…GoReadMe!… m’Lady, Susan M. Toy’s fabulous idea for Authors and Readers…

Thanks to Seumas Gallacher for not thinking this to be such a daft idea after all and publishing my guest post about it on his blog!

Seumas Gallacher

…from daft ideas often come the next ‘great thing… the following Guest Post from my dear friend and fellow scribbler, Susan Toy, may interest other Writers and Readers… feedback on it is encouraged… please let us know if this is sum’thing yeez could support:

GoReadMe! – an idea on Crowd Reading


Susan M. Toy.

The marvelous Seumas Gallacher posted a status update to Facebook, a joke really, that had me laughing out loud here in my little trailer …

“…thinking of doing a GoFundMe thingy for a movie about my ‘To Be Read’ pile on my ebook Reader… calling it ‘Kindler’s List’… all contributions welcome… J”

Then an idea struck me – “What if,” I thought (those great little words that lead to the beginning of many great ideas, stories and novels). And I wrote a message to the kind sir himself, running past him first the kernel of…

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Ten most common mistakes in novels

I requested permission to reblog this post written by roughseasinthemed, because there was so much valuable information included that will be of interest to all authors (and readers). roughseas is one of the very best readers I know and everyone will learn from her list of “mistakes” she’s been compiling recently. Do be sure to read the comments section as well for further lively discussion. Excellent blog post! Thanks, roughseas!

Ten most common mistakes in novels

Fascination launch! Buy for as low as $3.99

Here it is, Folks! Kevin Brennan’s announcement of the release of his new novel, Fascination! Kevin is offering an interesting method of publishing and three levels to pay for your purchase. Please support this terrific writer who I have promoted numerous times on Reading Recommendations. I have read and highly recommend all the books Kevin has previously published, so I look forward to purchasing and reading his latest. Congratulations, Kevin! And best of luck with Fascination!


Cover small

It’s Fascination’s birthday! Help me celebrate by buying a copy, won’t you?

Below are three PayPal buttons. You get to decide how much you want to pay for this book, so pick one and you’ll be taken to your PayPal account for confirmation.

If you’d like to pay more than $5.99 for the book, email me at kevinbrennan520(at)gmail(dot)com and tell me the price. I’ll then zip you a PayPal invoice that you can pay online, and I’ll send the pdf file as soon as the transaction is official. Don’t forget: if you pay more than $5.99, you’ll get your name into the Fascination Hall of Fame in future editions of the book.

By the way, you’ll see that this is tied to the PayPal account for my editorial service, Indie-Scribable, so don’t be confused by the paperwork.

Since I inscribe each copy of the book to the buyer…

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Cover reveal ~ Fascination

Kevin Brennan has revealed the cover for his new book and I think it looks great! Here’s more information about the new book’s release. (Kevin has been previously featured on Reading Recommendations.)


Cover small

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Jerome Martin on How to Use the New Media to Tell Your Story

When Jerome Martin posted a status update to Facebook saying he’d be giving a talk on this subject of using new media and storytelling at a conference, I asked if I would be allowed to post the link here on my blog. The topic sounded to be perfect for many of my blog readers. Jerome immediately gave his permission, so below is a link to the presentation he gave at the Banff Centre in April 2016.

1549330_10151948798981367_2941370190120507932_n And in keeping with the theme of Jerome’s presentation, here’s our story …

I met Jerome in/around 2009 when I was first starting up Alberta Books Canada and considering new ways of spreading the word about books, their authors, and reading in general. To say that Jerome, at that early date, had already embraced the new technology surrounding book publishing is an understatement! I hadn’t met anyone in publishing up to that point who not only knew and used the existing technology, and was so enthusiastic about its possibilities, but who was also willing to listen to new ideas, create practical apps, and encourage thinking in directions that were completely off the beaten path of publishing – so far off the path that most publishers wouldn’t even consider abandoning their old traditional methods for fear of getting lost altogether. I loved getting together to talk with Jerome whenever I was in Edmonton and run my own ideas past him, because not once did he ever say, “No, you can’t do that, Susan”, as so many others had done before him. So, for that belief in me and for discussing ideas with me, I heartily thank Jerome for that!

And here’s Jerome’s story:
Jerome Martin is a publisher, photographer, storyteller, and speaker in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He was born in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, on the edge of the Cypress Hills.

His company Spotted Cow Press publishes books, both paper and electronic, about the Great Plains of North America and its people. and his speaking and advisory work focuses on informal learning, communication and documentary photography.

Jerome’s most recent e-books are Cappuccino U: a new approach to working and learning and Golden Prairie, both available for free download at Spotted Cow Press.
(Follow Jerome on Facebook and Twitter for more information, ideas, and stories..)

Please watch the entire presentation here. Jerome’s blog post he refers to is here and in it you will find all thee links he refers to. (Here’s the link to the Banff Centre’s website he refers to as a good example of design.)

