A Minute of Time with Christina Albig

christina-author-picDiving right in to getting to know my fellow Anitas (& Anito!) better, I asked long time Anita Factor member, Christina, the following two questions:

You’re a new addition to a box of crayons. What colour would you be and why?

[I would be] a deep tomato red. I love the intensity and vibrancy of the color and how it’s full of life.tomatoes-892414_1280



Finished reading anything worth recommending lately?

The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. This series is a middle grade fantasy that is unlike any fantasy I’ve ever read. Full of unique characters and concepts.

Please connect with Christina:

Website: Ink and Attic
Facebook: Christina Albig Janz
Instagram: Christina Albig Janz – see Christina’s cakes!

Christina likes the quirky and the queer, and enjoys trying to come up with characters and settings that fit in her writing. She writes for middle grade children.

A Minute of Time with MaryLou Driedger

marylou-signal-hillAs I mentioned in my first post about MaryLou, she is one of the most fascinating people that I know. I find the way she lives her life with intention, may be explained in one of today’s answers.

I asked MaryLou the following two questions:

What do you think is the most interesting thing about you?

Perhaps the most interesting thing about me is that I survived the tsunami in Phuket Thailand in December of 2004.  We were on a family holiday there. A series of changed plans probably saved our lives.  This included switching to a different resort a week before we left, postponing a snorkeling trip we had planned for the day of the tsunami, and sleeping in and not going down to the beach the morning of the tsunami. Seeing the devastation later and the chaos at the airport when we left with so many grieving and wounded people, was a watershed experience for me that really changed my perspective on life and caused me to rethink some of my long held spiritual beliefs. It made me realize the importance of living every day to its fullest and making sure the people I love know how much I love them.

Image result for from sand and ash amy harmonFinished reading something worth recommending lately?

Right now I am reading From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon. It is my first book by this author and I am really enjoying it.  The book was a gift from my eighty-five year old aunt who is a veracious reader. Every time I visit her I leave with a stack of books she thinks I will like. She has introduced me to many great authors. She is my reading mentor and has inspired me to try and be a reading mentor too and recommend books I like to others.



Please connect with MaryLou:
Twitter: @madajobukaal
Facebook: @maryloudriedger
Instagram: @maryloudriedger
Blog: What’s Next

MaryLou Driedger is a newspaper columnist, art gallery tour guide and university student supervisor who lives in an old warehouse in downtown Winnipeg.  Her favorite role in life is being a grandmother. She loves to travel, read and blog and dreams of someday having one of the stories she writes for children published.

A Minute of Time with Melinda Friesen

Mindi author pic

Meet wonderful author, friend, and fellow Anita Factor member, Melinda Friesen. Melinda is one of the most deadline dedicated people that I’ve ever met. She consistently sets goals for herself and meets them which is truly inspiring. And I need to mention – she’s the plot queen! A true gift to think of plot solutions outside the box.

I asked Melinda the following two questions:

Image result for winter marissa meyer


What was the last book you finished? Would you recommend it?

The last book I finished was Winter by Marissa Meyer, which is the final book in the Lunar Chronicles series. I loved this series, but I’m afraid this final book left me flat.

As a writer, what would your mascot/avatar/spirit animal be?animal-1997970_640

I think my spirit animal would be a duck. Ducks can do anything—walk, fly, swim. They adapt.

Please connect with Melinda:

Twitter: @MelindaFriesen
Instagram: @MelindaFriesen
Pinterest: @MelindaFriesen
Website: melindafriesen.com

Melinda Friesen authored the sci-fi/dystopian, One Bright Future series. Enslavement, book one in the series, was released in 2014 from Rebelight Publishing Inc., and its sequel, Subversion was released in 2016. EnEnslavement Subversionslavement has been shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Snow Willow Award and was nominated for a Sunburst Award. She also co-wrote The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse [for adult audiences.] Her short stories have placed in numerous contests and have appeared in the Forging Freedom II Anthology, Freefall Magazine, and the Metro News.

