Catching Up: A Whole Year of Events and Happenings #amwriting #nonfiction


Good morning. I hope you’re all well. One of the things I have not written in an extremely long time is a personal update. A lot of this had to do with my disability case and the fact that social media was initially used against me to say that this made me capable of work at forty percent of my former job as an administrative assistant.

That was nine years ago, and I was on long-term disability for eight years. However, after a year of dealing with lawyers and the insurance company through my lawyers, I’ve settled and I’m so glad to not have that hanging over my head. I can finally, relax!

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(Credit: Tao Heftiba via Unsplash.)

However, there are a few thoughts I have been thinking about sharing with you guys from the past year and currently. I think I’ll begin after I first hired the lawyers for my case and initially signing all these forms and files after Christmas. The first thing I learned was to cut my budget from 60 percent of what I was bringing in before, and that took a couple of months for me to become used to, having less available funds. I learned to carefully budget my months beforehand and where to cut spending. Even if I could save ten or twenty dollars and hold off on buying an item until the next month, often this helped my monthly budget a great deal. As well, if you’re in Canada and searching for a great Disability Law Firm, you can contact Share Lawyers. They are awesome if you are initially, denied disability or if your insurance company cuts you off.

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(Credit: Tao Heftiba via Unsplash.)

As well, I began freelancing on a site called Upwork.com and it took about three months for me to find steady work for a two to three hours some days. I do a lot of academic writing, and that was a learning curve, as writing pays terrible. But even what I earned was better than nothing at about $5 US per page. I continue to do this although I’m taking a break right now for the holiday season and it brings in from $200 to $250 on average per month in Canadian dollars.

So, that’s not bad, and I enjoy the academic research a great deal, and I have written on many topics. Dealing with difficult clients online can be frustrating as face to face communication and affirmation of instructions is much easier than messaging each other. And of course, if the client did not provide clear instructions, to begin with, that’s your fault, not theirs. However, on the other hand, I have some great communicative and thoroughly clear clients too.

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(Credit: Green Chameleon via Unsplash.)

I tend to enjoy English Literature, Creative Writing projects, Psychology, History, Philosophy, and topics related to these areas the most. Also, although they are rare, Art History and any kind of Design topic or feature is great fun to research and write. I have learned a great deal about American History after the Civil War and into modern times and how that effects present-day America and immigration and other foreign policy. Also, I love writing on favorite poets such as Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, along with various new poets. Also, I have written on poetic works I know well such as “Beowulf” and “Dante’s Inferno” but compared these to Modern Superhero’s such as Superman or Iron. And I’ve written on feminism and the development of Disney princesses, for example.

As well, from June until September, I did do a couple of blogs per week for a company from Upwork.com on beauty topics including anything to do with eyelashes — falsies, extensions, Mascaras, growth treatments, and natural lash treatments. Also, I reviewed hair straighteners on Amazon and wrote for a business that does non-evasive cosmetic procedures such as Botox, dermal fillers, dermal lip fillers, laser skin treatments, CoolSculpting, and many other fascinating procedures to help people shed excess fat cells or to improve their youthfulness. The neat fact is that many of these cosmetic procedures have medical applications as well.

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(Credit: Johncoutu.com.)

Moreover, I learned a great deal about blog writing for companies, how conversational and informal it is compared to academic writing. At first, I had to learn to ‘dumb down’ my writing in a sense to write at a grade six to eight level at the most. I learned about a couple of tools that help me both in freelance blog writing and in academic writing. Grammarly is an awesome tool for any type of writing and is worth paying for the add-on monthly, and it works on WordPress too, to polish your writing and save time.

Also, Readable is an awesome tool to see where you need to make your writing simpler for blog or magazine type writing. I wouldn’t pay for it unless you use it 24-7, but you can use it for free a few times a day. As well, since Upwork.com charges you for working through them, you have to keep that in mind, and I would recommend if you work for a client you can trust, work off of Upwork.com, unless they’ll raise your wage. You can both save money after initial jobs on the site. For instance, I made $20 a blog piece and Upwork would take $2.50 off that. Invoicing through PayPal or another system works much better if you have clients you can trust.

