Monday, December 21, 2015

Resuscitation by D.M. Annechino

Resusictation

Review of They Never Die Quietly (Book one) - HERE

Review of A Piece of You (Book Three) - HERE

Synopsis - 

Two years ago, Detective Sami Rizzo narrowly escaped a brush with death at the hands of a serial killer. After apprehending the killer and bringing him to justice, this life-changing event compels her to resign from the police force. In her heart of hearts, however, she struggles with the decision. But a second serial killer—a well- respected doctor gone astray—uses his charm to seduce his victims and then performs horrific surgical experiments on them. In a final act of depravity, he scatters their mutilated bodies throughout San Diego County. Feeling a sense of duty and obligation, Sami Rizzo appeals to the police chief and mayor, and they reinstate her as a homicide investigator. As the body count grows and the killer’s experiments become more and more brutal, Sami follows one dead-end lead after another, while trying to deal with a sickly mother and a turbulent relationship with her lover. But then the killer makes a crucial mistake: one of his victims survives. Sami does everything to protect the barely alive victim, but the killer has a different plan.

Review - 

Resuscitation is the second of three books I am reviewing by this author featuring San Diego homicide detective Sami Rizzo. Each of the three offer truly creepy serial killers who off their victims in unique ways and are driven by strong personal motives. As a psychological thriller, this book is just over the line, enough to get your heart pounding but still let you fall asleep at night.

Two years have passed since Sami almost met her end at the hands of a serial killer. She has walked away from the police force - something her dad asked her to pursue on his death bed - and headed back to school to study Social Work. She was now married to her former partner, Al Diaz. When the police discover a mutilated body, Sammi is torn. It's time to admit she isn't enjoying her studies and missed being a detective. With the support of the police chief and mayor, she heads back into the office and onto the trail of a new serial killer. Diaz has been called away on a family emergency, so his character has only a minor role this time around. 

One of Annechino's strengths is creating believable creepy serial killers. In Resuscitation we are introduced to Julian, a successful cardio-thoracic surgeon with a failing marriage and an intense drive to attain serious recognition for his skills at the highest levels. When he receives notification that his research grant has again been turned down because it needs more data, he makes the horrifying decision get that data through research on live people. They are picked up through random encounters starting in bars, and Julian lures them in knowing full well none of them will survive the ordeal he has planned. It's not so bad when they are fully anesthetized, but the story crosses into truly disturbing when Julian begins working on them while chemically paralyzed but wide awake and in excruciating pain.

Again, Amazon reviews run the full range. I think it all comes down to what you want from this genre.  Do you like creepy serial killers that just cross the line - disturbing but not super gory? Then this series is for you.

Buy the book: Amazon

Meet The Author - 

To read an interview with the author click HERE!


D.M. Annechino author picDaniel M. Annechino, a former book editor specializing in full-length fiction, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, in 1992 while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly.

​His second book, Resuscitation (Thomas & Mercer 2011), a follow-up to his first novel, hit #1 in Kindle sales in the UK and reached #26 in the USA. He is also the author of I Do Solemnly Swear (Thomas & Mercer 2012) and Hypocrisy. A Piece of You is his fifth novel, the third in the Detective Sami Rizzo series. A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the author: Website    Twitter    Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, December 14, 2015

Blanche Macdonald - Caitlyn Bellavance, “ Fernweh” - The Longing For Somewhere Distant

Images by Peter Jensen Photography
Illustrations by Caitlyn Bellavance

I have not missed one of Blanche Macdonald's annual fashion shows since 2007. Each has offered it's own charm, but I have to admit this one really stood out. I think it was the combination of the theme (The Places In Between), the stunning location (The Permanent Building, a converted bank built in 1907) and this year's truly talented group of fashion design grads.  

In addition to the show overview I am writing, I always select several students who stand out to feature in solo articles. Caitlyn Bellavance is the first from this talented group.  The strength of her design work, the interesting yarn detailing and the combination of her looks being both very wearable and yet eye-catching made this collection stand out. She also received an award from the school for design innovation.

Added to this was a look through her portfolio. I feel fashion illustration is very important to seeing the potential in a future designer. The large selection of illustrations she offered really showcased the depth of her design work. There are many looks I would love to own.  Kudos! 

