The Lion’s Den Prequel #4 – The Combatants Debate

Combatants: Palestine vs Israel

gaza liberationThe crowd  had grown to where the Castle’s caretaker started to worry about fire regulations.  The combatants had squared off  in the reception area.

“You would feel in danger of  annihilation, too, if you heard  the President of Irag, Abdur Rahman Araf announce that the “existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified” and they would “wipe Israel off the map.”  Della said.

“What about Hamas? They were democratically elected to govern Gaza, but  Israel saw them as  terrorists, preventing any meaningful negotiation for peace indefinitely.”

“The Jews had been present here for three hundred years and had deep religious ties to  Israel.  They believed that the land had been given to them by God.”

“But the Islamic Resistance Movement insists that  Palestine’s legal status under Islamic law is  Waqf, endowed for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection, and not to be neglected or relinquished.  No one else could claim it.  What makes their assertion any less valid than the Israelis?”

“Some Islamic scholars recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Holy land and Jerusalem. These are holy places and their rights to them should be protected,”Della argued.

“But many Muslims say that the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina are theirs, conquered in the name of Islam and are considered Waqf under Sharia Law, the law of Islam,”

“People, while this has been a fascinating debate, I am sorry that the conference center is due to close for the evening,”  the dean announced,” I would invite both participants to join in a panel discussion at a later date.  Thank you all for coming, and I congratulate Miss Rawlins and Mr. Giles on a fair and respectful debate.  Thank you and good Night.”

Norma              Stay tuned for more prequels to 

                                                      The Lion’s den, coming soon



What’s Good About Good Friday?

Good Friday in Modern Times                  

good friday4

I was out getting my ninety one year old mother-in-law her breakfast this morning when she came up with the question,”What’s good about Good Friday?” Well, I looked at her kinda funny and not being a very active Christian, I gave her the only answer I could think of, “Well, I guess it’s all about the hope for resurrection, that Jesus died for humanity, that we would be forgiven for our sins and there would be something beyond death.” This didn’t go over at all with the old lady, who insisted, “Yes but they crucified him, put him to death on the cross.”

Riiiigggghhhhtttt, well, it got me thinking, aside from the obvious (?) religious significance, (at least to Christians) what really is good about Good Friday in the modern day?

I started making a mental list:

Good Friday is a statutory holiday in Newfoundland and most people have FRIDAY OFF!!!

Good Friday falls on April 3rd this year.  If you live somewhere sensible (not Newfoundland) Spring is here and the grass is getting green and the birdies are chirping and the tulips are blooming.  (Not here – we had ten centimeters of snow last night, temperature is -12 degrees celsius, you can hide Easter eggs all right IN THE SNOWBANKS!!! Ughh.)

In the days of my parents, they would attend a 3 HOUR LONG CHURCH SERVICE!!!  At least some folks had a good nap, even though they came out with their arse’s paralyzed from sitting on the wooden pews.

It’s the best day in St. John’s for a feed of fish and chips!

It’s a THREE DAY WEEKEND.  It’s like having two Saturdays, cos you wake up on Friday and it’s a holiday, then you wake up the next day and it’s a holiday again, and it’s not even Sunday!!

Good Friday is supposed to be like Sunday on steroids.  To the old folks, Sunday is the day of rest, you know what that means!!!  NO HOUSEWORK!!! (no dancing, card playing, sports or general fun either, however.)

Stores are closed on Good Friday, so no blasted trips to the mall to buy last minute Easter crap that nobody needs anyway!!!

That’s the best I could come up with.  Feel free to add to the list by commenting.  I will add to the list and give you full credit.

I hope  I haven’t offended anyone with my slightly irreverent take on what I know is meant to be a solemn and holy day in the Christian calendar!  Don’t tell my mother, for she will be sure to scold me and kick my ass for being a heathen.  But then, I figure, if my mother-in-law who used to walk ten miles to church and back three times on a Sunday doesn’t know what’s good about Good Friday, then I didn’t miss much by skipping Sunday school.

(I’m gonna roast in hell)

love, normaeastergood friday3



So, How was your April Fool’s Day?

