Friday, June 29, 2012

Guest Post Author Scarlett Rains

Thank you for inviting me over, Leanne.  I’m happy to be here.

(You're most welcome, Scarlett. I'm thrilled to have you visit.)

How/why did you start to write?

I’ve written, off-and-on, since I was a child.  I was reared in an orphanage so writing stories was an escape for me.  As an adult with a hectic schedule, I found it harder to find time to write. I tried to fit it into my family life and work schedule.  It was tough.  My career as a clinician was so demanding that I was exhausted, with nothing creative left at the end of the day.  My perspective on life, and my priorities, changed after my battle with breast cancer in 2008.  Writing has become even more important to me since then.

How did you become an author?

That’s an interesting question.  I’ve always been a writer.  I became an author when I made the decision to publish my work. The path to that decision was paved with hard work, study, brain-storming with other authors and plenty of prayer.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

I am a licensed clinician with about 20 years experience in healthcare.  I resigned as Clinical Coordinator of an area hospital last year in order to commit myself to writing on a full-time basis. My experiences as a clinician impacted me profoundly.  Many of my short stories (which I have not yet published) relate to situations I’ve witnessed and could not forget.   My childhood experiences at the orphanage inspired the antics that Amelia gets involved in, particularly in The Finishing of Lady Amelia.

What inspires you?

People, my Faith and the connection I feel to others.  I know I’m blessed and I try to celebrate that.  I feel a need to let the stories that form in my head come to life and hopefully bring a smile to my reader. It gives me such joy to create a tale that takes a reader away from their troubles awhile.  I know how important that is.

How many books have you written? Do you plan to write more?

I’ve written three in my Sisters of the Hearts series: Promises of the Heart, Seduction of a Bluestocking and The Finishing of Lady Amelia.  The series is set in 18th century England.  Betrayals of the Heart, the 4th book, coulda-woulda-should’ve been finished at the start of the year but that pesky Amelia kept bugging me to tell her tale.   Betrayals is in the ‘tweaking’ stage now, so it will be out soon. I promise. (Upon a recent visit to Scarlett's blog I was delighted to see that a new book--While You Wait--has just been released. )

What was your first published piece? Where was it published? How long ago?

Promises of the Heart (book one of my Sisters of the Heart series) was my first published work.  I think it took about 2 years to complete the first version of Promises of the Heart and nearly seven for the final. I published the first version of Promises of the Heart via Lulu.  The final version was published by ARTEMIS Books in 2011.

Do you have a link to your website?

You can find me at I enjoy hearing from readers and friends.  My favorite means of doing that is via my blog.   Please, stop in and visit at:

Where we can purchase your books?

Thank you for asking.  The following links are a starting point to find books in my series:

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques.

My approach to marketing is a little atypical. I realize marketing is necessary, but I want to form more solid relationships with people than just bouncing Tweets at them to better my stats.  I do use many of the social media formats, like Twitter and Facebook, but I try to remember that I’m interacting with human beings and offer my support wherever possible.  I’m finding that I enjoy interacting with readers and authors on GoodReads and Book Blogs.  I guess, the bottom line is, write a good book, network and form friends as you do.  I think success is bound to follow.

Closing thoughts

Thank you for inviting me to spend time with you, Leanne.  I hope you will come visit my blog for an interview soon.  

(Thank you, Scarlett. I hope you enjoy it.)

Blessings to you, and all your readers,


Scarlett Rains' books...

Promises of the Heart

When Amelia Fitzailwyn, Duchess of Kensington is orphaned at a very young age, she must leave home and travel to her new guardian’s estate. She embarks on the journey with her beloved governess, Rachel: wishing all the while that her Uncle William would somehow rescue her. To her delight, he does! Uncle William is her new guardian...and he has two sons! Amelia happily settles in to life at Havenwood Manor with her new family.
What are the servants whispering about? Have they noticed all those heated looks between Uncle and Rachel? Amelia sees mysteries everywhere... and would solve them all if her cousins would leave her alone long enough to do her research! She wishes John, the eldest, would keep his nose out of her affairs and poke it back in his theme book, ‘How to be the Most Boring Personage in the Realm’. Alex, the skirt-chasing hypocrite, irritates her even more: going on-and-on about her one little rendezvous with Simon.

When it turns out ‘Uncle’, is not really her uncle, Amelia begins to see the irksome boys in a new light. In fact, she plans to marry one of them! Will John stop straining his steely, grey eyes reading and see her for the woman she is? Or will Alex stop pulling the curl out of her hair long enough to notice the sheen of it as it wraps around his finger? Solve the mystery dear reader, as you enjoy this delightful tale of a young woman’s coming of age in Georgian England.