Moreover, in a strange way this careful budgeting and knowing I needed to earn an extra two to three-hundred a month quickly, became apparent to me and gave pushed my boundaries. If I wanted to continue to buy my preferred skin care (Clinique), foundation, concealer, and the occasional other items that I could not find in quality drugstore makeup brands, then I had to earn more than what I was before freelancing.

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(Credit: Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved– At my friend, T’s, June Wedding.)

Actually, the most important aspect of why I needed to make more money each month was to save for the wedding and the wedding events of my two best friends who had wedding events in June and in later fall. Even if I wanted to go out and visit friends, especially because a long bus trip would leave me exhausted before I even had a chance to visit, I knew I had to earn some kind of income. It had to be no more than $300.00 per month at the most to still receive my government benefits as a person disabled from working, and that amount was enough to buy extras and see my friends most vitally.

Both weddings were a ton of fun, and I have many great memories from Bridal showers, Stagettes, and for my one friend T, the wedding itself. Freelance writing permitted me to pay for presents, take taxis, and buy a couple pairs of dresses and shoes. LeChateau outlet is amazing for this kind of event in Canada while staying on a budget. They are an awesome trendy Montreal based clothing store in and not only an outlet.

My second friend, S, had her Bridal Shower at the very end of September and her shower Theme was a ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ theme and her Stagette, a ‘1950’s Rockabilly Theme.’ They were a lot of fun, although, I did not make it to her actual marriage celebration or the following Pub night as I was having a terrible day (health-wise). While T had a traditional wedding which was awesome and a lot of fun, S’s wedding occurred on the field of our Home Canadian Football League (CFL) team field and her actual wedding for all those who could travel was in Varadero, Cuba.

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( Credit: Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved).

I was looking forward to attending the Cuba wedding initially, but my settlement had been so close to the wedding that it wasn’t possible and even making a couple of extra hundred dollars a month I couldn’t have afforded Cuba in November this year.

Anyways, both brides are deliriously happy, and my friend T is pregnant with her first child who is due in a couple of months now. I received the baby shower invite but already had the gift put together. It’s difficult not knowing if the baby will be a girl or a boy but at least her nursery theme of woodland/jungle animals is quite ‘in’ and I found outfits and blankets along with a couple other great items.

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Unknown Unsplash

Another friend found out she was having twins and twins are a great deal to handle along with her almost two-year-old. My Mom and I attended a ‘The Handmade Revolution’ craft-show, ‘MakeIt‘ and I received the business card there from a lady who makes these soft terry blankets/towels perfect for swaddling a baby and carrying a larger infant/toddler. Later, they work as towels for kids from three to five years old. I got two bundles with cream good for chapped skin, especially where babies feed. You can check out these handmade goods below if you’re interested. Here’s the online shop called OneBerrie.

Finally, one of the things I had been saving up for was a tattoo, and lucky I had saved it before my income went down last December. I found a great tattoo artist through friends at a place called Eye of Lotus. Megan is amazing, does watercolor tattoos and has a six-month waiting list at least and that’s always a sign of a talented artist along with Megan’s years of training, tattoo portfolio, and the personal artwork around her working space.

So the tattoo took two sessions and was three hours along with a touch-up session which was about thirty minutes but truly brought my tattoo to life. The touch up was only $25.00 but the other three hours were regular price for most tattoo places of repute where I live. Eye of Lotus was also rated highly as a tattoo place in Edmonton so there are also other talented artists there. Megan specializes in watercolor. Anyways, below is the final result.

