Friendly Blogger Award

I received a Tweet yesterday afternoon from Sharon Goodwin, author of the Jera’s Jamboree blog.

I met Sharon after I joined the innovative website Sharon has a great blog Jera’s Jamboree. Sharon is also on Twitter @shazjera where she tweets and re-tweets all of the news as well as sharing it on Facebook. She’s a great supporter of the authors and Associate Readers at

So in keeping with the friendly, supportive nature of this award, I’m passing the torch on to these lovely ladies

Janice Horton
Chris Longmuir
Maggie Jagger
Dorothy Bush
Kathyrn Brown blogging as Crystal Jigsaw
Audrey Hawkins writing as Joanna Lambert
Linn B Halton

And these gentleman
Christopher D Hanna
Richard F Holmes

I have other folks to regularly visit and comment on my blog, but sadly they don’t have blogs. However, I would still like to recognize their support and encouragement.


Thanks so much to all of you for support and encouragement! I love reading your comments on my blog. Special thanks to Sharon for presenting me with this award.

Into the hands of my beta-reader(s)…

This latest revision is finished. What a relief! For a while, I didn’t think I would ever see the day come. I had actually set a goal for the end of August but that was totally unrealistic. So being off by one month isn’t too bad. One copy has been printed and is with my beta-reader who will read for grammar, punctuation etc. I delivered it to her last night.

My other beta-reader is going to read for the actual content. Some time ago, fellow Writers’ Ink member Dorothy Bush and I compiled a list of questions (we think they’re rather good) that we want our reader(s) to watch for. It’s been expanded, questions combined, questions deleted… in other words, it’s undergone almost as many revisions as my manuscript. (well maybe not quite)

This is the list we came up with.

Does it grab your attention on the first page and hold it for the first five?
Does it start at the right place?
Do the names fit the characters?
Can you picture them as you are reading?
Do you get a feel for who the characters are?
Do you relate and care about what they do or what happens?
Do descriptions make sense, and not change – description bunnies?
Are there holes in the plot – plot bunnies?
Is it boring, or are there boring parts where you wanted to put it down?
Is there enough excitement and/or conflict?
Is there enough romance?
Are there any words or terms over-used?
Is there any stupid stuff – where you said “No way that would happen!”?
Is there something missing that would make it better?
Are there any scenes that can be shortened? (ie. come in later and/or leave sooner).
Are there places where there is too much explanation?
Plot continuity, poor grammar, and iffy punctuation
Are there scenes that would be better expressed in the other character’s POV?
Do some of the scenes have too many characters?
Do too many scenes end the same way?
Is there too much sitting and thinking?
Is there too much dialogue?

Well there you have it. I think between the two of us, we’ve covered all contingencies.

I’ll be seeing my other beta-reader Monday evening so will pass the torch and the “infamous” question list off to her then.

In the meantime, I’ll catch up on some other things.

After the Sabrina Jeffries workshop…

I think everything I learned at the all-day Sabrina Jeffries workshop last weekend has finally been totally digested and assimilated. Afterwards, everyone said they felt the light go on for them and their writing. For me it was more like light flashbulbs going off and I was on the red carpet amidst all the brilliant bursts of light. WOW!

I came away knowing that I’m going to split my first manuscript into two, where it will be split, how it will end – and best off all I’m feeling confident that my decision is the right one.

Things are moving in the right direction.

Thank you Sabrina!

In loving memory…

Ruth (Neddo) Robertson May 13, 1930 - September 14, 2010

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since my mum passed away. I still kick myself for not stopping by the hospital after I did a presentation at the local genealogical society on Home Children but at the time I was certain it would wait until the next night when I would be visiting. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

When my mum turned 75, my cousin, Patsy, wrote a poem for her. It was read aloud by the nieces and nephews at the surprise birthday bash I’d arranged at one of our local restaurants. At the end of each verse, the kids all pumped their arms in the air and hollered “Hey, Aunt Ruthie!”

I presided over my mum’s funeral and Patsy, along with her two younger sisters and me, spoke about our memories. At the end of our service, I suggested we give my mum one last “Hey Aunt Ruthie” and everyone in attendance obliged.

The day of the internment, we sent my mum off with a ‘slightly revised’ version of the Tribute to Aunt Ruthie, popped the cork on a bottle of bubbly and played Go Rest High on that Mountain by her favourite country singer, Vince Gill.

This is the revised version of the poem…

When Aunt Ruthie turned 75,
We wrote this little ditty
It’s shorter than “The Highwayman”
But we think it’s kind of pretty.

Our Aunt Ruthie, she’s the best,
Uses you good when you’re her guest
She’s classier than all the rest!

Our Aunt Ruthie, she’s the one,
Has an annual garage sale that’s second to none,
We sell some stuff and have some fun!

She loves all the little creatures,
That can’t fend for themselves.
But George and Laura and the Queen
Can all go straight to hell.

She always has a nice big car
And man this babe can drive.
Just don’t blow your horn behind her
If you want to stay alive.

She keeps her houses sparkly clean,
She’s always on the job.
She likes her tea and bubbly,
And she likes her men called Bob.

