Friday 25 March 2016

Guest Author Ann Knight of New Brunswick, Canada

The Scribbler is fortunate to have Ann Knight as the featured guest this week. She has studied Dramatic Arts as well as Dramatic Screenwriting at Algonquin College and received an outstanding achievement award in English Language. She is a published author with a Young Adult story - The Rubix. She has also penned The Rising (2011), Midnight Peak - a sequel(2011) and Battlefield (2011) Her link is below.

Her short story The Raft is a creative piece about inner turbulence in the aftermath of a traumatic event.

Copyright 2015 by Ann Knight

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by permission.

The Raft

                Thunderheads rolled across the darkened sky. Gray clouds swelled and curled over themselves spewing rain that fell in tight streaks, lacerating the surface of the ocean that lay beneath like needles puncturing skin. This storm had caught me completely by surprise. After the worst of it had passed, I was alone in the squally waters fighting to stay alive, desperately clutching the only object that was keeping me afloat—a simple box crate. I didn’t know what had happened to the rest of my family—the storm had separated us. My husband, my children, my pets—the people I loved—where were they? They were in the blackness like me—maybe they were alone and holding onto something for dear life just like me too. 

I had already been at the mercy of this tumultuous sea for what seemed like a time without end and it was still raging and still powerful. A black wall of water rose in front of me, sucking me into it like a vacuum. I found myself at its highest peak, momentarily gazing at the bowling sky above until the wave dropped me back down so fast that bile came up from my stomach and burned the back of my throat. This was the roller coaster from hell—the dips plunged my heart into the pit of my gut until I thought the sick feeling alone would be enough to kill me. The violence of the sea was relentless. I curled my hand around the rope that was tied around the box crate, doubting that I could remain afloat much longer. My strength was all but gone. Hanging onto the winding rope, I ignored the frigid temperature of the water, endured the occasional slaps from the wild salty sea, and thought back to a time when I had navigated these depths with ease. It didn’t even seem like that long ago when…

The clear sky was above me and the calm sea was below me. My vessel was large, I remember it well. It was sturdy, beautiful, and it weathered the storms that came my way. I had spent a long time building it—constructing its base and overseeing the minutest of details until it was sail-worthy. I had placed everything that mattered to me on that craft; everything of substance that this particular storm brutally tore to pieces had been on that vessel—pieces I had tried to hold on to, but the tempest had swallowed them all.

The swell rose, heaving, and tossing me around. This night was especially dark, as black as coal. The occasional sparkle of light on the water, when the clouds decided to be kind and part, was somewhat reassuring. I wanted to think that even though I was alone—stranded—maybe someone was looking out for me—just maybe… I wasn’t completely abandoned. I rested my cheek on the crate. My teeth were chattering and my body was shivering uncontrollably. I gripped the slippery rope tighter, twirling it around my hand several times. If the storm took this crate from me too I wouldn’t survive. I needed it. It hadn’t been a part of my original vessel—but it was a part of my experience now. It had found me and kept me afloat—it was all I had to hold onto. It would mean the end if I lost my grip—because the way I saw it, without this crate I would drown. It wasn’t just a simple box crate. It was my lifeline. Even in the dark I could make out its shape, square and imperfect, but in my view it was just right… because it had saved me.

Wrapping my arms around the crate, I desperately clung for dear life. But the shift of my weight submerged us, and we slipped under the surface. The water swallowed us both. There in the cold depth, we were rocked and tossed, rolled and churned—me and my crate—until the rope disentangled itself from my hand. We were disconnected. I screamed underwater and bubbles rushed out of my mouth. Flailing and kicking, I reached for the rope that wasn’t there anymore. Disoriented and confused, I struggled to find the surface—needing to get air into my burning lungs.

A ghostly white light shone down from a break in the cover of clouds overhead, like a spotlight, and it showed me the way. Breaking the surface of the sea, I choked and struggled to tread water, coughing and spitting until something knocked me hard on the back of the head. It was my crate—and it was floating away from me. The sea was taking it. It’s leaving… I panicked and
opened my mouth to call after it just as a succession of small waves began to batter me. I flailed at the surface of the choppy water, fighting for my next breath, knowing I had no strength left to go on. Knowing I should let the storm take me because I had lost too much—more than most—and more than I could ever hope to recover.

