Saturday, 3 December 2022

The Story Behind the Story with Bretton Loney of Nova Scotia, Canada.


Bretton is no stranger to the Scribbler.

During the Scribbler’s 4Q days, he was a guest back in 2019.

If you missed it, please go HERE.

He’s sharing the story behind the story for his new book -       

Joe Howe’s Ghost.

As an added bonus, you can read an excerpt from the novel below.

Read on, my friends. 




I am a novelist and non-fiction writer who has published two previous books that were nominated for Whistler Independent Book Awards: in 2018 for my first novel, The Last Hockey Player, and in 2015 for a biography, Rebel With A Cause: The Doc Nikaido Story.

My short stories have appeared in Canadian short story anthologies and literary journals, including the short story collection Everything Is So Political.  In 2013 my short story Tommy’s Mother was one of 12 stories shortlisted for the Writers’ Union of Canada’s 20th annual Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers.

In 2019 my story, “The Coulee Song”, appeared in The Group of Seven Reimagined, a collection of very short stories inspired by the artists’ paintings.

I was a journalist for more than 20 years in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and worked in communications for the Government of Nova Scotia for the past 16 years.



Working Title: Joe’s Howe’s Ghost




In Joe Howe’s Ghost, Erin Curran, a rookie Government MLA, has a startling encounter with the ghost of Joe Howe, Nova Scotia’s most famous politician and journalist, which changes the trajectory of her career and her life.

Erin is a young, bright and articulate politician learning to balance her new responsibilities to constituents and her party with trying to protect time with her husband and toddler.

Howe has been silently walking the halls of historic Province House for more than 150 years and Erin is the first living soul he has spoken to in all that time. At first, it is Erin who learns from Howe, the master politician and communicator, who brought responsible government to Nova Scotia, defended free speech and bitterly opposed Confederation.

But as their friendship grows, Howe gains an appreciation of our times as Erin faces the trials of today’s politics and the unique challenges facing female MLAs—from sexist colleagues to misogynist social media trolls.

Joe Howe’s Ghost is a reflection on Howe’s tumultuous political era and of provincial politics today.  It explores the personal struggle between the desire for political power and upholding heartfelt personal convictions that are common to both eras.



The Story behind the Story: 

In 2015, I had the idea to combine elements of Nova Scotia history and politics with today’s provincial political scene and Joe Howe’s Ghost was born. As a former journalist and long-time, behind-the-scenes observer of provincial politics, Joe Howe’s story has always called to me.

How could anyone not find Howe interesting?

·    He was a crusading journalist and editor who won a famous libel trial defending freedom of the press by representing himself in court

·     He fought a duel in Point Pleasant Park and won – and yet no one died

·     As a politician, he was a driving force behind Nova Scotia achieving responsible government.

·    He fought viciously against Nova Scotia joining Confederation and then changed sides and became a federal cabinet minister in one of Sir John A Macdonald’s first cabinets.

·    He visited the Red River colony prior to the Riel Rebellion.

·     He attended Queen Victoria’s coronation and once went out for a long hike with the novelist Charles Dickens


As the writing of this book evolved, the fictitious character, rookie MLA and future cabinet minister Erin Curran, began to speak to me too. Particularly regarding the trials of today’s politics and the unique challenges facing female MLAs.

And as my friends and colleagues will tell you, I have more than a few thoughts about Nova Scotia politics. The more I thought about the challenges of Joe Howe’s political career and the travails of Erin’s present-day political life, the more the parallels between the two became apparent.






A question before you go, Bretton.

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?


My best writing time is for a few hours between 8:30 am and noon while my head is still fresh. The most productive place is a desk in our spare bedroom on an old desktop computer that I’ve written two novels and a biography on.

 I love some background music – classical, jazz, techno or mood music – but it can’t have any words or no words that I can understand so I listen to Brazilian and Latin jazz too.

Mild caffeination – either a coffee or tea – is necessary. My desk is notoriously untidy with notes and research strewn everywhere and taped to the nearby walls and window sill.

My “perfect” writing setting would be at a villa in the south of France with an ocean view, but to date my royalties haven’t made that dream come true. Sometimes when my royalty cheques come in, I can afford to splurge and buy my wife and I some fancy coffees, which is a bonus really because who writes for the money?  


