Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Just Play...

Just Play...
Edmonton Oiler hockey fans have had a tough few years, with little to cheer about. Their draft picks were supposed to have made the team a winner years ago, but it never happened. Then on the 29th October 2015 they beat one of the top teams in the league, after being down 3-0.

They played awesome.

Draisaitl, a rooky brought up that very day from the minors to play, was pretty sketchy on his first few shifts. Then reportedly he got some advice from a senior player—advice that seemed to light both him and his team on fire.

“Just play,” was the gist of that advice. “‘Let go. Relax... You’re a good player. Just play.” Draisaitl did just that and got the winning goal during the final minutes of the game.

“I think the first couple shifts I wasn’t really playing my game,” said Draisaitl, following the game. “I was thinking a little too much. Hallsy came over and told me to just play. It’s true that you play your best when you just go and play, have fun, go out there and try and do your best.”

That was such empowering advice and not just for novice hockey players who are over-thinking the game, feeling a little less than perfect as they skate alongside their NHL idols, afraid of doing something wrong, something stupid, something that will hurt the team. Trying to remember how to do everything right.

It’s advice we would all do well to heed.

We have to tap into our self-confidence and get out there and play and have fun. We have to know at a very deep level that we can play the game that we’ve chosen...and then release our inhibitions and do it.

The first books in the BackTracker series
That’s how my writing career began in earnest. I just said to hell with rules and regulations and grammar and research and punctuation. Just let me tell my story. I cast aside my reluctance to write my characters’ embarrassing moments and my tendency to shun revealing the gutsy dark realism that was my characters’ lives. I let go of all censorship. And THE TRAZ, FATAL ERROR, FIREWALLS and several more sequels in the BackTracker series were the result.

Admittedly, my self-esteem initially was not up to snuff. I had no one to tell me that I was a good player, no overt reason to believe I was. So the only way I could convince myself to ‘just play’ was to keep my stories well hidden from anyone’s eyes but mine. Satisfied that no one was going to read my words and laugh, or think poorly of me, or judge my sanity, morals, or story-telling abilities, I did as Draisaitl did, I let it all go and I just played. I had fun.

Many times in life, we are that point where we should do that. We should quit consciously striving, and plotting and scheming and dreaming. We should put aside our thinking, give up trying to control everything, and just intuitively follow our calling.

We should trust that the universe is a safe place to be, and go out there and play. We should believe in ourselves and in our world. When we let go and play, we release not only our innate talents, but we allow the world to enjoy them along with us.

When we’re empowered to do what we do best, the entire universe benefits.

You are good at your game. Let go. Just play.

Schrödinger's Cat

Saturday, November 14, 2015

#Pot or not?

Canada's current government, a Liberal majority elected a few weeks ago, had the legalization of marijuana as a plank in their election platform.

This past week, the Prime Minister's Office released a letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to his cabinet ministers mandating goals for each government department. The Justice Minister is mandated to: "Along with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Health Minister Jane Philpott, Wilson-Raybould will also create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana."

Here is my letter outlining my opposition to the legalization of cannabis that I emailed today to Canada's Justice Minister with a copy to my MP, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition. Please note: For my safety, I have redacted the names of the criminal gangs and identifiable groups that I mentioned in my letter to the Members of Parliament.

Subject: Opposition to cannabis legalization‏

Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould
Justice Minister

I wish to outline my opposition to the legalization/decriminalization of marijuana and none of it has to do with the effect the drug has on a person’s physical and/or mental health. I will leave those arguments to those with expertise in that area.

My expertise lays in the area of gangs and the illicit drug trade. I am a volunteer with XXXXXX, a crime novelist and speaker, and a psychiatric nurse and journalist by training.

I feel compelled to jump into the fray on this issue because of my passion for youth and my desire to thwart the power of criminal gangs who prey on the vulnerable and make huge coin doing so.

In brief, here are my objections:

  • Legalizing marijuana (pot) will be legalizing a major money-making product of dangerous and violent criminal gangs, most notably the XXXXXXXXX. It is not likely they will give up their hold on the production and distribution of this lucrative and ‘safe’ side of their business. Nor is it likely they will pay taxes on it, guarantee the safety of the product, or refrain from adulterating it with addictive substances (as our regular tobacco companies are known to have done.
  • Unlike Prohibition where the violent gangs dissipated once alcohol again became legal, there are no legitimate businesses experienced in pot production and distribution able to take over the trade. The XXXXXXXXXare the experts in this and are well prepared, financed and set up to continue plying this product when it becomes legal. They would have no need to give it up. They would have little to no competition and they possess the full power necessary to stifle anyone who does want to compete. (Gang wars and gang violence—they do it now, legalizing the product won’t stop that!)

