Saturday 30 March 2024

The Story Behind the Story with author Raymonde Savoie of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.


Let’s welcome Raymonde to the Scribbler.

It is her first visit as our guest and we  are happy to share the SBTS of her novel.

Read on my friends.



Raymonde Stella Savoie was born in July of 1952 and grew up on the family farm in Saint-Maurice, New Brunswick. Surrounded by forests and streams, she learned the language of trees and wildflowers as a teenager, the skills of which were put to good use when she obtained her Plant Scientist Diploma later on in life.

An avid reader and journal keeper since the age of sixteen, Raymonde escaped into the written word whenever she could. This led to a fascination with her night dreams, which she also recorded faithfully. Growing an extensive repository of inner stories became second nature, initiating a search for self-knowledge. Thus, she found her own unique writing voice to provide an outlet for her discoveries.

Her first book Dreaming The Child Self Whole is the result of several years of those discoveries, both exhilarating and devastating, but all necessary for the growth Raymonde’s unconscious demanded through her dreams. She lives in Moncton, NB, and is now working on her second memoir, along with creating abstract art pieces and art journals to contain more recent dreams. 



Title: Dreaming the Child Self Whole


Synopsis: I’m not usually radical, so I guess writing this book has been the most radical action of my whole life. This memoir speaks for me because I couldn’t speak up whilst, at the age of six and seven, I was being sexually abused. Since then, my dreams have guided me on a sometimes crooked, sometimes straight, path toward finding peace and healing I could not have imagined at the time. This book is the culmination of years of journaling and dreams that kept me from unravelling at the seams.  

This memoir may speak for others who have undergone the same suffering and never told anyone about it, as I delayed telling for lack of courage, support and opportunity. May it be different for the reader!

May the girl and woman who reads this have the courage to reach out and seek help when she needs it. For she must realise and truly believe: she is not alone.


The Story Behind the Story: When I researched “healing from childhood abuse,” I found a number of brave souls who had written their story on how they had dealt with the devastating after-effects commonly suffered by abuse survivors. My journey thus far had been full of denial and addictions, but when it came down to my book’s subject, I knew from the start that it had to be about dreams, first and foremost, or else the whole project would be for naught.

My journey from being a hard, aggressive person to an empathic artist took eleven long years of alternatively fighting and accepting my dreams, labouriously journaling my childhood pain and transforming it all into the written words to which I hoped my readers would relate.  Judging from the multiple responses to my book, many women do relate, even if they have not gone through this exact experience. 

Dreams have always fascinated me and though I knew they were important when I started writing my story, I didn’t realise just how much until an earth-shattering revelation came from being able to understand the recurring dream that had haunted me all my life. This dream informed me of a psychological condition – a complex – that had been with me since the abuse, but of which I had been until then, totally unaware.  This momentous event catapulted me into deep research, deciphering my dreams, studying analytical and archetypal psychology, art therapy, and doing divination with feminine-based cards. With all my energy concentrated into one sphere of occupation, I endeavoured to write a book about my experience and understanding dreams as symbols of deep transformation. The book, and my dreams, changed my life, and healed me in profound, unconscious and positive ways, for which I am truly thankful.   


Website: Please go HERE.



A question before you go, Raymonde:


Scribbler: What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

Raymonde: When I’m writing in my studio, I have the choice between a computer table, an art table or a journal table. I can sit at all three in one day to compose a story, work on a painting, or jot nots for a chapter. I find that moving around my studio gives me inspiration and helps change perspective on whatever I’m writing or working on at the time. It has to be early morning and quiet, with only the wild birds in my backyard for vocal company. No caffeine, just rooibos tea, and I have piles of books, notes and scribblers everywhere. So yes, my studio’s a bit messy. This is my world, my writing, art world.

An Excerpt from Dreaming the Child Self Whole, from Chapter 17.

I can put on a brave front when I want to. I’ve gotten good at the art of duplicity, being and feeling one thing on the inside while exhibiting a totally false façade on the outside. This is how I survive now. My unconscious twins thrive in this environment of make-believe and wishing and hoping, but their nefarious influence is slowly gnawing at my insincerity as a Ground Hog does at spring roots.

