Debriefing My Mission in Toronto

I have had two weeks to sort out my memories and thoughts from my trip to Toronto. A part of me is still sorting out the thoughts and the emotions, since I am still in awe for parts of it still. I have a habit of getting the after effects after I decompress from an event that is so large in my heart and in my emotions. La Femme Nikita has done so much for me in a small dosage of my life, but nothing could compare to the event of sitting and personally interacting in the same room as half the cast and parts of the crew behind the production that created such magic in my young life.

Never in my life would I have thought I’d be able to personally witness similar magic sixteen years later after the final scene was shot for Season Five of the show that would go down as one of the most dominant female roles in television history. Yeah, the show only lasted five short seasons (96 total episodes), but at the same time, I believe in quality over quantity when it comes to creating television or film. La Femme Nikita was one of very few shows that proved that and still holds a torch in that influential aspect for creating stories in my book, figuratively and literally. It ended imperfectly perfect in my optical illusion.

Regardless of my feelings for the show, Toronto became so much more than the convention itself. Behold the reunion was beauty of its own with the cast and crew that attended. The priority was the convention, since I was handpicked by the organizers to be the lead for the photography team for the event, as well as, be a part of the security team.

With those positions, I got to observe a different view and have different stories than most fans at the event. The most important thing I must add before I share my individual stories, is this, the new, and some old, friendships I encountered during my week in Toronto will be the biggest memories I will hold dear in my heart forever. The memories and quotes I’ll share justifies my week in Toronto with the individuals’ who made an impression on me for the rest of my life.

I traveled to Toronto on Wednesday, just like the Co-Chairs did, and it didn’t take long for me to reunite with sweet Maxine and introduce myself to Jayne and Maria. We went to the bar to chat and prep for the weekend, as I shared my background with the two I recently met and asked the ladies what they expect of me over the weekend. Shortly after, I asked Maxine to invite our friend, Emma, down to get the party started, so to speak. Shortly, behold, Emma! We chatted a bit, shared some laughs, and shared some stories of our times together in Montreal two years ago to Jayne and Maria. The weekend was already off to a good start.

Thursday morning, I unusually was up by 0800 to prepare my day with Emma to go to the CN Tower. I opened the windows to discover I have brought the rain straight from Wisconsin. I then made my way downstairs to check out the breakfast, because I can’t say no to food often. I walked into the restaurant, Hemispheres, and I quickly spot Emma sitting down for breakfast and took it upon myself to join her since we were already spending the day together. After breakfast, we took thirty minutes to prepare ourselves to walk in the rain to the CN Tower and back.

Maxine thought we were crazy, but we went ahead and did it. The rain was heavy; however, it was also warm and refreshing. By the time we reached back to the hotel, we were just downright soaked from the weather. Emma’s raincoat couldn’t even save her from the rain, since it was coming down at an angle. A rich memory in its own way.

Thursday night, I met Kris, as she flew in and I welcomed her to stay in my room. We shared stories of our lives and some of the best quotes came just from our conversations:

Kris: “Geez, you type fast.”
Me: “Well, that’s what happens when you’re a millennial.”
Kris: “That is a great quote! I need to post it…
Five seconds later…
Kris: “How do you spell millennial?”
Me: “You want to be a writer and you can’t spell millennial?”

I still smile when I think of our monologues from Thursday night.

Friday, finally, my partner-in-crime, from Madison, came to join me for the weekend event. Rae Ann
flew in early, bright eyed bushy tail and not a moment was wasted for her arrival, as we dropped her bags off in the room, and rushed out the door to start our day. Our first stop was as predictable as they come, if you know me. If you don’t, it was Starbucks. Now you know me and what my priorities are.

As we were strolling to our first adventures, Ripley’s Aquarium, I spied a new face that would request me on my Facebook messenger, who would become a breath of fresh air for Rae Ann and I. Our new friend and addition to our adoption habits would be none other than Mary Rosa from Venezuela. She would join us at the aquarium and be added to our great memories over the weekend. Four o’clock creeped quickly as it was the start of registration. The three of us would stroll back together to the hotel.

