Saturday, November 28, 2015

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

Mary complied with her dying mother's wishes that she move in with her Aunt Patience.  Little did Mary's mother know what that wish held for Mary.

Those wishes turned out to be very unpleasant for Mary.  Mary had to endure her uncle's ​horribly ​mean disposition, his illegal activities, his mistreatment of Aunt Patience, and ​Mary's being pulled into it all.

Mary saw things at Jamaica Inn that she had never seen before. For one thing​, this Inn never had any guests ​except for unsavory characters.

The setting of JAMAICA INN is perfect for this gothic, dark story line.  Ms. Du Maurier did it again with her detailed writing and pull-you-in tale.  She keeps everything dark enough, subtle​ ​enough, and interesting enough that even though you dislike what is going on and will definitely ​dislike ​Uncle Joss, you can't stop reading.

​I literally hated Uncle Joss because of his cruel, rude personality.  I felt sorry for Aunt Patience because of her fear of Uncle Joss and her reluctance to leave. I feared for Mary's safety in this desolate, dreary place.

The book was a perfect Du Maurier book.  The entire book was suspenseful, tense, and had a sinister tone.  

JAMAICA INN is a book I would recommend to those who know Du Maurier's writing even though it took me this long to know the book was out there and to read it.  :)  

If you don't know Du Maurier's writing, you will want to.

Enjoy and read JAMAICA INN when you can.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.​

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How About This For A Fun Thanksgiving!!!

Gobble, Gobble From New York City

My son always surprises me.

He wasn't able to come home for Thanksgiving, so I went to his place.  Needless to say a bachelor doesn't have all the pans and supplies for preparing a Thanksgiving feast.  :)

I was hesitant to head to New York for a Thanksgiving Celebration under those bare conditions, but my son said: "No worries, Mom, I have a surprise for you."

My son, Mark, the same son who vlogged about my reviews of books set in Paris a month or so ago, made reservations on a Thanksgiving Cruise.

Here we are, and we had a wonderful time.

Pre-cruise surprise :)

First leg of the trip:

This is the ferry that took us from Hoboken to Pier 79.

This is the dock at Chelsea Pier 61where we boarded The Lady Celestial.

 This is the my son who made it all possible.  :)

This is the dining room before it filled up with guests.

This is the menu and the sights we saw and stopped at.

Lady Liberty!!

One of many skyline shots.

It was beautiful weather and a wonderful day!!

I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Hundred Gifts by Jennifer Scott

An empty nest, a cooking class, an ornery neighbor, and fun-loving women who wanted to learn how to cook.

Brenda had an empty nest, nothing to do to pass the time, and a husband that didn't pay attention to her.

When Brenda happened upon Paula who was starting a business that was a cooking class, Brenda thought being a cooking teacher would be something good for her.

Brenda got into more than she bargained for, though.  The class burned food and had to deal with a complaining neighbor who lived above the classroom, but luckily Brenda also met a wonderful group of women.

Virginia, the lady who lived above the classroom, always barged into the class and complained about noise and smells.  The students didn't know what to make of her at first or how to handle her, but they figured they should try a little kindness.  Did that work?

I laughed out loud and thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was witty, heartwarming, light, addressed family issues, and had a lovely ending.

A perfect book to boost your spirits and to give as a Christmas gift.

ENJOY!!!  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

White Collar Girl by Renee Rosen


A family of journalists, stolen bylines. ​struggling ​women reporters in the 1950's, and Chicago.

WHITE COLLAR GIRL takes us into the world of journalism and news reporting as we are introduced to the Walshes who are generation after generation of journalists.

The ​elder ​Walshes ​definitely ​have talent, but a family​ tragedy​ ke​eps them from continuing their careers. The tragedy didn't stop Jordan Walsh, though. This tragedy kept her pushing ahead and wanting to break into having more respect for women reporters.

