Thoughts of Perfect Spelling on a Wintry Day


 When I was in public school, I used to get perfect marks on almost all my spelling tests. We also had Spelling Bees, where the teacher lined us up in two teams along opposite walls, and we took turns spelling a word. If you got it wrong, you not only let your team down, but you returned to your seat humiliated. I don't imagine modern classrooms put students through that. However, I was always glad to be one of the last ones standing.

 There came a time when I deliberately made mistakes on a spelling test, so as not to get 100%. Why would I do that? Because I was being roundly made fun of for always getting a perfect mark. I suppose today, some might consider that a form of bullying, but at that time, (I think it was Grade Two) all I wanted to do was avoid the situation, and so I deliberately made some mistakes. 

All of this is background to indicating how horrified I was recently to read over a couple of these blogs and find not only a spelling error, but a grammatical one, too! Horrors!  I'd like to think they were due to my growing cataracts or the fact that I usually post late at night, but I can't be sure.  One might have been a simple typo. I'm grasping at straws, here, folks, endeavouring to rescue my reputation as a perfect speller! (This programme just underlined both "endeavouring" and "programme" because I've used Canadian spelling, not American. That's a whole different issue!) 

So, that's all for now. I just thought I'd try to explain myself.  I've been slightly traumatized to discover I'm no longer perfect in the spelling department. It was one of my few claims to fame!

Kobo, KIndle, Nook etc. All e-versions finally available!

Dear Friends,

  First of all I want to thank those of you who have come to my book presentations and supported me in this new adventure of being an "author". I guess it's official as it was posted on the sign of one of the libraries where I recently spoke. See attached photo.

  I'm writing because some were waiting for the e-book versions to be "straightened out". Haunted Journey was up on Kobo, Kindle, Nook, and other sites for a while, but I was not pleased with the formatting, so I took it down for a while to be reformatted. It has been available again on Kindle for several weeks, but there has been an ongoing problem getting it up on the Kobo site again.

If you thought you heard cheering all the way from here today, that was me! I finally received the news that Haunted Journey is now available again on Kobo. So, if you or any of your friends are interested in reading it on your Kobo, you now can!

Thanks again for your enthusiasm and support for this new adventure in my life and for all the wonderful comments you're sending. They mean the world to me.

All the best,


Revamping My Website

I'm revamping this site and have transferred several posts to this new blog. As a result. all of them carry the date of August 3rd,  despite their having been written in the winter and spring.

Killing Your Darlings

February 9, 2016          Killing Your Darlings

Haunted Journey represents four years of writing, rewriting and rewriting again. Someone famous once said, "Writing is rewriting." How true!  I recently read a post on Facebook, which said, "Being a good writer is 3 % talent, and 97% not being distracted by the internet."  That's also true.   Distraction is a big issue for writers. One recently wrote that she turns off the internet when writing, so that she isn't tempted to  check her e-mails. I completely relate to all of the above. It's a wonder this book was ever completed!

There have been at least five versions of this story; some had extra chapters, which I've removed for various reason. I've learned the meaning of that writers' phrase, "Kill your darlings".  When you're very fond of a particular scene, and an editor says it doesn't advance the story, you must either make it advance the story or eliminate it. Another early reader suggested eliminating one of the characters, as she wasn't necessary to the story. I agonized over this and decided not to; instead,  I gave her a lesser role and had a more important character do some of the things that character had done.

Have I made the right decisions? Time (and an editor) will tell. In the end, preliminary readers, no matter how impressive their credentials. are only offering their opinions. In fact, they will clearly state that all decisions are ultimately mine, as it's my project.  While this is true, I do listen to them, because of their expertise, and they've pointed out many things I didn't understand as a new writer, and those suggestions have only improved my work. So, I thank them.

On Query Letters and Muskoka Heritage Place

February 8, 2016   On Query Letters and Muskoka Heritage Place

I am currently sending out query letters and sample chapters to agents. So far, I've contacted twelve, and there's a long list remaining! Taking this giant step represents a huge leap of faith on my part. It means actually putting a part of myself out there for scrutiny. (Rather like establishing this website!) I appreciate those who have responded to assure me that they have received my submission and will look at it. This means a lot. Even though that process may take up to six months, and I may never hear from them again, I appreciate that courtesy.

Last summer, I submitted some poetry to a competition and was thrilled to have two of my poems selected for an anthology. They represent my first published works. I will eventually post one or both of them here.

The cabin on my cover page is located in Muskoka Heritage Place, Huntsville, ON. and is a typical settler's home. I was delighted to find it so similar to the one I had described in my novel, complete with the stump where the children's mother loved to sit and listen to the morning birdsong.

The Importance of Memory Sticks

March 10, 2016   The Importance of Memory (Sticks!)

 While concentrating on finishing my novel, Haunted Journey, I had put aside my romance/mystery novel for well over a year. When I decided to have a look at it again, I discovered several chapters missing, five or six at least, I thought. I had a vague recollection of what happened in those chapters but not any detailed memory.  Naturally, this was very frustrating, and I felt disheartened at the prospect of rewriting those missing chapters. I diligently checked all three computers in this house for the missing files, and then I searched my small collection of memory sticks, certain I'd find them there.  No such luck!

 A few weeks later, while searching my bookshelves for another item, out fell one small memory stick, and yes, there were my missing files. Not only that, but I discovered I'd done quite a rewriting job on the first few chapters. So, today, I've put that rewritten first chapter on this site and removed what was there. Lesson learned: I recently bought a very large mass storage unit of 500 GB, and from now on, everything is going to be saved on this one unit!  I'll find another use for those small memory sticks.

"Swimming in the Rain", the novel's tentative title now has thirty-four chapters! I feel good about what I am rediscovering as I catch up on my plot and characters. Now all I have to do is decide "who dun it" and how! That may turn out to be the trickiest part of all.

New Beginnings

February 8, 2016          New Beginnings                 

 "The only journey is the one within."   Rainer Maria Riilke   

Welcome to my new, exciting adventure! I am still learning the ropes of web site design, so your patience is appreciated. I also have a new Facebook page, "Haunted Journey", which I invite you to "like" to keep it viable.

Stay tuned for more details about my novel Haunted Journey and my other works-in-progress.

Spring Delights

May 18, 2016

  As spring continues to delight me with the wonders of its forests, I try to imagine what they must have meant to winter-weary settlers. The end of winter meant the end of the food stores put away in the fall to last the winter. By spring, families would literally be "scraping the bottom of the barrel", and what lay at the bottom was often rotten and maggoty. So, imagine how welcome the arrival of fiddleheads would be: a healthy, green vegetable to add to the diet. Those who were open to learning from the native peoples would learn to identify wild garlic, edible mushrooms, wild rice and other delicious additions to their table. Tapping maple trees provided a sweetener for plain oatmeal, tea and coffee, and baking.

Other arrivals, such as fields of white trilliums, and in some places, red ones, fed the spirit.  Eventually, the Province of Ontario would choose the trillium as its provincial flower. Wild violets sprout wherever they feel like it, it seems, whether that be a rocky crevice or a patch of grass.  (Photos below)