= = = = 

Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I was born in Calgary, moved to Hong Kong when I was ten, did my first year of University in Victoria, lived the ski bum life in Fernie, and now I am in Vancouver, British Columbia.

What you like when you were young?

I loved being around my family and being outdoors exploring. I never liked to play with dolls or girl type activities. I loved art and crafts and was always creating things. I played piano and guitar, and loved skiing and biking.

What were your interests in High School?

High school was pretty boring for me. My mom took me out of the traditional High School and registered me in an Independent Learning High school where I finished the rest of High School in 1 1⁄2 years. I was able to spend a lot of time studying art and different mediums. I painted a whole mural on a wall in the High School, which was featured on the CTV news. I started snowboarding and was spending a lot of time in Banff and Fernie.

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion?


When I was very young, I insisted on dressing differently from the other girls around me and at school. I would mix up outfits and layer clothes to look differently. I started to set fashion trends at an early age and would get really annoyed at my classmates if they copied me. Ironically, now in my career, I want them to copy me!
























I taught myself how to sew as a teenager as I could never find clothing I wanted to wear. I started designing and ordering my own fabrics to create the clothing that I envisioned. I had support from friends, family and the online community. My mother always said I would end up a Fashion Designer, and I always rejected that as I wanted to be a Tattoo Artist. But as per usual, Mothers know best. 


When and how you decided to study fashion design. Was your family supportive?

My Family has always been extremely supportive and encouraging no matter what I am doing. They have always nourished my artistic and creative abilities and pushed me to pursue them. I was studying Visual Arts in University and decided to take a year off. It was then that I realized I wanted to learn how to draft patterns and get better at sewing. 

Why did you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?

My mother explored all of the Fashion design schools in Canada a year before I decided to go back to school. One day in August I read my horoscope, and it said I was about to receive a long distance invitation that would change my life. I later got a call from a representative of Blanche Macdonald following up on our inquiry of the school. She offered me a grant to start the program in November. It felt meant to be, so I jumped on it!

Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you? What was easy for you? Are there any high, low or funny moments you can share?

Studying Fashion Design at Blanche was interesting as it is a condensed program. It is effectively designed to have you working your butt off until the very last second. Which I am now grateful for as it instilled good work habits and time management in me. I enjoyed all of it and embraced every challenge, even the countless times I had to work backwards because I had sewn something wrong.





What was the inspiration for your grad collection?

The inspiration for my grad collection was the word “ Fernweh”. Which means, the longing for somewhere distant. To me this meant somewhere beyond this world, a mystical alien world. I tried to imagine what the people who inhabited this world might wear, and designed it. 

Describe your collection.

My collection consists of casual, practical garments that can be worn anytime. The garments can be interchangeable from the 3 looks.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?


I wanted to explore natural fabrics and dyes. The fabrics I used are Pineapple fiber, Silk, Hemp, Bamboo, Leather, Cotton Yarn, Mesh, and holographic print lycra. I used all natural dyes and iron and rust. The holographic fabric is quilted in the details.

Do you have a favourite look?

I spent so much time on all of them that its hard to say, but after seeing the holographic tights on the runway I may have to say that one !

What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?

That is a tough call as I feel the fashion world is so saturated. I think if I can't bring anything new, I can bring something good. Focusing on sustainability, renewal, and ways to reduce our carbon footprint. As well as combining that with unique, comfortable, ethical clothing for everyday life! 

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for awhile, launch your own line, take a break and travel?

At the moment I want to work for others and gain as much experience and knowledge as I can, while continuing to grow my own line on the side. 

















Please share a quote on what fashion design means to you.

My favourite quote is “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different” - Coco Chanel. This quote really resonates with me and how I feel about creating clothing from scratch. 

Anything else I didn't ask you want mentioned (links,etc.)?

My collection can be viewed on my website : www.bellav.co.

For more information on the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald go to http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/landing/fashion-design-merch/

Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Guiding Work for 2016 - Cherish!

There has been so much change over the last ten years in how I view myself and the world. Interviewing over 150 people has definitely been like going to school and earning a degree.  The wisdom and unique insights shared have been changing me one interview at a time. I would love to say that means I've been doing it all right, but woefully that is inaccurate. I am human and flawed and just striving to become the best me I can be. Many mistakes have been made along the way.

