Category Archives: suspense

It’s National Book Lovers Day!

Today is National Book Lovers Day!

National Book Lovers Day
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

How will you celebrate, participate?

This year on National Book Lovers Day, I currently have two books on the go – one fiction, one non. Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton is a crime novel set in Scotland.

The non-fiction is Marketing Matters by Wendy H Jones. Right now, I need all the help I can get in this department.

In addition to reading, I’m also working on Book 3 in my It Happened series set in the village of Percé on the Gaspé Peninsula of the province of Quebec.

Since the COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve struggled with writing, but my reading has flourished. According to my 2020 Goodreads challenge, I’m nine books ahead of schedule. That should give you an idea of how I’ve been spending much of my spare time.

Some of these books were already on my TBR (to be read) list having languished on my shelves or Kindle for some time. Others were new purchases that I just “had” to get. Still, others were review copies.

What to read?

There are many genres out there to choose from – crime, romance, erotica, YA, memoirs, creative non-fiction, and the list goes on.

All these main genres have a multitude of sub-genres as well, so there is something out there for everyone’s taste in reading.

I write romance, primarily, although YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS has a psychological thriller element included. It’s probably my darkest work yet. I remember when I was having the computer read it back to me, my husband entered my ‘writing cave’, and the particular segment scared him. I guess I nailed the creepy, unnerving bit.

You can check out all my books on the novels page on my website. Perhaps, you’ll find a little something to your liking.

What format do you prefer to read?

Are you a hardcover fan? Paperback (trade size or mass market)? E-book (kindle, kobo, nook, or other)? Or do you read from a combination of all of the above?

Leave a comment staying what your favourite genre and format is. I’d love to hear your thoughts and preferences.

And the survey says …

The big day has finally arrived. It’s time to find out what the survey says.
survey

Which of my books received an award in the 2020 Author Shout Reader Ready awards?

Was it It Happened on Dufferin Terrace?

survey

Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle…

Toronto business consultant, Serenity Layne, knew the only person she could depend on was herself. Busy with her career, she has no time for other pursuits and life’s intangibles

Widowed for three years, Roger Scott, a data security specialist in Quebec City, is a single parent to his ten-year-old son, Adam.

On a day out on the Plains of Abraham with their black Labrador Retriever, Roger’s cell phone rings incessantly. Adam has played matchmaker and put his father’s profile on a number of online dating sites.

The week before Christmas, Serenity is heading up a series of meetings after a six-month study of the Canadian retail chain, jonathans. After an unpleasant encounter with one of the store managers, she escapes from the boardroom of the Château Frontenac Hotel, only to be bowled over by Roger and Adam’s dog.

Guilty over the accident, Roger invites Serenity out for a drink by way of apology. Over the course of the week, and spending time together, feelings long dormant for Roger are re-awakened. At the same time, emotions foreign to Serenity fill her with contentment and happiness.

Will the couple get their happily ever after?

Or was it It Happened in Gastown?

survey

Trainspotting meets Hot Pursuit

Hilary Dunbar is a uniformed constable with the Vancouver Police with an agenda to rid the streets of drugs, especially the bad ones the notorious dealer, Carlos Navarra, is trafficking.

Heroin addict, Erik Layne, has lived on the streets of Gastown for as long as he can remember, having left home and Toronto as a rebellious teenage addict. His and Hilary’s paths cross when she finds him unconscious in an alley after injecting a batch of the contaminated drug. He must fight for his life to keep from dying, not only from the tainted smack but also from the man who provided it.

A domestic disturbance call goes wrong, and Hilary suffers life-changing injuries as a result. As luck would have it, she and Erik are hospitalized in the same ward at Vancouver General Hospital. When she sinks into a deep depression, it’s he who pulls her out of her doldrums.

But will Hilary’s obsession with bringing down Navarra and others like him destroy their relationship and, more importantly, jeopardize their lives?

Or did they both receive an award?

Drum roll, please …

Image by succo from Pixabay

 

And the survey says!!!

