The Holidays Don't Need to Be Perfect!


Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la… IT'S JUST MY OPINION - Tis the season for holiday classics to be playing and glistening decorations to be displayed everywhere you go over the next few weeks. Get ready for it! And if you’re really in the festive mood and full of holiday spirit, you might even be tempted to tune into Hallmark's channel -- sprinkled with joy and sweetness, these holiday movies project picture perfect romances, family gatherings and decorated Christmas trees with elegantly wrapped gifts underneath. Oh, and don’t forget the gorgeous golden Butterball centrepiece. There’s nothing like it, right? Wrong. Let’s get real, shall we? Holiday images like these ones that are spread across TV, magazines, and social media are supposed to be perfect. They have to be. Marketers and advertisers are getting big bucks to make them. But if you’re one to get stressed by it all, don’t. Relax . You don’t need any of those things to have the “perfec…

The Good Daughter: Navigating Work, Love and Aging Parents


MELISSA ROWE - Do you ever feel like you’re managing two households? Your first home is the one you live in with your spouse and children. The second? The home of your aging parents. If both these places are central to your daily routine, you’re likely part of the ‘sandwich generation’. This is the population of middle-aged adults who are caught between the conflicting demands of caring for children and caring for seniors.  According to Statistics Canada , the overall number of Canadians in the sandwich generation is relatively small. But these ranks are likely to grow as a massive proportion of baby boomers continue to age. Another factor is lower fertility rates, which means there will be fewer adults left to care for the elderly. So what does this mean for us ladies in our 40s and 50s? We’re stuck trying to be the good daughters, who are doing way too much at once. ‘Rush hour of life’ For many of us, the late 30s and early 40s are some of the toughest years. Dutch econo…

A Character Review - Fall in Love with Morayo!


BY CATHERINE MAVEN - I guess I have a thing for quirky older female characters. The primary narrator of this novel, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Dr. Morayo Da Silva, is a Nigerian woman facing her seventy-fifth birthday, not with trepidation or regret, but with excitement and a joy of living in her beloved San Francisco (though she sometimes pines for Lagos).  In this cleverly-written book, we have to piece together that Morayo isn’t entirely rational – she’s losing her memory, and sometimes confuses past events with the present. But she doesn’t care! She’s still driving her sports car, Buttercup (named after her own childhood nickname), and flirting with the flower seller down the street. At least until she falls and breaks her hip and has to spend a few weeks in the “Home”. Morayo reminds me of my own French-Canadian grandmother, Blanche. One day, we were called to the hospital because she’d had a heart attack and “Didn’t have long to live.” The next day, I…

Why I ditched my nightly moisturizer for a jar of coconut oil...


IT'S JUST MY OPINION - It's no revelation that coconuts are considered to be one of the most "exotic" and best smelling fruits  (or is it a nut?) in the Western world. Not only does the smell of its rich white lining send you off to Tropicana heaven, but they're cheap and available--in the other half of the world, they're a mainstay in diet.  Beauty advocates and experts have been touting coconut oil, and it's benefits, as one of the best multi-tasking products around. Backed by oodles of scientific research and reviews, coconut oil is natural and organic which means it's rich in anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Its endless uses, beyond cooking, has been the 'talk' in the beauty industry for years. I've recently become a believer in using this magical oil as a natural facial cleanser and intense nightly moisturizer (used along with my newly purchased JADE ROLLER - ever heard of them? Read up on this ancient Ch…

Author Interview: Edith G. Tolchin | Fanny on Fire


Here's what Edith G. Tolchin had to say about her comedic novel , Fanny on Fire, for which she was an Indies Award Finalist (and who doesn't like to laugh?)! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your published book (s). I’m an editor, columnist, and celebrity memoir book interviewer and of course, an author of several books. My first few books were non-fiction, about my experience and knowledge of the inventions industry. My most recent book is Fanny on Fire , a comedic novel loosely based on my life growing up in the Bronx, New York. I must have done something right because Fanny was a recent finalist in the Foreword Reviews INDIES Book Awards ! Tell us about the genre you like to write, and how is it similar / different from other women fiction genres? I like comedy—whether fiction or non-fiction. Comedy heals the soul and helps deal with everyday problems. I also enjoy doing my interviews (I’m a columnist for Inventors Digest ) and doing my book reviews…

A Character Review - Who Didn't Love Blix?


BY CATHERINE MAVEN - I can’t believe I actually DOWNLOADED this book onto my Kindle – it looks like the kind of romantic claptrap that I’m ALLERGIC to. So you might be surprised to find out that right after I finished reading it, I BOUGHT the hardcover book! (And this, despite the fact that I have downsized my library until I only own about twenty books.) The thing is, the main story is NOT why I LOVE this book! Wait. Let me back up. MfB is about a young woman (Marnie MacGraw) who gets married and then separates two weeks later, is distraught and disillusioned, and then finds out that a woman she only met once – the great aunt of her so-recently-ex husband – has left her her house in her will. There are lots of quirky, interesting characters, including a child and a dog! – and even the possibility of another love. Not bad, an easy read, and not totally predictable. But what I LOVE about this book is the great aunt who passes away in the course of the book – Blix. Blix is an AMAZING …

Author Interview: Angela Cairns | Touch


We’re kicking off our author interviews on Hen Lit Central with Angela Cairns, author of Touch. Here’s what she had to say about what inspired her to write Touch, plus lots more! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your published book(s). Hi, I’m Angela Cairns, author of Touch, the first novel in the Ellie Rose series. Sequel coming soon! Ellie is a physiotherapist, like me. She has an amazing life planned in Australia. When Ellie loses her soulmate Brett in a tragic accident, all their plans to marry, work together and travel, die with him. Devastated, she returns to England but flees to the countryside to escape the smothering sympathy of family and friends. She must somehow find a way to survive. She needs to move on, but Ellie can’t help looking back, and if she continues to live in the past, will she miss her second chance for happiness? Tell us about the genre you like to write, and how is it similar / different from other women fiction genres. Touch is a w…