In December 2014, I was considering what I wished for 2015 and out of the blue the words GRAND ADVENTURE came to mind. I made that my theme. When I wished someone happy birthday, I also wished them a year filled with grand adventures.  I didn't personally travel anywhere exotic, but launched my first book and walked the new path of book marketing. I travelled more, spent more time developing friendships and introduced a new weekly column (actually twice a week for the first few months).  I tried to say yes to new experiences as much as possible.

Now with 2015 coming to a close, I have been considering both what my new birthday wishes will be for everyone and what word(s) to embrace as my theme for 2016. When I was meditating one day, without hesitation the word CHERISH came to mind. I looked up the definition for more clarity as to how this word might guide my year and the first two caught my eye. For me, they apply when cherishing outwardly. The third I felt offered guidance when approaching my personal goals for 2016, but I think I will leave that for another article.

  • Protect and care for (someone) lovingly.
  • Hold (something) dear.
  • Keep (a hope or ambition) in one's mind.

While my 2015 was for the most part very positive, there have been a few glitches that created emotional pain. Then there have been the problems of those I care for - a few family member with health problems, several people struggling finding steady jobs, some with financial worries, others with serious personal conflicts in their lives and the list goes on.  My highly developed mothering hormones have been on overdrive and I have occasionally allowed my emotions to get entangled. The emotional weight has been draining, especially when I felt helpless to make a difference in their lives.

A guided meditation led by friend, fellow author and intuitive healer Sue Dumais gave me great clarity. She suggested I ask myself first if I was supposed to be helping - my heart, my intuition, would let me know. If I was meant to help, my heart would not only answer yes, but guide me as to what that meant. This advice hit the mark.

Most of us do not take a moment to step out of the situation to ask the question or listen to the answer. With the best, but misguided intentions, we jump in willy nilly. No wonder the stress builds. It just doesn't feel right for a reason. We need to trust those in our lives are on the journey they need to be on and that the mentors they need will be there at the right time. 

When we are not meant to step in, we still have a role. That role is to cherish. Cherishing someone means you drop expectations as to what you think they should be doing. Cherishing means taking them just as they are and holding them dear. Cherishing means letting them know they are loved and valued just as they are with no strings attached. Nothing is asked for in return. It's so simple.


Now for the kicker. As I ponder this, I've come to feel that those who seem to bring conflict or negativity into my life deserve exactly the same. I'm still wrapping my mind around what this means, but it all begins for me with the knowledge that what you send out into the universe is what you draw to you. Send negative thoughts on someone, they come back your way. Do I think this will instantly solve all issues? Absolutely not. But I still believe that to actively focus on cherishing everyone will have a positive affect on my spirit.



This is a point I've come to many times, but it's so easy to slip. Our ego gets bruised or our buttons pushed and those primal emotions take over.  The hope is that each time I make this conscious decision to cherish those around me regardless of what they choose, it will be come easier.

So here is to 2016. May we all learn to cherish just a little better.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Interview with Sima Goel, Author of Fleeing the Hijab

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author as it was very unique?

I vowed to myself the faithful night of desert crossing that if I lived, I would write my story. I arrived in Montreal, Canada in 1983 at 18, and worked to establish myself as the responsible, independent woman I had always longed to be. I mastered Canada’s two official languages, English and French, and fulfilled my heart-felt desire to attend university, eventually establishing a professional practice as a chiropractor. Life became busy, as it always does: school, business, friends, husband, children, community.

In 2007, my story was the focus of a short documentary film. This, in turn, led to an invitation to share my history at a fund raising gala where I received a powerful and positive reception. It seemed to me that synchronicity was at work and so I remembered the events of that desert crossing made so many years earlier, and the vow I had made to one day tell my story.

I have always felt synchronicity at work in my life, and it seemed that, finally, the time was right to document my past. It took five years, 15 re-writes, two editors, one dishonest publishing house, one devoted friend, the decision to write off the lost royalties, many tears, lots of perseverance, and the challenge of self-publishing. My family stood behind me patiently as I worked through the trauma suppressed for over 30 years.

