Sunday 9 June 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Author Kathy Shuker of Great Britain.

 

This week we're catching up with Kathy who has been a welcome guest before. 

 

She is kindly sharing the SBTS of her newest novel.

We are pleased to have her back and if you missed her first visit, take a peek Here.

Read on my friends.

 

  

Meet Kathy.

I trained as a physiotherapist but a back injury soon forced me to change career. After studying design I worked as a freelance artist, supplying galleries and teaching. I began writing several years ago and published my first novel, Deep Water, Thin Ice, in 2014. Writing novels quickly became a passion, satisfying my creative itch even more than my painting did. I love to get into the heads of my characters and see where they take me. The journey is always intriguing, sometimes poignant, occasionally even funny. I have since published six more novels – multi-layered character-driven mysteries with a strong sense of place. The most recent book is the third in a series of stand-alone stories, the Dechansay Bright Mysteries, all linked by the central characters and set in the world of art and art restoration.

When not writing, I am a keen amateur singer and musician, playing acoustic guitar, fiddle and piano, and I enjoy learning foreign languages and read widely. I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful area near the sea in southwest England.

 

Title: The Angel Downstairs

 


Synopsis: Some people never tell the truth. They daren’t.

Eric Dechansay is a successful artist with a popular studio in Paris, the life and soul of every party. Then the threatening letters start. Eric’s past - and someone he thought was dead - have come back to haunt him.

Hannah Dechansay knows nothing of her father’s past but a phone call from her half-sister has her leaving Oxford and on a plane to Paris. She won’t be welcome. Eric’s carefully constructed life is crashing around his ears and Hannah’s determination to find out why will only make things worse. Her father’s clearly frightened and he’s lying. And then there’s the piano player. Who is he anyway?

As the stakes rise inexorably higher, who can Hannah trust?

 


The Story Behind the Story: I started the Dechansay Bright Mystery series in the first lockdown of the Covid pandemic. They were difficult times for everyone with bad news all around us and nerve-racking uncertainty. I had an idea that two itinerant art restorers, working for a firm which specialized in on-site conservation, offered the possibility of interesting mysteries to be solved. It gave scope for a different setting each time as well as the potential to delve into the sometimes dubious dealings in the dark corners of the art market. Above all I wanted to make the series entertaining as well as mysterious, an antidote to the news reports. Since the two restorers, Hannah and Nathan, don’t get on but are often obliged to work together, there was immediately scope for light-hearted antagonism. I set the first book of the series back in 1990, partly to clear my head of the pandemic and partly to write in a world which hadn’t yet become dependent on technology.

The first book, A Crack in the Varnish, is set in Provence in an idyllic location but with all sorts of buried secrets. The second, By a Hand Unknown, is set in the east of England in a beautiful watery region called the Norfolk Broads. Since Hannah is half French and her semi-estranged artist father lives in Paris, I always planned to set a story there and The Angel Downstairs is that story. I have been lucky to visit Paris many times and it always charms me. I wanted to communicate that charm, especially to anyone who has never had the opportunity to go there.

How the story developed from there, I would struggle to explain. Once I finish a story it almost feels as if someone else has written it. The creative process is a strange beast and perhaps it is unwise to try to analyse it too far. But my novels, for all the mystery and intrigue, are always about the people – how they react, how they cope, how they get hold of their lives and try to do something with them. Some of the nicest compliments I’ve had on my writing have been from people who’ve said that the characters felt real, that they, the reader, felt like they were following the characters round, living their lives vicariously. That pleases me. Although each book is a standalone story, since the same two main characters appear in each novel, there is an arc in the development of their relationship and their behaviour as the series progresses.


 

 

Website – Please go HERE.  

   

 

A question before you go, Kathy:


Scribbler: What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

 Quiet if possible. I live in a small village where usually all I can hear are tractors passing and birdsong. That’s perfect: I can disappear into my own world. I punctuate the day with several mugs of tea and coffee and I live by notebooks. Every novel had its own large notebook with research notes and plans etc, plus there’ll be a small, jot-down-ideas notebook for carrying around so my work area has these plus maps and a calendar for the setting and anything else that might either jog my creativity or provide valuable information. It’s not tidy. I do write on a laptop though. It makes it so much easier to delete and rewrite!!




Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to tell you about my latest work.





You are most welcome, Kathy.
The Angel Downstairs sounds delightful and entertaining.
Thanks to you for being our guest. We wish you continued success with your stories.


 A special thanks to all our visitors and readers.

Sunday 2 June 2024

The Story Behind the Story with author Joe Mahoney of Riverview, NB, Canada.

 

Let’s welcome Joe to the Scribbler.


I had the opportunity to meet Joe at a book signing and discovered he wrote a book sharing his many years with CBC.
I’ve also had the pleasure of reading his memoir and I enjoyed it immensely.
We are most fortunate to have him share the SBTS with us.
Read on my friends.



Bio: 

I was born in New Brunswick, raised in PEI, and educated in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and France. I worked full-time for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for 35 years where I spent about 19 years in production, working on all the major shows out of Toronto, including a decade making radio plays. In 2007, I left production to join the CBC management team, where I managed broadcast maintenance teams and, eventually, the eastern real estate portfolio. I spent my final year as both Operations Manager (Acting) for Nova Scotia and Regional Property Manager. I retired from the CBC in 2023 and now focus my attention on my family, my writing, and starting a little indie press, Donovan Street Press. I’ve also taken up karate again after a long hiatus and am trying to get back in shape.

My debut novel, A Time and a Place, was published on October 1st 2017 by Five Rivers Press. My memoir, a behind-the-scenes glimpse of working at CBC Radio, Adventures in the Radio Trade, was published on August 1st 2023 by my own indie press, mentioned above.

I’m a member of SF Canada, Canada’s National Association of Speculative Fiction Professionals, and SFWA, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association.

Title: Adventures in the Radio Trade


 

Synopsis: Adventures in the Radio Trade documents a life in radio, largely at Canada's public broadcaster. It's for people who love CBC Radio, those interested in the history of Canadian Broadcasting, and for those who want to hear about close encounters with numerous luminaries such as Margaret Atwood, J. Michael Straczynski, Stuart McLean, Joni Mitchell, Peter Gzowski and more. And it's for people who want to know how to make radio.

Crafted with gentle humour and thoughtfulness, this is more than just a glimpse into the internal workings of CBC Radio. It's also a prose ode to the people and shows that make CBC Radio great.

 


The Story Behind the Story: I’ve always been in the habit of writing down anything interesting that happens to me, and lots of interesting stuff has happened to me working at CBC Radio. At first it was all just private journaling, but then I started a blog, and a lot of the material wound up there. After many years of this, a friend of mine suggested I write a book about my experiences. I realized I had a good portion of the book already written, and that much of it just might be of interest to fans of CBC Radio. A glimpse behind the curtain, how the sausage gets made, that sort of thing. Although a memoir, it’s much less about me than about CBC Radio during that time period, between 1987 and 2007.  By that time I’d had experience self-publishing, and didn’t really want to give the rights to anyone else. Nor did I think a major publisher would be interested in a memoir by me, though to be fair I didn’t really try. So I turned it into a book myself, with the help of an expert editor, Arleane Ralph, and an expert book designer, Avery Olive of Bibliofic Designs.

 

Website – Please go HERE.




 



A question for you, Joe:

Scribbler:
What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

Joe: Having written from about the age of ten, I’m happy to write anywhere. It’s the only way to actually get any writing done. I don’t need to be in anything resembling the perfect spot. That said, if I COULD have the perfect spot, it would be anywhere I can have a little music on in the background, a hot coffee at my side with a fresh cinnamon bun just waiting to be eaten, a friendly pooch at my feet, and an open laptop. Neat, but not fanatically so.



An Excerpt from Adventures in the Radio Trade:

 


 I’ve met many well-known people during my time with CBC Radio. Sometimes I didn’t know they were “somebodies.”

“Did you know that was Joyce Carol Oates sitting beside you in the Media Library?” producer Ann Jansen asked me one day.

