Saturday, July 31, 2021

RETREAT - REFRESH - RETURN

 July 31 2021

Oh, and a Contest for You!

It’s true – time flies when you’re having a good time.

Pam and I returned from a marvelous three day writing retreat yesterday. We were fortunate to rent a very comfortable cottage for a much needed time away to devote to writing, and all things Jamie Tremain.

On the shores of beautiful Georgian Bay -  Wasaga Beach, we enjoyed sunshine and quiet. AND NO INTERNET! That might have been the best break of all. The raucous calls of blue jays and crows a welcome relief from fire truck sirens and other city sounds. We enjoyed the antics of small, but feisty, red squirrels giving chase to their larger grey, and black, cousins. Chipmunks aplenty would have entered our screened gazebo with minimal encouragement!

Even a spell of rain didn’t dampen our spirits, as we could still sit outside under protection.


       
Wasaga Beach - Georgian Bay


 
Home for a few Days


So what did we actually accomplish? For starters, a new storyline is in the works for Dorothy Dennehy and her team. As well as the beginnings for a third book in our new Grant’s Crossing series. Our goal is to have Grant’s Crossing – Death on the Alder published by October of this year.

With social gathering restrictions eased, Pam has been doing what she does so well – promoting! She has successfully introduced our Dorothy Dennehy Mystery  series to residents of the condo where she lives. Among the comments: “Oh, I really think they (Dorothy and Rolin) are going to get together”, “I liked Alanna and Max. So cute.”  And after reading Beholden to None, “Where’s the next one? I want to keep reading!”  Pam commented that it was surreal hearing these readers talk as if they knew our characters!

Super encouragement for Jamie Tremain, to say the least!

And to you, dear readers – we are always looking for reviews. If you are interested in having your review included as an acknowledgements in upcoming book releases, please drop us a line at jamietremainJT@yahoo.com

So we’ve returned, invigorated with new ideas and motivation. Along with anticipation of another retreat planned for late August, with the other members of our Genre5 group. We will have so much to catch up on. We’ve relied on regular video get togethers over the last 18 months, so what a thrill and joy it will be to actually spend time together in person!

 Right, and I mentioned a contest, didn’t I?

 

What Is This???

If you can correctly identify the object from these clues, and are the first to let us know, then we will send you a signed copy of Beholden to None.  Email us at  jamietremainJT@yahoo.com before August 13 2021. Winner will be announced the following week.  **Note, I know one person who will be sure to identify this, unfortunately she won't be eligible for the prize!

I'd better turn my hand now to making sense of the notes and manuscript revision we took before Pam asks! I think Jamie Tremain will be busy over the next few weeks.

Here's to a safe and healthy August - Cheers!

Liz


 

 


Friday, July 16, 2021

The Earrings

 


The year was 1966 and I was working at my first job in Canada. My commute took me from Scarborough to Front Street in downtown Toronto.


I was a recent newlywed and a new immigrant, but once I learned the lingo and phrases of Canadians, I settled into my job as a switchboard operator. I’d been in my new position a few weeks when a gorgeous redhead entered the office. She came up to me at reception and asked for the boss. She informed me she was starting that day as the company president’s secretary. 


Sandra and I became instant friends. Toronto born and bred she had traveled to California for a year to find herself. To me, she was glamour personified. I adored clothes and cosmetics so we had much in common.


I was introduced to her family and her mother, Bertha, who became a very important person to me over the years.


A few months into the job we received formal invites to the company Christmas party. Yes, they did that in those days. It was to take place at the King Edward Hotel, aka King Eddie. Conveniently, only a short walk away from our office. We had once or twice dropped into the bar for a drink before taking the subway and bus to our respective homes. Yes, it was the sixties. We were finally allowed to go to a bar by ourselves without causing comments!


Sandra caused quite a stir that night in December. We were photographed sitting with others from the office, but Sandra was the Belle of the Ball. Sophisticated and smiling to all, she wore shiny disc-like earrings. Her red hair is in a Vidal Sassoon bob.  We shared those clip-on earrings over the years until we retired them as being out of date. 

Sandra and
 The Earrings



Sandra met her future husband at my twenty-first birthday party. Both our husbands were with the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force, so we spent many evenings together when they worked evening shifts or weekends. We lived on the same street and then we both bought a condo apartment in the same building, on the same floor.


