Odds and Ends

Beach Dog

Yay! It’s almost summer.  For some, that means time to slow down and relax, others, it might mean things are just ramping up to get busy. For me, it means cottage season. The cottage on Lake Winnipeg is my favourite place to relax. We have limited access to the internet out there, so I may not post very often, but don’t worry, I’m still hard at work writing book 5 in Harry’s adventures.


Summer is also a great time to read, so in honour of that, I decided to lower the price of Harry’s second book, Tooth and Claw.  If you started reading Harry’s adventures in Dead and Kicking and just haven’t had a chance to get to the next book, now’s a great time to take advantage of the new low price.


I’d also like to congratulate Tina C. who won the latest gift card draw. Tina was randomly selected from all the names on my mailing list and has been sent a $25 gift card just for signing up.  Remember, I will make another draw the next time I get one hundred more signups, and once you’re signed up you are automatically entered in the draw every time. If you haven’t joined the list, you can still do so by clicking Yes! SIGN ME UP back on my home page.

May the Fourth…

…Be With You


I became a Star Wars fan completely by accident. The summer that Star Wars arrived in theatres in my hometown, I was just a young punk, my age not even in double digits. Too young to go by myself with my friends (who were a year or two older and had less parental supervision) to see another movie that just arrived in theatres, a movie that had less than acceptable themes like smoking and sex.

No, instead I was given the choice of staying home or going to the movies with my older brother who was off to see some stupid space movie with his friends. It goes without saying that neither my brother nor I were pleased with this arrangement, but he was stuck with me, and I was stuck with Star Wars.

So there I sat in the balcony of the King’s Theatre (by myself, two rows back and several seats over from my brother and his buddies because heaven forbid he be seen with his kid sister) unaware that my mind was about to be blown.

And then the words started scrolling on the screen.


With those now famous words, I was hooked.

Raised on a steady diet of movies such as The Rescuers, Benji and Herbie Rides Again, Star Wars was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was starry vistas and barren planets with three moons. It was hyperdrive, lightsabers and robot “droids”. It was awesome. It was epic. It was good vs. evil and had freakin’ Darth Vader.

princess leia darth vader

Best of all, it had Princess Leia.  A princess that didn’t need to be rescued (well, she did, but then she quickly put her would-be rescuers in their place). A princess who was feisty and tough and perfectly capable of keeping up with the boys. A princess this tomboy could actually identify with.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Happy Star Wars Day!



Why Magic? Why Not?



So I wrote the three spicy novellas of The Yacht Club and each one has what I call a hint of magic. I don’t want to give too much away about the characters, but each of my three leading ladies has a special gift (although Pax would argue about the gift part). But why magic?


So now I’m sitting here trying to answer that question and wondering why I thought a blog post about it was a good idea. The corny answer to the question would be that it was just the way the stories arrived out of the depths of my crazy imagination. Often it feels like I have no say in the matter, the characters are the ones calling the shots and this time they showed up, bringing the magic with them. A more cynical answer would be that after writing Daisy’s story and wanting the next story to tie into the same theme, I took the easy route. I needed Kimi to be able to do some physically difficult things and be able to break into a house without getting caught so I used magic as my deus ex machina.

But there is more to it than that. Let’s face it, most romance (the kind in books) is fantasy. At one time, it was all dashing heros and swooning heroines, but these days the heroines can be just as daring. Whatever the case, we read it to escape, to be entertained, and in some cases to forget, at least for a little while. So why can’t romance have magic too? Let’s face it, having the ability to read minds is just as believable as a gorgeous billionaire coming to sweep me off my feet.

I’m not saying that someone has told me romance can’t have magic, I’m just trying, perhaps badly, to tell you why The Yacht Club does. But honestly, it really is because that’s just the way the characters showed up. It started with Daisy and her magic tattoo. Then came Kimi, and as I said, she needed a little extra help to get her where I needed her to be, so why not give her the gift to open locks? Finally there was Pax. Poor Pax, she has it the worst, but she is also making the most of her bad situation because I don’t write about wimps.

I could have titled this post “Why Romance?” but I’ve explained my choice to write romance before and as to why I choose to read it, well the answer is really right there – it’s my choice. For a great article about romance and reading whatever the hell you want, check out this post by Smart Bitches Trashy Books (as you can tell by the name, there’s a bit of a language warning so if you have an issue with swearing the article might not be your thing).

The Yacht Club releases April 25th

Want to know more? Preorder your copy of The Yacht Club and learn how three women find their hot and steamy happily-ever-afters.

