Daily Walk: Ice Crystals

Today was cold, damp and overcast. I did not want to go for a walk. Burger dragged me out, and I’m so glad he did. Once again, we headed to the trails. In the woods, we were protected from the windchill which was down to -16oC (3.2oF). Once you get walking, it’s quite lovely and comfortably warm.

Burger found this frozen pool with the prettiest ice crystals on the surface! It looked like snow that had settled on the top, but not quite.

They were even present on the brook. The water was still running, but with thin sheets of ice on the surface.

Closeup of the ice particles. Looks like Jack Frost was here. I love how that little branch sits on top of the ice, completely crystalized.

Crystalized branches on the side of the brook.

What’s the weather like where you live?

Thanks for visiting,

Jo-Ann and Burger <3


Commander Quill Award

Thank your so much Silas for nominating me for this unique award! Silas always has beautiful pictures and something unique to share on his blog, so if you don’t follow him already, you definitely should have a browse through his posts! My Weird, Crazy and Mundane Life Journal

The Commander Quill Award is created to inspire reading while promoting literacy and patriotism.



Rules for Commander Quill Award:

1. Create a new post thanking the person who nominated you, link their blog. 

2. List the rules of the award. 

3. Post a photo of your National flag and anthem. 

4. Leave a favorite quote.

5. Nominate a few Loyal bloggers. 

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.


I searched around the internet to find a favourite quote. This one stood out for me.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
Henry David Thoreau

Hope you enjoyed this award! It was a fun one to do.

Mythical Monday: The Story of Art and Delvcaem


I’ve been incorporating some old Celtic stories and legends into the novel I’ve been working on, so I though I would do a little feature on them each Monday. Mythical Mondays has a nice ring, doesn’t it?

This story I’m featuring today is a summary of Becuma of the White Skin. It was written by James Stephens in a book called Irish Fairy Tales, published in 1920.

Art was the son of Irish High King named Conn of the Hundred Battles. He was a warrior like his father.

Conn was in mourning over the loss of his wife, and found himself walking along the shore. There, he met Becuma of the White Skin, who had just arrived in a small boat. Little did he know that she’d been ejected from the faery realm, nor did he realize what trouble she would bring.

Becuma bewitched him, compelling him to want to marry her. She was quite a trickster. She told him the fame of his son Art had made her fall in love with him and before long, she had Conn begging her to marry him instead.

Becuma insisted that Art leave Ireland for a year so she could come to love Conn instead of Art. The year that he was gone was a bad one for Ireland. There was a great famine. The High King was pressured to allow a human sacrifice, (at least until someone pointed out that Becuma was the cause of the famine).

Once Art returned to Ireland, she challenged him to a game of chess. Art won the first game, and her due was to eat no food in Ireland until she found the wand of Curoi, son of Dare. An impossible challenge, or so he thought.

It wasn’t long before she was back with the wand. Of course, she did have some help from her faery friends.

On her return, she challenged Art to another game of chess. This time, she won. His due was to eat no food in Ireland until he found Delvcaem of the Fair Shape, the daughter of Morgan. She was sure he would never return.

Delvcaem was a woman of Faerie who was being held captive by her parents on an island in the Many-Coloured Lands. It was said that her mother would die when Delvcaem was wooed, so she kept her daughter shut away in a tower, and every suitor that dared to come near their fortress was murdered by her and her husband, Morgan.

Art was faced with incredible challenges on his way to find Delvcaem. From turbulent oceans, sea monsters and evil hags that wanted to bury him in molten lead.

When he arrived at Delvcaem’s home, he noticed there were spikes all around the fortress, each one with the head of one of her potential suitors. There was one spike remaining with no head.

Delvcaem’s mother had the lovely name Dog Head. (I can only imagine why!) She came out dressed in full armour and challenged him to a duel. Art won, of course, and put her head on the one remaining spike. Then he defeated her husband Morgan.

Art rescued Delvcaem from her tiny room at the top of a 100 foot high pillar. The two returned to Ireland and since Delvcaem’s magical power was greater than Becuma’s, she forced her to leave Ireland. Becuma left without protest. Word was she left for Sasana and became queen in that country.

I loved the characters in this story, especially Becuma. There is so much more to her that I didn’t get into here. Maybe a future post? I did a little digging and found out that Sasana is Old Irish for England. And if you’re an Outlander fan, you’d be interested to know that it’s derived from Sasenach.

This story of Art and Delvcaem became the background for three of the characters in my novel, The Dragon Prophecy. Here’s a working synopsis of what the novel is about:

The Dragon Prophecy is a fast paced alternate history YA that infuses modern day characters with Celtic myths and legends from the time before the birth of King Arthur.

Two brothers are caught dead centre in a power struggle between two queens, both hell bent on stopping the Age of Pendragon and changing history as we know it.

The lines of reality become blurred. Thrown into an era of faeries, dragons and a sketchy druid, who can they trust? Will they ever be able to make it home?

What do you think so far? Does this genre interest you?



