Sunday, October 25, 2020

Book Review: The Guardians by Andrew Pyper (horror)

Would you like to learn how to create suspense and build on it? Andrew Pyper teaches you how to pick up that hot potato and never let it go in The Guardians.  

The Guardians by Andrew Pyper is a haunted house story. The Thurman house keeps dark secrets within its walls--but for how long? They want to get out.

Buy this book

Published by Doubleday Canada

an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

Published in 2011

Forty-year-old Trevor is watching his life slip away as Parkinson's claims his body. He's alone but he wasn't always. In 1984, Trevor and his three friends Randy, Ben, and Carl played hockey for the Grimshaw Guardians. Flash forward twenty-four years to 2008 and Ben's death brings Trevor back to his hometown of Grimshaw, Ontario. It brings him face-to-face with that which haunts him--the Thurman house and his once girlfriend Sarah. One offers him death, the other life--which will Trevor choose?

To help Trevor cope with Parkinson's, doctors advise him to keep a journal. He takes this advice but he doesn't write about Parkinson's. He recounts the events that transpired in the winter of 1984 when he was sixteen. This dual timeline kept me on the edge of my seat. 

In fact, if I were, to sum up, The Guardians in one word that word would be suspenseful. 

New release by Andrew Pyper--The Residence

Virtual Reading...

Wednesday, October 28
just in time for Halloween

a ghost story

November on this blog...

Sunday, November 1

Short Story:  A Bedtime Story 
Leanne Dyck

A sweet story about a child's bedtime ritual with her farmer father.

Sunday, November 8

Book Review:  How to Pronounce Knife (short story collection)
Souvankham  Thammavongsa

Nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
The Scotiabank Giller Prize ceremony will be held tomorrow--Monday, November 9

Sunday, November 15

Short Story:  Is She Me?
Leanne Dyck

An anthem for women of a certain age.

Sunday, November 22

Book Review:  All We Left Behind (historical fiction)
Danielle R Graham

A war-time romance between Chidori and Hayden--set on a remote island off Canada's west coast (Mayne Island)

Sunday, November 29

Book Review:  MASH (historical fiction)
Richard Hooker

This novel about doctors servicing in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean war became the popular TV show MASH starring Alan Alda.

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Sharing my author's journey...

Thanks to the Vancouver Writers Festival, I had an opportunity to visit with Oliver Jeffers

'On this pale blue dot, everyone you love, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives... Every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there, on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam'


-Carl Sagan

Word count:   5,742 /40,000

This week was all about planning and filling in the blanks. For example, naming some of my key secondary characters. Often 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Book Review: People Like Frank and other stories from the edge of normal by Jenn Ashton

The Short, Short Story with Jenn Ashton (a writers' workshop)

One of the fun writing activities Jenn offers is to encourage writing a 6-word memoir. Here's mine...

Reading disability leads to writing passion.

People Like Frank, Jenn Ashton's short story collection is peopled with diverse characters from disabled to immigrants to transients to... These characters speak loudly and clearly building bridges of understanding. I like how some of these stories are linked. This pairing invites a closer look, encourages a deeper understanding, or offers an opposing view. 

Buy this book

Published by Tidewater Press

Published in 2020

I received my copy from the publisher.

Stories range in length from 3 to 12 pages. The collection is dyslexic-friendly. It's a perfect book to take with you on your morning commute. Some stories are heart-warm. Others are emotionally challenging. 


Betty dies while knitting. All of her belongings--including her knitting--are donated to Goodwill. Francine works at Goodwill. What Betty was knitting and where it belongs becomes Francine's mystery.

2)The Bag and I

The narrator puts a recyclable frozen asparagus package in the recycle bin, but the garbage man tosses it out. Why? The narrator devotes herself to solving this mystery.

3)Remembering Vincent Price

Chrissy Evers a thirty-something university interim instructor attempts to heal from haunting childhood trauma.

4)The Instruction of Thomas Epperman

Inspired by her Ph.D. thesis, Isobel Emerson develops a new method of communication.

5)Professor Angel

Acting with understanding and compassion, Alice fills roles that others may have overlooked or neglected. 

This story is packed with information and I would have liked to see it fleshed out so I could have witnessed Alice's interactions. But maybe there's a reason she isn't given a voice.