3 TED Talks I Enjoyed This Week

I’m still killing cardio with TED!Image result for ted talks logo

Here’s my recommendations from what I’ve watched in the last little bit:

I’d love your suggestions too. Enjoy!

Consent… why is this a difficult concept?

In my young adult novel, Empty Cup, main character, Raven, is sexually assaulted by her mom’s boyfriend. Raven didn’t consent and clearly says “no” several times. Regardless, her mother blames her for the attack and kicks Raven out of the house. The story continues from there, how Raven deals with post-traumatic stress and homelessness.

I’m following a news story from Halifax right now about a woman who was allegedly raped by a taxi driver while she was drunk and getting a ride home. The taxi driver was found innocent with the judge making the comment “clearly, a drunk can consent.” The woman was three times over the legal limit. And taking a taxi home after drinking should be completely safe. Currently, many people are rallying in support of the woman and calling for an inquiry into the judge.

Why is the concept of consent difficult to understand? This is my soap-box! This story and stories like it wear on my mind.

If someone is not sure what the definition of consent is, the Thames Valley Police put together a short video that uses humour, but sends a clear message. Please watch.

A Minute of Time with Jodi Carmichael

jodi author pic

Award-winning author, Jodi Carmichael, is a fellow founding member of the Anita Factor writing group. She was the first of our group (with the members at the time) to be published with her middle grade novel, Spaghetti is Not a Finger Food (and other life lessons). We were all so excited for her!

Jodi is a spunky bundle of energy who is always excited about something writerly. She works hard at her craft (especially plotting cartoon-1817570_640) and writes wonderful stories with her natural brand of humour. I rarely see Jodi without a smile, so contagious.

I asked Jodi the following two questions:

What was the last book you finished? Would you recommend it?Image result for a monster calls book cover

The last book I read was, A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. It had me with the first line. “The Monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.” How could anyone not love this opening. I highly recommend it and don’t forget to read the note the author included about writing the novel. To me, this made this story all the more special.

Do you base your fictional characters on real people?

I don’t typically base my characters on real people, except when I do! What an answer. Until my most recent novel, my characters and their stories were complete fiction. The book I am now working on is loosely based on my Grandfather’s mysterious World War 2 years. His war records keep getting resealed, which made me wonder, why? What did he do that is still so top secret? From there, my imagination took flight.

Please connect with Jodi:

Website: www.jodicarmichael.com
Twitter: @Jodi_Carmichael
Facebook: Jodi Carmichael
Instagram: Jodi Carmichael

Image result for forever julia book cover
Jodi writes for kids and teens of all ages and is the award-winning author of young adult novel, Forever Julia and chapter book, Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food. She is currently working on an action packed middle grade novel that is full of mystery, clairvoyance, and double agents.


Super Cleanse by Adina Niemerow


Sunny was so cute, sunning himself, he just screamed – must take picture with book! Really, the book has nothing to do with adorable senior cats.

Super Cleanse by Adina Niemerow explains “the nitty gritty on cleansing” with down-to-earth advice that includes daily routines.

The book has a unique set up as well. Instead of separating recipes by typical categories: beverages, snacks, entrees, etc. She”s set it up by cleanse. For example:

“Some Like it Raw” (5-7 day) All your meals options are laid out and all the recipes are “raw.” (In this one I particularly recommend “Angel Hair Pesto” pg 103 – amazing! I used butternut squash instead of zucchini.)

A few years ago, my daughter and I did the “Three-Day Face-Lift Cleanse” on a weekend camping excursion. Much fun!

And, I just had a laugh flipping through the book as I write notes beside the recipes, if I liked it, didn’t like it, made substitutions, etc… and “The Green Buzz Cleanse” is riddled with comments beside each recipe including statements like, “Shockingly Yummy!” beside Pirate’s Potion (pg 171) and “Holy Cow Batman!” beside Rainbow Blend (pg 172) followed by several recipes with “Yummy” written beside them. Apparently, some of these surprised me and I’m thinking it’s time I try this cleanse again! 😀

There are also recipes for self-care products such as bath salts, lip balm, foot baths, and even household cleaners that are all environmentally organically friendly.





