Thursday, August 5, 2021

NEW RELEASE: Have Mercy, Book 3 in the Mercy Me series

 I know it's been a while, nearly two years actually, since I last published something but you have to admit A LOT has happened in the world over the last year and a half and of course there's always more happening behind the obvious. 

For starters I went back to school and started working towards a college diploma in Library & Information Services. As a mom of two teenagers who works at a library, (go figure) and lives on a 10 acre farm property, you can imagine my schedule was pretty packed. What was interesting though was how I never lost the yearning to write. No matter how many assignments piled up or how crazy my day planner got I felt a true and urgent need to write. And so I would carve out bits and pieces of time to gets some words on the page and move the story forward. The extra effort has been worth it though. Achieving my diploma is within spitting distance and I am nearly there. 

In addition to my increased responsibilities, I also suffered a high degree of personal loss. My house has always been a menagerie of furry friends, canine and feline mostly, and they are all like family to me with their own personalities, likes and dislikes, that makes me adore them all the more. So it goes without saying that when a furry family member passes away I am a wreck, and remain so for sometime. I don't feel I ever move past the grief but rather the grief becomes a part of my natural state of being. I become one with it. I sit with it. Cry over it. And get super, super comfortable with it.  

In total I lost 3 cats, and 3 dogs and my most beloved Grandmother all in the span of 18 months. It has been traumatizing and I feel as if the story of it all deserves a blog post of it's own, so I shall spare you the details for now, except to say each loss felt like a gash to my soul and this affected my ability to work on my writing in any true. meaningful way. 

And of course, the world-wide pandemic has certainly put a kink in many people's well laid plans. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I can say that the challenges of lockdowns and the future unknowns have caused no end of turmoil and rendered me useless some days, which also affected my ability to tackle the book. 

In short, this book kicked my butt. Taking all the challenges stated above into account, I can definitely say this is one of the most difficult books I have ever written. Match that with a deep passion of mine to produce the best story I possibly can each and every time I set out to write something, it's no wonder I had a hell of time getting this finished and polished enough to share. 

I am over-the-moon excited to finally have this book, HAVE MERCY, out in readers' hands so they can enjoy some escapism, learn something new and perhaps get lost in Victorian Toronto along the way. 


Book 3 in the Mercy Me Mysteries

Mercy Eaton vowed to never set foot inside the Mercer Reformatory for Women again after spending nearly a year confined to one of its holding cells. When her beau, Detective Jeremiah Walker, asks for her assistance with a murder case involving the prison, Mercy outright refuses.

When she realizes the ghost who’s been relentlessly haunting her for days is the same murdered woman Walker came to speak to her about, Mercy is forced to reconsider.

Before long Mercy finds herself deep in the prison’s clutches, embroiled once again in the sordid nature of unjust imprisonment and confronted by demons she’d long since left at the prison gates. As her relationship with Walker hangs by a thread, and with her sanity in question, Mercy puts everything on the line to solve the young woman’s murder and to finally put her own tortured past to rest.

Buy Link (US):

Also available on Kobo, Nook, Apple and other places Ebooks are sold. 

Don't forget to add Have Mercy to your "Want to Read" list on Goodreads. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

I'm going to be at KEMPENFEST

I am very excited to announce that this year I will have a booth at KEMPENFEST at the Barrie Waterfront!

One of the premier festivals in Ontario, Kempenfest attracts 200,000 people from all over the province who come to see fine art, antique and specialty craft vendors.

Held during the Civic Holiday weekend in August, in the beautiful city of Barrie, ON. I will left you all know where exactly you can find me closer to the date. For now, come check out my profile on the organizer's website...

Monday, October 29, 2018

Another Marshall House Installment!

Are you looking for something to read this holiday season? Perhaps something dark but ultimately uplifting?

Allow me to introduce to you the long-awaited installment, WARM HANDS COLD HEART, a Marshall House Christmas Mystery, 7th book in the series and the newest book that has taken a prominent position on my book shelf!