I’d had no idea. And that was fine with me. Most of the time meeting famous people I pretended that I didn’t know who they were anyway. It was just easier that way. It levelled the playing field. Even if I did happen to know who they were, I didn’t necessarily know much about them. We had jazz artist Diana Krall on the show Q one day. I hadn’t set up any microphones because she wasn’t supposed to perform. As we sat in the studio control room just before the interview, one of the show’s producers asked if she wanted to perform during the interview.

“Sure,” she said.

“Can you set her up?” the producer asked me.

I turned to Diana. “What instrument do you play?”

Everyone looked at me like I’d crawled out of a hole in the ground.

“Piano,” Diana said. “I play piano.”

I knew the name Diana Krall but I wasn’t knowledgeable about her career or music. For all I knew she could have played saxophone (and for all I know she does).

I already had mics on the piano, actually, so it was just a matter of adjusting them. The interview was delightful. Jian asked Diana what type of music she enjoyed in her downtime: “If you were to sit down, what’s your music?”

“Right now?”

“Yeah.”

Diana played a few nondescript notes on the piano. Her twin sons had been born the year before. “Millie the Elephant packed her trunk and sang goodbye to the circus,” she sang, and laughed. “That’s about where I’m at right now.”

What does meeting famous people get you? The ability to name drop (like I’m doing right now). Does anybody like a name dropper? I don’t mind writing about the occasional celebrity encounter, but I’ve rarely felt comfortable talking about them.

The thing is, whatever these people have accomplished, at the end of the day they’re human, just like the rest of us. And unless you work with them for a while (and maybe not even then), a brief encounter is not going to make you the best of pals. 

Still, all that said, I cannot deny that meeting and occasionally working with celebrities can be interesting and is often entertaining. Meeting artists takes on a special significance when you’re a fan of their work. Eric Idle may put his trousers on one leg at a time, but let’s face it: he’s Eric Idle of Monty Python. Like Diana Krall and so many others, he also appeared on the show Q, where he called us all “freeloading bastards” during the show’s credits and understood perfectly well just how much we’d all get a kick out of that. 



Thank you, Allan!



You are most welcome, Joe. Thank you for being our guest this week. We look forward to more of your stories and wish you continued success.


And a special thanks to all our visitors and readers. Feel free to leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you.

Saturday 25 May 2024

The Story Behind the Short Stories with Eden Monroe and Angella Cormier. Both of New Brunswick, Canada.

 

This week we are going to discuss the SBTS for the popular Anthology – Spring Paths - with two terrific storytellers



Our guests are the final two contributors and they are sharing their inspiration.


If you missed the previous SBTS for Spring and Summer Paths, then please go HERE & HERE & HERE & HERE.

 


Eden Monroe writes about real life, real issues and struggles, and triumphing against all odds. A proud east coast Canadian, she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, and a good book.

 

Title of Short Story: Nante

 

Synopsis: Saffie is a gifted high school student with an axe to grind about her absent father. So she takes matters into her own hands and finds that murder is not only satisfying payback for her broken heart, but the perfect antidote to high IQ boredom. And then she meets her match, but all spider webs are dangerous when fools rush in.

 

 


Inspirations: In Spring Paths I briefly step out of my lane as a romantic suspense and mystery author. It’s incredibly freeing to create something deliciously outrageous, then tear it up and write something even more unconscionable. That’s how Foul Play was born, a read-aloud class project that became a short story. No one, living or dead that I’m familiar with, inspired Foul Play in any way. My sole ambition was to conjure up an interesting psychopath.

Eden has been a guest previously and you can read it HERE.

Website

 


Angella Cormier grew up in St-Antoine, in southeast New Brunswick. It was in this small town’s library where her love of reading and writing were born. Her curious nature about everything mysterious and paranormal helped carved the inspiration for her current passion of writing horror and mystery stories. She is also a published poet, balancing out her writing to express herself in these two very opposing genres. Angella has an extensive background in Interactive Multimedia Technology since 1998. She now owns and operates “Ancor Creative Solutions” as a personal creative assistant, where she proudly helps other writers with their cover design and book formatting, among with many other services.