April Fool’s, the Sadist’s Holiday

april fool 3

Yeah, so, did any of you guys get pranked on April Fool’s Day?  Being the Queen of Gullible, I was amazed to have gotten away scott free this year.  My husband always gets me every damn year.  It’s because he goes to work at seven o’clock in the morning, and I don’t start till nine, So, his perky phone call at nine o’clock sometimes finds me in my usual early morning fog, before I have Tassimo’d my first cup of coffee, at which time it is sometimes possible to get one past me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to fall for stuff like, “We’re out of oil and there’s no hot water, so don’t plan on getting a shower today, and oh by the way, when did you pay the oil bill last?” Believe me, I am the chief bean counter of this operation, and it would be a rare day that I would forget to pay the bills.

“Can you check the mail box, today?  I’m expecting something to come.”  Dead giveaway!  All that comes in the mail is woe and misery, I would be instantly suspicious and would approach any locked boxes with extreme caution on the FIRST OF APRIL!!!

Last year, I’ll admit, I was a bit of a pushover, being that he called me all excited that a moose had been spotted trotting down Portugal Cove Road and  if I looked out the back window, I could probably see it.  Now being that last year there was a lady moose and her calf grazing on our front lawn one Sunday morning, I just might have found that scenario believable.

So, I’m needing ammunition for next year!  Please comment and tell me your best April Fool’s trick.

Norma coffee cup

april fool 2april fool

april fool 1

The Lion’s Den on schedule to launch April 30th

The Lion’s Den Cover and Description

Lions Den Cover


Della Rawlins is not long back from Afghanistan, where she and her partner, Aaron have joined the throng of photojournalists, reporters and bounty hunters in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. When the trail leads them into Pakistan, things get complicated and while Della makes it out before the net tightens around the American nationals, Aaron is captured and detained. It is unknown where he is being held, or if he is still alive.

Needing some distance from the problem to deal with the horrors she had been witness to, she takes a photographic assignment into the Canadian wilderness to clear her head. It isn’t long before her peace is invaded and she comes face to face with a tall dark stranger who tries to save her from haunted memories.

Della longs to leave the world of foreign conflict and political intrigue behind and to start a new life with her new man, Brad, but she is shackled to the past by a secret that puts her in the cross hairs of a vicious enemy. It will take all of her courage and determination to face the terror that awaits her. Trusting in Brad’s love and protection along with the support of an elite militia, Della fights for the integrity of her country and for her own personal freedom against almost insurmountable odds.

From the desert of Pakistan, to the wilderness of eastern Canada, to the rich man’s playground of Mallorca, Spain, follow Della and Brad as they take the journey that leads to the Lion’s Den.  Lives, hearts and the future of a presidency hang in the balance.

The Lion’s Den, coming April 30th

The Lion’s Den prequel #3 – The Great Debate

Aaron and Della Start a Debate

boston uAaron regarded the young chit in front of him as one would regard an annoying dog.  He had spent his undergrad  at BostonU building a reputation as an activist and  scholar on  the war in the middle east.  He was regarded by the faculty as a very well informed student who  was well researched and sourced and  on his way to a career as a foreign correspondent with a major newspaper or national television news service.  He wasn’t about to let some underclassman undermine his credibility.

“Well, Miss…….”

“Rawlins, ” Della supplied.

“What would be your views on the peaceful resolution of the war between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the Middle east?”  Aaron asked.

“I think many of the attempts that have been made over the years  could have been successful. President Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan made a good stab at trying to attain peace.  Israel was willing to make concessions, as long as their rights and interests were addressed and the climate was right for a peaceful resolution.   Yet when Bill Clinton and the Israelis offered a nominally independant state to Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat, he declined.”

“The Palestine Liberation Organization, was prepared to recognize the State of Israel as long as they removed some of the settlements and retreated from Palestinian territory back to the 1967 borders,”   Aaron countered.

“Yes, but the Israelis believed that the conflict was a result of the Arab attempt to destroy Israel and that only their  military power stood between them and annihilation.”

By now a crowd had gathered around the two, and everyone was fascinated in hearing both sides of the conflict.

Norma             Stay tuned for more from Della and Aaron’s

                                              great debate in the next Lion’s Den prequel coming soon!

debator 3

debater 1





Debaters at Boston University

Oh Christmas Tree

Finding a Perfect Christmas Tree

christmas tree 2

I absolutely love putting up the Christmas tree! First when we were married, Paul and I would go out into the woods and hunt all day for the perfect native spruce.

I will never forget our first Christmas tree. We had just been married  and like most newlyweds, we were still working on furnishing our first home. We didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend on a fancy artificial tree, which, to our way of thinking, lacked in the aesthetics department with the absence of the outdoor fresh piney smell.

