Sunday, April 10, 2016

Just Another Sunday. And A Bit About Books.

Sunday. That’s my fun day? Well actually it’s more of, that’s my cleaning day. But I don’t mind so much. The boys are out of the house, off on another adventure that involves cars and things I try not to involve myself in too much. My husband has a car collecting problem. For realz. But it keeps him busy and sometimes happy though just as often frustrated. But he has the teen to take along with him now. And to talk with about cars and car parts and car swaps. So. That’s good right? Yes. Yes it is. Because as mentioned, I try not to involve myself in it too much.

Enough about cars, now for my passion. Books. I read a few books over the last couple of weeks, all of them very different.  One of my favorite expressions is that no person ever reads the same book.  Meaning of course, that we all take different things from the same book, depending on our life experiences and many many other factors.

One of the books I read was a Sourcebooks YA title that recently made the New York Times Bestseller list. I was curious about what propelled it to that list and was browsing through my eBook reader because I’d already finished the two books on my bedside table. I was proud of the company that published 6 of my YA novels, and of course, a little jealous because, human.
Anyhow, the cover is fantastic.  Really really well done.   Find it on Goodreads

I enjoyed it and understood why it did as well as it did.  Very readable, unputdownable even. Many of the characters came alive so clearly and it incorporated a whole line-up of diverse characters without needing to point out that they were.  If that makes any sense. I  also liked the way the author remained a little objective in her story too, and think it worked well. It related in a very small way to the other book I just finished, The Glass Castle, which was completely different but also so very strong and SO VERY objective.
Anyhow, I enjoyed how the author of TIWE didn’t try to over explain the shooter’s (school shooting book btw) motivations too much other than some background and character building. I thought that was well done because so many times it seems we search and search for the why in these horrible tragedies and there really aren’t any. There’s maybe reasons, excuses but never a clear cut "why" when a person goes over the edge. How can you explain it? You can look for an answer, why, but it will never ever be clear cut.  

So, kudos to her and to Sourcebooks for an amazing feat!

I also really enjoyed The Glass Castle, which is non fiction and one of those books that makes you think for days and days after. I don't know why this book was never on my radar, as it's an older book and a popular NYT bestseller as well. Probably because it's not something usually in my wheel house. I've been reading a lot more books that aren't YA lately. There's some great books in different genres, but when I go back to YA, I'm always happy. 

The parents in The Glass Castle are so off the charts that it’s hard to read at times. It also made me think about how much I spoil my child. Which he may discuss with his therapist later in life. Right now I’ll just say, sorry little dude. There’s no perfection in parenting, fo shizzle.

Another book I read (I won’t say what it was because one thing I’ve learned as an author, is that I don’t want to say bad things about other people’s books because they are probably really fricking proud of them) bugged the crap out of me. As above, what doesn’t work for me, might be the best thing someone else ever read.  Anyhow, it was by a very famous author who is a brilliant writer, but it just BUGGED THE SHIT out of me. It started out so good, and I was so happy with it and then it went all wonkers and got off course and by the time it ended I was like WTF? But I did finish it, which means something and I have to admire the author’s writing.  So there’s that.
I also finished a YA that is the first in a series. Not my favorite book, by an author I usually love. It was good. I finished it, but I expected GREAT. Because. Reader expectation.

Anyhow. I could go on and on about books and thoughts but my upstairs is calling to me.
“Janet. Janet. Come and clean me.”

Damn you upstairs. I must go.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

From Flab to Fab... Walking to Runing to Making Healthier Choices.

Hello Bloggity Blog.

So much new. So much the same.  That is the journey of life.

So. I was on holidays all last week and spent time in beautiful BC with my family and some friends. It's a treat to spend time with The Boy now as he is deeply entrenched in his Teenage years and doing what he must do. ie- preparing to spread his wings in preparation for flight. He's not going anywhere yet, but as most teens, he prefers the company of his own species most of the time, so it was nice to steal some time for ourselves (my husband and I).

Now I'm home and back to life and have decided it's time to try to make some healthy changes. On Friday, I went for my first walk/run in a long (long)time. I've decided to give the running thing a go. Again.  My goal. A 10 km run. I've never managed a 10km. I mastered the 5km a few years back, even managed a sprint triathlon one year, but in the past few years I've been a sluggish Janet instead. Now it's time to fix that. From Flab to Fab? Fab at Fifty, of course. Which looks much different, I suppose. I'm trying to focus on health vs looks. This is a quest to feel better. In my skin and in my head.

Tomorrow I'm back to work and the business and busy-ness of life. Board meetings, golf committee planning, course selection meeting for high school next year for and with The Boy. Book writing and book signing and of course, the Day Job.

But fitting in the Flab to Fab plan too. 4 walk/runs this week to build the running platform and 2 yoga's for my mind and soul.  Doable? Yes.

My Mantra for the week- Happiness is a HABIT I will develop. I will work to chose happiness whenever I can- all week long!

Let's do this thing.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!!

I'm up early and the house is quiet! I guess that's what happens when you only have one child and he's a teenager now!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas day today, no matter what your faith! To me, Christmas is about family and reflecting. Kind of like New Year's but with nice decorations, lots of food and gifts. 

Looking forward to a new year. Also a nap later today. Did I mention I got up too early.

All the best from my home to yours!!!

Merry Christmas 2015!!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Limited Time! IF I TELL ebook on sale!!

Looking for a book to read on your e-reader? If I Tell is only $2.99 for the next few days!

