Category Archives: Novels

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.

 

 

Not only one book, but two!

It’s the 2020 Author Shout Reader Ready Awards so I entered not only one book, but two!

After success with my novel, YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS, in the 2019 Author Shout Reader Ready awards, I decided to enter the contest again. For a mere five dollars more, I could enter not only one book but two. So, I did.

Look at all those pretty badges. This year an additional one has been added – the Editor’s Choice. One of these would look great on either book but finding a location where said badge won’t cover something important could be a challenge.

Not only one book

I decided to enter the two published novels in my It Happened series. Both had previously won Chill with a Book awards so I thought they would be the best choices for this contest. Also, sweet romances are supposed to be a hot commodity this year according to the various analytics reports I’ve seen.

On May 15th, I received a generic email stating, “Your book(s) have been selected to proceed to the next round of the 2020 Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.” As no feedback report accompanied this email, I naturally assumed both books so promptly sent off the two Mobi files.

Although no feedback reports have been received, I did get confirmation that both novels did indeed make it to the next round!

The next important date in the contest is June 15th. That’s when the winners are announced. Be sure to save the date. Mind you, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops if either book receives an award and will be over the moon if they both do.

Not only one book

Here are refreshers on the two (thus far) books in the It Happened series.

Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle…

Not only one book

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?

BUY LINKS

amazon

kobo

and

Trainspotting meets Hot Pursuit

Not only one book

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?

Buy Links

Kindle

Kobo

 

 

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.

 

 

5 ebook copies of YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS up for grabs

5 ebook copies

5 ebook copies up for grabs!

I’m a guest on Marie Lavender‘s blog today, and I’m giving away 5 ebook copies of my romantic suspense/psychological thriller.

YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS recently won a silver badge in the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

This is what the book is about…

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment, her first love, Jared Martin, walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled, but as their second-chance-relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal? Is fate still not done its dirty deeds?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

 

Excerpt

~ 1 ~

31st December, 2010

He stepped out from the entrance of the Vue Cinemas. One day she would be his. But not today. Now was not the right time. He was not ready. No instructions came from within his brain. The voices hadn’t spoken to him yet. Only when they did, would the time be right.

In the month since his arrival, he spent hours at the Central Library searching through the city directories to confirm ownership of As the Pages Turn. The business had not changed hands. In addition to those, he perused back issues of The Press and Journal on microfilm for more information about the shop and its owners.

The streets were busy tonight. A group of giggling young women, their skirts too short, and their heels too high, wearing far too much makeup, walked past his hiding place forcing him to retreat further into the shadows. Any one of these girls could be his, but his heart was set on the one with the fiery red tresses. The owner of the bookstore.

Captivated by her beauty, he emerged from the darkness and started across the street, careful not to be seen by the CCTV camera. He crept to the corner of the casino building giving the video surveillance a wide berth.

Back garden fireworks popped and banged. The occasional starbursts of red, green, blue and white rose above the buildings. One, louder than the others made him jump – so nearby it could have been set off beside him. Aberdeen’s official display wouldn’t start until midnight. The clock, barely visible over the rooftops read fifteen minutes to six.

His threadbare overcoat was useless in this cold, damp night air. He rubbed his hands up and down his upper arms in an attempt to warm himself but the action only provided temporary relief.

He pressed himself against the back wall under the shelter of the roof. He could see her clearer. No one could notice his interest in her.

Oblivious to his presence, she carried on as usual. Just the way he wanted. She couldn’t be aware of him. Not now. Not yet. He was the invisible man, skulking in the gloom a short distance from her store. Just beyond her vision. He didn’t exist to her, as it had to be for now. But the day would come and she would be the first to know when he was ready to reveal himself.

This book contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended, so bear this in mind when entering the giveaway. If that’s not your cup of tea, you likely won’t enjoy the book.

You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway on Marie’s blog or here for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you aren’t lucky enough to win a copy in the giveaway, here are the buy links for kindle and kobo.

kindle

Kobo

 

 

If it’s February 9th, it’s Read in the Bathtub Day!

Happy Read in the Bathtub Day!

Read in the Bathtub Day!

There’s nothing like a long, leisurely soak in a hot bath. Add bubbles, a book and something to drink, perhaps a glass of wine, or maybe a cup of cocoa, and it becomes heavenly. Read in the Bathtub Day is the perfect occasion to take part in this relaxing past time. So what if you spend so much time in the tub, your toes end up shrivelled like prunes? It’s the reading in the bath that counts.

Reading in the bathtub works much better if you have more than one bathroom. I mean, you don’t want people pounding on the door to get in. You want to be able to relax and spend as much time as you wish, soaking up the hot water and bubbles, and the prose you’ve chosen as your reading material.

To properly enjoy Read in the Bathtub Day, you should have a caddy for your tub. After all, you don’t want to drop your tablet, or heaven forbid, a physical book in the water.

Read in the Bathtub Day!

These caddies come in all shapes and sizes – in bamboo, teak, stainless steel and more. Some are fancier than others like the one above, which also has a place for a wine glass.

So why not buy yourself a book (preferably one of mine), run a bubble bath and pour yourself a glass of wine (or your tipple of choice) and escape for some self-indulgence.

Not sure which of my titles you fancy? Click on any of the images in the sidebar and you’ll be taken to your amazon store where you can read the decription and, if you so choose, purchase the book.

