Category Archives: Uncategorized

How I Spent My Corona Isolation (so far)

Good news from author Tim Baker!


Like most of you, I’ve been in Corona Lockdown for almost a month now.

And like you I’m sure, it’s been a unique experience to say the least. I’m sure we’ve all done many of the same things to keep ourselves occupied and forget about the fact that we can’t go out to dinner with friends or go to the beach or even go to the grocery store. I mean – we can go to the grocery store, but it’s a little like stepping into the Twilight Zone…am I right?

Believe it or not – there is one thing about the quarantine I am really grateful for…

Almost twenty months after I started writing the first draft of my latest novel, I have finally finished it!

Ordinarily it’s about a year from the day I start writing to the day the book is released – but this one fell victim…

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Self-Isolated Blogging: An offer

From beetleypete …


With doom and gloom all over the news, and a lot of very worried people unable to get out even to go to work and socialise, I am trying to think of something positive to offer via the platform of blogging. Facebook and Twitter can be a diversion, but they are also sadly also packed with negatives, scams, and sometimes downright meanness and offensive remarks.

So, back to blogging. Here is my offer, which is of course completely free, and has no catches.

(To contact me for any of these, use )

Guest Posts.
If you are writing more than usual and hoping to reach a new community or a wider audience, send me a guest post to be published here.
Under 2000 words please, with a short personal bio, and a link to your site.

Book Promotions.
Many people may now have more time to read, so if…

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There’s something for every writer in this little volume

Here’s more information about a new book by Kevin Brennan just released that will be an asset to all writers, both beginner and published.


Of course he says that, you might say. He’s trying to sell some books.

But it’s actually true. My two writer pals and I get deep into the weeds on the process of writing and publishing novels today, but the nice thing about this book is that it’s not like the typical writing manual most of us have binged on. It’s a conversation. And much of the time it’s funny and entertaining as it dishes out the how-to bon mots.

So even if you don’t think you’ll learn anything new, trust me, you’ll feel like you’re right there in the middle of the three-way chat. You’ll agree with us sometimes, disagree sometimes. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry.

And it’ll cost you just 99 cents.

Grab the ebook today. It’s always worthwhile to hear from other writers who are going through the same meat grinder you are!

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Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Here’s a follow-up blog post from Tim Baker (who I have promoted on my Authors-Readers International series here on this blog) to his earlier post with exciting news about his novel “Unfinished Buriness”!


Have you ever wished you had gotten involved with something big while it was still small?

If so – this is your chance…

First – some background;

My novel Unfinished Business (released in June, 2013) has long been praised as the perfect story line for a TV series, and while I didn’t write it with that in mind – I’ve always known it.

Unfortunately, I’ve never had the time, resources or know-how to get it to that next level.

Until now.

I was recently asked by a friend, who works in the movie business, why none of my books have been made into movies yet.

The answer, I told her, is simple…in order for somebody to make a movie from a book – they first have to know the book exists. I went on to tell her about Unfinished Business and its potential as a great TV series. I explained…

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Live on KDP: Close to Perfect–How to Write and Publish Your Novel

For all you aspiring writers out there … and for those active writers who may feel it’s time for a brush-up, here’s author Kevin Brennan (whose work I’ve been promoting for years – because it’s GOOD! Recently on the Authors-Readers International series on this blog) with a lost podcast, fortunately found again, in which he speaks with other authors about the challenges of writing and places novels today in this current publishing market. Only $.99 right now as a Kindle download (slightly higher in Canada).


Well whataya know about that? Today’s launch day for Close to Perfect!

This here novella-length book is a chat between three writers I’ve known for a long time, and we get into everything you need to know as you enter the challenge of writing and publishing novels in this century … and in this market. Or as you decide not enter it, as the case may be.

Much of it’s inspiring. Much of it’s cautionary. But all of it comes from years of experience with fiction writing and the puzzle of what to do once you’ve finished that novel. Sometimes I think it’s not that great to finish a book because that’s when you have to step up to the plate and expose it to the world and all its judgment–or worse, its indifference. Still, we’re writers, man! We can take it.

So, if you’re a writer who likes…

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Keeping the Grass Green; making sure the sun shines on beautiful books

Thank you to Betty Jane Hegerat for her very generous and kind words!

Betty Jane Hegerat

In the process of culling a lot of other possessions to make for a less cluttered home, I eventually ended up at the bookcases. Some years back, it seemed like sacrilege—me, professing to be a disciple of words and story—to discard books. Pass along so others can enjoy them, donate to book sales, pack away in boxes to be reconsidered “at another time.”  Among my treasures, though, were lovely hard cover editions of the likes of Pride and Prejudice, A Tale of Two Cities, To the Lighthouse, The Prophet, The Velveteen Rabbit—you know the ones that are on a special shelf, and in my house, for the most part, gathering dust. Surely there were people to whom I could gift these treasures. When I opened them and turned the pages, they gave off the undeniable scent of “old”; musty dry pages, occasionally a crumbling flower pressed between them, cracked…

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this is not a review: this is a list of unexpected literary connections having to do with escape, rum, and well-intentioned budinskis

Thanks to Carin Makuz for this outstanding not-a-review of my novel, “One Woman’s Island”!