Seduction of a Bluestocking

Jilted and heart-broken, Miss Rachel Steele leaves home to begin a new life as governess, mind-made-up never again to succumb to a man’s charm. Then William Seaton, old friend of her employer, disturbs her peace: meddling in matters outside his concern. ‘Good riddance to bad rubbish,’ she says when he finally leaves. Soon thereafter, disaster strikes and Rachel accompanies her charge to the estate of her guardian, the Duke of Warwick: who from his letters sounds like a man well in his dotage. Rachel marches in to his study to persuade the doddering old coot to keep her on as governess. Words fail her when she finds that he is not at all old…definitely not doddering, -but none other than the irritating, William Seaton!
William Seaton’s life is precisely as he would have it: mistresses all prettily lined up in a row, a cozy chair at Whites molded comfortably to fit his frame - fine port and cheroots a nod away…just perfect! He is anything but charmed to renew Miss Steele’s acquaintance, she is a nuisance he does not want or need, -in fact, he’d prefer to hear nothing except farewell from her tightly-pressed lips. Knowing the annoying bluestocking will likely disrupt his well-ordered life, he agrees to retain her for the sake of his ward.

Hence begins a sizzling romantic campaign of Napoleonic proportions which draws the unwelcome attention of a villain from William’s past. Will Rachel and William realize their love for one another before he seeks revenge?

The Finishing of Lady Amelia, Prequel to Betrayals of the Heart

Lady Amelia Fitzailwyn knows everything about everything... she certainly does not require Finishing School! If John and Alex had not tattled on her, she would still be home! It was fine for them to chase every skirt in the Kingdom but she has one kiss ...or two, and Uncle carts her off! Day one of her banishment, at Madame de Rigeur's Young Ladies Finishing Academie, is dismal. Her roommate is insular, Clarissa is cruel...and that spotty girl's rash is probably contagious! Then, she meets Monsieur Pelfrie, the handsomest man she has ever seen, and Amelia decides it might just be possible to endure the two long years away from home.

 Enjoy this delightful tale of mischief and mayhem as a sheltered young woman comes of age in Georgian England.

Monday, June 25, 2012

An Island Mystery (short story) by Leanne Dyck

It was a lazy Wednesday evening and I set out to welcome my husband home from his day off-island.

The ferry terminal is one of the busiest areas of Mayne Island and so I was surprised to see a lone sea otter out for a stroll. No, he wasn’t headed for the ocean. In fact, I wasn’t sure where he was going. Upon first sighting he was approximately ten feet away—maybe more. I stood right here watching him.

Unconcerned, he crossed the road...

and made his way to the stairs of the reality estate office. Was he interested in purchasing a summer vacation home for his family? 

No, he skirted past the stairs. 

After scoping out a suitable spot under the building, he immediately left, walking behind me—no more than two feet away. 

He seemed to say, “Sorry, no time to visit” as he hurried down the road—heading further onto the island.

Where was he going? 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Guest Post Author A. A. Riley

How/why did you start to write?

I wrote my first book in third grade. I don’t remember the title. It was about three triplets named Jermaine, Jerome and Jemot and their adventures.  I gave it to my teacher Mrs. Tinning to read. After she read it, she held it up in front of the class and told them to remember me because I was going to be a writer someday.  That’s a really special memory for me.

How did you become an author?

I was always writing or reading something.  After reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I got the courage to pursue my dream. That book really changed my life.

What was your first published piece? 

Honestly, I can’t remember.  I think it was in Capital Xtra Newspaper in Ottawa.  Some of my favourite published pieces where in that newspaper.  I also felt like I was a real writer after being published in the Canadian Writer’s Guide in 2002.  My piece is called Show ‘em you Style Page 131.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

I have had many jobs including supervisor of a courier company, restaurant employee, stunt double in a Hollywood movie, house and animal sitter, factory worker and carpenter.  All of these experiences have fostered in me a determination to get things done, taught me how to talk to anyone and made me great at customer service. How can I help you?

What inspires you?

My personal mandate is to empower, educate and give voice to Canadian black women and girls by telling our stories.  Growing up I read everything.  The one part that I found missing was the story of Canadian black girls like me. So I’m inspired to write for the next generation of girls and making them laugh.

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques

My marketing tip is to be yourself. I like to be silly and do things my own way. I do whatever is comfortable for me. I always carry my book with and any opportunity I get, I get up and talk about.  Don’t be shy and even if you are, do it anyway.

Sophia Firecracker is a nine-year-old girl who thinks she’s a superhero.  When Principal Corncob hints that teacher Mrs. Greenbean may also be a superhero; Sophia sets out on a mission to discover the teacher’s powers.

A. A.  Riley is an undercover, writing, superhero with mission to tell the stories of Canadian black women and girls. Before moving to her current home in Victoria BC, A. A. was awarded two Ontario Arts Councils grants for her novel Introducing Sophia Firecracker and was published in numerous newspapers, magazines and websites.  Writing highlights include publication in the Canadian Writer’s Guide, Art Corridors Magazine and placing her script with a Hollywood actor.