I received the ‘official notification’ at 11:11 a.m. Of course, the 15th would fall on a day that I’m working in the office rather than from home. When I’m at home, I don’t have to maintain a sense of decorum like I do at work.

Well, without further ado, let me shout it from the rooftops that both It Happened on Dufferin Terrace and It Happened in Gastown won the “Recommended Read” award for 2020!

Whoop!!!

While this isn’t my official badge yet, I did take the liberty of using my handy-dandy snipping tool and extract it from the header of all the badges in a previous blog post.

Yippie!!! I’m happy dancing in my chair and shouting (under my breath) from the rooftops!

 

It’s almost time for the Author Shout Reader Ready winners to be announced!

June 15th is only a few short days away. It’s almost time for the announcement of the 2020 Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

I’m both excited and nervous. The two books I entered have made it this far. Will they have what it takes to be a winner? I sure hope so.

Both books were fun to write. Old Quebec City, where It Happened on Dufferin Terrace is set, is one of my favourite cities in Canada to visit and until this year, have done so regularly. I’m not sure if a visit this coming November will happen or not. It will be a waiting game, thanks to COVID-19.

time

Ah, the majestic Hotel Chateau Frontenac. It’s such an impressive structure any time, but especially when viewed from across the river. The huge castle-like building stands guard over the city from atop the cliff.

Remember the movie Miracle on 34th street, where Doris had lost faith in the world and brought her daughter up, not believing in fantasies? That’s where I got the inspiration for my character, Serenity.

Roger, a widowed father with a precocious son, came to me through the film Sleepless in Seattle.

The other book, It Happened in Gastown, set in one of the older neighbourhoods of Vancouver, in particular, was researched thanks to Google maps. I did cross an item off my bucket list when I went there in 2019 to ensure what I had written was accurate. Four days on the train to the fair city, four days there and four back.

time

Google is a fantastic resource, but you don’t get the full effect looking at a city virtually. I’m glad I went. I loved the train trip (a bonus). As far as neighbourhoods go, I was spot on. 🙂

The steam clock on Water Street in Gastown, Vancouver was the impetus for the second book in the series. I first saw it on info breaks on Knowledge Network between programs and watching the CBC television series, DaVinci’s Inquest.

Stay tuned. As soon as the results are received, I’ll be shouting from the rooftops, or sobbing in a corner. Let’s hope I’m shouting.

 

 

An April Chill with a Book Readers’ Award goes to …

Drum roll, please …

Every month, a number of books are selected by the discerning panel at Chill with a Book for an award. Not every book receives one, but when you do, it’s extra special because you must meet the following criteria win.

Were the characters strong and engaging?

Was the book well written?

Did the story/plot have you turning the page to find out what happened next?

Was the ending satisfying?

Would you recommend to someone who reads this kind of story?

Chill with a Book
Image by succo from Pixabay

It Happened in Gastown!
Chill with a Book

Doesn’t the cover look fabulous with the award emblazoned on it?

Chill with a Book

So what’s the book about, you ask?

Blurb

Trainspotting meets Hot Pursuit

Heroin addict, Erik Layne, has lived on the streets of Gastown for as long as he can remember, having left home and Toronto as a rebellious teenage addict. His and Hilary’s paths cross when she finds him unconscious in an alley after injecting a batch of the contaminated drug. He must fight for his life to keep from dying, not only from the tainted smack but also from the man who provided it.

A domestic disturbance call goes wrong, and Hilary suffers life-changing injuries as a result. As luck would have it, she and Erik are hospitalized in the same ward at Vancouver General Hospital. When she sinks into a deep depression, it’s he who pulls her out of her doldrums.

But will Hilary’s obsession with bringing down Navarra and others like him destroy their relationship and, more importantly, jeopardize their lives?

Buy Links

Kindle

Kobo

And because I won a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award in April, I’m automatically entered in the cover of the month award, too.  Wish me luck!

Right now, we all need some escapism and what better place than into an award-winning book.

 

 

It Happened in Gastown (It Happened Book 2)

The moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived! At least I hope you’ve all been waiting for it. 😉 Drum roll, please … Here for the first time is the beautiful cover of  Book 2 in my It Happened series – It Happened in Gastown – a sweet romance with suspense.

