Sunday Morning Travelling Gift

Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country

My husband, Bruce, and I are on a bit of an unplanned journey through beautiful British Columbia and Alberta. On this Sunday morning in Banff, I’m sending off this photo of Wedge Pond and the Rocky Mountains, taken in Kananaskis Country.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while then you know that Bruce is the photographer of our creative, travelling team. He has done me the great honour of saying that this picture (which I took) is the prize-winner for yesterday. I guess I must be learning!

Self-published authors never rest – not even on unplanned holidays. So far, on the trip, I have gifted a copy of Disappearing in Plain Sight to John in New Denver as thanks for an insightful tour of his solar home. I sold a copy to Bruce and Mary, a knowledgeable couple from Calgary who were kind enough to give us all kinds of great tips for the next stage of our trip. We met them in a pull-out yesterday on the Kananaskis Trail. I also gave out one of my cards to a paramedic in Cranbrook. No – I wasn’t in need of medical help at the time – he shared a hot tub with us at the hotel.

Beautiful sights, great food, rest, relaxation, book sales and promotion – this is the life.

Disappearing in Plain Sight by Francis Guenette

Here’s a review of Disappearing in Plain Sight from one of Rosie’s Book Review Team Members. Many thanks.

My train of thoughts on...


The author sent me a copy of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review (member of Rosie’s Book Review Team).

My rating:  5  of  5  stars

(by Goodreads)

Sixteen-year-old Lisa-Marie has been packed off to spend the summer with her aunt on the isolated shores of Crater Lake. She is drawn to Izzy Montgomery, a gifted trauma counsellor who is struggling through personal and professional challenges. Lisa-Marie also befriends Liam Collins, a man who goes quietly about his life trying to deal with his own secrets and guilt. The arrival of a summer renter for Izzy’s guest cabin is the catalyst for change amongst Crater Lake’s tight knit community. People are forced to grapple with the realities of grief and desire to discover that there are no easy choices – only shades of grey.

Genre:  Fiction, Contemporary


“You never know when you might…

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Location, Location, Location–Toni Anderson & Dangerous Waters

Dangerous Waters cover

Toni Anderson, author pic


What a treat and honour this month, to welcome author Toni Anderson to my blog. She is a best selling New York Times and USA Today author.  The location of her novel, Dangerous Waters, coastal Vancouver Island, immediately caught my attention and I knew I wanted to give it a read. I’m so glad I was along for the roller coaster ride this thriller turned out to be. So, without further ado . . .


Take it away, Toni.

I have a thing for the ocean. When I stand at the edge of the water, watching the foam that marks the end of a long journey I can’t help but wonder where it started. Out there in the ocean somewhere, as an eddy, a current. A wave that can become anything, from a great rolling unstoppable mass capable of wiping out entire towns, to a gently dissolving hiss of bubbles at my feet. All that ocean, all that power, pounding at the land, beating it, shaping it, and shaping the lives of the people who live beside it.

Ocean Beach Scene

My ocean obsession started when I was just a toddler running around a beach in North Wales, swimming in the frigid waters of the Irish Sea, chasing shrimp around rockpools. It continued throughout university where I spent a year cataloguing the rocky shores of the Isle of Man and learning the secrets beneath the waves. Somehow it became my first career, and I assumed, (wrongly), that I’d always live near the sea. Instead, I ended up dead-center of the North American landmass.

I started writing fiction during my last post-doctoral research post, and then in between moving from (Canada-Scotland-Australia-Scotland-Australia-Scotland-Canada) and having a couple of babies. I consider the locations of my stories integral to the plot, and the sea a major character.

Dock Scene

Being married to a fellow Marine Biologist means I still get to visit the ocean on a regular basis. One of the most memorable trips was a drive across Canada to this remote outpost called Bamfield on the western edge of Vancouver Island. It’s a small, tight-knit community that relies very much on the sea. The beaches are incredible, the ocean sparkles a deep sapphire blue. The wildlife is stunning. As soon as I walked through the quiet woods, as soon as I heard the local gossip and intrigue, saw the RCMP boat at the dock, I knew I had to set a story there. Several stories. I’m a big believer that location does more than set the stage. It isn’t window dressing. It should provide almost an emblem of the story you are trying to write. That’s what I try to do—who knows how well I succeed!

Thanks so much for having me, Fran.

My Four-Star Review of Dangerous Waters (1st in the Barkley Sound Series)

A steamy-page-turning thriller of a book.

I enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. First and foremost – Anderson depicts Vancouver Island, BC and our Royal Canadian Mounted Police with accuracy. Certainly, this is not always the case. Half way through a book I read recently, setting – Ontario, Canada – the provincial police worried that the FBI would step in and take a case from them. Excuse me?