  • The Okanagan, the Niagara Peninsula—former fruit orchards now taken over by vineyards as the wine industry took hold. We must consider if we want to see our wheat and canola fields replaced by lucrative hemp crops.
  • How much money, time and resources do we want to spend to ensure Canadian citizens have a safe and secure supply of recreational pot?  What makes sense here? If taxes on pot are expected to offset the expenses of monitoring and regulating the pot industry, we must consider how compliant we believe the gangs will be in submitting taxes due. Will private individuals growing pot feel compelled to monetarily contribute to the safety of the industry? How involved will XXXXXXXXX be in the production and distribution? XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXX

  • Hydroponic operations not done properly pose many risks, most notably electrical and mold issues. If pot is legal, will we be able to shut down unsafe production?
  • Profits from pot will undoubtedly continue to be used by gangs to finance illicit activities (illegal arms trade, human trafficking, cocaine trade, computer crimes, etc.). With legalization of pot, we will have no way to interrupt this flow of dollars to the dark side which could result in an increase in these illegal and often violent activities.

  • To provide Canadians a safe, secure, legal supply of recreational pot we will need to use tax dollars to finance:
  • continuous and ongoing inspection of production to ensure it is being safely done.
  •  continuous and ongoing inspection of the product to ensure there are no harmful or addictive additives.
  • enforcement of sales to ensure pot is not being sold to our youth.
  •  creating, enforcing, maintaining a system of taxation of pot.
  •  creating new laws to address issues such as sales to minors, the use of additives,  safe production, acceptable marketing and distribution,  taxation, impairment; and providing ongoing enforcement of such laws. 
These expenses do not include costs that may arise from dealing with health issues or social problems arising from the predicted increase in pot use should it be legalized (, or costs associated with increased illicit gang activities.

Once again I must ask, how many taxpayers’ dollars and how much time and resources does the Government of Canada want to invest in providing Canadians with a safe and secure supply of recreational marijuana?

When considering the legalization issue, I strongly recommend you collaborate with the RCMP's drug and criminal gang experts to ascertain the validity of the risks mentioned above and take their advice very seriously.

The XXXXXXXXX are an extremely powerful gang--don't underestimate its power.

Did you know...Cannabis generates more revenue for organized crime than cocaine does? Excerpt from the RCMP Report on the Illicit Drug Situation in Canada — 2009 "Cannabis continued to be the most commonly used illicit substance in Canada, with domestically-produced marihuana providing a source of considerable profit for Canadian based organized crime. Next to marihuana, cocaine generated the most revenue of the illicit drug commodities."

#Pot or not? has been brought to you by:

"Cops vs bikers on the Alberta prairie...oh, and throw in a 13-year old girl." 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chill with a Book!: NaNoWriMo with Eileen Schuh

Chill with a Book!: NaNoWriMo with Eileen Schuh: November, ah yes. Short days, cold nights and NaNoW riMo -  NA tional  NO vel WRI ting MO nth. Time to start that book you always wanted to write! This online movement is to encourage everyon...

Eileen Schuh,Canadian

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Open for submissions....

She's the driving force behind WolfSinger Publications, the woman who offered me my very first traditional publishing contract, the publisher of both of my SciFi novellas (SCHRṎDINGER'S CAT and DISPASSIONATE LIES), and a successful author in her own right. I'd like you to meet Carol Hightshoe, all the way from Colorado, U.S.A.

Welcome, Carol, to Magic of the Muses!

Carol Hightshoe, author/publisher
Briefly describe WolfSinger Publications and what makes it unique. 
WolfSinger Publications is a micro press that focuses on novellas and smaller novels – although I am not adverse to publishing longer fiction. I recently released a wonderful novel titled Seventh Daughter by Ronnie Seagren that was over 110k words. Unlike many other small/micro-presses, I offer my authors an initial advance of $50.00 for their book. I do focus primarily on Science Fiction and Fantasy, but I am willing to consider most genres with the exception of Erotica and Children’s books. 