Grand idea!


(Copyright is owned by the author. Used with permission)


***Authors note: In this opening chapter readers are introduced to the legendary Nova Scotia politician and journalist, Joe Howe, and to the young rookie MLA, Erin Curran. Accompanying Howe is his aide in life and in the afterlife, Ennis Douglas.



Chapter 1


The second time I saw him I felt him first. Every hair tingled. The taste of metal coated my tongue. The speaker piping in the drone of late-night debate from my fellow MLAs fell silent. I was alone in the Legislative Library, and it was as still as a tomb.

At the top of the winding, wrought iron staircase to the second-floor book stacks was a shape. To the left of a portrait of the Duke of Kent. No more than a shadow in a room cloaked in semi-darkness. I shook my head. After a sleepless night pacing the floor with a sick toddler in my arms, I was too exhausted to be at work.

In the gloom a hand formed grasping the railing so tightly a row of knuckles popped up. An elderly man took shape out of the nothingness. He had a large head, a wild crown of white hair, and a turnip-shaped nose.

He wore a long, dark frock coat with a white, high-collared shirt, a vest, and a bow tie. His left hand was hooked on the lapel of the frock coat. His feet anchored as though steadying himself on a rocking ship. He gazed down on me from under winged eyebrows.

“Good evening, madam,” he said formally, his voice hoarse and dusty as though unused for a long time.

Eight porcelain busts mounted along the walls turned their heads toward him ever so slightly.

The freakish movement was startling. Winded me like a punch to the stomach. I blurted out “Good evening” as my head fell to the table and the world went black.


“Joe, you sh-sh-sh-should not have appeared out of the blue like that. You s-s-scared the young woman nearly out of her wits. She has fainted straight away.”

“For goodness sake, Ennis, I know. I couldn’t help myself. Over the years we have crept around here, I have tried to reach out to many of these fellows. To dissuade them from poor policies or to encourage certain bills, but I could never make a connection. Then, the first time I try with this young woman, something magical happens. I feel as though I have been struck by a thunderbolt.”

“She does remind one of your lovely wife, does she not?”

“Of my own little editor, my dearest Susie? Do you think so?”

“You know that she does. Her spirit and intelligence shine through in this p-p-place, not to mention the adorable little nose and those hazel eyes. It’s quite remarkable.”

“God’s teeth, that is it exactly. I have seen her dozens of times in these hallways. Her keen mind and grace are evident whether she is conversing with members of her own party or fellows from the other side of the House. She listens carefully and politely, weighing their words, never offering too much nor too little of her own opinion until she has the perfect thing to say. Rather extraordinary.”

“Our Nova Scotia needs someone like her, Joe, more than ever.”

“I feel awful for scaring her. Quite diabolical of me. Should I try to revive her? Blow in her face or tap on the table beside her head?”

“I think you have done quite enough for one night. It has been nearly 150 years since you last conversed with the living. I think you can give the young woman a day or two to try and understand what she has seen before attempting again. I am sure you have plenty to say to her, but it can wait. I have tried to be good company for you since I came over, Joe, but admittedly I have not been as good a conversationalist, and as good a listener, as I was at first. One grows tired.”

“My friend, you have been fine company. It is I who have grown tedious. I am tired of this place, the unchanging nature of the issues and, most of all, of politicians. I long for eternal sleep, but somehow you and I seem impervious to its charms. For some reason known only to fate, I have made a tenuous connection with this promising young woman, and I must say it fills me with hope. We should raise a bumper of wine in celebration, but of course that is not possible. Yes, we will let her sleep and gather her thoughts. I must be a fright to the living, eh, Ennis?”

“And to the dead too, s-s-s-speaking on behalf of the dearly departed.”




Okay, I want to know what else happens!


Thank you for sharing your story with us, Bretton. 

Wishing you continued success on your writing journey.


And a Brobdingnagian Thank You to our readers and visitors.

Did you look that word up? 

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Interview with Artist, Poet & Musician Nancy Schofield of Barachois, NB, Canada.



If you looked up the word ‘Creative’ in the dictionary, the definition would likely by accompanied with a photo of Nancy Scofield beside it.

