Paul Wensley – a listening recommendation

This is the third installment in a series of Listening Recommendations. Today I’m pleased to present Paul Wensley – Paul and I attended the same high school, Malvern Collegiate Institute, in Toronto! Since graduating, Paul has been an actor, voice actor, producer, editor and is also a fine musician, singer/songwriter.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.30.40 PMPaul Wensley

What is your latest release and what type of music is it? Smooch You Crazy – pop rock

Quick description of the music you perform:
Paul writes/performs a mixture of different styles of music including rock, progressive rock, soft rock. His eclectic influences include David Bowie, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, Blink 182, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman, Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney and many others.

Your brief bio:
Paul is an international award-winning producer, writer, editor of promos and trailers. In 2009, while producing promos for the CBC series Being Erica, and after years of using library music for his numerous promos and trailers, Paul decided to score one with original music. This launched an unwavering musical passion that encompasses scores for numerous film/television projects and a multitude of songs. Recently, record producer Tim Thorney (Alanis Morissette) produced three of Paul’s tracks.

Links for people to buy your music or hear you perform:
*A New Big Bang for sale on iTunes (produced by Tim Thorney)
Smooch You CrazyYouTube
Focus AwayYouTube
Not Hooked Up RightSoundcloud
No EscapeSoundcloud
A New Big Bang (lyric video) – YouTube
Breathe In (cover) – YouTube
Big Wall (lyrics) – YouTube
Buckley’s commercial

Your promo links:
YouTube Channel

What are you working on now?
Paul is working on completing his first CD.

Please recommend the name of a musician or band whose work you’ve enjoyed hearing lately.
I think Chasing Pavements by Adele is the perfect song.

I would prefer not to


A very important post on the problems of finding a traditional publisher for your work by Jane Dougherty who was previously featured on Reading Recommendations.

Originally posted on Jane Dougherty Writes:

I was discussing with an editor friend of mine the other day some of the infuriating comments I had received from publishers about a rejected manuscript. I have had a couple in a row now saying more or less the same thing—great story, great writing and we’d love to take it if only you could change a few things. The few things being essentially take out all the imagery, introduce snappy smart-ass dialogue instead of description, cut the number of important characters who the reader will get to know down to two, and get rid of all the passive voice. In other words, rewrite in such a way that my story resembles, in everything but irrelevant details, a hundred other stories that have made money for their publishers.

Keep the language and the concepts simple, they advise, because no reader likes having to think about the meaning of an image…

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Ethical Author Code


From Dylan Hearn’s blog, Suffolk Scribblings … I plan to add this logo to both my blogs and link to the code to show my support and aggreement.

Originally posted on Suffolk Scribblings:

I'm an Ethical Author

A couple of weeks ago the Alliance of Independent Authors announced the establishment of an Ethical Author Code in response to a general concern about the behaviour of some authors, both self-published and traditionally published. Like the vast majority of authors I know, I already follow the principles behind this code but I believe there is a real value in stating this more explicitly.

I would encourage any of my author friends to also publicly commit to this code. It doesn’t cost you anything, you aren’t signing up to an organisation, it is just a public declaration to behave responsibly and ethically in all aspects of your writing career.

To find out more, please either click on the image above or click on the link here.

Ethical Author Code

Guiding principle: Putting the reader first

When I market my books, I put my readers first. This means that I…

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#Authors #Bloggers #Readers – Be aware of Intellectual Property Theft Laws!


I’m reblogging for #MondayBlogs the guest post I wrote for Chris The Story Reading Ape’s blog on the problem of Intellectual Property Theft.

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:

Intellectual Property Theft – a growing problem that hurts everyone in this writing business

By Susan M. Toy

Recently, I’ve become aware of the increasing amount of Intellectual Property (IP) theft that’s taking place online. It’s been happening for a long time: artists—visual, photographers, musicians and writers—seem only able to stand by and watch as what they have created is either copied and pasted elsewhere on the net without permission or no attribution at all is given for their work. Yes, there are copyright laws in place to protect us and the illegal use of our IP. But internet users seem unaware of these laws, or blatantly flout them, or truly believe that, whatever is on the Internet is free for their own personal use and by anyone who wants to copy and paste it into their status update or to their blog.

I’m going to speak specifically to the…

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2012 – A Year of Alberta Books Canada Literary Salons


I thought it was time to revisit a promotion concept I organized while I was still living in Alberta, since an author friend in Ontario is now organizing her first salon (of what I hope will be a series) and also because I posted a comment on another author friend’s blog today outlining what I was doing to promote authors and reading back in 2012. I really would like to explore the concept of “online” salons at some time or another, too.

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

Since Nov. 2011, Alberta Books Canada hosted a series of literary salons in Calgary that brought together readers with Alberta authors in the intimate setting of a private home for readings and discussions about books and writing. Now that this series has come to an end, I wanted to recap all the salons and share with everyone a list of the authors who took part.