I went under.

The water covered me like a cold, discomforting blanket. I expected death to claim me, as I knew it was waiting and longing to do. The tendrils of the deep reached for me, bucking and summersaulting me around and around. The rage and tenacity of the water spurred my own anger and I lashed out with furious fists, and sharp kicks, and everything I could muster—fighting the bodiless monsoon until my lungs screamed for oxygen. Exhausted, I opened my mouth and released the last of my air supply. The bubbles quickly rose for the surface, showing me the way up. I contemplated staying put. I need air! My lungs screamed again. But in this very moment the water was still; deceptively quiet and eerily tranquil like it was on pause. Just take me… I thought. Without so much as a thin thread to hold on to, I’m defeated anyhow.

Just then a raft appeared overhead, its shadow darkening the blue-black gloom. I looked up at the rectangular mass, temporarily mesmerized, until white hands broke the surface of the water and reached in. Those hands found me, curled around my upper arms, and pulled me out of the water. My lungs sucked in a desperate breath of air, all the while cursing me for allowing their extensive distress. My upper body landed on the hard planks. The soaked wood smelled of over-ripened apples and cheap cigars and my cheek was pressed firmly against it. My legs dangled off the side of the raft, tethered in place by the weight of my upper body. I couldn’t keep my eyes open because the water came up over the side of the raft and slapped my face over and over, developing a rhythm, like the beat of a drum. The slapping water gradually lessened in intensity until I realized that…

The storm was finally beginning to settle.

By morning, the sky was violet and blue. A stripe of orange peaked over the edge of the horizon where the ocean met the sky. The orange streak slowly spread across the dull sky, lightening and trying to overtake it. I took a deep breath, vaguely aware that I was not alone on the raft. My fingers found the edge of the plank above my head and I used the very little strength I had left to turn on to my other cheek. With my mouth gaping, I stared across at the familiar figure sitting just a few feet away. He had the appearance of a man, but I knew he was still a boy.

The salty water burned my eyes but I could see his shoes—white sneakers with bright green laces. They were familiar. My head was swarming with thoughts and ideas. The boy was sitting crossed-legged, his gray plaid cotton shorts revealing his long pale legs. There was something about him that I recognized, yet I couldn’t quite identify it. The misshaped form of his knees struck me. The bones slightly protruded beneath his kneecaps… This boy… can it be that I know him? I wondered. The raft was drifting on the choppy sea, but in the moment that I was staring across at the boy, everything felt peaceful. I opened my mouth, wanting to say something, but I was too exhausted to utter anything that made sense. “I… I can’t…” my voice broke and I hung my head.

“Don’t try,” he said clearly, and I knew his voice. I had heard it before. “Just rest.”

I squeezed my eyes shut. Pain constricted about my chest. My heart tightened around a small chest—a secret box that I kept hidden deep inside—a chest that now threatened to burst open. Pain mingled with my blood and pulsed through my veins like poison, becoming a hot and searing liquid. I bit down on my lip until the taste of blood filled my mouth. There was a boy on my raft—a boy. And suddenly I realized… this wasn’t just a raft—it was a piece of my broken vessel. This had once been mine… I swallowed hard, trying to push down the lump that had risen to my throat. I couldn’t look up at the boy now even if I wanted to… because I knew exactly what I would see if I did—hair as fine as strands of silk, dark espresso-coloured eyes that could see to the pit of someone’s soul, and a smile that could brighten even the deepest, darkest of days. On top of that though, I would see perfection. I would see the reflection of my joy, of my hope, and my endless love.

“Don’t try,” he repeated, and his voice took me back to a different time.

There had been a boy on my vessel—before this particular storm hit. He was a strong, handsome, caring boy. A boy that I
loved unconditionally. He left handprints on my heart and placed a trail of footprints throughout my soul. A sob broke free of my chest. My eyes were stinging, not from the saltiness of the water, but from the saltiness of the tears that were now flowing freely from them.

My heart was broken… I lost this boy to the storm.

A strong gust of wind twirled our raft around on the blue-marbled water. My legs were still dangling over the side when the wild current caught them. The sea tried once again to suck me back into its perilous depths. My shoulders lost their perch and my body slid close to the edge. Not again! I thought, and contemplated the value of holding on this time, of staying this course. What did I have left? Do we ever actually beat the storm? No. We are all either heading into it, in the middle of it, or coming out of it—after it has taken something from us. My fingers were slipping. My hold was failing. The water was swallowing my lower body and I had to make a choice—keep going or let go. The storm was testing me again. Choose.

