Stripy, Smelly Squirrel!

Stripey, smelly squirrel, Miss Penny speaking. As you know I like playing with squirrels, although they don’t seem so keen to play with me until this morning.

Watch out for stripy squirrels

Susan decided to walk through the park today, it was early and cool. I had encountered a few squirrels but as soon as I try to play they ran up the tree. But, today was my lucky day, we are sauntering through the wooded path and I spotted a black squirrel with a white stripe, quite unusual and as I approached to my surprise he didn’t run up a tree. He was a bit chunky, perhaps he couldn’t climb. I am soooo excited, at last a squirrel that will play. Sadly this was not to be. Suddenly Susan yanks my leash, just about chocked me, and starts running. Psst!

When you put them together, I see your point. Maybe?

Susan running is quite entertaining. Now, I am real mad. At last I find a squirrel that doesn’t run away and Susan grabs me picks me up, can you believe that? And, then she runs away. What is she doing? I wriggle and squirm I want to get down, the squirrel is still there although the cheeky thing has turned his back on us. He does look a bit weird, he has this big white stripe. But we’ve moved to the parking lot so I can’t see so well. Then this smell wafts towards us. Pew! He needs to lay off the beans. You’ve guessed, it was a skunk not a squirrel and Susan explained that I was very lucky, because any closer and I would have had a tomato juice bath and be sleeping on the balcony for a couple of days. She wouldn’t, would she? Lesson learned I will avoid this kind of squirrel. No new writing news today, but the Sophie’s War Books 1 & 2 launch is confirmed June 11 and 29. Oh I almost forgot, Susan has opened up her writing course Being a Writer

Prequel Ruins in Silk. If you’d like to read about Sophie’s young life, a story of how she lost her privileged life and became a maid at the Sackville Hotel and as the series moves forward a nurse in the Great War. Read  Ruins in Silk while you wait Click here for .99c e-book 

The Blue Pendant  is Susan’s biggest selling novel and the first in The Sackville Hotel Trilogy If you like the elegance of Edwardian Society and decades spanning adventures you’ll love this trio. Start reading Anna’s story in The Blue Pendant. Take a peak at the new cover. I have recorded a few chapters on Youtube take a listen. Also just notice the recording has the old cover. Oops! Miss Penny is saying more work 🙂 and of course  E-book or paperback click here

The Blue Pendant and Book 2 Anna’s Legacy  Book 3 Sarah’s Choice   All ebooks and paperbacks on Amazon. Please, pretty please, take a minute and write a review after you read the books. Thank you!

If you like the elegance of Edwardian society, bold characters, and decades-spanning adventures, then you’ll love this historical fiction trio. New covers  coming in the next a week or so.

The Sackville Hotel Trilogy – Ebook Box Set      Click here for details  

She defies Edwardian protocol. Avoids marriage, but loves twice. Anna’s epic story of a strong woman’s determination and courage spans two continents and three decades.

Classic trilogy, historical, family saga, from the drawing rooms of the Edwardian era to ruthless spies of the 60s Cold War.

Lavender Cottage books, now available as a series in e-book and e-book box set, also in paperback,  Click here for the whole series 

Second Edition e-books and Paperbacks

Susan’s Reader News  if you’d like to receive it in your Inbox click here. Issued 3 or 4 times a year.

Save Some for Me – A single mother’s memoir

Could you survive an abusive man and raise five children alone?

This was a brave, insightful, revealing, and well written book of what must be one of the hardest experiences any person can go through. The courage and grace with which you tell this story is a truly affective reading experience…….  Judge’s commentary: Writer’s Digest  

Click for the retailer of your choice.   Available in paperback or e-book.

Quick Reference:

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 My books – Synopsis and Where to buy

Contact Susan – susan(at)

 Susan’s YouTube Channel All videos  click here  

Images: Shutterstock/SvetlanaKutsin and


Doggie Coat Time!

Miss Penny Speaking, imagine the shock I had on Wednesday morning when Susan pushed my paws through a thing and then snapped it around my middle. It was a doggie coat. I vaguely remember wearing something like this a long time ago. It is warm and cozy and once we got outside for our morning walk I understood why Susan thought I needed to wear it. It was cold and very windy. I’m not convinced I need a coat, they are rather prissy. I have a perfectly good natural fur coat. Shush! I wouldn’t admit this to Susan, but, it stops the wind blowing my fur about, I hate that; it feels like tickles and makes me want to scratch. I’m pleased to say as the day warmed up I didn’t have to wear it again.

