Monday, June 29, 2009

Write! the Mayne Island writing retreat

On Saturday, June 27th I spent an enjoyable day at the writers' retreat.

Guest speaker: S. Fuller

Retreat organizer: Terrill Welch

I am currently working on my next novel. I write that with the full knowledge that I am stretching the truth. More to the point I should write, I have been attempting to work on my next novel. In reality I have been actively pursuing excuses to prevent me from returning to the writing desk. I have been writing. Sure I have. I have been writing ads, presentations, and other marketing material for Maynely a Mystery. I have been jotting notes for my next novel. ...but writing in earnest, I must confess I have avoided.

I know I needed a wake up call.

And this weekend I did receive one.

What did I learn? What would I like to share with you...

-schedule a regular writing time -- daily.
-to write well you must be well read.


Friday, June 26, 2009

A Mayne Island writer

I have joined a group of esteemed writers.
I am delighted that my name has been added to this list:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book Tour in October

In October, I am planning a book tour. I will be traveling to Manitoba. While there I hope to network with some Winnipeg bookstores.

The highlight of the trip, for me, will be a book reading here:

Eriksdale is a rural community with a population of about 991 . The community offers a school, a credit union and senior residences.

Although, the soil is rocky beef and dairy farms abound.

Why am I traveling there?

Eriksdale is a special place to me. I was born and raised there. As well, seventeen years ago in August, I was married there.

It has been ten years since I have been back. It is time to return. I hope to take you with me. Pack your sweaters -- we may get snow.

Learn more about Eriksdale:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where did all the books go?

Scroll back to June 15th (What I did last weekend). You will find an account of the arrival of these. I picked them up from Island Blue Print on Saturday, June 13th.

A box full of 50 copies of my mystery novel - Maynely a Mystery. Humble beginnings. I picked up the box as I would a box full of puppies. I knew my mission was to find a good home for each and every one of them.

Well, I'm pleased to write that this is what is left.

Of these nine copies three are sold. I'm simply holding them for their off-island readers. It took me ten days to find good homes for my little puppies. I am thrilled by this success. And, yes, most importantly, I have placed another order with Island Blue Print.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Maynely a Mystery is now available on Salt Spring Island

from ArtCraft in Mahon Hall

( Summer student employee, Scott holds Maynely a Mystery. Thank you Scott.)
from Sabine's Bookshop

(Barnaby, the new owner of Sabine's, reads one of his latest additions to his fine collection of rare and used books. You will find Maynely a Mystery resting comfortably on the front counter).

from Salt Spring Books

from Volume II Bookshop

Ask for Maynely a Mystery at your local bookstore.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hanging signs on Salt Spring Island

I will be hanging these signs at various places on Salt Spring Island.

There will be four in total. Why not see if you can find them all?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Maynely a Mystery events

July book signing at Miners Bay Books on Mayne Island. Date and time to be announced

Saturday, August 1st @ 7:30 pm book reading at the Mayne Island reading centre

Friday, September 4th @ 7:30 pm book launch featuring Mayne Island musicians to be held at the Ag Hall.

I will provide you with additional information as each event draws nearer. And of course, after the event I will report back.
Happy reading,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

the mystery on the front cover

April 4th dawned sunny and warm. I packed my camera thinking that inspiration might strike. As it was Monday, I went to Tia Chi class. After class, inspiration did strike and I toured the island on my bright yellow electric bike taking photos.

Surely one of this pictures will be perfect for the front cover of my novel, I thought.

I clicked happily photos of views of the ocean from Felix Jack road, from Village Bay road and finally I decided to try taking some pictures at Miners Bay Park. You know the park by the reading centre.

After my adventure in photography, I was eager to get home and view my yield.

Well, the picture that I took at Miners Bay Park immediately stood out for me. I smiled contentedly. I had the picture for the front cover.

Now three months later I am still very pleased.

Recently, I was looking at my book with my hubby.

He casually said, "Oh, yes, I was meaning to ask you. Whose boat is that?"

"I don't know," I said.

He looked puzzled, "What do you mean, you don't know? Didn't you ask permission before you took the photo?"

"No," I confessed. "Do you think that will be a problem?"

"I don't know it could be," he said.

Well, that was enough to make me worry. ...but what could I do the book had been published.

On Monday, I made a Post Office run. While mailing my book to bookstores and libraries I explained to the Meredith (Mayne Island's Post Mistress) that I had my new book.

"Do you want to see it I asked?"

She did. I showed it to her. She was intrigued. She asked, "Who's boat is that?"

I paused. I didn't know how to answer that question.

"You know that might be our boat," she said.