She’s an author, a poet, a visual artist and a singer. The founder of the Breach House Gang, which is a collection of other creatives who publish their stories and poems collectively.

I get exhausted just thinking about all her accomplishments.

And she’s our special guest this week and we are reverting back to an interview format for this week’s post.



Nancy King Schofield was born in Saint John, NB, began her artistic career in music and was singing in musicals by the age of five. This talent was nurtured by formal training in voice and piano and resulted in years of competitive and public performance and professional recording. After graduating from high school, her family encouraged her to choose a conventional profession and she entered a three-year program at St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing. She eventually married and raised three children. 

In 1986, King Schofield entered Mount Allison’s BFA program as a mature student and graduated in 1991 with a double major in painting and printmaking. Since then, she has pursued life as an artist and in the process, emerged as a major figure on the Canadian scene. She is now recognized for her originality in mastering the difficult medium of carved wood relief. 

Nature is both muse and theme in King Schofield’s work. Although equally acclaimed for large two-dimensional canvasses, she is best known for her mixed-media simulations that dramatize the tactile qualities of nature. Her technical skill in drawing free hand with a router, carving and gouging wood produce landscapes that are at once both abstract and representational. She finds inspiration from collected pieces of metal, driftwood and rocks that she integrates into sculpted two-dimensional pieces. 

In the thirty years that she has worked professionally, King Schofield has displayed exceptional commitment to the growth of art in her community, contributing pieces to raise money for art causes. In 1996 she was one of 15 women featured in “The Creators,” a Women’s Television Network series on women artists. She has served on the board of Imago Print Shop, Galerie 12 (Moncton, NB) and Struts Gallery (Sackville, NB). She also helped found three collectives; Galerie 12 (Aberdeen Cultural Centre), The Breach House Gang (2000) and Women Who Write (2017). King Schofield credits her extensive gallery tours in Europe in 2002 and 2009 with giving both sustenance and inspiration to her artistic commitment. 

She began to write poetry in 1999 and often incorporates lyrical arrangements of words on the surface of her mixed-media art to add “musical”texture to the work. In 2009, she was awarded first place in the WFNB Poetry Competition. In 2021, she was a featured artist in a UNB project on March 8th to honour International Women’s Day. 

King Schofield’s paintings are featured in many collections in Canada and the United States, and she has participated in more than one hundred exhibitions. The overwhelming acceptance her work has garnered during a career that extends from 1991, confirms for her a significant place in New Brunswick’s artistic community. 

Nancy King Schofield lives in Grand Barachois, NB in her studio / house near the ocean called, “the Breach House.”


Scribbler: With so many outlets for your creativity, is there a favorite? One you always go back to?


Nancy: Throughout my life, I have always gone back to visual art because of its accessibility. That was a redeeming factor for me while looking after three children and making frequent moves across Canada to accommodate my husband’s career. This lifestyle disrupted my ability to become established in either music or writing circles, but painting allowed me to work on my own until I was able to obtain formal training at Mount Allison University.



Scribbler: First off, please tell our readers about the Breach House Gang.


Nancy: When I started writing poetry in 1999, I needed someone to listen to me. I approached an artist and asked her if she was interested, and we read our work to each other occasionally. I thought there must be many other writers who needed the same support and that was when I decided to get a group together. At first there were only three active members and we met at my studio but with the onset of Covid, we decided it was safer to meet online. One initial member still attends, and we meet once per month but now we number 11.  


Scribbler: Can you tell us about your writing? What are you working on at present?


Nancy: What I plan to do this winter is to define poems that I have been writing over a couple of years and then to publish a collection. Because of time needed to manage the two writers’ groups, I haven’t much of the same to spend on my writing, even though my daughter Alex (poet and visual artist) chairs our meetings and another writer (Elizabeth Blanchard) acts as treasurer.

Similarly, I hope to prepare paintings over the next couple of years and launch an exhibition of art. I have already collected many interesting wood pieces from nature and have covered a long table with over a hundred metal pieces.


Mixed media on carved wood.


Scribbler: Please tell us about your art?


