Category Archives: Stories

What a difference a couple of days make…

After the storms of last week, yesterday and today have both been bright and sunny. The trouble is, that in winter these gorgeous days mean low temperatures. This morning, it was a chilly -27 Celsius in my little corner of the world.

I finished my entry for the local short story contest this morning and got it ready to drop off at my local independent bookstore. They open from noon to 4:00 on Sundays and since I have warm clothes and the exercise is good for me, and it looked so beautiful out, I decided to make the trek on foot. The temperature when I left home was a brisk -23 Celsius so it had warmed up some.

The worst part of the walk was the condition the sidewalks are in. Under all that snow is glare ice. When the sidewalk plow operators did their thing, they took too much snow off in places leaving skating rinks exposed. Even the sand they spread as they went along missed many of these treacherous places.

Bethune Street - one block west of my house

I took advantage of the beauty of the snow and ice on the trees, reflecting in the sunlight and took a couple of pictures with my phone on my way home.

The church at the top of the hill is at the corner of Pine and Park (my street)

The last time I checked the temperature, it had climbed to -16. According to the weather forecast, it’s supposed to get up to a balmy -13 this afternoon.

Since returning, I’ve made the changes my editor sent back to me and while I’m writing this post, I’m formulating my next assignment from my editor.


Dallas Woodburn’s Writing Life 10th Annual Book Drive to help underprivileged children!

It’s hard to believe the book drive has been going on for 10 years and this is the first I’ve heard of it. What a great cause to get books into the hands of children who wouldn’t otherwise have this opportunity.

You can read about this wonderful cause and how to do more on Dallas Woodburn’s blog here.

Every child deserves to experience the joy of the written word.

The Day After the Brian Henry Workshop

On Saturday, November 19th, my husband and I both Brian Henry’s inspirational and motivational writing workshop “Writing your life & other true stories” in Kingston.

I always learn something at Brian’s workshops, and yesterday was no exception. My husband and I share an interest in genealogy and we thought that being able to tell the story in an interesting way would be far better appreciated by the family whose stories we’d be writing.
The genealogy software we use does create “book” format but it contains just raw genealogical data and while that’s good, there’s no personal reflections, memories, observations in it. Mind you, if you’re writing about someone/something from the 1800s or earlier, you’re not going to have much to go on other than a general social history of the time (since you weren’t alive then) and assume that your ancestors were in the same predicament as everyone else. If you’re lucky, you had an ancestor who could read and write and kept journals.
Whether either one of us tackles a segment in time of one of our ancestor’s lives and writes about it remains to be seen, although I have written articles on Home Children, including one on my father. Still not quite the same as a novel-length memoir.
Now that I have the knowledge of how to write it and the tricks of using novel writing techniques to get it “on paper”, I’ll be much better equipped for when the times comes.
I’m looking forward to my next workshop with Brian.

Another Brian Henry Workshop coming up

On Saturday, November 19th, I’ll be attending another of Brian Henry’s inspirational and motivational writing workshops in Kingston.

“Writing your life & other true stories” workshop, Sat, Nov 19, in Kingston

Writing your life & other true stories
Saturday, November 19, 2011
1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Lions Club, 935 Sydenham Road, Kingston. (Map here.)

Have you ever considered writing your memoirs or family history? This workshop will introduce you to the tricks and conventions of telling true stories and will show you how to use the techniques of the novel to recount actual events. Whether you want to write for your family or for a wider public, don’t miss this workshop.

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He teaches at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Moncton. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published.

Fee: $32.74 + 13% hst = $37 paid in advance
or $35.40 + 13% hst = $40 if you wait to pay at the door.

To reserve your spot, email

Book Review – Gunther the Underwater Elephant written and illustrated by Ginger Nielson

I recently had the opportunity to read fellow 4RV Publishing author, Ginger Nielson’s, delightful children’s picture book Gunther the Underwater Elephant.