As if in answer, the boy reached over and placed his hand on my back.

“It’ll be ok,” he said, and I could almost see his face. “Don’t let go mama.”

And I broke. I wept.

The water entered my mouth and I choked. I wanted to hold him—to hold the boy, but he was beyond my reach. “Hold on,” he said. “Don’t let go,” he whispered time and time again, and I did—I held on until the storm receded and the waters were calm again. The boy never moved from his place. I felt him sitting next to me, where he remained fixed and watchful.

The sky remained dull and gray for a long time, a long time. I held on, drifting half-on and half-off the raft, until the water became a ripple-less sheet of glass under the pale blue sky. Until a new dawn finally broke. Finally, the storm had relented. In time I found the strength to pull myself completely up onto to the raft, and all I could do was rest my forehead against the boards and hug my knees to my chest. I was barely alive. The next stretch of time was for recovering, restoring, healing. I didn’t move. I didn’t do anything but breathe. Weak and fragile, the only arms of comfort were my own, and I just breathed. Days turned to nights. Eventually, my ears began to work again and I heard sea birds
singing and playing in the sky overhead. Their songs were sweet, like nectar to my ears. They nurtured me. The occasional gush of water spraying from a whale’s blowhole as it came in for a curious look, startled me and helped me find the strength to lift my head again. I looked out onto the blue world, and my perspective changed. I noticed different things over time. Fins broke the surface of the water near my raft, drawing brilliant swirls that brought a smile to my lips. Life was all around me. The boy was gone. But he was with me. And life was within me. And life was all around me. The storm hadn’t taken it all…  

Love you forever my boy,

Ann Knight   

Thank you Ann for sharing this compelling story.

Readers can discover more about Ann by going to

Please drop by next week for another exciting 4Q Interview.

Friday 18 March 2016

Guest Author Stevie Turner of East Anglia, UK

The Scribbler has an international scope, readers and writers from all over the world. Todays guest is Stevie Turner of East Anglia, United Kingdom. An accomplished author with 8 novels and 4 short stories published which focus on the darker side of relationships, but also have her trademark sprinkling of humour.

She is enjoying an early retirement and is now a full time writer. She is married with "an ever-expanding" immediate family. She gains inspiration while walking along the country footpaths and byways around her village.

This week we are fortunate to have one of her short stories that will be published in a collection later in 2016. Her link is listed below.




          “I hear you’re looking for a quick way to pay off your debts.”

          I look up as a stocky young guy with clean, dark, waist-length hair puts his lunch tray down opposite me and takes a seat.  I don’t know him but have seen him around the campus, usually carrying a guitar in a case on his back.

          “I might be; as long as it’s legal and I get to keep my clothes on.”

          I nibble on my sandwich as nonchalantly as I can, enjoying his throaty chuckle at my remark.

          “Well, it’ll definitely be legal, but it’s up to you about the clothes.”

          Intrigued, I study his face for more clues.  There are two laughing blue eyes trying to hide behind copious amounts of dark facial fuzz, which I swiftly decide he’d look better without.

          “Out with it then; I’ve a lecture starting in twenty minutes.”

          “Sure.”  He nods. “It’s like this; I’m here on a student visa which runs out in October, but it’ll be better for my musical career if I can stay in the UK.”  He takes a bite of his burger and scans my face intently. “So……. you agree to marry me, and I put fifteen thousand smackeroos in your bank account.”

          “Bloody hell!”  I nearly choke on my food. “You move right along, don’t you?” 

          “Don’t give me an answer now; think about it.”  He waggles his finger at me. “I’m not saying all this just to get into your pants; I really need to stay here.  Things are happening for me and my band.”

          “Jeez.”  I look at him aghast. “Married?  I don’t even know your name!”

          “Ha; it’s Gerrie Hermann.  So you’re interested then? What’s your name, by the way?”

          His accent is appealing, but I can’t quite place it.  I have a terrible mental image of taking him up North to meet Mum and Dad, the straightest, poorest, but proudest parents in all the land.