I live in a rural Vancouver Island community and Anderson’s tone, though amped up a few notches for read-ability and adventure, feels right. Consider her description of the local bar in her fictional, west coast, Vancouver Island town. “The place was rough as shark skin. Dark, dingy, the faint whiff of weed hanging in the air. Enough faded denim and scuffed leather to start a Hells Angels clubhouse.” Believe it!

Ocean & Mountain Scene

Anderson has a way of making comparisons sing. “A black cormorant sat in judgment on the end of the pier.” Or this, “Disquiet crawled over her skin in size twelve boots.” And two of my favourites, “. . . knowing sleep was as elusive as a five-legged goat . . .” and “. . . she now felt as stiff as a pine tree in an Alaskan winter.”

Anderson is obviously a seasoned writer who knows what her audience wants to read. Her book is in the romance genre and as other commenters have stated, that genre has definitely gone the route of including steamy sex scenes. I am of the school that prefers sex in the white spaces of the pages but it’s no problem to skim over such sections. I wouldn’t avoid a great book on such a small point of personal reader preference. But even into this area, the author brings her wonderfully fresh way of describing things. “Energy sizzled between them. A sudden wave of sexual awareness mixed with mutual mistrust, a subtle perfume of complication.” Or this, “. . . blonde hair ruffled into untidy spikes that made her think of tangled sheets and bedrooms.” Whew.

Anderson brings Sergeant Holly Rudd, her main character, to vivid life and though Holly is a woman determined to make good in what is still a men’s league, she doesn’t let that get in the way of the fact that she is a woman. She’s good at her job, she’s tough, but she’s human, too.

Male lead, Finn Carver is the personification of a complicated guy. His name glints off that of his friend’s, Thomas Edgewater – carving and edgy – like this story. Read this line and you’ll see what I mean. Finn and Thomas are on a night dive to explore a sunken ship. “Shadows swarmed through the water, schools of fish darting in and out of the beams like flashes of sunlight off the edge of a blade.” Superb foreshadowing – let me tell you – no, I won’t – you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Back to Finn’s complications – when you think of Finn, picture a coiled up rattle snake and you might get the idea. Just don’t step the wrong way.

These two characters are on a crash course for one another and though the sparks are inevitable, the ending between them is something most readers will find they want to believe despite the inevitable scepticisms.

First and foremost, for me, this book is a thriller and wow does it thrill. Anderson does a masterful job of stringing out the multi-layered mystery she has created. Try as I might, I did not get to slide the last piece of the puzzle into place until Anderson was darn good and ready for me to get the full picture.

If you want to read a great thriller, chock full of Vancouver Island atmosphere, this book is for you. If you like a bit of steamy sex along with the thrills and chills then you’re in for a double treat.

Dangerous Waters is the first book in the Barclay Sound Series. You can also check out the second book, Dark Waters. You can visit New York Times and USA Today bestseller author, Toni Anderson at her webpage or Facebook.

Being a Self-Published Author is a Full-Time Job

Emma - fall walk - Guenette photo

Being a self-published author is my full-time job. That means that when I’m not away from home, (like now!) I spend at least eight hours a day on the tasks I’ve discovered are necessary to make a go of this pursuit. This might change over time but in the early years of getting myself noticed as an author, this is what seems to work.

I can break these tasks down into three major categories – writing, preparing manuscripts for publication and self-promoting.


Writing is not like any other type of job I’ve ever had. I’ve had passion for my work in the past and put in long hours, but writing is a different ball game. At times it is all-consuming – I eat, sleep and breathe the story. This ebbs and flows – thank goodness! Who knows how relationships and cleaning would happen otherwise.

A self-published author has to produce a number of books in the first few years if he or she hopes to garner a following. I have put out two novels and a book of short stories in the last two and a half years and am busy on two simultaneous book projects at the moment.

Preparation for Publication

This is a time-consuming part of the job. I write in Word producing many drafts of my work using 12 point, Times New Roman, double spaced copy. That’s what works for my beta reader/editor and me. Once final edits have been completed, these documents have to be formatted for print and e-book editions. Book covers have to be produced. Files have to be loaded up to CreateSpace (for print) and Amazon (for e-books). At every stage of preparation to publish, constant editing and checking goes on.


Being a self-published author means I’m it – there’s no magical promotion team just waiting in the wings to take over and make sure readers find my book. My husband and I tag-team the promotion efforts. He is far better at in-person promotion than I am. He makes contact with stores to see if they will carry the softcover edition of my books, he does the set-up leg work for personal appearances. He always has books and promotional material handy and does a great job at getting my books out there.