The tattoo is on my right side and hip. It was not that painful. I mentally psyched myself up for much worse and truly it was pain much less worse than waxing certain areas of the body. The black lines barely hurt at all. Where the color was filled in felt like it burned at first, but I got used to it quickly. Only when the tattoo went right into my side did it hurt. The words of the tattoo have personal meaning and refer to the Bible verse in Romans 5:8.

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(Credit: Mandibelle16.(2017) All Rights Reserved).

Last but not least, I wanted to share some odds and ends with you guys. I can still apply for my MFA in Creative Writing, and I’m thinking about it. I have to act fast though as I only have a month. I’ve wanted to work on a short story for it, but it’s been hard with freelancing. Also, I do plan to work on my book now shortened to the title How Was Last Night?. I’m still on my second draft, finished until about Chapter 20 or so, maybe a bit further.

However, I’m attending a writers conference next August with my friend who is also writing a book. I have learned a great deal more in a year and want to have the third draft done for this event or at least the first quarter of the book for the conference as we do have the opportunity to pitch our work. Here’s the conference website if you are in the area for When Words Collide. Of course, there are many speakers and a fun Galla at night so I’m looking forward to this as it’s all at the hotel we’re staying at and I think the conference will be educational and fun.

(Credit: Whenwordscollide.org.)

Also, I have a story that is going to be part of a Cinderella Anthology. The Anthology is still being edited and I’m excited about its release. Moreover, if you want to read what I have of my novel in the second draft, it’s on Wattpad under my pen-name ‘A.M.Wilson’ and @mandibelle16. It’s still rough, even the two-thirds of it that are edited from the first draft, but unfortunately, this year has not left me much time work on it except after last Christmas.

But that will change as I’m not paying off debt anymore, due to my settlement. I do not have to freelance as much if I do not want to. Here’s the link to my unfinished novel How Was Last Night by A.M. Wilson. Any tips, thoughts, or constructive criticism can be left in the comments after each chapter so please don’t hesitate to speak up.

Lastly, something neat I found on Indigo this morning that you all might enjoy when searching for something good to read: Indigo’s Best Books of 2017. This list is their top 50 books.

Have a Merry Christmas!

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©Mandibelle16.(2017) All Rights Reserved.

Writing 101: Fiction – Part 3 – After the Plane Crash #everydayinspiration


Today’s Writing 101 prompt is to write on a Tweet. Here’s the Tweet I chose: Twitter Quote


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Please read part 2 here.

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“I’m fine,” I tell Eric trapped in the shower. “Can I have a little privacy. I was only relaxing, the hot shower feels good on my body. I was dirty and sore.” 

“I can understand that,” Eric said. “I was scared you’d hurt yourself on the way to the bathroom. Aunt Tabitha said you were weak and hadn’t even sat up in bed yet.”

“I’m good,” I say awkwardly still trying to cover my nakedness. I don’t know why I bothered. Eric didn’t seem to care I was naked, only that I hadn’t hurt myself.

“Walking was fine, I managed. I couldn’t leave my hair in the state it was in any longer.” 

Eric chuckled and he opened a tall cupboard in the bathroom removing an oversized plush pale blue towel and a smaller towel as well. He hung them over the glass shower. I was happy the glass wasn’t completely see through due to the steam from the shower.

“Thanks,” I told Eric, grabbing both towels and immediately wrapping myself in the larger one. I arranged my dripping locks into a twist in the smaller towel.

Slowly, I opened up the shower door and slipped out. Eric was staring at me with bright jade green eyes. A half smile curved his lips when he took in my appearance.

“You seem better.The shower helped a great deal.” Eric surmised, ” Aunt Tabitha had an appointment in the city, so she couldn’t be here. Turns out it was a good day for her to be away since you have your strength back . . . Do you think you could tell me your name now?” 

I blushed for some reason, looking down at my feet. I needed a pedicure I thought before peering back at Eric. 

“I’m Ashlyn Howard,” I say shyly. I hold onto my towel with one hand and offer Eric my other hand. 

