Category Archives: An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

The Overgenre-ing of Books

When I wrote the first draft of An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life, I thought of it as a fantasy with the main character Gail as a 35-year-old woman having an early midlife crisis, then someone pointed out that the themes were more coming of age related so Gail and her book-mates had their ages cut in half and the book became a young adult fantasy.

After I started prepping the book to send out to agents, writing friends suggested that the book best fell into the sub-genre of young adult paranormal romance, despite the book being more about finding oneself than finding a boyfriend.

Going one step farther, because the book is written as a series of blog entries (digital letters), it’s actually an epistolary young adult paranormal romance.

Back when I had my own Professional Organizing business, I learned that we have moved from a mass marketing world to a mass customization world. We no longer are supposed to sell to the masses but instead we are to create a small niche inside a large market and sell to that group. So, instead of selling a fantasy to fantasy readers, I’m selling a epistolary young adult paranormal romance to people who like books done up as letters with coming-of-age themes, set in the real world with a touch of magic where the girl gets the boy in the end.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a fantasy writer and the rest is just marketing gibberish…


Today’s mini-rant was inspired by the topic Genre-bending, this month’s meme on the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what books are on their nightstand, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.


Debut Novel Launch: An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

I’ve spent the last week SQUEEEEEEing to myself. Why? Because my first novel An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life has been published on Amazon and Smashwords (which means it’ll soon be available in all popular ebook stores). What’s it about? Here’s the back of the book blurb:

Usually Fairy Godmothers help out lost princesses, girls forced into family slavery, and wooden puppets wanting to be real boys. Gail McCain, however, is none of these things. She’s just a normal 18-year-old girl who likes to get up, go to work, eat sensibly and go to bed early. Okay, so maybe she’s not that normal. Enter Amanda, a fairy life-coach (godmothers are so last millennium) who informs her new client that she’s cursed to be boring–and it’s the fairy’s job to get Gail a life. Skeptical at first, Gail quickly adapts when she gets some new friends and even a boyfriend. But Amanda’s not done with her yet, insisting that the curse needs something powerful to break it. She makes Gail a famous celebrity blogger, tossing scandals, love triangles and bitchy starlets in her path. But can a teenager whose idea of excitement is her egg-one-a-week Sunday breakfast survive all this excitement?

You saw the cover last week, but it’s so awesome, I just have to post it again:

An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

If you decide to check it out, I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear what you think! Connect with me over on GoodReads and we can talk about all sorts of books!


Judging a Book by Its Cover

So, An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life is one step closer to getting published. I now have a cover for the ebook.

An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

This time you can completely forget the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” because Blue Sun Studio has outdone itself with a cover that perfectly captures the feel of the book. “Bewitched meets Selena Gomez in Wonderland” is one reaction that I got and well, to be honest, that’s a mighty good description of the book itself.

Exactly one week from now you’ll be able to find it on Amazon and Smashwords, with it slowly working its way through the various e-channels.

How exciting is that?


Something Amiss: Friday Flash

Today’s story explores the beginning of a new adventure for Amanda, the fairy life-coach in the soon-to-be-published An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life.


Amanda ran through the underbrush. She could hear the dogs behind her, no closer at least. She was upwind of them so she couldn’t smell them, but that meant they could smell her. And her fear was making her generate a lot of scent. Fear tended to do that kind of thing. She should try to get downwind of them and then it would be just a matter of confusing her trail.

That should be easy.

Then again, she should also just be able to hop home easily enough, but she couldn’t. Not only was she stuck on Earth, but she was trapped as a rabbit. If she could just get a breather she might be able to turn back into human form. But the dogs wouldn’t leave her alone.

How could she be so stupid? She was a fairy godmother. Fairy godmothers don’t get themselves cursed! They got rid of curses!

The Reynards had to be behind this. The Lapini/Reynard feud was getting worse. Those foxes thought they were so smart, but just wait until she got home. The Council would finally have to do something about them.

Distracted from her running, she stumbled over a root. Great, now she was a clumsy rabbit too. What next?

Amanda checked her paws making sure she hadn’t sprained anything. She noticed the silence. The dogs were gone. Where? How? Then she realized that the woods had vanished as well. It wasn’t the dogs that disappeared. It was her. She didn’t recognize where she was. She was in an open field of short grasses. It wasn’t Earth and it wasn’t home. Grass wasn’t blue in either place.

Then the scene shifted again, melting in a way that was oddly familiar. She looked down the hallway she was now in. A clock hung at the far end of the long door-lined corridor. She couldn’t see the time, but she knew she was late. Very late. The exam had started a long time ago and she had missed it completely, which meant a big fat F for her. Now she’d never graduate. She felt like crying.

Mike woke up from his dream.

“That was weird,” he muttered to himself.

He’d had the missed exam dream before – who hadn’t? But never as a rabbit, especially not a female rabbit named Amanda.

Hopping carefully inside Mike’s subconscious, Amanda wondered how she had gotten there and how she was going to get out.


Ready, Set, Go! The Upcoming Launch of An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

When I first decided to go into indie-publishing, I published a short story as a test. In that experiment, I learned that I don’t have the visual artistic skills to create a cover, plus I confirmed that proofing is NOT one of my strengths. So, when I decided to launch my first novel, An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life, the first two things I did was hire a cover artist and sent the book out to a professional for proofing.

I now have the proofs back and I received the cover in my inbox today.

That means that by this time next week my first novel will be epublished. It might take a while for it to propagate around the web, but it’ll be up and all the seedlings I’ve planted over the past several decades will begin to bear fruit.

