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It’s a truck meet wildlife world out there

I live inside a National Park. It’s an amazing privilege to be able to live in a ‘somewhat’ protected habitat. I say ‘somewhat’ because it’s a sliding scale and my naive little mind has been shocked time and again by the contradictions that occur within the framework and ‘purpose’ of our National Parks.

Yesterday afternoon, my partner witnessed a horrifying murder that has my little digits on the keyboard today.

As an avid nature lover, he’s out there day in and day out observing and documenting our natural history. He follows and bears witness to the changes of the seasons and how those changes drive wildlife behaviour from migratory songbirds to courtship and mating behaviours of a wide variety of mammals.

Most recently he’s become quite intimate with a large herd of Big Horn Sheep that are relatively famous here in Jasper National Park. He’s observed the old white-faced ewe whom he’s affectionately named Vera-Lynn who seems to be on the outer edges of the mating rituals. And Linda, another ewe who is so old that her horns are almost worn away, who lets those rams know that she will have none of their antics. Then there is Clarence, who seemed to be the lead ram for a while until Big Red came along and Chief, who thought he might give Big Red a go. The battle scars on Chief one morning proved that to be an unwise decision.

After spending a relatively uneventful morning with the gang, Big Red followed a small group of ewes down the mountainside to where they were licking salt on the highway. My partner was thrilled with a beautiful image that he took when Big Red paused and turned to look back at the herd at the edge of a cliff on his way down, describing it as incredibly majestic.

Five minutes later, the majestic ram was skidding on his back across the highway after being struck by a transport truck.

The driver was audibly angry and aggressive. He honked and yelled out the window, but he did not slow down for the sheep on the road and he did not stop after he killed Big Red and neither did the several trucks and cars that passed following the tragedy.

Don’t delude yourself into thinking that this is a random incident. This behaviour happens all day every day on this highway. We know because, we see it every day while we attempt to peacefully enjoy nature. And the frequent fatalities are quickly swept away.

Is this not especially ironic in the season of love, hope, peace and joy? Or does that only come with a prime membership and free shipping?

Finally a plow driver stopped and two gentlemen got out to move the twitching carcass off the road. Thank you for that.

It wasn’t too long afterward that a Parks vehicle came along and it was ‘business as usual’ to remove the carcass to it’s final resting place at the dump.

Yes, the dump.

Not the forest where it would provide nourishment to a whole host of wild creatures that are also ‘protected’ within the National Park.

Not in the hands of an indigenous community that would give thanks and honour the life that was given to harvest the meat, fur and various parts for survival.

Not in the hands of a wildlife foundation that would ensure the life was not lost in vain.

The dump, where the copious evidence of human existence will linger far longer than the decomposed carcass.

I’m saddened, angry and frustrated with the lack of respect and reverence for our wildlife, not only, but especially within the boundaries of the National Park whose existence is specifically for the purpose of protecting our natural environment and ecosystems.

Why do we allow highways to cut through a National Park? Through vehicles do not pay park fees, yet they use the roads and facilities along the way without care or concern for the wildlife whose home they are racing through. .

I started to research things like “what are the guiding principles for National Parks in Canada” and started reading through the legalese to try to gain a deeper understanding of the answer to that question.

But seriously – you need a law degree (and I would say an unhealthy dose of caffeine) to get through it.

Common sense and politics are like oil and water in this writer’s opinion.

I have many questions in addition to why we allow highways to cut through ‘protected’ areas. But for today, I will honour and revere Big Red.

Thank you for being. Thank you for your majestic beauty. Thank you for the amazing images. Thank you for the experience of being in your presence.

And I hope that Linda or Becky-Sue or several of the ewes of that beautiful herd will give birth to Little Reds that we will see frolicking amongst the cliffs in the spring.

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Reviews are GOLD

Today is the third and final day to pick up your copy of my new children’s ebook, Coyotes and Wolves at Pyramid Lake. This is the third book in the series, Riley’s Adventures with Granny in the Mountains.