Jordan Walsh was one of the few female journalists on the staff ​at the Tribune and along with all of the women journalists was relegated to reporting and writing about weddings and fashion.  But....Jordan wanted more...she wanted a big story.

Jordan got her story​....corruption in the mayor's office…as well as many more big stories.  Being a woman, though, she had a tough time collecting information and being given credit as the journalist who did the research and wrote the article.

Ms. Rosen ​definitely ​knows how​ ​to skillfully ​spin ​together fiction and history​.  Her research and characters are always marvelous.
WHITE COLLAR GIRL is another terrific novel by Ms. Rosen​ where she blends a fascinating story line with historical facts and historical as well as fictitious characters​.   

Ms. Rosen also adds in love and life styles of the 1950's.  Cigarettes hung from everyone's mouth both male and female, and liquor flowed freely.

I enjoyed WHITE COLLAR GIRL just as I enjoyed Ms. Rosen’s other two books.  

Don’t miss reading this book and her other books.  Historical fiction and women's fiction fans will not want this or any of her books to end.   5/5

​This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Review and Giveaway of WHEN THE DEVIL'S IDLE by Leta Serafim AND a $25 Amazon Gift Card Or PayPal Cash


A murder in ​the quiet town of Patmos, Greece.  Who would want to murder a 90-year-old ​German?

A murder in an enclosed compound with no one but family and the family's gardener and housekeeper around.​   How did the murderer get into the ​secure ​compound?  One of them had to be the killer since it was difficult to get into the compound, but who and why?​

WHEN THE DEVIL'S IDLE is set in Greece with interesting characters​ and a wonderful glimpse at Greece's culture.​
The main character Patronas ​was quite likable and a bit comical despite the seriousness of the situation he an​d​ his fellow policemen were investigating.​​  He was a great character to keep the book interesting and moving along. ​

​Along with the beauty of Greece, WHEN THE DEVIL'S IDLE brought up the horrors of WWII and what happened to the children of Aghios Stefanos.  Could this be the reason some​one wanted Gunther Bechtel dead after all this time?

The ending was a bit odd, but the crime was solved.  :)

WHEN THE DEVIL'S IDLE dragged a bit and was difficult to follow at first with all the Greek names, but I enjoyed the book and became attached to the characters as I continued reading. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.



Leta Serafim's Bio:

Leta Serafim is the author of the Greek Islands Mystery series, published by the Coffeetown Press, as well as the historical novel, To Look on Death No More. She has visited over twenty-five islands in Greece and continues to divide her time between Boston and Greece.

When the Devil's Idle Book Summary:

In the Book of Revelation, written by St. John on the Greek island of Patmos, it was said a pale horse would appear whose rider was death, others would cry out for vengeance, and the stars of heaven would fall to the earth. Death does indeed come to Patmos when a German tourist is found murdered in the garden of one of the island’s fabled estates. Yiannis Patronas, Chief Officer of the Chios police, is called in to investigate. He summons his top detective, Giorgos Tembelos, and his friend and amateur sleuth, Papa Michalis, to assist him. What the policemen discover will disturb them long after the conclusion of the case. Only six people were at the house at the time of the murder—the gardener and housekeeper, the victim’s son and his wife and their two children, a boy of seven and a teenage girl of sixteen. All appear to be innocent. But access to the isolated estate is severely restricted. Surrounded by high walls, it has only one entrance: a metal gate that was bolted at the time of the crime. Patronas can only conclude that one of the six is a killer. He continues to probe, uncovering the family’s many secrets. Some are very old, others more recent. All are horrifying. But which of these secrets led to murder?

Book 2 of the Greek Islands Mystery series, which began with The Devil Takes Half.

Price/Formats: $6.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Mystery Suspense Thriller
Coffeetown Press
September 1, 2015

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fun With Sourcebooks and Charles Belfoure's book, THE HOUSE OF THIEVES





Gangs of New York meets The Age of Innocence in an exciting new novel from the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Paris Architect

John Cross only cares about two things: becoming the most prominent society architect in New York and upholding his family’s spotless reputation. 