What made these salons different from the usual readings in bookstores and libraries, besides being held in private homes, is that they were based on the model of music house parties where the audience is charged an admission fee and all money collected is paid to the artists. My intention in setting up the salons in this way was so the authors would receive payment for having entertained us, and the audience would realize they should not expect authors to perform for free. After all…

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Path of a Bullet – hits the mark!!

You never hear the bullet that kills you … but you can read it!


Path of a Bullet, A Collection of Short Stories Featuring Ike by Tim Baker is now available in both
eBook – Amazon
and print!

I have contributed a story to this book, along with Becky Heishman, Becky Meyer Pourchot, Lockie Young, Ann Marie Vancas, and Gigi Arena. S.K. Nicholls has written the introduction, and Seumas Gallacher provided a promotion blurb for the back cover.

This is going to be a great book, folks! Available just in time for holiday gift-giving, too!

The Dark Place by L.F. Young

In Dec. 2013, I promoted Lockard Young on my Reading Recommendations blog. Since that time, Lockie has become an online friend and we are mutually supportive of each others writing and publishing efforts. During this past year I became aware that Lockie was not in the best of health, yet he continued with a very positive attitude, always joking and posting to Facebook with a smile on his face – or so I imagined. He recently posted to his own blog about having had to deal with chronic pain, for a very long time. I know a number of other friends who are also struggling with this and thought Lockie’s eloquent writing about his own experience might help them cope a little better. So I received Lockie’s permission to post his essay on my blog. Please share this with anyone else who you think it may help.

September 29/2014

Seven hundred and fifty-nine days, give or take. That’s two years and twenty nine days that I have been in pain. This isn’t about sympathy. I’ve had lots and lots of sympathy since September of 2012. I was in pain before that, and worked through it, but it got to the point that it affected my job performance. My dream job is now a distant memory, warped and miss-shaped, the edges of that memory dulled by the drugs.

I’ve learned so many things since that day, when I lost my dream job. I’ve learned new words like Peripheral Arterial Disease and Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia, also known as H.I.T. Large words with medical definitions so complicated they would astound a man of lesser education. I also discovered all about the consequences of another word. Amputation. The mere mention of such a word sends chills down the backs of the queasy. That word was very frightening to me at first, but the pain was much greater than my fear, and I reluctantly agreed to the consequences of that word, if it would stop the pain. It didn’t, at least not completely. It is true that the bad parts had to be removed. My right foot, starved of blood from a clogged artery and therefore starved of oxygen, essentially died and was affecting the rest of the leg it was attached to, and so the simple solution was to detach the offending appendage. Was this just a simple solution to a medical problem? Maybe the surgeon, well practiced in this type of operation may have considered it routine, due to the sheer number of amputations he has had to perform over the course of his learned career. My guess, after having talked at great length with the man, was that every operation was hard for him, not in the actual performance of the deed, but rather in the consequences he knew to be true for his patients.

I really don’t want to sound whiny. The pain I now have in both legs is certainly a lot less than the severity of 13 Months ago. The so called Phantom pain, the pain felt in the foot that was no longer there, has lessened to the point that it is mostly Phantom Sensation now. Yes, I can still feel my foot, more than a year after it was removed along, with my ankle and the part of my leg that is no longer there beneath my knee. It is most unsettling to reach down to scratch what is no longer there. As to my other leg and foot, well that is another story.

After the first operation to replace a section of artery in my right leg, the surgeon ordered Heparin, a blood thinner, a very common drug that is used in a wide variety of medical treatments. In my case, it was used as a sort of cleaner, a thinner of blood, allowing the fast and free flowing liquid to wash away any remaining bits and small particles of the Plaque that was on my arterial walls. For some unknown and unexplainable medical reason my body’s defences sensed the drug as a foreign invader, and I developed the condition known medically as H.I.T. The consequence of this was opposite to what the doctors were trying to achieve. Instead of thinning my blood as expected, my blood volume coagulated to such an extent that blood flow was lost to both legs. The nerves in my good leg died, along with the tissue and some bone mass. Luckily, I was in hospital at the time of this new crisis, and the doctors, and there were three of them, worked together for over five hours removing clots to save my legs, and my life. I am alive today, and typing this as a direct result of their combined years of experience and skill as surgeons. I am and always will be grateful to these amazingly gifted men. That doesn’t change the fact that I now have nerve pain in my once good leg and foot, parts of me that were fine before February of 2013.

So, how do I cope with the constant pain, you may ask? It at times seems a daunting task to be sure. The ‘nerve’ drugs, I have found out, don’t actually take the pain away, but rather bathes the nerve endings in something to stop the rapid firing, and otherwise overly heightened sensations they are communicating to the brain. The pain killers work too, but are so powerful they sometimes leave you in a zombie state and then you don’t know which end is up. That’s no way to live. The doctors all say the ‘discomfort’ will go away with time. Oh yes they all say that, but not one of them will say how much time. I guess they don’t want to appear uneducated by saying they don’t know how much time. A couple of them went out on a limb, and qualified their answer by saying the very vague statement, “It is different for everyone.” Thank you for reassuring me that someday, maybe, I will be free of this heavy wet woollen blanket of despair, this discomfort.