Buy link:


*Description Below

Recently married and awaiting the birth of her first child, Margaret Davies takes a position at Wendall Hall, a privately funded charity for unwed, expectant women in a small town east of Edinburgh. With Christmas around the corner and a number of birthing rooms empty, Margaret and Wendall Hall founder Violet Bane turn their attention to the babies in the nursery, ensuring they arrive at their adoptive homes in time for the holidays.
Wendall Hall’s Christmas preparations take an unexpected turn, however, when a body is discovered in a snowbank outside the Hall’s side door the day following a harrowing storm. It doesn’t take long for Margaret to realize not everything is what it seems at the benevolent charity. Decades-old secrets lurk in the shadows of the old manor house, secrets that go far beyond penniless women trying to hide their scandalous pregnancies, secrets Violet Bane had meant to take with her to the grave. 

Do you remember when I said the number 7 was a meaningful number to me? Mercy Me, my book released in June, may have been my 7th published novel, but WARM HANDS COLD HEART, the newest MARSHALL HOUSE book is 7th in the series. 2018 has been a great year for sevens! I'll be a posting a different blog post about that factoid next week!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

New Book Release: MERCY ME

Seven has always been a magical number for me. I am constantly looking for the number seven, or a combination of numbers to create seven in my daily life. When I signed up for my first cell phone I refused to take any number without three sevens. When we purchased the house we currently live in I took the seven in the street number as a good sign (which has also featured prominently in the street address of the last 4 homes we've lived in). Right now we own six cats and I'm constantly telling my husband we are lopsided because we don't have seven. So it's no surprise that I feel a special connection to my newest book, my seventh published novel.

Surprisingly it's not the 7th in the Marshall House series (that one comes out in the fall), but rather a the first book in a new series set in Canada, my home and native land. While the number seven is magical for me, my new book, MERCY ME, is pretty magical too. Mercy Marigold Eaton is a very special character, able to piece together the lives of those who have passed with a single touch.

It's a safe to say she has one special gift, but what she can't do is divine the future, or actually communicate with the dead but don't tell any of her clients that! Forced to raise her daughter alone Mercy turns her connection with the dead in a thriving livelihood and does well for herself in the bustling Victorian city of Toronto, far away from the troubles of her past.

Her world is turned upside down, however, when she is unwittingly swept up in to a double murder investigation led by the dashing, and exceedingly skeptical, Jeremiah Walker, detective with the Toronto Police. Fighting her own demons rooted in a deep distrust of the law, Mercy quickly finds herself falling for his charms until she finds out he's a married man.

MERCY ME is currently available in ebook format and will be in paperback soon!

Follow this link to start reading today...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Writer Resolutions

I've never made a resolution I haven't kept... I almost wrote that with a straight face. Why, I nearly spit out my tea. Let's be honest, shall we? In the past I've fallen short in so many ways whether its resolving to lose weight, pay off debt, or become more organized I always seem to fall short of the initial image in my head. Sometimes by a smidgen, sometimes by a mile. 

 Truth is, resolutions are challenging but that doesn't stop us. Year after year we resolve and fail. Resolve and fail. I love resolutions myself.  For one day we are allowed, nay encouraged, to dream big. We are shown a blank calendar, 365 days of promise, and are told to make something of it. That something can be anything, anything our little hearts can dream up. The prospect is both thrilling and disheartening at the same time. 

It's times like these that I think of Anne Shirley's famous quote, "Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it." How encouraging, yes? Each day, each year we can make our lives what we want of them. But any true Anne fan will remember the reply Anne received from her school teacher, Muriel Stacy who says, "Ah, no mistakes in it yet."  

Was Miss Stacy merely attempting to burst Anne's bubble, to bring her down and make her more sensible and realistic (ie: boring)? In my opinion, no, she wasn't. It's easy to dream big. We can't help ourselves, but often times in dreaming so large we create an almost impossible feat. We set ourselves up for failure by not recognizing the realities of the task and the limitations of our own abilities. Resolutions can be achieved but only if we approach them like we do any other goals in our lives. We need a plan of actionable steps. 

Action plans are the blueprint for success. We start with a mission statement, a goal that is measurable and by measurable I mean, is it something with a tangible finish line. Resolving to lose weight is far too vague, whereas resolving to lose 20 pounds is far more measurable. When thinking of your resolutions think of how you will know you have reached success? What will be your signal to yourself that you accomplished what you set out to do? My mission statement for 2018 is a big one, bigger than anything I have ever done before. 