I take care of all aspects of creating and maintaining a social media network – my blog, Facebook author page, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+, and on-line promotional groups. This part of the job is the one that is difficult to keep to a manageable number of hours and it is the aspect of the work that suffers the worst neglect when I take time off – like now!

Hard truths

All I want to do is write. The other parts of the job are important, I don’t deny that. But still . . . I got into writing because I love to write. Blogging is great because it involves writing and meeting others who care about putting words to thought and experience. I get a good dose of chuckles out of Facebook and Twitter – but perhaps not enough to justify the time spent. I love promoting other authors but the downside of that is placing another drain on precious time. Since we are dealing with hard truths – there isn’t always an equal payoff. That’s not to say I always look to get when I give, but the reality of the world is that there are takers and givers and often things don’t come out even in the end.

So, here I sit making my breakfast out of the remains that the granddaughters left on the table as they scrambled off to school and preschool (perhaps this is why I always get a cold when I’m here – you think?) My mind is totally stuffed with writing ideas and what I might accomplish in the next three hours before Brit comes home.

Brit - fall walk - Guenette photo

I don’t regret the self-published author career choice – not ever. The hours are long but when I get to just sit and write – the pleasure is huge.

I Found a Book . . .

Golden Ears - Guenette photo

“This is a book. It is a book I found in a box. I found the box in the attic. The box was in the attic, under the eaves. The attic was hot and still. The air was stale with dust. The dust was from old pictures and books. The dust in the air was made up of the book I found. I breathed the book before I saw it; tasted the book before I read it.” (P. Harding)

Some of my regular readers will remember that about this time last year I did a blog post about having found a small portion of a manuscript my mom had been working on for years. Pages eighty-eight to one-hundred and ninety suddenly appeared. I was so intrigued by that discovery, I plunged right in reading, transcribing from the manual typewritten pages, and changing things as I went. I couldn’t help myself.

I went through those pages fairly quickly and then I simply pined to find the rest of that manuscript. Feelers went out everywhere it could have possibly been stored and I waited. Whenever I returned to the work, I imagined how I would start and end the story if my mom’s work never surfaced.


A couple of weeks ago, I got a text from my daughter. The rest of the manuscript had been found in some boxes that had been stored in an attic for years. I could hardly contain my excitement. I arrived at my daughter’s house last week to be greeted with a very large stack of black duo-tang binders and loose papers. I was stunned. As the quote above says, I smelled this book before I ever read it. The smell was familiar – old paper and dust and something else that was my mom.


This stack of material contained a file folder with map drawings of the setting, blue file cards that contained character sketches and a complete outline! Wow!

The total size of the typewritten manuscript is over two-thousand pages! And I thought I was long-winded. I located a bunch of pages that started at page one and began to read. Got to about page thirty-five and realized this was a far different version of the story than I had dipped into last year. I put those pages aside and began searching through a series of red folders. I found the version I was familiar with but it starts at page twenty. That is better than eighty-eight for sure, but still . . . sure wish I had page one.

I read and I read and I read – I made it through all of those binders and loose pages. Sometimes I felt like screaming because my mom was breaking more than a few of those rules that I said (in a post not too long ago) make me want to grab an author and shake him or her or even my own mother. Other times, I couldn’t stop flipping just to find out what might happen next. Still other times I burst out laughing as I turned over a page and found a recipe from lasagna, an old phone number or childish doodling that had to have been done by me or my siblings sitting by mom as she flipped the pages and scribbling on the back of each newly dropped paper.

The novel is stunning. It is brutal, raw, edgy and the main bad-guy character, Sergeant Burt Calder would give the hardened out there a few bad dreams. This is a story I could not have conceived of. But, oh gosh, am I excited at the thought of what I might be able to do with it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought – while reading a self-published novel – I just wish I could change this or that. Well, now I can.

I have to leave it on the drawing board now and move back to finishing the final third of Chasing Down the Night. It won’t be easy because my mind is racing with ideas. But a time of letting those ideas go into a slow simmer will only serve to improve the choices I make later.

Oh yes, and I am spending time with my granddaughters and enjoying life out in civilization for a couple more weeks. Seeing people every day, shopping, going to restaurants, getting my hair done and even scored big at BINGO the other night. Life is good.

Emma & Brit on bikes - Guenette photo

So – here’s a question. I’m curious . . . if you found a manuscript as I have what would you do with it? Would you have the nerve to rewrite, to tamper with the original story? Would you type it up as is? Or would you put it back in the box and leave it for another generation to discover?