Here we go, without any further ado, I give you

It Happened in Gastown

 

it happened in gastown

Isn’t it beautiful?

Blurb

Trainspotting meets Hot Pursuit…

Hilary Dunbar is a uniformed constable with the Vancouver Police with an agenda to rid the streets of drugs, especially the bad ones the notorious dealer, Carlos Navarra, is trafficking.

Heroin addict, Erik Layne, has lived on the streets of Gastown for as long as he can remember, having left home and Toronto as a rebellious teenage addict. His and Hilary’s paths cross when she finds him unconscious in an alley after injecting a batch of the contaminated drug. He must fight for his life to keep from dying, not only from the tainted smack but also from the man who provided it.

A domestic disturbance call goes wrong, and Hilary suffers life-changing injuries as a result. As luck would have it, she and Erik are hospitalized in the same ward at Vancouver General Hospital. When she sinks into a deep depression, it’s he who pulls her out of her doldrums.

But will Hilary’s obsession with bringing down Navarra and others like him destroy their relationship and, more importantly, jeopardize their lives?

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Out on routine patrol, Constables Hilary Dunbar and her partner Lukas Stephanopoulos drove north on Cambie Street towards the Gastown Steam Clock. As they passed the end of Blood Alley, she shouted, “Back up. Something’s down there.”

“Your imagination getting the better of you again?” He teased, but pulled over to the curb and slowly reversed until they blocked the mouth of the narrow passage.

Originally they called the lane Trounce Alley. Some maps still referred to the laneway as that. Others labelled the back street Blood Alley. Given the appearance, Hilary thought the latter more appropriate.

Window down, she trained the beam from the powerful spotlight mounted on the cruiser’s mirror into the alleyway. “See, beyond those dumpsters.”

“Likely just garbage.”

“Wait here; I’m going to take a closer look.”

Before exiting the car, she plucked a pair of nitrile gloves and the naloxone kit from the glove compartment. Once out, she shoved them in the pockets of her trousers. With the fingertips of her right hand brushing her gun holster and gripping the barrel of the torch in her left, she sidled towards the object.

Graffiti tags covered the walls of the buildings as well as the wooden hydro poles. The farther into the confined space she crept, the hairs on the nape of her neck bristled beneath the bun in which she styled her black hair. Whatever was down there wasn’t rubbish, as Luke said. The pong of stale urine made her eyes water.

Past the second dumpster, the body of a young man leaned against the wall. Dishevelled and filthy, his body odour was strong enough to make the foulest of skunk spray seem mild. At first glance, he appeared dead. His skin had a bluish tinge, and weeping sores dotted his face. Dark circles surrounded his eyes. Inching forward, Hilary squatted beside him.

A blood-filled syringe protruded from his left arm. Flashlight held under her chin; she donned the synthetic rubber gloves she brought with her and felt his neck for a pulse. The rhythmic throbbing beneath her fingertips, barely discernible.

The naloxone. The kit had been made available to officers who wanted the medication. Luke was against carrying the opioid blocker in the cruiser, but Hilary persuaded him. Now was the time to use it. She took the package out of her other trouser pocket, peeled the wrapper open and placed the nozzle in the victim’s left nostril and pressed the plunger.

She keyed the mic on her handset and started to speak. “Constable Dunbar.” As though on cue, the nearby Steam Clock began whistling — no sense in trying to outperform the contraption. Wait for the completion of its proclamation of the top of the hour — Westminster chimes followed by singular whistle blasts counting out the time. Soon relative quiet returned and Hilary tried again. “Constable Dunbar. Badge 8652. I need an ambulance at Blood Alley and Cambie Street. Suspected drug overdose. Have administered four milligrams of Narcan nasal spray. No response as of yet.”

By now, Luke had the cruiser’s roof lights on. Blue, red and white alternating then running from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side of the vehicle.

The wail of the siren grew louder. In minutes, paramedics jumped out and trundled a stretcher and medical equipment to the stricken person.

