Copyright Infringement: A Warning to all Authors


Thanks to Tim Baker for publishing a letter outlining the ongoing problems of online piracy and copyright violation. All Authors should read and heed!

Originally posted on blindoggbooks:

I would like to share a letter sent to me by a fellow independent author, who wishes to remain anonymous, about a website claiming to be promoting independent authors, when in reality it appears that they are offering free downloads of the work of dozens of us.

If you are an author, independent or otherwise, I urge you to read this letter and investigate the site yourself. Find out if your work is posted there and take appropriate action to have it removed, or, at the very least, make sure you are willing to grant permission to the site owners to list your work.

Making money as an independent author is difficult enough without pirating sites giving our work away under false pretenses AND without our permission.

Please share, tweet or reblog this post in order to spread the word through the independent author community and, hopefully, put some pressure…

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Frank Beltrano – Square-Foot Poet

Frank Beltrano was one of the featured Authors July 6th, 2014, over on my other blog, Reading Recommendations, and told us then of this unique way he’d developed of presenting his poems. He’s back now to describe a new project in which he’s participating that allows him to showcase his writing alongside the work of visual artists.

In March, when I unveiled my Coffee Shop Mysteries poems as shadow-boxes, it was suggested by the Westland Gallery that I participate in their Square Foot Show.

At that time I had already written a palindrome inspired by two greeting cards I kept on my desk. That poem benefits greatly from being read while viewing the artwork, watercolours by Cori Lee Marvin, that inspired it. So that was a natural for a visual poem.


I had also been asked by my friend, photographer Al Sugerman, to consider a series of photos he had taken of our mutual friend Tony Eyamie turning clay. The black and white photos were close-ups of his hands working the clay into the shape of an urn. My wife, Marie-Claire, and I visited Tony and Joan Bailey’s gallery, the Patina Studios in Bayfield, where my shadow-boxes are currently hanging, and Joan talked to us about the funerary urns Tony makes. All this came together in a second square foot piece entitled, “Hands and Clay”.


The Square Foot Show is an annual event at the Westland Gallery in Wortley Village, London, Ontario. Artists are allowed to submit no more than three pieces, which when framed must each measure one foot by one foot. This year, 172 artists are included. All sorts of media were used to create over 400 pieces.

I am honored my work is on the same wall as some of the finest artists from the region. My biggest thrill came from watching gallery-goers at the opening linger over my pieces and read the words. It is possible to see the observer’s attention shift from viewing to reading. It made me feel I have had an impact.

The show runs to August 16th. Plan to spend some time if you go. There is a lot to take in.

IMG_0237 Susan Toy & Frank at the Black Walnut Café  Oct 03 2013

And here I am, conferring with Frank Beltrano – who was also a Coffee Shop Author! – outside of one of the other popular spots in Wortley Village in London, The Black Walnut.

80 (Short) Facts About Being an Indie Author (The Full List!)


Reblogging this important list for every writer/author to read and heed. It was created by Therin Knite who was previously promoted on Reading Recommendations. Thank you, Therin!

Originally posted on Knite Writes:

Regarding Sales…

1.) Your first book will sell 5 copies in its first month. If you’re very lucky.

2.) Your first book will sell 50 copies in its first year, if you’re even luckier.

3.) Your second book will cause your first book to sell slightly better. If it’s a sequel.

4.) If your second book isn’t a sequel, both your first and second book will sell…probably nothing.

5.) You might start seeing an uptick in your overall sales numbers…once you hit book 5 or 6.

6.) More likely, you won’t see any sales increase until you get somewhere around book 10. If you ever see a sales increase at all.

7.) You will see sales when you run ads with certain popular ad sites (like Kindle Books & Tips and Ereader News Today).

8.) Unless all of those sites are Bookbub, the sales tail won’t last but a few…

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Your mother should know…


Another blog post from the past for #MondayBlogs, this time from Nov. 17, 2011.

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

My mother raised me to be an honest person. Like a good writer, she did this by showing me through example rather than telling me how I should act. I remember accompanying her to the grocery store along Queen St. and watching in amazement while she gave back an overpayment of change the clerk had handed to her. It wasn’t much money, but enough that the clerk was taken aback. I guess no other customer had been so honest as to to call out a mistake made in their favour. That lesson really stuck with me, mainly because it happened more than once.

Both my parents were honest people. They were never rich, but Dad earned a decent living, enough to look after our family. We were lucky, I guess, that Grandma had become the financier she did when she first came to Canada from Belgium, building up a small…

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A life in lengths


Here’s a blog post I wrote nearly 3 years ago that’s about a lifetime spent learning how to write under water … sort of. Reblogging today for #MondayBlogs

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

Astrologically I’m Cancer – a water sign. I don’t remember learning to swim. My family bought our cottage the year I was born, so I spent every summer there until I was old enough to work and stay in the city. I do remember living in the water most of that time, swimming in the lake as early as Easter weekend, and driving my Mom nuts if the ice hadn’t quite melted. We wore bathing suits from the moment we got out of bed in the morning until we had to go back to bed at night, At least, that’s how it seemed.