His entire life changes the day he discovers that his oldest son, George, has racked up an unfathomable gambling debt to Kent, the city’s most notorious criminal mastermind. 

Desperate to save his son’s life and uphold his family’s good name, he uses his architectural knowledge to help Kent and his gang of thieves pillage the homes of his friends and clients until the debt is paid in full.

Want to learn more about House of Thieves?

Read an excerpt HERE.

Already Read the Book and
Planning Your Book Club Event?

We have the perfect pairings for your House of Thieves book club event, featuring festive and fun ideas for setting the scene (including eats and drinks and a handy reading group guide). 



Click HERE to take a look!

I read the book and loved it.

Take a look at my review HERE.  

Which House of Thieves Character Are You? 

Are you the stately and protective John Cross, the risky and rebellious George, the mischievous mastermind Kent, the curious but naive Julia or the impeccably-mannered Granny?

Click HERE to take the quiz and find out!

Let me know who you are?  I turned out to be Granny.  :)

Blog Tour and Giveaway of Kindle Fire 7" - $25 Amazon Gift Card - Copy of Landscape For Murder

A Warm Welcome
Joyce Strand

About Joyce Strand:

Mystery author Joyce T. Strand, much like her fictional character, Jillian Hillcrest, served as head of corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder. Rather, she focused on publicizing her companies and their products. She is the author of the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE and the Brynn Bancroft mystery HILLTOP SUNSET. Strand received her Ph.D. from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA. She currently lives in Southern California with her two cats, a collection of cow statuary and art, and her muse, the roadrunner.


About Landscape for Murder:


A friend’s murder. An unconnected cast of suspects, including the victim’s missing adult daughter. As if that wasn’t enough, Brynn Bancroft’s winery has been broken into. Can she deal with her co-owner ex and help the police find her friend’s murder so she can finally overcome her own troubled past and enjoy family life with her teenage ward?


Social Links:



Twitter:   @joycetstrand

Where to Purchase:

Landscape for Murder  Kindle Editions – November 5, 2015



Look at this AWESOME giveaway.


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1st Prize: Kindle Fire 7” WiFi 8GB Black plus ebook or paperback copy of Landscape for Murder 


2nd Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of Landscape for Murder 


3rd Prize: ebook or paperback copy of Landscape for Murder


How Ms. Strand Gets a Whodunit Started:

Conceiving a Whodunit
Inspired by the News and the Mundane
By Joyce T. Strand

“The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”-Agatha Christie

Yes, indeed. Ideas for my plots and traits for my characters occur during such mundane events as hassling household chores or taking car trips. The mind goes on curious journeys all by itself ignoring the tasks at hand.

But inspiration doesn’t begin or end with the mundane.

For my whodunits I search the news for crimes that might occur in my characters’ lives. For the Jillian Hillcrest series, I looked for murders that a public relations executive in Silicon Valley might encounter. For the Brynn Bancroft series, I researched possible crimes that would occur in the Napa/Sonoma wine region.

I then fictionalize the crimes to suit my plot and characters, but each of the crimes contains a kernel of real life.

My newest book, Landscape for Murder, involves burglaries of cases of wine, very much in the news. Also one of the characters is lightly based on a crime boss in San Francisco.

However, I approach my historical mysteries in a different manner by basing them on a real person, such as a California Superior Court Judge in THE JUDGE’S STORY; and a female reporter in the early 1900s for my still-to-be-written next book. My fictional Judge is based on the grandfather of a friend whose memoir inspired my character.

For my next story, I became excited about an early 20th century female reporter when I was visiting a museum where the description of a noted figure mentioned she’d gotten her start as a reporter. Further research on the subject of the history of women in journalism has proven fascinating. When I use the approach and mores of a real person, I build the mystery and back story around the character.