Life highlights include being a stunt double in a movie, meeting Alice Walker and Barbara Gowdy and placing her script with a Hollywood actor.  A. A.  has accepted her writing destiny and can often be found in her downtown “library office” plotting her next adventure.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest Post: Lou Allin at the Crime Writers of Canada award night

(Lou Allin receives the Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to the Crime Writers of Canada.)
I found myself both honoured and terrified to be asked to be the emcee at this year’s Arthur Ellis Awards  for Canada’s best crime writing.

Ellis was the nom de plume of Canada’s last hangman, and the little wooden hanging man statue is a unique, hand-made prize. When the string is pulled, Arthur jumps up and down.

At the Hilton Toronto on Richmond Street on May 31, a near record crowd of about 140 had gathered in the ballroom. One glitch was that due to the special dessert “event,” the evening wouldn’t begin until 8:00 pm, so when introductions were made by our president Garry Ryan , I told the group that they would be served their salad and entrée first. The huge laugh disconcerted me for a moment. When you’re not trying to be funny…

Forty minutes later, it was on to my commentary, which included a “rally the troops” beginning, citing our origins in 1982 when a few founders hoisted drinks to a new organization. The awards were begun shortly after with a few categories, including best first novel, best short story, and best novel. As the years passed, the group moved forward with a website, the catalogue, Cool Canadian Crime, Word on the Street and other events to celebrate National Canadian Crime-Writing Month, the mentorship program, the Unhanged Arthur Sponsorship as well as recent initiatives with the CBC, Zoomer magazine, and the National Post. Our membership has reached 340! These are amazing numbers for a small country.

But since I was asked to speak for twelve minutes, I decided to offer a few suggestions for the future. Not long before, I had read an Icelandic book and came across this sentence: “Before going downstairs, he telephoned Sigurdur Oli and told him to go with Elinborg to Hafnarfjordur to take Gudlaugur’s sister in for questioning. I found myself staring at the sentence and repeating it as if I had entered a new country. I had invested in this book, and not merely because of its constant mention of needing to boil smoked lamb for the upcoming Christmas holidays. A month later at Left Coast Crime, a conference in Sacramento, I heard Helene Turstan, a prominent Swedish crime writer, asked what made the Scandinavian mysteries so popular. She replied, “Ve are exotic.” Now I had my topic. Canada needs to capitalize on its differences, not its similarities, especially to our elephant neighbour down south.

And we have the tools to be exotic.

Let’s start with names. Colin and Siobhan have always flummoxed me.
Geography is even better. Moving from Dildo to Conception Bay and jumping to Climax, SK. There are also Quispamsis, Ecum Secum, St. Louis de Ha Ha, Buzwah, Wawa, Pickle Lake, Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw, and Spuzzum. No need to set the book in these places. Just drop a name now and then. “Got to call Mom in Buzwah. It’s her birthday.”

As for foods, we can do as well as that boiled smoked lamb. How about cod tongues, jellied moose nose, scrunchins, or candied salmon?

We’re not much on guns, but Off insect repellent and Bobex deer repellent could turn back a villain or a neighbour. Icicles can do damage, too.

Exotic history? The Diefenbaby, Prime Minister King’s dog, mother, and séances, and the Pig War in the San Juans.

International plots? Suppose the REAL Jesuit Relations were discovered in a revelation that could bring down the Papacy? A plot to kidnap Justin Bieber could expand the audience to tens of millions of pre-pubescent girls.

Then as stomachs rumbled and wine flowed, the awards took center stage.
 Don Graves and Catherine Astolfo received the Derrick Murdoch Award for their incomparable contributions to the CWC.

The Best Unpublished First Novel went to Sam Wiebe for Last of the Independents.
Astolfo also won the Best Crime Short Story for “What Kelly Did,” a double night for her.

Best Crime Non-Fiction went to Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art by Joshua Knelman.

Best Juvenile went to Tim Wynne-Jones for Blink & Caution.

Best Crime Book in French found La Chorale de Diable by Martin Michaud.

 Best First Novel named Ian Hamilton for The Water Rat of Wanchai.

Peter Robinson took home the Arthur once again for Best Novel, Before the Poison.

At last the special dessert event was ready, created by the Sugarstars from the Food Channel. They ushered us into an autopsy room filled with sweet temptations. A covered body lay on the gurney, and all around were jars and plates and cupboards of organs. Eyeball lollipops, pounds of brains being weighed, platters of kidneys, vials of blood and other amazing creations. Everyone dug in as directed. The event was being filmed and will air in August. So be sure to tune in!

Although I was too nervous to eat the dinner, and left early during the “autopsy,” I got praise for my Icelandic pronunciation. Turns out there was someone at the dinner who spoke the language after all.

Monday, June 18, 2012

#photography: #ArtCraft gallery tour

Here's the link to the ArtCraft Artist Gallery and Gift Shop site on facebook.

(yup, you spotted them. I knit these)

(and these)

(and these too. : ) )

Next post:  Guest post--Author Lou Allin (She Felt No Pain, That Dog Won't Hunt) takes us to the Crime Writers of Canada award night. Thank you, Lou