Sunday 28 April 2019

Guest Author Alison DeLory of Halifax, NS.

Alison is a freelance writer, editor, teacher and author; a very busy lady. The Scribbler is most fortunate to have her as our guest this week. She has kindly agreed to participate in a 4Q Interview as well as sharing a brief excerpt from her soon to be published novel - Making it Home.

Alison DeLory is a writer, editor, and teacher living in Halifax, currently working at the University of King’s College. She has been writing stories for newspapers, magazines, and digital platforms for 20 years. She’s also written two children’s chapter books and contributed to several anthologies. Making it Home is her first novel.

4Q: I'm impressed with all your writing accomplishments. Not only with your novels, but the multiple articles you’ve written on a variety of subjects. Tell us about this facet of your writing career first Alison, as a freelance writer.

AD: I enjoy lots of styles of writing, as long as I’m telling stories. I trained as a journalist and cut my teeth at the Medical Post, where I got serious about interviewing and reporting. From there I branched out to lots of magazines and newspapers, including Chatelaine and The Globe and Mail. When digital publishing took off I transitioned to writing for on-line publications and writing website copy, etc. I actually have more writing experience in non-fiction genres, but I enjoy both.

4Q: Now, tell us about your novels.

AD: I took a creative writing course in 2008 when I first moved back from Toronto to Halifax. A class assignment was to write the opening scene of a children’s book. My own kids were four and seven at the time, so I wrote down a story I’d been telling them at bedtime about two kids who had a giant cardboard box they could transform into various modes of transportation (rocket ship, submarine). It was such fun and so well received it inspired my Lunar Lifter and Scotia Sinker, my first two books.

Then I dabbled in other things: poetry, academic writing, blogging, creative non-fiction (essays and memoir) and in 2015 was taking an on-line fiction course through the University of Iowa. For a class assignment I wrote about a mass beaching of whales in Cape Breton, and became interested in the community that flocked to the beach to push them back out into the North Atlantic. This ended up being the opening to my first novel, Making it Home, which comes out in June. The surprising thing is that I ended up weaving a whole second story line into Making it Home about a family fleeing the war in Syria. I did not see that coming! Sometimes stories just find me.

4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.

AD: In grade nine on Friday afternoons we were given a prompt and asked to write half-a-page in response. My classmates used to struggle but I loved the exercise and would typically be amongst the first in the class to finish. I see now that I was showing signs of having interest in, and aptitude for, storytelling. I’ve also always loved to read. But no one ever suggested writing as a career to me and that’s puzzling. I had to decide for myself that this was something I wanted to do and would become good at…and then I put in the thousands of hours of practice required. So, if I were giving advice to an aspiring writer, I’d say look within yourself for the motivation.

4Q: Please tell us about your writing habits. Do you have a favorite spot that you feel most creative? With music or total silence?

AD: I don’t have the luxury of writing only from a favourite spot. I write on my laptop wherever I can. This might be the library or a coffee shop, my home office or my back deck. But it’s also been in a weird assortment of other places: in Access Nova Scotia while my son wrote his beginner’s exam, in the rec centre while my kids took swimming lessons, or on airplanes. I work full-time right now and have several volunteer roles, so my writing is often squeezed into the margins of my life.

4Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

AD: Only that writing has enriched my life immeasurably. I’ve interviewed such interesting people. I’ve learned about other cultures and my own. I’ve thought deeply about language and word choice. I’ve paid attention to smells and sounds in much more observant and enriching ways. I’ve struggled to try to think from another person’s perspective and that’s made me more empathetic. I’ve taught writing which has deepened my understanding of it as a skill and an art. Writing has been hard work but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

An Excerpt from Making it Home.

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

“That marker over there is for Grace Libbus. Grace was born and died on the same day, March 20, 2007. That would have been a Tuesday, Tinker. Born on a Tuesday, died on a Tuesday. The same Tuesday. Tuesday’s child is full of Grace, just like her name.”

Tinker remembered Grace’s passing well. She’d been Bob and Elsie’s granddaughter, but so briefly, suffocated when her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck during delivery. She would have been Catriona’s younger sister. 

“That so? How about me? I was born in 1941 on April 10,” Tinker said.