Title of Short Story: Love and Crafts.

Synopsis: One will brighten your day while the other will keep you in the dark, never to be known. Kindness or Judgment; which would you choose?

 


Inspirations: My main character was inspired by a good friend of mine who is a free-spirited bird watcher and is often seen with her binoculars and notepad, counting the birds she spots. I was motivated to choose the setting of the story by the beautiful town of Shediac, New Brunswick area, specifically the Pointe-du-ChĂȘne wharf and Shediac Island nearby.

The idea started percolating one day while parked out there, watching the coastal birds flying to and from both locations. I wondered what if there are things they see out there that we haven’t yet?

The theme sprouted as I noticed an increase of judgmental and bigoted behaviours, both on and offline. I pondered, what if we truly understood what someone else was going through? What if we saw things from their perspective; how much more would we understand then? Would we be as unkind if we knew all the little details that are unknown to us?

Although it is fiction, I aimed to bring up a very important life lesson, and that is to not judge another, as you do not know what they are going through, nor do you know the full story, even if you think you do.


Angella has been a guest before and you can read it HERE.

Website


 Buy HERE.


Thank you ladies, for being our guests this week. We wish you continued success with your writing.


 

And a HUGE thank you to all our visitors and readers. Go ahead – leave a comment.

Saturday 18 May 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Allan Hudson of New Brunswick, Canada.

 

This week, I’d like to share the SBTS of my newest book.

 


  


  

I live in Dieppe with my wife Gloria. I began writing in my mid 50s with no intention of stopping. Happily retired, I spend most mornings working on my stories and publishing the Scribbler. The rest of my days are spent with book related projects, time with family and other important issues, such as napping and taking life easy.

 

 

 

Title: One Bedroom Ark

 




Synopsis: Jeb Coyne, proprietor of Coyne’s Confectionary, will have been widowed for two years tomorrow. Tending to his daily business takes his mind off the looming anniversary for a moment, as do his customers, whether cheerful or grumpy. But he’s never felt so alone.

With the workday finished, Jeb is a few minutes from locking the doors. He goes out to bring in the sign board his father made and is interrupted by a tiny voice asking if he is closing.

Olivia Fletcher stands before him, a teenager with wet strands of hair across her cheek, a baby in her arms.

This chance meeting will change both of their lives forever.

 

 

The Story Behind the Story: I’ve always enjoyed stories of seniors helping younger people. Many youths are propelled into society with no means of support, no experience of living on their own. For those that make it, perhaps someone wiser stepped in to help. And so it is with One Bedroom Ark.

This story originated from a short story of the same title published in A Box of Memories. The store owner is from an early memory of a grey haired gentleman tending the cash at his convenience store, one his father started. I recall the head of thick hair but not a face. He’s gone many years ago and the store is a trendy cafĂ© now.

The other characters showed up when I needed them. I’m particularly fond of Lindy, she’s a sweetheart, flashy and bold. Donnie, one of the delivery men, shows up early mornings with freckles, good cheer and the weather report. The baroness, well, you’ll meet her below. Digger is a regular who says the coffee is terrible but buys an extra-large every morning.

I had fun writing this story. It makes me feel good, reminds me to be kind. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Follow this LINK to purchase your copy.

Thank you.







An Excerpt:

Another customer comes in and he recognizes the top of the hat. It's a wide brimmed thing with black and white circles around the brim, two of each. The center is a black pillbox. It looks like a target to shoot at. Watching it bob back and forth as it climbs the stairs makes him dizzy, and he looks away. Evgenia Baranova. She won't say how old she is, but he guesses over eighty. She continues to walk everywhere. Sometimes takes the bus. It has a stop on the next street over. She was in a cranky mood the last time she was here a couple days ago. Best prepare for the worst he thinks and keeps his chin up. Uses his best line.

"Good morning, Baroness."

The prune like face which peers up at him has the usual paint job by whatever cosmetic artillery she uses. Her sunken cheeks are rosier by an undefined red substance which makes Jeb think of paintings by knife artists. Ooh! A crack in the finish. She likes it when he calls her baroness. She claims she is of noble birth, Russian aristocracy and such, although he's not sure if it's true or not. She appears a bit dotty at times but he humours her. She's one of the few who addresses him with his full name.