A happily married woman looks forward to the day when her husband's dystonia is under control.


Recovering from a stroke, Allison is relearning many of the tasks we take for granted--like using the toilet.


Anne is wife and primary caregiver to the narrator who has dementia.

9)People Like Frank

Frank has dementia and his wife is noticing how it's changing him.


Fleeing a dangerous life, Lina reinvents herself.


We see the world through Blake Cheever's eyes and we slowly begin to realize why he is where he is and why he acts the way he does.

The story left me yearning for a happy life for Blake. It's a story that I'm sure will remain with me. 

12)Good Planning

Inside the mind of someone who is experiencing a psychotic break. 

13)Virginia, Ten

At an early age, the narrator must raise her little brother Jimmy because her mother has bipolar disorder. 


The oldest in a family that's 'good at breeding' (p. 127), Jess longs to escape her boring rural Canadian home. 

15)All-Nation Soup

The narrator reminisces about Sundays spent at Granny's with her ten cousins.

'The cold world outside stopped and we could breathe at Granny's table and just be ourselves.' (p. 136)

Such a loving tribute to a time, to family, to a woman--to Granny.

16)The Weatherman

A Japanese-Canadian couple lives on a remote island in one of the last working lighthouses.

Far from feeling bored or isolated, Tekki, the narrator, finds intellectual challenges, beauty, and love.  

17) Mea Culpa

'I'm writing because I want to tell you about the last stupid thing I'll ever do.' (p. 153)--become obsessed with Boris the electrician. 

18)Material Remains

Set in Scotland, Sarah is in search of a life she can squeeze herself into. She keeps searching until she finds something that can be truly hers. 

19)Hollow Bones

The narrator and her daughter travel in search of a home, in search of stillness.

20)Mona Lisa

Lessons learned by a 57-year-old traveler.

'I marvel at how I tried all my life to please so many people, when each person's experience of me was so different.' (p. 184)

Mark your calendar...

People Like Frank will be launched at the Whistler Writers Festival (October 17) and Massy Books (October 27) Here's a Facebook link to attend Massy Books virtual book launch 

 Virtual Reading...

Wednesday, October 21

Ownership (horror)

Do you own your house or does it own you?

Next Sunday...

Book Review:  The Guardians by Andrew Pyper

The Guardians is a suspenseful haunted house story--a perfect read on a chilly Halloween night.

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photo by ldyck

Sharing my author journey...

Enter a short story writing contest
Deadline October 31

WIP Progress Report:  4,510/40,000
Bear in mind that this is the first draft, words can be removed just as easily as they are added--at this point. 
Miles to go--having tons of fun and...

An interesting side-effect of writing novels--of starting with a stack of paper--or a blank screen--and adding lots and lots of words...

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Leanne Dyck, Blogger (3-minute memoir)

To celebrate this blog's tenth anniversary, allow me to take you back--way back to the beginning...

photo by ldyck

In August 2002, I asked web designer Monica Hogg to build a website for my handknitting patterns. I was delighted by the site. The only problem was very few knitters found it. For three years, I did everything I could to attract their attention. Frustrated, I asked Monica for solutions. She suggested a blog. 

My response, "What's a blog?"

After Monica answered that question, I asked, "What do you put on a blog?"

Monica said something like, "Photos. Writing. Whatever you like."

In 2005, Monica built my first blog--Designer's Note.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Where were you on November 9, 2005? What were you doing?

Well, I was on Mayne Island. And one of the things I did was start blogging.

I wrote about becoming a blogger as a momentous event--like it would take me on an amazing journey.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thanks to this blog I reached my goal of completing a book. Novelty Yarn is a collection of short stories with a central theme of knitting. Now I have once again set out to write a book--this time a novel. Short stories are manageable they do require some commitment of time but nothing compared to that required by a novel. It's much like the difference between knitting a hat and knitting a sweater. 

I finished that book--Maynely a Mystery--and published it in June 2009.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I began this blog in 2005. I began with the plan of writing daily posts. I wanted to become an author. All the books I read, all the authors I spoke with gave me the same advice--'If you want to write write.' They encouraged me to make a daily commitment. I knew left to my own devices I would start out with the best intentions but would soon forget, reject, and neglect. I needed to be publicly accountable. So I started blogging and I found you. To my delight, you logged on to read my writing. Because of your support, I began to view myself as an author. I began to think that I had something worthy of being read. 

