Monthly Archives: February 2011

What would you do if you had a magic wand?

Well, it’s not that easy, but this is what I would do if I had a magic wand.

When my essay was accepted for How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth, I had no idea it would lead to such a wonderful opportunity and now I am off to Costa Rica to discover how I can make a profound difference in our world – what a once-in-a-lifetime gift and I thank John E Wade for his incredible optimism and belief in change. I will be writing way more about this, but for now, it is about being grateful.

And busy. I have been judging the Illinois Women’s Press Association Print Media Contest and blown away by the passion and commitment of those who have entered.

The final edits of my next book are completed and the galleys should be arriving any day now – what a thrill.

I am also devouring the books for the Red Cedar Awards (2011) – hardly work, but keeping me up late at night and who doesn’t love reading books they can’t put down?

Not to forget, where I spend lots of hours, not just editing, but learning great stuff about reading and writing.

While I am in Costa Rica, the internet connection might be a bit iffy, so if you don’t hear from me, don’t worry. Eventually, I end up in Toronto and hope to catch up with friends.

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Super Busy Year Reading – How Great is That?

I’ve returned from paradise, reluctantly and to make leaving Maui even more difficult, it’s snowing in Lotus Land. James is home for reading week, and I want to devout every hour to doing stuff with him, but, alas, I have two days outside work this week and a lot of reading to do.

While I was away, the 2011 Mate E. Palmer Professional Communicators Contest of the Illinois Women’s Press Association (IWPA) sent the first round of work to read for the Print Media category. For those of you who don’t know, the IWPA has an annual contest to provide an opportunity for communicators across the state to gain recognition for their work as published journalists, book authors, photographers, as well as in advertising, among various categories. The IWPA is the oldest state affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women.

I am truly honoured to be one of the judges and a little nervous too – after all, I know the competition will be stiff – so much talent!

Then there are the Red Cedar Awards – my living room is full of books for kids and reading them is pure pleasure, except there are so many. I’ll be ready for our next meeting, though and again, there is so much talent, that picking the best of the best is not easy.

And finally, book club. I have bought the books (March: The Places in Between, by Rory Stewart and April: A Farewell to Arms). May, it’s my turn to pick the book and I am thinking Zola.

I have no time to write, which is okay now that the final edits for The Darkness Between the Stars are done :), but I’d like to start a new book, if only I didn’t need sleep.

Re: My invite to Costa Rica that I blogged about earlier. I’m going!!! March 1st and I wish I could put all of this reading on an eReader, but not possible. Maybe by next year?

I have lots more to say about the trip to Costa Rica, but will save that for another time. Stay tuned.

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The Great Backyard Bird Count in North America: Feb 18 – 21

Make This Weekend Count for Birds!

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is here! Make sure your plans for the long President’s Day weekend include counting the birds you see in your own backyard, local park – and any other places you like to bird in your neighborhood. The count starts today, February 18th and continues through Monday, February 21st.

The GBBC is not only a great way to share your love of birds with friends and family, the information you gather also helps scientist learn more about bird population trends. To participate, simply tally birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count, then go to and enter the highest number of each species you see at one time. You can submit multiple tallies at different times and places over the weekend. The website also makes it easy to explore what others in your community and throughout the U.S. and Canada are seeing.

Last year, participants submitted over 97,000 bird checklists from across the United States and Canada. We’re hoping for more than 100,000 this year, with a boost from new outreach, including promotion this past Wednesday on And we’re counting on each of you to do your part!

Now in its 14th year, the GBBC is co-founded by Audubon and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada.

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Spring Break for the Birds: Help Gulf Oil Spill Recovery

Break for the Birds This is a very cool idea!

The National Audubon Society in partnership with Weeks Bay Reserve is offering an Alternative Spring Break to assist in the Gulf oil spill recovery efforts in Mississippi and Alabama. Students participating in our “Break for the Birds” will be busy surveying refuges and beaches, removing invasive species to provide healthy habitats, and creating outreach and awareness education for the local community. Additional activities may include kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. If you are a college student with some science study background and would like to apply, please visit: to fill out an application.

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The Burning Question Answered: Can You Sell a Laneway House?

Well, get the answer here, on my other blog.
Stay tuned for my house for sale ad on Craigslist. Oh, and I’ll be in the Cayman Islands on a big boat spending your money – find out more!