"Yes, yes, it is a good morning, Jebidiah. My back is much better today. Thank you for asking. Now, is the paper in yet? Did you save me a copy?"

He bends down to pick one from the top of the heap he's yet to put out. Pretending it's exclusive he whispers as if there's been a run on the newspapers for the last ten minutes he's been open.

"Yes, Baroness. Just for you. Shall I put it in a bag?"

As she speaks to him, her eyes wander to the cork board behind Jeb and the colorful pictures and notes.

"No, no. I'll carry it. Going to visit my good friend, Davida, at Kingston's Nursing Home and we'll read it together. The bus stops right in front. I…"

She pushes her eyeglasses back up and focuses on Avery's photo. She never fails to notices and admire it but she doesn't ever comment. She remembers that it's the anniversary of her passing tomorrow. She speaks before she thinks.

"…I still miss Avery. She was always so kind to me and…"

Jeb turns away. He doesn't want her to see him. He's scared to blink. He feels such a fool. He pulls a Kleenex from a box on the shelf under the cash and dabs his eyes, then blows his nose.

"Excuse me. Must be getting a cold."

"I'm sorry Jeb. Forgive me."

The tight lips scrunch up in a pout and Jeb sees the regret in her eyes.

"I'm fine. It's fine, Evgenia. Nothing to apologize for. I miss her too. Now, that's seventy-five cents as usual, my dear."





Thank you for visiting dear readers.


Feel free to leave a comment. We would love to hear from you.






Saturday 11 May 2024

The Story Behind the Story with D.C. Malcolm of New Brunswick, Canada.

 

           We have someone new to the Scribbler this week. 



Let’s welcome D.C. Malcolm.

She is sharing the good news about her Latest book.  

Read on my friends.

 

 

D.C. Malcolm is a self-published Historical Mystery Author of Guilty Deceptions and Dark Jealousy. She lives in New Brunswick, Canada, with her son. Her interests include Victorian times, True Crime, and Murder Mysteries. Which heavily influence her writing. When she isn’t killing off characters in her novels, D.C. enjoys a quiet life, reading, spending time with family, and watching murder mysteries.

 

 Title: Dark Jealousy

 


Synopsis: A year after the events of Guilty Deceptions, Sheriff Dawson returns when Catherine Baker is found brutally murdered next to her mother's woodshed in Willow Grove. Armed with his deputy's keen eye and his own wit, Sheriff Dawson must solve this gruesome murder. However, when he has it all figured out, suspects start dropping one by one. Forcing Sheriff Dawson to face the reality of stereotypes – fight for what is right – and hopefully solve these crimes before someone else dies.

 


The Story Behind the Story: While I was finishing Guilty Deceptions, an idea came to me. I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters I had created, and I felt there was more to Sheriff Dawson, Becky, Annie, and Patrick. I also didn’t want to let go of some other characters like Sylvester, Billy, and Horace, to name a few.

After brainstorming, I decided that I could continue this story into a series. This was because Guilty Deceptions had transformed from a story focused on Maggie and John to a story about Sheriff Dawson, his mind, and his hardships.

Once I decided that I was going to continue the series, I realized I needed to find a plot to base my story on. This is because of my unique niche of loosely basing my murder mysteries on real-life crimes from Victorian times.

So, I researched cases that stuck out. Something that I could twist and morph into a story. After hours of research, I came across a case that happened in 1883, where a man named William had been convicted of murdering his wife, Elizabeth. The murder took place in Willow Grove, a community that I had already introduced in Guilty Deceptions, and I figured it would be nice to revisit the area in a second book.

The problem was the date, which wasn’t much of a problem. I just changed the date from 1883 to 1871 to fit the timeline of Sheriff Dawson. When I sit down to write, I never know the ending of my stories. Halfway through my first draft, I decided that I had to touch on topics that were considered taboo in 1871. Sheriff Dawson is always ahead of his time and touches on these taboo subjects with a modern view.

