Sunday, May 31, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page twenty-four

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The mourners left as they had arrived, in ones, twos, and threes. Olivia lingered, as did her parents and a few of her cousins.

In the garden, an Irish lace tablecloth covered a small antique cast-iron table. On the table rested photos of Grandmother Esther and the urn that contained her ashes. The photos recounted a lifetime: Esther as a young woman barely out of her teens, then with each husband and with her progressively increasing family.

The first of these family photos was a black and white picture in a simple plain wood frame. Olivia knew the picture well. It was one Katherine proudly displayed on her fireplace mantel. Occupying the center of the picture, seated on a chair, was a young woman. Her long fair hair was swept back from her face. It was secured on either side by two ribbon clips. The rest of her hair hung in long curls. Olivia could tell that the woman had applied make-up for the picture. Her lips were unnaturally dark. Resting in the woman's lap was a bundle of blankets. Poking from the folds of the blanket was a baby -- crocheted bonnet on its head.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page twenty-three

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As Olivia socialized, she overheard other conversations. She heard whispers. Who was Olivia? Why was she here? Who was her father? Their curiosity probed, Olivia felt their icy stares. They viewed her as ignobly born or worse. Love child. Bastard. They thought she couldn't hear them but she did.

Some -- a few -- spoke up in defense of her birthright. But they spoke quietly so as not to be ostracized by the others.

If Grandma Esther had been alive none of this would have been tolerated. She would have stood beside me. Icy stares would have been returned in measure -- wagging tongues silenced.

Grandma Esther would have loudly said, "This is Olivia. She is my granddaughter."

A statement of fact. A challenge.

Grandma Esther was so sure of my place in the world, so sure that I belonged. ...But without her strength and support without her...I am alone.


I'm a paperback arrived

Yesterday evening, the beige Mayne Island courier van drove up my steep driveway and...
It arrived.
I torn open the package and...

took a immediately took a picture of my beautiful book.

...and I am so much closer to my goal.
I am accepting pre-orders.
What you do is this...
Request a copy.
I will send you a PayPal request for funds.
Once I receive payment, I will send you your copy hot off the press.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I heard it in the wind

Today dawned warm and sunny on beautiful Mayne Island. And today may be special for another reason as well. I heard that today could be an exciting day. I don't want to say more until things start to happen (I don't want to jinx things...yes, I am superstitious.) However, rest assured that you will be the first to hear the news. You can facilitate this by staying logged on.
With fingers and toes crossed
: )

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page twenty-two

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The stories the mourners shared were prosaic but they were made sacred by shared grief. Together the words formed a quilt that Olivia wrapped around her body. The memories kept her warm -- they protected her. Wrapped in the quilt of memories she was numb to the pain.

They all think they knew her but no one knew her the way I did, Olivia thought. No one shared the things we shared.

Olivia wanted to be left alone with her grief. She needed to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish. To fulfill this wish she needed information.

Maybe someone here knows where Mayne Island is, she thought.

So she mingled. One of the mourners gave her Mayne Island's location -- one of the Southern Gulf Islands that lay between Vancouver Island and the mainland. After that, however, the pool of information dried up. No one knew why Mayne Island had been important to Esther.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page twenty-one

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Olivia saw the chocolate cake, she saw the jellied salad, she saw the ribbon sandwiches. She felt empty but she didn't feel hungry. It was a deep emptiness that no amount of food could fill.

She existed in a vacuum. Though the sun shone the world was colourless. Though music played all Olivia heard was a dull drone. Though a gentle warming breeze blew -- she felt cold as ice. Though some of the mourners chatted to her all Olivia heard were bits and pieces of conversation.
"Do you remember when she..."
"She was always so..."
"I will always remember her for her..."
"She was a true..."
"I will miss her for her..."
"She so loved her morning..."
"She was the one who taught me to..."


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page twenty

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A minister friend of Esther's, having been robbed of an opportunity to expound on Esther's life in great and profound detail, commented, "How like the sun Esther had been." His voice increased in volume as he spoke.

Everyone is entitled to take comfort in my skills as an orator, he told himself.

