Category Archives: Canadian Authors

Broad Enough Shoulders!

I sometimes wonder if I have broad enough shoulders to be a writer. Criticism from professionals, well-meaning friends and acquaintances is all part of the writing process. But it is perhaps an oxymoron for introverted creatives whose work becomes an intricate part of themselves. Creating anything whether it is painting a picture with words or an artist’s brush, weaving clothes or baskets, scrapbooking or making jewelry, the result is a unique and personal invention open to perception from every eye that sees it. Oh, I agree, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things and the English language, although it has many versions, is perhaps more rigid than most. And I quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Therein lies the rub,” an obstacle which storytellers like me have to get over if they want a perfect book. Unfortunately, and I can only speak for myself, it can appear as criticism, which it probably is not. This week I have had a double whammy as my latest book is being proofread and I designed the cover. First, a quick cover in an easy program called Canva, (in last week’s blog). After listening to it’s a nice cover but… and stifling my unreasonable reaction of indignation, I decided to brush-up on Adobe InDesign and create a professional looking cover. You guessed it, I still had comments, a little more encouraging, I like it but… at first, I am unrealistically hurt but I need to suck it up and get back to the canvas. There are days when my shoulders are broad enough and days when they are not but most days, I put on the big girl panties and get on with it, knowing I have done my best. At the end of the day, I am lucky enough to have people around me who care enough to critique my creative prose. Thank you to everyone.

Writing Updates: All writing suspended to make way for cover design.

 

Books I’m Reading: Fiction: I finished Gill Paul’s Another Women’s Husband which I enjoyed. I still have an issue about Princess Diana’s part but the Wallis Simpson story was excellent. I can highly recommend this book. My latest read is Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea a 1706 time-slip romance about a writer who disappears into her story (now that’s a familiar place to be), I was hooked from the first page. Ms. Kearsley’s description of Slain Castle and the rugged coast of Scotland is enthralling, the characters I love and liked from the very first chapter. I am so looking forward to reading this book.

Nonfiction: Nothing this week.


Writing Courses:  First Sentence to First Sale – Course OneGet Rid of Page Fright opens for registration next week, at noon (EST) on Wednesday, Sept 12, 2018

https://just-for-writers.teachable.com

 


The books are available at online retailers. Click the title, make your choice

The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

The Blue Pendant Book1 Anna’s Legacy Book 2 and Sarah’s Choice Book 3. E-books and print  at all online retailer

Check out the synopsis on My Books page. A great Book club read.


A gift of an e-book Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read. And the opportunity to sign up for Susan’s Reader’s Group.  

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

  Click to download your gift of a free e-book   

Polish and Shine

Hi! Did you miss me!

Good Day! I’m giving Miss Penny a rest today, although she likes to be the centre of attention, the subject of the blog is of a technical and serious nature and Miss Penny prefers playing. I have very much been in left brain mode this week, outlining and altering the Sophie series as we discussed last week and putting the finishing touches to the new writing course. It always amazes me the number of typos that seem to hide and then suddenly jump out at you when you are least expecting it, which brought me to thinking about the editing process.

Polish to a Shine, editing, is an essential part of writing, putting the final polish to many hours of work. As a reader, editing probably never comes into your head… unless… you find a typo or worse a piece that escaped the editor. Most professional writers would agree that editing is the most important part of the writing process and the most expensive both in time and money. Even then there are always the typos that escape all eyes and that could be three or four sets of eyes and 10 – 20 readings. I guarantee the reader will spot them. And, please if that happens let us know. In today’s digital world it is relatively easy to correct mistakes. 

