Wednesday, 30 May 2018


Gloria Ferris and Donna Warner had a tour of the Kingston Penitentiary. Relieved they let us out in time for the book Expo.

Enjoyed participating on three panels with fellow authors at the May 26-27 Limestone Genre Book Expo in Kingston, Ontario.This author’s take-away messages from lively panel discussions follow:

 1) "Using Travel as a Way to Generate Ideas for Writing": Brandon Crilly (Moderator), Hayden Trenholm, Donna Warner, Lisa de Nikolits, A.A. Jankiewicz

·         Gives writers an additional tool to add to their creative efforts; observation of people, places, and things adds richness and authenticity to our writing;

·         Internet research is wonderful for acquiring information to aid with our writing projects;

·         There’s the added benefit for writers traveling to conduct research for their books—expenses are tax deductible against earnings.

2) "Are There too Many eBooks Available for Free?" Hayden Trenholm (Moderator), Brett Savory, M.H. Callway, Kit Davon, Donna Warner, Merridy Cox

Offering a free eBook for a limited time as a marketing option may increase exposure for a newly published author or possibly help an author sell books in their back list. However, we were cautioned that many readers consider a free eBook as “getting what they paid for” with content (writing and editing) not up to publishable standards.

·         The mass of free eBooks available from the Internet may be educating readers to expect to pay nothing for their reading material.
·         There are now two categories of sales tracked by Amazon:  paid and unpaid sales.
·         Authors must adhere to their country's anti-spam legislation when sending e-mails to prospective readers and to ensure their mailing and newsletter lists provide the option to “unsubscribe”.
·         One publisher commented that they have seen increased digital sales by keeping books by their authors priced competitively and not offering discounts often.
·         Libraries offer both paperback and e-Books to their patrons. Authors should approach local libraries acquisitions managers to request their books be available since libraries are encouraged to support local authors.
·         A number of eBook marketing options were mentioned for authors including getting listed on Canada Reads and submitting work to contests since winning awards is a great way to increase visibility. One of the fastest growing book markets is audio books.

3) "What Makes a Hero or Heroine?" Douglas Smith (Moderator), Kate Heartfield, Tobin Elliott, Therese Greenwood, Nina Munteanu, Donna Warner

(Photo for this panel unavailable at time of posting.)

·         A memorable character with interesting quirks, flaws, skills or handicaps to overcome;

·         Evidence of their value system;

·         The psychology of the character (what makes them tick);

·         A protagonist that is likeable and an antagonist that is feared or disliked;

·         Selfless acts or putting one’s life at stake.

·         Character must captivate a reader’s interest.

 Book Vendors' Displays

When not on panels, my crime thriller novella series co-author, Gloria Ferris and I networked with fiction readers, authors, and publishers on the 6th Floor of the downtown Holiday Inn Harbour Front hotel. Our banner shows our Guelph writers' group name, Genre5.  Looking forward to having Pam Blance, Liz Lindsay, and Donna Houghton join us at our next book event.

The book vendors' (authors and publishers) displays at the Expo.

Friday, 11 May 2018


Visit me at the Limestone Genre Expo in beautiful Kingston, Ontario.  I'll be signing and selling copies of my crime thriller series, "Targeted" (Book #1) and "Death's Footprint"(Book #2) and am looking forward to participation on two author panels.

Full Expo Schedule

Friday, 20 April 2018


Richie Billing conducted research from book bloggers and many Facebook groups to address this question:
"What makes you put down a book and banish it to the pits of hell?" Richie's survey summary provides 35 different reasons people quit reading a book.

One of the major points of frustration voiced in Richie’s research poll is the publication of unedited manuscripts. To complement his article’s theme and address this particular point, I’ve included an editing checklist I utilize and share at book marketing speaking engagements. As a published author and editor, I enlist assistance from a professional editor (fresh pair of editing eyes) and solicit input from beta readers. It is extremely difficult to spot our own writing errors. 

