Where do you read?

IMG_0373I was reading in the car yesterday evening while waiting to pick up my daughter from work and it occurred to me that reading is a pastime that can take place just about anywhere. However, as I thought about it I realized I read differently depending on my surroundings. Reading in the doctor’s or dentist’s office I have trouble concentrating and find myself reading the same passage over and over. Is it the sound of the dentists drill or the aroma that is not conducive to reading? I sometimes try the magazines, but in the doctor’ office I can’t help wondering if germs instead of words are lurking between the pages. Public places like coffee shops, restaurants I am far too distracted to absorb the content of a book; except on a train or plane, having a good book to pass the time or avoid a conversation with a complete stranger, who wishes to share more than I care to know, works well. When my kids were little I would read in the bathtub, the only place I could get some me time, I generally had about ten minuets before I heard the mournful plea from a little voice, ‘ Mom!’ and the pages often became damp and today it would be problematic with readers and tablets.
When all is said and done, my favorite time is a quiet Sunday afternoon and the place–it dependents on the season. In winter, it is curled up in my comfy chair with a hot cup of tea, in the summer relaxed on the balcony enjoying a glimpse of the Ottawa River, sipping a glass of cool wine.
Where is your favorite place and time to read?

New Books and Old

Photo on 7-17-14 at 11.08 AM

As you can see I am working hard. I know you have heard me say this before but this is the final re-write of Have Your Love and Make That Two, my novel known to some of you as Annie. As soon as my new web site is up–truly it is coming–I will begin blogging snippets of Annie’s quest for adventure and independence.

What are you reading at the moment?
My choice is an oldie. A friend commented that she thought my writing style was similar to R.F. Delderfield, now that is a huge compliment. R. F. Delderfield was a highly renowned English novelist who portrayed slices of English life. I am currently reading The Dreaming Suburb, the story is about the lives of families who lived on the Avenue, in South London between the Great War and the Second World War; the same time period in which much of my novel is set, hence my interest. Wonderful characters and descriptions of ordinary folk. Also by R.F. Delderfield A Horseman Riding By, God is an Englishman, The Avenue Goes to War and many more. Although he died in 1972 his books are still available on Kobo and Amazon and are well worth reading.

Reading My Manuscript

PictureIt is a good day to write or read…Yep! Spring is two days old, but I cannot see across the Ottawa River for it is snowing hard today.
Annie Neale the wonderful main character in my novel has been tucked away for a while, and I have missed her. I have one more read through to do, and today is a perfect day.
Then, with some trepidation, I hand over the manuscript to selected readers for their opinion of the novel. Nail biting time!  

Moving on to Mysteries

Nail biting is about to begin as I pass my finished manuscript, (historical romance novel) to some kind souls who agreed to read and comment.
In the mean time I am moving on to tidy up the first set of Blue Heron Mysteries. Hannah my protagonist is sleuthing again and getting into trouble.
Phew! What a learning curve preparing for e-publishing. I haven’t been in left brain this long since I was in school. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now. I was born to write but as my mother would say…”needs must, the devil drives.”

Blue Heron Mysteries


Blue Heron Mysteries
(click the title to purchase your copy)
Book 1
Hannah gets herself into to some odd and sometimes dangerous situations as her detective mind seeks to solve strange events. A brutal murder in Perth, drugs and murder, on the island, the kidnapping of a little girl and unlikely thieves. Strange happenings on the tranquil shores of Black Lake as Hannah and husband Tom try to relax and enjoy their peaceful cozy 
Blue Heron Cottage.

Cover Design: Heather McKinnon
Artful Book Cover Designs
Photo:  ©MaleWitch/Shutterstock

E-Publishing The publishing experience was quite interesting to say the least and I think the best advice I can give an author is to persevere. I followed Kobo’s guidelines and the first attempt was not bad except it ran on in one document. Spacing is the gremlin. ePub does not recognize page breaks, but with Kobo’s tech support I learned that ctrl+enter did work for page breaks. Precision and consistency is the key.

The True Struggle of Writing Begins….

Writing StrugglesI know that even constructive criticism is hard to take and I was prepared for my writing to be critiqued, after all that is the whole idea of having willing people read your work. I already know my sentence structure leaves something to be desired, I need grammarians to set me straight; there are times when I get carried away with wordy descriptions, I need fresh eyes to tell me whether the passage needs shortening, rewording or taken out all together. That I have learnt to handle, knowing it is essential.
Naively it had not occurred to me that the actual characters themselves might be criticized; not the writing but the person I wrote them to be.
Photo of Coralee, my writing buddy, and me, the day we got together to celebrate reaching our goal of finishing our manuscripts. Now that has to be the most amazing feeling for a writer.

Paper or Electronic?

Books in the gardenBooks or e-readers! I listened to a discussion on CBC radio the other day on the pros and cons of reading a paper book versus an e-reader–very interesting. Those of us who have been around for a while read differently, from the younger generation, depending on the reading device (paper or electronic). Paper books allow us to become more absorbed. I have to agree from my own personal experience. The discussion also confirmed my own observation that I engage in the story much faster and experience more pleasure reading a paper book. However this is true up until the story becomes exciting, the ‘I can’t put it down’ phase, then it makes no difference whether it is paper or electronic. I read on both but have noted that if it is one of my favorite authors, paper wins every time.


My first e-reader a Kobo, I noticed I read as if it was a computer screen and was devoid of emotion, I couldn’t get involved, now I know why. The discussion noted that we tend to scan on an e-reader, engaging in only the important parts.  The younger generation  has learned to read this way but they do engage in the story. Toddlers learn to read on both. Does this mean in twenty years time the human brain will process words on a page differently?  Does this mean as writers we need to change for e-readers?

Reading Companion Passes On

Reading Companion by Susan JenningsLast week my reading companion Buddy Boy died. He would sit at my feet and listen to my stories, help me with plot, characters and conflict. His head to one side observing and never a harsh word. I will miss his loving company and his wise, silent critiques. Although, the best kind of critique and easiest to take, it is perhaps not the most useful.

Thanks to some wonderful friends my manuscript has been read and received well; the rest is up to me. It is almost, I mean almost, soul destroying as I pull the manuscript apart; my lovely words, extracted, massaged and re-written. But knowing that after the next re-write it will be one step closer to perfect gives me heart to carry on. 

Free Short Story & More

Free short story on Kobo Books
Little Dog Lost, Reiki Found. 
Little Dog Lost by Susan JenningsThis story also available on Kindle, iBooks and several other ebook retailers for .99 – 1.99.  Free on Kobo 
Great summer reading. Three more mystery stories also available. Search  by author name.Susan A. Jennings . Go to eStories,ebooks & Books for Synopsis and links for all stories.
Cover Design: Heather McKinnon, Artful Book Cover Designs
Cover Photos: ©fotohunter, ©Jaroslaw Grudzinski, ©Giuseppe Parisi / Shutterstock
©Doris Leightley

Exciting Times

Exciting Times-Susan JenningsThe editing of my novel, affectionately called Annie, the title is Have Your Love and Make That Two, is almost complete. These are the edits preparing for the editor. Not long now, for those who have been patiently waiting. I also had my story, Chance Encounter accepted at Commuter Lit to be published this week.
Yeah!! Take a look some great stories.

Please note the free download of Little Dog Lost, Reiki Found is still available on Kobo Books. See last weeks blog or go to ebooks page for details of this and all stories.
And, there is more news. I found a fabulous online course on how to market your book, called A Virtual Book Tour. Fabulous program  

Exciting times indeed, what a great week. The only down side is more to learn, especially technology and my brain gets overloaded.