Roger crouched down and started peering at a patch of clover growing near Russell’s grave. “Thursday.”

This one Tinker knew to be true. He remembered his mother telling him he was born on Holy Thursday after evening mass and how she’d missed observing Good Friday that year but was back in church for Sunday’s Easter celebrations.

“Thursday’s child has far to go,” Roger said.

Tinker let that comment hang in the dank late-afternoon air. He’d never journeyed much beyond Cape Breton up to this point in his life and didn’t expect it to happen in the future. He’d gone almost nowhere and it suited him fine.

“Put out your hand, Tinker Gordon.” He did as Roger told him. Roger pressed something almost weightless into his palm then folded Tinker’s fingers over it before he could see what it was. Then he swiftly turned and walked away.

Tinker watched him walk out of the graveyard, past the church, and down the shoulder of the country road. They were three or four kilometres from Roger’s house and though it was only 4:30, the mid-November sky was already darkening, but Tinker knew better than to offer him a drive. When he opened his palm he discovered a four-leaf clover

Thank you, Alison, for being our guest this week.

Read an advanced review of Alison’s novel – Making it Home - from the Miramichi Reader HERE

For those readers that would like to know more about Alison and her writing, please follow these links.

Twitter: @aldelory

Linkedin: Alison DeLory

Instagram: @aldelory

Sunday 21 April 2019

Happy Birthday to the Scribbler!








Total page views to date – 211,127

To celebrate, see below for a chance to win a copy of 
A Box of Memories

When I started the Scribbler back in 2013, I didn’t have a clue where it was going. Someone told me that if you write stories, you need a blog. I wasn’t sure if anyone would visit. It’s a huge world out there. Ok, it’s a little smaller now with the internet, but, it’s still scary-big. There are thousands of blogs, hundreds of thousands of stories. How do you catch someone’s attention? How can I make this blog effective and entertaining?

Have effective and entertaining guests, that’s how! And I’ve been lucky!

Guests from all over the world – authors, artists, photographers, glass blowers, reviewers and musicians.
Scotland – Rio de Janeiro – Great Britain  
India – Saudi Arabia – Italy – France  
Canada – United States – Australia
Bangladesh – Qatar – Bequia – Mexico
South Africa – Spain – Philippines.

Many guests have been most kind and appeared more than once.
Chuck Bowie – New Brunswick

Jason Lawson – New Brunswick

Roger Moore – New Brunswick

S.C. Eston – New Brunswick

JP McLean – British Columbia

Susan Toy – Bequia

Sarah Butland – Nova Scotia

Vashti Quiroz-Vega – Florida

Jorja DuPont Olivia - Florida

Bobby Nash – Georgia

Lockard Young – New Brunswick (RIP)

Sylvie Mazerolle – New Brunswick

Jason Hamilton – New Brunswick

Warren Redman (Zev Bagel) & Nicole Tremblay – NB

Diana Stevan – British Columbia

Lisette Lombard – Mexico

Gerard Collins – New Brunswick

Ivan “Doc” Holliday – Florida

Sally Cronin - England

Ann Knight - New Brunswick

Me – shared lots of my stories

And Readers from all over the world – Thank you!

 There is also a group of people that I need to acknowledge and those are my faithful readers that share all my blogs across social media and I need to mention them here.
Lynn Babin Fontaine

Ramona Noseworthy
Gail Brown
Allen Williston
Linda Vautour
Linda Chevarie
Deborah Beers
Carol Beers
Christine Beers
Elizabeth Redding
Theresa Hachey
Sheila Clark
Eva Cormier
June Hebert
Chuck Bowie
James Fisher

Cindy Henry

Cynthia Murray

(I apologize if I've missed someone)

I must admit that it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve got more great guests lined up for the coming months (and years I hope). More authors, an inventor, more musicians and artists.
I’ve added more gadgets over the years and one that I have fun with is posting a photo each week of something interesting, usually by one of my readers or visitors. See it on top left.
Family and friend photos on right side bar.
Blogs I enjoy, lower left side bar.

I’m hoping that you might suggest someone that should be a guest on the scribbler, or it could be you. Please continue to leave comments. Subscribe to the blog. Join me by email.
Keep visiting.