Mother, sister, sweetheart, friend,
She’s all of these and more,
And she’s our Aunt Ruthie,
The one we all adore.

Well, Aunt Ruthie, the time has come,
For our little ditty to end.
We wanted you to know what you mean to us,
You really are a Godsend.

So let’s raise a glass to Aunt Ruthie,
Who has shown love and tenderness,
One thing is true and always will be
She’s definitely a Goddess!!!!

If I could be anyone, I’d be…

In keeping with Talli Roland’s launch day for Watching Willow Watts, I would have to say that I would love to be Barbara Stanwyck. I first saw her in the movie The Night Walker as a young girl and immediately fell in love with her and her acting. One of the movies I have to watch on Christmas Day is the is the version of Christmas in Connecticut that she stars in. 


Today is the official launch day of Watching Willow Watts. Talli has lots of fun stuff happening on her blog today, including prizes. Drop by here for your chance to win!

You can buy Watching Willow Watts at for $2.99 US or at for £1.71

Sabrina Jeffries All Day Workshop

The Ottawa Chapter of Romance Writers of America is presenting an all-day workshop today led by Sabrina Jeffries. Registration for the event has closed but I thought I would share this tidbit with my followers on Facebook and Twitter.

You can read about the workshop here and I’ll be blogging about what I learned in the days to come.

It promised to be a great day and since I have to be in Ottawa by 10:00 am, I best get off the computer and start getting ready to go.

Shaz’s Stars interviews associate reader Dorothy Bush

LAHE logo

Shaz’s Stars – Welcome to the regular feature on ‘The Buzz’ of Shaz’s Stars!

Using sun sign astrology I will be interviewing Associate Readers to see how the traits of their sun sign affect their reading habits.

I hope you enjoy getting to know our new Associate Readers as much as I’ve enjoyed interviewing them.

Twitter @shazjera:

In the hot seat today I would like to welcome: Dorothy Bush

Q. Aquarians are one of the most loyal signs of the zodiac. Does this trait extend to the authors you choose to read? Do you read all the novels a favourite author has written?

This trait most definitely transfers to my reading style. When I find an author whose writing I enjoy I read everything they have, and I usually buy what they have and keep collections. I watch for their new work and look for their past work. Sometimes this means perusing used book stores to find back copies, but then that too is an enjoyable past-time for you never know what other treasure you might find. And now we have Amazon and E-Bay.

Q. Sometimes Aquarians need to retire from the world and become temporary loners. Reading suits this trait! When you feel the need to take time out of the world, is reading something you would choose to do to aid in recharging your batteries?

You hit the nail on the head with this observation Shaz! I cycle through periods of socializing and withdrawal. I socialize to the point that I become desperate for some alone time and then work to simplify my life and hibernate. I read though, all the time. It recharges my batteries; it relaxes me; it completes me. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t have a book on the go.

Q. Being fiercely independent and refusing to follow the crowd, Aquarians walk to the beat of their own drums. Do you ever read a novel because it is popular (even if it is not something you wouldn’t normally read) or do you choose to read whatever suits you at the time?

I have read novels because they are popular but usually because a friend has read it and wants to discuss it; not particularly because of the rave reviews. I probably shouldn’t admit to this, but I haven’t read one of the Harry Potter novels, nor have I watched the movies. They are on my ‘to read’ list but not a priority. I do, however, constantly look for new authors. There are thousands of great writers out there who just have not had the luck to be published traditionally, and when a debut novel comes out I’m usually quick to grab it.

Q. Aquarians are known for not making friends easily due to their own personal high ideals. Does this trait affect how you interact with the blogging/social networking community?

Yes, I was kind of afraid this was a trait. I get annoyed with frippery, foolishness, shallow people and ideas and this lack of tolerance shows in my friends list. It’s short. I find most people would rather ignore negative things that go on and just get through their days…I want to speak up if things aren’t right, I want to correct things. I like to have fun though and enjoy sharing bits of that on my blog and on Facebook. I guess it’s kind of one-sided, though, I post and maybe someone else reads it.

Q. Although intellectual, those born under the sun sign of Aquarius are known to lack tact and diplomacy (they don’t see why they should hide the truth). If you have read something that didn’t work for you, are you able to use tact and diplomacy when writing your book reviews?

Ah, yes, I’ve shocked many a person with my honesty and lack of tact. I’ve learned though over the years, to be more diplomatic, and if I truly can’t be diplomatic I don’t write a review. I have never given a bad review; I would never intentionally hurt someone by being negative about their work. A crushing review can totally kill a writer’s motivation.

Q. Aquarians dislike emotion and intimacy. Does this extend to the genres you choose to read?

You are good, Shaz. I didn’t know this was a trait. I just thought I had! My favourite genres are crime, mystery, thrillers and any of the cross-overs. I don’t mind a little romance or sex thrown into the mix, that’s part of life after all, but I tend to read those portions more for the technical composition than for the vicarious thrill. I like histories and westerns (if they are realistic); I like things that challenge what we know, like espionage and paranormal. Romance, strictly romance novels, fall rather short for me.

