Saturday 2 December 2023

The Story Behind the Story with Jane Doucet of Halifax, NS, Canada.


Jane has been busy of late with the publication of her new novel and enjoying rave reviews.

The Scribbler is fortunate to have her back as our guest this week to tell us about the story.

If you missed Jane’s previous visit, please go here.

Read on my friends.



Jane Doucet is a seasoned journalist whose articles have appeared in myriad national magazines, including Chatelaine and Canadian Living. In 2017, she self-published her debut novel, The Pregnant Pause, which was shortlisted for a 2018 Whistler Independent Book Award. Four years later, Halifax-based Vagrant published Jane’s second novel, Fishnets & Fantasies. In May 2023, Vagrant rereleased The Pregnant Pause with a fresh new cover and brought it back into print, and in September 2023 it launched Jane’s third novel, Lost & Found in Lunenburg, which combines characters from her first two novels. Jane lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband.

Title: Lost & Found in Lunenburg



Widowed suddenly after her fiftieth birthday, Rose Ainsworth is addled by grief. Could that be why three months later, she decides to buy her friend Wendy Hebb’s sex shop in the tiny coastal community of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia?

As Rose rushes to rent her house and store her belongings, her older sister, Daisy, worries that Rose is running away—from the home that she and her late husband, Jim, lived in together, and its constant reminders of what she’s lost.

When Rose lands in Lunenburg in a furnished condo with a year’s lease, a colourful cast of local characters keep her from drowning in grief—including a long-lost quirky cousin with a mysterious health condition and a handsome restaurant owner who stirs feelings in Rose she isn’t ready to face.

As the condo’s lease creeps closer to its expiration date, Rose must make a choice—continue carving out her new life or move back home?



The Story Behind the Story:


Readers kept asking for a sequel to The Pregnant Pause, but after I self-published it, I didn’t have anything to add to Rose’s story. However, the following year, when my then boyfriend and I broke up two weeks after my 50th birthday, I had a light-bulb moment.

Since The Pregnant Pause was semi-autobiographical, I now had a new storyline for Rose. I wanted to write about midlife love, loss and new beginnings, but not about divorce. So I decided to explore a topic that interests me: death.

Most of the characters in this story are dealing with some sort of loss—of a spouse, the end of a career and good health, their sense of home and identity. I wanted them to slowly forge a community of support, with people they wouldn’t normally have gravitated toward otherwise.

Flash back to my story for a second: that boyfriend and I reunited five months after our breakup, and nine months later we got married. Because we had a happy ending, I wanted to give one to Rose, too. To give readers hope. Our life journeys aren’t always linear, and we’ll experience multiple losses as we age. The more hope for happy endings—whatever they may look like—the better for all of us.



A couple questions before you go, Jane:


Scribbler: Can you tell us about the perfect setting you have, or desire, for your writing? Music or quiet? Coffee or tequila?  Neat or notes everywhere?


Jane: The quiet of my home office, working on my iMac at my sit-stand desk. Decaf green tea and dark chocolate, daily (can’t write without them). Neat most of the time, but sometimes—especially in the early stages of research—notes everywhere.


Scribbler: What’s next for Jane Doucet, the Author?

Jane: I’m in the preliminary stages of working on a cozy mystery novel. I plan to get serious about it in 2024!


I’m looking forward to reading your novel, Jane. Thanks for being our guest.

Have fun with the cozy. Wishing you continued success with your writing.



And a Humongous thank you to our visitors and readers.


Saturday 25 November 2023

The Story Behind the Story with Pierre Arseneault of Kent Junction, NB, Canada.


Lets welcome Pierre back to the Scribbler.

He’s here to share the SBTS for his contribution to the Spring Paths Anthology.

This is not Pierre’s first visit to the Scribbler and we hope it is not the last.

If you missed his previous posting, please go HERE

Read on my friends.



The youngest of eleven children, Pierre C. Arseneault grew up in the small town of Rogersville, New Brunswick, Canada. As a cartoonist, Pierre was published in over a dozen newspapers. As an author, he has written solo and in collaboration with six titles published so far. Pierre currently lives in New Brunswick, Canada.


Title: Spring Paths (book title) / The Old Belfries Farmhouse (the short story title)


Synopsis: The Belfries farmhouse’s new owners learn their recent purchase has a dark and mysterious past.



The Story Behind the Story: First, I’m going to say that I simply love writing short stories and this anthology series has allowed me to explore other genres without the pressure of fitting in with the other dark tales of a short story collection. In the first book of this series, Autumn Paths, I wrote a drama inspired by the idea of combining a literal and a figurative path. I planted this seed in my imagination and developed it into a story I call The Path to Redemption. The story in the second book, Winter Paths, was a drama-comedy titled Melvin, inspired by something I saw while driving to work. I can’t tell you what I saw without spoilers though, so you’ll need to read the story for yourselves.