I discovered, that like many writers who choose to express themselves in a second language, I have the capacity to use different rhythms and metaphors in my work. Sometimes I hear echoes and see shadows of my native Farsi when I write in English, and I am delighted that I can honor the country of my birth as I praise the country that welcomed me. Ultimately, we are almost all immigrants in this northern hemisphere, and it is my passion to speak on behalf of the commonalities that join us: love of democracy, peace, human rights and tolerance.

Book Review HERE!
As this memoir was written so many decades after fleeing Iran, how did you remember everything in such detail?
I had to dig deep into my past, and the process was cathartic and healing. I was scrupulous to report the facts as I had lived them.

What age were you when you fled Iran? How long were you stranded as a refugee before you stepped on that plane to try and get to Canada?

I left Iran when I was seventeen, but had lived in hiding for over a year since the age of 16, wandering from city to city and then suffering self-imposed house arrest for many months. Later, I was a political refugee in both Pakistan and Canada.

Please share something about the process to write this book? How did you go about putting words to paper?

My thoughts came fluidly to me because I was writing what I had lived from childhood to adolescence and beyond. In the last pages of my memoir, I address the strange, loving and terrible events that brought Iran back into my life in an forgettable and momentous fashion. As I wrote I felt an upswing of forgiveness that has stayed with me until today. I don’t know how anyone could have lived this experience and not recognize the power of synchronicity.

What words of encouragement can you offer others who have become stuck in the refugee cycle?

First, always maintain the dream of freedom but be sure to act. Pursue your dreams. Be clear about your goals and intentions. Give back to society and remember to find the agencies and agents who can help you with bureaucracy. Most importantly of all, remember to never give in to bitterness. It is easy to feel victimized but you have within you the power to be a victor. You harvest what you sow. Look for beauty, always.

What would you most like readers to know about you?

Never give up; all the loving dreams will be realized.

Do you plan to write any other books?

Yes. There is at least one book calling me right now, and in the background, I see a need for pieces on Iranian culture, language, and cuisine. Bridges that join people can be constructed when we share our stories, our customs, our sorrows and joy, and I am a bridge-builder. You can call me an engineer of peace!

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook












Monday, December 7, 2015

They Never Die Quietly by D.M. Annechino


Review of Resuscitation (book two) - Here
Review of A Piece of You (book three) - Here.

Synopsis -

They Never Die Quietly tells the story of homicide Detective Sami Rizzo, who is assigned to head a task force investigating serial killings in San Diego. Simon, the highly intelligent, cunning, and deceptively charming villain, redefines the depths of human evil. He believes God has given him absolute authority to purify his unholy victims through a ritual that ends in a grisly crucifixion.

Driven by warped religious beliefs and guided by his dead mother, very much alive in his subconscious, Simon abducts “chosen ones” and holds them captive in a Room of Redemption. There, the victims helplessly await their crucifixion. Detective Rizzo urgently yearns to solve the case and gain the respect of her male colleagues, but her obsession to apprehend the killer on her own clouds her thinking. When Simon outsmarts Rizzo and captures her, determined to make her his next victim, she must employ all her resources—both physical and intellectual—to outwit the villain at his own game.

Review -

They Never Die Quietly is the first of three books I will be reviewing featuring San Diego homicide detective Sami Rizzo along with her partner Detective Al Diaz. Each of the three deal with serial killers. Each serial killer is definitely creepy and got under my skin. Because of the way the victims were killed - and the reason for the killing - these books fall under the thriller category for me as I have a vivid imagination. They are just over the line - disturbing, but you should be able to sleep.

In They Never Die Quietly, we start with a murder as it is happening, but from the victim's point of view. We quickly learn it was a painful crucifixion with the woman's child asleep in the same room. Sick! Then the author introduces us to the characters involved. There are a few expected things about the plot. Sami Rizzo is the only female detective in an all male squad, so has to be better and smarter than her colleagues to gain their respect.  She is a single mom balancing work and home. She is the first to start to guess who the killer might be.  From there the book is told from three points of view - the killer's, Sami Rizzo's and Al Diaz's.

