BelgraviaI just finished reading Belgravia by Julian Fellowes the author of Downton Abbey. While it was an interesting novel about British society post the Battle of Waterloo, it may not appeal to everyone. I enjoyed it because I love Fellowes intricate detail of society during that time period and he did not disappoint me. I walked beside the characters in their stiff British environment always in control. However, there were breaches of protocol and disturbing events that took place that made it difficult to keep the decorum, but like true Brits they did, scandals were brushed under the carpet and the drawing-room continued as though nothing had happened.  If you enjoyed Downton Abbey you will enjoy this book.

My next reading book is the third book in Ken Follett’s trilogy Edge of Eternity all 1098 pages. I love getting my head into a really big book and this is definitely big. I am also reading it as a research project as my next novel after The New Sackville takes place in the early 60s. One might say it is my era, I was married in 1962 (child bride of course? Ha!) perhaps because I was busy with babies from 1963 through to 1972;  I think I was sheltered from much of the political fallout of post-WW 2 and the Cold War as I only have vague recollections of  the political climate and had no idea how complex and devastating it was to some people. Writing this last book in the saga is going to be a challenge as we follow Sarah’s adult life in the sixties.

The Blue Pendant rescheduled signing at Coles Bookstore Billings Bridge Plaza Riverside Drive Ottawa Saturday, Aug 27th 11 am – 2 pm. Please come and join me and chat about books and writing.

George Orwell Bronze Statue in London

Holding a grudge for 60 years seems like a long time; attitudes and values change. George Orwell left the BBC in 1943 over, shall we say difference, but four years ago it was deemed inappropriate by BBC to have a bronze statue of George Orwell outside the building.Thankfully the statue is to be sculptured by Martin Jennings (no relation) but I thought it was cool and installed. Here is the article that appeared in The guardian last week. I was particularly taken this appropriate quote from George Orwell.

“If liberty means anything at all it means, the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” 


Journaling for Readers

Event: Aug 12th 11 am – 2 pm I will be reading from The Blue Pendant at Coles bookstore in Billings Bridge Plaza Riverside Drive Ottawa

Journaling for Readers
journal-431912_640Until recently I had no idea how journaling had become a popular craze. I have journaled off and on for years, usually my thoughts and often an outlet for emotions of one kind or other during difficult times in my life. My dedication to journaling is not very consistent the blank page every morning sometimes overwhelms me.
After taking a webinar given by an amazing young woman, Kristen Joy The Book Ninja I realized there are journals for everything and they do not have to be a Journalblank page. Answering questions, ticking boxes and jotting down thoughts provoked excitement. I started to think of journals I would, not only use but, find useful. A writing journal popped into my head first, probably because I already keep a writer’s journal but my second thought was a reader’s journal.
I am an avid reader; I love books, I love to collect books. I have a whole wall of bookcases in my office lined with physical page turning paper books and my e-readers both Kobo and Kindle are crammed with books. I have books that I’ve read and liked and would never part with, books that I didn’t like,  recommended books, my favourite authors and book series’ can be a challenge to remember which have been read etc. I could go on but I think you get the gist.
How do I keep tabs on all those books? I have been known to buy the same book twice—the publishers have a habit of changing covers which totally confuses me and I get excited thinking I have missed a book by one of my favourite authors, only to find I’ve read it.
Solution an Avid Readers Journal, a simple way of keeping a record of books read and things related to books.
Would you like to keep a journal of books and reading? If so what would you like to see in the journal?
Yes, you are right I am thinking of developing a readers journal and I would love your input so please write a comment and tell me what you would like to see in a journal for readers.