Nonetheless whether I start with a real crime or a real person, I proceed to develop the plot by integrating the elements of a mystery.  That’s where inspiration from mundane tasks most occurs—probably due to my writing process.

Typically I start writing a new story when I have done enough research to know the opening scene, the key characters (I usually write short biographies on each of them), the crime, and the conclusion. That leaves a significant amount of writing in between. And that’s where I most value those “thinkless” tasks and use them as focused time to inspire the scenes that advance the plot, create red herrings, build suspense, and show off the characters.

I target my writing time by number of words, rather than time spent. Depending on my deadlines, I set a goal of at least 3,000 to 5,000 words a day. If it takes me eight hours, then that’s what it takes. Sometimes, if I’ve done enough mundane tasks and have clearly thought-out scenes, I can easily write more than 5,000 in eight hours. However, I don’t over-step my goals because then what will I write about the next day? Momentum is helpful, and if I know exactly what I’m going to write that helps move it along.

No matter where the inspiration originates, my day is full of idea after idea for stories. Perhaps that’s a comment on the rate of crime in the news media. Regardless, inspiration for my whodunits arrives in full buckets!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Giveaway and Guest Post of The Immortals by Tori Eversmann


Ms. Eversmann's response to this question:

"What does ‘keep the home fires burning’ mean to me?" 

Superwoman and the Fire

In 1978, I was 8-years-old when Charles of the Ritz launched the Enjoli perfume commercial with the iconic line, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan.” Anyone who saw the commercial remembers it. The feminist “superwoman” of the 1970s is still seared into my brain with her frying pan and slinky dress. Her various roles throughout the day remind me of today’s Army wives who navigate each day’s rituals and nuances juggling home, work, and often, children. Additionally, the commercial’s capable, competent, take-charge woman represented an element of sacrifice. Even with her 8-hour perfume, she was still expected to be a 24-hour woman. When does she get a break?

So when I was asked what “to keep the home fires burning” means to me, two thoughts immediately came to mind — sacrifice and Superwoman. The historically seminal idiom is just as much in the zeitgeist today as it was in 1914 when the British patriotic First World War song first trended. Today's Superwoman needs to be working 24 hours while her husband is off fighting wars for our nation. Fires need wood and stoking —  or they smolder and die.

From 2005 to 2007, I was an unwitting participant in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).  I was an Army wife and ostensibly, a Superwoman. The war was a force against my marriage, my motherhood, and, most importantly, my fierce independence. For a moment in 2005, I felt like one of Nora Ephron’s 1962 Wellesley classmates about whom she spoke at a commencement speech. She said, “…We weren't meant to have politics, or careers that mattered, or opinions, or lives; we were meant to marry them. If you wanted to be an architect, you married an architect. Non Ministrare sed Ministrari — you know the old joke, not to be ministers but to be ministers' wives.” 

I never wanted to be a soldier, but I did want to be a leader in some capacity– so I married a leader, who just so happened to be in the Army. Did you just hear the clock tick back to 1962? I was raised in a civilian family, had a college degree, and had been a successful career woman. Then, because of 9/11, I found myself steeply immersed in military life. Willingly, and happily, I gave up corporate life to raise our daughter, but was living a shadowed portrait of what an Army wife should be. 

My learning curve was steep. Military life is tough on marriage and families. My husband, Matt, always used to say, “It’s hard to be a great door kicker and a great husband and father.” Now what does that mean, you might be thinking? It’s because the Army demands that you love it like a spouse. You live Army. You dress Army. You pledge allegiance to the Army. And unless you are truly a successful polygamist, it’s hard to keep two lovers happy. All the time. When your husband carries a gun for a living, and belongs to a sacred brotherhood of gun-toters, and lives depend on that brotherhood, the home front can take an inadvertent ancillary position. Then throw in an unpopular war or two and voilà, Superwoman must show up.

