Tag Archives: Canada

Ten Sunshine Things About Me

Sandra aka RayaHere is the wind-up to the conditions outlined Paula Tohline Calhoun’s Monday Joy post in Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror…ten happy things about me that you might not have known.  This post is the sequel to Yikes, Another Award!

1.  Most people don’t know that I am the mother of two incredibly talented children, not kids anymore, although they always will be kids to me.  My daughter Laurie is working on her Master’s in biology and is already a P.Biol. with her own consulting business, servicing a lot of the oil industry (making sure they leave their oil well sites as clean and with as little impact on the ecology as possible).  In Canada, that is government-enforced.  My son Tom is an oilfield accountant.

2.  I am meeting Tom’s girlfriend for the first time in two weeks.  I am very excited, because she and I have corresponded online and I like her very much.

3.  I have been married three times and not one of them was a Canadian!  The first was a Scotsman.  Being married to him was like watching a Brit movie…I didn’t understand a word the man said for the first 10 months 😛

4.  The second husband was a sweet young New Zealander with another lovely accent.  It was more understandable though.  He couldn’t handle the age difference and my disabilities, but I didn’t blame him.  We had fun while it lasted, played like kids and relaxed.

5.  The third husband is a little closer to home, although he still has an accent.  Wertaf (his role-playing game name) is an American…naturally he insists that I’m the one who has an accent, and this even while we are living in the heartland of Canada lol  He’s a keeper.  We’ve been married almost five years now.  He is considerably younger than me but doesn’t seem it 🙂

6.  At the age of five, while my dad was away on a fishing trip with the other game wardens to get enough food for the sled dogs for the winter, my mom and I ran out of food.  We were living 52 miles from the nearest habitations and our two-way radio was broken.  I scouted out coveys of partridge sitting on tree branches, ran back to Mom to guide her to them.

7.  Mom shot a rifle that she had never shot before, and I cleaned and dressed the birds that she accidentally killed (she wasn’t a very good shot, but I was too small to hold the gun).  We feasted on roast partridge, baked partridge, fried partridge, broiled partridge, partridge stew, etc.  for a couple of weeks until our winter supply of food arrived. 

Flag of Calgary

Flag of Calgary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8.  I was the all-night DJ on a large middle-of-the-road music station for a few years in Calgary, Alberta, Canada back in the ’70s and ’80s.  I had a party every night.  When the kids were staying with me (they were quite small then), I bedded them down on the plush carpet in the client music room.  It had a radio monitor and they could listen to me on air while they fell asleep.  They loved doing that and were quite proud of me for being a DJ.  Apparently that is quite cool.

9.  My mom managed to stay awake until midnight every night that I was on air.  I would play one of her favorite songs right after the news (she loved “Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills, so it got more airplay than it actually should have 😛 ).  Then she would feel peaceful and drift off to sleep.

10.  I used to be an amateur long distance swimmer.  The longest distance I ever swam was five miles.  I was pretty tired at the end of that, but I loved doing it.  One of my girlhood heroes was Marilyn Bell, who was a Canadian Olympic swimmer and the first women to swim across Lake Ontario.  Imagine!  I didn’t have dreams as big as that.  I was just glad I could swim my five miles.

There ya have it, folks.  Ten little known facts outside my family and close friends.   Remember, you read it here first!

And with that, I have fulfilled all three of the Sunshine Award requirements.  Thank you all for your support and encouragement.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Welp, today is the first full day of Spring, and I was baffled.  I really want to take my own pictures for this challenge, and believe me…challenged I was.  Yet with my journalistic background, I felt I had to tell the truth.  So, going with my instincts, I am portraying a contrast for your enjoyment.  Here is where a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Springtime in the Netherlands
Springtime in the Netherlands

And now, on the other side of the world is the contrast.