Tuesday, 20 March 2018


To be honest, it was only two hours with the Firefly Mediums, but since co-author, Gloria Ferris and I have vivid imaginations, it seemed longer.  
Wellington County Museum, Fergus, Ontario
Gloria has attended sessions by Mediums before but I was a newbie and must admit, leaning towards skepticism. After introducing themselves, Catherine Graham and Janice Moffat explained that if they swear in communicating messages from spirits, it is not them saying it. This harvested chuckles---easing tension in the room from people like me.

In preparation for the readings, we were asked to close our eyes; take deep breaths as if meditating; and concentrate on who we would like to hear from in the spirit world. Catherine and Janice took turns describing the age and appearance of the spirit coming through to them before asking if any of us knew who was coming through to the Medium. If more than one person thought they recognized the deceased, each Medium concentrated to provide details to narrow down who, the spirit might be trying to contact. This process, in itself, was quite entertaining. When Catherine described a very hot young man wearing a leather jacket, both Gloria and I tried to claim knowing him.

After Catherine described communicating with a “grandmotherly type” wearing high heels and a gold pant suit, similar to what one of the women in, “Golden Girls” would wear, Gloria elbowed me. I hesitantly raised my hand in case my mother was trying to send a message from the great beyond.  Catherine approached me and asked some questions in order to explain what she said the spirit was trying to communicate by words and what was described as miming actions. My knee jerk reaction was that these comments were general enough to fit many people. However, a couple of comments and messages later caused me to rethink my opinion of the validity of Mediums contacting spirits.  As I pondered this experience over the next few days, I admit to making a mental adjustment of my skepticism over spirit readings, down several notches.

Observing responses from many audience members to the spirit messages conveyed to them was a moving experience for me. I doubt that a hired professional actor could have displayed such authentic emotional responses running the spectrum from belly laughter to physical shaking and sobbing, and tear-filled acknowledgement of the messages received from people who have passed.
One of the messages I found particularly amusing was that someone’s grandfather who, in life, enjoyed working with tires continues to do so in his afterlife. Several people were assured by their spirit contact, “I’m still around you.” A comment that could be comforting but then again, maybe not.
At the close of the evening, Catherine and Janice invited audience questions. My account of this open forum is somewhat fuzzy, but three questions did cement themselves into my memory.

Q: The Mediums were asked if they hear voices in their mind or is it as if a spirit is beside you talking?
A: Voices are heard in our minds, and we see images of spirits, and sometimes symbols.
Q: What type of symbols?
A: Catherine said she sees daffodils and early on, assumed that was an indication from a spirit about the time of year being spring. Later, she realized that was the symbol of cancer from her spirit guides. She often see the symbol of a tree with a broken limb if a spirit is encouraging a family member to make amends if there is a breach of contact between some family members.
Q: Can you turn off the chatter from spirits at will?
A: Definitely. And they respect our request.

We were told that both Mediums do readings for individuals as well as groups.  I have grappled with how to interpret the reading I received that evening. Has my initial skepticism changed?  I believe it has to some degree. Perhaps, a second session will clarify my take on this puzzling experience.  
Catherine and Janice made the session interesting, fun to observe, and entertaining --- not an easy task given that at times, the subject matter conveyed caused individuals to cry and me to fight tears. I’m glad I forced myself to participate in something that was out of my comfort zone and broaden my knowledge about a subject I would normally shy away from.  Who knows, maybe scenes from what I observed will find their way into one of my future fiction stories. 

Contact information and an excerpt from the Firefly Mediums’ web site follows.

 When We Lose a Loved One… 

It can be hard to move on when we lose a loved one.   Sometimes we are caught in our grief, sometimes we are filled with anger…. most times we are uncertain that they are okay, or that we didn’t say enough to let them know how much we loved them.  
With Firefly Mediums, you have the opportunity to connect with your loved ones in an evening of love, healing, understanding, laughing and moving forward.   Connecting you with your loved ones, Firefly Mediums bring forward messages of hope, support and the trust that your loved ones are still with you.   
Janice Moffat and Catherine Graham have been giving group readings as a unit since 2017, for groups as small as 30 and as large as 75.   Working together, they are able to bring forward the messages that you need to hear in a safe, loving and often humorous way.