Unbeknownst to me consciously, I am going through a psychic shift as I sit every morning to write. Most of the time, I’m in a frenzy to get my message out. Words and sentences surge up from the depths, only slightly hinting at the still-unresolved anger buried there, but which I ignore steadfastly. I can’t afford to unleash anything volatile lest it come between Peter and I. My old friend denial holds back the flood, protecting my ego from the knowledge of not living my authentic self’s desires, and it sits there like a hardened cap on an old volcano. Then, at times, I find I can’t write a single word. Little by little, the purpose for my book – to tell my story – which originally got me started at this project in the first place has morphed into an obligation to fund our dream of building an earth house. The story I’m writing has taken on too many generalities, inclusive of others’ stories, which act as a blanket to suffocate my own. Or is it to obliterate it altogether?

Thank you, Raymonde, for being our guest this week. We wish you continued success with your writing.

And thanks to all out readers and visitors.

Please feel free to leave a comment and if you do – note that sometimes you may have to post your comment Anonymous and if so, please add your name in the comment box, after the comment so we will know who did it.

Saturday 23 March 2024

The Story Behind the Story with author Dianne Pennell of New Brunswick, Canada.

 Let’s welcome Dianne to the Scribbler. 

She is sharing the SBTS of her novels and we are extremely pleased to have her as our guest this week.

 Dianne will be participating in the GMRD Book Fair in July and we hope to see you there. 

Read on my friends.




I was born and raised in the beautiful province of Newfoundland where the heart of storytelling is well known.

I graduated from nursing with honors and been awarded.  It had taken me to the province of New Brunswick where I worked as a Director of Nursing for Veterans.

In between, my immense energy guided me to further my knowledge into the world of fitness. I trained and became a fitness instructor  with the YMCA, Sir Wilfred College, and Forever Young Fitness , promoting wellness.

Fitness like writing is still a major part of my life to competing in races, triathlons, doathlons, marathons with many medals, ribbons, and trophies to show.

I received during that timing my First Aid, First Responder training  to teach many  classes enhancing care for individuals in need.

I have and will always be a story teller, a story writer. It is a passion from childhood and with life experiences, it lead me to writing novels in the form of series whereas I am completing my series and starting a new one.

I enjoy long stories leaving each book to be 500+ pages of pure enjoyment!





The Second Book in the series is titled:  SECRETS AND VENDETTAS

The Third and final book of this series is in the finishing stages of writing.



Truth Behind the Lies

Julie Collins has always longed for a true family and hopes to expand her marriage happiness with a child.  But her husband, Mike, has become increasingly career-driven, uninterested in complicating their lives with a baby. With Mike now almost entirely absent from their home, Julie begins to suspect more could be going on than she first thought, and her life isn't quite as on track as she had hoped.  Her determination not to give upon her dreams of motherhood has unintended consequences, and Julie is flung into an unexpected encounter with friendship and, perhaps, a chance at a family.  As her perfect future draws nearer, her past begins to close in;  can anyone truly escape from the lies of their past


Secrets and Vendettas

The light of Julie’s soul is fading. One pain too many; one more loss to endure. Julie, herself, is fading from reality. She lies dormant below the fire of rage, hate, and revenge. Yes, that’s where Julie has gone, and no longer able to awaken from its burning control. The shell of the old Julie can be deceiving as she carries on life without anyone knowing her secret. Only the fire can disguise her that way. The new Julie has only one focus, revenge on her once believed mother. Flames run through Julie’s veins; she begins to lie and plot, only to have her day of payback to see her mother trampled to dust. Yet, how far will this fire Julie go, and to what lengths will be taken when the unexpected challenges face?

Samantha, once believed to be an enemy, becomes a trusted soulmate when they are drawn together by a force neither can explain. Unknown to the other, both suffered as children only to live with revenge of payback to the ones that caused it. Now two women are left with the same fire burning: controlling their every move.

How far will they go to remove the stain of the past from their lives while risking losing of what’s precious to both. What are they willing to let go, just to have that day.



