Category Archives: Nick’s Blog

This is Nick Vasilieff’s blog about finding purpose in work. How he, along with Janet, developed their workshop on Living Your Passion without Losing Your Soul – The Art of Business and Life.

Building Sammy’s character — Sammy and the San Juan Express

As a writer, I’m constantly challenged to add to my character descriptions. In my middle grade/young adult novel series, Sammy and the San Juan ExpressI constantly search for ways to define the protagonist (hero), Sammy. Recently a dear friend and editor, Vera Haddan, reminded me of this quote from Maya Angelou that helped me add to Sammy’s identity. This is what I hope Sammy does in her adventures,  Sales the Deal,  Presidential Bear, and the upcoming Alpha She Wolf. 

Writer’s Panel at Write On Seaside

We came, we wrote, we spoke, we drank —so went the evening for six Oregon writers at the first annual fundraiser for the Seaside Library, Write On Seaside. Thank you to the organizers, it was a fun evening, and after two hours of writing from prompts, character names, and plot twists, provided by the audience, we were all ready for a glass of wine.

Hats were the feature of the evening as our protagonist, Lizzy Miller, arrived in Seaside donning a hat with a bird’s nest and a blue and red striped bird. Some of the phrases we, the lucky writers, had to include were: Gypsy piano teacher, galoshes galore, Candy shop owner named Jeremy Rust, Check the bottom of your foot, One eyed cat named Bunky, Green walls peel, a talking racoon named Sawyer, Hard hats and bows, Quirky street performer named Karen Emerling, and Your stripper name.

We authors gave six readings, and the crowd was soon driven to drink. It seemed everyone had a good time and the library raised some money for their Radio Frequency Identification System, Adult fiction books in Spanish, and Book Bundle Backpacks for the Children’s Room. If you missed the frivolity you can make up for it by going to and making a donation.

Participating Writers, (Diana Kirk, Melissa Ousley, Brian Ratty, Jim Stewart, Deb Vanasse, Nickolai Vasilieff)

Landed in Thailand

20150316_123520  I’ve been delinquent, blissfully delinquent. Three weeks ago I flew to Australia for a visit with some dear friends I hadn’t seen in six years. A week ago I flew to Thailand, to visit a country I hadn’t seen in nine years. Both have exceeded my every expectation. My delinquency? I promosed myself I’d outline two new stories while I was traveling and finish my latest book. Neither has happened. I’m actually forcing myself to start posting in the hope it will lead to some form of creativity.

In my defense, I’ve included a few pictures as an exclamation point on why I haven’t had the writer’s motivation. It’s not writer’s block, it’s writer’s insatiable appetite for ninety degree weather, eighty degree water, and the simple beauty of Thailand.


An update: March 14, 2015 – Thinking ahead, I’d made a reservation at a small hotel about one half mile away from the small, yet efficient airport. A crowd of languages pushed past three immigration stands where handsome Thai officers inspected passports and waved us through. A baggage belt sent children scurrying when it kicked into action only minutes later. This isn’t, I thought, anything like my first visit to Thailand, nine years ago, when porters pulled huge carts of bags into the terminal, some thirty minutes after arrival, if at all. I followed the green sign reading, Nothing To Declare, to outside the airport. A wave of sauna like heat pushed over me, some things don’t change. I expected to be assaulted by a throng of tuk-tuk drivers, but instead a small man in a white cap, inside a kiosk, called to me. I showed him the name of the hotel, and within seconds my bag and I were inside a new Toyota, speeding toward my nights sleep. Along a dusty road, blocks off the newly paved highway, the cabbie delivered me to the three story stucco building. He banged on the office door. A young man sleeping in the lobby hopped out, and carrying my bag, led me to my air conditioned room. Thailand, it seemed, had evolved.


Torn Fish: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and Their Shared Humanity — Just Published

Mannan Torn Fish CoverPhyllis Mannan just published her new book. It’s worth a read. In her words:
“Based on experiences with my 43-year-old son David, Torn Fish invites you to see how David’s mind works and how his limited ability to communicate and to understand feelings impacts his daily life and that of our family. I also offer insight from my years of struggling to make good decisions for him, all the while trying to make, and keep, a connection with him.”
Torn Fish: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and Their Shared Humanity, is available now as both a print book and an e-book on Amazon. Please click on this link to learn about it:

New Year on the Necanicum

Heron's Rest HeronJanuary 1, 2015

A mauve light stretches across my Necanicum this morning. Silver-green reflections ripple on the river and kiss a blue horizon under a waking pink sky. It is a new year, a new life.

A seagull swoops, another chasing, then twenty and more. Farther out, a cormorant glides, black wings spread wide. Two mallard ducks, flap wildly, skimming the water’s surface, and the glory of life breaks wide open, spilling across the breadth of my river’s yawn, as a string of glorious Canada Geese glide past—I catch my breath. 

Stuck in time for the past two weeks, my writing stagnated, bogged down—rubber boots in mud—I am filled with renewed energy. This river, flowing for eons from mountain to sea and giving life to so many creatures, now extends a finger and touches my forehead as a monk might christen a new born—the promise of new creativity.

A small V shaped armada of geese swim their way up river, churning the silence of this brightening morning. My sight adjusts, from their beauty beyond, to a tree on the near bank, only fifteen feet away. My friend, a large blue heron, nearly as old as I, sits on a branch, surveying this morning’s majesty. “Good morning,” I whisper and bow my head, “and happy new year.”