Category Archives: General

Another recording for TV…

It’s been a busy day for me here today at Celtic Connexions. First of all, I’m taking part in Janice Horton’s Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party, celebrating the launch of her new novella How Do You Voodoo? And secondly, because it had been arranged some time ago that I would do a spot for our cable company’s program Reader’s Corner.

The show’s host, Doreen Barnes, and I chatted about my novel, A Shadow in the Past. What made me decide I would write a book? Why I set it where I did? We talked about my characters, Sarah & Robert, the research involved, and what my favourite scene is.

I could give you all the answers now in my blog post, but then you wouldn’t want to watch the program when it comes on next month.

At the end of our interview, I was asked to read a very short (about 30 seconds) passage from my book. So I picked one that I hope will entice you into purchasing your very own copy.

For those of you who are local to Brockville and have cable you’ll be able to watch it on local channel 10. I’ll post the date and air time when I get it, but with so many of my followers being scattered to the four corners of the world, the episode should be shown on their website. TV Cogeco Readers Corner. Once the show goes online, I’ll post the complete link.

Not quite the ear-to-ear grin that I had in Kansas but still looking pretty pleased with myself.

You can buy A Shadow in the Past from the following:

In Canada:


and if you’re local to Brockville, you can buy it from Leeds County Books, 73 King Street West or directly from me

In the US:

4RV Publishing:

Barnes & Noble:

And in the UK:

Celtic Connexions welcomes author Sheryl Browne as she re-launches her romantic comedy Recipes for Disaster

LAHE logo author Sheryl Browne re-launches Recipes for Disaster…

Recipes for Disaster

The shortest way to a man’s heart.

Mix romantic comedy and step-by-step cooking instructions. Bake at 200 degrees for an entertaining read and handy guide.

She’s a single. He’s a widower. She wants him. He wants her. She wants to impress. So does he. There’s just one catch – she can’t cook. To get him, she needs to get past the big fish – his mother. Lucky her, she’s got an Ace up her sleeve and all she’s got to do is impress this one time. Bad luck, though, her new guy can’t cook either, her dog Rambo is on the loose and now they’ve got to pull off the big lunch at the club. Will it be a match made in heaven? Will they be able to pull off a culinary miracle? Will their combined efforts result in love at first bite? Or is it simply a Recipe for Disaster?

Publication Date: 1 February 2012
Format: Paperback. Also available on Kindle
ISBN: 9781908208057

Available from: Amazon, any local bookstore, or direct from Safkhet Publishing Price: Paperback: £6.99, €7.99, or $9.99 respectively

Author website:
Twitter A/c @sherylbrowne:!/SherylBrowne

Author Facebook page:
RNA page: Buy:
Safkhet Publishing Buy:

Taster of Recipes for Disaster:

“One cup red or green seedless grapes, three cups shredded chicken…”

“OK, got it.” Phone wedged between shoulder and ear-hole, I scribbled down the ingredients Becky was giving me — while frantically spraying Febreze to disguise the stench of dead fish.

“…cooked,” Becky added.

“What?” I knitted my much furrowed brow.

“three cups shredded… cooked… chicken.” She spelled it out, slowly, as if talking to an incompetent. I might have taken umbrage, but for the fact that my domestic Goddess gene wasn’t so much deficient, as it died, probably at birth. A slave in the kitchen I was not. Slut in the bedroom I could do. Or would quite like to. Somehow, though, I doubted the new man in my life would want to make mad passionate love to the girl who’d just killed off his mother.

“Honestly, Lisa…” Becky sighed. “It has to be cooked before you shred it. You can’t shred raw chicken, can you?”

She was taking the pee now. “Obviously,” I dripped, indignant, though there was a good possibility I might have tried.

“And make sure it’s a happy chicken.”

“Ri-ght.” I paused to ponder. “Cooked and shredded, I should think it’ll be highly amused.”

“Oh, ha-di-ha.” Becky didn’t sound impressed. “I meant, an organic chicken, plucked and without giblets. Wash it under cold water, then place the whole chicken in a big pot, cover it with water, and bring it to boil over a high heat.”

“By which time it will be positively ecstatic.”


“Ahem. High heat, got you. Go on.”

“Make sure it doesn’t boil over,” Becky continued, after an audible humph. “Once it’s boiling, you can turn down the heat. Let the bird cook for at least one hour and then check if it comes off the bone easily. If not, turn off the heat and leave it in the pot until it does. Depending on the size of the bird, this might take a bit longer.”