Our relationship was pretty tight as we went on vacations together. Over the years, we shared many a meal. And not just meals! Sandra and I would exchange clothes, and even shoes, in addition to our favourite pair of earrings. But fate would intervene and life changed for both of us. 


I began a family, having my first son in 1971. Sandra started her journey with a disability that would last the rest of her life.


MS, or Multiple Sclerosis, was diagnosed and her life changed forever. There were many adjustments to be made. She gave up her job and tried to deal with people who assumed she was drunk with all her lurching about.


There were a few years of remission when she attempted snowshoeing with her husband, and a trip to Greece with her mother, where a climb up the Parthenon became a favorite memory.


Sandra had a progressive form of MS and it eventually crept back with a vengeance. She graduated from walking with a cane to a walker, and then a scooter. She tried everything to retain her independence.  Working alongside folks from her church gave her a feeling of accomplishment, with an attitude that surprised everyone. Her motto: I was dealt a lemon, so I’ll make lemonade. She had an infectious smile and made loads of friends in those years. 


She bought a timeshare in Bermuda and traveled on her own with the help the airlines provided.  MS was not going to define who she was as a person.


Time continued its progress. I had two more children and moved away. There were a few years I didn’t see as much of Sandra. I had a full-time job, three children. My life at that time meant I  was a good hour's drive away. But we always kept in touch. 



A few years after I moved she asked me to join her on a cruise to Alaska. Oh my, what fun we had. She used a walker and would sit on it while I charged down the corridors. Getting her onto a bar stool for our daily martini before dinner was a challenge, but there was always a handsome steward willing to hoist her up. They carried her off the ship in her wheelchair so we never missed an excursion. Even onto a catamaran to see the Orcas.


It was a magical trip. Neither of us wore the earrings on that trip.




Years later, Sandra sold her apartment and moved to a retirement home. We were both widows by then and I visited every few weeks. But the drive across Toronto was not to my liking so I suggested we find a location nearer me. I found an assisted-living community within a 10-minute drive from me so we were all set. She became an expert at operating a motorized wheelchair and had her independence back, navigating herself around.  A Wheel-Trans bus took her to a  shopping plaza that had everything she needed. Bank, grocery store, clothing boutique, drug store, and liquor store. In addition, I was told, “There is always the shopping channel!!”


She settled into the new place, and before long, had made new friends. I visited weekly. 

We managed the first wave of Covid. Until she called last August of 2020 to say she had found a lump in her throat. I called the nurse and asked them to get her to the hospital immediately. 


The unexpected diagnosis hit hard. Inoperable throat cancer. Subsequent tests showed it spreading. Sent straight to palliative care for the next three months. The hospital did a wonderful job caring for her.


So you are wondering … what about the earrings?


The hospital provides a lovely, and welcoming, wide-open patio where patients and their families can gather.


On a warm and sunny day, and with staff assistance, I helped Sandra into a wheelchair to get

her outside. She was allowed anything to drink or eat so I had brought her favorite wine, in two water bottles. Easier to drink out of. Then I brought out the earrings



Her comment was, “You still have those?

They only cost me five dollars.” 

After fifty-five years they don't quite hang the way they should. I'll donate them to a museum. Maybe as antiques they will have gone up in value!




I clipped them on her and she beamed. I took her picture. We finished the wine and went back inside. She said it was one of the nicest afternoons she’d ever spent.

I’ll treasure the earrings always, to remind me of so many good times.

No, I’ll never wear them again. Clip-on earrings are a form of torture. The things women will do for fashion!






Sandra died on November 9th, a day of her choosing. Her birthday. How she died was also her decision. She chose the MAID program. Medical Assistance In Dying. It was a very brave thing to do and she was at peace with her decision.


Her last words to me were, “I've not been in charge of my life for fifty years, so now I’m in charge of my death.” And she was smiling. R.I.P. Sandra.




Friday, June 18, 2021

The Journey Continues

 June 18 2021

When we first started this blog (back in 2008!) its intent was to share with you our journey of writing. The steps Pam and I would take as we began to get serious about bringing Jamie Tremain to life.

We wrote together every chance we got, hatching plots, developing characters, and researching background information. Oh, how we loved to research! A rabbit hole most writers probably understand all too well.

We started out writing two stories, side by side. What - were we crazy? No, just didn't understand what we were getting into! Ah, the bliss of ignorance.