Who’s Addicted to Netflix?

Maybe the title should be who isn’t addicted to Netflix? The best two things about Netflix (like I need to tell you) – no commercials and you can watch an entire series, or season in a binge sitting. Around here – 10 p.m. is Netflix time, kids are in bed and we watch an episode or two of our current addiction.

Here’s a few shows we love:

Complete Series:

  • That 70’s Show
  • Breaking Bad
  • Lie to Me (only watch season 1, season 2 killed it.)Image result for breaking bad

Shows that I wait impatiently for the next season to stream:

  • Stranger Things
  • Better Call Saul
  • Glitch
  • Jessica Jones
  • Bates Motel
  • Mrs. Brown’s Boys
  • Walking Dead
  • Santa Clarita Diet

Image result for bates motel


Current Addictions:

  • Luke Cage
  • Angel

Image result for luke cage

Shows that came highly recommended, but we just couldn’t get into:

  • Supernatural
  • Once Upon a Time
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events

What do you recommend?


7 Useful Apps

I hunted through my phone (I use Android.) and considered the apps I used most, or find the most useful. Here’s some I recommend:

Related imageInstasize. Want to make picture collages, add backgrounds, text, crop… anything really… Instasize is my app for prepping pics for Instagram. (Give me a follow! I’d love to see your gallery too.)

Image result for zedge app logoZedge. This is where I get backgrounds and ringtones to personalize my phone.

Image result for weather network app logo

Weather Network. I have tried so many apps to get the right weather display that I can follow. I’ve even tried paying for some (don’t do that… not worth it!) I always come back to the good old Weather Network.

Image result for my fitness pal app logoMy Fitness Pal. Great app for tracking all things diet and fitness! It also syncs with your FitBit, if you use one.

Image result for beep n go app logoBeep ‘n’ Go. I got tired of carrying so many membership cards for places where I shop. Beep ‘n’ Go holds them all for me on my phone. Works great!

Related imagePay By Phone. I’m not sure about other cities, but if you’re in Winnipeg, and you park downtown, you need this app! I pay for parking with my credit card, never have to run back to the meter to plug in more coins. I even get a text message when my time is running low.

Image result for manitoba 511 app logoManitoba 511. If you live in the country in Manitoba, you need this one. Highway conditions at your finger tips.


A Minute of Time with Christina Albig

christina-author-picChristina and I have known each other a long time. We were both members of the Vast Imaginations writing group, prior to the formation of the Anita Factor. Christina is one of the most creative people I know, not only does she have excellent story ideas, but she’s creative in everything in her life – from writing, to DIY home renos and decor, to arts and crafts, to drawing. And most recently cake decorating – all self-taught. Her creativity oozes from every cell. She’s simply amazing!

I asked Christina the following two questions:

What was the last book you read and you would you recommend it?Mistletoe and Murder (Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, #5)

The last book I read was Murder and Mistletoe by Robin Stevens, a middle grade read, part of a series, about two girls who solve a murder at their school. An enjoyable read.

What do you think about when your alone in the car?

I drive a lot of highway miles, leaving me free to think unhindered. And after a few minutes my creative mind kicks in and I start to work on whatever project I happen to be working on at home. Sometimes that means trying to sort a way to tackle a DIY home project in the most feasible and efficient manner, or a craft project I want to do. [Pictured: Christina’s book lamp and hand-bound journals.]


But often my brain turns to a writing project I’m in the middle of and almost lazily mulls over different aspects of the story to come up with quirks and details of the piece that surprise me pleasantly. The things my muse comes up with aren’t necessarily things I can work into the story but help me learn my characters better or my setting, which affects my writing positively.

Please connect with Christina:

Website: Ink and Attic
Facebook: Christina Albig Janz
Instagram: Christina Albig Janz – see Christina’s cakes!

Christina likes the quirky and the queer, and enjoys trying to come up with characters and settings hat fit that in her writing. She writes for middle grade children