Rest for the Creative Mind

Charleston Lake 3

Cottage at Charleston Lake

A writer’s mind is always creating, at least mine is and I’m quite sure I’m not alone. I can’t help myself, I see an old building, an unusual person or a lost dog and imagine their story. I travel Eastern Ontario delivering books to small towns near Ottawa. Last week I was in Smiths Falls delivering  to a delightful store, The Loft, well worth a visit. I parked in front of an old boarded up hotel. Wow! Can you imagine the stories that place could tell? Then I drove on to Perth, my favourite Ontario town and delivered books to The Book Nook, a perfect destination for book lovers. Later I relaxed with a coffee and Eccles cake in the famous Stewart Park, (if you know what an Eccles cake is, send me a comment and I’ll send you a story) more fodder for my creative mind, two golden retrievers playing in the River Tay as it meandered through green grass. I spotted an old woman dressed unconventionally pounding a long walking stick with every purposeful stride, a terrific character. What was her story?
All this outside creating is going on while I’m writing and creating books. There comes a point when not even the tiniest idea can squeeze into my head and what’s even more disturbing is nothing creative comes out. Devastating! But it is temporary. The answer is a change of scene and rest and the best way for me to rest is to read someone else’s creation.

Charleston Lake

Charleston Lake

No blog last week, I was resting at a cottage on Charleston Lake at Sharon and Ed’s Cam’s Camp with friend Debbie Stenson. My intention was to write but my mind said no, it’s time to read, which I did and I can highly recommend two of my reading choices.
The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman A début novel, set at a remote Australian lighthouse, absolutely fabulous an unusual story of how one decision can affect so many lives. Five stars from me.
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain I was hooked by this author with her novel The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun is as good if not better. The story of Beryl Markham a famed aviator, set in colonial Kenya in the ’20s, the descriptions are breathtaking and the story of a young woman’s unconventional up bring riveting. Definitely five stars

Well rested and writing again. You will be pleased to hear The New Sackville Hotel is in the editing process and my mind is already moving to the next, the third novel in the saga (not counting the prequel Ruins in Silk). Yes, there is another one, couldn’t get everything into this last one so the saga will continue. And wait for it — Poised for a new series, Ruins in Silk following Sophie Romano as she serves as a nurse in The Great War. Next year perhaps.

The Blue Pendant and Ruins in Silk are now available at the following locations:
The Loft, Davidson Courtyard 7 Russel St West Smiths Falls
The Book Nook 60 Gore St East Perth
Arnprior Book Shop, John St N Arnprior

Event – Reading and signing at Coles Billings Bridge Aug 12 from 11 am – 2 pm 

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Readers in Waiting

Readers in Waiting!

Last evening I was at a friend’s house celebrating Canada’s 149th birthday, watching the fireworks shoot high above Ottawa’s Parliament Hill from a strategically placed balcony.

Where's the next book?

Where’s the next book?

Sipping drinks and munching party snacks the conversation turned to books and reading. As an author, I am passionate about books and writing as well as reading. Listening to my friends last night their passion was books and reading–a subtle difference. I know how important it is for the reader to like or dislike characters whether they are good or bad. I think the most talked about character in The Blue Pendant is the dastardly Mr. Pickles, a horrible man. In this case, you as the reader want to see justice done. Sometimes it doesn’t happen in book one but you want more and the series is born with readers in waiting.

sackvillehistory1 copy

The New Sackville Hotel

Readers in Waiting, the passion, and patience of waiting for the next book in a series. I’m listening. My fingers are dancing across the keyboard to get The Blue Pendant sequel to you by this fall. I have a title The New Sackville Hotel and as the title indicates Anna is back at the hotel, which she now owns with Bill. Will Mr. Pickles show his face? Maybe, maybe not and I’m not telling, but evil lurks in strange corners!


Introverted Writer

Peaceful Reading and Writing!


Arowhon Pines Resort Algonquin Park

If you have a general impression that writers are introverted you would be right 75% of the time. I would put myself close to the recluse category at times. After a very busy May with a wonderful visit from my mother, (96 years old who traveled from Britain to Canada, just an amazing lady) and the release of Ruins in Silk, I was ready to crawl under a rock.

Writer’s retreat to the rescue, I spent two days at Brian Henry’s retreat with fellow writers at the Arowhon Pines Resort in Algonquin Park. It is so beautiful I booked in for the whole week. Oh my goodness, I have found my piece of heaven. First of all, let me make it clear, I don’t camp, but I do enjoy nature; waking up in the morning and staring at a glassy lake, the mist rising pink in the sunrise, perfect, as long as it accompanied by fluffy pillows, a warm duvet and an ensuite bathroom, five-star food with silver service and kind wonderful staff to take care of you. Well, Arowhon Pines delivered all of that and more. Reading: Like most writers, I am also an avid reader and consumed two novels,  Blood on the Water by my absolute favourite author Anne Perry and Canadian novel The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka.