Madelaine - Shadows and Light sits on our shelf. Not forgotten, just on hold. We finished that story first, with Body Perfect close behind. Body Perfect became our focus of endless revisions, and tinkering. The biggest change came with the name. Body Perfect  evolved into The Silk Shroud. Then came the never ending round of query letters to potential publishers. While we waited, we built our brand and roughed out a sequel. If nothing else, Jamie Tremain knows how to multi-task.


 THEN

                     
                    Released in 2017
 
 Released in 2019
                                      

Our persistence paid off and The Silk Shroud was picked up by a traditional publisher and in 2017 we held an actual book in our hands! To see "Jamie Tremain" in print was such a reward after years of hard work.

Lightning Strike soon followed. A sequel, but also a very emotional tale, especially for Pam. We feel because some of the writing hit close to home, it added a layer of authenticity to our protagonist, Dorothy Dennehy. 

Then came Beholden to None, along with bumps in the road with our publisher. I'd been investigating the merits of indie publishing, but Pam was reluctant. Understandably so. Beholden to None is our brand new book in the series.

But, as life often does, circumstances pushed us into making a change. And after a steep learning curve, we are beyond pleased to say we've gone full indie. With new art work for the covers - huge thanks to Jennifer Gibson - and generous help and advice from our Genre5 Author group, we now have The Dorothy Dennehy Mystery Series available on Amazon, and other online retailers. (Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, etc)

AND NOW
Brand New Covers!




The e-books can be pre-ordered, in advance of the July 1 release, and paperback versions of each book are now available on Amazon.           

The Dorothy Dennehy Mystery Series (3 book series) Kindle Edition (amazon.com)

Jamie Tremain (books2read.com)

We posted a YouTube trailer, in which Dorothy Dennehy, and Rolin Montase, are 'interviewed' about The Silk Shroud, Lightning Strike, and Beholden to None.   

There may be future interviews with some of the other characters who are fan favourites. Max Dennehy and HB, to name just two. Or suggest a character you'd like to know more about!

But at the end of the day, none of this would matter without you - our readers. Over the years so many of you have been faithful supporters and encouragers. Without readers, why would we bother to write?

We're not finished with Dorothy - she has more cases to solve! For now, though, we are busy developing a second series, called Grant's Crossing. The first in the series, Grant's Crossing - Death on the Alder - is close to publication. Summer's end or early fall - stay tuned! A second in the series, Grant's Crossing - Resort to Murder is well underway.

Our sincere hope is that you will continue this journey with us. We love to write and feel we have so many stories waiting to be told.

We'd love to hear from you. If you buy a book, would you consider posting a review? Or give us feedback - jamietremainJT@yahoo.com. Send us a photo of you with one of our books and we'll feature you in an upcoming post, or on social media.

Have a safe, healthy, and happy summer - what better time to read a book!

Cheers!

Liz


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Now Hear This

May 15 2021

Busy, busy, busy!

Lately it's been non-stop activity for Jamie Tremain. Despite the ongoing lockdown here in Ontario (now till June 2!) Pam and I have not allowed that to get in the way of moving Jamie Tremain forward. 

Many will know of our challenges with the publisher who launched The Silk Shroud and Lightning Strike. We are in the final steps of having all book rights revert back to us, and are this close to self-publishing both of them, plus Beholden to None. This will complete, for now,  our Dorothy Dennehy Mystery series.

Also on board to join those three titles will be Grant's Crossing-Death on the Alder. New series, new characters, new setting. Grant's Crossing-Grave Mistake is also about one quarter written, and words are flying off the page as we create, plot and see what our characters are involved with.

Along with writing, we've also been involved with new book cover creations. Maybe a logo as well. Oh, and a newsletter, too! Not to mention the possibility of assembling a collection of short stories and memoir pieces.




The Author Survival Network enjoyed it's first Zoom meeting today as well. We are glad to welcome any published author, who would like to be part of an enthusiastic and supportive group of authors, and can be found on Facebook as a private, member only, group.   

And if all this wasn't enough, our Genre5 Authors Group continues to flex its collaborative writing muscle with our five-author work of fiction. Tentatively titled, Crime is Relative, we've created a colourful cast of characters, and maybe even a ghost.

Pam and I strive to video chat each morning for at least an hour. But really, brainstorming works so much better in person. We can't wait until we get the all-clear to visit again!

We've both had our first vaccination dose, and the sooner we receive the second one, the better! This has gone on long enough. No book clubs, no signings--will we even remember how to conduct ourselves at those in person?