Hilary stood back, letting them do their jobs. “I gave him Narcan,” she said, handing the spent plastic bottle to one of them.

“He’s alive … just. You found him in time. We’ve bagged the needle so they can run tests on the contents at the hospital. Figure out what he shot into his veins.”

Buy Links

It Happened in Gastown releases on December 1st, but you can pre-order your copy now for the low price of $2.99/£2.99.

Kindle

Kobo

Book 1 in the series – It Happened on Dufferin Terrace is on sale for $0.99/£0.99 or you can enter my giveaway to win a kindle or kobo copy.

To enter, leave me a comment. Your name will be entered in a draw on December 1st (launch day for It Happened in Gastown).

It Happened in Gastown ~ Opening Scene

Here you have it, ladies and gents. The opening scene to Book Two in the It Happened series – It Happened in Gastown. Somewhat darker than the first in the series, but I promise along with the heavy stuff there will be sweet romance.

Out on routine patrol, Constables Hilary Dunbar and her partner Nik Kalivas drove north on Cambie Street towards the Gastown Steam Clock. As they passed the end of Blood Alley, she shouted, “Back up. Something’s down there.”

It Happened in Gastown
Steam Clock on Water Street, Gastown, Vancouver

“Your imagination getting the better of you again?” He teased, but pulled over to the curb and slowly reversed until they blocked the mouth of the narrow passage. Originally the lane was called Trounce Alley. Some maps still referred to the laneway as that. Others labelled the back street Blood Alley. Given the appearance, Hilary thought the latter was more appropriate.

Gastown
Blood Alley at Cambie Street, Gastown, Vancouver

Window down, she trained the beam from the powerful spotlight mounted on the cruiser’s mirror into the alleyway. “See, beyond those dumpsters.”

“Likely just garbage.”

“Wait here; I’m going to take a closer look.”

Before exiting the car, she plucked a pair of nitrile gloves and the naloxone kit from the glove compartment. Once out, she shoved them in the pockets of her trousers. With the fingertips of her right brushing her gun holster and gripping the barrel of the torch in her left, she sidled towards the object. Graffiti tags covered the walls of the buildings as well as the wooden hydro poles. The further into the confined space she crept, the hairs on the nape of her neck bristled beneath the bun in which she styled her black hair. Whatever was down there, it wasn’t rubbish as Nik said. The pong of stale urine made her eyes water.

Past the second dumpster, the body of a young man leaned against the wall. Dishevelled and filthy, his body odour was strong enough to make the foulest of skunk spray seem mild. At first glance, he appeared dead. His skin had a bluish tinge, and weeping sores dotted his face. Dark circles surrounded his eyes. Inching forward, Hilary squatted beside him. A blood-filled syringe protruded from his left arm. Flashlight held under her chin; she donned the synthetic rubber gloves she brought with her and felt his neck for a pulse. The rhythmic pulse beneath her fingertips was barely discernible.

The naloxone. The kit had been made available to officers who wanted it. Nik was against carrying the opioid blocker in the cruiser, but Hilary persuaded him. Now was the time to use it. She took the package out of her other trouser pocket, peeled it open and placed the nozzle in the victim’s left nostril and pressed the plunger.

She keyed the mic on her handset and started to speak. “Constable Dunbar.” As if on cue the nearby Steam Clock began whistling. No sense in trying to outperform the thing. Wait until it finished its proclamation of the top of the hour. Soon relative quiet returned and Hilary tried again. “Constable Dunbar. Badge 8652. I need an ambulance at Blood Alley and Cambie Street. Suspected drug overdose. Have administered four milligrams of Narcan nasal spray. No response as of yet.”

By now, Nik had the cruiser’s roof lights on. Blue, red and white alternating then running from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side of the vehicle.

The wail of the siren grew louder. In minutes, paramedics jumped out and trundled a stretcher and medical equipment to the stricken person.

Hilary stood back, letting them do their jobs. “I gave him Narcan,” she said, handing the spent plastic bottle to one of them.

“He’s alive … just. You found him in time. We’ve bagged the needle so they can run tests on it at the hospital. Figure out what he shot into his veins.”