A gift for you!

Enter to win a signed copy of A Box of Memories. Send me an email at and I’ll draw a name at the end of April

Sunday 14 April 2019

Guest Author Bernard Jan of Croatia

Another first for the Scribbler, a visiting author from Croatia. Mr Jan shares his bio and an excerpt from his novel.

There is no greater joy than to share what you love with those who appreciate it. Bernard Jan 

Bernard Jan is a pen name of an authora novelist and a poetfrom Croatia. 

As an indie author, he has published two books in English to this day: A World Without Color, a moving and honest novella about the last three days he spent with his cat, and the gentle story that sheds light on the plight of baby seals in Canada hunted for their fur Look for Me Under the Rainbow.

He has written his first books at the beginning of war in Croatia in 1991, amidst the air alerts and illusory attempts when he wanted to believe and think life is normal, that everything is alright with the world. In Croatian he has published five novels, two novellas, one book of poems and an essay, along with several articles.

His passion for entertainment resulted in his becoming a partner of Tom’s Music Place established in 2009 by his friend Thomas Carley Jr. with the goal to respect the music.

His need to help others came to the fore during his volunteering years: first in advocating for environmental protection, and then his volunteering, activism, work and advocacy for animal rights to the present day. He did some volunteering for the refugees, too, because suffering does not know about the borders and when it comes within your reach, in your yard, you simply have to do something.

As part of his animal advocacy activities, it has been a great honor and pleasure for him to translate Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust by Charles Patterson into Croatian language.

For more information please visit his website or follow him on Twitter, Goodreads  LinkedIn.

There is also about me here on my website: 

An Excerpt. (Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)

Look for Me Under the Rainbow by Bernard Jan 

The sea was unusually calm, even the deep currents seemed to stand still. As if suspended in the hushed stillness of dawn. The blue darkness of the night sky began to recede as the pale daylight washed over the horizon. Helped by the frail rays of the wintry sun shimmering through a cloud of fog. In the cold air, the coat woven out of the drops evaporated from the sea, turned into small crystals of ice. 

The fog crept along the surface of the sea, dragging like a tired traveler, and spread in the direction of the land. Thin in places, thick in others, it occasionally revealed a glimpse of the blinding whiteness that covered most of the land. 

If you looked at the right moment, when patches of fog dispersed enough to reveal an endless vista, you could see that it was, in fact, not land. Enveloped by the gradually disappearing fog, huge icebergs loomed, huddled atop the ice crust covering the sea of blue. At first glance, one might easily mistake them for a continent. It did, in fact, exist. The outline of the coast etched against the distant horizon was all part of nature’s optical trick to fool a casual observer. Swathed in a mist of crystals, countless icebergs of various sizes stacked next to each other merged into the image of an ice mountain. The anomaly, carried by deep but weak currents, traveled the ocean almost imperceptibly. 

If not for the sound of the icebergs clashing and breaking piercing the sleepy air, the entire scene would appear lifeless. A white wasteland. Even the scattered groups of seals dozing lazily on white sheets of ice, seemed motionless and almost unreal. Their dark, slick bodies struck a sharp contrast with the surrounding harmony of whiteness. As if they were unwanted intruders. Now and then a seal would move, usually a female. With a sharp sudden spasm, one cried out in pain struggling to bring a new life into this icy world of cruel beauty. 

Having left her group, she lay on her side trying to find the most comfortable position to endure the labor pains. Growing stronger and more frequent, they produced searing pain. She felt the restless pup kick and strain to come out into a whole new world. A world of breathtaking beauty, yet fraught with danger. She wanted to help it. She matched the pace of her breathing with his efforts to break the thin membrane that divided him from the outer world. She synchronized her heartbeat with his, but to no avail. 

She knew it was going to be a difficult birth. Still not full term, her offspring was in a hurry to leave her body. She nevertheless hoped the two of them would somehow succeed. 

When the pup suddenly started to writhe and push inside her, she could not help howling in pain. Her cry resounded over the ice, eclipsing the muted groans of other mothers-to-be who were to begin labor in a few days. They were rested and ready, prepared for the hardship of giving birth, while she had only just arrived and was still exhausted after the long swim from the north. A journey she would again take several months from now with her pup, back home to the winter-bound land of eternal snow and ice. That is, if the birth went well and all ended happily. 