It’s funny… we lived in The Beach in Toronto, south of Queen St. and less than a block away from the boardwalk and sand next to Lake Ontario, yet my best memories of swimming are always from when we were at the cottage.

Mom was scared of…

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Goodreads Giveaway – 5 copies of “Island in the Clouds”!!


Readers, this contest to win copies of my novel is still running over on Goodreads! You must live in CA, US, UK, AU, NZ, IE or ZA and enter before Aug. 4th.

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

There is still time to enter to win one of 5 copies of my novel, Island in the Clouds, on the Goodreads site – if you are a member who lives in any of the following countries: Canada, US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or South Africa. You must enter before Aug. 4th. Even if you already have a print copy, or have read either the print or eBook versions, I urge you to enter again and also encourage your friends to enter, as well. (And if you’re not already a member of Goodreads, what are you waiting for? It’s free, and there are always many more Giveaways listed every day from other authors and publishers.)

Here is a link to the details about mine:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Island in the Clouds by Susan M. Toy

Island in the Clouds

by Susan M. Toy

Giveaway ends August 04, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


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I shoulda known better …


Here’s another reblog of an older post from Nov. 16, 2013, when I was dealing with a similar situation as today. It’s all over now though, Baby Blue! Phew!

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

A couple of weeks ago, I read, liked, and shared a blog post written by a publishing professional I follow. Since the topic was about getting published – a topic with which I have some experience – I posted a comment on the blog, offering my “opinion”. I tried to keep what I said as positive, but as realistic, as possible, because that’s the kind of person I am. Let them down gently, but offer hope, if they’re willing to follow the rules. Several people wrote to compliment me on what I had said. But several others took exception with my opinion (and it was just my opinion, after all), stating that I was completely wrong, that their attempts to get published had been an entirely different experience, so therefore I obviously didn’t know what I was talking about. Please note that none of these people ever mentioned that they…

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Dear Writer … it’s not all about you, ya know! – a reminder


Please consider this to be reminder #4 … Unfortunately, it all needs to be said, yet again, because some of you just aren’t getting the message, I’m afraid. It’s still not all about you, Dear Writer!

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

I was going to write a blog post about social media and how I’ve been paring down my use of it, because I’m finding it to be not all that social or the best media for me at the moment. After discussing with a fellow author how disappointing Twitter is (and she cleverly described T. as “like a 4-lane highway at rush hour with cars bumper-to-bumper. It makes me nervous”), I realized what bothers me isn’t not being able to navigate and use Twitter properly, but more the barrage of Tweeps who constantly tweet: Look at me! Aren’t I clever! Buy my book!

Now I’m not saying that I don’t do some self-promotion on there, but I do try to balance that with tweets of value to others, including promoting fellow authors. And I also offer, up front in my profile, what I am prepared do for other Tweeps. Most…

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Deflating Bullies


After considering something that happened today in the blogisphere, I searched back through my old blog posts and found this one that partly addresses the situation. From June 11, 2012, here are my thoughts on dealing with bullies, cyber or otherwise.

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

I remember one episode during my childhood when I was chased home by a group of girls I didn’t know. They kicked at me, called me names, and scared the bejesus out of me. I didn’t tell anyone at the time that this had happened – especially not my mother! If fact, this is the very first time I have mentioned that memory. I never knew what it was I had done to cause them to treat me this way – because I was sure it must have been something I’d done or said that caused the abuse – but I was relieved when it never happened again.

We didn’t talk about bullies or bullying then. They were just a fact of the school yard and playground. And we dealt with bullies and bullying alone, and in whatever way we could. This usually meant internalizing the insults, taunts, and physical…

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Dear Indie Author


This is an excellent letter I wish I had sent to a number of Indie-Book Authors I’ve tried reading over the past couple of years.

Originally posted on Tricia Drammeh:

Dear Indie Author,

Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment. You’ve written a book, which is an incredible achievement. I’m so proud of you!

Unfortunately, I was not able to review your book. I know how important reviews are, so I really hate that I can’t give you that glowing, five-star review you were looking for. I enjoy our interaction on Facebook and I think you’re a really nice person. Rather than embarrass you by leaving a two-star review, I decided to contact you in private instead. I hope we can still be friends.

When I downloaded your book during its Kindle Free weekend, I had every intention of reading it. I really did. Your cover is gorgeous and the blurb is very intriguing. I couldn’t wait to dive right in. I’m sorry, but the story didn’t grab me. There were so many errors, it became distracting. Whether was confused with weather. There

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Literature and Wine Pairings for Afficianados of Both

Susan Finlay Writes

Susan Writes Mysteries and Suspense

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A blog of life according to me.

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The inner workings of a self published author

Tricia Drammeh

Author, Blogger, Book Lover


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