Reorganizing things …

Wow! Did this summer get away from me or what? I can’t believe I’m already packing up the trailer to leave Canada for the winter months as I head back to Bequia in less than two weeks. Where has the time gone?

Salvadore Dali's The Melting Watch

Salvadore Dali’s The Melting Watch

But really, what scares me most about this quicker-than-usual passage of time, is that I didn’t get even half done of what I’d planned to accomplish this summer. I did manage to read a huge number of books, mostly borrowed from the library. But I did not get my novel published (yet) and didn’t do a lot of other things I had hoped to accomplish with my own writing and that of others.

But mainly I fell short on publicizing other authors I’d promised to promote on my blogs, and for that I feel terribly guilty. And I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to all of you, because I won’t be able to get any of this done before I’m settled back on Bequia. I do hope that by the end of Oct. I’ll have managed to get somewhat caught up with those promotions that were promised first earlier in the summer. I’m sorry, but that’s the best I can offer right now. After tomorrow I’ll be travelling to visit friends and don’t know where I will have time or access to internet connections to be able to accomplish much of anything.

So, to those of you who have been patiently waiting to see your promo on Reading Recommendations or reading recommendations reviewed, I ask that you be patient a little longer. I’ll get to all of those I have already queued as soon as I can.

One Woman’s Island … more advance praise!

Thanks so much to Canadian author David A. Poulsen, who has been featured on Reading Recommendations, for the following he has sent after he read an advance copy of my yet-to-be-released Bequia Perspectives novel, One Woman’s Island


Susan Toy has done it again. The talented author has once more created a stunning collection of sometimes charming, sometimes alarming, never dull characters to populate her latest mystery—One Woman’s Island, set again on the island of Bequia. Both locals and expats grab the reader’s attention and refuse to let go as Toy spins a tale of intrigue, malice and down home suspense.

What Ms. Toy does so well is to give us characters from every strata of society who engage us even as they invite our suspicion. Reading this novel was like standing before a painting by one of the masters, one with dozens of people depicted and as you look at the painting, you are caught up first by this figure, then by that one.

I heartily recommend this novel that takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through gorgeous landscapes and a unique though often frustrating culture in a story that seldom lets the reader rest and never lets the reader down. Humour, suspense, a thoroughly satisfying narrator—and yes recipes, several of which I can’t wait to try—combine to make this another well-executed work by a skilled craftsperson.

~ David A. Poulsen, author of mystery novels, books for teens, co-author of a cookbook, actor, and award-winning Rodeo Announcer

And, about the publication of that novel, as they say on Bequia … soon come!

Mayaro Virus … as if Chikungunya and Zika weren’t enough!

Thanks to Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge for informing me of the existence of this new mosquito-borne virus recently discovered in Haiti. Mayaro is “closely related to the chikungunya virus” as we discover in this article posted in the MiamiHerald on Sept. 15, 2016: A new mosquito-borne illness has been detected in Haiti.

As most of my readers know, I contracted, and suffered from, the Chikungunya virus in July, 2014. Two years later and I realize I haven’t noticed any further symptoms of late (knock on wood!) but I do know of others who continue to have problems. And, in the meantime, Zika has also swept through the Caribbean. Now there’s another virus to be concerned about, just as I head back to Bequia for the winter. Hoo boy!

I’ve posted a number of articles previously to this blog (scroll down that page for the complete series) about both Chikungunya and Zika and will now be adding this new post to that list. Far from these viruses having run their course, I’ve found a number of readers have been making their way to my blog looking for information and clicked on these articles I’ve written after searching with phrases such as “unable to stand up properly due to chikunguniya” and “no hunger after chikungunya” and “numbness of arm chikangunya or dengue” – and that’s just in the past couple of days!! Over the two years since I began writing about Chikungunya, this topic has been among the most popular of anything I’ve posted. Obviously people are still suffering, and are still having trouble finding answers and treatment.

So I post this new information now, not to be alarmist, but so that people will become better informed as to what’s happening out there. As always, the best cure for any of these viruses is preventing mosquito bites in the first place. So if you are heading to a tropical destination be sure to use repellents and clean up any standing water where mosquitoes love to breed.

Perhaps in the long term, the experts will discover a means of ridding us of these viruses altogether. Let’s hope it happens sooner, and before another virus mutates and develops.

Taking a Brain-cation …

I’ve been reading what has turned out to be a perfect storm of books that helped to redirect my thinking lately – thinking about myself and my place on this earth, my writing and what it means to me, the meaning of life, the universe and everything. You know … the big stuff.

Okay, maybe not that big, but definitely somewhere in between Stephen Hawking and Monty Python.

