Preparing for the Sun!

Hello from Ottawa, Miss Penny speaking!   My boss, Susan, is busy getting ready for a trip to visit her son and daughter-in-law, in Costa Rica. How neat is that having a relative living in the sun? Our house is in chaos, not because of packing, I don’t think that has started yet, but because it is like a revolving door with activities and visitors. Granddaughter, Annabelle, left yesterday and I’m assuming the suitcase will come out today. Of course, Susan thinks that I don’t know what’s going on but dogs have a sixth sense about these things. I’m not averse to making Susan feel guilty about leaving me. I’ll be clingy, maybe whine a bit but secretly I’m looking forward to my own holiday. I’m going to visit my mom Leila. Leila lives in a house with a backyard, now that’s a great place to have a holiday when you’re a dog who resides on the ninth floor of an apartment.
Thank you to those of you who expressed sympathy when I lost my fur coat. I’m still reeling from the shock and walks in the park even with a jacket are cold. Although, this week saw the first day of spring and the fur is getting thicker. I’m doing okay.
Writing, editing and course planning has been going on all week but with so many interruptions not much progress was made. Psst! That makes the boss a touch cranky. She definitely needs a holiday. That’s all from me today, over to the boss.
I have little to add to Miss Penny report. I am preparing to unplug and enjoy a relaxing holiday. The suitcase is coming out today and it will be a joy to pull out the summer clothes. Reading is a major part of a holiday for me so I am scanning my bookshelves for easy beach reading and getting the sunscreen out.


Books I’m Reading:    I finished First Snow, Last Light by Wayne Johnson, I enjoyed this book. A very different kind of book with multiple points of view, which the author does brilliantly. The hook at the beginning draws you in and the resolution of the hook is not revealed until the very end. Excellent 5 stars.



I have moved on to my favourite author Anne Perry and her latest Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery Murder on the Serpentine, just released in paperback. Thomas, head of Special Branch that looks after the country’s security, is summoned to the Buckingham Palace by Queen Victoria. He is asked to investigate a suspicious death that might involve the Prince of Wales. Secrets, mystery and intrigue that Anne Perry does so well.

My holiday reading will be composed of Anne Perry’s An Echo of Death a William Monk series and two light romances by Debbie Macomber. If I have browsing time at the airport, you never know what I might pick up.

All books available on Amazon.


The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on Amazon .99c

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99

Free e-book available Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read.

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

Click to download free e-book

Rain, Read & Write!

Hello, from Ottawa on an unusually mild February day. Raised in the U.K. where the main topic of conversation was the weather and generally the subject, rain. When I moved to Ottawa Canada weather was always front and centre but with more variety; snow, ice, freezing rain, temperatures from +40c to -40c, winds even hurricanes and humid heat in the summer. But, always, summer and winter, lots of blue sky and sunshine. I must be crazy living here but all I have to do is look up and see the blue sky and sunshine. On those grey days or when it’s too cold or too hot, I indulge in my favourite pastimes, reading or writing.
Have you ever thought of writing? There is an old saying that everyone has a book in them or a story to tell. However, few of us actually put pen to paper. Encouraged by a friend to write my story I registered for a workshop, learned how to write and fell in love with writing. I had found my passion.
Some of you reading this will remember I taught several writing workshops just a couple of years ago and then The Sackville Trilogy took up most of my time. The trilogy finished, I am teaching again.
First Sentence to First Sale is a course for writers and want-to-be-writers; designed to give you an overview of the writing process; overcome self-doubt, focus on one idea, schedule writing and most of all help you decide if writing is your passion. The online version of First Sentence to First Sale is divided into three separate courses. Course one will be available at a reduced price for beta testing and feedback by the end of March. If you would like to be a member of the beta team, please contact me.

Want to know more about Susan’s course and books. Click here 

What have grey skies and rain, prompted me to read? I know it’s odd to have rain in February in Ottawa. As I’ve turned my writing hand to contemporary sweet romance I read Debbie Macomber’s Rose Harbor series. These books are light, romantic and nice easy reads. And who doesn’t want a little romance in their life? Having exhausted my need for romance I returned to my favourite author Anne Perry.