Nancy: During my formative years, my family had a summer cottage situated next to the Kennebecasis River. Every year I spent eight weeks observing organic growth, wildlife and the many moods of this powerful river. Deep feelings of guardianship for the natural order were fostered in me at this time; stones, driftwood, and rusting objects left behind for earth and water to absorb. However, I was unaware that the physicality of these objects would later become a point of reference in my art.


I need more than just paint to express my emotional response to the natural landscape. Moving energetically over the surface of a piece of plywood with an electrical router; changing bits to determine the width of grooves, gouging, sanding and chiselling the surface is what gives energy to my process. It also contributes to a sense of movement in the piece itself and I am drawn into an extraordinary experience of nature, through it. Paint and collage are added later for greater psychological impact. The large scale of many pieces is intended to place the viewer at the center of the landscape.


Mixed media on carved wood.

I studies intaglio printmaking with Dr. David Silverberg over four years at Mt. Allison. This involves using acid to bite grooves into the surface of a zinc plate that will eventually be filled with ink and printed. Similarly, I use a router to incise my drawings in wood (bas-relief) and fill these channels with paint.

My written text is often added to the piece, suspended across the surface like a transparent veil of texture.



Scribbler: I am envious that you can sing and entertain with music. Do you sing professionally?


Nancy: I haven’t sung professionally for many years. Making moves across Canada when I was actively involved in singing made it practically impossible to put down roots and become established in that arena. Also, taking care of two growing children plus a challenged son was a big responsibility and one that I took seriously.

Before marriage, I sang professionally with orchestras, on radio and TV, in music festivals and for many different organizations.  Stepping away from music wasn’t a choice but something that was necessary but because I have always thought that Art is a house with many rooms, I just went into a different room and made paintings instead of songs. And when the time was right, I entered the room of writing and learned about poetry. Occasionally now, I visit the music room and sing folk songs with other singers. Therefore, nothing is really lost because my goal in art is to evolve in whatever process I undertake.



Scribbler: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?


Nancy: The only other thing I would like to share is that I was fortunate to grow up in an Irish community that valued music and the arts. Also, both of my parents were gifted musically and therefore, music and art played an important part in our family and affected our decision making throughout our lives. Being involved in music was what we loved to do.


Last of all, I wish to thank you Allan, for your interest and for inviting me to participate in Scribbler. It has been a pleasure!  




It’s been our treat to have you as a guest, Nancy. Thanks for your time and answers. Wishing you continued success with your artistic endeavors.



Thank you to the many readers and visitors. It’s fun.


What’s your favorite artistic outlet? Tell us I the comments box below.

Sunday, 20 November 2022

The Story Behind the Story with British Author, Angela Wren.


Guess who’s back!!!!!


One of my favorite authors is telling us about her newest cozy mystery. Her main character is a very cool guy. You’ll like him.


Angela has been a guest before, a few times actually, and if you missed it, please go HERE.


I know you’ll enjoy Angela’s stories.

Read on!



Angela Wren is an actor and director at a theatre in Yorkshire, UK. An avid reader, she has always loved stories of any description. She writes the Jacques Forêt crime novels set in France and is a contributing author to the Miss Moonshine anthologies produced by Authors on the Edge and the Dark anthologies produced by her publisher, Darkstroke Books. Her short stories vary between romance, memoir, mystery and historical. Angela has had two one-act plays recorded for local radio.


Working Title:  Mazargues (Jacques Forêt Mystery #6)


Synopsis: With his private investigation business in a slump, Jacques Forêt rashly accepts a commission to find a missing painting.

The mysterious owner of the artwork remains in the background, and Jacques and his partner, Didier Duclos, are left to piece together the life of the artist and the provenance of the painting.

Jacques’ unrelenting search leads him to discover a network of secrecy and lies – and a dead body.  Who is the victim?  And who is the killer?

A difficult case that takes Jacques into the dark, and sometimes money-laundered, world of art.

The Story Behind the Story: I’ve always been interested in art.  I actually grew up in a household with artists.  Both my brothers could draw and paint and so could my dad.  Me?  I have a keen eye for colour and design but that’s about it.  I don’t seem to have the required gene.  So, I’ve made up for the deficit by visiting art galleries whenever I could.  My particular interests are the Renaissance - because that period saw the then revolutionary introduction of perspective - and the Impressionists and some more modern artists such as Georgia O’Keefe.