After registration, I would be patiently waiting for our Chair meeting with the leaders of the pack (Maxine, Maria, and Jayne). Around 1900, Rae Ann and I would take over the registration table for Karen and Carol, so the ladies of the RD Fan Club could reunite for dinner and catch up with one another. Yes, I am one of those ladies, technically, but work was priority for myself. I do apologize for the ladies for not being able to join, but for those who came by the table to say their hellos to me after dinner, I am much obliged. Thank you!

There was not a dull moment at the registration table though, as Rae Ann and I were waiting for Jen to arrive for the night, our other roommate for the weekend. Stacey and Beth would eventually feed me brownies, as an attempt, to boost my sleep deprived laughter with sugar. I am not sure if that was a good idea, because unexpectedly, Rae Ann and I, would be introduced to Gene during that time. It came to the point of Maxine being a bit concerned about me momentarily, but I assured her I was okay. The moment I got to shake Gene’s hand, he spotted my accent:

Gene: “I hear an accent from you. Where are you from?”
Me: “WIS-CAHN-SIN.”
Gene: “I can tell. I love it.”

Right off the bat, Gene did not portray an ounce of Operation’s character. What an amazing start of the weekend, might I add. He was surely warm and full of wonderment during all the moments I shared with him throughout the weekend. He seriously loved every minute of ReCon. You could tell with every moment you shared with him. He was in heaven that weekend.

Saturday morning, I reported to ‘Oversight’ after my Starbucks run with my roommates. I then went into my operative mode for the day with both teams I was running with (photography and security). I was focused. Saturday afternoon was huge. I got to witness and snap photos of Jamie Paul Rock with Gene, Matt, and Roy, before the panel. Jamie got me to do it right away with just the sarcastic comment, “What else do you have to do?” The guys were down to earth and chilled from the moment they walked into the VIP area with smiles and jokes that could go on for days if you allowed them.

The cast’s stories they shared from set was just a beautiful recollection I got to hear and witness from their tales during the panel. Peta was skyped in during the panel. It would be better and more complete if she was there in person, but skyping and sharing the moment with the guys was better than not making an appearance at all. For that, I am grateful that the ladies in charge and Peta could compromise and make the panel work with her on board.

The big test for my personal affairs came when the autographs and photo ops were next. Unfortunately, I got the word that Roy had to leave right at 1700 to catch his flight home, so when it came to the photos, I was set up to succeed, lining up my photographers, each with an actor. I got the opportunity to do Roy’s photos with the fans. One snap and it was on to the next, boom. Roy even complimented my work flow as professional, as I remained focused on the mission at hand. I won’t lie, having Roy in front of me, helped me stay calm during the whole experience.

I loved the afternoon with the cast, like everyone else, but what peaked me the most, as a student going through video production in college for my second degree, I was more intrigued by the stories from the editors, writers, Jon Cassar, Joel Surnow, Jamie Paul Rock, and the other crew members who got their start in the film industry on La Femme Nikita.

For me, the panels that these guys and gals held was very informative on the production side of creating good television. The panel that was the most insightful and most informative for me, was Brock Jolliffe (FX Effects) and Mic Jones (Stunt Coordinator) w/ one of his stunt doubles. I learned a lot about their jobs with the stories they shared and it gave me a new perspective of how much work and skills needs to be done to successfully film an action sequence.

Sunday night would be a post-con adventure of a lifetime with Jen, Rae Ann, Kate, and KC. We started to just stroll towards the Art Gallery, but we were hungry first, so we walked until we found a few choices. Across from a Catholic church, we had the choice of Village Idiot Pub or Sin & Redemption. Mind you, we chose Sin & Redemption. Most of us found redemption.



After lunch, we finally made it to the Art Gallery of Ontario, but we only had an hour and a half before it closed, yet… three and a half hours before we had to be at the Murdoch Mysteries Escape Room that Rae Ann booked for us. There was no way we would get through the whole Art Gallery in an hour and a half, so we chose wisely and kept to the culture of the country we were in, Canada.

