Love

Tinderdoption—My Connection with Puppy Love

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With online dating gone mainstream is it any wonder the system has gone to the dogs?

 

 

DentsuBos, the Montreal-based ad agency played cupid over the summer and asked me to help them out. Their creative team matched Rosie Animal Adoption up with the Tinder Dating app. A relatively quick gestation later, Tinderdoption was born.

 

Tinderdoption

Sweet pups who need homes pop up on the pages of Tinder-daters who list dogs as a “like.” The hope is Tinder-ites will fall for the canines and adopt them.

I was called in to Studio LaMajeure on Bleury Street a little over a month ago to do a narration for the televised public service announcement that that describes the service. It’s a smart use of blended media and it’s getting a lot of support, play and tweets. Here’s the finished product of the ad featuring voice a la Kim:

I hadn’t worked with the people from Bos in a while, so it was good to get reacquainted. Xavier from Creative was in studio along with English copywriter Helen, who did a brilliant job at direction. It was all pro-bono work on everyone’s part, including Mathieu Morin, the sound engineer from La Majeure.

Charity campaigns are always fun to work on. It’s a great feeling to help organizations out especially when it involves your particular brand of skillage. But even more so, when the brainchild is as refreshing as this.

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When a dog’s profile pops up, it’s light hearted and funny. Think lines like ‘this single is ready to mingle,’ ‘Fifi is recovering from a bad relationship,’ or ‘big hearted bruiser looking for life long partner.’ The tone resembles the app but also effectively communicates to the user. Tinderdoption features a cute pic, a brief introduction and a suggests the place to meet up, if the user wants to take the relationship further.

It’s a bright marketing idea from DentsuBos, an example of how social media can make lives better and it’s also a success. The campaign fetched a lot of new leads for the Canadian adoption centre.

 

Sitting Shiva for Mum

Lillian

Lillian

I’m so glad this week is drawing to a close. A week and a day ago, my dear mother-in-law, Lillian died of complications from stomach cancer. We, her family — my husband, Ed, father-in-law Dan, brother-in-law David, older cousin Mona & my daughter Jennifer — scrambled through our grief to clean and prepare the house for Shiva, meet with rabbis, a grief counselor, cousins, aunt & uncle, write eulogies and deliver them, attend the funeral and spill earth on the grave of someone to whom we didn’t want to say good bye.

 

Lillian left such a large hole in our family because her presence was magnificent. Strong, yet soft. Being a Jew By Choice, I had little experience hosting Shiva. Lillian had always gently guided me through whatever rituals and traditions I took on. Friends and family helped us clear tasks, sort through things. Jennifer cut the grass early and culled the refrigerator. Out-of-town friends, Mark and Bob rolled up their shirt-sleeves and washed utensils, so I could re-organize my out-of control drawers. Other people would be taking over my kitchen. And I was supposed to relax about that.

 

Mourning Chairs

Mourning Chairs

My uncle’s new wife Marianne stepped in and covered or “schmeared” the mirrors with Jen. Cousin Bev shopped for paper plates, utensils and soft drinks. The funeral home brought the mourning chairs and books. We gathered pictures of Mom, taped some up on glass bookcase doors and Jen made a computer slide show of recent ones.

 

What I learned is that it’s not my responsibility to actually do anything other than co-ordinate meals that friends and family sponsored and greet guests who came to visit and talk with them. Bringing food, sponsoring meals, visiting the house in mourning, participating in the nightly prayers, these are all opportunities for others to do “mitzvahs,” or good deeds. The doors are left unlocked, doorbells are not rung, and I wasn’t supposed to thank people for coming, so as not to diminish the good deed they were performing. That was difficult. Eventually I got in the habit of saying, “It was good of you to come,” or “Your company meant a lot.”

 

Mum

Mum

In theory, I’ve always liked the Jewish response to death both for it’s respect for the dead and the mourning. In practice, it’s been intense. Exhausting. And uplifting.

I’m going to miss my mother-in-law. We had a bumpy start, coming from such different cultures, but we forged a good long-term relationship with a lot of love. Like Naomi to Ruth, she taught me so much about traditions I didn’t grow up with, but decided to adopt.