About five years ago, when I realised I had more than just the first four Jacques Forêt stories to tell, I came across an article in the newspaper about the theft, over one weekend, of some precious artworks.  That set me thinking.  How did the thieves do that?  How did they get round the alarm system?  For weeks afterwards my brain just would not stop circling that issue.  The customary notes were made in a number of my many notebooks and, although I had no idea of what the story would be, I knew there was a book in there somewhere.

Come forward to 2020 and the pandemic hits.  Being confined, as we all were, gave me the opportunity to indulge in my love of art from the comfort of my own library/home office.  I signed up for all sorts of lectures online.  And I was so glad I did.

#Mazargues is not just a crime story involving art it’s also about the life and work of an artist.  Yes, my story is something that developed in my imagination, but creating the life and body of work of my imaginary artist really stretched the brain.  How could I have my central character Jacques discuss the case with his colleague Didier, if I didn’t have any clear idea of the actual picture that they had been commissioned to find?

That meant research.  A lot of it, but it was a fascinating journey.  I looked up the Impressionists.  Monet, Renoir, Matisse I already had  some books about, but others, Pissarro, Morisot, Caillebotte, Singer Sargent, Hopper, Merrit Chase and Sisley, were complete strangers to me.  Whilst not all of those artists get a mention in the text, examination of their work enabled me to invent some works of art that I hope come across to the reader as credible.

So, it is William Merrit Chase’s work Child on a Garden Path that provided the inspiration for one of the pictures that comes up during the investigation.  Similarly, the missing painting of the investigation is based on At the Seaside also by Chase.

For the portraiture mentioned in my story I used some of John Singer Sargent’s work as my models.  The monochrome portrait that Jacques spends time gazing at is actually an amalgam of two of Sargent’s paintings - Madame Pailleron and Madame Gautreau.  I took specific elements from each actual portrait in order to create the one that Jacques comes across in his research.

Similarly with the other pictures that are mentioned.  They are either amalgams of real land- or seascapes or they are complete fictions based on an actual sketch or panel by one of the artists mentioned.

It would have been wonderful to be able to illustrate this post with the works that are named in the book.  Sadly, the best I can do is to tell you to click the link behind the title of each of the paintings above.  It won’t take you on the amazing journey of research that I encountered, but it might give you a hint about how enjoyable my search was.





A question for you before you go, Angela:

What is your favorite part of writing and the part you enjoy the least?


I guess I love all of it, really.  The thinking, the working out what the story is, or is not.  The planning, the actual writing - although there are times when that becomes a bit tiresome.  It usually means that I need to take a break for a few hours or a few days or so, and then come back with a fresh mind and eye.  I think the most difficult bit is editing.  And note I said ‘difficult’ and not the ‘least enjoyable’.  I find self-editing requires constant sustained concentration and that often makes me very tired.  But it is an essential part of the process so I just have to go with it. 

 I think a lot of authors feel the same way about editing. Not always fun, but necessary.

Angela is also part of the Seasonal Collective - a groups of nine authors following the same theme. 


Thanks for being our guest once more, Angela. Looking forward to reading about Jacque’s latest adventure.



Thank you, dear Readers & Visitors.

 Do you like cozy mysteries?

Tell us what’s on your mind

Leave us a comment.

Don't forget: Iron Spear 1941

Coming in December

 Have a look HERE.


Friday, 11 November 2022

The Story behind the Story with CP Daly of Nova Scotia, Canada.


I take great pleasure in introducing you to a kind and generous author.

CP Daly is notorious for her sharing and support of fellow authors. Many of us are indebted to her for her largesse.

We're pleased to have her as our guest this week. She will be telling us about her captivating stories.

Read on, my friends.


 C P Daly

Like most writers, I’m an avid reader. This led to creative writing classes in my thirties. Being a writer was not something I thought about, that was for people who lived in exotic places. Definitely not a girl from the East Coast of Canada.

The years flew by and my passion for writing grew. It wasn’t until after I raised my family and retired, did I take my writing to the next level. At the age of sixty, I found myself with a completed novel, Dead After Midnight. No one was more surprised than I. 

Little did I know, the real work had just begun.


