Monday, January 23, 2017

Beavis and Butthead. And Donald Trump

First of all, an apology: I am not the kind of radical person who waves a flag and loudly toots the horn of my convictions. I strive to keep any online space {of which I have control} free from politics. Because politics are ugly and polarizing and I want to believe in a sunshine and lollypop world.

But then some jokester played a big orange Trump-card on my pretty worldview.

Thanks a lot.

beavis and butthead and donald trump

And even though I try to avoid it WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY HAPPY-GO-LUCKY BEING, it seems I can't. Because I dream about it.

And sometimes you have to write down your dreams because they're just too incredibly profound to keep to yourself.

And by profound, I mean weird. And by weird, I mean someone needs to make this one into a movie a la Sharknado quality...

So Beavis and Butthead are standing on the street. "Heh heh heh" "huh huh huh" {I mean, gross — whoever came up with those characters is insane!} They're hungry. And it's perfectly sensible that they'd think the sun was a cookie. So they pull it down from the sky and they eat it. "Heh heh heh" "huh huh huh"

One of them walks down the street to where Hillary Clinton is standing, waiting patiently and not at all strangely. They share a passionate kiss {again, gross!}.

"Heh heh heh" "huh huh huh"

Hillary walks down the street to where Donald Trump is standing, waiting patiently and not at all strangely. She puts her hands on her hips, leans forward and opens her mouth wide, from which a ball of fire spews forth, engulfing poor ol' Donald. She wipes her lips on the sleeve of her blue pantsuit and marches through his ashes.

"Heh heh heh" "huh huh huh"

And the whole time, No Time To Crank The Sun by El VY, is playing in the background. Seriously. I've had that song in my head now for three whole days now!

So this isn't really a political post. It's just a dream journal entry.

And yes, I'll be checking myself into the mental ward this weekend...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Church In The Wildwood is a REAL BOOK (almost)

On November 1, 2014 at 12:01 a.m. I wrote the first sentence of The Church in the Wildwood. It seems so long ago and yet I can remember the thrilling feeling of starting something; the flighty sense that someday it would mean something; that this sliver of an idea would actually form into something, that someday, strangers would hold in their hands.

the church in the wildwood is a real book
I sat in my newly designed and designated writing room, created by my own sweat to actually see this idea through, a space carved out away from daily mom-life to invent a world that, until the moment I wrote it, didn't exist.

I ate Halloween candy stolen from my children's bags and I wrote about a boy locked in his closet.

By the end of that November, I had the rough draft of a full novel that I chased into something polished and presentable.

And now—two years, two months, and seven days removed from those first words—I'm working through the final proof. An actual printed copy. A real book. 312 pages of my imagination.

And I feel so...


the church in the wildwood is a real book
I spent a lot of energy {both physical and emotional} trying to take this book the traditional route. Rejected by agents and publishers alike.

But that's okay. Sure, it would be amazing to be picked up by a credible source BUT I also hate the idea of giving up the creative liberties that self-publishing allows. 

And so my heart is not broken. It's ready to take on this next part of the journey head on! I've invested a lot of time in exhaustive research and am fully convinced that now, more than ever, self-publishing is a viable and credible way to go. I am not {really} afraid to throw myself into the ring. Sure, it's loud in there, and there is a lot of garbage being passed off as literature—because anyone can be published these days...anyone—but I'm confident in my story and am not concerned about making a best-sellers list {though, let's be honest, of course I want to!} What I want more than anything is to share what I've created with the world. And if the publishing industry doesn't want to help me do that then, darn it, I'll make it happen on my own!

And I am.

Today I began the work of reading through the proof, looking for those last minute things that missed the bajillion rounds of editing, so I can finally sign off and do a full print run for the LAUNCH PARTY!

I have a loose timeline in place, I've already talked with the venue about early details, I'm working on setting up pre-orders so I can actually afford a launch party, and I'm working on an official press release to go out to local {and not-so-local} news outlets.

the church in the wildwood is a real book


It's scary and fun.

Here's to the next chapter and everything that comes with it!

And don't worry, I'll keep you in the loop. And I really hope, when the time comes, that you'll grab yourself a copy and support me on this journey. I'll even sign it for you. With love.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store

maybe christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a storeWe had a brilliant Christmas, tucked into our little Rusnak house with its little Rusnak smells and little Rusnak sounds. I'd made a point of staying home; of claiming December 25 for us; of promising not to leave my house for anything—even dinner someone else was willing to cook for us!

It was pure Christmas bliss!

Yes, there's something to be said for the excitement and bustle BUT I love the simplicity of taking our time and just sharing space with the same ones with whom we share life.

As we finished opening gifts, Zander {15, often seeming disconnected from anyone not on his iPhone} made an announcement: I didn't have much money this year so I couldn't buy you all nice gifts. Instead, I wrote you each a story set 15 years in the future.

And we were like WOW! Because, of course, to me anyway, that's the perfect kind of gift.

He began with Noa, who, 15 years from now, will be pulled up on stage at a One Direction reunion concert.

Liam's going to be a star hitter for the Blue Jays after a full sports scholarship to a great University.

Scott's going to win the World Poker Tour, 2031.

And me...well...with Zander's permission, I will share...

"Congratulations on one million sales, Mrs. Rusnak," a women said as she held out a copy of Blank Spaces.

Alanna quickly scribbled her name on the cover of the magazine, then thanked the woman.

Alanna had spent the past 15 years working on the magazine. 15 years of refining and perfecting the art of development, production, and selling them.

"Your magazine is wonderful! I've been reading it since the 12th issue, and I just can't get enough of it!" an older man said as he set down his own copy of the magazine to have it signed.

"I'm glad that you enjoy it," Alanna said simply.

"Can I get a picture with you?" the man asked, holding his phone at his side.

"Of course!" Alanna replied with a smile. The man walked behind the small desk and quickly snapped a "selfie."

It was previously unheard-of for a magazine producer to pick up this much of a fan base, but Alanna had become somewhat of a figurehead in the writing industry.

With three published novels, each selling reasonably well, and her well-known magazine, she was regarded as one of Canada's greatest writers. She was also regarded as an excellent example for small business owners.

She started at the very bottom. No government funding or large investors, just a dream and some coffee. But that dream quickly found its way into the hearts of thousands of Canadians, which helped to spawn her tiny empire.

Alanna still did the design work on her own, and her amazing son did most of the editing.

Blank Spaces still had a lot of growing to do, but to many Canadians, it was the best magazine in the world.


Yes, I wiped away some tears as he read—not just at my story but the others as well. What he showed us was that he knew us, he understood our hopes and dreams, and deep inside himself he wants to see us achieve them on some level. That right there, that belief, is the greatest Christmas gift he could have ever given!

And hey, if Blank Spaces is still alive in 15 years, I will be one proud 50-something woman!
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