 

What about you? What’s your experience been with Shiva or the death of an in-law?

 

Social Media = Friend Glue

John Lee

John Lee

 

Don’t you love that social media has changed our ability to foster friendships? I mourn all the great friendships started before everyone had a computer and a facebook account that wasted away because I was too cheap to phone or too lazy to find a stamp and walk to the mailbox.

Like Lila, my amazing roommate from University who married her high school sweetheart, went back to her hometown of Thunder Bay and became an A-1 theatre director and actress. Like TJ, another awesome roommate from early radio days in Sarnia, who became a successful producer and writer in Toronto. And like RosieMary, another flatmate who moved from Montreal to Tremblant—only two hours away—to become a ski bunny and is now a naturopath.

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Why didn’t we stay in touch? My part in it was that I suck at letter writing. Actually I suck at letter mailing. ‘Cause I’d often write the letters, but they’d never make it out of my office to the post-office. Then time would go by and I’d be embarrassed for not calling/writing/etc. which made even my crippled communication attempts whither and die. Ergo, Kim’s history of crappy maintenance of long distance friendships.

 

The Bride Gift, Soul Mate Publishing

The Bride Gift, Soul Mate Publishing

Thank Heavens for facebook and Twitter and Viber and email. Because of the convenience they offer, I don’t let that happen anymore. Tomorrow I am re-uniting with my dear friend and fellow writer, Sarah Hegger at the Romance Writers of America conference in San Antonio, Texas. When we shared the same town, we were gym buddies, community meeting partners and became fast friends in our quest to write romance novels and get published. She moved to the other side of the continent a year ago but merci to social media, this is a friend I didn’t lose touch with. In fact, we’ve only gotten tighter. Sarah is published now and as her number one fan, please forgive the blatant promotion of her Amazon chart topping medieval on the side of this blog. (It’s a damn good romance)

In other good news, Lila, and TJ and I are friends on facebook, but so much life has gone by it’s almost inappropriate to try to re-kindle the closeness we once had. Thus, the mourning. The connections I have with them now are bittersweet.

 

What about you? Does social media help you maintain friendships or do you think it makes relationships superficial? Is it a help or a hindrance?

 

Forever Anne

15 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

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If I had to pick one author of fiction who most impacted my childhood, it would be L.M. Montgomery. I read constantly as a child, but there was no author who delighted me more than the woman who wrote my favorite fictional character into existence. I really don’t remember a time during my childhood when I was not reading a book by Montgomery. The Anne of Green Gables series is made up of eight books, and then there is my second favorite series, the Emily of New Moon series, as well as a host of other books starring strong female leads who always saw life as an adventure, loved beauty, and loved to learn. The books you read in childhood can have a profound impact on your life. For me, Anne helped me shape a very distinct view of the world.

Even now, I feel like something in my life is slightly off if I have gone too long without re-reading an L.M. Montgomery book. Her talent for capturing human nature and for showing beauty in the commonplace, adds a distinct flavor to life that I cannot fully explain in words. It sounds overly-dramatic, maybe, but it is the truth. I feel indebted to L.M. in many ways, and I know I am not alone in my sentiments.
As a little tribute, I want to review a few of the things Anne has taught us. I present to you fifteen things we learned from Anne:
1. Making mistakes is a part of life; but if you make up your mind to learn from them, they can’t hold you back.
“It’s so hard to get up again—although of course the harder it is the more satisfaction you have when you do get up, haven’t you?” 
2. People won’t always understand you, but that doesn’t mean you should conform to the ideals of unimaginative people.
3. Kindred spirits can be found in very unexpected places, so give everyone a chance.
4. Imagination makes the world a better place, but unfortunately it is of no help at all when it comes to geometry.
5. A plain or boring name does not define you:
“That’s a lovely idea, Diana,’ said Anne enthusiastically. ‘Living so that you beautify your name, even if it wasn’t beautiful to begin with…making it stand in people’s thoughts for something so lovely and pleasant that they never think of it by itself.”
6. When it comes to boys, set your standards high and don’t bother with those who don’t meet that standard.
 
“Young men are all very well in their place, but it doesn’t do to drag them into everything, does it?”
 
