15 August 2018

#WritersLife: Is It All You Thought It Would Be?


When I am out and about at events or appointments, people usually ask about my occupation as part of our small talk. When I mention that I am a writer, and I am working on my third historical fiction piece after writing and publishing several non-fiction books, I often get the question “So, what’s life like as a published author?” As if my life is supposed to differ dramatically from others in a very particular way. 

Occasionally my replies will include something profound such as “It keeps me busy” or “It is a lot of hard work.” The trouble is, there is no easy standard answer to this question. At least not one that would be short enough for small talk. I’ve been writing for several years now, and I’ve learned a ton about the business. Of course, there’s always more to learn! Moreover, while I believe I have grown as a writer, there will always be room for improvement.

On a professional level: There are plenty of days when it seems nearly impossible to juggle my job and my writing career.  Writing a book takes many hours and dedication. Often it takes me away from my loved ones even longer than my daytime occupation. Most of the time I get paid much less than you might think; I write because I love to tell a story. The few dollars I make in royalties per book barely pays for my next cup of coffee that fuels the next chapter. Writing not a get-rich-quick scheme nor is it the road to instant fame…it is a labour of love. It can take months and sometimes even years to write one book.

The thing I did not think much about when I began to write books - it takes even longer to design the cover artwork, edit the contents and then have my work published. After that, I have to give up even more of my precious spare time to market and promote my books. I’ve also come to understand that it takes a lot of time to build a readership. Now you might wonder why anyone would put themselves through this rigmarole!? The answer is simple: There is something heartwarming when a reader drops you a line to tell you how much they enjoyed your writing. It is immensely uplifting to know that you made someone smile with your book. When you love spinning stories, the simple process of writing is incredibly satisfying.

On a personal note: Writing has turned into something more for me than just a hobby. Even though it is not my primary business, it is indeed evolving into such. There are days when I cannot spend tremendous amounts of time with family and friends or shower my furry children with a lot of attention. Of course, there's always time for a quick belly rub! Or keep my home as clean and organized as I would like it to be, much to my dismay. It makes my brain itch when my house is not spit-spot! However, at the end of the day, it makes me happy to see all those words that I poured onto a piece of paper or more precisely onto a computer screen.

So, what is my life as a writer like? I might not be famous, nor has it made me rich (at least, not yet!), but it makes me happy. Moreover, while no crowds are standing in line, waiting for my autograph, I feel blessed to have this crazy, fulfilling writer's life!

To my fellow writers: Is your writing life what you expected? To my readers: Are you surprised by any of this or did you think it would be more glamorous?



Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

08 August 2018

Dog Bakery: Birthday Pupcakes


In this week's post, I'm changing it up in honour of my furry friends Ava and Zoey. They recently celebrated their eighth and fifth birthday respectively. As it has been our tradition for many years with our current furry children as well as our last two, Lana and Darren, I baked some yummy pupcakes to help us celebrate. While the baked goods were made for our furry companions, they can also be consumed by humans, although they might not be to their liking due to the lack of sugars. This recipe and others can also be found in my book, Living with Canine Epilepsy.

Birthday Pupcakes

Ingredients for Pupcakes:

- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 heaping cup shredded carrots

Ingredients for Frosting:

- plain heavy whipping cream
- fresh strawberries

 Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners, spray each with nonstick cooking spray and set to the side.

3. Shred carrots and set aside.

4. With your mixer, combine peanut butter, vegetable oil, vanilla, honey, and eggs. Mix on medium speed until blended and smooth.

5. Slowly add flour and baking soda, mix on low until combined.

6. Fold in shredded carrots manually. Your mixture will be sticky.

7. Spoon mixture evenly into 6 lined muffin tins.

8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pupcake comes out clean.

9. Remove pupcakes from oven and allow them to cool completely on a baking rack.

10. For the frosting, beat heavy whipping cream until you reach the desired consistency.

11. Once pupcakes have cooled, pipe whipped heavy cream onto each and garnish with fresh fruit - I chose strawberries. This recipe yields six pupcakes. 

12. Dogs enjoy pupcakes!  =)

Notes: Since neither of our dogs show any signs of food allergies, we don't think twice about the use of wheat flour for this recipe. However, this ingredient can easily be replaced with gluten-free options, such as coconut flour or rice flour. Just keep in mind that some of those gluten-free options do not absorb liquids as well as their ordinary counterpart, so you may need to adjust the amount of flour. I added some beet juice to the cake batter and carrot juice to the whipped cream to give the pupcakes and the topping colour.



Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

01 August 2018

Month in Review - July 2018


Can you believe it's August already? Where did the time go? Before you know it, autumn will be here. But before I get sidetracked by more summertime fun, it's time to recap last month. So now, without further ado, here's the list of the most popular blog posts for July 2018, chosen by you, the readers:



Thank you for reading my blog! Please feel free to come by often to catch up on my latest endeavours and Happy Reading!




Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.


25 July 2018

Book Cover Reveal: A LIFE IN THE SHADOW OF THE CROWN - A Country Girl Empress Novel

I am so excited to reveal the cover of my upcoming historical fiction novel: A LIFE IN THE SHADOW OF THE CROWN - A Country Girl Empress Novel. To make it a little more interesting, I decided to turn it into a game. Below, you will find two images of the new book cover, but there's a difference. Can you spot it? If so, go ahead and comment that you found it. Spoiler alert! Some of you might be too excited to keep the answer to yourself, and that's alright. So, if you don't want to risk seeing a spoiler, then you might want to avoid reading the comments at first, and don't forget to read on to get the inside scoop!


The stressful wedding festivities are finally over, and Sisi and Franz Joseph can begin to navigate their lives together. However, fresh challenges await the newlywed couple.

When Sisi, the Country Girl Empress, from the Bavarian Possenhofen became Emperor Franz Joseph’s wife, she was only sixteen years old. The child-woman who is admired everywhere for her beauty and unaffectedness, feels most at home on top of a horse. Soon she must realize that the imperial throne is much more uncomfortable than a saddle, and that it is her highest duty to give birth to an heir.

The young Empress finds a great and unfortunately indomitable opponent in her mother-in-law, the Archduchess Sophie, who not only harasses Sisi but also treats her like a child. No wonder that Sisi’s duel with this overpowering opponent spans years, and gives her destiny a more and more tragic course, which the Empress seeks to escape with her never-ending search for happiness far away from the Viennese court.

The political climate throughout 19th century Europe is precarious. Hungary demands its independence from Austria’s rule, but the monarchy cannot afford the loss of Hungary’s resources. Unable to get help from the French unless Austria attacks first, Sardinia provokes its neighbor with a series of military manoeuvers close to their border. As predicted, the Austrian government demands the complete demobilization of the Sardinian army. When the ultimatum is not heeded, Austria feels it has no other choice but to declare war on Sardinia, thus drawing France into the conflict.

Meanwhile in Vienna, Archduchess Sophie attempts with all her might to teach her new daughter-in-law what it means to be a proper Empress, since the young woman insists on behaving like a tomboy. Even after giving birth twice, Sisi’s standing at the imperial court did not improve, since the long-awaited Crown Prince has yet to arrive. Will the icy atmosphere at the Hofburg Palace, the almost inhumane protocol and the constant rules prove too much to bear for the young Empress?

Are you eager to learn more about the book? If so, more snippets are coming your way soon! A LIFE IN THE SHADOW OF THE CROWN is coming to your favourite online book retailer in Autumn 2018. 



Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

18 July 2018

Book Review of RUT-BUSTING BOOK FOR WRITERS by Nancy Christie

I thought I'd change things up a bit this week. I recently received a complimentary copy of RUT-BUSTING BOOK FOR WRITERS by brilliant author, writer, speaker, and blogger Nancy Christie, and while my schedule is jam-packed and I, therefore, do not review books often, I couldn't wait to read this one. 

RUT-BUSTING BOOK FOR WRITERS
by Nancy Christie


Rut-Busting Book for Writers is filled with a wealth of information and advice for authors at any level, from aspiring to master and everyone in between. No matter where you are in your writing journey, more than likely you have had those moments when you just can't seem to move forward. As authors, it is challenging to be in a creative slump, but it can be such a great help to get a fresh perspective on things and show you a different path to reach your goals.

I especially appreciate that Ms. Christie's book speaks to you directly akin to a personal advisor rather than in broad, theoretical terms only. With experience and compassion, the author pulls generously from her expertise to offer rut-busting tips on writing, publishing, marketing and so much more. This book will not only motivate you but provide insightful tips to help re-ignite that spark that fuels your writing. The author offers tips, tricks, and suggestions, and her actionable advice, real-world examples, and resource guide the reader every step of the way.

This book is an excellent addition to any writer's library as a source of motivation and support for those who may be struggling as it is filled with a career's worth of insight and information. Any writer even half-way serious about the business of writing is bound to benefit from it, whether you're stuck in a rut or not!



Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.