Saturday 27 April 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Rhonda Bulmer of Moncton, NB, Canada.


The recent launch of Rhonda’s novel was a tremendous success.

Hats off to the marketing pros of Merlin Star Press for generating lots of buzz around their first novel.

None better than the dynamic storytelling from one of the province’s most talented authors.

Let’s welcome Rhonda to the Scribbler.

Read on my friends.



RHONDA BULMER is a Moncton, New Brunswick-based author with a background in public relations and freelance writing, and currently serves as executive director for the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick. She has published three fiction books independently, and in 2023, her short fiction appeared in the anthology, Monsters in the Fog, (Partridge Island Publishing). The Widow & the Will (Merlin Star Press, 2024) is her first novel.



Title: The Widow & The Will

Synopsis: Lindy Hall has begun a promising career in Toronto with her boyfriend, George. When Grandma Runa, her only living relative dies, Lindy receives a shocking bequest—the d’Avray Manor Inn in Harmony Bay on New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy.

Lindy takes two weeks off to visit the inn. Locals call it The Widow’s Inn, said to be haunted by the grieving widow of its first owner. She finds herself on a collision course with the proprietors, Tony and Anne Allaby. In the face of bankruptcy, Anne is bitter. Lindy is sure the couple is holding something back.

When a handsome tour operator vies for Lindy’s affections, and the ghost of Elizabeth d’Avray visits her, an impatient George urges Lindy to forget it all and come home.

Could Gram’s final wishes and The Widow’s Inn be the keys to unlock Lindy’s mysterious past—and her future?



The Story Behind the Story: I am interested in family conflict. Nothing can ignite (or worsen) family conflicts more than the final wishes in a will, especially a parent’s will. What they have written down can make heirs feel loved, appreciated, ignored, or hated by the deceased.

My mother comes from a family of 12 children, and Mom was named executor of her own mother’s will (against Mom’s wishes). As a consequence, my grandmother’s stipulations put Mom at odds with her siblings for many years. I always thought it was quite unfair of my grandmother to place my mother in this uncomfortable situation for an extended period – 25 years, in fact. And so, in 2014, I began the initial premise of my book: a will. A young woman from Ontario becomes the sole heir of her grandmother, who leaves her with an inn on the East Coast. Her grandmother charges the heroine with a long-term obligation to those who run the inn, for reasons that are not explained. This big reveal is both cryptic and inconvenient.

In the last ten years, whenever I’ve told anyone the premise of the story I was writing, they enthusiastically volunteered their own family will story. Money – or the lack thereof – seems to bring out the worst in people.

Along with that, I stuffed all my favourite story elements in the same novel: an old neglected historic inn, with an accompanying supernatural presence (my mom likes ghost stories, too), a love triangle, the gorgeous setting of the Bay of Fundy (which I think is one of the most beautiful places in the world) mercurial weather, grouchy, eccentric people, and a big family secret. I didn’t realize I had written a gothic novel, until a publisher who heard my initial pitch in 2019 put that label on it.

As a lifelong New Brunswicker, this book is my love letter to New Brunswick. Throughout my life, many people I’ve known left the province in search of better opportunities elsewhere. However, especially in recent years, I’ve come to the conclusion that with a bit of determination, we can create our own opportunities here.



Rhonda – Go HERE.      Merlin Star Press – Go HERE.

                    Buy the book HERE.


A question before you go, Rhonda:

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?

Rhonda: At home, I like to sit not so much at my desk but on the couch with my laptop, near a sunny window. And I like to listen to baroque cello – or even better, rain noises. I do like sitting at a coffee shop, too. Sometimes a couple of hours of people-watching helps to keep the writing fresh.

I am fifty percent neat. I suppose if it’s too messy at home, I’ll go to the coffee shop so I don’t have to look at it!

An Excerpt from The Widow &The Will:

The wind rose sometime in the night. It whipped around the corner of the house and preceded an abundance of rain. Under normal circumstances, the thrum of water on the windowsill would be comforting, but the bang of the widow’s walk door was more insistent. It opened and slammed shut with every gust of wind from the window. The latch arm clattered against the groove.