The Story Behind the Story:

That is a question which takes me on different avenues  to give a true answer. “What” inspired the writing of this series.

I was at the end of a 25k run in training for a marathon. As I passed the Hospital on my route, I came  upon a group of men and women holding signs as they marched back and forth the side walk  leading to the entry of the hospital.  I read the signs, asking simple to say a life that could not speak for itself. To give a chance to life and then allow that life to breath, to walk, maybe run like me. Allow a life the opportunity to experience , feel, and give love. Maybe that life not to be perfect, but at least a chance to find out.

I felt  a caring, a mission, as they protest for what they believed in without fear. Then it came to me, what if , in one of my stories, a young girl not wanting to lose the life of her baby, had that life cruelly taken from her and the consequences arising thereafter.  Maybe we don't know what goes on inside the life of another. Maybe we don't know what the reason is it could happen.  Maybe they simply not want the life inside them, but why. Then I realize life can be taken in many different ways. What happens  when motherly love is taken without warning, without guilt, or with guilt. What happens  to the child, the youth, the adult in the end when never to find it. What happens to young girls that somehow are found to travel one of those paths.  And so , my story begins to follow the lives of  two women, searching for that motherly love. Searching for a reason and in the end what they would sacrifice to finding it.



Website: Go HERE.        


A question before you go, Dianne:

Scribbler: What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

Dianne: After a good workout, a long run, a morning of skiing  and swimming, I find my way home, where I like to be allow in my house office. Silence, cup of Chai Tea, and nothing to distract.  I sit, and for some reason, it happens, words begin to flow. A story line takes place. The pleasure of writing leaves me enchanted as I watch what is overflowing in my thoughts to dance across the keyboard.  That stimulation of the mind's wanting to unload the stories that built up begins the moment I  start my workout, speeding my endurance to get home and begin. Oh yes, I'm in heaven in front of my computer as my fingers dance across the keys and  my ears plays the tune of the many never ending stories waiting to be released just for everyone to enjoy and themselves get lost in a world of a story I created for them.


An Excerpt from Truth Behind the Lies:     (Epilogue)


Constantly, we search for that feeling, the one we cannot survive without.  If for any reason, we cannot find it our longing for it will keep us searching. It haunts our inner souls until the day comes that we have found it.

That longing is inside each one of us, pushing until we find satisfaction. What is this feeling! Will it give stability, peace or happiness?  

Yet, having it, and suddenly taken from you, why is it then, you remembered how it felt?

It is always through that moment of loss that you truly understand the feeling.

It is one with pain, and it is one with pleasure.

Strange is this want, the need is desperate, yet never to understand the complexity of what it holds to maintain survival?

We search until it becomes our greatest craving. The most exhilarating one a human being can feel.

Simply, it is love.




Thank you for being our guest, Dianne. We wish you continued success with your stories.


And thank you to our visitors and readers. It’s all for you! 

Please leave a comment. 

AND IF YOU DO, you will have to do it as Anonymous so put your name after the comment in the comment box so Dianne & I will know who it is from. Thank you.

Sunday 17 March 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Rick Revelle of Napanee, On, Canada.

This week you get to meet Rick and he is sharing his SBTS for all you visitors.

Rick will be joining us in July at the GMRD Book Fair and I’m looking forward to meeting him.

Read on my friends.



Rick's early years were spent in Wilton and Odessa Ontario. He lived for 32 years in Glenburnie Ontario and since 2019 in Napanee, Ontario.

He is the author of four Historical Fiction books and one fiction novel. 
I Am Algonquin (2013), Algonquin Spring (2015), Algonquin Sunset (2017) were published by Dundurn Press. Algonquin Legacy and The Elk Whistle Warrior Society by Crossfield Publishing.

The Algonquin Quest series takes place on both sides of the St Lawrence River Valley and the Great Lakes and to the Rocky Mountains during the years of 1320 to 1350’s. It follows an Algonquin Native family unit as they fight to survive in the harsh climate of warfare, survival from the elements and the constant quest for food of this pre-contact era. His readers are introduced to the Algonquin, Anishinaabe, Lakota, Mi´kmaq, Mohawk, and Lakȟóta, languages as they are used in the vernacular in the four novels.