I am going to finish writing 3 books before December 31, 2018. 

Holy crap, that's huge. I can feel my heart bouncing even as I wrote that, but let's step back a notch. Is this a goal I can reasonably achieve? Well, given that each of my first drafts run approximately 60,000 words, to reach my goal I will need to have written over 180,000 words. If I divide 180,000 by 365 days I get 493 words. That tells me I will need to write a minimum 493 words a day. That's not too bad. Even on my worst days of writing I average 1000 words a day, sometimes I can achieve as many as 3,000 words a day. Given that I am already 18,000 words into the first project (Thanks NaNoWriMo!), I think it's fair to say my goal is achievable. 

The next step when planning out your resolution is to break it down further into smaller chunks. How do you eat an elephant? (Forget the why, OK? Assume you have no choice.) The answer is simple, one bite at a time. I want to take that 180,000 words and break it down by project. I want a measurable goal for each book. A finish line. An end date. A champagne and chocolate kind of day.

For my resolution, I have set one deadline for end of February 2018. The next is set for June 2018 and the last is set for sometime in November. This gives me a nice 4 week buffer in case of any mishaps. Yay! 

So now, instead of trying to keep on track for an entire year, all I need to do is make sure I am on track for each project. Three to four months is a far more immediate time frame than 12. But I never stop there. Each week on my planner I have written down goals. Sometimes it's words written, other times is revision progression but the end game is always the same. I have an action plan to follow. I have measurable goals to gauge my progress. I have the means to get me where I want to go. 

That's not to say I won't have hiccups. I will. I've made allowances for that so hopefully I can make up time if I fall behind and not get too far off track. Once I took my 2018 goal and broke it down into project goals and then monthly or weekly goals my resolution became far more achievable. The real resolution becomes following the blueprint I've laid out. 

In the end, this means a lot of new material coming from me over the next year, new stories, new challenges, new murders. I'll try to keep you up to date but, as you can see, I'm already planning on being very, very busy. 

Happy New Year, Dear Readers! All the best for a happy, healthy, prosperous 2018! 

Monday, December 18, 2017

RECIPE: Gingerbread Not Gingerbread

Let's face it, Christmas is 70% food. We plan food, we buy food, we gift food, we consume food. Christmas Cookies have practically been made into it's very own food group.

Every November I sit down with my recipe book and write out my family's favourites: fudge, whipped shortbread, mini cheesecakes, magic bars, chocolate truffles etc. I write down all the ingredients needed using tally marks to let me know quantities. Then I hit the grocery store in one single shop. I do this so I can just make something whenever I have a hankering and I never need to worry about whether I have everything I need. Sometimes if I am really on the ball, I make everything over a week or two in November/early December and put it all in the freezer. Whenever a child or husband of mine comes home and tells me about a last minute potluck or last minute teacher gift I break out the cookies. I may not be domestically inclined the rest of the year, but damn when it comes to Christmas cookies I am freakin' Martha Stewart.

Today, I am sharing my secret Gingerbread Not Gingerbread Christmas Cookie recipe.

What is Gingerbread Not Gingerbread, you ask? Well, as traditional as I am, the one tradition I don't like at Christmas is gingerbread. I've tried countless recipes and the verdict is always the same. Bleech. However, I do like the look of gingerbread on my cookie plates and baskets. So I came up with a cut out cookie recipe that looks like gingerbread and can be iced like gingerbread but is actually CHOCOLATE. Perfect.

So here it is...


I cup of Butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2  & 3/4 cups of flour
1/2 cup of cocoa
1 tsp baking soda

icing and sprinkles to decorate

This is how you put it together.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa and baking powder. Slowly add to large/mixer bowl and stir.

It looks like this.  

You can cover and refrigerate or you can use right away.

Roll out on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7-9 minutes.