I also did some research via newspapers on Google Books. (I love using this feature in my research) and found out that Small Pox was going around Saint John in 1871. After my research, I wanted to place a few nods to Guilty Deceptions. I researched buildings built by the real-life John and visited these buildings in the story during the investigation. I described these buildings the best I could, and, from my understanding, many still stand in Saint John today. I owe credit to the many people on the Facebook group Historic Saint John for helping me with this. I was able to make connections to a fellow local author who was a tremendous help. I also connected with a local historian who helped me with street names before the fire and where these streets were located.

When I had everything I needed, I let the characters tell me what happened, how it happened, and who was responsible for it happening in the first place. My book Dark Jealousy was fun to write, and I plan to have more books in the Sheriff Dawson series. I’ve been working on a prequel to the books.

 

Website: Go HERE  

 



A question before you go:


Scribbler: What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

DC: My apartment is small, but I created a makeshift office in a corner of my living room. This is where I work on my writing. It’s a small desk with my laptop and a few trinkets, cluttered with writing books, among other things. The wall behind my desk has a calendar, a corkboard for my notes, and is plastered with canvases about writing and books. Cluttered or not, this is my favorite place to write. I’m also not much of a drinker, only drinking on special occasions. However, I love my coffee and can be found with a cup beside me, usually a double-double – homemade. As for music or quiet, I can write with both. I grew up in a family of six. So, I had three younger siblings, all many years younger. The youngest is thirteen years my junior, so I tend to block out the noise, the easiest way I can concentrate.

 


 

An Excerpt:

The snow was stained crimson all around the front of the shed. The front wall and door were splattered in blood. Yet, my eyes were on Catherine Baker; her head partly severed – as if the murderer attempted to cut her head off – but failed miserably at it. A few feet away, a bloody axe was discarded in the snow. Sylvester crept down and carefully examined the body.

“On an educated guess,” he said. “This death is but a few hours old, maybe less.”

“This is what I feared,” I said. “A fresh murder and we have no idea what the cause or intent here was. Will the killer strike again? That’s yet to be seen.” Edward walked up to us.

“We have tracks in the snow,” he said. “One is a woman’s, the others men and I can guess that they are about size ten.” I sighed and shook my head.

“There are a lot of men that wear size ten,” I said. “We’ll have to narrow down the list. Yet, we don’t even have a suspect.” The photographer was snapping photos around us.

“What about the farmhand?” Patrick asked, and I narrowed my eyes.

“What about him?” I asked, and Patrick sighed.

“Well, he was here during the murder, wasn’t he boss?” Patrick asked. “He either did it or he knows something.” He was right, we had to look into everything and the farmhand was a good place to start the investigation.

“Okay,” I said. “Here’s what we are going to do,” I licked my lips and pointed to my men. “Paul, Edward, and Curtis, you search the house for any clues. Peter, Jonathan, and William, you search the grounds with Dr. Knox and Dr. Murphy. Patrick, you're with me.”

“Where are we going, boss?” Patrick asked.

“We need to question the farmhand,” I said, making my way back out front and looking at Angela.

“Miss Angela,” I said. “What can you tell us about your farmhand?”

“Daniel?” she asked. “Him started working for me family about ten years ago. Him should be around here somewhere. You don’t think Daniel did this?”

“It’s too early to be certain,” I said. “But, I need to investigate every possibility. He was here, the axe belongs to him, and he never came running when you screamed. He either is involved or-”

“He’s dead too,” Angela said, nodding.





Thank you for sharing your news and for being our guest this week, DC. We wish you continued success with your writing.

And a BIG thank you to all our readers and visitors. You’re the reason we do what we do.

Saturday 4 May 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Louise Boulter of Moncton, NB, Canada.


Let’s welcome Louise back to the Scribbler. 


It’s been much too long since we have had a chance to talk about her stories.

She has a new novel on the go and it’s generating a lot of excitement.

She’s been a guest before and if you click HERE, you can read about her first novel.

Read on my friends.