 Kobo   Amazon  Barnes&Noble   iTunes


No, you don’t have to say “Bless you” or “Gesundheit!” I didn’t just sneeze. I’m not sick. I’m just a book-a-holic, or as I prefer, a bibliophile. Turns out the Japanese, being the civilized people that they are, actually have a word for it: Tsundoku, the act of stockpiling more books than can be consumed. Read the full article here.

not hoarding

Vimy Ridge

Vimy pic 6

Exactly one hundred years ago today at 5:30am on a Easter Monday the assault on Vimy Ridge in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France began as the Canadian Corps faced the the German Sixth Army. The battle, which took place from April 9 to 12, 1917, was part of the opening phase of the Britsh-led Battle of Arras, a diversionary attack for the French Nivelle Offensive.

vimy historic 2

The objective of the Canadian Corps was to take control of the German-held high ground along an escarpment at the northernmost end of the Arras Offensive. This would ensure that the southern ranks could advance without being fired on by Germans at their flank. Besides being an important victory for allied forces, it is also seen by many as Canada’s coming of age.

vimy historical

You can’t grow up in Canada without knowing at least something about Vimy Ridge. As a kid I spent many hours skating in the Vimy Arena, one of many community buildings, parks, etc. across the country named in commemoration of this historic event.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge marked the first time all four Canadian divisions, made up of troops drawn from all parts of the country, fought as a cohesive formation and as a result of their range of technical and tactical innovations, very powerful artillery preparation and meticulous planning, the Canadians demonstrated they were a valuable force on the Western Front and masters of offensive warfare. The victory did not come without great cost. More than ten thousand Canadians were injured and 3,598 gave their lives on the ridge.

Vimy Calgary Highlanders

After Vimy, the Canadian Corps went from one success to another, their record winning Canada a separate signature on the Versailles Peace Treaty, a significant moment in the young country’s history. While Vimy is not generally considered the greatest achievement of the Canadian Corps in strategic importance or results obtained, the image of national unity and achievement gave the battle importance for Canada. For many, Canada’s national identity and nationhood were born out of the battle at Vimy Ridge.

vimy soldiers

So today I take a minute to reflect on the sacrifices made by my fellow Canadians both then and now, sacrifices made to help bring peace to the world. Something I think we could all use a little more of in the world today.

Let us never forget.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Top of the morning to you and a Happy St. Paddy’s Day. A few years ago I was lucky enough to do a whirlwind road trip around the beautiful country of Ireland and I thought I would share some pictures with you to celebrate the day.

small road map

As you can see, we covered a lot of ground, sticking mainly to the coast roads. While I’m not as well-travelled as I would like, I have seen a lot of countryside, including a lot of Canada (some of the most beautiful scenery around), but nothing beats this road trip. (Click on the pictures below to see a larger view)

We started and finished in Dublin where there is plenty to see and do. Next we headed south to Cork and its surrounds including Cobh and Kinsale. If you ever get to Kinsale, I’d highly recommend stopping by Jim Edwards for a bite to eat and don’t forget to order the Banoffee pie for dessert (OMG it is to die for).

From Cork we continued to follow the coast and after a few false starts found our way to Mizen Head, the southernmost (and I’d hazard to say windiest) point in Ireland. The Ring of Kerry led us into Killarney and then it was on to the sandy beaches and stellar seafood chowder of Dingle (one of my favourite stops).

From Dingle we hit the road and headed to Galway and then on to Mulranny and the 42kms of biking/hiking trails that make up the Great Western Greenway. The walled city of Londonderry took us out of Ireland and into the U.K. and Northern Ireland. Rich in a history both ancient and modern, Derry, as it is also called, was the scene of many civil uprisings associated with the IRA and the Troubles.

From Derry, we headed back to the coast and some of the most spectacular vistas I have ever seen along the Causeway and Ocean roads that lead to and from the Giant’s Causeway.

Highlights in Belfast included seeing the murals dedicated to the Troubles as well as the huge Titanic museum (definitely worth a look).

Our final stop before heading back to Dublin was Newgrange and the 5200 year old (that’s older that Stonehenge and the pyramids) passage tomb.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane. Now hoist a green beer and dish yourself up another bowl of Irish Stew and have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day.

happy st pats day

Starships & Sorcery


Are you from the Greater Toronto Area? Then why not join in the fun and check out the Starships & Sorcery Sci-Fi/Fantasy Festival at the Oshawa Public Library?  They have a variety of events scheduled from now until October 25th, including a photo op with the TARDIS, a Star Wars party, Harry Potter crafts and Star Trek trivia night.  There is also the opportunity to meet several talented writers in the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genres including me!

I will be at the Oshawa Public Library, Northview Branch on October 22 at 2pm. Join me as I answer your questions and read from the Harry Russo Diaries. I’ll also be signing copies of Harry’s books. I hope to see you there!