change it up


summer clippings

I’m writing the West Coast as a freelance reporter for Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News.

And my new project is called… Drum roll, please!

PONY UP OR EAT IT is in the bag.

Quite literally, I have a copy of the manuscript in my suitcase.

lost/perdu: one surfboard

luggage tag

Somewhere between here and there, I lost you.

You are a 6’0 Meyerhoffer Pill Surfboard, and I packed you in a red Wainman Hawaii surfboard bag.

The bag also contains one Roxy 4/3 wetsuit, one Roxy 2/2 wetsuit, Kinetik Racing fins, a yoga mat, and a pair of shoes.

as seen in background

as seen in background

If you know where my board is hanging or when she will be returned to me, please get in touch!

Thank you/Merci,


May 13 UPDATE: Hooray! It took a week, but we’ve been reunited! Thanks West Jet. :)

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get it out there

Letter of Rejection

my first letter from an agent: signed, stamped, and delivered





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Everything is rad.


sample chapter

UNEDITED excerpt from

pony up or eat it

by nora o’malley

part III

australia (checkmate, mate!)

chapter 6

australia-chaptersix-ponyuporeatit A sea turtle introduced me to a lovely Kiwi boy today at Burleigh beach.

“Holy crap!” I said as it floated directly in between us.

“You’re not scared of a turtle are you?” he said.

“No! It just startled me.”

We watched the turtle swim away from us, then I gave him my sexiest smile. His tanned face was shaded by dirty blond hair and the blue long sleeve rash vest he had on made his blue eyes pop.

“I like your board,” I said.

“It’s not mine. I stole it from my house mate.”

“You saw the waves were good so you just jacked his board?”

“Pretty much.”


“Where are you from?” he asked.

“Canada,” I said.

“What about you?”



“Gisborne! It’s on the North Island of New Zealand. Have you ever been to New Zealand?”

“Nope. But I’d like too. I’ve heard it’s a lot like Canada only warmer.”

“I’m Finn,” he said.


“Nice to meet you, Kelleigh. How long are you in Australia for?”

“A year.”


“I moved here permanently. Got a couple job interviews lined up and everything.”

“Good for you! I’m trying to get a job. But mostly I’ve just been surfing.” I shot him another mischievous smile.

“Have you surfed anywhere other than Burleigh yet?” he asked.

“Nope. It’s been Burleigh Heads all day everyday for me!”

Then Finn asked me the question, the ONE QUESTION every surfer girl wants a hot surfer boy to ask “Can I take you surfing?”

“FUCK YA!” I said.

chapter 7

Finn found a job at an adventure centre. He was now giving surf lessons at Burleigh beach and teaching indoor rock climbing. I was dating a surf instructor! But it’s not like I used that to my advantage or anything. I barely let Finn give me advice at all.

“That board’s too small for you, Kelleigh.”

“Maybe. But it’s easy to duck dive and get under the big ones. I can’t be walking to the beach everyday with a longboard under my arm.” My choice of board had been a sore point in our blossoming relationship…

Read excerpt from part II: costa rica

Read excerpt from part I: california

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sample chapter

UNEDITED excerpt from

pony up or eat it

by nora o’malley

part II

costa rica (buena mota, sabor como piña)

chapter 3
Andre Marlon was the first local surfer I met. He intercepted me on the muddy path as I was heading down for round two.

“Where you from pretty girl?”


Andre was a big Tico. Like Olympic weightlifter big. And he had a head of long, wavy, thick hair. He looked about 35-years-old.

“I live here with my momma, behind our souvenir shop,” he said proudly. Then pointed out their home business located on the corner of Playa Carmen‘s main dirt road and the muddy path. Close-knit hammocks, beautiful tapestry, and tropical printed towels hung out front.

“What’s with this town?” I said obnoxiously. “Why wasn’t anyone out early this morning?”

“Last night was reggae night at Coco Loco. Everyone is still sleeping, mi amor.”