 

I was born in Moncton, N.B. where I presently live with my husband and ADHD cat (and on weekends with my son).  I started writing early in life. In Grade 6 or 7, I won a City-wide contest.  It was held by the CNIB and my picture was taken by the local newspaper when I received the monetary prize. When attending College, I wrote the end of the year play for its final assembly. I always loved writing, but life sometimes got in the  way.  I worked for the Federal Government for 35 years and raised my family. However, after retirement, I returned to my first love and took a Creative Writing Course at the local college. We (students) formed a writing group and so began my writing career. Short stories followed. Some were entered in  contests and some published in  magazines. Then I decided to write my first book 'Forgotten'. This was a book about one man's journey through the world of homelessness. Over half the proceeds went  to soup kitchens and shelters. My 2nd book was written from a collection of short stories written through the years.

 

Title: Discovery and Recovery - A Collection of Short Stories

 


Synopsis: The book 'Discovery and Recovery' contains 37 short stories. They cover a range of topics, from humor, to wisdom, hope and nostalgia, taking you on a journey of all the emotions a person experiences in life.

As one reviewer stated:  "Discovery and recovery is a captivating collection of short stories. Each story is a testament to Louise's skillful storytelling. With her insight and empathetic approach Louise provides readers with glimpses into the human experience. A must read for anyone who appreciates well crafted short stories."

 


The Story Behind the Story: As I age, I realize that once I have passed from this world to the next, all my short stories would go where all good computers go. Along with it, so would go my short stories. Therefore I decided to compile some of my favorite short stories and publish them into one book.


Buy Louise's book HERE.

 

A question before you go Louise: 



Scribbler: What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

Louise: My ideal spot to write is in the basement, where my office is located. I prefer a quiet place, a place where I can get lost in my writing with no distractions. I keep folders of various ideas and thoughts in scribblers. I can't say my office is either messy or neat. It depends on what I am working on. I always have a glass of water on my desk as I don't drink coffee or tea or anything close to tequila. I have found writing 'dialogue' works best when I take out a scribbler and use the old-fashioned way of writing. It just seems easier to give the characters their own unique voice when writing with pen or pencil. Of course, I also keep a scribbler not only in my office but in our livingroom so I am prepared when ideas jump uninvited in my mind and make sure I have a place to jot down all the brilliant ... smile... idea.



An Excerpt: "Discovery and Recovery" from the short story called "Soul Mate"


My soul mate’s hand was warm, so I felt safe letting go for a few minutes. I had calls to make, friends to summon to his bedside. While I sit next to him and speak on the phone to his only living relative, a nurse walks into the room.

“He’s gone,” she says almost in a whisper.

I put down the phone and lift his big hand again.

Cold.

I kiss his forehead then immediately call my husband.

David, my husband, had been supportive for the entirety of the relationship I’d just lost. He wasn’t threatened by Joel, a ninety-one-year-old Holocaust survivor, although he became appropriately alert when I’d announced our first rendezvous fourteen years earlier.

Joel had approached me in the lobby of a community center as I put my baby in a car seat.

“What’s his name?” he had asked.

I summed him up as harmless. I figured he approached strange women and babies because he missed his own grandchildren. But a few more questions revealed how wrong this assumption had been. Joel didn’t have children or grandchildren. All but one of his family members had been killed during the Holocaust.

“I was in the camp,” he said. “Auschwitz."

He had learned to sort the blouses of the dead and to witness a hanging without flinching. Yet his eyes sparkled during our first conversation and he delivered lines like a comedian. The contrast hooked me. I asked him out for a coffee date.

“You buying?” he asked.

And so, for $1.25, a beautiful friendship began.

In the early days of our relationship, we sort of flirted. He’d drive by my house to see if my car was in the driveway. I’d make sure my make-up was right before ringing his doorbell. He would regularly tease David about the potential for romance between us.

“If I was forty years younger, you’d be in trouble,” he said over and over.

I even imagined romantic scenes starring Joel and me, circa 1946. In these fantasies, I played the strong young lady loving the young Polish survivor back to life. I would soothe him after he woke screaming as nightmares of vicious dogs and men shooting at members of his family plagued him. He would be so grateful for my patience and tenderness and eventually take me as his bride. And for the rest of our lives, he would never leave heaps of laundry in the corner of the bedroom or forget every logistical detail I ever told him, as my actual husband did.

