Friday, July 1, 2022

Blog-Letter July 2022

 CANADA DAY!

 

 
 
 
It's Canada's Birthday today.  A fitting time and place for our thoughts on what Canada means to us.

Pam:  
One never forgets where you're born and grew up. My formative years were in Scotland and the memories I shared with my family will always be with me, but as a new immigrant to Canada in the 60s, I loved everything Canada had to offer. Yes, my husband and I were homesick from time to time and we tried to return a few years after we arrived. Nope, not happening. As the saying goes... You can never go home again. 
 
We became Canadian citizens and settled into all things Canadian. Don't get me wrong, the beauty that is Scotland and my hometown of Edinburgh takes a lot to beat. I've been to a few countries in Europe and some states in the US. Texas and Alaska stick in my mind as well as a trip to the Caribbean.
 
But you can't beat the east coast of Canada and I was not out west long enough to give an opinion, but I'll go back. It's coming home to Ontario and especially to the Greater Golden Horseshoe area where I live where I am most comfortable living. My children and grandchildren were all born here and are proud to call Canada home.
Happy Birthday Canada


Liz:
The older I become the more I appreciate this beautiful country I am blessed to call home. Is it perfect? No, and nowhere is. The tragedies finally revealed with our history of residential schools sickened and grieved me. Would I rather live anywhere else? Absolutely not. Don't get me wrong - there are places I have travelled to that I love, Virginia in America is one, and the appeal of a small English seaside town has never gone away, but this amazing country is home.

With ten provinces and three territories, our land extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north to the Arctic Ocean - that's about 9.98 million square kilometres. Our diverse population of just over 38 million people speaks to our strengths. Without immigrants, Canada would not be the country she is. My mother was an immigrant, and although my father was born here, he wasn't far removed from his immigrant ancestors either.

From hockey to Tim Horton's, to maple syrup. Celine Dion to Sandra Oh, to Donald Sutherland. And that's just scratching the surface. Accomplishments? The Canadarm, IMAX, insulin, Joe Shuster's contribution to the creation of Superman, Instant Replays (first used during a Maple Leaf Hockey game in 1955), Plexiglass, and Java computer language. 

So much to be proud of!  No list of Canadian accomplishments would be complete in Jamie Tremain's world of books without noting: Louise Penny, Thomas King, Robert Munsch, Farley Mowat.  L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables,  and Margaret Atwood's  The Handmaid's Tale continue to be "must-read books".  Read more on 100 Must-Read Books by Canadian Authors.

So Happy Birthday, Canada - I am proud to be Canadian!
 
 
Although I love this country, I sadly haven't seen a lot of it, but as for my home province of Ontario, I get around. I believe Pam has seen more of Canada than I have. On my bucket list is the East Coast - Cape Breton specifically.  And on the West - why a cruise up the coast of British Columbia to Alaska don't you know.
 
Niagara Falls in the Winter

Parliament Hill, Ottawa

A local Zehr's Canada Day Spirit in Guelph

Toronto Night Lights

Lake Huron

Cottage Life, Sparrow Lake

 
 
Before we go, an educational moment brought to you by Jamie Tremain
 
Confusing Canadian Words you may have heard and what they mean:
 
Ogopogo - Canada's Loch Ness Monster
Poutine - Addictive concoction of fries, gravy and cheese curds
Chinook -A unseasonably warm wind that descends from the Rockies
Kerfuffle - A scuffle or commotion
Trawno - A large city in Ontario  :-)
 
 
We hope, wherever you are, you enjoy a Happy, and safe, Canada Day!  The summer stretches ahead and we will be back next month with book reviews, Jamie Tremain news and more!
 
Cheers!
 
Pam & Liz
 
 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Blog-Letter June 2022

 June 1, 2022


Well hello, June!

June - still feels like the end of a school year, holding the anticipation of summer-long freedom from books and exams. Birds chirp the loudest, the greenery is lush and the days are longer. The fragrance of  freshly mowed grass is a welcome return. (Apologies to those with allergies) Maybe a summer vacation to anticipate adds to the joy of June. And winter seems so far away!