"She came into our rain-soaked lives, however, briefly. She warmed us and filled our lives with sunshine. Now she has gone but we must search for the rainbow she has left behind."

He was about to quote the Bible when his wife silenced him with a large piece of chocolate cake. It was a tall cake -- strawberry jam oozed from between the layers. The base was shortbread and the entire cake was coated with buttery chocolate icing. A chocolate dipped strawberry rested on the top of each slice. As his wife had recently put him on a strict diet, he greedily consumed her offering. The chocolate left a trail. It dyed his mouth brown and wrapped around each tooth. His lips abandoned words to smack with glee.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page nineteen

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Where was Mayne Island? Why did her grandmother want to be buried there? Olivia had so many questions but Esther had run out of time.

Esther Donaldson's memorial service was as simple and tasteful as she had wished. Her family and friends met in the rose garden. Over an afternoon tea of dainties, ribbon sandwiches and jellied salad, they reminisced about her life.

The weather was pleasant. There was a brief sunshower -- that unusual meteorological combination of rain and sun -- but all agreed it was refreshing.

"It's so nice to finally see the sun again," many remarked. The week had been a wet one. The following week promised to be even wetter. The five-day forecast was for showers increasing to rain by mid-week.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page eighteen

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Olivia pushed the door open. She was shocked to see the parchment ghost that her grandmother had become. Gone was the fierce, determined woman -- replaced by little more than a lump in the middle of the king-sized four poster bed.

"Olivia," Katherine said coolly.

"Mother," Olivia sneered.

"Olivia, Olivia, my dear," Esther called in a fragile voice.

Olivia moved closer to her grandma and gently held her hand, "I'm here," she said as she fought back tears.

"Don't cry, my beauty. I've lived a good life. I've been very happy. I only have one regret. Love, you must take me back to Mayne Island. Promise me you will take me back to Mayne Island. Promise me. I won't be able to sleep unless I rest in its soil," she gasped for breath. The sound made Olivia wince.

"I promise, Grandma," Olivia said, as her grandmother's nurse raced into the room.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page seventeen

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Vineyards, maids collecting eggs, and fishing boats out at sea -- these familiar scenes passed under her eyes step by step. As she climbed, her hands slid over the polished mahogany handrail. Two rails ran like long, brown snakes down either side of the stairs. She didn't need the rail for support but she liked how the polished wood felt sliding through her palm.

Olivia reached the third floor and passed the chairlift that had been installed a few years ago.

Esther had valiantly fought for independence against the disease that threatened to rob her of it. The installation of the chairlift had been but one attempt to assist her mobility. It now rested unused at the head of the stairs.

Olivia reached her grandmother's bedroom and overheard Esther talking with Katherine.

"Your father loved you so very much. He wanted so badly to watch you grow -- to be there for you."

"I know, Mother. It's okay. You kept him alive for me. He was a red-haired, green-eyed war hero. I never met him but through your stories I feel I know him. Through your stories I grew to love him."

"You should love him. He was a fine man. But the things I told you. The stories I told you...they weren't exactly...they weren't..."


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page sixteen

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"Why aren't you outside playing with your friends?" Katherine would ask.

Olivia could have explained that she had no friends, that she preferred to be alone, but she knew her mother would have been appalled at such a response.

Katherine wanted Olivia to be popular, to have friends, to be normal. Normal like Suzie. Suzie, Olivia's cousin, was only a few months younger. So, for want of a sibling to compare Olivia to, Katherine used Suzie as a yardstick. Even though Suzie was younger she was much more popular -- friends always surrounded her. Olivia was always alone -- alone with her pens and journals.

Katherine's words echoed in Olivia's ears, "You spend too much time in dreamland. It's not real. Your writing is not real. You need to live in reality. You can't dream your life away." Words that once brought Olivia to tears now made her laugh.

You didn't want me to live in reality, Mother. You wanted me to be happy living in the dreamland you created for me, Olivia thought.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page fifteen

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As a child, Olivia had delighted in conjuring stories for each stair. She would sit upon each for hours - a journal on her lap and a pen in her hand.

Olivia recalled her mother's reaction each time she found her sitting on the stairs.