One exciting event, Suzanne who works in the building came up to see us with a box. She played with me, in the hall and I barked. Of course, I’m a dog and should bark but barking is noisy and scares me so I don’t do it often but Suzanne gets me going. It was the box that excited the boss; she doesn’t bark, but, oh boy, was she excited, jumping up and down and talking so fast I couldn’t understand her. Then she ripped the tape off the box and handed me a book. Now that was exciting all those months of work and finally, we have the book. When Love Ends Romance Begins. It is a great read—I know, I can’t read yet, but I listen and it’s a good story. Get your copy $15 contact, Susan. Just a little plug. That’s all for this week, over to the boss.

Writing Updates:  A great writing week, 7,000 words. My head is in creative mode which is where I like to be.  When I’m in the zone, the story often unfolds in the strangest places and that happened this week. Then I doubt myself—a common attribute with writers—but I’m sure this is working. As more of the character’s past is revealed, we see a different side to even the evilest of characters and that happened this week too. The first draft of Christmas at Lavender Cottage is close to completion.

Books I’m Reading: Fiction: After the terrible Christmas story, not even worthy of one star, I went back to Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. I enjoyed this book. The premise of the story was how a mother coped when her daughter went missing. The plot was about finding the truth and getting closure. Ms. Jewell did a wonderful job of–for want of a better phrase–getting into the mother’s head, and she did it well. One might think this kind of story would be morbid but it wasn’t; it was human and warm. I highly recommend this story with five stars. I just started a new book, another author I haven’t read before The Address by Fiona Davis

Nonfiction: Webinar on running an author business

Writing Courses:  Big sigh! I have put these on hold until after Christmas. I don’t have time to market or work on Course 2 & 3 as I prepare my novels for Christmas Craft Fairs and signings. More updates on the other courses will come at the end of this year.

However, if you are eager to get started the first course  Get Rid of Page Fright & Write – Course 1 is available at the discounted price of $47 at

New release: When Love Ends Romance Begins  Get your copy today







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  $4.99

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.

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


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   

Jackhammer Guest

Imagine having a jackhammer in your apartment; believe me until you hear it you have no idea what it sounds like. That’s the sound I’ve been listening to most of this week—concrete balcony repairs are in progress. It starts about 8:15 a.m., a short break around 10 and another break around 1 p.m., finishing at 4:30 in the afternoon; Monday to Friday as long as the weather holds; they don’t work in rain or high winds, which makes sense swinging up into the heavens on a little wooden platform is dangerous enough.  Our twenty-one story building, The Britannia, perched at the top of a hill overlooks an expanse of park and the mighty Ottawa River. Even a mild wind is gale force around The Britannia but the jackhammers continue.  Although it is a relief when the wind gets too gusty and stops the jackhammers, it also means it will take longer to finish the job.  It is difficult to work with such a noise, but not impossible, it’s a case of adapting. My morning writing time, which is before the jackhammers, continues, but recording videos for the online writing course is on hold.

Novel writing progress has been slow to none existent; my time has been spent editing, the new contemporary sweet romance Endings and Beginnings, which is now ready for the professional edit. My submission Romance at Mr. Booker’s Bookshop for the Ottawa Independent Writers anthology submitted. Many of you have asked when my next novel will be out. I expect to have the first of the new Sophie series (working title) out before Christmas. 

Sophie Romano the protagonist from Ruins in Silk and the headmaid from The Blue Pendant is the heroine for this new series. Desperately in love with a man who loves another, Sophie leaves The Sackville Hotel. The new series follows Sophie to London where she trains as a nurse and deploys to France to nurse injured soldiers in the Great War. Amid, the terrible conditions of war Sophie finds romance and even a lost love from her youth. So readers, stay tuned for regular updates.

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 at the end of April. Click here for details

Books I’m reading: No change from last week, I’m still reading Anne Perry’s latest and for non-fiction Donald Maas’s The Emotion of Character.

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