Which leads me to the newest in the anthology series, Spring Paths. For this one, I wrote a story that I must label as science fiction. The inspiration for which was my recent infatuation with a certain genre of movies, evidence of this you’ll find in the story itself. I can’t tell you what that means without spoilers, so I’ll refrain from doing so and hope that you go read the story, if you haven’t already. But in case you have not (yet), let me say that it’s a simple story of a young couple who learn about the history of the home they recently purchased and are about to move into. Even if this story isn’t the most original, I’m hoping that I gave it an original take that you’ll enjoy.




A couple questions before you go, Pierre:


Scribbler: Can you tell us about the perfect setting you have, or desire, for your writing? Music or quiet? Coffee or tequila?  Neat or notes everywhere?

Pierre: I like quiet but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes I need white noise, like the sound of peeper frogs, rain and thunder or ocean waves. Other times I might listen to instrumental music. Be it classical, light jazz, movie soundtracks, etc. It just can’t be something with lyrics as they pull me out of my work and distract me.

As for a setting, since I moved that’s not the easiest at this time. I simply need a space where I can lay out what I need and avoid distractions. Sometimes that can be the office desk or the kitchen island.

As for notes, it depends on what I’m writing. But let’s just say that I’ve tried it all in my short run as a writer. Notes. No notes. Plotting and pantsing or a combination of both. I’m still gathering evidence on what works best for me. So far it varies with the project.


Scribbler: What’s next for Pierre Arseneault, the Author?

Pierre: Next? I have a dramatic novel written and at the publisher right now. Barring any change of plans, it should be titled Carlton. It’s a sequel to the novella which was the last story in my collection titled Sleepless Nights.

I’ve also started a crime thriller but set that aside to collaborate with my friend Angella Cormier on book 3 of the Oakwood Island trilogy. The title of which we will reveal in due time.

For short stories, I’m mulling over a short story idea to submit to an upcoming anthology as the idea simply sounds fun. Also, I’ve already written a sequel to my Winter Paths short story Melvin for the upcoming Summer Paths anthology. It’s a comedy titled The Year of the Goat and I’m looking forward to sharing this one with you all.

Also, I’d love to write sequels to my previous works, but the time isn’t right just yet. So, there are things brewing, in between my day job, life, and obligations.



Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Pierre. The whole Path Series sounds delightful. Wishing you continued success with your writing. 


And another HUGE thank you to our visitors and readers.

Saturday 11 November 2023

The Story Behind the Story with A-M Mawhiney, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.


Photo Credit: Laura Stradiotto.

This week you will meet Anne-Marie, a devoted author, as well as other author's best friend with all her sharing and caring.

She was kind enough to accept my invitation to be our guest.

Please read on my friends. 



A-M: First let me thank you, Allan, for your kind invitation to chat here about my latest book.


I grew up in northern Ontario, mostly in small mining communities, with time in Montreal and Toronto for my university years. In 1980 I came back to Sudbury where I worked at the local university for almost 40 years. My debut novel Spindrifts was shortlisted for the 8th annual Rakuten Kobo emerging Writer Prize and for the Whistler Independent Book Awards. It was also a finalist in the Canadian Book Club Awards, all in 2022. My second novel Spelldrifts was published August 2023.



Title: Spelldrifts



Synopsis: Spelldrifts:  Life has changed at and of Hope in the decades since Earth tipped back to a flourishing biome. People work together, connected through a telepathic network, to keep their planet healthy. Each person develops additional magical powers in their teen years that help them find their place in the community. Saki, Fania’s seventeen-year-old, is adrift – they don’t know yet what their unique abilities are nor how they will contribute to the world. 

Everything changes when Saki discovers a long-buried secret. Faced with strangers intent with destroying everything that is precious, a darkness creeps over the land. The stakes are high, for those who prevail will determine whether Earth survives.



The story behind the story: I had no plans to write a sequel to Spindrifts. But our grandchildren urged me to continue the story. The older one asked that I include a dragon, and the younger requested a wolf. This seemed a daunting task given the world of the Land of Hope in my first book. But over a few months, dreams, thoughts, and ideas intruded, eventually overriding my common sense. I began to write Spelldrifts. One or two enthusiastic suggestions by the grandchildren, used with their permission, have found their way into the story but mostly this book is a creation of my imagination. However, many of the themes remain rooted in our own realities: inclusion, environmental rehabilitation, social issues, respect, and hope.