Spring in Saskatchewan.  Photo (c) 2011 by  Sandra Bell Kirchman

Springtime in Saskatchewan

The above pic is kind of misty.  This is because there is snow falling, but you can’t see the flakes in this pic.  Hence the following closeup.
See the snowflakes falling.
I seem to be having trouble inserting links below in the related links area, so I will manually add them below.  There are tons of beautiful and unusual spring pictures this week.
Related Links
Dorky Deb’s Blog – Deb – Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring – (dorkydeb.com)
Huffygirl’s Blog – Huffygirl – Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring – (huffygirl.wordpress.com)
Inside-Out -Marge Katherine Mercurio – Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring – (mkmercurio.wordpress.com)
Panicmonster.com – Panicmonster – Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring – (panicmonster.com)
Passionate About Pets – Barb – Weekly Photo Challenge – Spring – (passionateaboutpets.wordpress.com)
Spirit Lights the Way – Nancy Hatch – Photo Challenge Spring – (nrhatch.wordpress.com)
Summerfield84’s English Blog – Summerfield84 – Week Photo Challenge: Spring – (ensummerfield84.wordpress.com)
The Practical Dilettante – Seonaid – Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring – (thepractical dilettante.com)
What’s Bugging Me Today – Classy Rose – or not – Weekly Photo Challenge| Spring in Purple – (whatsbuggingmetoday.wordpress.com)

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in the area of fantasy fiction writing in 2010?

The thought for the day is:  What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in the area of fantasy fiction writing in 2010?  And why?   I’ll go first, shall I? 🙂

It would have to be the final production of the anthology, Birth of a Unicorn and Other Stories, after years of preparation (we began the process in July of 2007).  Here, I’ll give you the Letter FROM the Editor (which would be me), straight from the book:

Letter from the Editor

This lovely cover was done for FantasyFic by Swedish artist Karolina Sefyrin.

There comes a time in each editor’s life when she says to herself, “This is it!” Birth of a Unicorn and Other Stories was like that. The ingredients were contributed by seven of the top writers who frequent the forum attached to my website, plus me. Originally the site was to promote my own writing, but writers started coming to the forum…talented writers, with a lot of humor, good ideas, and a love for fantasy. And so the idea for this anthology was born.

This is a first-time publication for nearly all the writers, not because they lack talent but because they didn’t have sufficient confidence in their writing. After schmoozing for months at FantasyFic, and with an invitation from me after I saw the literary excellence of their stories, they took the plunge, submitted and were accepted.

Each writer is quite different from the other. Stephanie is a geologist who works with government data, Eric is a Colorado filmmaker, Steven is a southern gentleman and an IT whiz, Brian owns a small consulting company in Canada, Merrianna is a sweet young woman who plans a career as a writer, Suzette is a busy California mother of two, and Joshua is a bright young student with a flair for comedy. Two things that draw them all together are a love of writing and a passion for fantasy fiction.

DragonSnail has graced our forum as well. Known in the real world as Karolina Sefyrin, of Sweden, this very talented artist designed the book cover for our anthology. One look at it blew us all away with its lovely vision so beautifully fitting the images generated in the first story of the anthology. It also gracefully portrays the general fantasy-theme of the rest of the stories.

Sincere thanks go out to all the writers for their enthusiasm and dedication. I am especially grateful to Stephanie Ciofalo in Arizona for her help in editing, proofreading and research, and to Suzy Lydick in California for her research and for preparing the wonderful spreadsheet that helped keep me organized. I hope you enjoy this book as much as we have enjoyed getting it ready for you. It has indeed been a work of love.

Sandra Bell Kirchman
Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, Canada
August 1, 2010

P.S.  Official worldwide release of the anthology was on October 2, 2010…and it was finished.  If you would like to visit these fine young writers, you can find them lurking, along with other fine young writers, at my website forum at FantasyFic.com.

How about you?  What was your biggest fantasy fiction writing achievement in 2010?  If you didn’t write any fantasy fiction in 2010, then what was your biggest writing accomplishment?  And why?  Now’s your chance to take a bow 🙂