Anne writes Victorian mystery set in London U.K. I am catching up with the latest William Monk series and reading Revenge In A Cold River. Anne Perry is a master of mystery. Her descriptions and detail immerses you in Victorian London.


As an author, I am constantly learning about the art of writing and for my nonfiction book I am reading The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass. The deeper you understand characters the better the story. I can highly recommend this book.


The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on Amazon .99c

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99

Free e-book available Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read.

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

Click to download free e-book

Change and Challenge!

Change and challenge that is how I see this next year. I have lofty expectations of me and my writing this year and for my readers, there will be a little of everything. The long-awaited Anna’s Legacy – Book II of The Sackville Hotel Trilogy is due for release shortly, Tellwell is working feverishly on the cover.  Book III of the trilogy will be out late this year. My new character Eleanor will be appearing in more short stories in Algonquin Park and I might if there’s time, write more romance for Frances and Paul at Mr. Booker’s Book Store. I think that will be it for fiction. I am working on a series of humorous, lighthearted non-fiction books about my life as an author and there will be more journals. Quite a tall order for one year, but as Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn said to me if you accomplish all your goals for the year, you didn’t set the bar high enough. The bar is set pretty high for 2017.

I’m trying not to be obsessed about the new year thing as Kristen Joy Laidig of The Book Ninja said in her webinar, January 1st is just a date same as another date. If we want to make changes we do it NOW don’t wait for tomorrow or a number of the month. Excellent advice

But…but… couldn’t I start my diet-project-plan tomorrow? No! Start right now. And on that note, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and there is no better way than to raise your glasses with these cute dogs–adorable!

To keep up to date on Susan’s activities and book launches, free books and giveaways please sign up for  Susan’s Reader’s Group. I promise no spamming, generally once a month for specific announcements and a little book and author trivia.

Women or Ladies?

I know I date myself when I use the word ladies rather than women (spellcheck tells me I’m biased. I think it’s respect) and I don’t mind one bit. I am proud of my maturity, it took a long time to get here with many grey hairs, wrinkles, wounds and scars to show for it. Why wouldn’t I be proud? My maturity allows me to write about mature women.

I know how her life experiences, fears, family, career, love and losses, have influenced and changed her life. Developing a character is far more than adjectives on a page. I look deep inside her soul, what made her who she is and why? Based on her past how would she behave now? How would she live her life; respond to losses and achievements, love her family and her husband/partner–romance doesn’t die with youth. A woman of mature age has a richness and complexity about her that younger women can’t have because they are young. Although youth brings many other attributes, just by its very nature youth cannot be mature.

Protagonist, Anna in The Sackville Hotel Trilogy starts out as a nineteen year old woman seeking independence. Mrs. Banks and Lady Thornton are mature women who play a significant part in Anna’s maturity. By the end of the trilogy Anna is in her sixties, her life has changed drastically she has experienced fear, happiness, loss, hope, love and disaster. She loved twice, differently, once in her youth and once as a mature women.

I have developed three more mature lady characters in my short stories. Some of you will be familiar with Black Lake Chronicles. Hannah, an armateur sleuth, is in her mid-sixties, getting into scrapes and danger but always has her husband Tom to depend on. Eleanor’s Writing Adventures is a new series I’m writing. Eleanor who is a hobby writer has recently escaped her corporate job to write. And then there is Frances in the Chance Encounter series. Frances is a shy spinster preparing to retire from her boring job at the bank; her passion is reading and she bumps into a divorced, shy professor at Mr. Booker’s Book Store. All these characters have a richness to bring to the page, a richness I enjoy writing and like-minded ladies will enjoy reading.

Note: Black Lake Chronicles are available on the My Book page – Chance Encounter first published at Commuter Lit and is soon to be an e-book. Eleanor’s Writing Adventures is a work in progress. First story Eleanor Does Not Camp! was published in Thirty at Thirty by The Ottawa Independent Writers. For more information please contact Susan


Busy Bee!

Busy Bee, a strange title but describes my week. Technically I am between books so to speak. I have made some changes to the covers of The Blue Pendant and Ruins in Silk to reflect, The Sackville Hotel Trilogy, changes. Book two of the trilogy is now complete and at Tellwell for them to work their magic with cover design and formatting;  book three is outlined and ready to be written. However, although the author in me is anxious to get on with book three, I have trouble multitasking stories, which means I need to wait before diving into The Heirloom Gem – Book 3. So, as if I don’t have enough to do, I took a course on journal design from an amazing woman, Kristen Joy Laidig, and then taught myself Adobe InDesign. What a massive learning curve but I did it, at the expense of tearing my hair out, I think I have a few bald patches but who needs hair!  This led to twisting my, very talented artistic, daughter Rosemary’s arm into working with me to design a colouring book, complete with quotes from The Sackville Hotel Trilogy, work is underway, completion date early 2017.

What to do with my new-found talent? Being an avid reader and book collector I designed not one but two book tracking journals for people like me who can’t remember which books they’ve read or where they are in a series, or whether or not they liked or disliked the books and authors, and much more. Each journal includes thirty-five quotations from famous authors, mostly female and in journal two all are from the classics.

A Book Tracking Journal For Ladies Who Love to Read Book I

A Brilliant Idea! To keep track of books, authors, facts and figures

Each journal quotes thirty-five famous authors

Each journal quotes thirty-five famous authors


Journal 1 is available now at Amazon and can be delivered before Christmas. Journal 2 will up by Monday.

I will have a limited supply here in about a week.

BIG EVENT! Remember I mentioned that I had been interviewed and recorded for my first podcast, very exciting; the podcast goes live on Monday December 5th. Log in to, and listen to my conversation with the lovely Alexandra Amor of about my writing life.

Sackville or Anna?

The sequel to The Blue Pendant called The New Sackville Hotel  will be here in a few weeks. Originally I intended the story to span two books. However, three-quarters of the way through writing the sequel The New Sackville Hotel  Book ll, I realized the story was not nearly finished and a third book needed to be written; a trilogy is born.

The Blue Pendant front cover

Do we need a name for the trilogy? Because much of the story takes place at the Sackville hotel my first thought was Sackville Saga – Book l. However, the story does travel to other locations in England and several trans-Atlantic crossing to Canada always returning to the Sackvillle Hotel.  My second choice would be Anna’s Saga – Book 1. Anna is the main character throughout the three novels, it is her life’s journey. I would value your opinion. Please write in the comments which title you prefer?

  1. No title just Book 1 (2 & 3)
  2. Sackville Saga – Book 1 (2 & 3)
  3. Anna’s Saga – Book 1  (2 & 3)

The Blue Pendant is available at all online retailers ebooks and paperback including ; Amazon with just one click for e-book and paperback; Kobo e-books only. Also available at the following Ontario bookstores. Coles at Billings Bridge, Arnprior Book Shop, The Loft in Smiths Falls and The Book Nook in Perth.

Ruins in Silk a novella, the prequel to The Blue Pendant but not part of the trilogy is also available as above Amazon with one click.


Rest for the Creative Mind

Charleston Lake 3

Cottage at Charleston Lake

A writer’s mind is always creating, at least mine is and I’m quite sure I’m not alone. I can’t help myself, I see an old building, an unusual person or a lost dog and imagine their story. I travel Eastern Ontario delivering books to small towns near Ottawa. Last week I was in Smiths Falls delivering  to a delightful store, The Loft, well worth a visit. I parked in front of an old boarded up hotel. Wow! Can you imagine the stories that place could tell? Then I drove on to Perth, my favourite Ontario town and delivered books to The Book Nook, a perfect destination for book lovers. Later I relaxed with a coffee and Eccles cake in the famous Stewart Park, (if you know what an Eccles cake is, send me a comment and I’ll send you a story) more fodder for my creative mind, two golden retrievers playing in the River Tay as it meandered through green grass. I spotted an old woman dressed unconventionally pounding a long walking stick with every purposeful stride, a terrific character. What was her story?
All this outside creating is going on while I’m writing and creating books. There comes a point when not even the tiniest idea can squeeze into my head and what’s even more disturbing is nothing creative comes out. Devastating! But it is temporary. The answer is a change of scene and rest and the best way for me to rest is to read someone else’s creation.