          “Sophie Woods, but I can’t see it working.” I shake my head.

          “Sure it will.  You don’t have to love me or anything, ‘cos I’m basically an arsehole.”  His eyes twinkle. “We get married; I go my way, and you go yours.  Only now you’re fifteen thousand pounds richer.”

          I try not to laugh as I finish up my cola and look at his frayed denim waistcoat and dirty-white tee shirt.

“And where are you, arsehole extraordinaire, going to get fifteen thousand quid from?” 

          “I’ve already got it from my parents and from playing gigs.  Come with me to the hole in the wall and I’ll print you out a balance.”

          “I’ve got a lecture.  I’ll think about it.” 


          Gerrie finds me again the next day in the cafeteria.  I notice with distaste the same off –white tee shirt, but this time without the waistcoat.

          “See you at the cash machine at half past four.”  He winks as he walks past me. “Don’t be late.”

          The effrontery of the guy is amazing.  However, intrigued, I find myself walking a circuitous route to the accommodation unit after lectures end, just to see if he’s there.  He is; waiting there like Winnie the Pooh on steroids, with a smile on his face the size of the Blackwall tunnel.

          “I knew you’d come!”  He’s almost jumping up and down with glee. “You’re not seeing my pin number, but you can have the print-out.”

          I look away as he pops his card in the reader and enters the pin.  I still cannot believe somebody looking the way he does could possess thousands of pounds in his bank account.  He requests a balance and gives me another grin.

          “Mum and Dad are minted. Why do you think I’ve been able to get a student visa?”

          I take the balance print-out from him, and am surprised to discover there is over thirty thousand pounds in his account.

          “Because you murdered them and stole all their money?”  I look again at the piece of paper just to make sure.

          “Wrong. I told you; they’re wealthy.  What do you say?  Come down to the bank with me tomorrow lunchtime, and I’ll transfer it over to your account.”

          It was all moving too fast.  I saw a summer of not having to work at menial jobs in order to pay Mum and Dad back, who had re-mortgaged their home in order to be able to send me to university.  I could repay my debt to them in dribs and drabs so as not to cause suspicion, and be done with it. They’d never find out I was already married, and I could always say to a future partner that I didn’t need a marriage certificate to prove my commitment.  I decided for once in my life to live dangerously.

          “Okay, but wait until exams are over.  I’ll book it for some time in July, but you’ll have to shave though. I hate beards.”

          Gerrie shakes his head.

          “No way; love me, love my beard.”

          “I don’t love you, and I’m not marrying a guy whose face is full of fuzz.”

          “Bugger.”  Laughs Gerrie. “You drive a hard bargain, don’t you?”

          “Take it or leave it.”  I reply.


          It’s a lovely day for a wedding, as fifteen thousand pounds richer, I stand on the steps of Newham Registry Office with my husband of just ten minutes.  We thank our two witnesses, and ask them to take some photos of us with our iPhones.  The witnesses comply, and then disappear into the throng of passers-by from whence they came, Gerrie looks at me and gives a whoop of joy.

          “Yes!  Thanks for this Sophie; you don’t know what it means to me.”

          “Thanks for the money.”  I laugh.  “Let’s go and celebrate!”

          As we walk along to a nearby pub, I take a swift glance at the newly-shaven Gerrie, who actually looks devastatingly handsome in a three-piece suit and cravat.  He catches my eye and puts a casual arm around my shoulder.

          “So you like the new me, eh?”

          “Sure.” I blush furiously. “You’ve scrubbed up pretty well.”

          “You’re not so bad yourself.”  His gaze travels up and down my body in an instant. “Fancy coming along to my gig tonight?  We can go for a curry afterwards if you like?”

          I’m suddenly happy that we’re not going our separate ways straight off.   I quickly agree, and with a mounting excitement look forward to what might happen after the curry.  After all, it is our wedding night!


Thank you Stevie for this entertaining story. 
Please drop by Stevie's site and check out her books and more.

Next week on the Scribbler you will meet author Ann Knight of Moncton, New Brunswick.

Would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment and tell me where you are from.

Friday 11 March 2016

Guest Author Jason Hamilton of Dieppe, NB.

This man owns a Yurt! He's also a clever storyteller and the Scribbler is pleased to have him visit this week. Ever wonder what leads someone to become an author? Read on for one person's account of their journey!