I was profound by the aboriginal and the abstract art in the galleries. Two of my favorites. Some of the most incisive art in my book at the AGO was the art made by bone. It creeped some people out, but I was drawn to it most for some reason. The pieces shared some stories, I can tell you that much.

As AGO closed at 1730, we still had two hours to kill before the Escape Room, so the ladies and I strolled some more, going towards the house that we needed to be at for the Escape Room. We would find a local Mexican joint for Margaritas. Unfortunately, Mexican in Toronto, is not up to par in my book. Not anywhere close to the authenticity of the food South of our border, but the virgin margarita I had was delicious and refreshing.

Honestly, I never been to an escape room, nor have I ever watched the Murdoch Mysteries. I was going on this damn thing blind. When we got into the room after the constable gave us instructions on the room, the only thing I knew I was good as is finding things, so I started to just randomly find clues and deliver them to Rae Ann since she was the most experienced individual in our group for these escape room thingy’s.

The highlight of the adventure was when Rae Ann and I caught on to the fact that the constable we were working with was the ‘bad guy’ and the good guy was trapped in the jail cell. We didn’t know who or how we were going to distract the ‘bad guy’ and we were failing badly with just the two of us. I don’t know how she found out, but then out of nowhere, here comes Paula, bum rushing into the constable as Rae Ann was able to pick pocket the constable, so we can free the ‘good guy.’ Then as the ‘bad guy’ tried to stop Rae Ann from leaving her side, I somehow used my operative skills to grab the key from Rae Ann and unlock the jail cell for the ‘good guy.’

While all of this was going on, Kate was in her own world in the secret room trying to figure out what an out of tuned old piano was trying to hint at us for the next clue. She had no idea what was going on in the main room. She then came in, and by that time, we already swapped constables, and her expression was priceless. Rae Ann and I just said, “Don’t worry, we got this.”

Unfortunately, we didn’t complete the task when the one hour was up. With a group of seven, we were only one lock away from succeeding, but it was extremely fun for something that I have not done before. Trust me when I say, I will make Rae Ann take me to more rooms back home.

If you have not tried an escape room, I highly recommend you find a theme you like, grab some friends (preferably more than seven people, max is twelve), and go at it! This was surely one of my top favorite non-convention memories from Toronto.


Another favorite memory I got to take home was from my last night in Toronto with Maria, Jayne, Mary Rosa, Maxine, MJ, and Kristiana on Monday night. We first gathered in the bar to recollect the whole weekend, and ended the weekend memories hanging in Maxine’s room. Two generation of fans (the old and new) just enjoying each other’s company! Such sweet ladies I get the privilege to call my friends!

PS – I went 2,507 words without saying my favorite word… Fuck.

New Chapters With a New Platform

My back is against the wall. I am on the floor. An unusual spot to write a blog, wouldn’t you say? My ears are battling between the dryer tumbling my bed sheets and Buckle jeans, and my binge watching of Supernatural on Netflix. My soul is at peace. 

In less than 19 hours, I’ll be starting my first day of a new chapter in 2017 at University of Wisconsin campus as a new faculty member. Yes, I now work for one of the top Universities in my country. Welcome to adulthood, Marie! Here is an adult job. I mean, better late than never, right?


So, before I go on my babbling with this blog, let me throw this little disclaimer out there. This blog is solely my thoughts, knowledge, and opinions. No one else’s. Now back to your regular broadcasting:

I’ve had multitudes of chapters and good karma for myself already in 2017 and it’s not even March yet. A new apartment, Spring semester for college, paying off two meaningless loans, and now a new job. Surely when one door closes, another one opens, and for shits and giggles. I also just booked my trip to Toronto for a week in May, so I am guaranteed another adventure in late spring before my 31st birthday.