The Elk Whistle Warrior Society is about a secret society of Native women who hunt down human traffickers and murderers of Native women and abusers of Native children. All the women have either a masters or PhD degree and a Martial Arts black belt. They do not use guns, only the weapons of their ancestors.


Title: The Elk Whistle Warrior Society



Synopsis: The Elk Whistle Warrior Society (2023) is about a 650 year old Native women secret society. They have always been protectors of Indigenous women and children. They have always hunted down human traffickers and murderers of Native women, plus the abusers of Native children. The women all have either a PhD or master’s degree, plus a Martials Arts black belt. They do not use guns, only the weapons of their ancestors. They are aided by selected male warriors and the legendary Memegwesi warriors who are the Little People and the protectors of children.

All the women have a tattoo of two blue feathers on their right shoulder and the men have the tattoo is found on their left calf.



The Story Behind the Story: I have written five books. My first book was published when I was 61 years old. Each of my books have strong Indigenous women. My previous four books were a series called The Algonquin Quest Series that followed four Omámiwinini (Algonquin) brothers during the early 1300’s pre-contact. The books are I Am Algonquin (2013), Algonquin Spring (2015), Algonquin Sunset (2017) and Algonquin Legacy (2021). During the writing of the final book, I wrote in the beginnings of a Native woman’s society. I was very excited about what I could do with this idea. As soon as Algonquin Legacy was finished then published,

I had The Elk Whistle Warrior Society almost done. My publisher Tina Crossfield liked the story, and I sent it out to a dozen women across Canada for a pre-read. All the responses from these women were that they really liked the premise and the strong women. One lady who is an actress said she wanted to make a TV series out of the book. I now have a Shopping List contract with her to produce the book into the TV series in the USA.


Website: Go HERE.

A question before you go, Rick:

Scribbler: What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

Rick: I do my best writing long hand. I have always found that when I write this way my pen can keep up with the quickly flowing ideas that are streaming out of the file cabinets in my brain. I have a favourite bar here in Napanee where I have written two books, my 4th and 5th. Plus, now working on my 6th. I love writing on the train or when we go on a cruise, always longhand. When I write long hand in scribblers, I usually write about twenty-five pages in a session. Once I get home, I can turn these twenty-five pages into fifty or sixty when I add dialogue and do my research.

When I write at home, I brew a carafe of green tea with sage and lemon added, plus about five tea bags. I close my office door, then write until my kidneys almost explode. While writing in my office, I am surrounded in a world of battles, hunts, smells, noise, and everything else that I am creating.

I have always found that I am much more relaxed transposing from my scribblers into my computer. The long hand notes are sometimes 4 to 6 weeks old and many times when I read what I wrote I get excited about the notes. Usually, I have forgotten what I had written and when I re-read the pages it gives me an injection of adrenaline to continue with the book.






I was twelve years old in the summer of 1959.  It was the first week of July and it was hot. Having just finished cutting two lawns in the town next to our reservation, I had $4 in my pocket from my morning’s labour of six hours. Looking down at my sneakers, I saw that they were green from the juices of the dewy grass. I had bought the lawnmower in the spring with money made trapping muskrats and beaver that winter. I knew I smelled like gasoline and fresh cut grass, but my work was done for this day and my stomach was growling.

       Parking my lawnmower on the lawn in front of the big windows of the café, I made sure that the bungee cord that held my gas can on the deck of the mower was secure. Checking to make sure I still had the eight quarters and two one-dollar bills in my small, beaded change purse, I walked up to the door and peered in at the clock; 2:10 in the afternoon. Next, I checked out the large hand-printed sign in the window:




Good! I was in the time frame that I could get served.

       The slight breeze coming from the south caused the overhead oval sign hanging by chains to emit an eerie creaking sound. Dabs of rust pocketed the white background of the sign, faded blue lettering seeped through the patina to silently announce Judi’s Café.    