In this edition Riley visits Granny through his dreams as he naps in the car on the way to visit his “PapaBanana” and play with their sweet fur baby, Mia. Granny, of course, spoils him with one of her favourites, roasted marshmallows, and when they go to wash the sticky evidence from his face, Riley is startled by the reflection of another canine friend.

Granny teaches him about the coyotes and wolves that live in Jasper National Park then sends him home along a rainbow slide to PapaBanana’s house to play with Mia.

Christmas is coming

As I type that, I hear in my head “winter is coming” LOL – those of you who are Game of Thrones fans will get a chuckle. Well, winter is already here in Jasper, though I know that my Ontario friends are still enjoying some sunshine and warmth. As of today, there are 40 days until Christmas. Perhaps someone on your list will enjoy Riley’s Adventures! Why not pick up up all 3 paperback copies for someone on your shopping list? This is a great gift for under $40 and helps to support your local entrepreneur!

Here is a fun little Christmas Countdown that you may enjoy. You can even write letters to Santa or figure out your elf name –

Apparently my elf name is CandyCane Dustytoes!

Tips for Writing a Helpful Review

Reviews are so important to me as an author! I personally don’t buy anything online unless it has a good number of reviews and those reviews are 4 or better. When you can’t physically hold something to make a buying decision – reviews are your BEST friend. Both as a purchaser and as a seller.

Here are some tips that you may want to consider when writing a review:

  • State the name of the book in your write-up – keywords are important for rankings
  • Tell a bit about the book – a one line synopsis of what it was about
  • What did you particularly like about it
  • Was there something you hoped you would see or questions for the author
  • If you feel the product is sub-par – contact the seller/author directly to give them a chance to make it right before publishing a poor review.
  • Who would enjoy the book?
  • Would you purchase it again?

What are YOUR top tips for writing a review?

Do you write reviews? How do you write them? Do you only write one if you’ve had a terrible experience and you are mad as hornets? or Do you take the time to write only about a particularly great experience?

I would love to hear from you

When you are blogging/posting, it can sometimes feel that you are writing to the great abyss. Perhaps I am only amusing myself with my witty comments and observations. Please feel free to like, share, post comments and feedback, email me or message me with any constructive advice. I am constantly learning and evolving as a writer and your feedback is invaluable to me.

Thank you – thank you – thank you!

I can’t say it enough – thank you to everyone who has downloaded the free ebook, purchased the paperback copies, liked, commented or shared my posts, or even just sent me some positive vibes for success. I’m truly grateful and love you all.

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Coyotes and Wolves at Pyramid Lake

Where does inspiration come from?

To Andrew.
He takes me on the best adventures and thinks everything I do is amazing.

The dedications at the front of a book are often skimmed over and I’ve done so myself many times. But when you publish a book, this entry is one of the most important pages.

There are many people involved in the process, even when you are self-publishing.

Who do you choose to recognize? Who had a potentially profound impact on the book actually coming into existence? Who has put up with your zoned-outness as you agonize about the wording, placing, spacing or font? Who has patted you on the back countless times when your file was rejected again and again for the tiniest alignment error? Who has cheered you on and put your project at the top of their list whenever you needed help? Who takes you on the best adventures?

Thank you, Andrew

I couldn’t wait to sign the dedication for Coyotes and Wolves at Pyramid Lake because of the many adventures that Andrew and I have enjoyed there. It’s our favourite birthday, holiday or any day spot to have a bonfire and some camp food while we take photos and time lapse sunrise/sunset shots. He is even included in Jennifer’s paintings to pay homage to his never-ending love and support for all my creative projects.

We’ve actually seen wolves at the location depicted in the book and recorded them howling at night. What an exhilarating experience that was! I don’t yet have any great shots of wolves of my own, so Andrew was kind enough to allow me to use one of his. (Shown at the back of the book)

Coyotes are abundant and we often see them trotting along the roadsides or in the field outside our back window. On one occasion we watched one attempt to sneak up on a few elk grazing in the field. Being a smart creature, it scampered off when the elk took a couple steps and gave a stomp.