I had these fantasies because like most humans, I was conditioned to associate strong attraction with romantic love. I was drawn to Joel, therefore I must have a crush on him, right? He was forty-four years my senior, therefore I had a hard time labelling our bond. I played with all kinds of combinations: grandfather and granddaughter; sister and brother; best friends. None of them fit.

The soul mate, we’ve been taught in our mind, is the brass ring of romantic love. Find your other half and you can start searching for wedding caterers. A soul mate knows you and 'gets' you and will never let you down. Therefore, you should marry him. Don’t.

At least not if you believe in soul mate as a mirror image. An old myth says humans started as four-limbed double creatures, but the gods worried they'd take over, so they decided to split us in half. Ever since, we’ve been searching for our other halves so we can feel complete.

How marriage became part of the equation I’ve never understood. It seems as though marrying your twin would be exactly the wrong thing to do.

For four years, I had dated my psychological echo. At first it was wonderful: so familiar, so comfortable. Then it turned disastrous. Because we were so similar, we made the same mistakes. There was no counterbalance - no one to pull either of us back by the belt loops when we got too close to the edge. Thankfully, we didn’t marry.

My husband and I are not soul mates. We are complete individuals, not two halves of each other. He is science and I am art. He is awake and I am dreaming. He saves and I spend. I’m better at parallel parking, but only he can remember where we left the car. Of course, our differences can sometimes be infuriating, but our pairing has worked for twenty-one years. I like to think it’s because David is my intended: the best husband the universe could have picked for me. A unified soul has nothing to do with it. We balance each other, make each other laugh, and agree on the big things. But he doesn’t get me unless I explain myself because he doesn’t see the world through the same lens. Then I found Joel.

He identified our similarities first. He had tumbled into an anxiety-depression hole that led to many uncomfortable chairs by many institutional beds. He’d been admitted for chest pains, but the doctors and I knew cardiac weakness wasn’t causing his distress. PTSD from four years in the Nazi system was making him sick, but he refused to see or speak to the staff psychologist about treatment. It was my job to convince him to surrender to help. I told him my story. I’d been anxious for years until a case of postpartum depression forced me to face and treat my brain’s chemical inadequacies. I felt fine ever since. Accepting help didn’t have to be shameful.

He looked at me and grinned. We were both nervous. We laughed at the same things. We interpreted the world in the same cynical way, spoke in the same blunt manner, even liked the same foods prepared the same quirky ways. Because he’d been raised in the days of privacy and dignity, our conversations didn’t involve dribbling our vulnerabilities. But we still knew what the other would say or how the other was feeling most of the time. We didn’t have to work at trust and love, or worry either would fade. Neither of us could be described as easy-going, but even after he hung up on me during an argument or I scolded him for being so exceedingly stubborn, we didn’t have to apologize or explain ourselves. It was easy. It was not marriage.

We were, I believe, the purest of soul mates. There was no romance. Just the deep comfort of being seen and known and accepted completely. For a brief period in both of our lives, we got to feel whole.

Then his hand went cold.

What’s it like to lose a soul mate? The saddest part is suspecting such a relationship will never come again. I plan on having my husband around for many more years, and I will surely develop new life-changing friendships. But I don’t think we get more than one soul mate per life cycle. Who else on this earth will ever know me so well?

I used to panic, as Joel got older, about how I’d live in the world without him. But it’s turned out to be surprisingly painless. I take comfort in remembering how lucky I had been to have found my other half. But I also don’t feel like he’s completely absent.

I talk to a lot of dead people in my head, my mother, sisters, brothers, dear friends gone too soon, but never to Joel. This makes sense to me. Following my soul mate theory, to reach him, I only need to talk to myself.




Thanks for sharing the good news about your novel, Louise, and for being our guest this week. We wish you continued success with your writing.

 

Thank you dear readers for visiting and reading. Don’t be shy, leave a comment, please.