Liz's Book Reviews - Two this month!


From Chevy Stevens  - Still Missing

One of my favourite authors! I read "That Night" several years ago and was thoroughly engaged by her style of writing. So, I recently downloaded "Still Missing", not realizing it was her debut novel. What a non-stop read!  I was hooked from the very first page and went along for the ride with Annie O'Sullivan as she relived her abduction and captivity at the hands of a psychopathic monster. A brilliant tale, which I read in two sittings. It was so hard to put down.
 
How the abduction affected not only Annie but her family and friends make this a book that touches base on all our human emotions. No wonder Chevy Stevens is a New York Times Bestseller!


This month I also reviewed "The Pure World Comes" by Rami Ungar

When I was a teenager I loved gothic horror stories. The creepier the better. And I hoped this one would deliver, but sadly, I think it fell short. While there was gothic terror combined with daring science and technology of 1894 England, in my opinion, it lacked substance.

The protagonist is a young housemaid, Shirley Dobbins, employed with the Avondale family. Content enough with her station in life, her world quickly changes when she finds herself working at The Hunting Lodge, an estate outside of London, England after a family tragedy renders the Avondale heirs orphans. A mysterious uncle, Sir Joseph Hunting, comes to take his niece and nephew to live with him at his estate - Hunting Lodge. Shirley accompanies them.

She becomes involved with the baronet’s mysterious scientific project, while at the same time contending with romantic interest from Griffin Avondale.  Terrifying visions and apparitions haunt the Lodge and Shirley must put the pieces of the puzzle together to save herself and others.

During the story, Shirley’s ties with Jack the Ripper add another layer to the ghastly and gruesome events unfolding at Hunting Lodge.

The story premise is good, but it felt rushed, with not enough time spent building the gloomy, eerie suspense I had hoped for.

Still, if you like hideous scenes of gore, and an underlying awkward romance this might be for you.

    

                                                           

Pam's thoughts on June                     


"June is bustin' out all over."

 I loved singing this song at the top of my lungs. From the Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical -Carousel . I was with an amateur theatre group in my teens and this was one of my favourites as we attempted to put on the musical. 


June is certainly bustin' out in the garden and it feels long overdue. The Magnolia and other tree blossoms are superb this year. Rhododendrons and all manner of green popping up. 


I married in June and arrived in Canada in June to see the world, but here I've lived for the last fifty-six years. Stop doing the math!


June 2007 is also a significant year. Liz and I started on our collaborative journey as Jamie Tremain that year. So what do we have in store for this June to celebrate our fifteen years of working together?


We were still blondes when we started out!


A patio for lunch overlooking Lake Ontario and making plans to publish book #6. The third in our Grant's Crossing series. Editing, rewriting, beta readers' input and formatting our new baby - Acting Off-Script - A Grant's Crossing Story. We'll also decide on a book cover design with our designer extraordinaire, Jennifer Gibson.

Stay tuned for  updates on the publication date.

May 24th-28th

I attended the virtual Maple Leaf Mystery Conference last week. Liz had other plans so we'll watch the recordings together. Always eager to learn new things and listen to my fellow authors from Crime Writers of Canada.

It was great to see both old friends from past live conferences and new authors participating. There was something for everyone so kudos to the organizers of this event. I saw many familiar faces amongst the moderators and interviewers.

 A star-studded lineup shared their writing life. Maureen Jennings of  Murdoch Mysteries fame and Ian Rankin, who hails from my hometown of Edinburgh. I'm a big fan of his REBUS books and his favourite pub the Oxford bar. That's Rebus's favourite bar, I'm not sure about Ian.

Saturday afternoon was our very own Canadian maestro, Vicki Delany, the prolific author of 40 books.  Listening to her speak about her writing process was fascinating, but daunting. Very good interview.

Check their web pages and links for more information.

As awesome as this virtual platform is my hope is for a live conference in the future.

Chat in July.