I didn’t fit into the Army wife culture, at least, not in the beginning. Remember my fierce independence? It ran contrary to the Army esprit de corps where conformity is necessary — to keep the hierarchy in place and ultimately to save lives; independence could appear detrimental — to a marriage, to the unit, to the brigade. Admittedly, I presumed that the Army wanted to make me into an Army wife (whatever I thought that meant). I made harsh value judgements (even though this caught me by surprise because I’d always considered myself compassionate) and I felt that as Mrs. First Sergeant, I’d lost my identity (no one asked me my opinion about the war only asking me what Matt thought). 

The rules had changed and no one told me. It was expected that I would keep our home fires burning. Educated to think independently and seek diverse environments, a crisis ensued because there seemed to be a quasi ‘third-culture-kid’ aspect to my life. I no longer fit into civilian life but I hadn’t coalesced with the other Army wives. I didn’t speak mil-speak (the Army has so many acronyms that it really felt like a new language). It was one of my loneliest times even though I had my loving husband and beautiful, healthy daughter.

Knowing that I had to acquiesce to the military way of life or I’d sit in the mud and rot, I decided to embrace the new rules. Humility had not been a strong suit of mine, but I knew that if I was to transcend my hubris and create opportunity, I had to change. That’s what prompted me to learn the difference between a brigade and a battalion and a “cav" unit versus an infantry unit so I could have legitimate conversations with other Army wives. 

Things began to change when I surrounded myself with other Army wives who were miracles of courage. They took care of me and supported me. I listened and learned from the other log-carriers and fire-stokers. Superwomen started to mushroom around me. Had they been there before? Of course, they were — at the cookouts, the coffees, the Family Readiness Group meetings — but I was too busy being a spectator in my own life to realize I had to go out and get my own lasso of truth, indestructible bracelets, and red, white, and blue shield before they granted me access into the sorority.

There is an unconditional link between Army wives that I call the Female Predicament. They are the unsung heroes who are left behind on the homefront while their husbands fight on the front lines. Again, quoting Nora Ephron, “Be the heroine of your own life” takes on a huge significance when your husband is fighting on the front lines of a war. Because the sad reality can be that your husband doesn’t make it home or may be wounded in ways that change him physically and or mentally. 

As a community Army wives lift themselves up. Often disenfranchised by the Army in the past, Army wives have learned the invaluable lesson of womanhood: support each other. Always. Invite other Superwomen into the warmth of your fire and they will share theirs. Now there are blogs, magazines, and websites geared at military spouses. A Glamour magazine recent cover article featured First Lady Michelle Obama stating that America's servicewomen, veterans, and military wives—Superwomen—need our help with their fires. For Army wives, the narrative that connects their independence is fundamental. It revolves around a shared interest in sustaining life at home and a commitment to something far greater than themselves, our Nation. 






November 9 to 16


Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Lake House by Kate Morton

Alice the author and sister of Theo and Sadie the detective.

Would these two women be able to find information about the disappearance
70 years ago of 11-month old Theo ​​if they worked together on this cold case even though the police had not been able to find one clue or to find Theo?

Alice had lived the nightmare of her brother's disappearance, and Sadie wanted to investigate the years-old case after she found the sprawling, abandoned estate of the Edevane family.

I LOVED exploring the estate and finding the clues of the case with Sadie and finding things that were left by the family.  I would have loved to live on the estate as well as to be a part of the investigating.

THE LAKE HOUSE goes back and forth in time and is filled with mystery, hidden passageways, intrigue, family secrets, and all of Ms. Morton's wonderful, creative writing skills, marvelous story lines, and descriptions that get better each time you turn the page and that put you right at the scene or definitely wanting to be there with the characters.  

​Ms. Morton knows how to keep her readers interested and not want the book to end.​  Twists and turns seem to be Ms. Morton's trademark along with marvelous, surprise endings.  And what a spectacular ending THE LAKE HOUSE has.  You will love it!!