When I opened the door, the warning bell rang and I hurriedly clambered into the booth where I could watch over my mower and still see the soft pine lunch counter where eight stools were lined along the counter. They were chrome with red leather seats, matching the leather seats in the booths. I was the only customer in the place.

       The owner, a scum bag, who we called the Toothless Wonder, came over and growled at me, “What do you want today, Buck?”

       “Can I have a hot dog and fries,” I answered.

       “Yep, if you have the money to pay ahead of time. You know the rules, Injuns pay up front!”

       I took a dollar and twenty-five cents out of my pocket. When I gave it to him, I said, “I also want a coke and a banana split.”

       He wiped his nose with his apron. “Coming right up Injun Boy.”

       I glanced out the window, keeping a close eye on my lawnmower. A Native guy who I had never seen before walked into the restaurant, announced by the bell on the door, and sat on the end stool near the cash register. He had shorts on with a tattoo of two feathers on his left calf and wore a tee shirt that said Warrior on it. Huge biceps rippled when he moved his arms. His hair was cropped in a brush cut, definitely residential school upbringing. He looked Blackfoot, no meanness in his eyes, just a sense of purpose. A roll of duct tape, a hatchet and a knife hung from his belt.

       The owner came over and said, “I have never seen you before, and I know all the Injuns around here. What do you want?

       “I came to handle some business in town and then taking the 3:04 train east. I’ll have two cheeseburgers and a Fanta orange drink.”

       “Money up front, Red Man.”

       The guest paid with a two-dollar bill, looked the Toothless Wonder in the face and just smiled.

       My food came along with 5 cents change which I put in the jukebox to play my favourite song Lonely Teardrops, by Jackie Wilson. The food had only cost $1.10 but the scum bag kept a dime for himself.

The dog had mustard and onions on it and I put a big dab of ketchup on my plate to dip my hot dog and fries in. The food calmed my nerves down and I had to keep wiping the mustard from my face as it drippled down my chin. I loved onions and when one fell from the bun, I would stuff it into my mouth with my fingers. My hands were dirty. The Toothless Wonder wouldn’t let Indians use his washroom to wash up or to pee.

       I finished my dog and fries washed down by the ice-cold coke and he brought me my banana split. I looked at the clock, 2:31.

       The bell above the door rang again, and in walked a tall Native woman dressed in shorts with a tank top and a tattoo like the Blackfoot man, except it was on her right shoulder. She looked Anishinaabe, but not from around here. Her hair also had the residential school cut.  From her waist hung two knives, one on each hip. As she walked by me, I caught a whiff of perfume, soft and spring like. Lilac. She sat three stools down from the Blackfoot man.

       “Well Pocahontas, what can I do you for,” sneered the Toothless Wonder.

       “A ginger ale, I have to catch the 3:04 train and haven’t got time to eat.”

       “Money up front, Injun Girl!”

       She tossed him a dime and smiled.

       She turned and looked out the window as a small funeral procession passed. All of the people were Native. The men were solemn, and the women were sobbing and wailing.

       The Native woman turned, looked the Toothless Wonder in the face and said, “Who died?’

       “Some Injun girl hung herself.”

       “Hmm, I heard that was the third one in a year and a half and they all worked for you at one time,” she replied sharply.

       “Coincidence,” he replied.

       Yea, I muttered to myself, except Lisa Beaver had told me what had happened here last fall. She was so ashamed. The sudden sound of duct tape being tore from a roll brought my attention back to what was about to happen.

       The Blackfoot stood up with a strip of duct tape and grabbed the Toothless Wonder by the head and wrapped the duct tape around his mouth in three quick turns.

       The woman grabbed the Toothless Wonder’s wrists in a vicelike grip and laid them flat on the pine counter. Meanwhile, the Blackfoot man pushed his back against the owner, pinning him against the counter so he couldn’t move. Next, he slipped his knife from its sheaf and laid it on the hot burner where the hotdogs simmered in a pot of water. He then turned and reached around the man with both arms and held his hands flat on the counter.

All the while the Toothless Wonder was trying to scream through the duct tape and all that came out was a muffled sound.

I watched as the woman quickly pulled her knives, one in each hand and drove them into the Toothless Wonder’s flattened hands pinning them to the counter.