Q. It is said that Aquarians like living within their means despite the many temptations that are all around them. Do you see purchasing a book as a luxury? Do you use a library? Do you have any criteria for purchasing books?

Yes, Aquarians are a frugal lot. I KNOW purchasing books is a luxury and I do it anyway for authors I follow. I carry my list around and constantly look for books for my collections, but I’ll also purchase spontaneously because of the back-cover. I have found some fabulous writers that way. I am grateful I have the means to do that on occasion. I also use libraries, download novels in the public domain like the Gutenberg Project, borrow and trade. I’m quite shameless in my quest for more books.

Thank you very much for the interview Shaz. You are quite intuitive and it’s been a pleasure speaking with you.

Dorothy Bush lives in Eastern Ontario, Canada and works in the field of literacy and basic skills. An avid reader she also writes short stories, freelance articles and aspires to be a novelist. A member of a writing group in her home area, she looks after the newsletter and online presence which can be found here:

She is also a member of the Harlequin Readers Panel and has recently discovered www.loveahappyending where she is an Associate Reader. You can follow her own adventures in life by clicking through to:-

Facebook page Bikerhen:!/Bikerhen
Twitter A/C @Bikerhen:

A Salt Splashed Cradle by Chris Longmuir

A Salt Splashed Cradle by Chris Longmuir
***** stars

In addition to her crime and horror writing, Chris Longmuir has put her ‘pen to paper’ and come up with a romantic fishing saga set in 1830s North East Scotland. In reality, this book was written first but it wasn’t until this summer that Chris decided to publish it on Amazon and Smashwords. She’s far better known for her crime writing and her novel, Dead Wood, won the prestigious Dundee Book Prize in 2009.

The fisher folk of the village of Craigden are a proud people and don’t take kindly to outsiders. Belle Watts turns the village on its ear when she arrives as the bride of James and Annie Watt’s eldest son, Jimmie.

Belle wants a better life than that of a fishwife whose husband works on his father’s boat. Her husband wants to get a boat of his own. To that end, Jimmie is persuaded by Belle to sign on with one of the whaling vessels. When he leaves on his first voyage, things on the home front become far more complicated.

Chris’s descriptive narrative brings the setting to life with ease making you feel like you’re actually there experiencing things first hand. From the moment Belle arrives and is forced to share a small stone cottage with Jimmie’s parents and siblings, there is no privacy – eight people living in this one-room building with a net loft. In addition to the aromas this conjures up, you can smell the salt air, the fresh farmland above the cliffs and envision a tiny village clinging to the base of the cliff.

Her characters have their strengths and weaknesses and she portrays them so that we empathize with them and like them. Belle is strong yet vulnerable. She has a past that isn’t totally revealed but implied. Other characters play off these characteristics for the good and the bad and the results… well, I’m not saying anything else because it will spoil the story.

A Salt Splashed Cradle is an excellent read. At 280 pages (about 83,000 words), it can be read in a day because once you start, you won’t want to put it down.

The trailer for A Salt Splashed Cradle can be viewed on You Tube here. If you watch and listen to this first, I guarantee you’ll hear Chris reading the book while you read it. I know I do.

A Salt Splashed Cradle is available for the Kindle at for £2.85 or at for $3.99 US.

If you don’t have a Kindle or the Kindle app for other devices, you can download it for the Sony, Nook, Kobo etc., from Smashwords for $3.99 US.



Self-Publishing workshop

It was my intention to blog about this long before now but things kept getting in the way. And since next weekend, I’ll be off attending a full-day workshop, I thought I should get the one from August written up first.

On August 7, Ottawa Romance Writers Association member, Teresa Wilde, conducted an excellent workshop (If the Self-Pub Shoe Fits…) on her experience publishing for the Kindle on amazon and other devices on Smashwords.

Pros of self-publishing:

You never have to write another synopsis.
You’re in charge of your own destiny.
You write all your own marketing material.

Cons of self-publishing:

You’re in charge of your own destiny.
You write all your own marketing material.
There are no guarantees.

There are probably more pros and cons that I’ve not listed here but I think these are the biggies.

Amazon’s terms and conditions are long and detailed and what you have to remember is that they WILL change and you have no control over it.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is a one-time option and if you inadvertently turn it on, you can’t change it after. Make sure you don’t do that!

Something that you might take for granted is the headers/footers and page #s in your original documents. Since the Kindle, Nook, Sony and Kobo are electronic devices, they work in screens not pages which can be zoomed in or out depending on the preferences of the person reading on the device. I’m certain, too, it was mentioned to take out page breaks because the device will automatically deal with that, with the exception of breaks for Chapters. This bit is a bit murky now because I didn’t write the post right away and some of my notes aren’t the easiest to read. If anyone can confirm this last bit for me, it would be most appreciated.

Amazon has put together an excellent video which is available on You tube here. At the end of the video, there are some other related ones that are worth checking out, too.

Before you take the plunge and decide to self-publish, make sure your novel/novella/anthology is in the best shape it can be in. After all, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot.

Teresa Wilde writes as Teresa Morgan.