Don’t turn your back to the stairway. Looks like something is moving down there in the shadows.

Melinda, stop being ridiculous.

Yeah, okay, Gram. I hear you.

I threw back the patchwork quilt. Maybe grouching out loud would push back the darkness, even if it was all imaginary. “Am I going to have to do this every night?” Tomorrow was my first day in that tiny office and it was important to be fresh.

I opened one of the desk drawers and found a roll of packing tape.

Perfect. I pushed a chair against the door and weighed it down with a couple of old-fashioned hardcover dictionaries from the bookshelf in the corner. Then I tore a few pieces of tape and applied them to the latch.

I stood back to examine my handiwork for a moment. “There. Let’s see you break through that, Mrs. d’Avray.”

I left the light on and climbed back into bed. Comforted by this achievement, my eyes grew heavy, and I drifted away.

In the gentle light of the desk lamp, a woman in a dark linen gown with a white collar appeared at the end of my bed, holding something like a photo in her hand. I pulled myself into a tight ball against the bed frame. I didn’t want her to grab my feet.

Was she looking at me or through me?

A few tendrils of grey-streaked dark hair escaped her bun, and her face was lined not so much with age, but with sorrow. She paced the room before sitting on the edge of my bed. Her shoulders shook as she wept.

“They’re all gone. I’m all alone.”

I heard the words clearly. And I answered her clearly. “I know.

They’re all gone.”

Uncontrollable grief welled up from the centre of my being. Was it hers, or mine? Loneliness for Gram and Gramp swept over me. For the parents I never had. “I’m all alone, too.”

“What does life mean without them?” The widow’s walk door

opened, and moonlight streamed through it. She walked through the door, dropping the photo as she melted into the darkness.

At five o’clock, my eyes snapped open. My pillow was soaked. I’d been crying in my sleep.

Last night’s steady rain gave way to a dull, overcast sky, but the

wind was still blowing. And I shivered, not just from the cold and damp.

That dream…it was a dream, right?

I sat up. Everything was the same as I’d left it—the chair in front of the door, the tape on the latch, and the desk lamp glowed in the daylight. But I could have sworn the door had banged open. And the woman cried at my bedside, and disappeared up the steps.

Not only had I seen her, I’d felt her. I’d shared her emotions. I

understood them because I had the same ones.

Hey, it was only a dream. Snap out of it!

I had a big day of number-crunching ahead, and I couldn’t schlep around indulging my grief-stricken night visions.

I dressed, returned the chair to the desk, and tore the tape off the

latch. In the literal cold light of day, don’t you feel silly? Everything sounded louder in the dark. And who can control what they see in their dreams?

As I turned away, the little door burst open behind me.

It slammed with a loud bang! against the wall.

I shrieked, jumped back and stumbled over the bed. An icy blast of wind hit me in the face. My eyes were locked on the steps, waiting for something to come through. After a minute, I dared stick my head through the doorway. A strong gust of wind whooshed freely throughout the observation deck.

Glass shards were scattered on the tiny staircase. This morning’s

gale had finally broken through the old, cracked window panes, and they crashed to the floor.

There was something else.

Book Launch. April 2024

 Thank you Rhonda for the terrific tale and for being our guest this week. We wish you continued success with your writing.

 And a Humongous thank you to all out visitors and readers.

Saturday 20 April 2024

The Story Behind the Story for the Anthologies - Spring Paths & Summer Paths (coming soon). Sandra Bunting and Chuck Bowie.


This week you will read the SBTS from two talented authors who are part of the Seasonal Collective and contributors to the Path Anthologies.

The most recent being Spring Paths.

Both Chuck and Sandra have been guests on the Scribbler before and I encourage you to check them out.

Sandra HERE &  Chuck HERE.

Read on my friends.



Sandra Bunting is the author of two collections of short stories, two poetry books and a non-fiction book besides having work included in anthologies and literary magazines. She works as an editor at the Irish-based literary magazine Crannog, and offers editing and proofreading of manuscripts through her own Gaelog Press. 