The solution is to take drugs. Drugs with side effects like, weight gain, blotchy skin, a feeling of tiredness all the time, perhaps depression at times, and oh yes, let’s not forget constipation. Not to worry, there’s a pill for that too. At times it is too much to bear. Last night was one of those times, and that indeed prompted this writing. The blanket was so heavy last night that it bore me down into The Dark Place. The pain was no more intense than it had been the night before or the month before that. It was the never-ending-ness of it. It was the weight of the knowing that there was no end date to this. That was the heaviness that weighted me down into The Dark Place. The fact that I lay there weeping, my tears rolling down my face and falling onto my pillow, only seemed to make matters worse. Growing up in a time when it was not manly to cry, not something my father would tolerate from any of his sons, seemed to weigh on me even more than the pins and needles of my misery.

The Dark Place; The Dark Place is not a scary horror scene from a film or novel. It is not a place of excitement. It is a place of utter desolation and despair. For many, The Dark Place is the last stop here on earth, before the final leap, before the final cut, that last gunshot to the temple. It is the last place a person goes who has lost all hope of being able to live in a world that doesn’t understand what they are going through. I know this place well, for I have been there more than once. I have been to the darkness, and I can write about it now. I have learned how to find the stairs up and out of that desolate place. Each time after I have visited that kind of depression, I say never again. Never again will I let myself go down there. I am learning that one has no choice in the matter. The only choice, for those still in control, is whether to stay down there or not. I chose not to stay there. I chose not to give in to the demon, not to let it win. Even as I write this now, I refuse to capitalise its name, for I have won this time.

Today is better, and tomorrow will be better still. I will try and continue to fight this seemingly never ending battle. I will try to understand and to be more understanding of people whose pain I do not know. People who seem normal and bright and unaffected on the outside, but who are deep into battle on the inside, these people I will try and understand, because now, I too am one of them.

1450088_785019491544384_2294254842064449408_nLockie Young – Canada

I am a newly published author under the name of L.F.Young. My book is called Ryan’s Legend, an adventure/fantasy story for middle grade readers, or children of all ages. It is available through Morning Rain Publishing.
Lockie’s Lectern

My Reading Recommendations … updated

Over on my other blog, Reading Recommendations, I’ve been busy for almost exactly a year now (I began writing that blog on Nov. 18, 2013!) promoting Authors and their books to Readers.

blog logo

Some of these Authors have been new-to-me, many are established, and a number of them are long-time friends and colleagues. Not wanting to play favourites, I do encourage readers to look through the complete alphabetical list of 168 Authors I have already promoted during this year.

There are a number of these authors whose writing I’ve had the privilege to read – either as finished books they’re promoting on my blog, earlier published works or, in some cases, as a beta-reader for unpublished manuscripts – and I wrote two posts listing both self-and-traditionally published Authors whose work I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!! For those complete posts, including lists and links to Authors, please click on Dylan Hearn’s Pay It Forward for self-published authors … and Traditionally Published Authors on Reading Recommendations.

Since Sept. 4, 2014, when the second list appeared, I have read and IMMENSELY enjoyed books by a number of other Reading Recommendations Authors and, in alphabetical order, I’d like to share those names with you now. (All names are linked to their original RR post.)

Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Arjun Basu
Paul Butler
C. Hope Clark
Lori Hahnel
Kim McCullough
Peter Midgley
S.K. Nicholls
Gail Norton
David Prosser
Fred Stenson

I still have a large stack of print and eBooks yet to read that are written by Reading Recommendations Authors. I have no doubt I’ll be creating another list very soon! I do hope you have as much pleasure as I’ve derived from discovering and reading books by the Authors I’ve featured on Reading Recommendations!

Books are proof …


Would you like to give someone an “Island” this Christmas?

Well, not a real island – a piece of sub-continental land surrounded by water – of course. But a print copy of my novel, Island in the Clouds!


Deck the halls with bits of Bequia, Fa-la-la-la-la, La-la-la-la

For any readers wishing to give family or friends who live in North America a copy as a gift, I will mail to anyone, if you place an order with me by Nov. 26th (while I’m still in Canada). Cost is CDN$15.00 per copy plus mailing charges. (Giftwrapping extra.) Payment by cheque or email funds transfer. And I will sign the copy before mailing, personalizing if you wish.

Or, if you just want to buy a copy for yourself, that’s okay, too!

Send an email to susanmtoy (at)

(I can only make this offer for mailing addresses within Canada and the US to ensure packages arrive in time for Christmas. And quantities are limited!)

If you prefer to read eBooks, check here for locations of where to purchase.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

And, for good measure, a bit of Cooking and Eating

Small Talk

The caffeine-fuelled pondering of an editor abroad

A Writer's Notepad

The joy of words


Curious corners of a writer's cluttered mind

Book Reviews, Author Information, and all things Book!


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