"Really," I said hopeful. "If it was your boat would it be okay if it was on the front cover?"

"Of course," she said.

Oh, please be Meredith's boat, I thought.

"When did you take the picture?" She asked.

"In April," I said.

"Where was the picture taken?" She asked.

I told her the location.

"No, it isn't our boat," she said. "I think its Mark's boat."

How would Mark feel about his boat being on the front cover, I worried.

This morning I went to the Mayne Island reading centre. It was my volunteer day. Outside the library three dead trees were being removed. Mark is a tree trimmer. He is well skilled at his job. Watching him remove the trees was an event. An audience soon assembled. It was a tricky feat. The trees could have caused a lot of damage. Telephone lines could have been cut. Vehicles damaged. Well, we need not have worried -- Mark safely fell the trees.

My shift at the reading centre ended. As I left the centre I noticed that Mark was packing to leave as well.

Now is the time, I told myself.

What will his reaction be, I worried.

I explained. He smiled.

"A picture of my boat is on your novel," he said.

"Yes," I confessed.

"Well, well," he seemed pleased.

"Is that okay?" I asked.

"Of course," he said. "You know that boat is an antique. It was built at New Westminster in the 1920s."

Another piece of Mayne Island history preserved for all time. Preserved on the cover of Maynely a Mystery. Another Mayne Island mystery solved. Thank you so much Mark for being so understanding.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Maynely a Mystery sighting

Jennifer O'Shaughnessy holds the latest addition to her extensive collection of books - Maynely a Mystery.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What I did last weekend

Last page - Maynely a Mystery, chapter one

Well we all knew this day would come. And it has arrived. Reading on is as easy as sending an email. To request your copy, email: Subject line: Maynely a Mystery purchase

There was one woman who was prim and proper: nothing out of place, everything just so. She sat there, arms folded, legs crossed, an oversized patent leather purse balanced on her knee. She looked out the window, then down to her purse, then out the window, then down to her purse again. She uncrossed her knees. She opened her purse and searched all of the compartments. She examined each and every article down to a penny. Then she closed her purse and laid it back down on her lap. She stood up, smoothed her skirt against her firm bum, and sat back down. She crossed her legs. She folded her arms. She looked out the window, then back to her purse, then out the window again. Finally, she got up and walked over to the Chief Steward's office. She engaged the officer in a brief dialogue then returned to her seat.

This performance took about ten minutes and occurred regularly. Olivia was intrigued. Who was she? Where was she heading? What was her story? Why was she so agitated? Olivia gratefully lost herself in these questions.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

On to page 35 of Maynely a Mystery

Maynely a Mystery paperback is now available. To order, please email: Subject line: Maynely a Mystery purchase

On and on the inane conservation ran. Olivia considered leaving her cousin to be picked apart by this maggot. She considered it but immediately rejected the idea. Suzie was her responsibility. So instead of removing herself, Olivia looked around for a distraction.

She looked out the window but all she saw was ocean. She scanned her fellow passengers. Among them was an elderly couple that seemed to be still very much in love. They held hands and gazed into each other's eyes. A young child was revealing amazing athleticism by walking unaided on the back of a bench. Other children sat reading books or raced around screaming. There were women in shorts that shouldn't have been wearing shorts. There were men with beer bellies discussing sports.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

I'm sorry I'm running late for the ferry. I hope to post when I get home.
Take care

Friday, June 12, 2009

About Thursday

"So, what happened? Why was there no Maynely a Mystery entry on Thursday?" you ask.
"Well, on Wednesday I left Mayne Island. I jumped on to a ferry and travelled to Salt Spring Island."
"What did you do there?"
"Well, I helped out here....

( The sign reads: ArtCraft is almost here. Opening June 12th)
at Mahon Hall. Today, June 12th, the graceful old hall transforms into ArtCraft (a seasonal gallery). ArtCraft showcases gulf island talent. Artists/artisan from Galiano, Pender, Saturna, Mayne and Salt Spring fill the hall with their creations.
So on Wednesday I delivered my inventory: sweaters for babies and children, hats for babies, Maynely True my colleciton of short stories, Novelty Yarn my audio book, and Yarn Therapy my learn to knit pattern book. Maynely a Mystery will arrive later.
ArtCraft's grand opening is June 19th. Doors open at 6pm. The party starts to swing at 7 pm. I will be there and so will Maynely a Mystery. I hope to see you there as well."
"I'd love to go but I live in Iceland and its almost lambing season."
"Sh-h-h, don't worry about it. I can help you out. Follow me over to I'll sneak you in to ArtCraft."