So, out we drove over the Trans Canada Highway, searching for a suitable centrepiece for our first Christmas together. The sun was warm on our backs on that perfect winter day, throwing sparkles onto the blanket of newly fallen snow as we hiked a country trail under a clear blue sky, towing our battered toboggan. A couple of hours in, we hadn’t found a suitable specimen and I was starting to get discouraged. It wasn’t that I was being overly picky, but every tree we considered had some imperfection, either a misshapen bough, a crooked trunk, or else it was too sparse, too thick, or it was a funny colour. We stopped for a
“mug up” when we came to the edge of a frozen pond, and while Paul lit a fire in his Kelly kettle to make some tea, I was scanning the tree line from my perch on a convenient nearby rock. It was hard to see the trees individually, because, as anyone who knows the Newfoundland landscape could tell you, the trees grow thick as thieves. My gaze wandered to a small grove of trees growing close to the edge of the pond. The way the sun shone down on its snow topped branches made it glow almost as if were lit by a light from within. The shape was perfectly symmetrical, each branch perfectly spaced.  It was as if it had been made for us to find.

We brought it home and although the number of decoration on it were few, it was the perfect Christmas tree in our eyes.  Thirty years later, when we get out the boxes of ornaments we have collected each year since that first Christmas, we treasure each memory as we find a special place for each one.  I have made a special box for our daughter, to collect the ornaments that Santa leaves for her in her stocking, so that one day, when she leaves home, she will bring with her a box of special memories of her childhood to begin her own family tradition.

blue glitter norma               christmas tree 3christmas decorating


Getting Through the Hungry Month of March

Just Get Through It.

Hi Friends,writers cave

Just a shout out from the writing cave, where I have been hibernating for the past two weeks.  One must write when the inspiration flows! I met with my “Romancing the Rock” writers group last Sunday.  Nothing makes you get off your arse like talking to an author who has seventy-plus books in print!

 It seems that March is the one month in the year that has to be “gotten through.”  From the business perspective, you are trying to stretch those “ends” like a too-small pair of pantyhose, trying to get them to meet.  In our biz, customers want sixty days to pay, while suppliers want to be paid in thirty.  Coming out of the short month of December where you lose so many production days makes your February remittances lean, while your expenses are as big as dogs.  What do you do? You just have to get through it.

My mom has been needing back surgery since December.  After her third trip to Emergency, where all the staff would do was give her a shot of Morphine for the pain and send her home, I finally had to get an ambulance and take her in again because she had deteriorated to the point she couldn’t walk and the pills were not cutting the pain.  They admitted her on December 27th, and kept her medicated to try to reduce the inflammation in her spine.  After six weeks of that, with little easing of the pain, they sent her home with five hours of home care a day, and no booked date for her surgery.  It is unimaginable cruelty to send someone home to suffer in agony with pain that is so intense that she sobs and talks about taking her own life. I have phoned the surgeon’s office three times, each time becoming more desperate, until finally, they have her booked for April tenth.  Two and a half weeks away.  The only thing I can hope is for her to just get through it.

Oh the weather!  March is the time in Newfoundland that you might get a few days of nice weather, and you think, “Maybe we’ll have an early spring this year.” Then old man winter drops a snow bomb on us and we get a two day blizzard, dropping 48 centimeters of snow. “Oh, that’s just Sheila’s brush,” you think until the next day you get another 10 centimeters, with more coming for the weekend. People are opening their front doors to a wall of  the white stuff, and having to get out a window to shovel themselves out.  Your car is buried up to the roof and  trying to get around town is ridiculous.  The calendar is saying the first day of spring was last Friday, and we’re locked in the deep freeze. What do you do? If you don’t have the cash to fly south, you just have to get through it.

My book, The Lion’s Den is due to launch the end of April.  I am so excited.  I got the cover design proof the other day, and it is stunning!  Both of my publishing/advertising  mentors took off on holidays, just at the time when we are going through the editing/formatting/printing process, and I am biting my nails on getting the marketing machine fired up, or else be prepared to lose my shirt!  Being my first book, the wheels seem to be rolling….ever….so….slowly….right….now, but what can you do? You just have to get through it.