However, sometimes the spelling is not incorrect, depending on the writer’s style of English. American English does not use U in words like neighbour or colour, British English uses S and not Z in words like realise and then there’s one L or two in the word counselling or counseling and just to complicate things more, Canadian English is a combination of British, American and Canadian. This is the style I use most of the time and that confuses everybody, except Canadians. When I asked a colleague, a British author who sells millions of books, what style she used, she answered, ‘American English, because if I use British spelling the Americans complain but when I use American English, no one complains.’ I guess I’m a purist but so far I have stuck to Canadian English and yes, I get complaints. Please forgive those pesky typos and mistakes but I can assure you, I do my best to keep them at a minimum.

Writing Updates: This week, as mentioned, I made major changes to Sophie, I have decided that the first book in the series will take place in London as we follow the nurses at River House, their work and romances and how Londoners fought their own battle with bomb ladened German Zeppelins. 

Books I’m Reading: FictionTwenty-one Days by Anne Perry an excellent book. Ms Perry’s long-standing mystery series about Charlotte and Thomas Pitt in Victorian London has evolved into the 1900s with their grown-up son, Daniel Pitt, who is as a lawyer, but has his parents aptitude for solving crimes. 

 

 

Nonfiction: – I’m still working on the cover design reading. 


Writing Courses: – First Sentence to First Sale – Part one is close to being finished. Much more work than I expected but at last I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Thanks to the Apple Store workshops. I have all the material and just need to blend the slides with the video. 


Would you like to write? I hear this comment all the time. “I want to write a book?” But few people actually write. First Sentence to First Sale is an online writing course that helps you decide if writing is for you and gets you started on your writing journey.  Due for release soon, we’re a little behind schedule so please stay tuned Click here for details


The books are available at online retailers. Click the title, make your choice

The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on  2.99 A perfect summer read 560 pages of reading pleasure

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99

Check out the synopsis on My Books page. A great Book club read.


A gift of an e-book Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read. And the opportunity to sign up for Susan’s Reader’s Group.  

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

  Click to download your gift of a free e-book   

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Needs Must When the Devil Drives!

Needs must when the devil drives! Now there’s an expression I haven’t heard in a long time. The expression was first written in Assembly of Gods by John Lydgate, a monk and poet in 1420, and Shakespeare used it in All’s Well that Ends Well. My recollection is not as impressive as these gentlemen but it brings a loving thought of my grandmother cheerfully making this proclamation before starting a task she would rather not do. As an indie author I find myself doing tasks related to publishing and marketing I would prefer to delegate but circumstance dictate that I learn the process and do it myself. My latest venture is making movies, not the big screen kind but little movies or videos to teach writing online courses, promote books or tell a story through audio books.  The learning part is daunting, but thanks to modern technology and Apple’s iMovie with live sessions at the Apple store, it’s not as daunting as I expected. So although my need was driven by the devil of marketing, the outcome has been phenomenal. I like making little movies and my first attempts are on YouTube. I hasten to add that much improvement and polishing is required. The online writing course First Sentence to First Sale is coming along, although if you remember I have a jackhammer on my balcony, which negates live recording during the day, but I am progressing.


Books I’m Reading

Fiction: I finished Anne Perry’s Echoes of Murder, which had too much back-story in the middle, but Ms Perry always hooks me in the beginning and the end was as suspenseful as always. I haven’t started the novel I spoke of last week, Elizabeth George’s The Punishment She Deserves. It is sitting prominently on my bookshelf but I might wait until the summer to read that as it is delightfully thick and long; the kind of book you immerse into for days or weeks. Susanna Kearsley, an excellent and talented Canadian author has just released her new book Bellewether. Ms Kearsley writes time-split historical romance novels. I attended a workshop on this subject facilitated by Ms Kearsley in Ottawa. She spoke about how she wrote the novel Bellewether, so I am looking forward to reading it.  

Non-fiction: Is reading for research about nursing in the First World War and no new books this week.


