award winning author

by WizardOfWords on September 3, 2014

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Wow. Seeing those three words in a note of congrats that I rec’d from a colleague made me realize I had actually achieved something wonderful. I am now an award winning author.

Readers  Favorite Award Certificate-page-001

This week, my latest book Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate (Volume I) was chosen as a Bronze Medal winner in the 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards in the non-fiction Cooking/Food category. This achievement is particularly sweet as this book is 100% my creation–with of course, the guidance and assistance of my editor(s), designer, and printing company.

Over the past five years I have researched, photographed, written, helped design the cover and interior of the book, crowdfunded, marketed, and independently published a full-colour 176-page book about the world of fine chocolate. I have interviewed hundreds of chocolatiers and chocolate makers, eaten chocolate from far more, attended dozens of chocolate events as a chocolate lover and as a speaker, enjoyed visiting choco-centric resorts and attractions, and become totally immersed in the world of artisan chocolate.

What an absolute delight it is to see the book saluted in the category of Food and Cooking, as chocolate has always been called the “Food of the Gods” and in its pure form, is considered to be one of the healthiest foods in the world.

It is my goal to establish chocolate travel as the new niche in travel for people who love indulgence and are interested in developing their palates, for people who want to understand where cacao is grown and how it is magically transformed into the amazing elixir we call chocolate, and for people who want to meet the highly creative and sometimes eccentric individuals who are creating these chocolate masterpieces.

I am currently researching Volume II of Chocolatour, and am happily speaking at numerous upcoming events about chocolate in Winnipeg (McNally Robinson Booksellers on September 20th), Seattle (Northwest Chocolate Festival October 3-5), Kingston, Ontario (November 20th at the launch of a new chocolate shop), details of a Toronto event are being finalized, and Miami, Florida (November 22nd for the Readers’ Favorite Awards Ceremony and the Miami Book Fair.) I also have some writing related speaking spots in Selkirk, Manitoba (Oct 23-25 for the Black Ink ReCon conference) and November 29th in Winnipeg for an event on crowdfunding sponsored by PWAC Manitoba.

Thanks so much to everyone who has encouraged me and accompanied me on this journey.

If you are an award winning author, please share with us what you have achieved and how it has come to be. If you’ve won another life-changing award, please share and tell us about it! And please join us back here the week of September 15th for our next new post.

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Have you found YOUR tribe?

by WizardOfWords on August 21, 2014

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I’ve always been a joiner. I belong to numerous organizations, including Toastmasters International, the Professional Writers’ Association of Canada, The Writers’ Union of Canada, and the Manitoba Writers’ Guild. There are other organizations I may have belonged to and have left and may rejoin. I feel a bit like my interests and loyalties are in a state of transition.

friends

I’ve made dear friends (such as the gals pictured with me above – we are all members of PWAC) and have learned from them and others in each of these organizations. But there comes a time when our needs and interests change and we must move on, as maintaining memberships in organizations in which you are not active is costly and counter-productive.

Readers' Favorite Finalist badge

A new tribe that I’ve recently become immersed in is the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Finalists. We have formed a group on Facebook, and are supporting one another’s efforts as we wait for the big day on September 1st, when we hear which of us have been chosen as winners in each of the categories. Right now, we are all one big happy family–sharing tips, tricks, enthusiasm and support. I’m not sure what will happen after September 1st, but right now, we are one big happy family that is engaged in constant dialogue.

I’m also a member of numerous groups on LinkedIn, and have made many friends and forged some great relationships via that platform. Some of these groups are vibrant, and really feel like a tribe. And of course, our personal friends and family members are a different kind of tribe we also belong to. Each of these tribes holds a piece of our heart and has made us the person we are today.

Have you ever thought about your life in terms of tribes, or is it something that we writers (and bloggers) seem to do more than others? Let’s talk about tribes, and the ones that have most influenced our lives.

And please join me back here the week of September 1st for our next new post. I’m really hoping I’ll have something to celebrate with you …

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accepting the Versatile Blogger Award

August 4, 2014
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Many thanks to Chris Nash for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Chris knows me via the Travel Blogged group on facebook, and so he nominated my travel blog for the award in his post. But as it is this blog where I talk about the muse that leads my writing and inspires my […]

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where is the care in healthcare?

July 23, 2014
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I think that everyone who knows me and/or reads this blog, knows that I like to focus on the positive. I rarely rant or let negativity occupy my thoughts. But I’d posted the following on facebook last night after a nasty encounter at one of our local healthcare facilities with a health care ‘professional’ and based on the […]

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what’s in a name?

July 9, 2014
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This week, I have the pleasure of welcoming a Toastmasters friend and colleague to my blog, with a guest post that’s actually a reprint of the amazing speech she recently presented to the Toastmasters in the Arts club in Gimli, Manitoba. Carolyn Dyane had us sitting on the edge of our seats with this thought-provoking, […]

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Book Review: 10% Happier by Dan Harris

June 25, 2014
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This week, we have the privilege of a guest post from author, writer, editor, blogger Jeri Walker-Bickett, whom I met via the Bloggers Helping Bloggers group on LinkedIn. Jeri Walker-Bickett (@JeriWB) writes short stories, creative nonfiction, and psychological suspense. The rough Idaho mining town she grew up in populates her literary landscape. She also works as […]

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planning a virtual book tour

June 6, 2014
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I’ve been learning much from D’vorah Lansky during the past 4 weeks in her 30-day Book Marketing Challenge. Although I haven’t had time to properly digest all the material, the one thing that has really motivated me in the course material, is to plan a virtual book tour for my chocolate travel book, “Chocolatour: A […]

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collaboration: a key to success

May 29, 2014
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I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993, and over the past 20+ years, time and time again I’ve realized that collaboration is and continues to be the key to my success.   Indeed, freelancing can be a solitary life if you let it. But that gets you nowhere. Joining professional groups such as the Professional […]

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the impact of colour in our lives

May 16, 2014
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With signs of the fresh new shades of green finally springing up after the long cold winter, my attentions have turned to the importance of colour to me, and the impact it has on my life. Colour fuels my creativity and feeds my emotions. Without colour, my brain and my life feel void of stimulation. […]

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how to deliver an award-winning speech

April 29, 2014
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Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long while know that I love Toastmasters and have been an active member of Toastmasters International since 2001.I had the pleasure of attending the District 64 Toastmasters Spring Convention in Winnipeg on April 25 and 26, 2014. The highlight of the conference for me […]

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