       As The blood spurted up, the Blackfoot warrior swung his hatchet, cutting off both of the owners’ thumbs with a swiftness of a hawk diving for a rabbit. Blood spurted all over the counter The Blackfoot warrior reached for his red-hot knife and cauterized the spots where the man’s thumbs had been and around the two knife blade wounds, stopping the bleeding.

       The Toothless Wonder looked like he was going to pass out, so the Blackfoot man took a cold pail of water and doused his head.

       The woman grabbed the man’s sopping wet head in her hands and said, “Listen carefully to me. We know you raped those three dead girls while they worked for you. We also know that they never reported it to the law because it would be an Indian’s word against a white man’s word. Today you lost your thumbs, but if we ever hear about you again, it will be the rest of your fingers, and maybe your life. You tell the law this was an accident; your life depends on it”

       The Blackfoot warrior handed the woman a wet dishtowel and she wiped the blood from her hands. I heard the train whistle as it pulled into the station and looked at the clock; 3:03, a minute early.

       As the two walked out of the restaurant, the Warrior nodded at me. I watched as they boarded the eastbound train. I went to the bathroom, peed, washed my hands then walked out the front door. I grasped the handle of my lawnmower and pushed it down the dusty street back to the reservation. One wheel was squeaking, I’ll have to oil that.








Thank you for being our guest this week, Rick. We wish you much success with your stories. See you in July.


And another BIG thank you to all our visitors and readers.

Saturday 9 March 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Joanna Vander Vlugt


Let’s welcome Joanna, a popular west coast author, to the Scribbler.

She is joining us this week to tell us the SBTS of her upcoming thriller, Spy Girls.

Her previous novels have received high praise a multitude of 5 Star Ratings.

Read on my friends.




Joanna Vander Vlugt is an author and illustrator. As a teenager, she drew charcoal portraits and wrote mysteries. Now, she uses Copic markers to illustrate motorcycles and scooters. Under the pseudonym J.C. Szasz, Joanna’s short mysteries Egyptian Queen, and The Parrot and Wild Mushroom Stuffing were both published in Crime Writers of Canada mystery anthologies. Her essay, No Beatles Reunion was published in the Dropped Threads 3: Beyond the Small Circle anthology.

The Unravelling, her debut novel, and Dealer’s Child were Canadian Book Club Awards finalists. Joanna draws upon her 13 years’ experience working in the prosecutor’s office and 10 years working in the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner for inspiration for her novels. Joanna is proud of her podcast SAM Magazine and the many authors she has interviewed. Joanna’s novels, art and podcast can be found at As well, her quarterly publication SAM Magazine, can be found at


Title:  Spy Girls


Synopsis: In the quaint city of Victoria, a CIA action officer is released from prison, and a Chief Justice is murdered. The Law Society is scrutinizing Jade Thyme’s conduct in the most recent trial she prosecuted. Jade’s life can’t get much worse until she is coerced into finding an elusive double agent. Tangled in lies and political agendas, high speed chases and sticky bombs, Jade must outplay a dangerous Hungarian assassin before her own life is terminated.


The Story Behind the Story: The inspiration behind this story came about when I heard that during the pandemic an individual had spat on a nurse. People may not know this, but spitting on someone is considered assault under the Criminal Code. I was so disgusted with humanity when I heard about this incident. My heroine, Jade, has a line of dialogue when she’s waiting for the verdict to come in on a similar assault case she’s just prosecuted, “…I’m looking for the humanity in humans.” That is a line I had said during those times. I couldn’t believe that an individual would spit on a nurse, who could very well be the person saving that individual’s life. Also during the writing of Spy Girls, Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were exposed.

I’ve always been interested in classic espionage novels. I’ve wondered how spies carry on any semblance of a relationship, when so much of their lives must be kept secret. When I spun those ideas together, Spy Girls came together. When I had Spy Girls read by novelist, Joe Goldberg, who writes The Spy Devils thriller series, and who was a CIA covert action officer, it was encouraging to hear him say that what happens in my novel is not uncommon. I am so grateful for his feedback. I had another story line in this novel, which I ended up dropping, because it didn’t fit. Kudos to my editor for pointing that out.