Wherever you are, I hope that you are “getting through it” too, and by the time Easter rolls around April 5th, we will all be able to think about bunnies, chicks and sunshine and the renewal of life.  Until then, stay warm, stay positive, and just get through it!


cursive norma

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Happy in my den!





The Lion’s Den prequel #2 – Differences in Journalism

 Peace vs War Journalism

BU sign

The ‘End Racism in Palestine’ protest was deemed a success.  There had been good television and media coverage. BU’s Students for Justice in Palestine congratulated themselves on an excellent rally.  Their goal was to inform as many of the student body as possible about the conflict; to raise awareness. Who could resist a free meal?  Cultural groups on campus had prepared a Jewish Shabbat dinner and Palestinian food and the University had generously offered the Castle, the conference center, to host the dinner. The turnout was great!

Della and her classmate, Darla were in line for the buffet.  The food smelled delicious. A voice behind her sounded familiar, and she turned to see Aaron Giles, Leaders of the SJP, expounding  about the violence, and how the Israelis had bombed a school on the Gaza strip, killing ten Palestinian people.

Della was angered by his bringing up the topic when the whole point of the reception was to share the culture of both groups and promote understanding.

“Then why don’t you start a fundraising effort to bring some relief to the people who were hurt, rather than stand there and stir up more hate with your “war journalism.”  The western press play to the elite and try to attract advertisers by reporting on the  most brutal attacks.  Both sides are equally guilty in this war.”

Aaron’s eyes were locked on Della’s face as she made her case.

“Haven’t you heard about “peace journalism” proposed by Johan Galtung? His  concept includes promoting conflict solution, conflict sensitive journalism, and constructive conflict coverage.  Maybe people would get a less biased view and better grasp of the key issues  if the journalists weren’t trying to stir up hate.”

Norma          Stay tuned for the next prequel to the         

       Lion’s Den coming soon!           buffet sjp                                        


bu student protest





The Lion’s Den prequel #1 – Boy Meets Girl at Boston University

Della meets Aaron at Boston University


boston u sign

Della Rawlins stepped out  of her dormitory at The Towers and walked purposefully  along the Bay State Road side of the Boston University campus.   Della had been  dying to leave home for university.  An avid photographer, she had decided to pursue a career in photojournalism and was excited to be accepted to the undergraduate program at BU.  It was well recognized and there was even a program on Crisis Response and Reporting  she was really excited about applying for, which would open up opportunities for travel, and help build her portfolio.  They would be mentored by Pulitzer Center journalists!

As she neared the Castle, on the west side, Della noticed a large mob of students waving placards.  As she got nearer, she could read the slogans, calling for ending racism in Palestine.  Students were chanting “End Racism Now!”  Recognizing a bystander as a girl  from  her class, she elbowed her way  to her side.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“It’s the Students for Justice.  They’re demonstrating for the liberation of the Palestinian people.”

As they watched, one guy in a red BU hoodie  climbed up on a stone wall, holding an anti racism placard.  He played to the nearby  TV camera as he expounded upon the injustices suffered by the Palestinian people.

“He’s a Fox,”  Della commented to her friend, admiring his unruly  hair and scruffy good looks.

“Yeah, that’s Aaron Giles.  He’s a  grad student. You should come and meet him after the demonstration.  The SJP is hosting a meet and greet at the pub and they’re serving free Palestinian  food.”

“Sounds like a plan,”  Della said as the guy turned, looked right at her and smiled a panty melting smile.


BU the castleThe Tower, BU                                                                The Castle, BU

brownstone BUstudent protest bu

Students for Justice in Palestine



Writing a Fiction Novel – The Lion’s Den

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The Lion’s Den due for publication April 2015

Genre: Action/Adventure/Romance




Hi Friends,

I thought I would tell you about what the journey has been like so far in getting my first novel, The Lion’s Den ready for launch on April 15th.