Maaaaaaaaaaaan, have I been busy!! I am also like five poems away from finishing my first draft of my fourth book. I have ideas brewing for the book cover design, a change in the title, and a creating a new media trailer for promotion purposes. My fourth book will be published in the Summer.

With my new apartment, I’ve also been getting back into my cooking, of which is part of my original platform for my blogging and writing. With a newly badass kitchen and the opportunity to put a grill on my front porch. Wouldn’t you take the advantage? 

Tonight I made some bad ass chicken wings. Garlic Honey Ginger Wings to be exact. I used Weber’s Garlic Honey dry rub and mixed it with ginger. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Easy snack or light dinner. This is just the start of my return to my cooking posts with my new platform. Return the topics that actually worked from the get go.

Ya know, how dope would it be to live the life of Anthony Bourdain, Guy Feiri, or Andrew Zimmern? I certainly would never bitch about my life if I ever reach that pedestal. That’s for damn sure. Travel, eat, travel, write, sleep, travel some more.

Speaking of traveling, if you have any sweet food spots or chill spots to share that’s in Toronto, speak up! I don’t drink though. I have a different philosophical approach to life nowadays since my revelations in my late twenties you may say.

I am also currently expanding that philosophy with a new direction with health, fitness, and my own definition of wealth. With that I have partnered up with a personal trainer here in my city and let me say, it’s a slow progress. It is one obstacle that is teaching me patience with life and myself.

To succeed in life, you need to be a jack of trades. That’s why I also brought the camera back out of it’s bag and I am continuing on learning more techniques of video production in the world of college. Now, I should get back to working on finishing my draft for my next poetry collection to publish.

Cheerios!


The Marketing and Networking Skills of a Socially Awkward Guru

The title fits my persona with my social anxiety issues and PTSD; hence, the title. This is why I enjoy being a writer sharing my story instead sitting in front of thousands singing, rapping, or even speaking. I can still get my message through with my writing skills without the fear of stumbling on my words and stuttering, or even having a panic attack in front of large crowds.

One of many, many triggers of my PTSD today, which will also be featured in my fifth book, The Road to Coping. It’ll be a continuation of my military story and guidance of alternative therapies that I use to keep me as sane as possible and ease my symptoms.

My current publication has revealed some truth in my networking and marketing skills. It obviously isn’t the usual tools that majority of writers use to get their stories and names out into the world, but it’s been working for me.

I won’t deny that there was still a bit of doubt in my progress. I mean, a total of two years to get this book situated. Well, one year consisted of the writing, but it shouldn’t have taken one year to actually design, edit, and publish it, but what is life?

Two years may have felt like a dry spell during the time that was spent; as I look back though, I have a very different perception. The ranking that the social site, Authorgraph, for writers like myself has proven that I have a strong support system, who has shown unconditional patience and love with me and my message from time to time. Authorgraph has recently shown me that The Road to Healing: An Equestrian Therapy is ranked at least two million places higher than both Evolution of Oneself: My Poetic Memoir and Underground Poetry. How does this come about? A lot of investment, marketing, education, and networking. Here is a list of what my successful tools that I continue to use:

1. Education:

If you are able to invest in college, DO IT! Especially if you aren’t educated on the dreams and goals you want to accomplish in life. Invest in the education. INVEST, INVEST, INVEST!

I have had my share of courses that fit the credentials I need to be a successful writer, even if the program itself isn’t directly intended for a writing degree. I have had numerous writing courses for electives, granted, failing my English class twice. Yes, my English instructor tried to push me to my full potential, but my time management got in the way, hence failing the class, not once, but twice! The gracious outcome of it all though, is she is still one of my biggest supporters in my authorship and writing career that I continue to build.

Writing and literature classes aren’t the only classes that have benefited me. My current degree I am working towards is in the Visual Communications field. If you don’t know what that is, the best description I can explain is, it’s a hybrid degree between Graphic Design and Film Production. My actual career goal is still the film industry, whether it’s short films, documentaries, script writing, etc. In order to even get in the door for a career on that level, you need to provide numerous articulate skillsets. In this program, I learned numerous Adobe software to edit, create, and improved on my book designs, book layouts, web design, typography, kinetic videography in a huge manner. I have also had the ability to use my photography education and put it towards video.