“Becky, slow down!” I scrawled frenziedly and tried to keep up.

“Right, got it. I think. Next?”

Becky emitted another despairing sigh. “Order a takeaway.”


“Never mind.” She sighed — again, pointedly. “Repeat back what I’ve just said.”

“Hold on.” I turned to kick the back door closed before I got frostbite, then grabbed up the saucepan containing the culinary catastrophe I might have poisoned new man Adam and his mum with — and tipped it in the dog dish.

Then padded back across the kitchen and fell over the dog.

“Ooh, God! Three cups shredded cooked… absolutely delighted …chicken!”

I snapped, straightening up from the work surface, which mercifully broke my fall before I parted company with my teeth. “Good boy, Rambo,” I cooed, more sweetly. “Din dins, hon.”

My midget Jack Russell looked at me, looked at the dish — wherein floated a monkfish head, sniffed it, curled a lip, I would swear, then beat a hasty retreat to the hall.

“What else?” I asked after the next ingredient, while heaving out a sigh of my own, then trying hard not to breathe back in. The Bouillabaisse — traditional Provençal fish stew (Easy Fish recipe book now in trash) — I’d decided to serve for the brunch Adam had invited himself and his mother to, smelled horribly pungent while cooking. Burned, it could strip the lining from your lungs. I shudder to think what it would do to your digestive tract.

“Patience, lots of… on my part,” Becky went on wearily, “one cup thinly sliced celery, half a cup thinly sliced green onions, half a cup chopped, salted roasted pistachios…”

“Pistachios?! Where am I supposed to get…”

“Kitchen cupboard, right hand side. At least, that’s where they were at Christmas.”

“Oh, right.” I nodded and wondered whether I should also do an inventory of my kitchen cupboards… sometime.

“Next…” Becky went on efficiently: “…a quarter cup of fresh chopped mint leaves. And, yes, you have got some,” she assured me. “You bought it when you got the parsley and thyme for the Bouillabaisse. You’ll also need … two cups cooked couscous. If you like, you can use Bulgur or rice instead.”

“Is that it?” I asked, feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead as well as odious smells.

“For the salad, yes. For the Curry Chutney Dressing, you’ll need…”

Tescos, I thought wanly.

Friday the 13th…

And what did it bring to Eastern Ontario? Well, let me tell you it wasn’t pleasant. Mother Nature got a head start on the fun and games with a day of freezing rain yesterday. This morning, it was just rain but with the ice on everything, it froze when it made contact. Then it changed to snow. Huge flakes to start with! Now the snow that’s falling is in really fine ones.

Our power was up and down at work this morning. We have a generator which kept some of the offices up and running. Payroll/document imaging (my office) was one of them. But even the generator kicked off a couple of times… and right after we’d just managed to get all of our programs opened.

Just before 3:00, we were given the go ahead to leave because the latest prediction for restoring power could be as late as noon tomorrow!

Now you might think I’m weird, but I was hoping that the power would be off at home for at least 24 hours. I have a gas stove so could cook (can’t use the oven), I have a gas heater that doesn’t require electricity to work. It lights like a propane/gas BBQ, and when we switched from oil to gas some years ago, we asked for the old-style water heater rather than a power-vent one, so we would have hot water. I have candles, lots of flashlights and plenty of batteries.

Possibly even more important, my son has a power inverter for his car so I could charge my laptop and my Blackberry (it needs charging now so best do it before my wish does come true).

So what did I come home to, you ask? This…

Juniper tree at the back corner of my garage

My poor Juniper tree is bent right over under the weight of the ice and the heavy, wet snow. It’s been through many an ordeal so I’m not sure if it will come back again.

Other heavily laden trees in my back yard

All of the trees are feeling the pinch of the sudden blast of winter and I don’t think they are liking it too much. While it may look pretty, it sure isn’t good to drive in, nor walk in or just generally be outdoors.

And the best is yet to come! The temperature is still hovering around the 0C mark. The flash freeze is coming and by tomorrow it will be -20C. Brrr…

Santa Claus Came to Town

This afternoon was the annual Santa Claus parade here in Brockville. Today was mild enough we could enjoy watching it go past our front door outdoors, although the air was damp with rain. Thankfully, the precipitation held off until the parade was over and has still held off.