Running from the law on a yacht...

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Julie’s Other Blog

Building a Laneway House in Vancovuer

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Damn, I can’t go to Costa Rica, but I love that I was invited!

Remember last year when I was so pleased to have my essay included in a book with my hero, Obama? Still can’t believe it and then I got this email – I can’t go to Costa Rica, but it made feel so good about being a writer and making a difference – they even offered to pay my registration fees, but I don’t want to go alone and nobody I know has an extra three or four thousand dollars…

Dear Julie,

As you may recall, I am the editor of How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth. Again I wish to express my thanks to you for contributing to this ground-breaking work.

I would like to invite you to consider joining me in a seminar that I will attend, “Conquer the Invisible in Costa Rica.”

One of your fellow authors, Martin Rutte, and another dedicated person, Barry Braun, will be leading this fascinating endeavour from March 2nd to March 7th.

On March 2nd to 7th, 2011, accomplished professionals from across North America will be meeting in Costa Rica to explore two vital questions:

1. How can I make a profound difference in the world?
2. How can my career be even more successful while I make that difference?

The world needs accomplished professionals to make a difference.

I would love to have you join Martin Rutte and Barry Braun in Costa Rica so that you:

– See clearly how you can a more meaningful and profound difference
– Attract and inspire others around you to make that difference
– Be supported by a Mastermind group of accomplished professionals while you make that difference

This is about real results. You have spent years developing your professional skills, taking care of family and building your career. You probably spend over 2000 hours a year. Why can’t that time, knowledge and skill make more of a difference for our world as well? Why can’t your business or career make a truly profound and meaningful difference while you enjoy greater success?

In Costa Rica, you will discover a deeper truth about yourself and about how you can satisfy that deep itch to make a real difference in profound, meaningful ways. Join other accomplished people – people like Doug, a consultant and coach to Fortune 500 CEOs; Kwon, a neuroscientist, Julie, an executive for social responsibility, Rick and Linda, owners of a financial services agency, the president of a retail sporting goods company. Discover what is really possible at

Let’s put our minds and hearts together and make our lives count! Join us!


John E. Wade II

Book: How to Achieve Heaven on Earth


Filed under Travelling In the World, Writing Tips

Writing Symposium in Victoria, BC

An exciting symposium, “Secure Footing in a Changing Literary Landscape.” The Victoria symposium takes place on Friday March 11 from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm at Ambrosia Conference & Event Centre, Powell Room, 638 Fisgard Street. The Vancouver workshop on Thursday March 10 is already sold out. Please help us make the Victoria event equally successful.

This is the one-day event that will help writers explore the importance of developing a writing community, discover how to build a web presence, reach out to readers in the new digital literary landscape, and negotiate a contract. The symposium is open to both Union members and non-members and is designed to assist writers at different phases in their careers. Registration forms are available on the Union website at . Fax them to 416-504-9090, email them to or call Valerie at 416-703-8982 x 224 to register.

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Attention Writers: Artists Retreat Whistler Mountain

Well, as you all know, I am a great one for fleeing home and hearth for a writer’s retreat. So far this has taken me to Iceland, the wonderful Yukon, so why not closer to home? Why not Whistler Mountain? I don’t know when I am happier at Whistler; the summer when it is hot and dusty or the winter when the snow falls, or perhaps those can’t make up their mind shoulder seasons?
Here is a great place to go to write or paint – in a group, to share expense, and there’s lots of room to call your own.
I know the artist who owns this place and she is lovely, so give her a call and book some ‘me’ time.

Let's get the party started – I'm Ready for a Little Me Time at Whistler

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Keen Readers: Youth Literacy Website for Reluctant Readers and Parents

One of Vancouver’s Cwill authors has recently been involved in the development of an excellent new website promoting youth literacy. It is absolutely a site to bookmark. Keen Readers
It’s (the site) for parents of reluctant readers and includes interviews with middle-grade and young-adult authors (a new one each month), as well as MG/YA book reviews. The site is North American in scope and authors will come from both Canada and the US.
What a great idea!
Find writing contests for both youth and adult writers and much more. Keen Readers is currently looking for content, so if you have something to contribute, visit their website and get writing today!

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