Ms. Morton had me hooked on her book THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN, and THE LAKE HOUSE is going to be right up there with it as one of my all-time favorites.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.​

Giveaway of Hostage by Kristina Ohlsson



HOSTAGE (Emily Bestler Books; Trade Paperback; ISBN 9781476734033; On Sale November 10, 2015) follows bright and clever interrogator, investigative analyst Fredrika Bergman as she tackles a new case—this time involving the US government – and finds herself in another pulse-pounding mystery, the fourth in Ohlsson’s internationally acclaimed crime series.
Shortly after a crowded New York-bound Boeing 747 takes off from Stockholm, a bomb threat is found in one of the aircraft’s lavatories. The demands are directed at both the Swedish and US governments.
Police superintendent Alex Recht teams up with the energetic and often abrasive Eden Lundell from the security service’s counterterrorism unit to deal with the hijacking. Fredrika Bergman, who is currently working at the Justice Department, returns to the police force to act as a liaison between the government and the police.
The investigation team soon realizes that the plot behind the hijacking is far more complex than they initially thought, and they also must battle against the US government’s fear of a new terrorist attack. Now it’s a race against time as Fredrika, Alex, and Eden search for possibilities to save the plane and its passengers. Will they find a solution before the plane runs out of fuel?

HOSTAGE is a faced-paced, intelligent thriller, destined to leave reader’s hearts pounding as they race to turn the page.  


KRISTINA OHLSSON is a political scientist who has previously worked for the Swedish Security Service and as a Counter-Terrorism Officer at OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe).Unwanted, Silenced, and The Disappeared are the first three books in her crime series featuring Fredrika Bergman. She now lives in Stockholm, where she works full-time as a writer.


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Kathy - #3


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November 5 - 12

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Blog Tour and Giveaway of a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate and two copies of Reconnecting by Katalin Kennedy


About Katalin Kennedy:

Thank you so much for agreeing to host my new novel “Reconnecting” on your web site. 

Katalin (András) Kennedy escaped from Hungary with her parents on Christmas Eve 1956. She married Duncan Scott Kennedy in 1972 and graduated from Ottawa’s Carleton University. 

In the latter part of her career, she managed major national projects with Health Canada’s Family Violence Prevention Programs, until her retirement. Her beloved soul mate, the Rev. D. S.  Kennedy passed away in 2006. 

She now resides in Cornwall, Ontario and continues her involvement in various organizations: Canadian Federation of University Women, Probus Club of Cornwall and Area, Encore Seniors’ Education Program and the Cornwall and Regional Writers’ Society. 

For ten years she was a columnist for Seaway News. In 2012, Kennedy launched her first novel “The Women Gather” and in June 2015 “Reconnecting” was also released by Baico Publishing.

About Ms. Kennedy's writing:

How author’s get ideas/inspiration? How much time is spent writing daily?

How Ideas and Inspiration come:

I consider this to be an individual and subjective consideration, likely unique to each writer. From my perspective, ideas are a bi-product of curiosity. I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t curious. 

In my later years, the Encyclopedia Britannica attests to that; the volumes are well-worn. Once the world wide web became a search source for me, more than thirty years ago, my small world opened into all manner of areas. I continue to be hungry for knowledge. 

My interests include, humanitarian, cultural, religious, spiritual, literary, historic, scientific and even political issues; and this is likely not the full gamut. I don’t think a single day goes by without me searching for some bit of new knowledge; a quest idea which pops into my brain and which I must follow-up. I am also one who accumulates insights from everything around me including books, news clippings, films, theatre and sight experiences: the look of surprise on a child’s face upon seeing a rabbit hop away; the grateful gaze of a homeless man when paper money is placed into his tin cup; the anxiety of peoples migrating in great masses through war torn countries. All these create lasting images in my mind which may re-emerge in thoughts and words, at some point.