NEWS FLASH!  Kobo Canada only – The Blue Pendant Book 1 of The Sackville Hotel Trilogy e-book is on sale  for $2.99 cdn (Regularly $4.99)  until May 4th at Kobo Click here 

 

 


Would you like to write? I hear this comment all the time. “I want to write a book?” But few people actually write. First Sentence to First Sale is an online writing course that helps you decide if writing is for you and gets you started on your writing journey.  Due for release soon Click here for details


The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on Amazon 2.99

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99


Free e-book available Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read.

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

Click to download free e-book

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Preparing for the Sun!

Hello from Ottawa, Miss Penny speaking!   My boss, Susan, is busy getting ready for a trip to visit her son and daughter-in-law, in Costa Rica. How neat is that having a relative living in the sun? Our house is in chaos, not because of packing, I don’t think that has started yet, but because it is like a revolving door with activities and visitors. Granddaughter, Annabelle, left yesterday and I’m assuming the suitcase will come out today. Of course, Susan thinks that I don’t know what’s going on but dogs have a sixth sense about these things. I’m not averse to making Susan feel guilty about leaving me. I’ll be clingy, maybe whine a bit but secretly I’m looking forward to my own holiday. I’m going to visit my mom Leila. Leila lives in a house with a backyard, now that’s a great place to have a holiday when you’re a dog who resides on the ninth floor of an apartment.
Thank you to those of you who expressed sympathy when I lost my fur coat. I’m still reeling from the shock and walks in the park even with a jacket are cold. Although, this week saw the first day of spring and the fur is getting thicker. I’m doing okay.
Writing, editing and course planning has been going on all week but with so many interruptions not much progress was made. Psst! That makes the boss a touch cranky. She definitely needs a holiday. That’s all from me today, over to the boss.
I have little to add to Miss Penny report. I am preparing to unplug and enjoy a relaxing holiday. The suitcase is coming out today and it will be a joy to pull out the summer clothes. Reading is a major part of a holiday for me so I am scanning my bookshelves for easy beach reading and getting the sunscreen out.

 


Books I’m Reading:    I finished First Snow, Last Light by Wayne Johnson, I enjoyed this book. A very different kind of book with multiple points of view, which the author does brilliantly. The hook at the beginning draws you in and the resolution of the hook is not revealed until the very end. Excellent 5 stars.

 

 

I have moved on to my favourite author Anne Perry and her latest Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery Murder on the Serpentine, just released in paperback. Thomas, head of Special Branch that looks after the country’s security, is summoned to the Buckingham Palace by Queen Victoria. He is asked to investigate a suspicious death that might involve the Prince of Wales. Secrets, mystery and intrigue that Anne Perry does so well.

My holiday reading will be composed of Anne Perry’s An Echo of Death a William Monk series and two light romances by Debbie Macomber. If I have browsing time at the airport, you never know what I might pick up.

All books available on Amazon.

 


The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on Amazon .99c

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99


Free e-book available Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read.

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

Click to download free e-book

Rain, Read & Write!

Hello, from Ottawa on an unusually mild February day. Raised in the U.K. where the main topic of conversation was the weather and generally the subject, rain. When I moved to Ottawa Canada weather was always front and centre but with more variety; snow, ice, freezing rain, temperatures from +40c to -40c, winds even hurricanes and humid heat in the summer. But, always, summer and winter, lots of blue sky and sunshine. I must be crazy living here but all I have to do is look up and see the blue sky and sunshine. On those grey days or when it’s too cold or too hot, I indulge in my favourite pastimes, reading or writing.
Have you ever thought of writing? There is an old saying that everyone has a book in them or a story to tell. However, few of us actually put pen to paper. Encouraged by a friend to write my story I registered for a workshop, learned how to write and fell in love with writing. I had found my passion.
Some of you reading this will remember I taught several writing workshops just a couple of years ago and then The Sackville Trilogy took up most of my time. The trilogy finished, I am teaching again.
First Sentence to First Sale is a course for writers and want-to-be-writers; designed to give you an overview of the writing process; overcome self-doubt, focus on one idea, schedule writing and most of all help you decide if writing is your passion. The online version of First Sentence to First Sale is divided into three separate courses. Course one will be available at a reduced price for beta testing and feedback by the end of March. If you would like to be a member of the beta team, please contact me.