As time went by, her fears seemed well founded. The last obstacle that separated her baby from the outer world was removed. Splashes of red blood stained the ice around her, slowly freezing in the bitter cold. But the pup still did not come. Not moving, exhausted and weary, it braced itself for another attempt. 

She wondered whether it was male or female. If a male, would he look like his father who had just woken and proudly sniffed the air? If a female, would she, like her mother, one day have to go through this pain to bring her baby into the world? After carrying it lovingly inside her womb for months and months, only to. . . . 

A new wave of excruciating pain slashed through her body and interrupted her thoughts. The pup pushed its way into the world, this time with more force and determination. The mother again synchronized all her bodily functions with its efforts to break free. Though united in their struggle, she wondered whether they felt the same pain. Or if only she suffered? Though it did not matter. She would gladly endure all the pain it took, if only to let it live. 

As cry after piercing cry woke up other seals, they grew agitated, particularly the females about to become mothers in a few days. They timidly lifted their small heads to listen to the cries until they gradually abated. And then, one by one, they softly stretched on the ice that glistened in the sun. Silence fell, and everything was again hushed and motionless. 


She could barely hold the overactive pup at her breast. He kept pulling away and refused to eat. His large black eyes squinted at the new surroundings with curiosity, blinking in the dazzling sunlight reflected from the white surfaces. Dark whiskers protruding from his snout combined with big chocolate eyes and two short hairs resembling antennae above each one, were all that disrupted the harmony of whiteness cloaking the pup. His fluffy fur, in its dreamlike softness once the afterbirth had been washed off, seemed to blend into the whiteness of the glacier. This fragile creature looked more like a chunk of white ice than a living being. Protected by nature like a mother shielding her baby from the perils that lurked. 

His mother looked on tenderly as he gave in to her persistence and, something calmer, began to suckle. Content, she nevertheless remained on guard. Although seemingly relaxed, she’d primed her senses to detect the slightest of movements—any sign of danger or concealed threat. Her memories of the past, still too alive, filled her with a sense of foreboding. 

The satiated pup stopped nursing and snuggled by his mother. But she could not get rid of the nameless fear. With one eye half-open, she eventually dozed, ready to snap awake at any sound. 


She left him alone for a brief moment, to satisfy her hunger. When she returned, the cub was nowhere to be found. Nowhere! She scanned the iceberg hoping to spot him, but in vain. 

“Danny! Danny, where are you?” 

Overcome by fear, she stumbled and slid over the smooth ice, searching for her son. She hoped he’d joined the other seals. When she saw he hadn’t, she completely lost her head. She rushed forward, lurching and tripping, falling and rising again. Feverishly, she searched in each nook and cranny, turning at each shadow. Just when she thought it all over and lost hope of ever seeing him again, she saw something. On another end of the ice floe, a small and fluffy ball shuffled toward the sea. 


No reply. The chilly wind carried her voice away. Catching her breath, she dashed after her son still skidding toward the sea. She scurried over the ice with only enough strength to let out several sharp barks in succession. It seemed to work. The pup stopped for a moment and turned around. Giving his frantic mother time to catch him. 

“Look, Mom! The sea!” He looked at her with shiny button eyes. 

“Come here, Danny, to Mommy! Let’s go.” Her heart pounding, she pressed him to her side and kissed the moist tip of his little nose. 

“But, Mom, this is the sea.” Eyes wide, the pup stared at the blue expanse of water stretching out between the giant icebergs into infinity. 

    "Yes, Danny, but you’re too small to go in the water.” 

“When will I be able to go swimming? Danny wailed. 

“In a little while, after you grow up.” 

“When will that be?” 

“Soon, my son.” Smiling at his curiosity, she moved toward the center of the ice floe, holding him by the nape of his neck. 


Thank you Bernard for being our guest this week and sharing an excerpt from your story.

Thank you dear readers for visiting. Please drop by Mr. Jan's website to learn more about him and his writing. Don't forget to leave a comment.