In truth, my curiosity leads me to experience too many ideas. I’m not alone. A friend maintains an ‘ideas book’ in which she scribbles the thought, and the inspiration from where that came. Perhaps I should do that. Up to now, I’ve relied on my instinct and memory as to what has resonated most clearly, or most repeatedly. It is that idea I tend to pursue. The other point I need to articulate is that the idea might be the tiniest concept or a most colossal notion. Expanding or distilling these becomes the challenge. Once a particular idea is accepted, the need for further inspiration and exploration are required. Both are critical when reflecting about the creative process.

Writing for me is not a simple free flow of words. I carry out ongoing research from the conceptual phase, right through to the end. And in between, as the storyline evolves my ‘pondering’ never ceases. At the very best, it takes over my waking and dreaming times. That’s when the magic of creativity is most fulfilling: a tiny idea takes on a new form, from the wonderment of one’s own mind. And from that, one transposes it into tangible written words.

The idea for my first novel “The Women Gather” came to me as a Utopian concept, wanting to demonstrate that the world could evolve into a positive future of hope for humanity. With my new novel “Reconnecting” the outcome of my idea was less lofty and more immediate: a story of four women, Marlie, Kendra, Vanessa and Iris whose lives connect as they live together in the same Condo Complex in 2012 Ottawa. My initial idea was inspired by the thought of photo albums, and what images they might contain. Read my novel to see how this idea developed further. 

Time Spent Writing:

Again this is an individualistic undertaking. I know of writers who consider themselves ‘disciplined’ and write daily for specific periods of time, or until a specific number of words is achieved. I used to think, as early as last year, that this was a desirable approach and one which I needed to emulate. I’ve come to the conclusion that this process is not for me.

When I was writing my monthly column for Cornwall’s Seaway News, over ten years, I was obliged to employ a routine: first because I had a deadline and second because it suited my need to accomplish a required task in a timely period. I would decide upon a number of topics about which I would writer, over several months. Then two weeks before the monthly deadline, I would conduct necessary research and begin writing a draft article. A week before the deadline, I would review and edit the draft and send it off the same day. That process worked for me for that particular exercise. On looking back to that process, however, I have come to conclude, it was like doing ‘homework’ ‒ which to this day gives me a feeling of heebie-jeebies.

I realize that there are folk who enjoy the discipline of such time management. Others may need to do that, given their various life responsibilities. Someone I know writes when her children are safely tucked into bed. Another friend admits she writes whenever she can grasp a few stolen hours from her professional work life. The luxury of retirement means I don’t have to be ‘on a clock’. I used to consider my best period for writing to be in the morning; it no longer applies as a commitment. I can write anytime when I am moved by inspiration to sit at the keyboard.

I came to this insight a short while ago, as I remembered the reason I took up writing: It is a passion that fulfills my need. I do not want that passion to be an outcome of an obligation; it needs to be a desire from within that I cannot help but pursue instinctively. When my father retired from his book binding business, he began to paint because he was driven by the joy it gave him. And that is the way I need to feel about my writing. So my previous thoughts about wanting to be more ‘disciplined’ as to when and how long I write, no longer seem relevant. What drives me is the joy of writing itself.

I can’t sit down at the computer and force myself to create. I need the screen with the last pages of the storyline to draw me in and let my fingers fly on the keyboard as fast as the thoughts  flow. If that feeling is not there, then there is no point. And I’m not one to decide how many words I will produce on a given day. As I said earlier, I do a lot of in-between thinking and pondering. When I’m ready to convey the next stream of thoughts to emerge on the screen, I do so. Sometimes the creativity will take over and carry me further. I stop when my mind has emptied, generally to the point of being drained emotionally. This may take only a couple of hours. At other times, I may lose all sense of myself and the hours I spent writing. And that is one of the rewards of writing.

When I need to review and edit, I do place a time-line on the exercise, because that is a tedious process and one needs to be alert.