Thank you – again!

Thank you for going on this adventure with me. I’m thrilled to have released the third book in Riley’s Adventures with Granny in the Mountains – Coyotes and Wolves at Pyramid Lake.

Don’t forget to pick up your FREE copy starting today

FREE FOR 3 DAYS ONLY – Nov 12, 13, 14, 2022

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#2 Best Seller!

Big Horn Sheep lamb laying on cliff

Well, for a moment it was! It has since slipped to #3 according to the actual page for that category.

Your Super Powers are working!

See how much of a Super Power you have? I’ve had only a handful of people take me up on the FREE ebook so far and yet that handful was enough to have the book rank #2 in a category.

There is still one more day to pick up your free ebook copy of Riley’s Adventures with Granny in the Mountains – Old Fort Point and Big Horn Sheep. To sweeten the deal, I’ve put a free ebook promotion for 24 hours for Book 1 – Pyramid Mountain and Mule Deer.

TWO free ebooks! August 26 ONLY

I have to say, I was surprised and happy to see the #2 ranking. So close to #1 ! So I figured I would offer both of the books at $0.00 for one day to see if we can’t hit that #1 spot.

I know you are busy and perhaps didn’t see my first post or maybe you just stumbled on my blog.

That’s ok. You still have one more day to get BOTH of the ebooks for free. All I am asking in exchange is for an honest review. I appreciate that time is precious and I know that I am competing for your valuable attention with things like…oh let me see…family responsibilities, work, downtime, vacations etc.

Time is precious

Every little bit helps! Whether it is a quick share, a share with an introduction, purchasing the ebooks and/or writing reviews. My first line of support are my friends and family. My next adventure will be learning and using the paid promotions available through various websites.

Thank you so much! Wish me luck!

Thank you. I can’t say it enough. Thank you for your support. It really does mean the world to me. I was going to say wish me luck, but I think I know how lucky I already am with the amazing support I have from all of you!

New content coming up!

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of asking of late, so I promise – my next post will have some nature content. Fact is, I’ve been out and about with my camera and I have some really cute Big Horn Sheep lamb photos and video to share. Prepare for some super cuteness!

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Book 2 Now Available – Free!

I am excited to share the good news with you!

After all of the prepping, planning, learning, tweaking, learning some more and having my files rejected more times that I would like to remember, the second book in the Riley’s Adventures series is now available on Amazon!

Even better is that, before I go in for an all-out marketing launch, I am keeping it low key for THREE DAYS ONLY and offering the ebook for FREE.

Why would one do such a silly thing, you ask?

No, I’m not soft in the brain and yes, I do want to actually sell my books to generate income. To boil down the complex courses, blogs, help text and webinars that I’ve been taking over the past year or so – in order to become noticed, it is important to build a repertoire of reviews.

The more reviews, the better AND a “verified review” makes the Amazon algorithms notice me more, which in turn, puts my books in front of more potential buyers.

When you purchase it, even for zero dollars and post a review, you are now a verified reviewer. It doesn’t provide as much leverage as a regular sale, but it’s an excellent start for ‘lil ole me as an independent publisher.

How you can make a difference

You have power. I would even call it Super Powers. Just find my book here on Amazon, purchase the ebook for FREE and write an honest review. Of course, I am hoping that you will love it so much that you want to share it with everyone that you think would also love it. And before you ask, YES you can even share it while it is free for purchase!

My books are available on Amazon in several countries, so if you have friends anywhere in the world, be sure to share with them, too!

Riley’s Adventures with Granny in the Mountains – Old Fort Point and Big Horn Sheep is the second book in my series. It will be available in ebook format for FREE on August 24, 25 and 26 only.

What about the paperback?

Of course the paperback version is available for purchase. My hope is that you will love the ebook so much that you will want to purchase it for your own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews etc.