“Such lazy asses!” I scolded.

But I was secretly so stoked. Playa Carmen was a party town, which meant no dawn patrol and waking up way too fucking early unless you’re actually fucking sessions that those Californians loved. Taking it slow and easy was the norm here in Tico town. I was happy to adapt.

“You’re so beautiful, mi amor. Your skin, I just want to – ” I cut my new Spanish Casanova off there. Damn Latinos. They didn’t hold back nada.

“Andre! Can I call you Andre?”

Si, mi amor.

“Just show me where to paddleout!”

chapter 4
Sometimes I get lucky. Like REAL lucky. In this particular case, I somehow got the entire Hostel Tranquilo to myself for 10USD/night, plus coffee and pancakes for breakfast. I don’t know why or how exactly… It shall remain a mystery.

Now, I know for a fact that Tranquilo was the best hostel on the dirt road strip because I did recon on the other ones before committing to a full week. Tranquilo was it. It had hammocks, a nice big kitchen, clean bathrooms, a fan in the room, an open courtyard with a mango tree, and a pool table. I mean, as far a third world/small Spanish jungle town hostels go, this place was a Goddamn Fairmont.

But for some reason, I was the only guest. I had a room which slept eight all to myself. Not to mention the entire compound, which probably could sleep at least 150 people, to myself as well.

The most hilarious part of it all was that there were these two Tica girls on staff cleaning up the place and making me coffee in the morning. It’s like I was the queen of the fucking manor.

I tried to make friends with the Tica girls, but my Spanish sucked at this point. And they weren’t interested on working on their English either. Fair enough.

So after day six of having no house guests, I was considering packing up my bag and moving to another hostel. Tranquilo was beginning to feel a bit like The Shining. Too quiet. Too lonely.

chapter 5
“You’re the hot girl at surf camp. You could really do some damage,” Shara said.

We were catching up over Skype. It was the eve of my 29th birthday.

“That’s true. I spotted at least three shortboards over at the Mini Hostel next door,” I said.

“There you go! As a birthday present to yourself, go out and get laid.”

Read excerpt from part I: california

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cover girl


The Surfer’s Path Issue 98 Sep // Oct 2013

The Surfer’s Path printed* my story titled ‘Her Endless Summer’.

6-pages, 2500-words… And a mention in the editor’s note:

“It’s about a girl who decided to learn to surf and, oozing with glee, determination and cocky energy, she damn well does. Over a year or so, her mission takes her from Canada to Burleigh, with multiple stops along the way, and from total kook to beaming surf queen. Getting good shots of Nora surfing wasn’t easy, so we had to settle for some more generic shots of surf queens riding and, stone me if all the best ones we found didn’t just happen to be… righthanders.” – ADR  (pity about those rights ADR, since I’m way into lefts.) :)

*The Surfer’s Path is the first 100% “green” surf magazine – printed on 100-percent post-consumer recycled paper (processed without chlorine bleach) with non-GMO soy inks. RAD.

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meet a merman

It’s awkward ’cause he keeps trying to get me to play with his kites.

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sleeping beauty

9pm. my big bros’ wedding. calgary, alberta, canada.

Princess Aurora: Oh, dear. Why do they still treat me like a child?

Owl: Who?

Princess Aurora: Aunt Flora, and Fauna, and Merryweather. They never want me to meet anyone.


Princess Aurora: But you know something? I fooled them. I *have* met someone.

Owl: Who? Who?

Princess Aurora: Oh, a prince.

[Birds chirp]

Princess Aurora: Well, he’s tall and handsome, and… and so romantic.

[Birds chirp]

Princess Aurora: Oh, we walk together, and talk together, and just before we say goodbye, he takes me in his arms, and then… I wake up.

[all the animals sigh]

Princess Aurora: Yes, it’s only in my dreams. But they say if you dream a thing more than once, it’s sure to come true, and I’ve seen him so many times.

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