I had many blog addresses over the years. On October 10, 2010, I created a blog to promote my upcoming thriller The Sweater Curse. Yes, I named my blog after my book--bad idea. With a name like that visitors were confused. Was it a knitting or writing blog?

In 2014, to uncomplicated things, I changed the blog's name to Author Leanne Dyck. Crickets. I made all of you disappear--all of my readers. What a magic trick. Would you ever find me again? 

On September 13, 2020, at precisely 10:59 am, this blog received its 500,000-page view. Hooray! And I haven't stopped celebrating since. 

'A page an instance of a page being loaded in a browser...

For a blogger, it means that everytime someone request to load a page from your blog, you get a page view.' -Shafi Khan, Professional Blogger, SEO Executive

I'm looking forward to many more happy years with you.

Related article...

photo by ldyck

Virtual reading

Wednesday, October 14

short story:  It Was Nothing

Petal wants to sleep in her mother's bed, but her mother doesn't let her and so...

Next Sunday...

Book Review:  

People Like Frank
and other stories from the edge of normal
Jenn Ashton

Are you following me?

Linked In

photo by ldyck

Sharing my author journey...

David A Robertson is a multi-genre author. One of his new books--

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Larry (short story) by Leanne Dyck

A ghost story...

                                                                                photo by ldyck


I've been listening to him filling your head with lies. Lies. And I can't take it anymore. You've got to listen to me. This is the truth.

One day my husband comes home from work and tells me, "I've lost my job and we're moving." Just like that. Boom. Boom. Like two beats on a drum.

I sat there numb. It was a lot to take in. Too much.

"Colleen, did you hear me? I said we're moving."

I looked around at the life we're built together for thirty plus years--our nice house, on a nice street, surrounded by all the other nice houses. Friends I knew I could depend on. I was forced to say good-bye.

We moved to the middle of nowhere. He told me he was going to farm but all he grew was weeds. And all he did morning after morning was load stuff into that Ford truck he'd bought and drive to... He never told me where. 

That wasn't the only secret he kept. There was this shed that was always locked. One day, I just had enough. I broke down the door. Yeah, me. I may look small but I'm determined. Inside it was like a warehouse--all this stuff--but I dug through and found... I found... Well, it looked like a mummy. You know like in Egypt. Had my Larry killed someone? I needed to know. I unwrapped the body. And it was--. It was my Larry. But that just didn't make sense. I'd just seen him drive away that morning. And the body was stiff. That takes twenty-four hours. Doesn't it? And who wrapped him? We're alone on this isolated farm. I tried to reason it all out. And slowly, very slowly all the pieces started to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. I'd been living with an imposter. 

Why did he keep me alive?

Maybe because I'd helped him. Not on purpose. I had no idea what I was doing. Your voice is too nasally are you coming down with a cold? Since when do you drink coffee? Do you remember our first date? We went to the movies. We saw... Comment after question, I was helping him build his new identity. 

I know what he has been feeding you--unhappy wife, takes new lover, kills her husband, steals from her wealthy neighbours, gets greedy, tries to kill her lover but the lover kills her in self-defense. But that's all lies. 

La--. That man who calls himself Larry came home and found me in the shed with my dead husband. I'd discovered his secret and he couldn't let me live. 

I didn't get greedy. I didn't want it all for myself. I didn't try to kill...kill...that, that man. 

I'm innocent. Do you hear me? Innocent. Of course, you don't hear me. No one listens to the dead. Except maybe the coroner. 

photo by ldyck

Virtual Reading...

Wednesday, October 7

I will record--for this blog--Lasting Love

This short story is a tribute to my parents

Next Sunday...

Leanne Dyck, Blogger (3-minute memoir)

To celebrate this blog's tenth anniversary, I tell you about my first blog. How I reported on the dinosaur that roamed free. 

Are you following me?

Linked In

photo by ldyck

Sharing my Author Journey...

I'm very excited to say that I have started writing a middle grade