"Chairs are for sitting," she would say. Or "Don't be a nuisance." Or "It's not safe for you to sit there. No one can get by you."

Her grandmother was different.

"Leave the poor girl alone," Olivia overheard her say to Katherine. "She's fine there. There's plenty of room."

Only Grandma Esther showed an interest in her writing. Only Grandma Esther listened to the stories.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page fourteen

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Olivia's foot rested on the first of the twenty-four steps.

Each detail of the Donaldson's estate had been carefully planned by Esther and a team of architects. She had spent months studying sketches, catalogues, and paint chips. The staircase stood as one glowing example of her fine taste. The base of the staircase flared out like a bridal gown then gracefully swooped and curved up higher and still higher from the first floor to the second and then finally to the third.

Each stair was work of art. The stairs were constructed from hand-painted Italian ceramic tile. The tiles were ivory white - the paintings of rural scenes and seascapes were navy.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page thriteen

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"I know it hurts. But you must set it aside. Please set it aside. Now is the time to focus on your grandmother's needs. She loves you both. She's dying and all she wants, all she wants..." Julia began to cry. Olivia held her. Julia had been two years old when her father had married the woman who now lay dying. Esther had been the only mother Julia had known. In Olivia's arms she shook and sobbed trying to come to terms with what, who she was losing. Finally, she regained her composure and dried her eyes. "All she wants is you, all she wants is you with her. You know your grandmother loves you."

"I've never doubted her love," Olivia said.

"Well then climb those stairs and be with her."


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Writing retreat on Mayne Island

I will be attending an exciting writing workshop on Saturday,June 27th. The retreat organizator, Terrill Welch, sent me the following information that I would like to share with you:
Please forward this message.
Thank you,

Of Maynely a Mystery, Terrill wrote...

"Rumerous of gold, a secret lover, ghosts and other mysteries create a labyrinth of intrigue as Maynely a Mystery traces the lives of the story's animated eccentric characters. Author Leanne Dyck knows her craft, her audience, and her setting. Her novel provides a boyeuristic glimpse into human character and island life."
Terrill Welch (Leading Raspberry Jam Visions: Women's Ways)

Maynely A Mystery: chapter one, page twelve

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Julia heard the frustration, the anger. It wasn't unfounded. The whole family had been surprised when Olivia had been born. Julia would never have said this out loud but Olivia hadn't, didn't, look like any of the family. She didn't even look like she shared the same ethnicity.

If Katherine had an affair it's not for me to judge, Julia thought. Katherine's always conducted herself well; she's always held to the highest moral standards. She embraced her role as eldest child. While the rest of us did what we wished, acted the way we wanted she walked the straight and narrow. How can any of us fault her for letting loose? One wild night that's all it would take. Who hasn't had one wild night? But Olivia is just too young to accept this, too young to listen to these words about her mother. So Julia said...


Monday, May 18, 2009

Maynely A Mystery: chapter one, page eleven

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"Your relationship with your mother has always been strained," Julia said. "But she's always loved you. She's always been proud of you. She tried. They tried for so many years to have a baby. They had all but given up hope. They were considering adoption but then you finally arrived -- their darling daughter. Oh, they were so happy. Their family was finally complete. You should have seen her face when they brought you home from the hospital. She was all smiles from ear to ear. She does love you so very much."

"Oh, really? She's never let me know that."

"It's hard for Katherine. It's hard for her to express her feelings. She's always been far more logical than she is emotional. But I know that she is very proud of..."

"Or you want her to be. I don't care how she feels. It's too late. She had her chance."

"You don't really meant that. It's never too late to...for..."

"Honesty. That's the only thing I ever wanted from her. Honesty, but she's always refused me that. No, she prefers to hide in the shadows. She spoon-feeds me lie after lie: he is your biological father; you are English-Canadian. And I have no choice but to live those lies. Lies, that's all they are. It's all I have. I have nothing more. It's all her fault -- all of it. Everyone can see the truth. I look like a fool because I'm forced to live the lies she has fed me."


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Maynely A Mystery: chapter one, page ten

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Esther had made repeated efforts to reunite mother and daughter but Olivia resisted each attempt.