That's it. It makes a ton of little ones or a number of larger ones. Heehee. No exact numbers as it all depends how thinly you roll them out. This recipe can also be used at Halloween  to make skeleton cookies!! So cool.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Most Underrated Christmas Movie of All Time

Two weeks until the big day. If you haven't sent out your Christmas cards, bought most of the gifts on your list and watched at least one Christmas movie by the time you read this, you might want to get your butt in gear. For something that happens every year, at the same time on the calendar too, Christmas has a way of sneaking up on people. I've been shoulder deep in writing and revisions for the better part of autumn. Most of our winter preparations here on the farm have been two (sometimes even three) weeks behind but we finally got there. Our Christmas tree and other decorations are up and I even got a head start on my annual holiday baking. (Winner!)

With winter prep taken care of, and a head start on Christmas, I think it's safe to say we've entered the second phase of Christmas. The second phase is the phase that comes after writing out your naughty & nice list, casually hitting the craft shows and the mall, and non-noncommittally eyeing decorations in the store. It's the phase that comes before the packed grocery stores on Christmas Eve-Eve, office potlucks, last minute stocking stuffer purchases. The second phase is essentially the calm before the storm phase, the 'this is so lovely' phase. Twinkling lights. Gently falling snow. The odd Christmas song on the radio. In my opinion this is the phase where panic doesn't live and the Christmas Season is at it's PEAK. Forget Christmas Day. I mean sure, that's fun too, but my favourite time of the entire season is right now.

It's the best time sit down with the family to enjoy a Christmas movie or two. I bet you've seen a ton of blog posts/articles listing the top 10 Christmas movies of all time. There's that repetitive list spanning decades of legendary Christmas classics... White Christmas (meh), It's a Wonderful Life (a fave of mine, for sure), Home Alone (definitely fun) and Elf (candy, candy canes, candy corn & maple syrup). But I'm going to remind you (or perhaps introduce you) to one you may never have thought of as a Christmas movie. In fact, many people I know challenge my assertion that it even qualifies as a Christmas movie.

No, I'm not talking about Die Hard. I'm talking about WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. If you haven't heard of it here's a link to the trailer:

I think the main mix up regarding WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING 's status as an official Christmas movie is based on it's marketing. I mean, look at the promo cover, no where is there any Christmas decoration or tree. It looks like any old, ho-hum romantic comedy but if you ask me, it's much more than that.

Since her father's death Lucy has spent her Christmases alone. It's such a sad state of affairs for someone so funny and bright. As a character, Lucy is such a treat (in fact, the child in my fifth book, Prayers for the Dying was named after this Lucy, not Lucy Maud Montgomery, another heroine of mine who preferred the name Maud). From the get go, we know Peter is not her type. Sure he's handsome, and suave but he's not for her. Jack, a down to earth guy next door, is way more Lucy's type and he proves it as the story progresses. We begin rooting for them early on.

But it's not just Jack we love, it's Peter and Jack's family, the Callahan's. Who doesn't wish they had a loving, dotting mother and a cheeky and welcoming grandmother? The family (and neighbour) are just the sweetest which only further emphasizes Peter's short comings because he's never appreciated them. The saddest part isn't that the Callahan's have accepted Lucy into their lives based on little more than a few words said under her breath, it's that they all deserve to be a family together. They deserve Lucy just as much as Lucy deserves them. But they are expecting her to marry Peter when she really should be marrying Jack.

The story of Lucy and Jack's relationship is the main thing, and Christmas appears to be just a backdrop. How exactly does that differ from other romantic comedies like THE HOLIDAY? These are movies about people at a pivotal point in their lives who are alone, people who don't deserve to be alone at a time in the year when no one should be alone.  In WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING Christmas simply magnifies Lucy's loneliness. It makes us root for her success. We want her to find love, be happy and finally put a stamp in her passport, damn it!

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING, in my opinion, is the quintessential Christmas love story about loneliness, family and enduring hope. I watch it every year. I cry when Lucy finally confesses the mix up.  I smile when it all turns out in the end. Honestly,  it's the perfect Christmas movie (and I mean this because I didn't write it though I often wish I had). It should be played regularly on television within the standard rotation right up there alongside Elf, Home Alone and all the others. It should be part of the Holiday Movie displays in department stores. And it should be a regular part of your holiday tradition too.