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7. Octobers make the world a more beautiful place.
8. Wearing pretty clothes makes it easier to be good, specifically, wearing puffed sleeves.
9. No matter how dreary today looks, no matter how flawed we may feel, there is always hope in a new day. Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.
10. Having ambitions and big goals can be tiring, but they are worth the sacrifice. One should never stop working diligently toward something.
11. Literature not only opens different worlds to us, it helps us to see the world differently.
12. One should be in no hurry to grow up whatsoever.
“One can’t get over the habit of being a little girl all at once.” 
13. Always speak what is on your mind if it adds beauty to the conversation:
“If a kiss could be seen I think it would look like a violet,’ said Priscilla. Anne glowed. ‘I’m so glad you spoke that thought, Priscilla, instead of just thinking it and keeping it to yourself. This world would be a much more interesting place…although it is very interesting, anyhow…if people spoke out their real thoughts.” 
14. It is better to live vulnerably, than to live in fear that your hopes may be dashed:
“When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts…it’s like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud.” 
 
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15. And finally, the lesson that possibly took Anne the longest to learn: true love doesn’t look like it does in day dreams.
“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps…perhaps…love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.” 
Oh, Anne. We love you. Now excuse me while I go re-read the entire series. Feel free to just…talk about Anne in the comment section.
Images via 123 

JENNYWILLIAMS Jenny Williams is an Oklahoma-native who moved to Washington, D.C. in 2009 to fulfill her dream of living in her favorite city and working on Capitol Hill. It took her two-and-a-half-years, however,  to realize that her true passion was not in writing someone else’s policies behind a desk all day but rather in the thing she has always loved: observing the beauty of the world and writing about it. Leaving politics without glancing back, she entered the less glamorous private sector which allows her more time for writing and her other favorite things: making breakfast, tearing up while reading Anne of Green Gables for the fiftieth time and exploring the district with her husband. She can be found elsewhere on the internet at Jeneric Generation.

 

Book Love

I love books like I love Ethiopian food.

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Ever had a plate? Uber delicious. A yummy variety of simple foods, spiced in deliciously surprising ways, that sits trencher style on a large flat round of teff, soaking its mouthwatering goodness into the spongy bread. Spread on a large round plate meant for ripping into and sharing with one or two others.

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I want to soak up the head bread of the books I read (and write) like airy crepes sop up the stewed spinach, lentils and beets. I want to rip into the characters with heart like fingers tear teff into spoons to gather every spice soaked morsel.

 

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Shared on the same plate with a loved one. The ultimate finger food. Secrets of the soul. Intimate sustenance. Prepared in a time honored way.

Let’s dig in.

Happy Birthday Lisa

IMG_0317My absolutely wonderful oldest daughter Lisa turns 20 years old today.

 

Isn’t she beautiful? (I agree – inside and out)

 

During my writing time this morning, this momentous occasion twigged me onto my personal need for creativity and the impact gestation of both the children and the books in my life has had on me.

 

How they’re alike:

images-1Both bring out a range of emotions from grumbling discomfort to sharp pain, from flutters of excitement to downright whoops of joy. They stir up feelings of longing, projection and fulfillment. They take up residence in my head and heart for interminable leases. I have been by turns, embarrassed and proud of their performances.

How they’re different: (Yes it’s a silly exercise, but I’ve dragged you this far so I’m going to complete it)

book-coverI’d give my life for my kids, fierce mama lion that I am. The stories? I’ll fight hard for them, but certainly not at the same level. I’ve been a television producer, a weatherwoman, one of the best in my field as a voice actor and am becoming a damn good romance writer. Each and every one of these professional chapters has been enormously fulfilling, but pales compared to the joy and satisfaction of motherhood. The stories? I can control my characters, my plot and story arc, whereas I have had limited success controlling Lisa and Jennifer, and very early realized it is better for all involved if I simply shepherd and guide them.

What do you think? Is there method to my madness or have I gone (as friend and brilliant author of The Bride Gift, Sarah Hegger might be caught saying) “bat-shit crazy”? Well, there are all those voices in my head…

Mothering – Wise Teeth

ImageMy darling youngest is in the surgery as I write this entry getting her bottom two wisdom teeth ripped out of her jaw. Two, not four, because her she only has three and her third one is somewhere up around her eyeball. Fortunately they don’t want to mess with that. Her regular orthodontist explained this anomaly to us after veering off into a diatribe about how there are tooth-like projections in women’s uteruses – uteri? – imagine us blinking like Bambi on an airstrip – penis-biting uteri anyone?