Last Word from Liz:


And only because it's June, here's an appropriately themed quick and easy recipe - and oh..one which will NEVER be served at any Jamie Tremain function! However, if you might be a fan, do let us know!


SAUTEED JUNE BUGS


Ingredients:

  • 12 (that's one dozen) live June Bugs
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Chili Powder


Easy Peasy Directions:

  • Add the olive oil to a skillet and heat until the oil shimmers (is it afraid of the live bugs about to descend into it?)
  • Toss in the June Bugs (because they are NOT going voluntarily)
  • Saute for about 5 minutes, or until the screaming stops - mine not theirs
  • Sprinkle with salt and chilli powder
  • Garnish with fresh parsley
  • Serve immediately (I suggest copious amounts of a good Cabernet Sauvignon as a wine pairing)

 


 


Honestly, this is a serious recipe but I couldn't resist some commentary.

Cheers?

Pam's having the last word...Yuck and more Yuck!










Sunday, May 1, 2022

Blog-Letter May 2022

 May 1, 2022


Welcome to our new subscribers this month! We hope you'll enjoy keeping in touch with Jamie Tremain.

We are curious to know if any of the books highlighted in our Special Edition blog have been read? Would love to have comments!

Jamie Tremain enjoyed a super day at a local Bazaar and Craft Event yesterday. It's been more than 2 years since we were able to meet friends and new readers. We shared table time with fellow authors, Gloria Ferris and Donna Warner.  Good times and we look forward to more to come.  We were pleasantly surprised to have visits from friends not seen in far too long and it truly made the day a success.

Post event, the four of us enjoyed a lovely meal at the Breadalbane Inn in Fergus. The weather was perfect and we ended the day tired but happy.




 

           

 

Liz's Thoughts on the Merry Merry Month of May

May can be a temperamental month. At times more like winter than spring or full-on summer heat. I can remember, as a child, heavy snowfall on Mother's Day. The snow weighed down the branches of the fruit trees in our yard, which were in full blossom. But by early afternoon, all traces of snow had disappeared.

And what's a new month without some fun facts.  Did you know:

May had a very different name in Old English. In days of yore May was referred to as the "month of three milkings". So, yes, go ahead and see if you can milk those cows thrice a day in May.

Along with being considered a bad month in which to be married, there's the Cornish superstition that buying a new broom in May is unlucky and neither should you wash your blankets either.

A personal favourite is, of course, the day that comes after May 3, or as I like to say, "May the 4th be with you."

Historically, May has been a good month for US Presidents. No President has apparently ever died in May (but I stand to be corrected).

Emeralds! The birthstone for May. Typically this stone ranges from a deep-sea green colour to lighter shades. Yellow and blue are also the colour of some emeralds.  Emeralds are symbols of fertility and rebirth. **Special note for Gloria Ferris

And of course, May celebrates Cinco de Mayo on May 5th and in North America we celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May. (So this Blog-Letter should come to you in plenty of time not to forget!)




Pam's Thoughts

Pam's not thinking of anything but warmer weather. I don't mean tropical, but days where the sun on your face makes you feel good. A walk outside without a parka and boots. Why has this winter seemed so long and dreary? We've had worse winters to contend with but because of the circumstances where we've had to stay home for the good of our health and if we did go out it was with a mask. Yes, the Times are a-changing.

So, with all this time on my hands means my writing has tripled. Right? No, that's not the case. Slow and steady wins the race. But Jamie Tremain is chugging along on the third book in our Grant's Crossing series. The title is tentatively called, "Death Acts Out".

A wonderful day in the lovely town of Fergus at the Canadian Legion yesterday. The Women's Auxiliary held a Craft Bazaar - their first in more than two years.

 


 

Donna Warner   Gloria Ferris  Liz Lindsay  Pam Blance





Post Event Debriefing at the Breadalbane Inn

I love the town of Fergus, Ontario with the Grand River running through it and I will be back in August for the Scottish/Fergus Highland games. 

   

Nearly kilt in 2017  :-)

August 12 - 14 2022

 It's only an hour's drive from Toronto so hope to see you there.



JT News - 

What are we doing right now? Well, as noted by Pam, we are nearing the end of the first draft for the third book in our Grant's Crossing Series. And for fans of Dorothy Dennehy, ideas are taking shape for a new book in that series.

We're also looking forward to an in-person get-together with our Genre5 Writing Group later this month. Plans are afoot for a possible writer's retreat as a sequel to last August's fun time in cottage country. 

 

We'd love to hear your summer plans. Travel has picked up. What favourite travel destination are you longing to revisit?

Cheers!






Our Books are available:

Thursday, April 14, 2022

****Special Edition Blog

April 14 2022

 

Looking for a book? How about a new author?

 

Today's blog is a special one - we're featuring ten fellow authors to highlight their work and perhaps introduce you, as a reader, to a new favourite!  

Whether you're planning a summer get-away, or stay-cation, it's time to add a book or three to your reading selection. We hope the authors and their books highlighted below will provide you with some new choices, and just maybe you'll fall in love with a new author! 

These ten books provide a great selection - romance, mystery, suspense, and even short stories. Some of these authors are familiar to us, and we are anxious to get to know the rest!


p.s.  Any of these authors would absolutely love hearing from you. All have included links where you can contact them or learn more. Or send Jamie Tremain a note (see to your right on the sidebar), and we'll gladly pass on your comments.

 

Friday, April 1, 2022

Blog-Letter April 2022

 April 1, 2022



No fooling - it's April!  But if you enjoy pranks associated with this date, keep on reading!







The Spaghetti Harvest - This classic April Fool's Joke from 1957 is still an all-time favourite.

And following in the tradition:

1986 - Le Parisien reported the Eiffel Tower was to be dismantled and re-assembled inside the new Euro Disney Park.

1965 - Denmark Parliament, as noted in a Copenhagen newspaper, passed a law decreeing that all dogs be painted white to improve road safety at night when they could be more clearly seen.

2008 - Canada's WestJet airlines advertised their most spacious overhead cargo bins, and would charge passengers an extra $12.00 to use these 'sleeper cabins'.

2009 - Germany's BMW advertised new 'magnetic tow technology'. This would allow drivers to cut their car engine, and get a free ride by locking onto the car ahead via a magnetic beam.

Liz Here: When I worked in the corporate world, I loved April Fool's Day. The best prank I pulled was when my desk was located outside the small copy room.  I always arrived at work at least an hour before anyone else, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to put my plan into action. I'd prepared signs and put them in place. Over the photocopier I posted an official document from HP, advising that new voice-activated technology had now been installed, and provided instructions on how to 'speak' to the printer.  The best part was as soon as an unsuspecting co-worker began reading the sign, I had my finger on the print button (all of us connected via a network to the printer so I could select 'print' from my own computer).  Priceless to see their face when they commanded "Print" and their copy spit out.

 


 


Pam here! I'll leave the jokes and pranks to Liz.

I promised a review of Ann Cleeves' first novel in a new series. The Long Call. This book was written in 2019 after the success of the Shetland, and  Vera television series. You may have enjoyed the TV series of Jimmy Perez in the arctic weather and the treeless terrain that is Shetland out in the North Sea, off the coast of Scotland. Or VERA, entertaining us in her quirky ways in Northumberland and Tyneside in the north of England. 


This new series takes us to North Devon. It's not an area I'm familiar with but by all accounts, it's a beautiful part of the country. It's not all cream teas and thatched cottages. The Long Call has a new Detective Inspector by the name of Mathew Venn. Cleeves' characterizations in her books are what make them so memorable. And this book doesn't disappoint.

D.I. Venn is mourning his father's death in the Two Rivers region where he grew up. He's working on his first major case since he returned and was totally focused on the body found on the beach. A man was stabbed to death sporting a tattoo of an albatross on his neck. Who is this man? Who hated him enough to end his life? What Mathew found in his investigation was a community with secrets. Deadly secrets.

You will meet the characters that surrounded this man's life. But who ended the life of Simon Walden?

Book #2 The Heron's Cry is now available. I'm looking forward to reading more about DI Mathew Venn.

The Long Call is also a new television series. Let's hope it comes to North America soon.

Liz and I had the pleasure of meeting Ann Cleeves at the Bouchercon conference in Toronto a number of years ago. Ann has been awarded the highest accolade in crime writing, the CWA Diamond Dagger and has over 30 critically acclaimed books to her credit. 

                                                                  

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Blog-Letter March

 March 1 2022

 

***Note from Jamie Tremain - most of this letter was put together before the horrible situation erupted in Ukraine and we would be remiss not to mention that our hearts and prayers go out to the leaders and brave people of Ukraine and like everyone else we hope and pray for a peaceful resolution!

 


This month has Spring in it! And here in the Northern Hemisphere, we eagerly await its arrival.






Liz's Book Review -      Crimechurch by Michael Botur

This is an author I'd never read before and I was asked to provide a review. While this is not a book I would have likely picked up because of the subject matter, I'm not sorry I read it.

MichaelBotur, 38, is from Whangarei, New Zealand, and is a fiction writer and poet. As of 2020 he has published two literary fiction books, traditionally, and has self-published five short story collections, one poetry collection and has received numerous accolades.

The book description for Crimechurch -

                                                                         
My Review:

I’m exhausted and overwhelmed reading this harsh tale of gang life in Christchurch, NZ, and  I feel as if I have just emerged from a freakish carnival roller coaster ride. Moments of intense graphic violence were relieved sporadically when I uttered a laugh at unexpected, but totally appropriate, humour. The book is populated by inhumane and psychopathic gang leaders and those who would do their bidding,  who occasionally show a glimpse of sentiment. A bungee-cord ride from start to finish.

Gritty, raw, and bleak don’t even begin to describe the general tone of this remarkable account given life by the author. Entering gang life – as a choice, drug use, violence as a means to an end and a never-ending string of creative profanity – this is not a life I would ever care to be part of. Knowing it exists is bad enough, but I applaud the author’s ability to peel back some of the layers of lost lives to bring them to a very realistic level of believability.

His weaving of several distinct character voices is well done, bringing different points of view to experiences shared by two or more of these characters.

Yet some of these messed up, and beyond-lost gang members find a way to connect with the reader so that there is an engagement that makes you want to see how their messed-up lives will end.

As in real life, some lives are restored, and others are forever lost. This is not a book I will easily forget. Marty, Winston et al will lodge in my brain for a long time. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Blog-Letter February

 Feb 1 2022

Issue #2

And we're back.

The first month of 2022 is a wrap.


Thoughts from Pam:

My garden Buddha was looking kinda chilly, so I gave him a tartan neckpiece to wear and suggested he wear it as a mask. Do you think he was listening to me? Keeps letting it slip down and his nose is exposed. That's not the way to wear it. So folks - pay attention. Wear your mask correctly and we can all be safe again.


January was a busy month for JT. Writing most days and listening to podcasts or zoom meetings take quite a chunk of time. Thank goodness for modern technology and captions. Dealing with a profound hearing loss means if a TV show or an online meeting does not have captions I'm out of luck. I lip-read more than I thought, but now that folks are wearing masks it's a bit of a nightmare. But please don't stop wearing your mask. Enough about Covid-19.

The exciting part of January was the launch of our second book in the Grant's Crossing series. "Resort to Murder". If you know me at all, you'll have gathered that Liz is instrumental in getting our latest baby out into the world. Computers are not my thing. Ideas and marketing are my contributions. To kill people off I have loads of ideas but marketing in this climate is a hard one. But I'll persevere.

I had another birthday in January. Funny how they seem to come faster as the years go in. But as the quote below says... I'll keep on dreaming and setting goals.



And from Liz:

I’ve been retired for almost two years now. Within a short span of time, despite COVID, I came to understand what my already-retired friends complained about. Too busy, not enough time in the day to get things done, how did I ever manage all this when I was working. As with other neophytes, I failed to believe them!

