscles in my index finger so I can lock my door manually. I don’t regret it, my finger has a very nice physique now and it looks great in jewelry. All that hard work paid off. But my finger now gets plenty of exercise typing, so maybe it’s time for an upgrade.
  5. Art. I want to go to the City Art Walk and buy what moves me. I want to show the artist that I love their work. Not just tell them. AND by “Art” I don’t mean barbed wire coiled on a spool.
  6. Season Tickets to the Edmonton Oilers. Laugh if you must, I bleed copper. I always have and always will. One day we will make the playoffs again and I want to be there. AND by “being there” I mean Club Seats.
  7. Quit my job. You will not hear me say in the lotto ticket interview “No, I am still going to go to work everyday, because I love being a Tupperware Lady”.AND by  “Tupperware Lady” I mean my real job. But I will volunteer weekly at a Head Start, and put my name on the list to rock babies at the NICU.
  8. Give Steve Jobs more money. I want a Mac and I want one bad.
  9. I want to set up a scholarship fund for Head Start kids. I would love to see those kids get a degree.
  10. Eat at Melting  Pot, I hear it’s great.AND by “great” I mean yummy.
  11. This is the part that I am supposed to say that I would share it with my family, friends and loved ones. The kicker part is, I don’t expect you to share with me because I am your relative. I don’t want you to give me money out of obligation. Of Course I know you feel the same way. I do understand that you will be mad at me and will never speak to me again. AND by “speak to me” I mean email. But if you attend parties in my home or go on picnics with me, you are in a different category. AND by “different” I mean I love you and want to share it all with you.

Okay, your turn.