Want to know more about Susan’s course and books. Click here 

What have grey skies and rain, prompted me to read? I know it’s odd to have rain in February in Ottawa. As I’ve turned my writing hand to contemporary sweet romance I read Debbie Macomber’s Rose Harbor series. These books are light, romantic and nice easy reads. And who doesn’t want a little romance in their life? Having exhausted my need for romance I returned to my favourite author Anne Perry.

Anne writes Victorian mystery set in London U.K. I am catching up with the latest William Monk series and reading Revenge In A Cold River. Anne Perry is a master of mystery. Her descriptions and detail immerses you in Victorian London.

 

As an author, I am constantly learning about the art of writing and for my nonfiction book I am reading The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass. The deeper you understand characters the better the story. I can highly recommend this book.

 


The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on Amazon .99c

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99


Free e-book available Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read.

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

Click to download free e-book

Change and Challenge!

Change and challenge that is how I see this next year. I have lofty expectations of me and my writing this year and for my readers, there will be a little of everything. The long-awaited Anna’s Legacy – Book II of The Sackville Hotel Trilogy is due for release shortly, Tellwell is working feverishly on the cover.  Book III of the trilogy will be out late this year. My new character Eleanor will be appearing in more short stories in Algonquin Park and I might if there’s time, write more romance for Frances and Paul at Mr. Booker’s Book Store. I think that will be it for fiction. I am working on a series of humorous, lighthearted non-fiction books about my life as an author and there will be more journals. Quite a tall order for one year, but as Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn said to me if you accomplish all your goals for the year, you didn’t set the bar high enough. The bar is set pretty high for 2017.

I’m trying not to be obsessed about the new year thing as Kristen Joy Laidig of The Book Ninja said in her webinar, January 1st is just a date same as another date. If we want to make changes we do it NOW don’t wait for tomorrow or a number of the month. Excellent advice

But…but… couldn’t I start my diet-project-plan tomorrow? No! Start right now. And on that note, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and there is no better way than to raise your glasses with these cute dogs–adorable!

To keep up to date on Susan’s activities and book launches, free books and giveaways please sign up for  Susan’s Reader’s Group. I promise no spamming, generally once a month for specific announcements and a little book and author trivia.

Women or Ladies?

I know I date myself when I use the word ladies rather than women (spellcheck tells me I’m biased. I think it’s respect) and I don’t mind one bit. I am proud of my maturity, it took a long time to get here with many grey hairs, wrinkles, wounds and scars to show for it. Why wouldn’t I be proud? My maturity allows me to write about mature women.

I know how her life experiences, fears, family, career, love and losses, have influenced and changed her life. Developing a character is far more than adjectives on a page. I look deep inside her soul, what made her who she is and why? Based on her past how would she behave now? How would she live her life; respond to losses and achievements, love her family and her husband/partner–romance doesn’t die with youth. A woman of mature age has a richness and complexity about her that younger women can’t have because they are young. Although youth brings many other attributes, just by its very nature youth cannot be mature.

Protagonist, Anna in The Sackville Hotel Trilogy starts out as a nineteen year old woman seeking independence. Mrs. Banks and Lady Thornton are mature women who play a significant part in Anna’s maturity. By the end of the trilogy Anna is in her sixties, her life has changed drastically she has experienced fear, happiness, loss, hope, love and disaster. She loved twice, differently, once in her youth and once as a mature women.