Now that Olivia was attending UBC Julia seldom saw her. She did, however, receive regular phone calls. Julia wondered if Olivia phoned Katherine. Sadly, she doubted it.

Julia smiled at her niece as she recalled how Olivia had insisted on moving to campus housing.

"I want to devote myself to my studies -- I want to do well," Olivia said. "And I'm worried that if I stay here there will be too many distractions."

Though it wasn't a choice Julia would have made, she admired Olivia's independent nature.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Maynely A Mystery: chapter one, page nine

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"We're so glad you've come. She's so very, very weak. She fights for every day. She wants nothing more than to see your smile," the older woman paused. "Katherine is in with her now, but hurry. She needs to see you. She thinks of nothing else."

"Katherine is here? Now? Aunt Julia?" Olivia asked.


Katherine, Olivia's mother, described her daughter as willful and unmanageable. Olivia had never shown these traits to her aunt. Instead, Julia found her niece to be shy, withdrawn and always respectful.

Between husbands, as she often was, Julia was living in the mansion with Esther when Olivia left her parents. The three woman had lived happily together. Julia and Olivia had developed a lasting friendship. Olivia had confided in Julia and told her of the frustration she felt with her mother. Julia tried to remain neutral.


They got me covered

Now I have to run over to Alea Design and Print. They have a mock up of the cover to show me.
: ) Leanne (smiling from ear to ear)

Maynely A Mystery: chapter one, page eight

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When the young woman entered the house her progress was immediately blocked. An Asian woman in a maid's uniform came charging at her waving her hands. "No, no, no. The servant's entrance is in the back," she snarled.

At the maid's heels followed a well-dressed bottle-blonde woman in her mid-forties.

"Emi please leave us." the woman barked.

Emi left quickly.

"I'm so sorry, Olivia. She's new and, apparently, blind. Heaven knows Mother has enough pictures of her favourite granddaughter," The older woman smiled.

Olivia blushed.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

To order Maynely A Mystery

As soon as hubby as a few seconds to spare this process will become a lot easier but right now here's what you do.

1) Email me:
2) Request a copy of Maynely A Mystery
3) I will send you a PayPal request for funds.
4)You send the funds - I send the ebook.


If you would prefer, simply send a personal cheque to:

291 Wood Dale Drive S 21, C 4
Mayne Island, BC V0N 2J0

It will get easier I promise.

Is this easier:

:) Leanne

Maynely A Mystery: chapter one, page seven

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"Oh, really," Berlin said, doubt dripping from every syllable.

"Yes...yes really. My father is English-Canadian. My mother is English-Canadian."

Berlin turned his head and froze his passenger in his gaze. He slowly shook his head, "But you are not English-Canadian."

The young woman clenched her jaw, then released it and said calmly, "Look, I don't care if you don't believe me. I won't debate my ethnicity with you. I just want...I just want pay the damn fare."

"Okay, okay. Forty Canadian dollars. No yen, please." Berlin smiled.

The young woman paid the fare and left without laughing at his joke. He watched as she walked to the large, heavy iron gate. She pushed open the gate and walked down the long cobble path that led through the impressive gardens, to the mansion's carved oak double doors. He waited until she entered the house then he drove away.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A critic's comments

Author Amber Harvey wrote about Maynely A Mystery that it is and I quote...

'peppered with subtle humour, surreal situations and entertaining characters.'

Thank you Amber.
I enjoyed reading Magda's Mayne Island Mystery. I look forward to reading Amber's next book in this series Aliens on Mayne Island. It will be available for sale at the Mayne Island Farmers' Market this Saturday, May 16th. Visit Amber on her web site:

Maynely A Mystery: chapter one, page six

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He slanted eyes, her tawny completion, and her jet black hair intrigued him. He mulled over his observations and came to a conclusion. The knowledge that he would soon lose this opportunity prompted him to act.

"That will be forty dollars." He said in Nihongo as he parked the cab.

"Pardon me, I don't understand..."

"Nihongo -- but you are Japanese."

"No, I'm..."

"Japanese-Canadian." Aw, Yonsei, Berlin thought.

"No, English-Canadian."