A couple questions before you go Anne-Marie:


Scribbler: Can you tell us about the perfect setting you have, or desire, for your writing? Music or quiet? Coffee or tequila?  Neat or notes everywhere?


A-M: Writing setting: Although I do have a painting and writing studio it became cluttered with copies of my first book, so I wrote Spelldrifts at a drop-leaf table owned by my paternal grandparents when they first were married in 1926. I am a pantser so many of my scenes were created on walks with my dog Charlie (who, sadly, passed away in July) and in the middle of the night.

Scribbler: What’s next?


A-M: Besides marketing and promoting my books, I have just started a new writing project that is unrelated to the Drifts two-part series. It starts with a high school students on a debate team who don’t get along. When they start to discover what they have in common this overrides their differences and they form a tight bond. After they graduate, they head off in different directions but keep in touch. Then one day a world-wide disaster occurs. The story follows the four main characters on their quest, against all odds, to reunite and help their community survive.




Thank you for being our guest this week, Anne-Marie. Thanks for all you do for your author friends. Wishing you continued success with your writing.




And a HUGE thank you to all our visitors and readers.

Saturday 4 November 2023

The Story Behind the Story with Steve C. Eston of Fredericton, NB, Canada.


Steve is no stranger to the Scribbler, having been our guest several times in the past.

He’s an excellent storyteller and we are happy to have him tell us about his contribution to the Path Anthologies.

If you missed his previous visits, please go HERE.

Read on my friends.



Steve C. Eston is the author of four books: The Burden of the Protector, The Conclave, Deficiency, and The Stranger of Ul Darak (Book 1 of The Lost Tyronian Archives – Available in December 2023).

He has been a lover of the fantastical and the scientific since he was a young boy. He wrote his first story by hand while still in elementary school — a five-page fantasy action/adventure about a tiger-masked ninja fighting mystical monsters that included his own illustrations.

When not spending time with his family, Steve try to make time for one of his numerous hobbies, which include reading, listening to music, playing video games, watching movies, making puzzles, and playing hockey and tennis. He also love to travel and have developed an obsession with New Zealand after traveling there in 2015 (visiting the set of Hobbiton and hiking alone the slopes of Mount Doom may have something to do with it).

For more information on his current writing projects and for free short stories, visit him at



Working Title: Erasing



Synopsis: A young girl and her family try to find an escape when their small village becomes the target of the powerful Sentinels.



The Story Behind the Story: ‘Erasing’ is my contribution to Spring Paths: An Anthology, the third book in the Paths series, which regroups short stories inspired by the four seasons. It continues to be amazing to work with the authors of the Seasonal Collective in putting these books together. I’ve learned a lot from each of them and hope we will keep going for several years to come. At this point, we’re already thinking about the next instalment, Summer Paths.

In each book of the Paths series, I try to create a short piece that complements or expand on one of my publishes books or stories. For example, the events in ‘Erasing’ take place around 10 years before the beginning of my upcoming high fantasy book, ‘The Stranger of Ul Darak’. It is a great story on its own, while providing background information about one of the main characters, as well as showing how powerful and dangerous the Sentinels, a key organisation in the series, are.

Writing side stories  like ‘Erasing’ is a great way for me to explore characters or events that I wouldn’t normally get the chance to discover. I’ve come to cherish and look forward to creating these short pieces.



A question before you go, Steve:

Scribbler: Can you tell us about the perfect setting you have, or desire, for your writing? Music or quiet? Coffee or tequila?  Neat or notes everywhere? 

Steve: There is a big difference between the perfect setting, and the reality of my writing. Years ago, I used to have a chair in a corner of our guest bedroom and I would write every morning, between six and seven, closing the door, and putting on headphones. Those were the good old days.

Now, we have moved and added four young children to our family. I do not have a dedicated writing space any longer, and I need to be creative and flexible, balancing writing with my new responsibilities as a parent. I try to be as consistent as I can, and write regularly, even if only for fifteen minutes.

I prefer to write with headphones, listening to instrumental music that fits with the story I’m writing. Movie or video game soundtracks tend to work well for me. For example, I listened to the soundtrack of the movie The Adjustment Bureau while writing ‘Deficiency’, my science fiction thriller. More recently, I used the soundtrack of the movie The Fountain while writing my upcoming high fantasy book, ‘The Stranger of Ul Darak’. I’m also working on a new dark fantasy series and listen to the soundtrack of the Witcher 3 video game while doing so.