UK Storyteller Contest

KDP has this amazing opportunity for authors to enter the UK Storyteller contest simply by including them in my keywords. The Kindle Storyteller Award is a £20,000 literary prize recognizing outstanding writing. It is open to writers publishing in English in any genre, who publish their work through Kindle Direct Publishing. Readers play a significant role in selecting the winner, helped by a panel of judges including various book industry experts. Thus your Super Powers could really make a difference here.

Coming soon…

Book 3 is well under way in the hands of my dear friend, Jennifer Ottaway, as she brings to life our next adventure: Pyramid Lake – Coyotes and Wolves. I expect to have it published in late October – just in time for your Holiday shopping.

Thank you!

I can’t thank you enough for all of your support. Do you have questions, comments or suggestions? What are you looking forward to in the next books?

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How Do You Review?

Reviews are gold!

I used to delete the requests for reviews from my inbox, honestly, I still often do, but more so with a “sorry, bud, I just don’t have time” perspective. However, since putting in months of education and research into publishing my books, I’ve definitely put more effort into writing reviews for products or services that I purchase.

Reviews are the backbone of anyone that is selling a product or service in our modern world. I rarely purchase anything without checking out the overall rating and reviews. I won’t even consider anything less than a 4 point something star rating and will go straight for the top ranked items first.

On occasion, I’ll receive a sub-par product and before posting a poor review, I will contact the seller for resolution. This is usually the most effective route. Most sellers honestly do want their customers to be happy with their product so that they tell all their friends and family and they sell more.

I never thought too much about the content of my reviews in the past and just wrote whatever quick thought I could put down to get it done. I’ve learned the best or most helpful reviews include some thoughtful details. I found recent reviews quite helpful in ordering clothing because a handful of them actually included photos and their height, weight and usual size to compare the fit.

Enjoying the Journey

I’m very close to launching the second book in the series for Riley’s Adventures with Granny in the Mountains – Old Fort Point and Big Horn Sheep. If you’ve been following me you already know it’s been quite the process to say the least. I’m close. I had hoped to have the paperback live already but I keep getting different tweaks that KDP wants me to make before they will publish so I’m working my way through.

When I was deciding on a photo for this post, I thought of a rainbow and the proverbial pot of gold and searched my photos. This was taken on September 5, 2016. I had only been in Jasper a few weeks and was checking out the attractions on my day off. It was overcast and raining lightly all morning. I was watching the weather, hoping it would clear up. I wandered in and out of some of the stores, getting to know the town and even went through an interesting little wildlife museum. But the rain wasn’t clearing. I decided to go up the Skytram anyway. About halfway up, it started snowing heavily. I was only wearing a light jacket, so I bought a cozy sweater from the gift shop and hiked to the summit. Even though I couldn’t see the valley below, the white abyss was eerily beautiful.

I enjoyed the journey for what it was and when I got back to the upper station, soaked from the wet snow, the sun came out and a beautiful rainbow emerged.

This is how I feel about the journey to publish my children’s book series and soon, my first fiction novel. I love the journey. It’s not exactly what I had expected, but wonderful nonetheless.

I appreciate that I have so many supporters that have followed me thus far and I hope to continue to earn that support as I share many more adventures!

Call to Action – How you can help!

I will be publishing the paperback very soon. The ebook is now live and available on Kindle. If you have a Kindle unlimited membership, you can read it for free now! If not, no problem – I will be putting it on a promo for $0 as soon as I’ve gotten the paperback file approved.

Your reviews are the most valuable thing to me as an artist trying to become established in a very competitive market. Zero cost, aside from your time to read and review. My hope is that you will love the book, rave to everyone that you think would also love it, and purchase paperback copies for your children or to give as gifts!

