Monday, July 29, 2013

Military Monday: Meet...Me.

Welcome! my new Monday blog series! I've had super responses from military spouses and family members all over the world. Over the next few I count down to the BIG RELEASE of my upcoming novel, DEPENDENT, I hope to introduce you to the faces behind (and in front) of the uniform. The lesser known, but no less important support system that helps our soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines and coasties do the job they need to do.

I would love to hear your story, tell the world about your product, or champion your if you support a uniform in any way, leave a note in the comments, contact me via my Facebook page, or email me at and I'll do my best to make your Military Monday happen.


To kick the series off, you get to hear about me. Yup, me. What brought me to write about a military spouse? Why am I qualified to share her story?
Me, eighteen years old, somewhere in British Columbia

It's hard to believe, but I've been associated with the military for almost twenty-five years. I joined (yes JOINED) the military when I was eighteen as a part of the Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) and went off to basic training to march around and carry a rifle. The military paid for part of my university degree...and then gave me a physiotherapy job for almost five years afterward. I met lots of military folks, and their spouses, and then one day met a very special pilot who eventually became my husband.

When we married, I took my release from the Canadian Armed Forces, and we moved together on our first posting. We've now been married for 16 years, lived in nine (yes, 9) different homes in three different countries and I've held seven different physiotherapy jobs and one barista job since that time. My husband has been deployed several times-- once to the Middle East. Last year he lived four hours away from us while he was on course for eleven months. The word on the street is that the Dunne family will be packing up house in the spring of 2014 and moving somewhere else. Where? Your guess is as good as mine!

My amazing family
I could bore you with tales of woe, but for the most part it has been a great ride. I think part of the reason why is the strength of our family, and the commitment we have to sucking everything we can out of each posting. We go on day trips. We get involved. We sign up for perks. We live on the farm we wanted and deal with long commutes because that's what it takes. We turn posting trips into adventures, not horror stories. We have fun.

Over the next few months I hope to share some of my happy moments and my horror stories (believe me, there are both) and also to share the experiences of others like me, and yet not like me. I hope you'll join in, and share your similar stories.

Thank you for stopping by! If you'd like, say hello in the comments below so I can meet you too.

See you next week as we meet another military spouse with a different story...


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Coming Soon: Military Mondays (and a quick update)

Military Mondays

Are you part of a military family? Do you have a story to tell? Than I want YOU!

In anticipation of the upcoming release of DEPENDENT (tentatively releasing early summer 2014), I'd like to begin a regular blog post feature showcasing military families. DEPENDENT is, first and foremost, a story of a military spouse dealing with issues--big issues. But we all know that not all military spouses are the same. My heroine, Ellen, is not me, just like I'm not you. Each one of us has different experiences. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard... it doesn't matter what service your loved one is part of. Military families have rich, sometimes difficult, sometimes rewarding lives. And military kids deal with a whole range of challenges unique to them.

So to celebrate our uniqueness, I'd like to help you tell your story. Whether through a brief interview (five or six questions), a specific topic (like 'dealing with constant change', 'friends forever', 'out of country postings'...) or celebrating an accomplishment, a charity or a life event that you hold dear... I'd like to hear your side of things.

Interested? Comment below, message my author page on facebook, or email me at and we can book you in.

Quick Update

Some quick news:

*TREASURE IN THE FLAME can now be purchased at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ontario and the Spencerville Mill in Spencerville, Ontario! For other locations to find TREASURE, just click on the tab above.

*SIGNINGS! I'll be at Chapters Gloucester in Eastern Ottawa on August the 10th, signing TREASURE! More info on the tab above!

*DEPENDENT is back in the hands of my publisher, undergoing first pass edits. Lots of other exciting things happening--check back here regularly to find out what's up!

Have a great Tuesday,


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mom in the Middle Movies: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

It's been abnormally hot in my neck of the woods for the past week, and we don't have air conditioning. I'm anti-air conditioning, mainly because it just seems wrong to be freezing inside when it's so hot outside. I like my windows open. I like to hear the birds and feel a breeze. Besides, temperatures in the early 40's Celcius (100's Fahrenheit) are only seen a few weeks of the year here. When those weeks hit, we close the windows (and the curtains) and hide in our finished basement where it stays comfortable.

Anyway, my kids have decided that this week is Harry Potter Movie Marathon Week. If it's too stinkin' hot to be outside, why not snuggle in with a heat-avoiding cat and some popcorn in front of the big screen? GREAT idea. True fans of the series, they even decorated and were drinking some of their own liquid luck in fancy goblets.