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page thirty-four

Maynely a Mystery paperback will soon be available.
For more information and to order, please log on to:
Let's continue reading....

Olivia sat on the ferry, her nose buried in a book as a pest incessantly buzzed in her cousin's ear. Suzie was used to this attention and gloried in it. Men always flocked to her like tourists to a hot, sandy beach. Olivia wasn't used to the attention, and the ceaseless chattering annoyed her. She tried to lose herself in her novel but she soon realized that reading was impossible and the book became little more than a screen.
"So where are you headed, beautiful?" the six foot two-inch, mustached bug buzzed. He was attractive enough, Olivia admitted to herself, rugged and outdoorsy, but much too needy.
"Man Island," Suzie smiled.
"She means Mayne Island," Olivia corrected.
Olivia received a look from the man that said her amendment wasn't necessary and wasn't appreciated.
From the time she was born, everyone had fallen immediately under Suzie's spell. They fawned over her wavy platinum blonde hair, her long eyelashes, her turned-up nose and her big blue eyes. Allowances were made, doors opened, simply because of her looks. Nothing was expected from her: she was simply meant to be, not to do, not to think.
"Oh, baby, why not come to Galiano with me? We'll have so much fun," Suzie's latest victim drooled.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page thirty-three

Maynely a Mystery paperback will soon be available.
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"Oh, can I come? Please, please can I come? Please," Suzie pleaded. "I'd like to come too. I may not have been Grammie's favourite but I loved her too, you know. I was her granddaughter too. Please! We'll have so much fun. I never get to go anywhere..."

"I thought you just came back from Paris?" Olivia asked.

"Paris? I went to Paris a month ago. I haven't been anywhere in a whole month," Suzie begged. "Pl-e-e-ze."

"Pack your bags." Olivia's teeth were clenched and her grin pasted on but Suzie didn't notice.

Suzie clapped her hands with glee, "Oh, goody, goody, goody an ocean voyage! What shall I pack? What shall I pack?"

"I'm sure your Auntie Kathie would be happy to help you with that," Olivia said as she left with the urn.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page thirty-two

Maynely a Mystery paperback will soon be available.
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Suzie bounced up to them, "Watcha' doin'?"

Embarrassed by the spectacle they were creating, Olivia and Katherine both stopped tugging. The urn once again rested comfortably in Olivia's arms.

"Olivia is planning to take Grandma Esther to a far-off island." Katherine said in a bedtime story voice.

Sure, go ahead, tell poor, simple Suzie a bedtime story. I'm the big bad witch of the north, Olivia thought, right, Mother? And you, and you are the good witch? Live in fantasies. Live your whole life in fantasies. What do I care? But I will no longer live in the world that you built for me. I refuse. This is my life and I will live it my way. Grandma asked me to do one last thing for her and I will. You can't bully me any longer.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page thirty-one

Maynely a Mystery paperback will soon be available.
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"I don't need your protection," Olivia said. "Besides how do you know they share your prejudice?"

"Your father and I have never treated you differently! We have always loved you. We have always treated you you were normal."

"Oh, isn't that interesting? I was talking about your prejudice against Mayne Islanders but now I see."

"Oh, you know what I meant. You know what I meant," Katherine said as Olivia began to laugh in hurt disbelief. "Give me that." Katherine began to pull the urn away from her.

"Stop it!"

"You stop it! She's my mother," Katherine said.

They began to pull the urn harder and harder, each attempting to pull the other off-balance.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page thirty

Maynely a Mystery paperback will soon be available.
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"You were there when Grandma asked me to make sure that she was buried on Mayne Island! You were there. You heard her just as well as I did. It was her wish and I will be carrying it out."

"I heard no such thing. The family has decided. She's gone -- we're here. No one will be buried on that godforsaken island. This is the family estate. She will be buried on this land. In this garden." Katherine reached for the urn and began to pull it away from Olivia. "Stay out of this. You have more important things to think about your studies for one. Do you think you can spend the rest of your life taking courses with no direction? No conclusion? No end? After all those years, all that studying, what do you have? You don't even have a BA. Your future -- that's you're concern. This isn't."

"I'm going to Mayne Island! I'm taking Grandma Esther with me!"

"You don't know them. They're small-minded, living on a small island. They won't take kindly to a person like you visiting them. They have no frame of reference to relate to someone like you."


Maynely a Mystery published

Yesterday, I left here

and arrived here.