ROW80 Week 3 Sunday


I could say it was a terrible week for reaching my goals, but no matter which way you look at it, I still made progress on my novel, (which is awesome). I did a little bit of painting and though I did miss out on yoga, I did get some snowshoeing in. So there’s that. It’s exercise, right? And there is always next week.

Novel Writing:  

I am almost finished the next chapter in my story. I really thought it was going to be finished on Monday, Tuesday at the latest….sadly that didn’t happen.

Tuesday ended up being a complete write-off. School was cancelled because of the weather. I work much better when there are no distractions around. Trust me, everything is a distraction, but it’s worse when my boys are home. It’s not them…it’s me lol.

My mood was off, too. And that didn’t help. Headaches, depression and all over body pain made want to just curl up and have a nap.


My reference photo


I got one afternoon of painting in instead of the three afternoons that I had planned.

The picture to the left is the reference photo that I was working from.

Below is my work in progress and I’m realizing now how bad the perspective is on that pool of water! Ooops! I do like the colours, though so there’s that.

Work in Progress


Yoga didn’t happen this week. I seem to be able to make the Tuesday class. It’s at a perfect time for me to be able to make it without running around like a crazy lady to get there. 

Tuesday, I felt miserable. Headache, all over body aches and depression. I had an angel on one shoulder telling me to stay home and relax. The angel on the other shoulder said, “Go! You will feel so much better if you do!”

I agreed with the stay home angel, but I later found out that the class was cancelled due to weather. So, I didn’t feel toooo bad about not going. The weather wasn’t great the rest of the week either, the roads were terrible for travelling on. 

I got extra exercise by shovelling the driveway twice this week. Yep, my muscles were feeling that!

I also got a bit of snowshoeing in! I posted some pics from that here. It was a gorgeous day for it, but boy oh boy were my legs burning! I only did about 2 km, a fairly short jaunt but it was enough for me. 

Last week, I mentioned doing some blog posts that relate to the novel I’m writing since it is interlaced with legends and historical stories that link and weave the characters together. I have a post ready to go for Monday, so I hope you’ll stop by and check it out.  It’s the story behind three of the characters, Art, Delvcaem and Becuma and is based on the Irish fairy tale Becuma of the White Skin by James Stephens. 

How about you? Did you reach your goals?

Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by!


It’s Friday!: Search for Maylee by Didi Oviatt

The blurb from Goodreads: Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.



I really enjoyed this book! I loved the suspense. If you’d like to read my review, click here. I also encourage you to check out Didi’s blog! She is the author of more books (one of which I’m reading right now called Aggravated Momentum), she is also fun and has great content!

Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted at Rose City Reader where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.




Autumn drew in a lungful of California air. Although it was thick, it was somehow refreshing. She looked to her side at the sun glistening off small choppy waves on the oceanfront.It sparkled in bright flashes across the horizon. She was really going to miss this stunning morning view.


The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted at Freda’s voice.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Here’s the blurb from 56% on my Kindle:

Autumn practically ran past Jeremy’s door, Praying that he wouldn’t catch her on the way out. With fingers trembling and a shortened breath she was able to speed away from the apartment. Autumn didn’t much care that she’d be watched during the run. Apparently she had been all along, and a part of her actually felt safer now because of it. As long as she was able to avoid the actual conversation with Jeremy until after the run, and no one found out about Josie, then she could handle the morning.

What do you think? Is this a book you’d be interested in reading?

Thanks for reading and Happy Weekend!



Daily Walk: A Little Snowshoeing Anyone?

We got another nice dump of fresh snow this week! I was quite content to stay in and enjoy my nice warm house but Burger had other ideas. I wasn’t up to braving the dog park with its wide open fields. There was too much wind, (or so I thought) so I figured the trails on the other side of town would be perfect.

Here, there are lots of trees, and it’s protected from the wind. But, I thought the trails might be a bit hard to navigate with all the snow. About 15-25 cms had fallen, and walking in snow that deep gets hard on the legs! So, I threw on my snowshoes and off we went into the woods!

The sky was such a gorgeous, intense blue! It was a beautiful day and surprising mild. I don’t think I needed to worry about the windchill after all, but it was nice to be on the trails!

The trails wind around this pretty brook. I love the way the snow is so heavy on the trees.


Here’s my happy pup!

Thanks for stopping by!

Jo-Ann and Burger

Review: Search for Maylee

From Goodreads: Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.

View on Amazon

View on Goodreads

I love a good suspense and Search for Maylee did not disappoint! I just finished reading the last page and all I can say is WOW! The author kept me on the edge of my seat. I blew through this novel because I could not wait to find out what was going to happening next. The story begins slowly, building tension and background information.

Although the main theme is about finding Maylee, the main character of they story is Autumn. She is devastated that her niece has been abducted and for three years, she waits for her to be found, feeling frustrated by the lack of action on the part of police. When she finally gets her hands on a clue, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She sells everything she owns and moves from her home in California to Denver, Colorado in the desperate hope of finding Maylee on her own.

I had no idea what Autumn expected to find or how she was going to find her niece, but I could feel her stubbornness and determination. First, she meets a motley crew who help her to get settled in. Didi Oviatt did an amazing job with her character arc, showing her fear but at the same time her refusal to give in to it. She continued to grow in strength as the story progressed, pushing herself to do some pretty risky things. Daily runs in the bad area of town had me sitting on the edge of my seat, and breaking into the house of a known criminal had my palms sweaty!