How much writing did I accomplish? Tons and tons! Without the internet, cell phone or even a landline, I wrote and wrote inspiration just poured out and The New Sackville Hotel , the sequel to The Blue Pendant, is finished, much work left to do but I expect it to be on book shelves by October.

Good Morning, Mr Heron!

Good Morning, Mr Heron!

Nature! While I was writing I saw muskrats, beavers, mama loon on her nest and others calling and swimming on the lake. I love loons, perhaps my favourite water bird. Several moose including a cow with a calf and one morning I opened my eyes to see a blue heron walking stealthily right in front of my window. Next year, yes I booked for next year, I am going to take a canoe out and battle the black flies on the trails. And work on book four, I just couldn’t fit everything into the sequel.

New easy to remember one click Amazon link for

My author page:

Ruins in Silk:

The Blue Pendant:

Launch of the prequel Ruins in Silk

Ruins in Silk the long-awaited prequel to The Blue Pendant.

It is 1906. Sophie Romano is 12 years old, standing with her parents waiting for the train that would take them on the first leg of a journey from Lucca, Italy to Derby, England. Her excitement belies the many tragedies that are about to affect her young life.

Cover_FrontThe Romano brothers—her father, Alberto and uncle, Roberto—are experts in sericulture, the cultivation of silk. Alberto, a driven businessman, is bent on making Romano Silk a household name in Edwardian Britain; Roberto’s passion is nurturing the silk worms on the Italian family farm.

The first, of many, tragedy that face Sophie upon her arrival in Britain, is the sudden death of her mother resulting in a close bond with her father as he grooms her to be his successor in the silk mill.

British societies are scrambling to wear Romano silk, including King Edward VII, which is elevating the business to great heights. But all is not well, either in Italy or Britain. Disloyal foreman Sid Forester is inciting rebellion and threatening both Alberto and Sophie. The devious Monsieur Dubois, a competitor, is seeking the Romano secrets and an unexpected connection contrives to ruin the mill. Roberto’s weaknesses, mismanagement and gangster connections bring Sophie and Alberto back to Lucca. Just 16 and in love, Sophie is teetering on the brink of an enormous tragedy that she may not survive.

Ruins in Silk, coming soon!

The Prequel to The Blue Pendant. I have a treat coming in late February. A neat little novella called Ruins in Silk. If you haven’t read The Blue Pendant, don’t worry,  Ruins in Silk is a stand-alone story. If you have read The Blue Pendant it will take you behind the scenes.

Lombes Silk Mill Derby England. Now a heritage building. As it looks today. Until recently it was a museum but is currently closed. The fictitious Romano Silk Mill was based on this mill.

Lombes Silk Mill Derby England. Now a heritage building as it looks today. Until recently the mill was a museum but is currently closed. The fictitious Romano Silk Mill was based on this mill that sits on the banks of the River Derwent.

Do you remember Anna’s friend Sophie Romano?

Sophie is the main character in Ruins in Silk. The story begins in Lucca Italy in 1906 on the Romano family’s silk farm, where Sophie was born and grew up. Her family moved to Derby England to make fine silk at the Derby silk mill. The farm and later the silk mill prosper, making silk for royalty including King Edward V11, until tragedy strikes. A story of loss, heartbreak and courage, and how Sophie starts a new life as a maid at The Sackville Hotel and ultimately meets Anna Neale, the main character from The Blue Pendant.

More details on how to purchase The Blue Pendant or Susan’s stories.

What people are saying…….

The Blue Pendant

The Blue Pendant

Angela said,  “Better than Downton Abbey! From the moment I opened The Blue Pendent I knew I was in for a ride……”

Sally said, “A brilliant read.……. I was totally engaged…..”

Audrey said, “….I’m so happy I didn’t miss the Blue Pendant. It’s an absolute winner. 

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