While here, I picked up my second proof.
With fingers crossed, I read through the proof. Hoping to find no mistakes. And...and, this is the important part, I didn't find any.
This means that Maynely a Mystery is published.
To order your copy...
Subject line: Maynely a Mystery order
2)I will then send you a PayPal request for funds.
3)Once I receive payment, I send you your book.
I would like to thank Island Blue Print for their fine work. I would highly recommend this service to all authors.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page twenty-nine

Maynely a Mystery paperback will soon be available.
For more information and to order, please log on to:
Let's continue reading....

"Planning a holiday?" Katherine asked.

"Eavesdropping?" Olivia shot back, "If you must know. Yes, I am."

"Well, where are you going?" Katherine asked.

"Oh, to one of the Southern Gulf Islands. You probably haven't heard of it," Olivia said, continuing to play along.

"Oh, I may have. Which are you planning to visit?"

"Mayne Island."

"Why would you go there? There's nothing there but trees. It's a waste of land."

"Why would I go there?! You know just as well as I why I'm going there. It was Grandma's last wish to be buried there."

"Oh, no, she won't be buried there. The family plans to bury her here in her rose garden. This garden brought her so much joy," Katherine said as she stroked the urn cradled in Olivia's arms.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page twenty-eight

Maynely a Mystery paperback will soon be available.
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Olivia laid a hand on the urn and stroked it affectionately.

"Well, Grandma, shall we go to your island?"

Olivia flipped open her cellphone and punched in the number for BC ferries. Her fingers played with a set of car keys, as she made a reservation for the following morning's sailing. The keys were to her grandmother's 2008 XJ hybrid Jaguar. The car now belonged to Olivia.

Though the will had yet to probated, her grandmother had arranged that the car would immediately be turned over to Olivia upon Esther's death.

Some family members grumbled and complained but Esther's personal secretary, Nancy Brown, had waved the documentation in their faces. Olivia was the new owner of the Jag.

Olivia flipped her phone closed. Then she carefully picked up the urn and cradled it in her arms.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page twenty-seven

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There were three other group photos. These revealed how the family changed over the years -- in size and in economic status.

Esther had married four times. With each marriage she had acquired more children and accumulated more wealth.

Olivia heard her mother's voice from years ago ringing in her ears.

"This is my stepfather...Peter...John...Thomas. This is my half-brother -- your uncle Andrew, my half-sister -- your aunt Julia," Katherine continued until she had identified each of her seven siblings.

These words half-brother and half-sister made it clear she laid no claim to these interlopers. She was Esther's and Pat's daughter. No one else could claim that lineage. Even though Pat had never read her a bedtime story, paid her an allowance, or taught her how to ride a bike no man could replace him. He, and only he, was her father. Through Peter, John and Thomas had been there for her, had helped raise her, none gained the status of the invincible, invisible Pat.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm back...on to Maynely a Mystery: Chapter one: page 26

Maynely a Mystery paperback will soon be available.
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Olivia turned to the third member of the composition -- the father. Thee he stood straight and tall. He stood guard over his wife, over his child.

Esther had painted vivid images of this man for Olivia. She had told her that the uniform he wore was that of an officer. That his name was Patrick Cronley. Olivia was encouraged to refer to the man as "Grandpa Pat". Olivia had been shown the medals of honour, of courage, Grandpa Pat had been given. She'd held the medals but she had never met the man. He had died in 1943 serving Canada in the Second World War. Mere months after the picture had been taken. Katherine had been barely one year old.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Unfortunately, I must go off island. What this means to you is that there will be a pause in the unfolding of Maynely a Mystery. Fear not, I will return. Maynely a Mystery will continue.

Maynely a Mystery: chapter one, page twenty-five

Maynely a Mystery paperback will soon be available.
For more information and to order, please log on to:
Let's continue reading....

Although the black and white picture couldn't reveal the bonnet's colour, Olivia knew that it was mint-green with matching ribbon ties. She had seen the bonnet, Katherine had unwrapped it from a bed of white tissue paper. Olivia had held the bonnet. Her fingers had glided over the fine stitches and silk ribbon.

Who had crocheted the bonnet? That question had never been addressed. Certainly Esther hadn't made it. Sh had dabbled in drawing. "Amateur pencil sketches" is how she had described her art. She had never crafted. Was it a class distinction? Olivia wondered.

Had the bonnet been crocheted by a proud grandmother?

Possibly, but Olivia doubted it was Esther's mother. Esther's parentage had never been discussed. Indeed, Olivia had never even heard of aunts, uncles, cousins or siblings. And none had attended the funeral.

Had Grandma Esther been an orphan? And if so, had she been an orphan of birth or circumstance? Had her family turned their back on her due to some unforgivable sin?

Questions everywhere Olivia looked.

Will I ever find the answers? she wondered.