Amused, he carefully takes my smaller hand in his and shakes it gently. His hand is rough and as our eyes met, I feel a spark, a sensation between us I wasn’t expecting.

“I’m Eric, but you already knew that Ashlyn. We tried many times to find out your name in order to contact your family this week. But you were always so out of it. I couldn’t find your wallet or ID in your back pack.” 

“Yeah, I felt caught between waking up in this room feeling awful seeing your Aunt Tabitha watching me, and then I would dream again about my friend and the crash . ..” I explained. “I should try and get in touch with my family as soon as it’s possible.” 

Eric nodded.”There’s no wifi or internet out here I’m afraid. No cell towers or landline. I have a few satellite phones and that’s about it. We can call your parents after you’ve had a chance to change and rest. Do you have a boyfriend you want to call too, a husband?” 

“Um, no I’m single,” I say blushing. Eric smiles a at me. I feel comfortable around Eric I realize,  as if I weren’t standing outside the bathroom wrapped in towels. 

“I heard about the crash. It was in the news papers. I don’t know how you survived two weeks out in the wilderness. You lost a good bit of weight I think and you fainted on my doorstep from hunger and lack of sleep.” Eric explained.

” I remember. Your PA greeted me and I had nothing in me left. Is it true you manufactur hemp products and sell weed for medical usage?” 

Eric laughed. “Um, mostly that is what I do. I have a license to sell marajauna for medical purposes from the Canadian government. Our weed is top quality. So are the other products we sell made from hemp. A beauty line and some other things.”

 Eric changed the subject.” You need some clothes that fit. I had Aunt Tabitha order you some. She has some daughters about your age so she knew what to buy.” Eric remarked, opening a bleached wooden wardrobe filled with clothes.

“There’s bath stuff and cosmetics in the bathroom as you probably saw.” I gasped, noticing on the price tags of some of the clothes, that they were expensive. Hundreds of dollars and more. I wondered why Eric was being so nice to me.

I glanced at Eric, able to look my fill as he stared out the window for a moment. Eric was hot. Dark brown hair cut in the latest short style, mussed as he ran his hand through it. 

His jade green eyes were beguiling and a he had a wide smile made with sultry lips. His jaw was strong and angular and he seemed to have forgotten to shave today. 

Eric wore dark relaxed jeans, rips in the knees, and a fitted Lecoste golf shirt. Underneath, I knew he was built.

Eric noticed me checking him out and smiled at me. I flushed red and he laughed.”It’s good to meet you Ashyln. I was worried you would die, your fever and sickness were quite bad the doctor told us. It was lucky you found my place when you did.. . Do you need help changing into your clothes? Your wrist is sprained and I know you’re covered in bruises from the shower so . ..”

“You looked!” I accused Eric. He only grinned.

“You left the bathroom door open and the shower was glass. How could I not look?” 

” You could’ve pretended not to.”

“Don’t be embarrassed you’re beautiful. Even if you’re a bit skinny right now,” Eric said laughing. 

He was teasing me, trying to make light of the situation. I blushed at his praise peering up at him and for a moment my dark eyes caught his jade ones and locked in place. 

The air between us sizzled and Eric stepped towards me, brushing a long wet strand of my hair behind my ear. My breathing increased, my body ignited. Heat spread everywhere as Eric cupped my face and ran his thumbs over my cheeks. 

I could smell him, a light woodsy citrus scent and man, together overpowering my senses. His mouth hovered closer, I couldn’t breathe. His breathe was warm on my cheek his lips dropping a small kiss there before gently settling his on my mouth. Warm, explorative kisses, pressed against my lips and made me yearn for more. 

I bit Eric’s bottom lip, soothing it with my tongue and he dived in, claiming my mouth still gentle but with a need behind his kiss now, tangling his tongue with mine; teasing the roof of my mouth before sucking on my tongue. 