And … Jerome includes a quote from my favourite author, Wallace Stegner, at the very end of his presentation – what’s not to love about that???

Thanks, Jerome!

One Woman’s Island – more advance praise!

As I prepare the manuscript to be sent off for eBook formatting and online sales, I’m also receiving great blurbs about the new novel, One Woman’s Island, from advance readers who offered to write a review for promotion purposes.


Great news, Susan Toy fans! The long-awaited sequel to her acclaimed novel, Island in the Clouds, has finally arrived. With a sharp eye for description and a well-tuned ear for dialogue (and local dialect!) Toy tells how a recently widowed Canadian woman moves to the tiny Caribbean island of Bequia to find solace, only to discover it’s not quite the paradise she hoped for. A tasty meal of storytelling that comes with complementary recipes!
~ Brian Brennan, Postmedia newspapers best-selling author

One Woman’s Island blends up a splash of sun and fun, with a hearty dose of reality about island life and its people. Toss in a murder or two and you have the perfect recipe for a memorable visit in paradise. Susan Toy has once again toured us around the island of Bequia, where she’s shown us that all is not as it appears in this lush and tropical setting, and that people often hide their flaws and indiscretions not only from the world, but also from themselves. P.S. I think this book should come with a warning that snacks will be necessary to stave off the hunger incited by the contents!
~ Cheryl Schenk, author of The Stibil Forest Adventures: Little Synni’s Moonlight Mischief

I just finished reading One Woman’s Island and thought it was splendid. Once again, Susan Toy brings the real Bequia to a fictional world and uses that combination to great effect. Toy does a wonderful job with the characters’ emotional lives and backstories, using a certain level of implication about a lot of it, which I always like. This wasn’t just the main character, Mariana’s, romp in Bequia. It was a powerful effort to make sense of her life up till then and to figure out, in many ways, who she really is. It’s a character study and an exploration of a foreign culture, maybe on the order of Under the Tuscan Sun. Congratulations to Susan Toy on another feather in the Bequia Perspectives cap!
~ Kevin Brennan, editor and author of Parts Unknown, Yesterday Road, Occasional Soulmates, Town Father

And here’s the link to a previous review I received from Felicity Harley!

Thanks to all reviewers! I’ll share more reviews and blurbs with you here as I receive them.

Talking about #bookreviews. A collection of great posts on how to get them and how to keep reviewers happy.

These are all excellent ideas on ways writers can get their work reviewed, but first and foremost is … Write a great book! (And for those readers still unsure about actually reviewing the books they read, check out this link to a blog post I have reblogged on Reading Recommendations.)

Lit World Interviews

Hi all:

Recently I’ve read some great posts about reviews: how to get them, how to avoid things that annoy reviewers, and even posts recommending free books on the subject. You might have read them all, but just in case you haven’t, I thought I’d post them here.

How to Get Good Reviews by Theo Rogers (remember to check the price!) How to Get Good Reviews by Theo Rogers (remember to check the price!)

The first one that came to my attention was a post by Nicholas Rossi, where he mentioned a free book  (this one ) that was still free when I wrote this post but do make sure that’s still the case, and also some updates on other interesting sounding books on similar topics. You can check Nicholas Rossi’s post here. Do follow his blog if you haven’t as he shares a wealth of knowledge and is a great writer.

That post resulted in a comment by Beetley…

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A new story by Michael Fay!

island shorts II

IslandShorts has just finished preparing another ePublication of a long-form short story written by J. Michael Fay!

Human Powered Design is formatting the eBooks and will list them for sale online.

As with Michael’s other publications, once again the original cover art was provided by Karen Sloan of Wallflower Studio Art in Minden, ON.


The incomparable Rachel Small, Faultless Finish Editing, provided the final editing and proofing services.

Here’s the synopsis, Michael’s bio, and an advance-reader blurb:

Dan James graduates from college in 1967, a time of major conflicts in the US, when friends are being drafted to fight in the war in Vietnam. Dan, however, chooses to become involved in a different fight, one for human rights. He eventually heads north to Canada, a place where he can pursue a life working for the betterment of all. But also a place where the conflicts turn out to be much more personal.

Draft Dodger? is the next in Michael Fay’s series of long-form short stories, following Passion, The Whirlabout and The Healer. Along with Tenderness, all have been published by IslandShorts.

Michael Fay studied creative writing with W. O. Mitchell, Alice Munro, and Richard Ford and was also the founder of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society in Calgary. Michael lives in Minden, Ontario, with his wife, Dr. Fay Martin.