Chuck is both a writer and an author, with eleven books/novels published. While he mostly enjoys writing mysteries: Suspense-Thrillers and Cozy Mysteries, he also writes short stories. All of his books are well-reviewed, and he has sat on the boards of the Writers’ Federation of NB, The Writers’ Union of Canada, is a Fellow of the Kingsbrae International Residency for the Arts, as well as being acknowledged as a member of the Miramichi Literary Trail. His thriller series chronicles the adventures of an international thief for hire, while his cozy series (written as Alexa Bowie) follows the adventures of the owner of an arts centre as Emma solves the crimes that swirl around her centre: The Old Manse. 

Chuck lives in Fredericton and on Miramichi Bay.


Title: Anthologies.


Synopsis from Spring Paths:

Sometimes, a compelling short story is all you need. Let our tales of gods, ghosts, alien worlds, mystery, secrecy, love, loss and horror get under your skin for a while.

Nine North Atlantic writers have collaborated to create this anthology, the third in a series of multi-genre fables that will entertain, possibly unsettle, and cause you to think about the present in which we live.

Curl up on the sofa and allow yourself to be lost in the pages of this fascinating book.


The Story Behind the Story

Sandra: One of the most evocative images of summer when I was a child was a blue sky, a meadow full of yellow wildflowers – probably dandelions and buttercups - and a clothesline of pristine white sheets flapping gently in the breeze. We all know that this description is now generally a thing of the past. Dryers are just more convenient in our busy lives. But I wanted to work around the idea of a clothesline. My story in the forthcoming anthology Summer Paths, the fourth in a series put out by The Seasonal Collective, is called Clean Laundry.

Through the story, I wanted to explore several themes. I set it in a rural community and wanted to break the myth that country people were old-fashioned. Technological advances are as prevalent in smaller communities as they are in big cities. However, I wanted to see what could happen if one person moved into the community and tried to change the way things were done.

Reflecting on that theme also brought to mind a memory of being in the company of women when I was a little girl. I remember one time sitting with them in the kitchen as they spoke in horror of “a clothesline thief”.

I usually try to sneak in mention of some issues that I feel passionate about, namely creativity and the environment. I feel that it is vital as a human to in some way be creative. I feel creativity could help answer some of the world’s problems. Another issue is the environment We are so fortunate to live on this beautiful earth but we don’t look after it.

Clean Laundry is a light-hearted homage to summer, which also lights on serious topics that can be contemplated at a later time. How do I weave all these themes together? Enter into summer. Enter into the pages of Clean Laundry.


Chuck: When the Spring Paths Melt from Spring Paths.

I had a dream many years ago, where the City of Fredericton flooded. I had gotten a casual job emptying a store basement on Queen St, down by the river during an unusual spring flood. I wondered what would happen if the spring freshet hit at the same time as the Grand Falls, Beechwood and Mactaquac dams all breached. Many years later, I added Climate Change and my recurring dream became a bit of a nightmare.

When I awoke, the simple dream of the entire city being under water became a speculation project for me. Would I have a protagonist? Just one? Would they be starving or scavenging? Scavenging, I thought. Would they die (alone)? Or would there be hope? Would it be a cautionary tale of Man’s foolishness? I didn’t want to do that. Rather, I wanted something immediate, human, and real enough to touch the reader.

I wanted the reader to be in the rowboat with the one who might be the last human in the region.

So that became the story. But I’ve always been as concerned—perhaps even more—with the How of the story. How can my character review their situation, and then summon the will to get out of bed in the morning? What to they do every day; does every minute, like that of ancient man, have to be about scrabbling for food, warmth, and shelter? How do they put one foot in front of the other, in the hope that things will get better, when it probably won’t?

But that’s how the human race managed to survive, isn’t it.

So I wrote a story about a brave young man who hoped that things would get better. He did the little things to engender optimism within his soul. He measured, daily, the height of the water above a specific rooftop. He checked his shoreline every day, placing a rock at the water’s edge and noting where the waterline had previously been. He got out of bed each morning. And he hoped.