In all honesty, the most difficult period in the writing process is the beginning of a piece of work.  Marlie, the main character in “Reconnecting” is a writer. She discusses various aspects of writing, throughout the novel. Here are a couple of excerpts to give a flavor of how she feels about writing, as well as a tweak into the storyline itself. 

    “Reconnecting” page 114

Enough about daydreaming! It was September now, and Marlie acknowledged that she had hardly written anything. She couldn’t quite grasp why it was so difficult for her to keep going. She had always written. She remembered writing from the time she was at least ten. She had written poems in grade school and throughout her life, in fact. There was one about a garden which she had recited in grade six; she remembered her teacher saying she liked it and asked what poet had written it. To Miss Taylor’s surprise, Marlie had nonchalantly replied, “Oh, I did.” All through high school and university she had written poems. Then, everything had been easy. She had switched to short message stories during the first few years of her marriage. They had become part of an annual tradition and printed in a newsletter. She had compiled a dozen of these and sent them off to a publisher. The rejection letter wasn’t a bad one, but enough of a deterrent. She didn’t try again for some time. She also remembered that a long ago manager had asked her, “and have you been published?” to which of course she had to say “No!” She had interpreted the question as an underhanded put down, meant to impair her. Is that what had happened? Would she ever be able to communicate her creative inner perceptions to the visible state?
Why these negative memories now? Hadn’t she got past all that years ago? Well, there was always the fear, just out there lurking, scheming, persuading that one was never quite good enough or worse still that the words would never come again.


“Reconnecting”, Pages 204-205:

Marlie was astonished by her ability to write in this new setting (on a boat cruise). Perhaps it had something to do with the comfort she felt with Sam. She hadn’t been with anyone, full time, since Owen died. She had expected that in itself would require an adjustment. But it hadn’t. The gentle flow of the river, the fresh air, the lovely scenery and their long talks all contributed to her creative senses coming to the foreground; when she took the time to write, the words were there. She did miss not having Wi-Fi. Her storyline required periodic research to ensure accuracy about the subjects and situations she discussed. Internet not being an option, she decided to work on the individual attributes of her main characters.

Marlie wanted them to be distinctive but at the same time, she had no plans to turn any of them into caricatures. While she appreciated the intended portrayal of certain well known creations, like Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot or Miss Jane Marple for example, Marlie needed her characters to be real people. She didn’t want their idiosyncrasies to be so blatant that these over shadowed and thus took away from her overall storyline. Her friends were unique in their own way, with their own turn of phrases and mannerisms; but as real people their traits were negligible. How to weave an authentic person, who was recognizable with qualities that were subtle but distinguishable, was something she needed to work on. And while she was speculating about her characters, it occurred to Marlie that she hadn’t thought about her friends at the condo, this entire week. What is that all about? She wondered. Am I so superficial that I merely replace one set with another? Marlie decided against that perception. She had not been presented with the opportunity to escape into a temporary world for far too long. Might as well revel in it.


Thank you again for hosting my novel “Reconnecting”, published again by Baico Publishing, Ottawa, Ontario.

Both  my novels “The Women Gather” and “Reconnecting” are available at “Chapters”:
and at 

“Baico Publishing”:

As well, I have a web site which contains some of my poetry and writings:

About Reconnecting: 
RECONNECTING is an essential novel for our times. Katalin Kennedy expertly weaves a captivating story about how the bonds that women experience guide their choices -- and ultimately destiny -- through relationships that can be as messy and wondrous as life itself. 

As we get to know Marlie and her enquiring mind, her pondering of crucial issues and ensuing flashes of insight reveal how love and friendship, with a good dose of providence, can guide our lives and lead to wisdom. 

This book is as heart-warming and comforting as a good feast for the soul. We are left wanting to share more time with Marlie and her distinctive friends.

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Chapters Indigo: 

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Baico Publishing Inc: 

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Author: Katalin Kennedy: 



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