I suppose there are easier ways to kick-start a writing career than building a yurt. Alright, there were more reasons that just my writing career for building a luxury Mongolian tent in 2010. Chief among them was getting out of show business.

At that point (2010) in my professional life, show business was everything. It was my job and it was my lifestyle. Everything rolled into one. And yet, despite making a good living as a film lighting technician, I wasn’t completely satisfied.

          When I first broke into the industry my end goal wasn’t to become a film lighting technician. It wasn’t my intention to chew up all my time and energy being a cog in the wheel of someone else’s film. My intention was to make my own. But that wasn’t quite how it all unfolded.

            For three years, starting in 1997, becoming a filmmaker was all I thought about. Learning the industry. Gaining confidence. Contacts. Then I would make my film. My move.

            Sure, I’d made a few short films before. I started making them in high school. A couple in university. But I wanted to take the next step. Make my mark. Move beyond being a crew member.

            Finally, in 2001 I completed “Shotgun Journalism”. It was a flop. After applying to several dozen festivals it got accepted into exactly ONE. It was back to making my living as a lighting technician.

            That’s not to say I was banished to Siberia. Film can be a very good job that provides a good income….provided there’s work. For any number of unpredictable reasons you could be as busy as hell one minute and famished the next. And then there are the grueling days.

            These two (BIG) factors contributed to looking beyond film to find fulfillment during those lean times. Though I continued to write, my confidence, not surprisingly, had taken a bit of a hit. Instead I tried being a handyman. An apprentice electrician. I even refocused my efforts into freelance writing. But no matter what I did when film work picked up again I always went crawling back. I had made a lifestyle choice that would require drastic measures to break free of completely.

            Enter parenthood.

            Or, more accurately, accidental parenthood.

            The year my short film appeared in ONE film festival was also the year I would fatefully meet my common-law heterosexual life partner Sylvie Mazerolle. During one of the slow times in Toronto, I ventured out Atlantic Canada to work on a couple of movies. The first was in Halifax. The movie: “Phase IV” starring Dean Cain and Brian Bosworth. The second was “Vendetta: No Conscience, No Mercy” starring Daniel Baldwin.

Sylvie was a make-up artist on the Saint John movie. We started as a fling. It turned into a long-distance relationship. Later that year I asked her to move in with me.

            Now, truth be told, I wasn’t the ONLY reason she moved from Moncton, NB to Toronto, ONT. She was pursuing her dream of becoming a make-up artist. But, fortunately for all concerned (and to the surprise of the many who’d seen a film fling come and go) we’re still together.

            Seeing as how we were both established in our careers, parenthood wasn’t exactly top of mind. Not until we started to notice the encroaching sands of time. We decided to take a six-week trip to Southeast Asia to answer the question of whether or not we wanted to become parents. (That trip became the subject of my second book “Finding Asia”)

            We came back no more certain about that topic, but damn sure about our love of travelling!

            Luckily for us, film was custom-made for people who liked to work their asses off so they could have time and money for just such a purpose.

            And that’s when Drew Barrymore entered the picture.

            Yes, that Drew Barrymore, and no I’m not a celebrity stalker.

            In most of her films, what you see with her is what you get. She’s bubbly, funny, sweet, cute and sexy. For most of her movies she didn’t exactly stretch her acting chops to achieve box office glory.

            But every now and then an actress gets a chance to step out of their comfort zone and push their limits. I just happened to be working on the film where that happened.

            The name: Grey Gardens.

            Normally bubbly and fun with the crew, Ms. Barrymore employed the method style of acting to accurately portray the character “Little” Edie Beale. She was in character 24/7. She wouldn’t answer unless addressed by the name of her character. Meh, whatever it takes. I didn’t think twice about her chosen method.

            In addition to remaining in character during the entire shoot, there was also the matter of extensive make-up, wardrobe and hair requirements. Shooting days became marathon 15-hour days.

            By the time we wrapped on principal photography a few weeks before Christmas 2007 everyone was exhausted. But still up for a few festivities.

            Not often does A-List talent appear at the wrap party. Perhaps owing to the grueling demands of method, or hair or whatever, Ms. Barrymore did indeed make an appearance. I happened to run into her on the way to the bathroom. It was a long hallway, separate from the rest of the venue. She saw me and stopped right away.