Readers sometimes ask me how I make my stories come to life. One of the responses I offer is to explain that I watch the details of my day, and note how the details enrich the story; make it real. Remember how I told of emptying a flooded basement of a downtown shop? I was up to my chest in water, carrying boxes, and I walked past a light switch, three inches above the basement water. And then I looked up at the bare ceiling bulb illuminating my work. And then back to that almost-flooded switch. See? It is those details that add a bit of zest to my stories. Sure, I destroy three dams, but I also place a rock at the waterline. Just to give you hope.


Websites.      Sandra    Chuck 

 The Scribbler recently posted the STBT for other contributors to the Anthologies. Check them out if you like.

Angela Wren

Gianetta Murray

S C Eston

Pierre Arseneault

You can get your copy of Spring Paths ( and the others) HERE.


Thank you both, for being our guests and sharing your inspiration for the short story contributions to the Anthology. We wish you continued success with your writing journeys.


And a HUGE thank you to our dear readers and visitors. We do it all for you.

Saturday 13 April 2024

The Story behind the Story with Tina Lalonde of Ottawa, ON, Canada.


 Let’s welcome Tina to the Scribbler.

She is sharing the SBTS for her book and wants to tell us all about it.

Read on my friends.




Hey there and welcome to Done For You Journals. My name is Tina Lalonde. I am an Amazon Publishing Strategist and the owner of Done For You Journals dot com.

I help women in the health and wellness industry such as coaches, counselors, course creators, yoga instructors, and the woo woo’s make passive income creating and self-publishing their own custom branded journal, workbook, or logbook to sell on Amazon for FREE! However, once you learn the process of creating and self-publishing, you will be able to self-publish that book you’ve been procrastinating on. You know the one, it’s on your bucket list😉


For those who are curious about me when I’m not working…

·       I play competitive women’s volleyball and Pickleball, while my knees can still take it. lol  If you don’t know what pickleball is, check out Henry Burris on CTV News Ottawa to see what it’s all about.

·       I love to travel to the Caribbean during the winter because well, not a big fan of the cold. My favorite place is St Lucia.

·       My favorite drink is sparkling wine is Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava…mmmm soooo good.

·       I live in Ottawa, Ontario with my amazing man who will be referred to as “Bebe”.

·       I like to go second hand shopping, but don’t tell Bebe. He hates when I go there. He says they all have bed bugs. lol

·       I’m a TV show binge watcher. I don’t like to wait for next week. My favorite one is Rizzoli & Isles, and Bosch.

·       Love horseback riding. When the horse gallops, I have this huge smile like a kid.

·       Favorite music is new country, dance music from the year 2000, Socca and I love the song from Shakira “Waka Waka”. I cry every time I hear it.

·       I love playing minute to win it games with my friends. I usually win😉

·       Love to eat ethnic food. My favorite is Vietnamese, then Indian, Thai, and Greek…

·       Like to try new recipes that take less than 30 minutes to make, but I admit I make a mess. So, if you come for dinner, you have to help clean up. Oh and bring BRUT sparkling wine as that’s my favorite.

·       I speak French. Ou est la toilet. Lol. Seriously, I am fluent in French.

·       I did synchronized swimming when I was 10 years old and one 1st place. I can still hold my breath under water for 45 seconds…maybe 30 seconds now.

·       I wrote 2 books and have a few stories published in other people’s books.

·       I am also working on learning Spanish so that when we retired and travel, I’ll be able to have a conversation.


Title: How to Create and Self-Publish Your First Book on Amazon in Less than a Day!


Synopsis:  What if I could show you that getting published is not as complicated as people make it out to be, or at least to get on the biggest platform like Amazon!

In this book you will learn the 4 simple things you need to go from dreamer to being published on Amazon!

I’ve been where you are. Wanting to know how to become published, but not sure where to start. Well, this book is a step-by-step instruction for how to create your first book with a project of a journal. Once you get this book project down, the process is the same for any type of book. By the end of reading the book, you WILL be a Published Author on Amazon!

The Story Behind the Story: Have you ever gone to the bookstore like Chapters or Barnes and Nobles and was hoping to find the book you needed? Mine was a book on learning how to rent out your cottage in Canada.  I bought a cottage in 2013 and wanted to rent it out to make extra money when I wasn’t using it.  I loved that little cottage!