Yesterday's feature was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, one of my favorites in the HP saga. Harry and friends are growing up. Learning about love. They're in that phase where the know everything and nothing, are daring and funny and ready to save the world. We also get to meet Tom Riddle as a boy, who he was and how he became the most dangerous wizard in the world.

Curtains closed, banner hung...
It's movie time!
I love how director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Cloves capture J.K. Rowling's harsh realities of imminent war with the tender moments of young love.

(Spoiler Alert)

One of my favorite scenes is when Ron 'accidentally' eats love-potion-laced chocolates intended for Harry. Ron, normally moody and avoiding all forms of affection, turns into a love-struck fool, spewing affection for a girl he's never actually talked to. (view a clip here) It's hilarious to watch, and you can just tell how much fun Rupert Grint (Ron) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) were having as they filmed it. Of course, two seconds later Ron is lying on the floor, poisoned and foaming on the mouth, but that's the brilliance of the story. Humor just where it's needed.

(end spoiler)

The story doesn't end of course, and the sadness that follows is only a glimpse of what's to come. At least Harry has his BFF's, and they're ready to fight.

Other highlights? Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange delivers a top notch performance. And seriously, Alan Rickman as Snape. He is beyond amazing. His facial expressions, the way he e-nun....ciates his words... LOVE.

Downside of the movie? At 153 minutes, this movie is LONG. If by some weird chance you haven't seen it yet, plan a bathroom break. Or two. The length also makes the ending feel a bit rushed, but this could be the result of the cliff-hanging nature of the story. Lots of action and boom, The End.

All in all #6 is one of my favorite HP movies. Probably not the best, but close. I give it two big thumbs up.

How about you? Have you seen all of the HP saga? What's your favorite? Least favorite?


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Writing retreat

I've been in a writing doldrums for the past few weeks. Summer has kicked in full swing, and my free time for actual words-on-the-page writing has dwindled to next to nothing. Swimming lessons, horse shows, barbeques, camps and just plain work have taken over.

Vicki (@Morrisonminutes) and I on a break.
A few weeks ago, my writing buddy and I were discussing the need to write without interruption, and came up with this: we needed a retreat. Sadly, neither of us have the vacation time (or the extra funds) for an all-out retreat to the Caribbean, so we planned a one day writing bonanza. A mini-retreat. A get away with our laptops and a quiet space (her office, which is closed on Saturdays) with some coffees and snacks and freedom to think.

So now here I sit, after a day with a good friend, my laptop and my story, after writing away for a WHOLE DAY. Amazing.

2100 words,  twenty pages of editing, a blog post and several cups of coffee later, and I feel refreshed. Organized. Ready to rock.

What a great day! Just what the editor ordered. :)

We'll be repeating this adventure soon. What about you? How do you find the time to write when things get busy? Leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Seven great things from the USA

Happy 4th of July!

I may live in Canada, but have spent more than half of my life within 50 miles of the great U-S-of-A. In fact, some of my very best memories arise from years spent on the coast of Maine with my family, swimming on the Outer Banks, and--of course--walking through the gates of 'The Happiest Place on Earth'.

So because today is a day to celebrate the United States (or America Day as my kids used to call it) I'd like to share seven wonderful things about America on the Fourth.

1. Two of my favorite (note the lack of a U in favorite. I did it just for you guys) people were born there. I'm not talking about Oprah or Walt or any celebrity. Nope. My wonderful husband hails originally from the US. And while we were on a posting in North Carolina we were blessed with our youngest, a beautiful baby girl.

2. My amazing agents, Jenn and Fran at Literary Counsel. Not enough superlatives to describe these two. So lucky to have found them with the help of another wonderful American, Tina Moss!

My favorite little American on the Coast of Maine
3. The coast of Maine. As I mentioned above, some of the happiest memories of my childhood Machias, ME. Eating lobsters fresh from the wharf, climbing over rocks and seaweed, searching for sea glass on the many great times spent at my grandfather's cottage. Some of these memories may just be finding their way into my current manuscript.
happened on a beautiful coastline near

4. The Outer Banks. We had the great fortune to spend two years in North Carolina on an exchange posting with the US Coast Guard. Two amazing years, in which we met people we still chat with regularly--both Coast Guard and civilian. Our lovely neighbours had a beach house on the Outer Banks, and we visited the beaches often on day trips. Hush puppies and crab cakes and sand between your toes. What more could a girl ask for?

5. Jolly Fish Press. I love hangin in the fish tank! Can't wait to see DEPENDENT hit the shelves. You JFP folks are awesome.

6. My cousins. The Connecticut Coreys are the best. Hope you are all having a great 4th! Wish I could be there to share it with you!

And lastly...