Do I expect instant success? A thousand sales a month? No, not at all. I ran a small business from 2003 to 2009. I know what it’s like to start small and build. The important part is the starting. Without publishing something first, none of the rest can come.

You might recognize the title of the book from the blog here. Yes, it’s the same thing, making the transformation from blog-novel to ebook. And that means that when I do publish the book, the blog version (except for a few teaser posts) is coming down. After all, a smart businessperson doesn’t compete with himself.

I’ll announce the launch here on the blog as well as on Twitter and Facebook, and I’ll stick the cover up in the next few days as a preview.


An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life: The Boring Details

The following blog post was retrieved from a server going out of service. Given the time that has elapsed since these posts were originally published, they are being reprinted here for your reading pleasure.

Originally Posted: Sunday, October 5, 2003 at 8:31pm

So, I’m supposed to get more detailed, eh? Well, let me tell you just how boring my Sunday was. I got up around 8am this morning and ate breakfast. Since I’d already eaten eggs this week, I ate my usual breakfast of yogurt with bran flakes. I felt a bit cheated, because there’s nothing quite like a soft boiled egg and strips of buttered toast for dipping, but a rule is a rule. Eggs only once a week.

At 9am, I went down to the condo pool and did laps. I’m not so good at regular exercise, but at least once a week I swim. I’ll never have a supermodel body, but I try to keep from looking completely round. I then sat in the hot tub, but I didn’t stay long because there were two guys in the jacuzzi with me who, I think, were cruising each other. So not something I needed to see on a Sunday morning. Or any morning.

By the time I was back upstairs, Dave had gotten home. He told me we were brunching at noon with three of his friends. At the restaurant, we waited in line for an hour before we sat down. To me, no meal is worth a wait that long, especially brunch. During the wait, I got to hear all about the latest couplings, uncouplings and groupings of Toronto’s gay scene, or at least Dave’s little corner of it.

When we finally got to eat, I ordered a club sandwich (having already eaten breakfast). They used baby spinach instead of lettuce, and a balsamic mayo — very tasty. The boys wanted to go shopping afterwards, so I went home. I think I’ve told you before how much I hate shopping, but it’s worth repeating. I’m somewhere between a size 6 and a size 10 depending on where I shop, and I have a weird waist. Actually I don’t have a waist. I’m short (5’2″) and my ribs basically sit right on my hips. I don’t have much in the way of breasts either. I’m not completely flat, but guys never have conversations with my chest. I think I’m supposed to feel good about that.

In the afternoon, I lost six games of Internet backgammon in a row, then Dave came home and we ate a lasagna I had cooked yesterday. Finally, after half an hour online, Dave went out on a date saying he’d see me tomorrow.

The dishes are now done and it’s only 8:30. I have at least one and half hours before bedtime. I can make tomorrow’s lunch and iron a skirt for work. That’ll take half an hour tops, leaving me an hour to see what’s on TV. It’s Sunday night, so I’ll likely end up watching some cheesy nature show.

There, is that detailed enough, Amanda?

Comments (1)

Yes, that’s great. I know you don’t understand, but it’ll become apparent soon. By the way, are you sure you’re 18? Bran flakes? Eggs only once a week? Honey, we so need to spice up your life. Kisses! Amanda


An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life: My Day Off — The Whole Story

The following blog post was retrieved from a server going out of service. Given the time that has elapsed since these posts were originally published, they are being reprinted here for your reading pleasure.

Originally Posted: Saturday, October 4, 2003 at 7:54pm

Amanda asked for the rest of my day off, so here goes. After breakfast I went home, surprising Dave who was dancing about the living room in just his underwear. I learned he does this most mornings before class, especially if the man on the 12th floor in the building across from us has his binoculars out. I think I was lucky he was still wearing his underwear.

“You’re a total pervert, you know.” He gyrated his hips at me and I told him to go get dressed.

I then told him about my morning outing with Amanda. For some reason, however, I couldn’t tell him about Amanda appearing and disappearing. Nor could I say anything about the curse. Each time I tried, he interrupted me, saying we should have woken him up.

I gave up and asked him what he thought I should do with my day off. He said “Shop.” There is only one type of shopping I like to do. Comic book shopping. I’m not a total geek. I don’t have the figurines, the statues and the academic studies about “graphic novels.” I simply have a large comic book collection (all carefully stored in boxes on a wall of shelves in the dining room). I said maybe I’d go downtown and look for some of my missing issues.

Dave rolled his eyes at the suggestion. For him, shopping starts at Holt Renfrew in Yorkville and ends at the “hot new” designers on King Street West. Periodically he’s threatened to get me on one of those makeover shows but he knows better. I’d refuse. I know, how could I say no to a $5000 new wardrobe plus a week in New York? I’d just be too embarrassed to go on the show. How totally humiliating to have your clothes (and you) ripped apart on national television! No thank you! I’d rather stay an unknown fashion dweeb.

I ended up not going shopping. Instead I indulged in daytime television. I didn’t recognize half the soap opera characters, but that didn’t matter. The story lines are always the same. Totally crazy melodrama.

Amanda didn’t contact me for the rest of the day, so I finished it off my usual way: dinner, dishes and prepping for work. I remembered to cough a few times the last couple of days at the office, just to cover my tracks. Otherwise they were perfectly ordinary.

I wonder what Amanda has planned next?

Comments (2)

Yes, I’d like to know too. I have a feeling she has no idea. Andrew

* * *

Good post, Gail. I have another teeny-tiny request. Could you go into more detail about your day to day life? I need some more background to complete the picture. And what I have planned is none of your business, Andrew. Kisses! Amanada