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reader's comment

You don't have to wait for me. You can read all 13 chapters. To order, simply email:

One reader thought...
You have a delightfully wry humour that comes up unexpectedly and a talent for observing the more interesting characters of the world...There is also much joy in your writing.

Maynely A Mystery: chapter one, page five

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Berlin and his passenger traveled over the Burrard Street Bridge - he behind the steering wheel - she behind her book. He looked in the rear-view mirror, his hobby of solving Sudoku puzzles had trained him to find meaning in clutter. He read her book's title: Revealing nature's secrets: the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, and Poison Ivy. Yawn, he thought, a dry read. He looked at her. Then he couldn't stop looking at her. He stole glimpses of her throughout the hour-long cab ride.

His attention made her nervous. She tried to ward him off by hiding behind her book. It didn't work. She continued to draw his attention.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Maynely A Mystery: chapter one, page four

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Other passengers came to Berlin with different needs. To them, Berlin filled the roles of tour guide, teacher, student, philosophizer, psychiatrist, historian, educator, and critic. The discussions that he engaged in with these passengers varied greatly in topic and length. It was during one of these discussions that Berlin had learned of the origins of the Donaldson's estate. He learned that although estates were bring built on Northwest Marine Drive as far back as 1908, the Victorian influenced mansion had been built much later during the boom of the 1960s. The home was a replica it wasn't authentic.

Sam knew his passenger's story. She's an university kid who's landed herself a summer job dusting cobwebs from the largest chandeliers in Point Grey. Big deal, who cares?


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Page three of Maynely A Mystery

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Berlin knew the address. The property was one of the largest, most impressive estates in Point Grey. On the grounds, a long spruce and maple tree-lined lane led to a Victorian mansion with large wraparound decks and a widow walk. An elderly woman - Esther Donaldson - owned it. Berlin had never met Mrs. Donaldson. She had limousines and chauffeurs. He had, however, met some of her servants.

Berlin considered his passenger. She's a non-talker, he thought. That's okay; I get all kinds. He leaned forward and turned up his music. Some of Berlin's passengers viewed him simply as a means of transport. These passengers remained silent throughout their ride - not needing nor wanting to invade his space. Any speech was limited to destination and payment.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Page two of Maynely A Mystery

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He knew his ilk - white, middle-aged, working class males - were supposed to strive for, be impressed with acquisition with wealth. Berlin wasn't; what obsessed him was discovery but not land, sea nor space. No, he was obsessed by the discovery of his inner self, his inner life. From boyhood on, he had had a recurring dream. He dreamed of Japan. As an adult, he had undergone past-life regression and it had confirmed that he had been a samurai. He filled his life with Japanese culture: he ate sushi, watched Anime, listened to Japanese musicians like Hikaru Utada and he studied Nihongo. It was a difficult language to learn. He sought out opportunities to practice.

She poked her head out from behind her book and said politely, "500 Northwest Marine Drive, please."


Friday, May 8, 2009

Maynely A Mystery: chapter one, page one

The ebook edition is available.
Purchase your signed copy today.

It is my pleasure to share chapter one of my new cozy mystery novel: Maynely A Mystery

Let's start on page one - it's a very good place to start. : )


She stood in the pouring rain. He stopped and she climbed in.

When she opened the cab door, Hikaru Utada's happy tunes spilled out of the car and tumbled onto Robson Street.

Robson Street was a shopping mecca. Sandwiched between Burrard and Jarvis, this section of Robson pulsed with the beat of capitalism. Sharing the street with avid shoppers were university students. For Robson Street was also the home of a University of British Columbia campus.

"Where to?" he asked.

"Point Grey," she said pulling a book out of her leather backpack. It was a heavy, thick book and smelled of academia. If she was hoping to impress him by her destination she had failed. Point Grey may impress some but not Sam Berlin. He knew the neighbourhood well: expansive estaes elbowing each other for space, for recognition, for importance. Single family castles on postage stamp-size properities. Why was North America so obsessed with excess? Berlin wondered.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I just published Maynely A Mystery ebook.
It waits patiently for you to discover it.
You can find it here:
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If you bookmark this site. You are in for all sorts of fun.
Come back often. You'll see...