What does WolfSinger Publications offer book-lovers? 
We offer a pretty diverse catalog – from an award winning anthology collection in WolfSongs II, several charity anthologies (proceeds going to various charities) to Mystery, SF, Fantasy and Horror Novels. 

Has WolfSinger Publications evolved as you initially envisioned? Where do you dream it will be in five years? 
 Actually it’s grown a little faster than I envisioned – but I’m keeping up. I hope that in five years, we’ll be at a point where I can increase the advances paid to authors and I can also start a more comprehensive advertising program. 

How can authors become a partner in WolfSinger Publications’ success? 
Like most small and micro presses – much of the success of a book is driven by the author’s own marketing. For my authors that is a key component in our mutual success. I’ve recently started using boosted posts to increase WolfSinger Publications advertising on facebook, and hopefully in the future I’ll be able to start looking at advertising in genre magazines online to boost exposure for our books. No timeline at this time – but it is something I want to do as soon as feasible.

http://www.wolfsingerpubs.comBehind every great organization there is a driving force. You, Carol Hightshoe, are the name and face behind WolfSinger Publications. Tell us about what motivated you to create your publishing company. 
When I left the Sheriff’s Office back in 2006, I decided I wanted to try publishing an online magazine. At the end of that first year, I decided I would see what it took to publish a ‘Best Of’ Anthology.

Instead of releasing it as a self-published book, I took the time to set up a name, have a second copy editor review the text and one of the authors volunteered to do the typesetting. I did the same the next year with both of the online magazines.

I let several of my friends who were published know that I was looking at expanding away from the ‘Best of’ anthologies and they put the word out and I received several submissions for publication. I reviewed those stories and accepted a few of them – then got started with editing and layout.

A recent WolfSinger release
I contacted the artists that illustrate both of the online magazines and they were agreeable with the idea of doing cover art occasionally. Things sorta took off from there. This past year (and I have 3 or 4 more to release) I’ve released 17 books – three of those are a release of books of mine that were originally published by Double Dragon Books.

In addition to running WolfSinger Publications, you are an author. Of which personal accomplishment in your literary career (book or otherwise), are you most proud?

Being named as an alternate for the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds contest several years ago. I was disappointing to not make the actual table of contents, but finding out my story was good enough to be part of the group sent to Pocket and Paramount for consideration for the collection was an amazing feeling. 

What personal literary achievement/s are you striving to reach within the next five years? 
To finish my Chaos Reigns series, to have at least one more ‘pro’ sale, and to finish at least one of the several other novels I have in the planning stages that are clamoring for attention. 

Please offer authors and aspiring authors some sage advice. 
Develop a thick skin. Remember even if one editor rejects you work – that is not a rejection of YOU. If they gave you any kind of critique – look it over, if it makes sense, consider a rewrite – then send that story out to the next editor. Much of publishing is based on personal preference (especially at the small or micro press level) so  it may be just a matter of finding the right editor for your work. 

Also NEVER do the editors' work for them. By that I mean – don’t decide that your work isn’t right for the market. It’s a big pro market, so if your story meets the guidelines, send it. It may be just what the editor is looking for. My first professional publication came about because of that.

I had met Denise Little at a writer’s conference and I asked her about sending her something sometime, she said sure-so I did. The day my story landed on her desk was the same day she sold an anthology to DAW books, a collection for which my story was a fit. Normally she does invite-only anthologies, but with my story reaching her that very day, and being such a good fit, she decided it had to be part of the collection.

I know you’re itching to mention something I’ve neglected to ask about. Tell us what that is. 
WolfSinger is currently open for submissions (until 31 December) Authors can find the guidelines here:

We also have calls out for several anthologies – links can be found here: 

Touch base with WolfSinger Publications online at 

Learn more about Carol Hightshoe, author: 
 * * *
"Open for submissions" has been brought to you by:

CALL OF CHAOS ~Carol Hightshoe

"...hard to put down."

"Very enjoyable book..."

"sweeps the reader into a world filled with magic, friends, and adventure"

"can't wait for the next in the series."
"The story line is action-packed..."

"A must read for fantasy fans !!!!!"

Eileen Schuh, Author

Schrödinger's Cat