New podcast: Where have I been and a reflection on kinship

Hey everyone! Long time no podcast!

Yesterday my husband took our teenage daughter out on a movie date and I took the opportunity to record a new podcast. I rarely record when my husband and teens are in the house because someone always crashes into the room I’m using to tell me something wholly irrelevant to the topic I’m discussing. Like “I’m going to bed” or “Can I have gas money.” I guess this is where the dedicated studio with the “On Air” light came from. At some point my dishwasher sounds like I’m flushing a toilet but otherwise the sound quality is half-decent.

In this podcast, I reflect on the nature of crowdfunding and why I don’t feel comfortable charging my patrons for the quality of product I’m releasing. There is an awkward-teenager phase to growing a blog or a podcast where you make some money but not enough to hire help, learn a new skill, or buy better equipment, let alone leave your day job. The result is something that should sound professional — because I am paid for it — but doesn’t.

The question I had to ask myself as a creator was: “Is the forward momentum of my blog and website strong enough to justify pushing through the awkward-teenager phase?” Does the trajectory of my podcast  suggest that I will someday earn an income and build a professional presence on the web? To me, the end goal of having patrons is not to support my hobby, it’s to make writing and podcasting my profession. The money I am currently squeezing out of my patrons doesn’t allow me to move out of the hobby realm into the professional realm, and the trajectory of my crowdfunding efforts doesn’t suggest that it will for another 4 years. That’s way too long to expect my early supporters to humour me.

In the second part of the podcast, I talk about a trip to France I made last summer with three of my children. I reflect on the ties that bind us to our kin, despite time and distance, and the importance of building a strong family culture and identity.


I speak too!

One of my favourite things in the world is public speaking. The topic doesn’t matter: if you invite me to speak and give me a topic, I’m your girl. If you don’t give me a topic, I’m your girl too. I have presented on my life as a mother of (fill in the blanks), on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (in my previous life), on budgeting and family finances, on raising virtuous children (yeah right I did), on discerning homeschooling (ouch…) and on some more esoteric topics of biomedical ethics and law. I even participated in the Ottawa Human Library twice where I got to give 7 30-minute talks in a row without knowing the topic of any given one (you can read about it here.)

In the past, I have volunteered on the organizing committee of a yearly parenting conference offered in Ottawa. One thing I know from experience is that good speakers are hard to come by, and when they do the price tag is often prohibitive for small groups and charities. I know that our group had a few cases of sticker shock after contacting some well-known speakers. We could barely cover our costs by selling out a 200-seat venue. If some people think that speaking to anything smaller than an arena or a fundraising shindig at $5000 a table is not worth the drive, more power to them. What floats my goat is speaking to smaller groups where we can really dig into the Q&As. I’m all about connecting with my audience.

Well, have I got an offer for you! For a $100 pledge to my Kickstarter campaign, I will come and speak to your group on a topic of your choice. Fun, brainy or both, I can chat my way through just about any situation. You give me an idea of the topic — or not — and I run with it.

What’s Kickstarter? Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform used to finance creative projects. It’s the “Amazon” of crowdfunding: it’s well-established and reliable. I am using it to fund the writing of my first novel by offering e-books, speaking engagements and other rewards in exchange for your contribution. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition: if I don’t reach my fundraising goal by February 8th, you don’t get charged for your pledge.

Please talk to your mothers’ group, your book club or your church group and consider making a $100 pledge to my campaign in exchange for a speaking engagement. You can find my Kickstarter campaign here:

Kickstarter: What’s that?!

Today marks the launch of my first Kickstarter Campaign. Whoa.

I’m turning to crowdfunding to finance the writing of my first work of fiction. Why crowdfunding? Last year I did a bit of research on the big bad world of publishing and saw that my chances of making it past the gatekeepers were as slim as can be. Why?

I’m not a cool kid. I don’t have a massive readership. I don’t have a viral social media account. I’m not a subject matter expert in anything a sales department would consider worth pursuing. I’m a 43 year-old mom who can’t dress, doesn’t wear make-up and has spent the last 20 years of her life having babies and seeing them through infancy, childhood and young adulthood relatively unscathed. I don’t live near a hub of book publishing. I don’t have contacts or anyone to champion me: I’m a one-woman-show with a 9-piece opening act.

What I do have is a committed core of readers, 5 years of compulsive writing, a high threshold for pain and a creative brain. I have a Master’s Degree relevant to the topic of my novel — law and biomedical ethics — and I completed said Master’s Degree with 5 children underfoot. In other words, I can write, I can absorb information and I can process it with one hand while caring for my family with the other. I don’t think I can convince a publisher that a stay-at-home mother of 9 children is a project worth backing but I know that you — my readers and supporters — know.

Please consider visiting my Kickstarter page. My goal is to raise $3000 to fund the writing of my novel. All the details and rewards are written on my Kickstarter campaign page. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition: your pledges are only realized if I reach my fundraising goal. I created the $15 reward with my Fearless Family Life readers in mind: $15 backers get updates on the novel’s progress plus an exclusive copy of my e-book Unsolicited Advice: Essays from the trenches of parenting. This e-book was put together using blog posts on a variety of topics, from meal time to potty training, teenagers, attachment parenting, sleep and social media. These are some of my most shared blog posts, now available exclusively to my Kickstarter backers.

By my simple calculation, I need 200 people to commit to the $15 e-book to fully fund my campaign. This goal is ambitious but realistic: the Fearless Family Life Facebook page has over 400 followers, I have as many Facebook friends and close to 1000 Instagram followers. I can probably get 200 backers if I put my back into it. The challenge, of course, is that my written material has been available for free for the last 5 years. Convincing people that something they’ve been getting for free is worth paying for is an uphill battle. My hope is that my readers will see the value of the time, love and hard work I poured into writing these posts.

This is my appeal to you today: If I ever wrote something that touched you, motivated you or lifted you up, please try to put a dollar value on the insight you have gained reading my blog and consider pledging this amount to my Kickstarter Campaign. If you are not in a position to pledge anything, please share this blog post and encourage your friends and family to visit the blog and the Kickstarter page. The project backers are the tip of the reader pyramid: I need to reach a wide base of readers to get the 200 backers I need to push this project forward. If you cannot pledge your hard-earned cash, your participation in reaching this wide base of readers is worth more than you can imagine.

Here’s the link:

Please check it out!