The storyline kept my interest from start to finish and the method and reason behind the killings were unique. As a writer I give the author kudos for being able to go into that dark space creatively.  I would have had nightmares. But if you look at the reviews on Amazon they range widely. Why? I think you have to love reading thrillers with creepy killers first of all. Secondly, there were a few small plot details that perhaps needed revisiting such as Sami's choice to meet the suspected killer alone without backup - a bit unbelievable for a smart, top-notch detective.

Love your murder mysteries with more of a thriller bent? Then the killer here will be right up your alley.

Buy the book: Amazon

Meet The Author - 

To read an interview with the author click HERE!


D.M. Annechino author picDaniel M. Annechino, a former book editor specializing in full-length fiction, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, in 1992 while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly.

​His second book, Resuscitation (Thomas & Mercer 2011), a follow-up to his first novel, hit #1 in Kindle sales in the UK and reached #26 in the USA. He is also the author of I Do Solemnly Swear (Thomas & Mercer 2012) and Hypocrisy. A Piece of You is his fifth novel, the third in the Detective Sami Rizzo series. A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the author:    Website    Twitter    Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Interview with Daniel M. Annechino, Author of They Never Die Quietly, Resuscitation & A Piece of You

D.M. Annechino author pic
Where were you born and what were you like when young? Any interests or early signs you would later put pen to paper?

I was born in Rochester, New York. When I think about my younger years I remember being an introvert. I was the oldest of five so naturally I had a lot of “big brother” responsibilities. Somewhere along the line—I believe when I graduated from high school and had my first full-time job—I came out of my shell. No early signs whatsoever that I had a flair for writing. I didn’t pen my first book until I was over forty.

I know your writing career began at a later age. Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author? What drew you to write in this genre.
I was a general manager in the car business for many years and for no particular reason I decided to write a nonfiction book focused on the intelligent way to buy a car. Several months after I completed the book I found an agent, she made a publishing deal for me within a week, and it sold 22,000 copies. “Wow,” I said, “that was easy.” So, in 1993, feeling prepared to be the next Stephen King, I wrote my first novel. Couldn’t sell it anywhere. Somewhat discouraged, I wrote a second novel. I couldn’t sell that one either. I gave it one more shot and wrote #3. Guess what? It still sits on a shelf collecting dust with the first two. I gave up writing and pretty much forgot about it. But I got the bug again in 2008 and wrote They Never Die Quietly, my fourth effort. Novel #4 made it through the maze and Thomas & Mercer published it in 2010. To date I have published 5 novels with sales over 160,000. I chose the mystery/thriller genre mainly because I really enjoy creating over-the-top villains and love to keep my readers at the edge of their seats. But I also chose this particular genre because of its popularity and mass appeal.
Review HERE!

Your thrillers certainly have twisted villians. I got the chills a few times. Do you ever get so into a story you get nervous?

I wouldn’t characterize what I experience when I’m creating diabolical villains as “nervous”, however, when I start a book I am completely absorbed. I literally vanish from the face of the Earth and only exist in the story. I live and breathe with my characters 24/7. And from time to time I get a creepy and disconnected feeling when I’m “living” in another dimension.

Where do you find inspiration for your story lines? For the characters you create?

I wish I could come up with a simple answer to this question but my style of writing is very unconventional. For each of my books I started with a simple idea. For example, when I began writing, They Never Die Quietly, my first novel, I approached it with one simple theme: I wanted my villain to be a twisted religious fanatic whose actions are coached by his dead mother—very much alive in his mind. The rest of the story just unfolded. One plot scene fostered another; one character gave me inspiration for other characters; one subplot cultivated more subplots. It’s a highly unusual way to write full- length novels, but it works for me.

What is the writing process like - do you write when inspiration strikes or have a set schedule each day on what is to be accomplished?

Review Here!
For me, once I start writing a book, I try to write every day. On certain days I can’t come up with one meaningful sentence. On other days my fingers can’t keep up with the ideas exploding in my brain. There never seems to be a rhyme or reason why I experience this phenomenon, but I’d be willing to bet that most writers face similar circumstances. If I’ve learned anything at all about the writing process I’ve learned that you just can’t force creative ideas. Either it’s working or it’s not. The few times I did try to write when my creative juices weren’t flowing resulted in prose that was absolute crap.

As an author - what do you enjoy most about the writing process? What feels like a chore?