Written for children from ages 4-8, this story tells about a young elephant who discovers that he can swim underwater by using his trunk as a snorkel.

One day while swimming, he gets separated from his family and ends up out of the jungle river and in the ocean where he befriends some other creatures who help him find his way back home.

Each page is filled with colourful illustrations that will fascinate curious children and keep them enchanted from the turn of the first page to the closing of the cover at the end.

Gunther the Underwater Elephant can be purchased from the 4RV Publishing Catalogue during the Christmas sale (ends December 5) for $11.55 US. It can also be purchased from for $12.47 US, for $16.21 CDN, and on for £9.03. Gunther is also available through Barnes & Noble currently retailing at $11.51 US.

Just in time for Halloween…

LAHE logo

That’s right! Just in time for Halloween! loveahappyending and former Dundee Book Prize winning author Chris Longmuir has officially launched a few of her titles that are guaranteed to send shivers up your spine!

Night Watcher by Chris Longmuir

Night Watcher is a gritty crime story set in Dundee, Scotland. It’s about stalkers and their victims. I dare you to read it when you’re alone or at bed time. You’ll be sleeping with the lights on if you do!

You can download Night Watcher at here or at here.

Don’t despair if you don’t have a Kindle. Night Watcher is also available at Smashwords for a variety of platforms here.

If a novel isn’t quite your cup of tea, then Chris can satisfy that niche, too. She’s recently put together two collections of short stories.

Her Ghost Train & Other Short Stories collection is a compilation of horror and suspense stories. Like Night Watcher it can be purchased at here, here and Smashwords here.

Her other short story collection, Obsession & Other Stories, is a compilation of crime and other stories – not as scary as Ghost Train but still enough to keep you looking over your shoulder.

Like her other published works, Obesssion & Other Stories is available at here, here, and at Smashwords here.

Excerpts from both of Chris’s short story collections can be read here if you dare…

And if you’re looking for something less dark, a bit more genteel if you will, then Chris’s first novel, A Salt Splashed Cradle, will fill that void. Set in the early 1800s, it’s a saga about the fisherfolk of north-east Scotland.

A Salt Splashed Cradle is available from here, here, and Smashwords here.

Do check out Chris’s writing. You won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget to stop by her blog and see what she’s up to.

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.

Book Lovers Blog Hop

Create your own banner at!

This is my first book lovers blog hop and I’m thrilled to be taking part in it. I first read about it on loveahappyending’s featured author Jess Strassner’s blog. It’s a first for her, too, hosting such a beast so it should be great fun for all of us “newbies”.

Now if I interpreted the rules correctly, I have to tell you about a book I’m reading or what I’m writing. We’ll the writing isn’t going well at all. I’ve hit yet another brick wall in the particular segment I’m working on so have gone back to reading.

The book I currently have open on my Sony reader is Souvenirs by Barbara Phinney which is available on Smashwords here. I won it at the ORWA self-publishing workshop a while back. Speaking of that workshop, I still have to blog about it.

So that’s what I’m up to. Now I think I’ll hop over to another blog and see what’s happening there.



Thousand Islands Writers Festival 1st Annual Storefront Writing Contest

The inaugural Thousand Islands Writers Festival Storefront Writing Contest is now just a memory. It was great to see it come to fruition. In the early days of the registration process, we weren’t sure what to expect and at one point there was talk of cancelling due to lack of participation. Thankfully, it didn’t come down to that.

Writer’s Ink was well represented with a number of the members out – Dorothy Bush, Sylvia Perry, Catherine Durnford-Wang, Marike Harris, Chris Hanna, Joe Mossman and me filling out the total number of thirteen.

I entrusted my husband, Don, with my camera since I couldn’t write and take pictures at the same time so he made sure the day was well documented.

We met at the local library at 9:30 where we drew our locations and were assigned a number. Even though we were writing under pseudonyms, the possibility existed that the judges might recognize us… hence the use of numbers.

