Saturday 31 December 2022

What a Year it has Been!


The last post for 2022.


After a three-week break, I’m glad to be back with you wonderful visitors and readers. I won’t ramble on too much about what I did or didn’t do in 2022, nor too much about 2023 other than wishing you only happy things in the future.


The Scribbler had a terrific year with super guests and interesting posts.

78,500 page views in 2022.

No statistics on how many stayed.

Some highlights below.

These are the five most popular:

#1 - MJ LaBeff with 1905 page views Go HERE.

#2 – Janet Sanford – 492 page views. Go HERE.

#3 – Christian Brun – 489 page views. Go HERE.

#4 - Darlene Foster – 359 page views. Go HERE.

#5 – Heather McBriarity – 328 page views. Go HERE.


Most popular Page views.

#1 – SHORTS with 2270 page views. Go HERE.

    #2 – About Me with 1680 page views. Go HERE.

                            #3 – Father with 1007 page views. Go HERE.



I’ve had the good fortune of publishing two novellas this year, Father & Shattered Dreams, as well as my newest novel, Code name: Iron Spear 1941. I also participated in an anthology – Winter Paths - with eight other authors. The response to my stories has been overwhelming and I am so thankful to my faithful readers and new readers who take a chance on my stories.


For more info, please go here – Father

Shattered Dreams

Code Name: Iron Spear 1941

Winter Paths. An anthology.




There are so many people I need to thank, and I probably missed a few but I appreciate every share, every comment, every purchase of my books.


Allen & Gracia

Sally Cronin

Anne Smith-Nochasak

A M Mawhinney

James Fisher

Leonard Shortall

MJ LaBeff

Stephen Shortall and Therese LeBlanc

Angela Wren

Merk Scott Piper

Caleb Pirtle III

The Seasonal Collective.

Debby Geis


There is lots of good things to look forward in the new year. Returning guests and New Guests. Some artists as well as authors.

Sarah Butland - Author.

Susan Bernhardt - Author. 

Kayla Geitzler- Author & Poet Laureate. 

Mark Scott Piper - Author.

Sonia Nicholson - Author.

Christopher Sweet - Author.

Margaret Eaton - Author.

Susan White - Author.

Shannon Beers - Artist.

….to be continued with more fun guests.



What’s coming for 2023!


The Alexanders. Vol 2. 1921 – 1930.

I am working on the first draft of I hope to have it ready for summer 2023.

The Roaring Twenties. Flappers and Speakeasys. The good years before the Depression.

Dominic Alexander watches his business grow, itches to be a father but fate works against him and Maria, his wife. In his adventures, he will encounter enemies, questionable friendships. There will be good times and sad times. Dealing with a criminal element trying to disrupt his business. Issues arise which people aren’t prepared to deal with in the twenties.



Shattered Series with Jo Naylor

I am almost finished the fourth installment in the Shattered Series. Not sure what the title will be yet but I’m leaning towards Shattered Hope. The story takes place in New Zealand. Jo is nicely settled in and avoiding all possible trouble spots, but…

When a new friend explains how her sister might be in trouble, Jo can’t stop herself from getting involved. A young man from Canada is missing and assumed dead. Jo’s not alone this time either. The parents of the boy missing have asked a good friend to intervene. Drake Alexander and Jo Naylor make a formidable team. What they uncover is one of the worst crimes possible.



Spring Paths

I’m planning my short story for the next Anthology with the Seasonal Collective which is targeted for November 2023. We will have two new members joining the Collective – Gianetta Murray of Great Britain and Eden Monroe of New Brunswick.



Planned for the future:

Fifth and final installment for the Shattered Series.

A novel based on my short story, One Bedroom Ark. Go HERE.

The next Drake Alexander Adventure which will take him and his team to Africa.



Other than that, I'd like to go on a trip somewhere with my best friend, Gloria. Maybe Spain.


I’d like to volunteer but can’t decide. I’m giving myself until the end of January to make a commitment.

Do you volunteer anywhere? I’d love to hear about what you do and/or some suggestions.


Thank you again all you valuable readers and visitors. May you only have happy things happen in 2023.

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.