I have developed three more mature lady characters in my short stories. Some of you will be familiar with Black Lake Chronicles. Hannah, an armateur sleuth, is in her mid-sixties, getting into scrapes and danger but always has her husband Tom to depend on. Eleanor’s Writing Adventures is a new series I’m writing. Eleanor who is a hobby writer has recently escaped her corporate job to write. And then there is Frances in the Chance Encounter series. Frances is a shy spinster preparing to retire from her boring job at the bank; her passion is reading and she bumps into a divorced, shy professor at Mr. Booker’s Book Store. All these characters have a richness to bring to the page, a richness I enjoy writing and like-minded ladies will enjoy reading.

Note: Black Lake Chronicles are available on the My Book page – Chance Encounter first published at Commuter Lit and is soon to be an e-book. Eleanor’s Writing Adventures is a work in progress. First story Eleanor Does Not Camp! was published in Thirty at Thirty by The Ottawa Independent Writers. For more information please contact Susan

 

Busy Bee!

Busy Bee, a strange title but describes my week. Technically I am between books so to speak. I have made some changes to the covers of The Blue Pendant and Ruins in Silk to reflect, The Sackville Hotel Trilogy, changes. Book two of the trilogy is now complete and at Tellwell for them to work their magic with cover design and formatting;  book three is outlined and ready to be written. However, although the author in me is anxious to get on with book three, I have trouble multitasking stories, which means I need to wait before diving into The Heirloom Gem – Book 3. So, as if I don’t have enough to do, I took a course on journal design from an amazing woman, Kristen Joy Laidig, and then taught myself Adobe InDesign. What a massive learning curve but I did it, at the expense of tearing my hair out, I think I have a few bald patches but who needs hair!  This led to twisting my, very talented artistic, daughter Rosemary’s arm into working with me to design a colouring book, complete with quotes from The Sackville Hotel Trilogy, work is underway, completion date early 2017.

What to do with my new-found talent? Being an avid reader and book collector I designed not one but two book tracking journals for people like me who can’t remember which books they’ve read or where they are in a series, or whether or not they liked or disliked the books and authors, and much more. Each journal includes thirty-five quotations from famous authors, mostly female and in journal two all are from the classics.

A Book Tracking Journal For Ladies Who Love to Read Book I

A Brilliant Idea! To keep track of books, authors, facts and figures

Each journal quotes thirty-five famous authors

Each journal quotes thirty-five famous authors

 

Journal 1 is available now at Amazon and can be delivered before Christmas. Journal 2 will up by Monday.

I will have a limited supply here in about a week.


BIG EVENT! Remember I mentioned that I had been interviewed and recorded for my first podcast, very exciting; the podcast goes live on Monday December 5th. Log in to FasterFictionPodcast.com, and listen to my conversation with the lovely Alexandra Amor of  FasterFiction.com about my writing life.

Sackville or Anna?

The sequel to The Blue Pendant called The New Sackville Hotel  will be here in a few weeks. Originally I intended the story to span two books. However, three-quarters of the way through writing the sequel The New Sackville Hotel  Book ll, I realized the story was not nearly finished and a third book needed to be written; a trilogy is born.

The Blue Pendant front cover

Do we need a name for the trilogy? Because much of the story takes place at the Sackville hotel my first thought was Sackville Saga – Book l. However, the story does travel to other locations in England and several trans-Atlantic crossing to Canada always returning to the Sackvillle Hotel.  My second choice would be Anna’s Saga – Book 1. Anna is the main character throughout the three novels, it is her life’s journey. I would value your opinion. Please write in the comments which title you prefer?

  1. No title just Book 1 (2 & 3)
  2. Sackville Saga – Book 1 (2 & 3)
  3. Anna’s Saga – Book 1  (2 & 3)

The Blue Pendant is available at all online retailers ebooks and paperback including ; Amazon with just one click for e-book and paperback; Kobo e-books only. Also available at the following Ontario bookstores. Coles at Billings Bridge, Arnprior Book Shop, The Loft in Smiths Falls and The Book Nook in Perth.

Ruins in Silk a novella, the prequel to The Blue Pendant but not part of the trilogy is also available as above Amazon with one click.