Anxious participants waiting for the library to open

Our prompt was chosen by W.I. founder, Bunty Loucks. It was “if Sylvia had the faintest idea of the consequences of her action, she would immediately have written ‘Return to Sender’ across the envelope and dropped it in the nearest mailbox.” We had from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm to come up with our up to 2,000 word short story.

Getting our prompt and other pre-contest business
Drawing location and getting assigned my number

Seven King Street merchants played host to us. From west to east – Reliable Home Furniture (current and old location), Echo Clothing, Picket Fences, Tiny Prices, Alan Brown’s, National Rent to Own and Golden Soles.

Sylvia Perry at Tiny Prices
Catherine Durnford-Wang and Chris Hannah at Echo Clothing
Tari Pyke of Reliable helping Marike Harris get set up on wi-fi
Wendy Millar in one of the windows at Picket Fences
Melanie Robertson-King (aka Heather Park on this occasion) in the other window at Picket Fences
...and from inside the store

I have to say that Wendy and I were extremely well received and treated at Picket Fences. Jennifer made sure we had everything we needed, including the location of the washroom which was extremely important since we were going to be there pretty much all day. When she made the pot of coffee we were welcome to help ourselves to a cuppa.

Two more participants (Kirsha Martelle & Cindy Dopson) at Alan Brown's
Dorothy Bush at National Rent to Own
Joe Martelle at National Rent to Own
Joe Mossman at Golden Soles
Chris Wood at Golden Soles

We temporarily lost one of our participants. She ended up at the old Reliable Furniture location on the south side of King Street. She was eventually found and joined us at the Grindstone Tapas afterwards where we downloaded our compilations onto Thousand Islands Writers Festival committee member’s, Doreen Barnes, laptop.

Getting our files downloaded for transfer to the judges

While we waited our turn to get our files downloaded and answer some questions about the experience, we chatted amongst ourselves and everyone agreed they would do it again. We also talked about how we wrote our pieces… did we start at the beginning, the middle, the end. Did we outline? Did we pants it? I started with the end so I knew where I had to go, the journey there would be the fun part. I’m already looking forward to next year and hope I can draw the same location again. It was a lot of fun. And, a wee tidbit… my piece was 2,000 words on the nose!

What do we win for our day of “sweatshop” writing?

1st prize – Dinner at the Brockville Country Club with authors Merilyn Simonds and Wayne Grady during the Thousand Islands Writers Festival on Friday, October 14.

2nd prize – A pair of tickets to one of the presentations by the Brockville Concert Association

3rd prize  – $50 from Leeds County Books (our independent bookstore), donated by a TIWF member

The top three writers will be notified by phone that  they are invited to the Terry Fallis, Two Books, One Community event on Monday, September 26 at the Brockville Council Chambers where they will learn where they placed.

Ghost Train & Other Stories by Chris Longmuir

Chris Longmuir’s second collection of short stories is now available on for the Kindle.

The product description for Ghost Train & Other Stories reads a collection of horror stories, not meant for the faint-hearted.

What you won’t find in this book are zombies and vampires. Nor will you find anyone running around wielding a chainsaw, although there might be some knives and maybe a cleaver. Blood and gore is also missing, although I can’t guarantee you won’t stumble across some body parts.

However, you will find plenty to scare you in these stories unless, of course, you have become hardened to horror.

The four short stories in this book are a mixed batch of horror and paranormal stories which I hope you will enjoy. They include:-

The Ghost Train – was previously published in issue 39 of Dark Horizons in 2001, and is a dark story set in a fairground.

The Gourmet Club – is a story about a restaurant which features an exclusive, invitation only, gourmet club with rather unusual tastes.

Brainpower – is a fantasy about what happens to a student who craves more and more knowledge.

Déjà vu – is another paranormal story with a dark theme.

Read and enjoy.

Ghost Train & Other Stories can be downloaded from here.