Here are some points to consider for writing a helpful review:

  • State the name of the book in your write-up – keywords are important for rankings
  • Tell a bit about the book – a one line synopsis of what it was about
  • What did you particularly like about it
  • Was there something you hoped you would see or questions for the author
  • If you feel the product is sub-par – contact the seller/author directly to give them a chance to make it right before publishing a poor review.
  • Who would enjoy the book?
  • Would you purchase it again?

Do you have any points to add? How do you review? I’d love to hear your comments!

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Checking In!

Lisa's desk with notebooks, test copies, coffee, gratitude journal and laptop

I cleared my desk – which is a folding table in front of the sofa that also doubles as our dinner table – so that I could focus on yet again fixing the files for publishing my books on Amazon. Book 1 is and has been live, but I had some seemingly simple corrections to make. The file was rejected and we’re back on that hamster wheel of tweaking bits and bobs until it’s finally accepted! Such is the life of a Canadian children’s books author.

“KDP, Amazon’s publishing platform, and I have not yet become best friends”

I’ve been taking courses to improve myself as a writer. Website design, WordPress courses, marketing and promotion, KDP University, educational blogs. KDP, Amazon’s publishing platform, and I have not yet become best friends, but I am a tenacious person with goals and focus. This is a learning process that will be a great benefit for later.

Upcoming Events

My target publishing date for Book 2 in the Riley’s Adventures series is August 24. I plan to enter it into the UK Storytellers contest which has a deadline of August 31.

I am excited to be a part of Jasper’s Alberta Culture Days. A group of organizations in the Library and Cultural Centre – ACFA (French association), Habitat for the Arts, Jasper Artists Guild and the library have sponsored the event for the past 5 years. This year it will be a pop up event at Robson Park on September 25 from 2 pm – 4 pm. Jennifer and I will be holding a session at 3 pm where we do a reading and a painting workshop en français.

Watch for the French version of Riley’s Adventures – coming soon!

Jennifer is busy working on the illustrations for Book 3 – Coyotes and Wolves & Pyramid Lake. Watch for this exciting adventure by the end of October. We may even have some sneak peeks at the illustrations soon!

My website and social media platforms are a work in progress – pardon the awkwardness if you’ve visited recently. I’ve finished 34 of 143 modules for the course on building my website. The stories of The Little Engine that Could and the Tortoise and the Hare come to mind quite frequently.

Looking for Reviewers

Closeup of girl with red hair and blue eyes, face is illuminated
Ice and Fire, by Lisa Nantais

I am looking to build a small group of readers who would be willing to preview, provide objective feedback and write thoughtful public reviews from final advanced copies prior to publication.

Ideally you regularly read books that are in the same genre and can answer the following questions:

  • Does it flow well? or is it choppy?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Can you picture the characters and where they are at?
  • Is it consistent with the tense it was written in? 
  • Does it keep your constant attention so you don’t want to put it down or does it drag?
  • Did you find anything long-winded or unnecessary?
  • Was there anything that you had to read twice to understand?
  • Is it believable?
  • Does the dialogue sound right?
  • Is there anything confusing about it – other than the potential plot twists?
  • Are the characters believable? 
  • Do they each have their own unique personalities – or is the writer’s personality overriding all of them?
  • What were your favourite parts? Why?

Send me a note if you’d like to join my Round Table

You will be part of the elite team that gets the final copy first and free, knowing that you contributed to its success. And you will feel good about helping an independent artist compete with the publishing giants.

I have 6 seats and one has already been filled, message me soon!

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Your books are ready! Eek!

A day early!

What a journey it has been (and still is!) to reach this point! The satisfaction of seeing that subject line in my email made my day!

Now I’ll be anxiously awaiting the delivery of them so I can get them dedicated, signed and shipped.

If you have already contacted me for your pre-order, I will be reaching out to you for payment and delivery – and I want to say a special ~THANK YOU~ – from the bottom of my heart for supporting me in getting this series debut to market.

I want to give a special paragraph to highlight how much the support of my friends, family, colleagues and community means to me. I am so thankful to be blessed with amazing people in my world. So once again – THANK YOU!!