            We started chatting and she professed her guilt at not being more social while on set (which, apparently she is known for). I reassured her it was okay, but she would have none of it.

            “I so wanted to talk to you,” she pleaded, “You seemed so nice. I’m really just a hippy valley girl.”

            And then she gave me a big hug and a kiss before going on her way.

            I floated back to the dance floor as I met up with my wife. Remember me, Jason from Palmerston. Farm boy who just had a chance meeting with a beautiful Hollywood star. Those butterflies must have lasted a bit longer than I anticipated.

            That December we drove to New Brunswick to celebrate Christmas. Sylvie’s parents greeted us as we stepped in the front door.

            Flo Mazerolle greeted her daughter with a tight, warm hug before she noticed immediately that something was amiss. Something wasn’t right. She didn’t hold back what her mommy instincts were telling her:

            “YOU’RE PREGNANT!”


            Being in show business is grueling. Doing something you didn’t set out to do even more so. Being a new parent, living on a main street in a major city without family help all contributed to our decision. It wasn’t arrived at arbitrarily. Not long after our son was born, Sylvie and I were putting in the time to figure out an exit strategy from film. There was a catch. How do you translate film experience into the real world?

            I saw it as an opportunity. Y’see during those long slow times on set I’d salvaged my sanity with the help of a notepad. About two dozen of them over the years. In addition to all of the other things I tried to get out of the industry, I also managed to get a few articles published. I took a Copywriting course. I thought if I had just the right shove, a clean break away from film, I could find a full-time position as a writer.

            THAT was my goal. What I got when I first moved to New Brunswick in 2010 was freelance work. I tried to make the best of it but it didn’t go well. I switched careers and jobs a few times. But the experience of making the move from Toronto to New Brunswick was perfectly suited, in my eyes, to a book. Unfortunately a book takes time. Time doesn’t wait. I needed to get some kind of income that was going to lead to something. I parlayed my film lighting experience into an electrical apprenticeship. Once again I was far away from my goal of becoming a writer. Only this time the monetary remuneration wasn’t nearly so good. And to add to my misery I was working for a man who, when provoked, could scream and yell like a banshee.

            My only salvation: I went back to my notepad. I wrote like crazy. I also I pitched the hell out of “Life, the Yurt and Everything” and I also vowed to make that unwelcome tyrant the bad guy in my first novel. In the evenings I would pitch. In the mornings I would write.

            I quickly wrote the rough draft of my first novel “The Prince of Acadia & the River of Fire” in the car before my dreary workday would begin. I was also feeling hopeful that “Life the Yurt and Everything” would get picked up by a publisher or an agent.

            After several months (and the occasional earful of indignation) I finally got the break I was looking for. I had a New York agent interested in the idea. He asked me for a re-write on the sample chapters I sent him. I was FINALLY going to get out from under the foot of the John Gerryston (not his real name) aka the White Wizard!

            And then the agent regretfully declined. I kept pitching for another ten months. I finally had enough. The idea needed to get out. I needed to get out from under it. Turn the page on that chapter. Find the resolution to the story. Put it to bed. I took it upon myself to publish.

   Like a proud parent I gave birth to the book “Life, the Yurt and Everything”. A year later I finished the travel book “Finding Asia”.

            Two books and NO marketing plan. Evidently I had it backwards. I thought distribution was the most important thing. I’ve since learned marketing is the key. The rest will take care of itself.

            I’m now putting some of that hard earned wisdom to use with my first novel. Once again I have the book ready before I have everything else. Well, not everything. I have a domain. I have a Facebook page. I have the beginnings of an email list. I started public speaking.

            In short, I’m putting in the building blocks for a career. It started with “Life, the Yurt and Everything” and continued in “Finding Asia” and now I’m going in a slightly new direction with “The Prince of Acadia & the River of Fire”.

            It’s taken me six years, five careers, four jobs, and one yurt to get to this point. All things being equal, I might concede a weekend writing retreat might have been a cheaper alternative.



 Thank you Jason for this great article.
Although his website is "Under Construction" you readers can tuck this email address away and catch up on what Jason is up to -
His books are available at
Next week on the Scribbler, we are excited to have Stevie Turner of East Anglia, UK as our guest author.