There is so much chatter online. Sometimes it feels that the person with the loudest voice is the one heard. I believe writers use fiction as a tool to point out the rights and wrongs in society. Our novels become our voice.


Website: Go HERE.


A couple of questions before you go, Joanna:

Scribbler: What is the perfect setting for you when you write your stories?

Joanna: I love this question. It’s been two years since I retired from my government job at the Ministry of the Attorney General. I worked for the government for 34 years. It took me a little time to adapt to my new freedom, and sometimes I felt like I was floundering. I dreamed of the day when I could write full-time. That day had come and I didn’t know what to do.  I realized that I needed to treat writing like a job. I show up at 9:00 am in the office in our house. I have two mini-schnauzers and they are so used to my schedule, as soon as they see me with my mocha in my hand, and I say, “let’s go,” they are in the office in their beds before me. On the weekends when I may not follow that routine, they look at me a little confused.


Coffee or whiskey? Music or silence? Messy or neat notes?

When I write, I listen to soft jazz, or spa music. I’m working on the first draft of a time travel, and the spa music just sets the mood. Now, when it comes to action scenes, or fight scenes, I listen to the rock band Alice In Chains. With respect to notes, oh gosh, they are a mix of everything. If I’m rewriting, I’ll have notes up the side of the page with arrows and PTO circled, and sentences numbered.


Scribbler:  What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?

Joanna: My favorite part of publishing is seeing the book cover. I learned a lesson when I hired Umbrella Squared. I told Kristy, the designer, everything I didn’t want on my cover. I didn’t want an image of the back of a woman running. I had seen many books with that as a cover. Kristy provided me with cover samples of women riding motorcycles, because that’s what my heroine does, but it didn’t click. Kristy then provided me with images of women holding a motorcycle helmet, or by bridges (bridges are a backdrop for my story), images I would never have thought of, and I loved them. I love how she designed my book. She knew what I didn’t want, and provided me with other options.

My least favorite part of the publishing industry is the industry not “thinking outside the box.” I create motorcycle illustrations. In Spy Girls, when you flip open that book, you will see one of my motorcycle illustrations. I’m taking a chance having that illustration in there, because I get the feeling that’s not something you do in a thriller novel. I’m of the view, why not? My motorcycle illustrations have sold in Canada, the US, Australia, and I see the construction of a book and the packaging (book design) as an expression of creativity and art.

Excerpt from Spy Girls, Part III, Chapter 18 – Red Box

Joanna: What I found cool about this excerpt, is that I reached out to the rock band Trooper, and asked if I could quote the song title and lyric from their song 3 Dressed Up as a 9. When I received an email back saying I could, I was ecstatic.

Adam stood and something hard nailed him on the side of the head. He stumbled, cupping his throbbing ear with his hand.

Another slam to his lower back.

He stumbled again, holding onto the table. A woman raised a butcher block above her head, steps from him.

“Babe, babe, it’s okay,” Jan said, grabbing her arm. “Put the butcher block down.”

Adam straightened. Blood whooshed through his ear, and a headache steamrolled his skull.

The woman shoved the cutting board onto the counter. She straightened her short nightdress. “You’re lucky I’m not armed.”

Jan held his hand out, keeping her back. “I know him.”

“You know this asshole? Why is he trying to kill you?”

“Because,” Adam retrieved his cell from the floor, his head pounding harder, “Jade Thyme has been kidnapped.” He held his cell out, showing her the photo.

The woman’s eyes narrowed. Her one fake eyelash, that had survived the night, gave her a battered, sinister appearance. She propped her hand on her hip. “Doesn’t give you the right to attack my boyfriend.”

“Elyssia,” Jan said, rubbing his neck. “Best you get dressed, and I’ll explain later.”

“Really, Jan, really? You shush me off so you can talk to this loser who broke into your home and assaulted you?”

Jan braced his hand on the counter. “I know this loser, and I let him in. Adam Younghusband, meet Elyssia Hawthorne. Elyssia, Adam.”