I search Chapters, local libraries, and through dozens of online websites and found a few books about owning a cottage, but nothing really on how to rent it, what the rules are, and how to make money from it, where to advertise. After a few months, I didn’t find the book I was looking for.

I really wanted or rather needed to rent my cottage to help pay the mortgage, but the information out there was all over the place and I was getting frustrated.  After doing all the research I thought to myself “if I’m searching for this information, maybe someone else is too?”.  I thought about just creating a website and linking the pages to the rules, where to advertise, etc. so people would be able to find it quickly, but that still meant there was no book out there.  Then, I stumbled on a book that talked about how to get paid for what you know. This gave me the idea to write a book about what I know. And that’s when I decided to write my first book -  Turn Your Cottage Into Money: How to rent your cottage and make a profit in Ontario and Quebec.

However, that was just the first part. Now I needed to learn about getting it published. I searched online on how to publish a book. I didn’t want to go the traditional publishing root because they take longer and they own the rights to my book! Also, they could tell me how to write it and what I could and could not add to the book. No thanks!

I came across a course on creating and self-publish journals and get them on Amazon. I thought “wouldn’t that be the same thing as publishing a book?” I also thought “I am always writing in journals, so why not create my own and make money instead of giving my money away”. So, I signed up to learn about creating journals and self-publishing on Amazon and published my first book in 2003 and then, created my first journal in 2004 and have been creating them for myself and clients ever since. I love creating journals and workbooks! 


My goal is to help 1,000 entrepreneurs who have a journal or workbook they want to turn into a book and publish it on Amazon!


If you’re a DIY kind of person like me, I create an online course that teaches what’s in the book, plus so much more. I provide templates for the interior and cover. It’s almost like I’m hand holding, but without me being there. My course is called DIY Self-Publishing Bootcamp and you can find it HERE

Anyone who messages me to sign up in the next 30 days, I will offer the DIY Self-Publishing Bootcamp to them at 50% OFF, which is $99 (Value $199) plus…they will get a 1 hour coaching session with me (value: priceless).

Quote “ScribblerDIY24”.

Website: Please go HERE.


A question before you go, Tina:


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?

Tina: Wow, well, that’s a good question. When I was first creating the How to book, I would go every morning to Starbucks at 7am on Saturday and Sunday morning because I needed a different space with no distractions. I would order a medium vanilla Bean Latte, sometimes the almond croissant, and I would put a headset on so people wouldn’t talk to me. However, when I needed a break, I would look around and start talking to random strangers. This gave me the distraction I needed, but also the push to get back to work😊

Another way, I love a good glass or 2 of chardonnay or cab sauv wine, and when I need to get shit done, I pour a glass and go up to my office and set a timer for 30 minutes and do the thing I have to do. Sometimes, I have to go back down to fill it again, as I did when writing this bio.

I don’t do well if there’s a lot of people talking, or music because as I’ve gotten older, my brain doesn’t multitask anymore☹. I like seeing people talking or walking, but I need quiet time.

Thank you for being our guest this week, Tina.

We wish you continued success with your writing.

And a BIG thank you to all out visitors and readers.

Please leave a us a comment. 
And if you do, please put your name in the comment box if the system makes you reply as Anonymous. 

Saturday 6 April 2024

The Story Behind the Story for the Anthology - Spring Paths. Angela Wren & Gianetta Murray of Great Britain.

 I have the tremendous, good fortune to be part of the Seasonal Collective and as a group we are extremely pleased to have Angela and Gianetta, both fine authors, as part of the Collective.

Together with seven others, we have contributed to the Anthology, Spring Paths.

Read on my friends and learn more.



Angela Wren is an author, actor, and has worked as a director at a small theatre a few miles from where she lives in the county of Yorkshire in the UK.  She has always loved stories and story-telling – no matter what the media.  So, having ditched her full-time and very pressured job in business change and project management, it seemed right to try her hand at creative writing.

Starting with short stories, one of her earliest pieces was published in an anthology which was put together by the magazine ‘Ireland’s Own’ in 2011.  She hasn’t looked back since, going on to create many more short stories in, the Miss Moonshine, the Dark World, and the Seasonal Paths series of anthologies, along with stories for the UK Crime Book Club Group on Facebook.  She also has a successful cosy crime series of full-length novels set in the Cévennes and featuring her private investigator, Jacques Forêt.