The dental surgeon is one of the best. He’s kind and very competent, but the ordeal is stressing nonetheless. Strong, independent and brilliant as she is, if anyone is going to get sick or suffer more than the others in our family, it is darling Jen. So I am quashing nerves in the anticipation of being strong, comforting Mom as soon as she’s done. Her sister cried after her wisdom teeth were pulled and the surgeon just told me to expect the same for Jen.

ImageIs it reckless of me to want really good drugs for my daughter post-surgery? It’s invasive and painful enough, at least she could have a good time for a little while, right? I mean, you saw that YouTube video of the girl on Ellen who sang about unicorns and blueberries and demanded “who’s in the house (J.C.)?” while floating after her surgery. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS3Olh9DnaE

Wouldn’t you want that for your daughter or son? Of course you would…

Oh, it’s over.

Got to go run and coddle.

 

 

 

 

Mother-Daughter Love

Congratulations…it’s a girl

The mother-daughter relationship is at its best, one of the most precious, at its worst, fraught with haunting pain.

I don’t have sons. I have two daughters. Being a Leo, pride is one of the strongest emotions I feel when describing my girls. When they were young, the innate closeness we felt came from being able to avoid that psychological phenomenon little boys go through around the age of three – the “not-mother phase”. Girls glide right over that early on, with the “yeah, I’m separate from Mom, but we’re both girls after all.”Image

But doesn’t it hit them hard during the teen years? They get so durned defiant. Part of me is proud of them (Leo default) and part just wants to growl and pounce. The struggle to redefine the adult mother-daughter relationship is a theme in my own work and in the work I’m attracted to.

Competition is an issue that haunts me to this day with my own Mom. And of course, as owner of my pov, I see it all coming from her. I was an emotional late bloomer, and despite escaping home at 19 for school, it took me an inordinately long time to defy my own mother. Although, she would probably disagree.

Which leads me to my question for you:

From Cinderella’s absent-by-death mom to Sleeping Beauty’s mom whose invitation screw-up led to her daughter’s demise; mothers are grist for the mill in romance novel heroines, are they not?

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In Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s Glitter Baby, the heroine’s mother Belinda Britton is an atrocious mother, but heroine Fleur Savage is able to separate herself from Mom, while initiating probably the healthiest relationship one could hope to achieve with a near sociopath. More innocuous, but still irritating is Min Dobb’s mom in Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me, who keeps trying to put her curvy daughter on a diet. And did you not literally bristle on behalf of Eva whenever her controlling mom in Sylvia Day’s Entwined With You took over a scene?

I’m trying to think of strong, nurturing mothers in romance novels I’ve read, but only seem to be coming up with either problematic ones or window-dressing Moms, like Daisy in Kristan Higgin’s The Next Best Thing.

What about you? Any mother-daughter issues you care to share? Or have been inspired or helped by in books?

Puppy Love

Kiwi, my almost 10 year old Dashchund is the inspiration for this first post. She sits tonight recovering from surgery, hooked up to an IV and hopefully totally conked out on the best doggie drugs. Teach her to swallow a dog toy whole.

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It never ceases to amaze me how much we pet owners love our fur pals. I got so many Facebook “likes” and words of encouragement today. Is it any wonder we want animals in our movies and books, too? Dog-centric favourites range from Lassie to Snoopy, and from  John Grogan’s Marley and Me to Farley Mowatt’s Mutt, in The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be.

But canines fulfill a particular role in romance novels. They show us alpha heros just might be good parent material and act as foils or comic relief for heroines. Elaine Fox and Jennifer Crusie weave dogs into their plots. But I think the dog tale that enchanted me most fervently was Molly in the Middle by Stobie Piel, the (’97) story of a Scottish border collie who, disgusted with sheep, herds her mistress toward a handsome American wandering the moors. Like Fox’s later publications, parts of Piel’s book were told from the canine point of view.

Who is your favourite dog tale?