Once the books arrive, they will be offered at the regular full price of $15 – still a bargain with the beautiful artwork that Jennifer created to help bring my stories to life. Have I ever told you how much I love and appreciate this wonderful lady?

Not only did you save and get a personal dedication by pre-ordering…you may find a little surprise with your delivery… you never know!

There is still plenty of time to pre-order!! Do you have brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, nieces, nephews who would love a copy dedicated just to them?

You can pre-order by visiting me at the Jasper Farmer’s Market on Wednesday from 11 am – 3 pm, shoot me an email, facebook messenger, or instagram message with who you want the books dedicated to, your mailing address and email address.

I will reach out to you in the next week to confirm shipping and arrange for payment.

In the meantime, I will be cleaning, creating, coo-ing at my newborn grandson who may join Riley on some of our future adventures when he gets a bit older and having a sip or two of wine to celebrate this wonderful feeling to reach this milestone!


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Book 2 – Sneak Peek!

Happy Birthday to my baby today! My youngest, Riley’s momma turned 24 today. Be still my heart – how did this happen?

After my recent trip home just prior to the pandemic being declared, I watched many of the home movies from when both of my babies were….well – babies! Such sweet memories!! One of the many projects I have on my list – get them digitized. Having the aid of a professional with access to important technology to achieve my goal is a bonus!

Seeing them as babies, toddlers and sassy young children – it feels like yesterday! And that’s why being a grandparent brings such incredible joy – I get to relive some of those precious moments with a mind that appreciates just how incredibly precious they really are. Especially during Covid times when I cannot predict when I can safely visit them next.

Until then, I have been spending time writing and coordinating with Jennifer for the illustrations, having our social distance meetings at our “office” pictured here. Not a bad place to work!

Not only have I put in motion the process to publish the physical copies, we are in the final stages of completing the second book – Old Fort Point and Big Horn Sheep. I am excited to be able to share the books this summer at our Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays! Stay tuned for our official launch and book signing dates.

I am all giggles about this and I cannot resist sharing one of the illustrations for a sneak peek!

PS: If you haven’t already seen it – you can view the video for the first book here: – It means the world to us aspiring artists if you could like, subscribe and share this with everyone that you think would be interested! Thank you so much for your support.

PPS: Watch for the next video to come soon!

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Predictably Unpredictable

I had hoped to have a printed copy of my debut installment of Riley’s Adventures with Granny in the Mountains for Riley’s 2nd birthday, however circumstances and timing did not allow for that to happen. Fortunately I had a backup plan and a backup to the backup plan, so I did not stress in the least. Well, maybe a little, but I was able to share the book with him and my family using a modified digital version for now.

The plans were set for a soft launch at the Habitat for the Arts and Jasper Municipal Library’s Book Lover’s Weekend event, however National measures that are being taken to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus have led to cancellations and postponements of most public gatherings.

It’s all good. I am very happy to support the measures being taken by avoiding public contact. It’s the responsible thing to do. I’ve actually said this prior to the virus spreading from its origin weeks ago – they should shut down all movement from the epicenter and contain the spread of the virus before it becomes global. Be prepared.

Of course such measures have great impact on people physically, socially and financially and no-one wanted to do that if it weren’t absolutely necessary. I am one who always remains calm in the midst of chaos or fear of the unknown. It is never helpful to become panicky and irrational.

We are all waiting, with our lives virtually on hold, to see how this pandemic will alter our realities. The fact is, the world as we know it has forever changed. We have shed a layer of innocence and there is no going back.

There’s no doubt in my mind that we will overcome, learn, evolve and grow from this experience. We will settle into a new “normal”, hopefully with better habits and a better plan for responding to the inevitable next virus that challenges our resilience as a species.

In the meantime, let’s appreciate the things that bring us joy, laughter, adventure, optimism and a little escape from the constant bombardment and sensationalism of the news coverage on every channel. What is your favourite book to get lost in?