I scribble ideas and notes in several notebooks that I keep all over the house, and the cars. I also use my phone, texting myself so I don’t forget ideas that appear, often at the most random of times. When I have a minute, I copy and consolidate everything in a series of documents I keep on my laptop, one for each of the fictional worlds I write into.



Thanks for being our guest this week, Steve. Thanks for being part of the Seasonal Collective. Wishing you a ton of success with the new book coming soon. I am anxious to get my hands on ‘The Stranger of Ul Darak’. 

And a HUGE thank you to our visitors and readers.


****If you are intrigued by Steve’s novel - ‘The Stranger of Ul Darak’ – watch here December 16th for the SBTS of the book.

Mark it in your calendar. 

Saturday 28 October 2023

The Story Behind the Story with Carrie Stanton of Alberta, Canada.


Please welcome Carrie to the Scribbler. It is her first visit and we hope it won’t be the last.

Not only does she write stories, she is also an active reviewer for The Miramichi Reader. She is a kind and generous supporter of her fellow authors.

Read on my friends. 



Carrie Stanton has published two picture books and two chapter books. Emmie and the Fierce Dragon, The Jewel, Beast Bot, and The Gardener. The Jewel is used in schools as a companion to First Nations study. Carrie has a BA from the University of Calgary and is an editor at The Miramichi Reader (TMR). And, like TMR, Carrie is devoted to Canadian Literature. Carrie has two adult children, a daughter-in-law, one grandson, one mother, one husband, and a small white dog who incorporates many personas.

Carrie enjoys writing stories that allow the imagination to blossom. She loves how words can grow wings and transport readers great distances, to worlds where anything is possible.

Carrie is proud that many schools often use her books for classroom study, engagement, and conversation. Her books are local #1 bestsellers, have been staff-picked at Chapters and Indigo, and are loved by parents, teachers, and children globally.

TitlesEmmie and the Fierce Dragon & The Jewel.


The story behind the story: I knew something was going on when I had a cacophony of words inside my head. They were in there rumbling around, loudly causing distractions. 

I decided to sit still, pen in hand, blank pages at the ready, to see what all the mental chaos was about. That’s when the two stories started to evolve. A picture book and a chapter book.  Emmie and the Fierce Dragon and The Jewel emerged, almost simultaneously. I wrote Emmie and the Fierce Dragon first, then immediately began The Jewel. With The Jewel, I had the story outline but knew I needed to research the setting. The perfect place to do that was at The Glenbow Museum Library and Archives, located in Calgary, the city in which I live. After all, how else could I possibly get an accurate picture of life in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the mid-1800s? Securing a table in the museum’s library, I requested the material I hoped would uncover life during a time unknown to me. Not being allowed to select the diaries, journals, and notes from explorers who recorded their findings of the area, I asked the gloved library attendant if I could go over some of these archived works at my table. Bringing pieces out of the collections kept securely away from seeking hands, I was rewarded with a cache of wonderful and enlightening notes and documents from an era long past. Reading through these carefully written works was absolutely necessary to be able to create the world I wanted to bring alive in The Jewel. Knowing my characters Grey Wolf and Little Bear very well, I had to make certain they were at home in this story. Incorporating the colourful Indigenous life into the adventure story of these two best friends made it historically accurate and vibrant. It is a homage to the beautiful First Nations of the land we now call home. Because of the journals and diaries left by those before me, I could incorporate the backdrop into The Jewel. The added bonus is that renowned Canadian storyteller, poet, and novelist, Lee Maracle, granted me permission to use her grandfather’s words in The Jewel. Chief Dan George’s words are few but striking in the story. I used them with precise care and respected them in the beautiful way they were meant to be honoured.


With both manuscripts ready, I sent them to only one person, Kathryn Cole, managing editor of Second Story Press in Toronto. I knew her reputation was solid as she had been in the publishing business for decades, at that time. Then I held my breath. 

Kathryn Cole responded with a letter saying that she loved both the stories and they should be printed. Their house wasn’t able to do that within their schedule and limitations, but she urged me to keep going. It was at that moment I decided to seek illustrators, professional editors and proofreaders, book designers, and a quality printing house. In other words, if Kathryn Cole, the seasoned children’s book editor had faith in me, I had to get some faith going inside me as well. To my amazement, she offered her words as blurbs on both of the books! 