Charleston Lake

Charleston Lake

No blog last week, I was resting at a cottage on Charleston Lake at Sharon and Ed’s Cam’s Camp with friend Debbie Stenson. My intention was to write but my mind said no, it’s time to read, which I did and I can highly recommend two of my reading choices.
The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman A début novel, set at a remote Australian lighthouse, absolutely fabulous an unusual story of how one decision can affect so many lives. Five stars from me.
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain I was hooked by this author with her novel The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun is as good if not better. The story of Beryl Markham a famed aviator, set in colonial Kenya in the ’20s, the descriptions are breathtaking and the story of a young woman’s unconventional up bring riveting. Definitely five stars

Well rested and writing again. You will be pleased to hear The New Sackville Hotel is in the editing process and my mind is already moving to the next, the third novel in the saga (not counting the prequel Ruins in Silk). Yes, there is another one, couldn’t get everything into this last one so the saga will continue. And wait for it — Poised for a new series, Ruins in Silk following Sophie Romano as she serves as a nurse in The Great War. Next year perhaps.

The Blue Pendant and Ruins in Silk are now available at the following locations:
The Loft, Davidson Courtyard 7 Russel St West Smiths Falls
The Book Nook 60 Gore St East Perth
Arnprior Book Shop, John St N Arnprior

Event – Reading and signing at Coles Billings Bridge Aug 12 from 11 am – 2 pm 

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Introverted Writer

Peaceful Reading and Writing!


Arowhon Pines Resort Algonquin Park

If you have a general impression that writers are introverted you would be right 75% of the time. I would put myself close to the recluse category at times. After a very busy May with a wonderful visit from my mother, (96 years old who traveled from Britain to Canada, just an amazing lady) and the release of Ruins in Silk, I was ready to crawl under a rock.

Writer’s retreat to the rescue, I spent two days at Brian Henry’s retreat with fellow writers at the Arowhon Pines Resort in Algonquin Park. It is so beautiful I booked in for the whole week. Oh my goodness, I have found my piece of heaven. First of all, let me make it clear, I don’t camp, but I do enjoy nature; waking up in the morning and staring at a glassy lake, the mist rising pink in the sunrise, perfect, as long as it accompanied by fluffy pillows, a warm duvet and an ensuite bathroom, five-star food with silver service and kind wonderful staff to take care of you. Well, Arowhon Pines delivered all of that and more. Reading: Like most writers, I am also an avid reader and consumed two novels,  Blood on the Water by my absolute favourite author Anne Perry and Canadian novel The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka.

How much writing did I accomplish? Tons and tons! Without the internet, cell phone or even a landline, I wrote and wrote inspiration just poured out and The New Sackville Hotel , the sequel to The Blue Pendant, is finished, much work left to do but I expect it to be on book shelves by October.

Good Morning, Mr Heron!

Good Morning, Mr Heron!

Nature! While I was writing I saw muskrats, beavers, mama loon on her nest and others calling and swimming on the lake. I love loons, perhaps my favourite water bird. Several moose including a cow with a calf and one morning I opened my eyes to see a blue heron walking stealthily right in front of my window. Next year, yes I booked for next year, I am going to take a canoe out and battle the black flies on the trails. And work on book four, I just couldn’t fit everything into the sequel.

New easy to remember one click Amazon link for

My author page:

Ruins in Silk:

The Blue Pendant: