The setting in Let The Shadows Fall Behind You

Here is the oil painting Evening Tide that my husband and I purchased at a charity fundraiser last week. It’s painted by artist Helga Lobb who moved to Canada from Germany in 1967.  She took several photographs of the coast and then collaged her impressions. My husband and I have often traveled along the Atlantic on the motorcycle at dusk.  I’ve seen the light assume this ghostly ethereal appearance.  Whether I like it or not, it’s the setting that enters all of my fiction: the river I live beside and the ocean it runs into.  The fundy coast is the back drop in Let The Shadows Fall Behind You.

The Power of One

I am pondering the power of one woman writer to make a difference in the world. Are words truly mightier than the proverbial sword?

Eve Ensler, the creator of The Vaginal Monologues, is continuing her work with rape victims in the Congo. Her organization V-Day, in conjunction with Unicef, has organized a platform for women in over 90 villages to come and speak about what has happened to them. They have given these women a voice, a venue to use words to shape this horrific experience, forcing men, the officials and the international community to hear and acknowledge and act so that irrevocable change can occur.

For more information on V-Day:


Here are Eve Ensler’s impressions after a visit to the Congo in August of 2007:

The Globe and Mail published an article on the conflict Saturday. Sadly, little has changed since 2007:

KANIOLA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO — In Kaniola, they have coined a new term: reviolé.


At the Catholic parish office, on the cramped and crowded ledger pages where they list rape victims, at least half the names appear more than once: women who have been victims of sexual enslavement or public gang rape by rebel groups or the Congolese army; women, 30 in an average month, who have come to the parish to get help reaching a hospital to repair their injuries; women who have been healed, come home and a year or two or three later, been gang-raped again, during another small surge of the conflict.

The youngest victim on the list is 6. The oldest is 74.

To read more:

Is a wet blanket haunting your writing?

All the writers who’ve attended my retreat Answering The Call, know I’m an avid fan of Julia Cameron’s Artist Way books. Her writing never fails to ground me when I become overly anxious about the creative process.  I used to lug a ton of her books there in a duffle bag and hole up with a fistful of pens, hot green tea, Paula Red apples and reams of foolscap.  Let the Shadows Fall Behind You was birthed in a tiny unadorned room containing a single bed at the end of a silent hall on the second floor. A statue of the Virgin Mary stood outside the door, which I found comforting when one of the nuns who runs the Villa told us it was haunted. I spent hours propped against pillows gazing out the window that overlooked an ancient evergreen, whose dark branches slowly rose to the foreground, gaining inky definition each night as the sun slipped behind the hills.


Last week I met with my friend Sara to talk about getting together after Christmas to discuss Walking in the World one of Julia’s new books, as we each start a new project. The novel I’m writing now is set in the 1930’s and, of course, the critic inside my head keeps harping that I shouldn’t be writing about an era of history I didn’t actually live in, and that I’ll probably get it all wrong.  Coffee with Sara was just the spark I needed to accept that voice and get back to the drawing board anyway.


Do you have a wet blanket haunting your writing? If so, you might enjoy this snippet on YouTube of Julia Cameron speaking at Wisdom House February of last year.




Good-bye wet blanket.




Donna Morrisey (Kit’s Law) over the moon

I have never met Newfoundland writer, Donna Morrissey, in person. (I’ve never been in town when she’s been here to read.) But we have exchanged e-mails and, besides being one of my favourite authors, she is plain old nice and possesses an enormous funny bone. (I vote she should perform at open mike night at Second City). When she told me she was over the moon from the Globe and Mail’s review of her new novel, I read it right away. Given it’s unequivocal recognition for her talent she must be all the way to Saturn or that blob, formerly called a planet, Pluto by now. Check it out:

Donna Morrissey writes with her heart on her sleeve. Her people are passionate, troubled, sensitive, emotionally exposed, quick to be moved to anger or pain, and just as quick to laughter and affection. As one of the characters in What They Wanted says, “you thinks with your heart.”

This is a novel of emotions, and the first vivid image of a family watching the father literally sawing their house in half before floating it out to sea gives us an inkling of the divided hearts and wounded souls we will meet…..

What They Wanted is not a plot-driven novel. The story is fairly straightforward: A father has a heart attack; a brother and sister leave Newfoundland and go to Alberta to work; they meet two young men from their childhood there and all find jobs on an oil rig; a tragedy brings reconciliation, but also terrible loss. As a tale, it sounds fairly uncomplicated. What is complex here, what is intricate and convoluted and often tortuous, are the emotions that attract, repel and ultimately bind the characters to each other.

The novel is narrated by Sylvie Now, university student of philosophy, barmaid, cook, dutiful daughter and caring sister. Her voice is compelling, revealing and utterly captivating. At the heart of Sylvie’s story is the wound she carries in her heart – of feeling herself unloved by her mother. A mother, by the way, who buried three infants before Sylvie came along, and then during an extended postpartum depression sent the small girl to live with her grandmother. It is to the next child, the boy, Chris, that the mother seems to devote all her affections. Sylvie’s antagonism toward her mother and her conflicted relationship with her brother form the emotional core of the novel…..

To read the rest of this article see:….