Working Titles: The Kelsey Woods Trilogy

   Dead After Midnight – Book 1

   Dead Before Sunrise – Book 2

   Dead Days Ahead – Book 3



Synopsis: Suzie Q is a prostitute and determined to get out of her current line of work and excited for a fresh start with best friend Lucy by her side. Her dreams come to an abrupt halt, when, she stumbles upon Lucy's brutally murdered body. Fearing for her life, Suzie runs to her neighbor, Luke, for help and to regroup. She discovers he's not just a client, but an undercover FBI agent. He blindsides her when he reveals she's mixed up in an FBI investigation, and she's been unknowingly working for Johnny Stone, New York's notorious crime boss. Suzie flees New York, hiding in a quaint seaside town in Maine. She changes her identity and her life. Now she has to survive, to keep the life she has come to love.




The Story Behind the Story: The idea for the story of Suzie Q, came from a short newsclip I saw while on vacation, over twenty years ago. The newsclip was regarding arrests that had been made inside a prison. They had arrested prison guards, and other prison staff, who were involved. They were smuggling prostitutes into the prison at night. The prisoners were paying the prison employees for time with the prostitutes.

My mind immediately started to churn out all sorts of scenarios. What kind of girl would agree to be smuggled into a prison? Certainly, not by choice. Desperation? Fear? Money? Were the girls forced? By whom?

This stayed with me, until finally I began to write about it. I tried to write a sensitive story of a girl who had no options, no family, and no support system. She made bad decisions, for money, for a roof over her head, to survive.

Suzie was saving money for a fresh start, in a new city, and to live a life she could be proud of. She wanted to make something of herself, be safe and have a place to call home.

But of course, I write thrillers. The road to happiness is full of obstacles.

I’m very excited to share, my current work-in-progress is a stand-alone mystery/thriller, that is set in Nova Scotia. The title is yet to be determined, sadly my title never comes to me until after the book is written. It is due to be released in 2023.




One question for you before you go:


What is your favorite part of writing and the part you enjoy the least?


I love to plot and fit the pieces together like a puzzle and create a mix of eclectic characters. But I have to admit, my favorite part of the process is writing, The End.  A euphoric sense of satisfaction washes over me. It takes countless hours and many hurdles to reach the finish line. It’s pure joy when I wrap up my final draft with the editor.

The anticipation of the book’s arrival, and the fulfillment I feel when I hold it in my hands. Admiring the cover and savoring the moment. I think of the readers, and hope they love it, or at the very least, like it.  Fingers crossed! Then, it’s time to shelf it and move on to the next book.  The excitement of creating something new, never gets old.

It’s the marketing and administrative tasks that are the worst part of the job for me. There are never enough hours in the day to write, and do the business aspect of the job. I’ve learned not to stress over it, and just be happy with my best efforts.


Thank you, Allan, for inviting me to be a part of The Scribbler.


***Thank you for being our guest. Wishing you continued success with your writing.



And thank you to our readers & visitors. Appreciate you dropping by.


What is your favorite genre to read? Your favorite author?

Please feel free to leave a comment.

For those who may be interested, keep watching for my next thriller.

Code Name: Iron Spear 1941

Aircraftsman 2nd Class Jeremy Carter is the rawest recruit at Royal Canadian Air Force Station Scoudouc – a training center for British, New Zealand and Australian pilots during World War 2. Ordered to clean debris from the back fields, he makes a startling discovery. Reporting the incident directly to his superiors, he’s warned to keep the finding to a small and select group of airmen of which the base’s commanding officer is one. There are too many secrets at RCAF Scoudouc for this to go public.

Warrant Officer Stefan Kravchenko of the Royal Canadian Air Force is with the Service Police and his reputation is on the rise. Stationed at RCAF Saint John, he works out of the Milledgeville Airport. Thinking his day is finished, he’s called to the office of his commanding officer. He receives orders to proceed to RCAF Station Scoudouc, 150 miles away. Immediately. His not given a reason why, only that it is orders.

A German spy was sent to New Brunswick by the Abwehr before the war broke out. German intelligence receives rumours of the existence of a highly classified device leaving England, destined for the shores of Atlantic Canada. Iron Spear is activated and sent to Scoudouc. In civilian life, he was a butcher.