7. Chocolate Chip Cookies! Call 'em Toll House, or call 'em delicious. Those little bites of yumminess are American through and through, and I think I need to make some now.

Hope y'all have a stupendous day, however you are spending it!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Up In The Air! A Canada Day Blog Tour Post

Happy Canada Day! For Canada Day this year, I'm taking a slightly different approach, and am hosting Ann Marie Meyers on her Blog Tour for UP IN THE AIR, her soon to be released middle grade novel. Ann Marie is a Jolly Fish Press publisher-mate of mine, and she lives in Toronto. I had the opportunity to meet her while in Toronto this week!

The interview...

BCD:  Hi Ann Marie and Happy Canada Day! And congrats on your upcoming release of Up in the Air!

AMM: Thanks Brenda. It’s wonderful to chat with you today. Oh, and Happy Canada Day to you as well.
BCD: So because it’s Canada Day, and I know you hail from Trinidad, I thought maybe you could tell us a bit of your journey that brought you to Canada. What brought you north?

AMM: My husband, no less. And a bit of synchronicity. We had just moved back to Manhattan after spending several years in California (long story there). After all that time, the city felt strange to us. Manhattan was busier, noisier, so much more intense. I think our absence for so long had softened us, though I have to admit that my daughter, who was three years old at the time, took to the city like a shark in water. J My husband, to my utter shock and horror, wanted to leave for somewhere ‘calmer’. Coincidentally, around that time, he decided to fulfill one of his dreams of riding (on his motorcycle) to Toronto; which he fell in love with instantly. And so after lots of discussion, preparation, formalities etc. etc., we ended up moving here.

BCD: Wow, quite a journey! Were there any Canadian influences in the writing of Up In the Air?
AMM:  Not at all. I started writing Up In The Air while I was still in the States. The idea came to me while I was meditating one day, and it resonated with me so strongly that I knew I had to write it.  

BCD: I know one of the questions I had as a new author was: how will being Canadian affect my journey to publication? So I’d like to talk about that with another fellow author on the northern side of the border. Do you have an agent in Canada? How did you meet him/her?

Ann Marie and I in Toronto, with
an Up in the Air ARC!
AMM:  Actually, I signed directly with Jolly Fish Press. I had taken a year off from writing to clear my mind and recover from so many rejections. However, in April of 2012 I got this overriding drive to tackle Up In The Air again. In June, I submitted the manuscript to Jolly Fish Press and they signed me up shortly afterwards.

BCD: Wow, that's great! I know that Jolly Fish Press is located in the US, what are some pros and cons of living in one country and publishing in another?
AMM:  One big pro is that my book will have an immediate and greater presence in the US. I will also have a wider audience where the books can sell and I can even do readings in the US. The flip side is that it takes longer for books to be shipped to bookstores here in Canada, not to mention the added taxes and duties involved.
BCD: Good points. On a slightly different tack, what is your favourite place in Canada you’ve been to so far? And why?
AMM:  Montreal! Old Montreal, in particular, reminds me a bit of Manhattan, NYC. There is a vibrancy to it, a life all its own that resonated very strongly with me when I visited with my family. Montreal has a certain character that leaps out at you, and which I fell in love with immediately.
BCD: Is there anywhere in Canada you haven’t been to yet that you’d like to go?
AMM: Many places. PEI, Vancouver, Victoria. One of my dreams is to rent a RV and travel within Canada for at least a couple of months.
BCD: All great places! I loooooove PEI. And Vancouver, and Victoria... So many places, so little time. Thank you so much for stopping by on your very busy month, Ann Marie! Best of luck with your book!
AMM: Thanks Brenda!
A little bit about UP IN THE AIR... (taken from Goodreads)

Ever since she can remember, ten-year-old Melody has always wanted to fly.

And when she leaps off a swing in the park one day and lands in the mystical realm of Chimeroan, her dream finally comes true. She is given a pair of wings. She can fly! Life cannot be any better.

Yet, dreams do come with a price. Even with wings, Melody realizes she cannot outfly the memories of her past. The car accident that has left her father paralyzed, and her unscarred, still plagues her with guilt—she believes that it was entirely her fault.

In Chimeroan, Melody is forced to come to terms with her part in her father's accident. She must choose between the two things that have become the world to her: keeping her wings or healing her father.

Looking to purchase this fabulous story? You can find UP IN THE AIR on Amazon here, on Barnes and Noble here, and on Goodreads here. In Canada, it will be able for order at Amazon here and Chapters/Indigo here. Make sure you ask at your local bookstore first!

You can find Ann Marie Meyers online at these links:

Hope you have a great CANADA DAY, wherever you are!