Jaz is a bi-racial teen forced to keep a secret from her mom. A secret that could ruin her mom's life, but is also threatening to ruin Jaz's!

RT books said "Gurtler handles complex issues of race, identity, friendship and fidelity with laugh-out-loud humor and engaging frankness...once you're in you won't regret it..." - RT Book Reviews

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Hello Blog.
I have been a bad blogger this year.

It has been a year all right. A big fat milestone birthday. Loss of my big brother.  A new job.
No new YA book contract...but a new YA finally brewing...

Lots of dips and ebbs. At the end of the day, I'm happy to still be here. I have an amazing teenage son, who doesn't often want to be seen with me in public and thinks almost everything I do is embarrassing. How awesome is that! Seriously. He's a good kid who works hard at swimming and school and who is also doing what he's supposed to be doing. Finding himself, identifying with his peer group and figuring shit out on his own.  In other words, he's a teen. But a good one and I love him more than I could ever put down in words. That much is true.

Because it's been a year of change and flux, my writing has often been pushed into the background. But lately my groove is coming back and I'm getting to it again.  I don't have the luxury of writing full time, but early mornings and weekends often provide writing time. I'm learning as I go.

The year has flown by. It really does speed up every single year. I can't say it was my favorite year ever, but it still had glimpses of good and potential for change. Ending it on a positive note seems like the best way to say good bye to 2015.

This weekend teenage son is off a swim meet, and I plan to write. I have a synopsis for a new YA to complete, some polishing of an old YA to complete, and I plan to go and see the final Mockingjay movie.  Plus the usual glamorous job of cleaning house. 

Happy to still be here. Trying to make it all count....

Hope you are too!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hello Turkey!

So cooled out to learn that four of my books sold foreign rights to Turkey!

I'm Not Her
How I Lost You
#16 Things I Thought Were True and
The Truth About Us!

Thanks Turkey!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Being Ian

I went quiet for awhile on social media over the last couple of months, and the truth is, it's because of a sad and tough thing.

In May I lost my big brother, Ian.  A couple of weeks after I started a new full time job. Bad timing for everything. Bad bad timing. Could there possibly have been a good time? Of course not. No. But it should have been later. Much much later.

Ian was only 11 months older than me, we lived in different cities, different provinces, thousands of miles apart. But I always knew he was THERE. Living his life. Being Ian. I felt his presence as I feel my distant family's presence every day and in many ways.

He was sick in his last year. But I kind of didn't want to admit how sick. And I don't think he did either. In October he moved from his hometown, Vancouver BC and went to Winnipeg, where he'd finished his law degree many years ago, and where my big sister and her family and my parents live. He meant to take his Masters in Law in Winnipeg, and he wanted to travel. He got accepted into the Masters program and that made him happy. But he was getting sicker.

He got worse. And still, I didn't know quite how bad things were from my safe distance. And then in May I got a call.  Come home. Ian is in the hospital. My younger brother in Ottawa and I both flew out the next morning.

After that things went pretty blurry. He was indeed very very sick. I arrived in time to see him in the hospital while he was still lucid. He still wanted a shot at getting better, but things looked so terribly grim. 

I got a chance to say some things I wanted to say, but he slipped quickly and I didn't get a chance to say them all. His hospital stay was horrific, and it made my family furious and sad. But I got to see him and talk to him, and for that, I am very very grateful. Over a long few days, he slipped into a coma. I had to fly home, return to work and then a few days later I got a text from my mom. Call me, she wrote. And of course. I knew.

It wasn't a pleasant death for my brother. He fought valiantly, and he fought hard, but his body was working against him. I don't think he went very willingly. He was stubborn and he had things he wanted to do.  Travel. Get that Master's degree.


I miss him. I miss him being in the world. I didn't see him often enough, but I always knew he was there. Out there. Being Ian.

Brilliant. Funny. Curious. Weird. Eccentric.  Full of life and piss and vinegar. Bouncing though life like Tigger, I often called him Eeyore. Because. Ian.

He was my brother. We loved each other as brother and sister's do, and we knew each of us was out there. Doing our thing. If things were going well for him, I cheered for him on the sidelines, when things were rough for him, my heart ached. And I knew he did the same for me.

He lived for 50 years. It was a life. But not long enough. He loved. He had girlfriends, a wife. That didn't last but I truly thought his true happiness was around the corner. I was waiting for him to find what or who he deserved.

He touched people. So. Many. People. After he was gone, so many came forward and told my family what he had meant to them. And I know he would have been surprised. At the impressions he made and the way he made people feel. He was unassuming and modest. And he was just being Ian.

After his death, my sister discovered that he kept everything that people ever sent him. Letters. Cards. Notes. Tickets to special events. He kept them all.  And my sister returned them. Little gifts for many people in his life, a look back at times and memories frozen long ago.

He was many things. He had many talents. And GOD he could write. Brilliant. Scathing. Hilarious. I think that was on his list. No, it was on his list. Writing. And there are pieces of it out there. Pieces of him he's left behind. Words. Impressions. Feelings. And many many other gifts he gave, without even knowing he gave them. Over the last months, I've laughed and I've cried and I've been shocked by his absence. It has put many things into perspective and I've even seen sides of him I didn't get to see when he was living. I miss him.

Uncle. Friend. Cousin. Son. Brother. Boyfriend. Grandson. Co-worker. Mentor. Lawyer. Manager. Team mate. Ex.