In the midst of the suspense, a hot, steamy romance adds flavour and spices things up! Great job on that–not too much, just enough to leave the reader wanting more. I loved these two as a couple!

There was also enough information left out of the story to make the reader question who was the good guy and who was bad. Dirty cops, and undercover agents, anybody could have put Autumn, at risk.

I highly recommend this book if you love suspense and a good mystery. If you’d like to learn more about the author, please visit her blog at didioviatt.wordpress.com.

Thanks for reading!


Review: Rise of the Mudmen

Rise of the Mudmen by James FW Thompson

Excerpt from Amazon: Alex used to believe that bad things didn’t happen on sunny days…but now he knows better. On an otherwise normal October day, his neighborhood becomes a place of horror. Missing parents, a chaotic evacuation and a school in flames are only the beginning of a nightmarish world overrun by bloodthirsty creatures–creatures who were once neighbours, friends, and family. Thrown together by chance with no adults coming to their rescue, Alex, Nicole, David and Kaitlyn must rely on themselves and each other to survive. As they struggle to defend themselves, create a safe haven, and learn to work together, they discover that there’s more than one kind of enemy…and that sometimes the worst ones come from within… Set in Cape Breton in 1986, Rise of the Mudmen will take you back to a time that never was.



View on Amazon

View on Goodreads

I’ve mentioned before how excited I was to read this book! It is set in the year a graduated from high school, in the city I grew up in.

In last Friday’s post, I gave a little introduction to Rise of the Mudmen by James FW Thompson with a few excerpts. You can see that post here if you’d like to check it out.

Rise of the Mudmen is a well-written debut novel with a YA flavour. The story is based around Alex, fifteen years old and his dog, Shadow. The setting is 1986, Sydney, Cape Breton. A virus is spreading. Alex, along with hundreds of school kids and adults gets lost in mass chaos as zombies, or mudmen as Alex like to call them. They spread and attack, killing friends and family and turning them into mudmen. There is some gore and carnage.

Alex joins up with others seeking refuge and they eventually create a safe haven for themselves. Foraging for food and supplies is a dangerous adventure into the unknown. They learn to work together to survive and protect one another. Unfortunately, in this new, uncertain world, they must also learn who they can and cannot trust.

Each of the characters involved have unique personalities, all with something to offer. The story moves quickly, with unexpected, dramatic events that kept me turning the pages. The story was entertaining and suspenseful and I have to say that I loved all the references to local places of interest.

Thanks for reading!



Daily Walk: Icy Reflections

Most of these photos were taken on Friday. It was such a gorgeous day, the temperature went up to 12oC, the snow was melting and the ice had the gorgeous, shiny and reflective glow to it! 

We crossed the brook, still quite frozen, but ice water was burbling on top and  just beneath the surface.  It was very calming and peaceful. Only the day before, this brook was a solid block of ice but now a fragile crust covers it.

See how slick the ice surface is? I love how the sun pops through the trees here. The reflections are beautiful!

The sun is a brighter here on the other side. So pretty!

Check out the difference between Friday and Monday! I took the picture below from the almost the same spot beside the same tree. It was pretty grey this morning but the reflections are still there. The snow is all gone, the pond is still frozen.



I hope you enjoyed the photos from our walk. Thanks for stopping by!

Jo-Ann and Burger

ROW80 Week 2



I’m a little late getting my Sunday report done. I had a busy Saturday, and these ROW80 reports have a way of sneaking up on you!

Novel Writing:  My writing group meeting was Wednesday night, so I thought I’d work on my short story that day instead of novel writing. We are working on putting together an anthology with a humorous theme. I got a reasonable first draft down that I was happy enough to share with the group. They laughed at the appropriate parts, so I’m taking that’s a good sign. I did a bit more editing on Friday but I’m still working out a few kinks.

Thursday I finished a chapter in my novel for a total of 750 words. I had hoped to edit a chapter a week. It took me two weeks to edit this chapter. So, I’m a bit slower than I expected but that’s okay. I’m still making progress and that’s a good thing.


Painting: I had planned on painting three afternoons a week. This week I painted one afternoon. That was on Monday, so you might already have seen this painting when I posted on Wednesday.

Nothing more done the rest of the week, hopefully next week I will get more painting time in!




YogaYoga: I had hoped to get to yoga class at least three times per week.Unfortunately, I only made it once this week. Between writer’s group and dinner with a friend (it was her birthday!) that was the best I could do. We shall see what this week brings!



I’m hoping next week will be more productive. Hopefully, I’ll have another chapter in my novel edited, plus I have a couple of reviews coming up on some books that were written locally and I’m excited to share them with you.

I was also thinking of doing some posts that relate to the novel that I’m writing. My novel is interlaced with legends and historical stories that link and weave the characters together. It’s a blend of modern realism with historical fantasy. If you enjoy time travel, evil queens, faeries and steampunk magic, then you might enjoy this.

Have a wonderful week!


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