Matilda Magtree

Somewhere in the process of my December reading it occurs to me that three very different and unlikely books share a series of similar elements.

Don’t you just love it when that happens, when you think… rum, again?? And it all begins to feel like a kind of reading serendipity is happening.

It begins with The Book of Eve, by Constance Beresford-Howe. Written in 1973… it remains the classic, in my opinion, running away story. Woman fed up with boorish husband, chooses instead to live in a damp bare bones Montreal basement apartment, with a feral cat outside a window that’s impossible to open and a slightly mad, slightly inspiring Hungarian living upstairs. Hard to see as uplifting but of course it is. She is free, not of life’s yins and yangs, but free of those yins and yangs where the source is boorishness and which grate as intolerable…

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A slide show of promo photos …

Griz sitting within the magic circle of books; Zoom waiting for her turn to enter …

This is a test. Do not adjust your sets.

I created a Power Point Presentation in order to see whether:
A) I could still remember how to make one
B) It was a good way of promoting my books and those by other authors
C) I could sort out and put into order some of the ginormous number of photos I’ve taken and received from friends over the years

I could not post the file as-is to social media, so I figured I would post it first to my blog. This way I can also include information about each photo, as adding captions to each individual photo in the presentation itself is far beyond my capabilities!

So click on this link and have a look through the photos. Explanations are below.


(You may need to fiddle with this a bit to get it to run as a slide show …)

Island in the Clouds/One Woman’s Island

  1. at Malvern Collegiate Institute, Toronto – my high school!
  2. in a bookstore with Connie Flanagan
  3. with Darcie Hossack’s literate cat
  4. with Lori Hanel
  5. at When Words Collide, Calgary, with the Tropical Shirt Guys
  6. with Detlef Karthaus and his books
  7. on editor Rachel Small’s computer screen
  8. with Margaret Atwood
  9. Sharon Wilson enjoying an Island in the Clouds Alcoholic Beverage, recipe in One Woman’s Island
  10. with The Queen’s Bands (photo by Jeff Chan)
  11. with Ivona Bradley at Lower Bay, Bequia
  12. at The Lookout Villa, Bequia (owned and operated by Chris-Lou Smullen)
  13. with my Belgian cousin, Stefaan de Tavenier
  14. with my sister Betty at Christmas
  15. with a Klingon, introduced to me by Paul Carreau


..okay, published the autobiography… time to start the rest of my life!

I’m very much looking forward to reading this newly released autobiography by an extremely good online friend who also happens to be a GREAT writer, Mr. Seumas Gallacher! Seumas is also a terrific support and tireless promoter of all we other scribes. Thank you for writing, Seumas!

via ..okay, published the autobiography… time to start the rest of my life!

2018 … A Year of Reading – Part 2

This is a continuation of a blog post that began here


Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling et al (Definitely one of the very best books I read this year.)

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams
Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak by Glenn Dixon (I know the author)
The Unravelling: How Our Caregiving Safety Net Came Unstrung and We Were Left Grasping At Threads, Struggling to Plait a New One and Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness by Clem Martini (I know the author)
Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffee

Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense by Marcello Di Cintio
(I know this author)

Sleuth: Gail Bowen on Writing Mysteries by Gail Bowen (I know the author)
Paul Simon: The Life by Robert Hilburn
The Traveling Feast: On the Road and at the Table With My Heroes by Rick Bass
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan
The Destiny Thief: Essays on Writing, Writers and Life by Richard Russo

Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries From A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston
In Other Words: How I Fell in Love With Canada One Book At a Time by Anna Porter (I was a sales rep for Key Porter Books for many years so I know the author)
Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott
Becoming by Michelle Obama

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Non-Fiction – Political

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Anderson

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff
No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein
Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic by David Frum
A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey
Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump by Michael Isikoff, David Corn (Reading this book led to a lot of others books that Dennis and I are either reading or have read.)

The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham

Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward
The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (While technically this is a novel and should be listed in the fiction section, I read it because of it’s political connection to day. It was originally published in 1935, but the story is very contemporary.)
America: the Farewell Tour by Chris Hedges

The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity by Sally Kohn

Children’s Books

Everybody’s Different on Everybody Street by Sheree Fitch, Emma Fitzgerald (illustrator) (I know this author)

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Pete the Cat Series by Eric Litwin
The Alphabet Thief by Bill Richardson, Roxanna Bikadoroff (illus)
The Night Gardener by Terry Fan, Eric Fan


Anna at the Art Museum by Hazel Hutchins (I know this author, but have never been able to beat her at Scrabble!), Gail Herbert, Lil Crump (Illustrator)


Old Favourite Children’s Books

Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Corduroy by Don Freeman
The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Angus and the Cat by Marjorie Flack
The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper