Saturday, November 9, 2019

101 Years

101 years since the guns, great and small,  fell silent. 101 years since the promise that war would never happen again. Like so many promises – a well-intended resolve but sadly never realized.

My father, Ralph Tremain (Welland) Stoner, who grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, proudly served with the Canadian forces. Initially stationed in England (where he met my mother) he then saw action in Sicily, Italy, and Holland.

A Certificate of Honour he received at war’s end soberly proclaims the presentation of the certificate

by the Citizens of the City of St. Catharines in grateful recognition of his patriotic service and sacrifice, and in tribute to those sterling qualities which prompted him to accept the hazards of war to preserve the liberty and freedom of mankind from the forces of tyranny and aggression which threatened the world”

Time may have faded the inscription, but its impact is no less

A lifetime away for me, even though I was born a decade after the war ended, but with each passing year the observance of November 11 grows more poignant. The emotion is mixed with an incalculable amount of gratitude that I have never experienced the horrors of war in my own lifetime. Other than reading and trying to grasp what so many parts of the world continue to endure.

My own children, likewise, have grown up free of war’s terrible price, and daily I pray my grandchildren would never have to experience it either. But in recent years with so many instances of the darker parts of history being removed, along with  statues and memorials, I fear history will repeat because the lessons will be lost.  

My parents would grieve and wonder if what they sacrificed was worth it.  I still say yes, and am gratified that my grown children respect and honour this day as well.

I wear my poppy with pride and humble gratitude and earnestly wish my father were still alive so I could say “Thank You” to him in person.  I confess that while he was alive the significance of November 11 was not forefront in my thinking. The passing of time seems to have fixed that.

It may be cliché, but if you value the freedoms you enjoy today, please be thankful to those who served in the past, those who serve today, and those who have yet to answer the call.  This catch phrase always comes to mind. “If you don’t want to stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them”

If November 11 is special to you, I'd love to hear your story, or your family's.

So thank you Dad - this post is in honour of you, and your brothers and fellow comrades, and may you know that your sacrifice of precious time and mental well-being are appreciated by your daughters and grandchildren. Until we meet again.

Love you always

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Four Favourites

As a writer, one piece of sage advice stuck with me; to write well, one must also read. If you know me already you know that books are my passion. I have changed genres over the years but usually arrive back at crime/ mystery/thriller/suspense. After I retired, not surprisingly,
my to-do list was to read all the classics. That never happened. By then I was writing with Liz Lindsay as Jamie Tremain.

This week on Jamie Tremain's blog I have featured four different authors. Two are crime/mystery fiction, a comedy/farce series and a literary drama of the domestic and family life genre. I don't discriminate. These books all had a different location so, I travelled vicariously with these characters.
Reviews are not my forte, so I keep them short and sweet. If you see a book here, you know I like it. I hate to give too much away as that annoys me when I spy a spoiler for a book I want to read. But saying that, reviews are so crucial to a writer so please let the author, or where you purchased the book, know you enjoyed the book or didn't. Feedback is important.

Launched a few weeks ago, the always funny Melodie Campbell has one more in the Goddaughter series. 'The Goddaughter Does Vegas.' This time Gina Gallo has eloped from 'the hammer,' Hamilton, Ontario to Las Vegas. What could possibly go wrong after they discover a double of Gina is front-page news where fraud and her wacky family is involved.
For a fun and quick read try The Goddaughter Series from Orca Book's Rapid Reads.

The next book I enjoyed is a prequel to the first in the Austin Starr Mystery series. The first two were placed in the sixties, but this book features Austin’s grandmother at twenty-three in prohibition America. ‘After You’ve Gone’  written by Kay Kendall takes place in fictitious Gunmetal, Texas. Bootleggers, flappers, and floozies with lots of adventure for Wallie McGregor when she lands in the sin city of Galveston. Loads of characters with shady pasts, an ornery aunt, and a romance. Oh yes, and a couple of murders. Published by Stairway Press.

Louise Penny can do no wrong in my book. Pun intended. We all have our favourites, and I have been in love with Chief Inspector Gamache of the Quebec Surete for many years. But is he still the Chief Inspector? You will have to read the 'Kingdom of the Blind' to get the answer to that question. I want to live in her fictitious town of Three Pines. Her understanding of human nature and interpretation of the foibles of her characters is brilliant. This is the fourteenth book in this series. Did I mention I loved Louise Penny's books? There will be a new book out this fall.

This author is new to me. We met at a book signing for her book "Neighbors" that launched in 2018. Hannah Mary McKinnon is from the UK via Switzerland and now lives here in Canada with her family. "Neighbors" is her second book with a soon to be released book  'Her Secret Son' next month.
'Neighbors' deserves all the accolades it has been getting as this is what I would call a domestic suspense novel. Loads of twists and turns and the edge of your seat prose. And that surprise ending. WOW! Looking forward to her next book.

Published by Mira Books.

Next month I will have four more books for you. I have quite a pile on my bedside table. Not the least will be Jamie Tremain's new book in the Dorothy Dennehey Mystery series. 
"Lightning Strike" was a labour of love for Liz and I as we continue with our protagonist, Private Investigator Dorothy Dennehy. As soon as we receive a release date from our publisher, Black Opal Books, we'll let you know. Stay tuned for an invite to the launch.

I think Spring is finally here. Enjoy the sunshine.



Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Books, Old and New

I cannot live without books. 

I've always been surrounded by books of all kind. My father, Alister William James, wrote poetry and many articles. 

I cherish his Writers and Artists Yearbook, circa 1974.

My H.G.Wells "The History of the World" volumes are falling apart but still have a place in my many bookcases. Our home always had a set of encyclopedias ( you know, the Google and search engines of the day) and we used the library often.

In 1963,  my boyfriend, (later my husband)  gave me a gift of a copy of NJAL'S SAGA. It was a Penguin Classic costing 5 shillings.

In the introduction, it claims to be the mightiest of all the Icelandic Saga's. It was written by an unknown author in the last quarter of the thirteenth century- somewhere around the year 1280. My copy is brown with age and the front cover has torn off. No, I've never read it. At seventeen I was not so interested in the middle ages. My interests were in the Beatles' latest song. But after thanking him profusely I stashed it in my bookshelf where it has languished for fifty-six years.

 I did read with great delight the latest book from 
Gail Bowen
 "A Darkness of the Heart"

The Queen of Canadian Crime fiction is a well-deserved title. I have read many of the Joanne Kilbourn books in this series and you will not be disappointed. As a master storyteller, the tension builds with many references to contemporary Canadian life.

I adore her husband (Joanne Kilbourn's husband) who always has a martini ready for her at the end of the day after she has been out sleuthing. She trained him well! This is Gail's 18th book in this series.

My next author is the irrepressible Ian RankinHis latest book in the Rebus series "In a House of Lies". The author of twenty-three books in this series alone, I was expecting Rebus to be put out to pasture. But no, he is now in retirement but still manages to interfere and get himself involved with the cops in the Leith and Gayfield Square police stations. I am always intrigued by his books as he wanders around my home town of Edinburgh and mentions many landmarks and pubs I know well. (Not the pubs so much but I know of them) Gayfield Square police station was a walk away from where I was brought up and my husband was a policeman at Leith station many years ago. This book is a trip down memory lane for me.
An award-winning author, he has done it again with a thrilling story right to the end.

Barbara Fradkin is a fixture as a  Canadian crime writer with her award-winning series featuring Inspector Green. Her new series,  the Amanda Doucette Mysteries are equally compelling. I have just finished Prisoners of Hope. The location is the beautiful Georgian Bay and the Thirty Thousand Islands area of Ontario. An intrepid amateur sleuth, a handsome RCMP boyfriend and some interesting characters make up this mystery and highlight the plight of foreign domestic workers. Oh yes, and a murder. 

The Girls Whispered Murder is the 2nd book in the Izzy Walsh Mystery series. Set in the '50s this cozy mystery is well researched for accuracy and is a fun read. We can look forward to more Izzy escapades from Lynn McPherson in the future.

While working on book three in the Dorothy Dennehy Mysteries, Liz Lindsay and I, as 
Jamie Tremain are looking forward to launching book number two Lightning Strike soon. Date to be determined. 

Check back next week for a few more books and their authors.



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