In previous years, the night before a parade, the city goes along the route leaving temporary NO Parking signs then on parade morning come back and turn them to face the streets. They didn’t do that this year so there were a number of cars parked along the route making it difficult for the entrants to navigate… especially the huge tractor trailers (or lorries as my UK friends refer to them).

The Brockville re-enactors start every parade and are sent well out ahead of the rest of the parade because they’re marching and take time to fire their guns at regular intervals throughout the route.

The Brockville Re-enactors

This year’s event had almost seventy entries! So it was a long time before it ended. In typical Brockville parade fashion, it was well strung out and this year that problem was compounded when floats couldn’t get around corners and had to back up and go ahead many times to succeed without hitting vehicles.

The Grinch

No Brockville parade, no matter the season, wouldn’t be complete without at least one pipe band. Usually, the local band and/or Spencerville are in attendance among the others but this year neither one were in attendance. We did, however, have the Rob Roy Pipe Band from Kingston.

The Rob Roy Pipe Band
The smallest member of the band struggling to keep up

Among the cartoon characters putting in an appearance today, were those modern stone-age families… The Flinstones and The Rubbles.

Bedrock meets Brockville

The following picture is mostly for the benefit of my UK friends. Much different from the snub-nosed (or as we call them here cab-over) they’re used to seeing on the roads. The company both my husband and I work for pull 53′ trailers and during certain times of year pull two of them that length in a train! Good thing the latter are only allowed on the motorways between Toronto and Montreal. And if there’s an accident which causes a road closure, they can’t be detoured. They’re parked until the road is re-opened.

One of our huge North American lorries

And what’s a parade without horses and other animals. A horsebreeder from Mallorytown entered with three of their steeds and the Ontario SPCA (our local branch) brought a few dogs out for a walk. Any that were wearing Blue coats are up for adoption.

The Gypsy Vanner Horses from Mallorytown
The OSPCA and their dogs

Somehow, I don’t think my dog (aka alarm dog) would be best pleased if we were to bring another one into the house. And I can’t say as I blame him. He’s ruled the roost for quite some time now… beginning when he lived with my daughter next door and came here to play in the backyard. My friend, Chris, and her family will remember him from the day they visited us when she came to Canada.

Sadly not up for adoption but still beautiful

Santa’s float was one of the ones that had a difficult time navigating around the corner enroute to our location – all because of a parked car. When the float passed us, my husband noticed that the lights on the right side of the trailer had been pulled off all because someone needed to get the “perfect” place to watch the parade from.

The jolly old elf, himself, and Mrs Claus
The jolly old elf, himself, and Mrs Claus

We’ve been back in the house for about an hour now and the dampness is finally leaving my bones. Now that Santa has come and gone, has it put me in the Christmas spirit? Not yet, but closer. Colder temperatures and snow would help. And now that I have the winter tires on my car, I say “bring it on!”

Happy Halloween!!!

Another Halloween is upon us. Do you do anything special for the kids who come trick or treating? Create a haunted house maybe for them to tour through? Put up lots of decorations?

I’ve not gone so far as to create the haunted house, but I do have some headstones and skeletons that I like to display on my front yard. I also have a flying bat that I’ve put up in previous years. Sadly, poor old “Drac” has seen better days and has been retired. All is not lost, because I now have “Drac 2”! I picked him up at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago.

The Happy Couple - Boner & Bride

My dilemma now is how to display everyone… or should that be everything. Two years ago, when I bought a second large skeleton, I had a skeleton wedding. My first one, who I had named “Boner” some years before got hitched to the new one. So I had him decked out in a top hat and bow tie (sorry no tails) hanging from the porch roof. Even “Drac” got into the action and was a witness for the happy couple. You can see him flapping in the foreground. The dead flowers for the bride’s bouquet was the final accessory for the “wedding of the century”!

The Happy Family - Boner, Bride & Betsy

Last year, a small skeleton joined the family… So now I have “Boner, Bride & Betsy”. Sometime between Halloweens when the adults were in storage, they ‘made a baby’.

Who knows what mischief they got up to this past year whilst being locked away in the garden shed. I’m almost afraid to go out and look lest I find them in a clinch, or compromising position, if you will!

I know, I know I’m being way TOO silly here. But it’s Halloween. Let’s be silly, have some fun and be ready to scare the be-jiggers out of a bunch of little and not-so-little kids!

Double, double toil and trouble

Fire burn and cauldron bubble – Wm Shakespeare

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.

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:

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.