White Chrysanthemum has been shortlisted for Best First Novel by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain. I’m honoured to be selected along with two wonderful writers Guy Gunaratne (In Our Mad and Furious City) and Nicola Mostyn (The Gods of Love). If you have time over the holidays, pick up their books and give them a read. If you haven’t read mine yet, what are you waiting for!?

Happy holidays and happy reading!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and family and readers who are eating turkey (or tofurkey) tonight. I’m thankful for this beautiful life I’m so lucky to navigate each day–even for the rough bits. They toughen us up, make the lovely moments memorable, and remind us we are alive. During the holidays when everyone seems happy with their perfect lives, it’s important to remind ourselves that some people are suffering, and moreso during the holidays. Missing all my friends and family who have passed away, remembering them with love and gratitude that they came into my life, today and everyday. Life is beautiful and tragic and worth the effort. Keep going. Keep loving. Keep living. ❤️

A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and its War with the United States

Sometimes research for a novel can take over a writer’s life–especially if that writer is me bc I love learning about everything. I had to share this book by Timothy J. Henderson, published in 2007, and one I picked up randomly from my son’s school library. It’s fascinating! Mostly because I grew up in Texas and the history I learned about Texas’ independence from Mexico was written with a victor’s slant, but also bc Henderson focuses on the players behind the buildup to the war and gives so many personal details about each one (Santa Anna, Austin, Houston…and more) that he makes them come to life. It’s definitely non-fiction but feels like I’m reading a novel filled with fascinating characters whose lives were destined to be remembered in history. If you’re interested in American, Texan, or Mexican history, read this book! ❤️

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Politics is so tiring to those of us who stand on the outside looking in. Politicians seem like such a mess, and the conflicts they focus on against opposing parties reminiscent of kindergarten playground tussles numb us towards apathy. But that’s what they want, and when I say they, I mean those in power who have no interest in the little guy (aka, you and me). Lobbyists have taken over the political process because we the voters who don’t show up have allowed them to by not voting. I know so many people who didn’t vote in 2016 ‘because they didn’t like the candidates’. Honestly, I rarely like the candidates, it’s the issues they stand for that make me continue to vote. The US elections are all completed and the votes are tallied. So why am I posting this after the fact? Because even after the 2016 election results, so many people still didn’t show up to vote yesterday. The presidential election is in two years. That’s all the time we have to reach those who didn’t exercise their right to vote, who don’t understand what a privilege it is and how necessary their voice is to our country. 100% voter turnout. Imagine what that would look like–what our country would look like if 100% of our citizens cared about participating in this one process that gives them a voice. In my mind it would look magnificent. #Goals

The leaves are losing their grip on life and finding their graves on hardened stone. Concrete, man-made, artificial, the furthest away from nature possible. I grieve for these beautiful artifacts that once graced our skies like intricate lace against palest blue. Their lives will end in green cellophane sacks, hauled onto a truck — destination unknown.

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It’s pumpkin season and here’s a classic jack o’lantern carved this weekend. Unfortunately I couldn’t take part as I was stuck in bed, but the kid did good (with a bit of help from his dad). I love autumn and the changing colours of the leaves and how suddenly orange is beautiful. (Let’s face it that’s not true year round 😬) I’m in the middle of writing book two and trees are on my mind, their life and death cycle, their lifespan across centuries or cut short by logging. Their significance in our world and our lives. What do pumpkins have to do with any of this? Perhaps it’s all the falling orange leaves collecting in piles along the pavement. Their beauty astounds me, even as the gardeners blow them to kingdom come with their god awful loudly inhuman leaf blowers. Autumn is here. Joy all around, and feel free to #wearorange 🍁

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