Sparkling dialogue and detailed scenes evoke the 1960s in this tale of tested loyalties – loyalties to friends, to country, and to ideals. The Vietnam War overshadows two young men’s dreams, from the white columns of the graduation prom to the red blood of cracked heads at a demonstration, as boyhood rivals Dan and Graham trade quips, barbs and lovers. ~ Penney Kome, author and journalist

From the perspective of today, we look back on the sixties with nostalgia … free love, demos in the streets, back to the land communes and so much more. But often, the vision, as seen through the six decades that separate us from those days, play tricks with our memory. Writer Michael Fay brings it all back into sharp focus showing us the disappointments, the illusions and tempered idealism that was in fact the reality in the season of Peace Love and Rock n Roll.
~ Jack Brezina, retired editor and publisher

We’re just waiting for a few more bits of information to come in before pressing the “Publish” button. If you’re interested in this new eBook by Michael Fay, please stay tuned and check back to this blog where we’ll be announcing the exact publishing date and availability online, once we have all the links and information.

Please check out the previous publications from IslandShorts by clicking here for the list of eBooks and where to purchase. As we like to say …

For a Great Read, Slip Into Our Shorts!

(If you would like to read to review any of our publications please contact me directly: susanmtoy (at) gmail.com)

Ask for a meme …

And Ye shall receive!

Especially when it’s being asked of the wonderful Chris Graham, or as we all fondly know him,
The Story Reading Ape!

After I posted that last blog about reading well-written books, I asked Chris if he would be able to create several memes using (somewhat) pithy statements I made in the post. And, likity-split!, here they are:

Original photo by Jamie Taylor

Original photo by Andrew Neel

Original photo by Kari Shea

And here’s some information from Chris about these memes:

All background images are adapted from free photos from UnSplash.com (original photos by those noted below memes)

Memes made by Chris Graham – TSRA PROMO GRAPHICS & VISUALS – Check out the services Chris offers to Indie Authors!

Please feel free to share these memes, but remember to give credit where credit is due (as above).

Why not read books simply because they’re well-written?

Not because they’re written by a man or a woman,

Or by a non-white or a person of a particular ethnic group,

Or written by someone from a specific country … or not THAT SAME country, yet again.

Or because someone else has told us that we MUST read it, or it has won a big award. (Awards are not always the best indicator of the quality of the writing.)


Why not read a book that’s from a different genre than you usually read?

Or non-fiction instead of fiction (or vice versa), poetry instead of memoir, children’s books (to recapture your childhood!) instead of academic and scholarly.

Or how about choosing a book with a different setting, one you’re not familiar with, or possibly a setting that doesn’t exist in this world at all?

Or read a book about people and events you don’t relate to in your life, but instead one that introduces you to new experiences and new people, new possibilities.

Leave your comfort zone behind … Read dangerously!

Don’t read a book because you’re told it’s the next Gone Girl or Girl on a Train. Harry Potter or Twilight.
(You do realize that these are marketing ploys dreamed up by publishers to encourage more sales, right? That’s what bestseller lists are all about. Or “If you liked this then you will like that …” all to convince you to try something you may not have otherwise picked up, simply because it compares favourably to something you’ve already enjoyed.)

Why not read a book BECAUSE it’s unique, it’s different from what you normally read, and is written by a new-to-you author?

What’s so wrong, or scary, about that?

I’m suggesting you reconsider your criteria for choosing what to read next and go with a book you have heard is simply well-written instead of for the reasons listed above.

Perhaps you’ve heard that the author has told the story well (fiction) or has handled the material in an expert manner (non-fiction) so the book is convincing and a pleasure to anyone who may read it.

And that the book is well-written regardless of who may have written it – no matter what their background, how many bestsellers they’ve published, or their writing experience.

If you only read traditionally published books, read a book written and published by an indie author. If you only read print books, read an eBook. Mix things up a bit. Discover something new!

When we judge a book by the quality of its writing, we are giving that author their due. We are giving them credit for all their hard work in mastering their craft of writing, because they’ve managed to use that craft to entertain, enlighten, and possibly even educate us in a way we might never have realized was available to us before as readers. That book has opened new doors and convinced us of more that can be available, if we just open our minds to the possibilities.

As for where you may find these well-written books … The more you read and and the further afield you explore what’s available to be read, the better you will recognize what is good writing – for you! What YOU consider to be a well-written book. Because, in the end, it really is up to you, the reader, to decide.

If, after you begin reading, you realize the book is not as well written as you hoped, give yourself permission to set it aside, knowing that at least you gave it a try.

But always be adventurous! Check out some of the books I’ve recommended on my other blog, Reading Recommendations. Read some of the books that the authors I’ve promoted on the site have in turn recommended. Talk with your local librarians and other readers you trust.

Eventually you will become the best judge of what is a good book FOR YOU.

And now, please excuse me while I go back to reading a few well-written books!


(This rant was brought to you by my having read yet-another article “telling” readers that we MUST read more books written by this particular group of writers [insert nationality, ethnic group, gender here] … with no suggestion in the article at all about the quality of their writing being a factor. Harrumpf!)


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