But now, a warm afternoon on my balcony beckons. Trees are almost fully in leaf, robins cheerfully sing each morning, and at the moment, all is right with the world.

Cheers!

Liz


Friday, April 2, 2021

Beholden To None and other Jamie Tremain News

 April 2 2021


As I sit doing another edit on Jamie Tremain’s Beholden To None, my mind continues to trip me up by wandering!

It’s Good Friday, a day of very deep meaning to me. But like Good Friday of last year, the shadow of COVID-19 is still very much with us

Here in Ontario, we are fighting a third, more vicious wave, of COVID and at midnight we will go back into province-wide shutdown. It’s beyond discouraging, and to say its wearying is an understatement. But then I’m not a front line worker and when I fuss over wearing a mask for more than an hour, that reminder shuts me up.

My intent here is not to rehash current medical views, or how we are coping. Plenty of that online to go around. Only that it’s so pervasive in every area of our life. Even writing.

Pam and I are two members of our Genre5 Authors group and we sorely miss our regular get togethers with our friends and fellow writers, Gloria Ferris, Donna Warner and Donna Houghton.  So we’ve resorted to video meetings. We enjoyed one get together last year, in the spacious and luscious backyard of one member.



Not long after COVID became the norm last year, Gloria suggested an exercise to keep us busy, and connected. Why don’t we try writing a story together. Stellar idea! And over the past year we’ve made that our focus. Five writers – one story! Collaboration to the max.  It’s an interesting crime suspense tale we’re weaving. As yet untitled, we’re working together to craft an entertaining tale of theft, betrayal, and quirky characters. So that’s one project.

Project number deux has been an emotional one for Jamie Tremain. When we first published The Silk Shroud in 2017, we were enjoying a great relationship with our publisher. The editor we had taught us so much and we were on our way to having our Dorothy Dennehy Mystery series grow. We managed to get Lightning Strike into the light of the world, but since then it’s not been a fun journey.  The publisher changed hands and things have not been the same.



We submitted Beholden To None to the publisher in July of last year. Despite numerous attempts to communicate with the publisher and get the legal paperwork started, nothing happened. So, with much sadness we have terminated our relationship with them and are getting our book rights back.

What now you may ask?

Anyone who is an author will probably agree that writing the book is the easy part. Marketing it to an agent or publisher can take the joy from the creative process in pretty short order.  And it is time consuming.

So, it looks more and more as if we will try the self-published route. I know Pam has her concerns and is slowly warming to the idea, but I’m feeling excited about the prospect of having more control over our work. It will be a learning curve, but I’ve been assured it’s not that difficult. However......




I’ve also been busy hosting Zoom meetings for a group of fellow published authors. From that has evolved a new Facebook group (Private and for published authors only) – Author Survival Network – which is growing by the day. The Zoom meetings will move to include this new group, which I hope will become a supportive network of fellow published authors. Over the years, we’ve learned so much from other authors, and I hope this new group can bring skills, and experience along with support and encouragement to all of us. We truly can help each other succeed.

If you are a published author, you are more than welcome to join us and can find our private FB group - Author Survival Network at www.facebook.com/groups/authorsurvivalnetwork/

Alternatively, if you're not a FB fan, you can find the sister group at a groups.io site, also called  Author Survival Network This is also a private, for published authors only, group.

Both groups will offer you a place to connect with other published authors and is another venue to promote your work

The days tend to run into each other and I’m grateful that all things writing related give my day a focus. There is no end to webinars and podcasts. Providing book reviews is also on my slate.

And Jamie Tremain is still interested in interviewing authors, or others who have a professional connection to the writing world. If you haven’t been interviewed by us in the past, but would like to be please let us know.    jamietremainJT@yahoo.com

We also have a new series in the works, which we may have mentioned before. The first, Grant's Crossing - Death on the Alder is almost ready for (indie) publication, and it's follow-up, Grant's Crossing - Grave Mistake is a work in progress. Never let it be said Jamie Tremain is idle!

Perhaps now that I’ve put down my thoughts – my distracting thoughts ­– I can now return to final edits on Beholden To None.  Yes even though we submitted it to the publisher in its final version, there is no such thing as perfect. There are always small things to tweak and polish. Am I wrong?  :-)

But wait, now it’s lunch time – back to the edits after sustenance!

Cheers and stay safe – these days will pass and better ones will come.

Happy and Blessed Easter to those who celebrate.

Liz


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Perils of Living Alone

 

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