Sorry for the shameless self-promotion. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. 🙂

 

AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR & IMPOSTER SYNDROME

Award-winning author. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. I certainly don’t feel like an award-winning author, but then how are you supposed to feel? Yet, here’s the proof — the silver badge.

award-winning author

In the beginning, the cover didn’t fit the genre, so I tarted it up on the ebook version because it was the easiest. The plan was to wait until closer to the next print run before putting the full cover wrap on it (which has been done with the award gracing the front – same as the ebook).

award-winning author

And further proof that I’m an award-winning author. Bang, right there on the cover. So why don’t I feel comfortable shouting it out to the world that I’m an award-winning author? Why do I feel like a fraud?

Ah, that’s the dreaded imposter syndrome.

I was so excited when the announcement I was a recipient of a silver badge. I shouted out the fact my book was a silver medalist – not me. But, if I didn’t write the book, it wouldn’t have received the award.

It’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation, don’t you think?

Maybe, I’m merely feeling sorry for myself because my book sales have been flat thus far in 2020. Flat to the point of being non-existent. More fuel to the imposter syndrome feelings.

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? If so, how did you overcome it?

 

 

A warm welcome to 2020! What will you do in the new year?

welcome 2020

A warm welcome to 2020!

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be long since asleep. Thank goodness for the ability to schedule, so before I fall asleep, I wish a warm welcome to 2020!.

I’m not much of a night owl anymore. I prefer early to bed and early to rise. Those few hours when the house is quiet allow me to formulate ideas for my books, which is best done while working something ‘mindless’ like jigsaw puzzles online. I love doing them, and usually, during the process, I come up with some crackers!

My 2019 achievements

2019 was a great year for me. I crossed an item off my bucket list – train trip to and from Vancouver on The Canadian.

On our return trip, the idea for a children’s book came to me and All Aboard the Canadian with Buddy and his Four Fantastic Furry Friends! came to be. Currently, it’s only available in paperback from me, but in the new year, I plan on getting it formatted for kindle and kobo.

Something that is unheard of for me is I released two books in 2019. The above-mentioned children’s book and the second in my It Happened Series – It Happened in Gastown.

My crowning achievement, YESTERDAY TODAY AWAYS, received a silver Recommended Read Badge in the mystery/thriller category!

a warm welcome to 2020

So now that I’ve given you the highlights of 2019, let’s give a warm welcome to 2020!

I’m hoping to cross another item off my bucket list – The Ocean from Montreal to Halifax. That way I can say I’ve travelled across Canada from coast to coast by train.

Book three in the It Happened Series (It Happened at Percé Rock) takes place in the Canadian province of Québec on the Gaspé peninsula in the quaint village of Percé. A time-honoured tradition is to walk to the rock and back from the mainland at low tide. Needless to say, that event features heavily in the story.

Unfortunately, my characters aren’t cooperating at the moment and not talking to me. I have the plot outlined (sort of). Actually, I think they’re miffed at me because this was supposed to be book two in the series, but got shuffled back.

The idea for a third time-travel book featuring Sarah Shand, so perhaps it will be my 2020 release.

What are your plans/goals for 2020?

 

 

And the winner is … #giveaway #sweetromance

As part of my launch for Book 2 in the It Happened series – It Happened in Gastown – I ran a giveaway for the book that started it all – It Happened on Dufferin Terrace. Only five people left comments, two of which didn’t want to be entered in the giveaway. That left three. So, I’ve decided there won’t be just one winner, there will be three!

And the winners are …

Yvonne – who commented at Beverly Stowe McClure’s blog

Carolyn Howard-Johnston – who commented at Joan Y. Edwards’ blog

and

Nancy Jardine – who commented at Chris Longmuir’s blog.

Congratulations to each winner! I’ll be in touch through your blog host to find out in which format you’d like your copy of It Happened on Dufferin Terrace – mobi for kindle, epub for other readers or pdf.

If you didn’t win, you can buy It Happened on Dufferin Terrace for only $0.99/£0.99.

She’s married to her job… He’s a widowed father…
winner

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?

BUY LINKS

amazon

kobo

 

 

YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS reaches Phase 2 of the Author Shout Reader Ready awards

Phase 1 of the Author Shout Reader Ready awards closed to entries at the end of October. November 15th, the announcement of the books that made it through that phase came through.

author shout reader ready

My, romantic suspense/psychological thriller, YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS, made it through to Phase 2. *queue fist pumps*

Judging in the first phase was based on the following criteria:

Section 1: Book Cover

Below is a list of the criteria we are considering in this section

FRONT COVER (eBook and Print)

I scored well in this category.

My cover is visually compelling, very well colour coordinated with good use of font, and the use of the tag line is great!

The only downside is, I still have the original cover on the print version which could be confusing to readers. At the time I changed the ebook cover, I still had a number of print copies in my inventory and wanted to wait until stocks with that cover got lower before updating the whole cover wrap.

Section 2: Book Description

Again, I scored well.

My description is clear, concise and hooked the judge right in. As well, it didn’t leave it up to the imagination what the book was about but left enough intrigue to want to read more.

It was recommended that I put my opening statement/tag line in bold. I don’t have much luck with getting html to work at amazon – hence no bold.

Section 3: Look Inside Sample

The fact I didn’t bother with a table of contents scored well. I jumped straight into the book.

The ‘look inside’ sample is free of grammatical and spelling errors, and has a nice flow/pace, making it a good read to continue.

It was suggested I have a link to my website and my other books in this area, but that could backfire and lead readers away from purchasing the book. I include my other books and a link to my website at the end of the book which isn’t available to look at in the ‘look inside’ sample.

Section 4: Overall Feedback

YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS is highly competitive in the criteria considered during this phase of the judging.

*****

So, now it’s on to Phase 2 of the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards. I’ve already sent off the kindle version of the novel for appraisal.

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled but as their second-chance-relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal? Is fate still not done its dirty deeds?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

kindle

Kobo

B&N nook

iBooks