But it’s true! I may not be employed, but I am busy. Jamie Tremain occupies the bulk of my day, of course, but there are family, seminars, appointments, and occasionally some housework competing for my time. This brings me to the crux of my retirement. I’ve always loved to read and anticipated daily binges of reading. A mountainous pile of “To Be Read” books testifies to my naivete.

Reduced income means reduced purchase options, so I’m finally utilizing and enjoying, the Kobo reader I’d received as a work anniversary gift a few years ago. I watch for bargains from favourite readers or am easily enticed by intriguing book descriptions.  And yes, there is a growing pile of books in digital form there as well.

I have favourite authors, and one I’ve returned to this week is Kathy Reichs. I’ve read many of her books, but think her first work – Deja Dead – somehow escaped my attention.  A terrific tale of forensics and suspense, but maybe not while you’re eating. Even though the book is – yikes – 25 years old, it still holds up and grabs the reader’s attention.  Horrific and grisly murder tales are timeless.




Jamie Tremain News:

New Book!  The second book in our Grant's Crossing series is Resort to Murder. Once again our wonderful cover designer, Jennifer Gibson, has provided a cover we love!

Alysha, Dianne and characters introduced in Death on the Alder return, along with a new resident, who doesn't fit the stereotype of 'retired'. She's quick to become involved when suspicion of murder befalls one of her housemate.


Last week, Kobo linked Resort to Murder as a similar book to read along with Gone Girl! I know I couldn't put Gone Girl down - it was one of the best domestic suspense books I've read.

We miss in-person launches and events where we can sign your book and get to know you. Where would we be without readers?   If you've purchased a print copy of any Jamie Tremain book, we'd be happy to send  you a signed bookplate and  bookmark.  Contact us at jamietremainJT@yahoo.com


We were honoured to start the new year featured on two blog posts: Diane Bator's Escape with a Writer series - Jamie Tremain shares their new book Death on the Alder and more! (dbator.blogspot.com)

And on The Mystery Section -  a super site featuring mystery books and authors.


BEFORE WE GO - 


Our Books are available:

Amazon     Google Play   Kobo, Apple Books, etc 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

I'm Not a Fan of Winter

January 8, 2022


It's dark in the morning when I get up and dark again by 4 pm.  This winter has been gloomy and dreich. Isn't that a wonderful word?

The first recorded use of the word "dreich" was in 1420 when it originally meant "enduring" or "slow, tedious".

Yes, I hail from Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust named this the most 'iconic' of Scots words. I'm used to rain, being born and bred in Edinburgh. If it doesn't rain every day, it rains every other day. Or that's what I remember. It's either drizzle or rain that chills you to the bone. My mother always told me it was good for my complexion!

I left Scotland fifty-five years ago, so with Global warming perhaps it's changed. Now here in Canada, each province can be different on the same day. I was complaining in a post a few days ago that it was -13 c. A friend from Alberta promptly returned my whine and asked if I would like to join him in his town at -48 degrees celsius! No thank you! Snow has been a hit and miss in Ontario this winter at least where I'm situated near Lake Ontario. 

Now, what has the weather to do with my writing life? My partner in crime, Liz Lindsay loves a day of rain and she finds she is more productive with a good downpour. I need the sunshine to find my muse or at least I use that as an excuse when I'm procrastinating. And I'm sticking to that theory.

So, the original meaning of dreich, slow, tedious and enduring, seems to fit the times we are trying our best to get through. For the last two years, we have endured this oppressive pandemic and for most, it has been tedious. Like the rain and the cold, it will surely change to sunshine and better days ahead.

I'd better check the weather forecast for tomorrow as Liz is waiting on some writing from me. 

Sat
Jan
Chance of flurries

-1°C

30%

Chance of flurries


Sun
Jan
Chance of flurries or rain showers

C

60%

Chance of flurries or rain showers


 It looks like the sun is peeking out on Saturday and only a chance of flurries. She may get lucky but I can't see me getting much writing done on Sunday. I wonder what's on Netflix that I haven't seen?



Stay safe...and dry wherever you are.

                                    Slainte, Pam

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