The first stop was deciding to create the picture book, Emmie and the Fierce Dragon. Who would ever believe that a small girl could help out a town with a serious fierce dragon problem? Still, Emmie sets off with a plan of her own to tame that dragon. How many times in our lives must we be faced with a dilemma that requires each of us to stand tall, be brave, and do the courageous thing with nothing more than our wits and skills? Even if that meant our kneecaps could shake down a hillside? Yes, we must, at any age, face a beast. My daughter, Carly, introduced me to her friend Sonia Leung, a talented watercolour artist whom she felt could do the job of illustrating. After reading the manuscript, Sonia agreed to create the fantastic original watercolour artwork in Emmie and the Fierce Dragon. I loved how Sonia’s work complimented and brought to life the words I had written; I knew this was exactly the road I should be on. Seeing the finished product in Emmie and the Fierce Dragon confirmed this choice was indeed the perfect fit I had been seeking when the jumble of words first appeared in my head. I could now give it a name, and that name is STORY.


Emmie and the Fierce Dragon was the first to be introduced into the marketplace of readers. At the book launch held in Calgary at the city’s oldest book store, Owl’s Nest Books, a friend of Sonia’s, James Pantuso, approached me and offered to do some illustrating for any other book I might have in mind. Well, I did have The Jewel manuscript just waiting for an illustrator. James created the graphic art that is a stunning example of what an artist can do with a black pen and a piece of paper. There was one and only one colour used in that book, purple, and it was used in a very purposeful way. It became a critical part of the story, appearing and disappearing at the right times. James and I have gone on to do more collaborations and I am so proud to have been able to work with such immensely talented artists.  Both Emmie and the Fierce Dragon and The Jewel are Calgary Number One Bestsellers!


Creating the first two books led to two more books. Beast Bot is a chapter book about a passionate inventor who must decide, after the worst happens in his family, if he should continue with his passion or give it up and make some new friends.  Beast Bot is blurbed by Canadian Treasure, poet, storyteller, novelist, and my personal idol, Sheree Fitch. I was over the moon when she agreed to read the manuscript and offer her thoughts in a book blurb. Then, it was reviewed by CBC Books, with host Russell Bowers and Canadian literature advocate and author, Dr. Angie Abdou. The Gardener is my latest release, illustrated by James Pantuso, showcasing his talent with a full-colour extravaganza of pictures and a rhyming singsong story about one’s dreams and imagination, and what happens when those are lost. How can your dreams and imagination possibly be brought back once they are gone? The Gardener will help out with that!



Website: Home | Emmie and the Fierce Dragon



Coffee or tequila: Both if the situation demands it! Coffee to keep fueled and a wee dram of Scotch upon completion of a book.


Music or quiet: Quiet so the story music in my head can storm out and dance onto the paper.

 My desk is a delightful nest of book piles, notebooks, scraps of paper, bits of story ideas, book thoughts, several pairs of glasses, a multitude of pens and ink colours – a general happy conglomeration of perfect disquietude, awaiting my next book adventure, which might be very close on the horizon.



Thank you so much, Allan Hudson, for this wonderful experience with you and The Scribbler! I had a blast!


You are most welcome, Carrie. Wishing you continued success with your writing. 



And a BIG thank you to our readers and visitors.

Monday 23 October 2023

Spring Paths. The wait is finally over!


From the Seasonal Collective comes the third episode of the series. 

We are so-o-o-o-o excited. 

Nine writers – Seasonal Collective - from both sides of the Atlantic, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have created a third miscellany of stories.

One of our collaborators from Great Britain, Angela Wren, sums it up best.

Sometimes, a compelling short story is all you need.

Let our tales of gods, ghosts, alien worlds, mystery, secrecy, love, loss, and horror get under your skin for a while.

Nine North Atlantic writers have collaborated to create this anthology, the third in a series of multi-genre fables that will entertain, possibly unsettle, and cause you to think about the present in which we live.

Curl up on the sofa and allow yourself to be lost in the pages of this fascinating book.

The original series began in 2021 with Autumn Paths. Please take a look HERE.


Read some of the Reviews HERE.

The following year, we introduced the second of the series. 

Winter Paths.

Nine writers – Seasonal Collective - from both sides of the Atlantic, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have created a second miscellany of stories.

From the frozen north, across continents, space and time, these stories will mystify, enlighten, intrigue and perhaps bring a tear to the eye.  With a linking theme of winter - in all its guises - experience the warmth of friendly hearts, find companionship and place, encounter battles, uncover secrets, meet ghosts and witness the strength of maternal love.

There’s a story for everyone in this thrilling new collection.

Discover more HERE.

Paperback is available now if you follow this LINK. eBook to follow soon. Watch here for details.

Meet the Collective.

Pierre Arseneault

Angella Cormier

Chuck Bowie

Sandra Bunting

S. C. Eston

Allan Hudson

Eden Monroe

Gianetta Murray

Angela Wren

Please join us with our tales. Thank you for your support.