Being a writer is so much more than just writing. I love to write and even love to edit, but in this day and age any writer who has dreams of success must also be involved in marketing, promotion, managing a web site and blog, and having a presence on social media. Any writer who thinks that writers only write is in for a big surprise. To be honest, I wish that my only responsibility was to write, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.

Any advice for young authors wanting to write books in this genre?


Review coming Jan. 6th
It took me four novels and fifteen years before I got published. Needless to say, it takes tenacity, resilience, patience, and most important, the ability to deal with rejection and harsh critics. But never forget that nearly every writer who ever enjoyed success understood that rejection is a necessary prerequisite to success. If you love to write and are driven by the written word, keep writing even if you never sign a publishing contract. In the end, success is not measured in dollars and cents; it’s measured by personal satisfaction and accomplishment. One last thought: Remember: there is no such thing as good writing; only good rewriting. The editing process is your best friend.

Any new books in the works?

Actually, I’m nearly finished with the first draft of novel #6. However, this book is a dramatic departure from my past books and is based on a true story. Briefly, my uncle was an Army Ranger during World War II and was stationed in Italy. After several fierce battles with the Germans, he and about 200 other Rangers were overwhelmed and captured by the Nazis. After several weeks of hell—what he endured is unimaginable— my uncle and two other Rangers managed to escape. But for the next five months he had to find a way to survive behind enemy lines. Eventually, my uncle was rescued by the French military. It’s an amazing story and I feel strongly it will get lots of attention.

Connect with the author:    Website    Twitter    Facebook


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Don't Criticize - Mentor and Support

I decided to put my closing paragraph at the top to make sure it is read FIRST! Today's moral - learn to be a mentor. There are so many young, talented people trying to learn the ropes while in the public spotlight. They deserve our guidance and support instead of criticism. So they don't know the right way to deal with every situation. I have found most people I interviewed over the years to be kind and supportive and ready to give newbies a chance. Now onto my story.

In 2006, I felt adrift without focus and was looking for a new direction. While exploring the job opportunities on Craigslist, one popped - a request for story idea submissions from a New York fashion magazine. I mean how hard could writing articles be?  I always received A's in English when in school. Throwing caution to the wind, I sent off three ideas and to my surprise, two were accepted. 

I went on to learn the hard way that interviewing, writing and sending quality material to a magazine required well-honed skills that I needed to acquire quickly.  I managed to make it through the interview and writing process only with the good will and support of three amazing people who I am utterly grateful to - Katherine Soucie of Sans Soucie, Melissa Ferreira of Adhesif and Denise Brillon of Artifaax. They were patient with my lack of experience and kind in giving feedback on the articles I had written. There was guidance instead of criticism. I now realize how very lucky I was.

Then there was the photographic team I turned the two photoshoots over to - Sean Azar, Liz Dungate, Claudia Da Ponte and Robin Matthews. I had no idea what was needed or how it should be submitted. My lack of experience was oh so obvious. Trust was important here. 



Somehow it all came together and the articles/photos were sent in. They were scheduled for publication in the magazine's the third issue, but it ran out of money while that issue was at the printers. All that hard work accomplished and nothing to show for it.  To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I knew this was what I was meant to do - so where to go from here. A mother with teenage kids and no published work to her name wasn't an in demand item. The doors would not open.

Back I went to Craigslist where I connected with a photographer wanting to start a Vancouver fashion magazine.  I dove in the deep end. I had no connections, didn't understand the politics, knew little about the designers/ fashion artists in the local scene and wore clothing from Costco, Zellers and Value Village.  I came with tons of enthusiasm and a commitment to shining a light on our community. I lacked confidence and any knowledge of protocol.  Here I am, just trying to learn while in the harsh spotlight.  

While there were criticisms that arose as I truly had two left feet and regularly put my foot in my mouth, I guess it was evident to those I interviewed how passionate I was about what I was trying to do. And the support they offered is what sustained me through my very public learning process. In over 150 interviews, only twice did I find a lack of patience or serious negativity. Even the most well-know people I have interviewed - celebrities such as Geir Ness, Ruthie Davis and Raphael and Lisa Marie Mazzucco - were nothing but generous and supportive. I think we all need to follow their example.