 When she’s not writing, Angela likes to spend as much time as possible each year travelling in France.

***Angela has been a guest previously and if you missed it, please go HERE.



Gianetta Murray was a librarian, technical writer, and knowledge manager for over forty years on two continents before she hung up those hats in 2022 to fulfill her dream of being a writer.

Spring Paths was her first publication, followed quickly by a collection of humorous paranormal stories called A Supernatural Shindig. Her first novel, Moved to Murder: A Vivien Brandt Mystery, will be published in June 2024 by Troubador Press, and she is currently working on a story for a mystery anthology as well as the second of the Vivien Brandt mysteries (and, of course, a story for the upcoming Summer Paths anthology).

Besides writing, she enjoys walks in the English countryside when the weather allows, and when it does not (which is often) she binges on TV mysteries, Hollywood musicals, and rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She is also a willing slave for two very demanding cats.


Title: Spring Paths


Angela’s Synopsis:  Madame Beauvary’s Curio Shop is a mystery that is not quite what it seems.  Set in 1983, The action takes place in the village of Beauregard in central France.


Gianetta’s Synopsis: Demeter has had just about enough of her bossy brother Zeus, but when he reveals her recent actions might very well doom the Earth, she realizes she must once again take an interest in human affairs. Unfortunately, godly affairs always seem to get in the way…


Angela’s Inspiration: In spring a couple of years ago I was taking a few days out in a small town on the Lincolnshire coast.  Whilst there I discovered a bizarre antique shop - one of those places where every inch of shelving, wall and ceiling space is jam-packed with stuff that no-one needs or wants.  I jotted down some notes about the location.  The more I thought about the shop, the more I realised it needed an eccentric and mysterious owner.  A couple of months later and Madame Beauvary became a fully formed character.  Her back story took various twists and turns before I was happy with it and the mystery story in the Spring Paths collection developed from that.

That short story is not the end of Madame B!  There is a history to her that has yet to be fully revealed and I will be letting readers know more about her in the new series of cosy crime mysteries that I am developing.  News about that will be on my blog – so watch that space!


Gianetta’s Inspiration: I joined an all-female online writing group and early last year the leader posed the theme of ‘spring’ as a writing exercise. Having adored Greek mythology since childhood, I immediately thought of the story of Demeter and how she controls the seasons on Earth. I was tickled by the idea of writing a story about gods who were really incredibly human, and maybe also tying in a bit about climate change—but, you know, in a fun way!

The story then sat there until a fellow author asked me to join the collective behind the Paths anthologies, and the fact that the next issue was Spring Paths seemed like, well, a godsend! 😊

Angela’s website – please go HERE.

Gianetta’s website – please go HERE.



A question before you go ladies:

Scribbler: 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?

Angela: I’m lucky enough to have a writing shed of my own.  It’s the smallest bedroom at the back of my house.  The window looks out over the garden, which is not massive but is neatly planted and over by the fence at the bottom is a small apple tree that is surrounded by a mass of snowdrops in early spring.

When I’m working in there with all my books – and I have loads and loads of those – the world could explode I wouldn’t know a thing!  Having spent a lot of time in open-plan offices, I’ve developed the art of completely shutting out all peripheral noise to focus on whatever I’m doing.

As for sustenance whilst I’m there, I mostly drink water during the day.  But black coffee is essential for early morning starts and chocolate – in any form be it biscuit, cake, in a mug or whatever – feeds my brain when I run out of words.


Gianetta: A quiet room with a view of the garden, a chai latte at hand, and the day’s housework done, so I can focus purely on the writing! :)


Get your copy HERE.

Thank you both for taking the time to share your inspiration for Spring Paths.

I know you both hard at work for the next anthology – Summer Paths – due for publication in August/September.


And thank you dear readers and visitors for stopping by today.

Feel free to leave a comment and if you do, please add your name in the comment box if the silly blog only lets you use Anonymous. (A glitch I can’t fix.)