I fell against him and his hands smoothed down my body to my arms and back. When his hands brushed and massaged the sensitive skin and muscles around my neck I moaned completely giving into what was coming. Eric made my sore muscles feel so loose.

The smaller towel slipped from my hair as Eric’s fingers sorted through and grasped my long brown tresses. “God, you smell so good,” he rasped before kissing me harder, with more fervour. “It’s the jasmine,” I say between biting kisses.

 Eric’s hand lands on my hand holding in place my large towel. I was ready to let the towel drop. Sparks were creating an inferno inside of me kissing Eric.

It was then, Aunt Tabitha came in through the bedroom door, loudly, slamming it behind her. 

Eric and I sprung apart but it was clear what we’d been up to. Aunt Tabitha smirked. “Eric you’re needed downstairs.”

“What?” 

“There’s a phone call for you on one of the satallite phones. Your PA said you needed to take this one.”

“Now?” Eric stared at me, his jade eyes smouldering and his breathing fast. He shook his head, blinking. He gave me a final look and a small kiss on the cheek, before striding out the bedroom door.

I gazed at Aunt Tabitha, the woman who’d been caring for me and I was sure she could see my face was red. She only laughed at my embarrassment.

“It’s okay. Eric’s a handsome guy and you’re a beautiful women. He doesn’t see many beautiful women around here.” I flushed again, conscience I was still in my towel.

“I should get dressed,” I said, “I’m Ashlyn by the way.” 

“Ashlyn,” it suits you Aunt Tabitha remarked. “You know my name from when you were sick, you called out for me quite often. I’m happy to say you appear healthy. But you are quite thin since we brought you into the house even.”

“I’ll meet you in the kitchen downstairs in forty-five-minutes. The kitchen staff will have some filling food which won’t make you sick because you haven’t been eating much but soup.”

“Thanks Aunt Tabitha. I appreciate it. Eric said I could phone my parents too?” I asked.

“I’ll let Eric help you with that Ashlyn. I’m sure he’ll want to spend more time with you and I don’t want to interrupt. But he is my nephew, so be gentle with him. His past was a rough one.” I nodded smiling at Aunt Tabitha, trying to show I wouldn’t hurt Eric.

“I’m just in the room down the hall.” She said, ” You seem a great deal better having showered and um, having having been busy with my nephew, but don’t overdue it. You were pretty ill their for a week.” 

Aunt Tabitha left my room and I turned towards my new wardrobe, sorting through my it with appreciation. 

A thought came to me as I tried on a bright purple sundress, where was I exactly that there was no wifi, cell phone reception, or landlines? I had a few questions that needed answering.

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

NaPoWriMo: Poem – Tritina – “Valley Beach” 


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Our (optional) prompt for Day Seven comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who challenges us all to write a tritina. The tritina is a shorter cousin to the sestina, involving three, three-line stanzas, and a final concluding line. Three “end words” are used to conclude the lines of each stanza, in a set pattern of ABC, CAB, BCA, and all three end words appear together in the final line.

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Please see NaPoWriMo for more information. Also, I am doing The Daily Prompt word prompt, using the word Tricky.

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http://www.galmeiri.blogspot.com

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Wind blowing in the valley where we always go,

Where serenity arrives with the oceanic tide,

Grass fragrant, rustles in the valley we reside,

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Running through grass, escape life to ocean reside,

Valley’s hush, mystical, tricky path where we go,

On the beach, sand softens feet, running through the tide,

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Laying towels, white sand, resting here, hear the tide,

Walking home, grass flicks our calves, back home we reside.

In tomorrow’s heat, to the valley we’ll go.

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Tricky tides pull, in the valley we reside — go.

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Hi, just wanted to leave a little note to those whose posts I usually comment on, and those bloggers who follow me. I’m taking a break from blogging this week, most everything but completing the posts I need to. I might comment on the odd post, but for most posts I will get to on the weekend or next week 🙂 Thanks for understanding! 

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.