Elyssia Hawthorne. Will’s daughter.

She eyed him. Her expression changed from furious Chihuahua to sly, one-lash opportunist. Did she know about his relationship with Will? Was Elyssia going to be a problem?

Adam turned to Jan. “We need to talk. Now.” He pulled a cracked cell phone from his pocket. “Jade’s cell. I found it outside Fan Tan Alley.”

“Call the cops,” Elyssia said.

Adam glared. Before he even knew who she was, he wanted Elyssia gone. Now, he really wanted her to leave.

“Elyssia.” Jan put his arm around her shoulders as he escorted her down the hall. “This is important.”

“Are you saying I’m not? Jade is more important than me? First that crazy bitch from six months ago, now Jade. Where do I play in the scheme of your life, Jan?”

“Jade’s been kidnapped, Elyssia,” Adam said. “So, yes, she’s more important than you.”

She spun around facing him, her eyes narrowing. “Maybe if she stopped pissing people off.”

Adam stepped forward. “Do you know who kidnapped her?”

She looked from him to Jan.

“Elyssia, baby, come on,” Jan said. “What do you know?”

“There was a security guard around Fan Tan, except he wasn’t a security guard. He was once charged for impersonating a cop.”

“And you didn’t warn her?” Adam exclaimed.

“I’m not her bodyguard. You’re the one screwing her,” she fired back. “The only reason I know is because I once defended him.”

“Did you see her get kidnapped?” Adam shouted.

“No!” She marched into the other room, slamming the door behind her.

Adam looked at Jan. “She’s a real piece of work. She knew. Your crazy girlfriend knew. That’s it.” Adam stomped toward the door. “I’m dragging her skinny ass down to Vic PD.”

“Give me a minute.” Jan pushed him back, grabbed a newspaper and threw it at him. “Occupy yourself.” He disappeared into the room.

Adam heard their raised voices. He placed the paper on the  kitchen island. God he needed a Tylenol. Then, he saw the headline.

Lawyer Shot Dead.

He pulled out a stool and, rubbing his forehead, read. The article highlighted Bernie’s legal career, and his practice with the late Justice Chimera, who had been murdered the previous week. The police didn’t reveal much about the investigation, but they weren’t ruling out that the murders were related.

A thump against the door and more shouts from Elyssia.

He glanced in their general direction. They’re both nuts.

Underneath that article was another headline.

Hungarian Mobster Arrested.

Adam recognized the mob boss, who was in town for business when he was arrested in an after-hours nightclub. This was the mobster’s second assault in two weeks, and he was now being held in custody until his bail hearing. Adam stepped away from the table when he saw the red box on a cabinet.

Was it . . . her? He flipped the lid and pulled out cotton. Teeth. Upper and lower jaw, gold-plated. Crap. Katriona had been here. Maybe he should show the teeth to Elyssia? Get his point across as to who they were messing with.

The door opened. Elyssia’s voice was now at gunshot decibels. “We are through!” Dressed in a sparkling purple mini-dress, white fur shawl and purple ostrich feather stilettos, she pulled wheeled luggage behind her.

Jan followed. “Elyssia, listen. It’s a bad time right—”

“When isn’t it a bad time, Jan? Every other woman comes before me. It’s not like I’m a three dressed up as a nine. I’m a nine. More than a nine, a Goddamn ten. And you treat me like crap.”

Adam looked up. He had heard that lyric, three dressed up as a nine. Where? When?

“These are dangerous—”

“We’re through.”

She marched onto the porch. The fur shawl slipped, landing on the pavement, exposing a Prince tattoo on her left shoulder.

She stopped, her legs straddling two steps.

“Your shawl,” Jan said, holding it out to her.

She grabbed it and clicked out of sight.

Jan closed the door and returned to the main living area. He rubbed his hands over his face. “Give me a minute.”


“Excuse me?”

“The rock band Trooper wrote and sang that song, 3 Dressed Up as a 9. My dad listened to them all the time.”

“Glad you’re tripping down memory lane at my expense, but we’ve got bigger issues.” Jan disappeared into another room.

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