When I told him that I had written The lion’s Den,  a good friend of mine told me to get in touch with a woman he knew in Florida, a ghostwriter and collaborator, who helps authors assess their manuscripts and can help get their work ready for self-publishing or for traditional submission to a publishing house.  Her specialty is non-fiction, but she is equally skilled with other types of writing.  I first met Karen Rowe on a Skype video call.  We talked about my novel and she made me feel very positive about its viability whereas I had a lot of insecurities about whether it would ever be good enough for publishing.  Before she read the manuscript, we sat down and spent an hour identifying who my “ideal reader” would be.  I had not given that any thought when I was writing!  All I thought about was the story itself.  I didn’t think about who the actual story would appeal to, and that, I realised after we had pieced together an “Ideal Reader Composite,”  would prove very important in deciding how to direct the marketing and to clue in to what my target demographic would be.   Following an in-depth interview which covered everything from who had read my book so far and what social media I was using  to promote it, Karen was able to put together a viability scorecard, which evaluated how “publishing ready” I am as an author.  Keep in mind, all of this is done before ever the evaluator ever reads the manuscript. Her recommendation was that I spend a minimum of 3-6 months of social media platform building, before ever the book was published, whether I was going the self-publishing route, or going through a literary agent or traditional publishing house.  Publishers, I learned, are looking for authors with a built-in following who can bring their readers  and fans with them and who can demonstrate the ability to market, sell, and promote their own books.

The next step was to put the book through a chapter by chapter feedback and preliminary edit.  Karen is a former literature teacher, so she has lots of experience in editing.  She was able to identify areas of strength and weakness in the manuscript.  She could suggest where re-writes were indicated and where chapters could be put in better order to make the story more readable.  Thankfully, with my work, she found that only minor editing was required, and she sent the manuscript back to me electronically with her recommendations printed in the page margins.  So awesomely convenient for me to do the rewrites and corrections!  Based on her evaluation, Karen was now able make recommendations on where I should go from here.  She was confident that the book is viable, and with a little editing would be publishing-ready.  The big decision would be whether to self-publish, or spend my time submitting query letters and drafting proposals to publishers. She felt that hiring a literary agent at this point would be a waste of time and resources.

From here, Karen put together a book action plan which takes us past the final draft review and into professional book cover design, pre-formatting the manuscript for digital conversion to Kindle and other digital platforms like iBookstore, Sony, Barnes and Noble Nook, and assigning an ISBN.  If the book was to be produced in print, it would have to be formatted for that as well.  All these phases, of course, cost money, even before one book is sold!

So what stage am I at now?  Well, the manuscript is in for final editing.  That should be completed by Wednesday.  A graphic artist, recommended by Karen is working on the cover.  Initial samples will be ready by Monday or Tuesday. The social media platform is in place with accounts open on Twitter, Hootsuite, Google plus,  a professional as well as personal page on Facebook, and this, my own website, has been up and running since November.  Now, as a person who does not have a large circle of friends, getting exposure on these social media sites is a full time job in itself.  I found that I was not getting as much traffic through the site as I needed to raise the kind of awareness that is needed for a successful book launch.  Karen was able to recommend another Florida based businesswoman who could help me with building a following.  Ginger Rockey-Johnson is a marketing mogul with experience in educating business owners on the use of the internet, covering topics like Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Social Networking, and Internet Marketing Strategies. She is now mentoring me in how to raise awareness about my book.

Well, folks, gone are the days when you begged at the doors of the big publishing houses, hoping against hope that someone would consent to read a chapter or two of your book.  Now people are able to get their manuscripts out in front of the public, who, after all, are  the consumers who will ultimately decide what they want to read.  It takes a lot of guts to actually produce a finished manuscript and get it to the point that it can be put in the hands of the reader.  Whether a book is a big success or a terrible flop, it’s quite an achievement to have made it through the process, and for anyone who has made it to that point, I can only say “Bravo!”

I guess that time will tell whether I have made a good investment or not, but whether The Lions Den will succeed on the literary stage or not, it will be an investment in myself.  I hope that if you are contemplating jumping into the publishing arena yourself, that this has been of some help to you.  Please know that the process comes with a significant price tag, even if you decide to only e-publish.  and I highly recommend working with professional people to be sure you are getting true and honest feedback and information.  If you have a great idea for a non-fiction book.  Karen Rowe is a fantastic person to talk to, as she can help you actually write your text, and is an expert in putting your book together for you.  These people know publishing and work with a team of professionals who will work for you at very reasonable rates to get your work ready for the literary stage.  Now all you have to do is put on your big girl/big boy pants and get over any reluctance you have to self promote. The great thing about this is, if you don’t know where to start,  there is help out there for that too.  Contact me for their contact information if you’re interested.

So, good luck with your journey, wherever it takes you!  Hope we’ll meet some day, or that you will email me and tell me what a success you’ve become!  As my friend Karen would say,

“To Your Success!”

hello my name is norma

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