Other learning investments I came about with marketing and networking is from those I keep close to me. Read blogs of professions who have already set wave to their paths. Oh em gee, you are reading mine as we speak. 👅


2. Support and Invest in Individuals who Support and Invest in You
This investment advisement falls sort of into the networking tool. I have done my share of not just investing money or time into my own goals, but I have expressed my support in numerous projects from my ‘go-getter’ friends, whether it was purchasing their music albums or mixtapes, donating to their Indiegogo fundraiser page, travel to support them during their accomplishments whether it be guest speaking at events or graduating their Juror Doctorate degree, promoting their projects via social media, etc. What you put out does and will come back to you.

3. Invest in Yourself

This reflects back on my last post about Minimalism and the values you hold in life. If you are trying to build a business, a huge factor in development is investment. If you are a photographer, buy that camera. If you are a videographer, buy that drone. If you are a writer, buy those books to read  to keep those creative juices moving. If you want to move to another state, save your damn money and invest in a new place when you get out to your destination. If you want to travel, spend your money on traveling. If you find a career or location that actually feeds your soul, invest in that rather than buying new clothes, shoes, DVDs, CDs, video games, or other distractions on a weekly basis. There is a reason the wealthy remains the wealthy. Those who know how to keep their money and investments alive don’t blow their means away, but then again, there is always that one individual. Don’t be that broke individual who hoards shit that you only used once or twice.

4. Networking on Social Media:

I am not talking about just creating an account on Facebook and ‘friending’ everyone and anyone. Keep your account as personal, but you can still apply yourself to groups on Facebook that is relevant to your path in your career. I am involved in over a dozen groups that are considered for writers and bloggers like myself. We share expertise and our works to one another for criticism and support.

Don’t limit yourself on social media, if you are trying to get your name out on a business level. The most effective social platforms beyond Facebook in my experiences are Twitter, Google+. and Instagram. There are also social sites out there that are strictly for writers and readers to discover new Authors. I have my own author page on Goodreads and Amazon. I also have an account on Buplish.com. Also, I have expanded  my poetry on numerous sites like poemhunter.com and poetry.com. Through those social sites, I have gained thousands of fans, collaborations, connections, critiques, and a few I actually consider friends. You cannot build your foundation alone.

On the flipside; keep your personal circle small. Make sure it is also filled with ‘go-getters’ beyond your family and loved ones who will keep you motivated on your journey. Don’t fear having friends from all walks of life. Don’t let the propaganda bullshit separate you from your heart and what is right. Coming together is one of the most important factors in today’s and age. It will help you to grow in your heart and in your mind. Get rid of those associates that hold you back. Keep with those who push you as an individual, even if they push your buttons. This ability will help expand your mind,  as well as, keeping you humble in your journey. The smaller and realer the circle is, less the drama will be unraveled.

5. Publishing My Books
The site I was recommended and still use is createspace.com. For me, I have the knowledge to design a book cover and a book layout, so I do not have to invest anything into those steps when it comes time to publish my book. Also, it helps me build my business beyond my photography skill sets. The more you can do for your foundation for business, the most likely you’ll be capable of continuing and expand. Especially if you want to grow your business and not apply towards someone else’s.

6. Most Importantly, Blogging
Writers need to stay connected with their readers, or the readers will lose interest in their works. Just write. Any topic that intrigues you. For me, it’s my poetry, short stories, fan fictions, philosophy, and mental health that are majority of my blog’s posts. I have a pattern of writing more posts when I am on break from school, because that’s when I am actually capable of sitting down and sorting out my thoughts. The expressions with your blog helps your viewers feel involved and reaching out to you for certain advisement, tips, and possibly work.
If I come up with anything else on marketing and networking, I will surely write another blog, but for now, I am off to be productive before a 12-hour shift at work.