First up was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Right from the get-go, this novel had me reconsidering life and our interactions with other people. Then I began reading the brilliantly written Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. **And a little aside here – they missed a great opportunity with this title. It could have been named Finnegan’s Wave. I didn’t need to read much of this memoir to realize the author has lived his entire life enjoying and perfecting exactly what he’s passionate about. And, finally, this morning I began reading At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Karl Jaspers, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and others by Sarah Bakewell, and I have now become a born-again philosopher!

The point I’m getting at here is that each of these books has made me think – about life, the universe, etc. And since there’s an awful lot of extraneous noise and chatter going on out there on the internet, and I have a tendency to get sucked into the vortex that is Facebook (like Hotel California, you may check out but can never leave …), I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to extricate myself from social media for a while. I’ll still be checking, because that’s where most of my “news” comes from these days, but I have already deactivated one account and will consciously avoid getting involved too much in the others.

Instead, I’ll be writing to this blog, trying to catch up on posts that I’d drafted but never published. (All brilliant ideas, of course, but I had never given myself any time to develop and write out those ideas.) And I need to catch up on publishing to my other blogs all the queued promotions and reviews I’ve promised for other authors. Last count, I had over 3000 emails to catch up on, too. So … I’ve decided to take a Brain-cation.

Along with the books I’ll continue to read, and the writing I’d like to get back into again (too many stories to tell!!), I hope to concentrate my offline time in thinking about stuff. Whether anything concrete comes out of all this thinking isn’t really the point, but it might be kind of interesting to actually focus my brain waves for a change instead of having them flit all over the place like a multi-coloured butterfly: pretty, but not all that productive and with only a month-long lifespan.

Gotta go! It seems as though I have another think coming …

One Woman’s Island – and more comments from advance readers!

About the Bequia Perspectives series of novels …

Whether intentional or not, there seems to be a huge character quietly looming across your book series: Bequia, the island herself. Each book, even though different, reveals more and more about her as a character and a force. Quite cool.
~ Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge, blogger


I am close to finishing preparation of the One Woman’s Island manuscript … Just waiting for a couple of recipes to come in. In the meantime, I have received more praise from advance readers I wish to share with you. This is in addition to earlier blogposts both here and here!

Susan Toy’s new novel, One Woman’s Island is: lively; startling; creepy; funny; shocking; sad; insightful – and engaging from start to finish.

~ Ann Ireland, prize-winning author of novels, A Certain Mr. Takahashi, The Instructor, Exile and The Blue Guitar

I enjoyed your book. While at first I was expecting a murder mystery with interesting characters searching for clues like the last one I read, this one was a book of interesting character development with a side dish of murders. The title definitely fits for several reasons – which you realize as you read/finish.

Joan and Solfrid were delightfully fully developed quickly even though they were not the important characters. Tex and Mariana unfolded much more slowly by design. (She did finally find that one to sit down and talk books with – much to her surprise – and so late). That mysterious story opening finally explained – after you had almost forgotten about it. Clever construction.

This with it’s theme/messages should appear perfectly timed with today’s society. In fact was having a discussion this week with a blogger about well meaning people blundering in and trying to “fix” something without having a clue about the reality of a place or situation. I kept thinking, “She needs to read Susan’s book.” Susan states it so clearly.

Between the recipes, assorted characters, and the universal timeless message, the book should be a winner for book clubs. I will certainly recommend it to a couple once it’s out.

I love your writing style and humor and really appreciate you sending me a copy to read.

Whether intentional or not, there seems to be a huge character quietly looming across your book series: Bequia, the island herself. Each book, even though different, reveals more and more about her as a character and a force. Quite cool.

~ Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge, blogger

Why Are There Still So Many People Who Don’t Have Books to Read?

Many years ago, I tried to orchestrate gathering and shipping a large quantity of books to #Bequia. The logistics, and especially cost of shipping, made it difficult, but I have considered recently doing this again, because there is so much of a need for books in SVG. And in many other parts of the world, too.

Notes from An Alien

Many organizations and individuals work very hard to get books to those who have none… worldreader

One individual is linked-to in the left side-bar—his organization is called GoneReadingyou can buy really cool gifts for readers; yet, they give “100% of after-tax profits to fund reading-related charities…”.

I have an interview with the founder of GoneReading.

Another organization I’ve written about is WorldReader (here are the posts I’ve done about them…).

Here’s just a bit of explanation of what WorldReader does:

Literacy is transformative

It increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty. Books are necessary for the development of literacy skills yet millions of people still have limited access to books.

We’re changing this.

WorldReader does its work by supplying folks with e-readers stocked with books appropriate for their age and culture

Plus, today on TechCrunch, there…

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…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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