ANSWERING THE CALL Writers’ Retreat is back!

sereniANSWERING THE CALL writers’ retreat is back.  So many people asked me about this retreat during my book signings, I realized we had to get it up and going again.  I’m an avid follower of Julia Cameron and Natalie Goldberg and think everyone needs a special place set aside from the hectic busyness of everyday life to create.   Some years ago I started a retreat at the Villa Madonna in Renforth, New Brunswick.  Run by the Sisters of Charity, it offers a peaceful surrounding that’s ideal to dig into a body of work, commune with the Great Creator and noodle inspiration into concrete form.   Even writers with many books under their belts, who have disciplined themselves to write everyday despite ‘life’s busyness’ can blossom from a change of scene and a place to just ‘play’.  If you want to keep posted, just check out the ANSWERING THE CALL blog.  I’m hoping when the retreat is over, there will be some volunteers who agree to post their work there too.  I’ve always found it a fascinating process in the past.  I’ve headed off with all kinds of plans, but almost always ended up being jolted with a bolt of  lightening surprise I didn’t expect.   Who knows what will happen this time…

One week to the First Virtual Mystery Convention

shadowiPoison Pen’s first virtual mystery convention is quickly approaching.  If  you haven’t registered yet, here’s what it’s all about:

PPWebCon – the world’s first interactive virtual mystery convention on October 24th – brings the benefits of no hotel bills, no air fares, and the chance for crime and mystery authors and readers around the world to meet, mingle and chat live online.  (

Guest of Honor, Dana Stabenow and International Guest of Honor Lee Child will participate in live interviews along with 62 other writers from Hawaii to New Jersey in the USA, and from all across the world including Canada, Iceland, Ireland, the UK, France, South Africa, and Australia.

For a registration fee of just 25 US dollars, attendees will receive:

  • Privileged access to live events – 64 authors are participating in more than 50 panels and presentations, on live and recorded video and audio, as well as in text.  See the line-up here: ( )
  • The chance to meet and chat to authors in the online Coffee Shop chat room.
  • Goody Bag – more than thirty authors have contributed over fifty items to the goody bag! The gifts range from entire novels, through brand new short stories, to fun items like entertaining articles and even recipes!
  • Book Voucher – A 20 US dollar book voucher for The Poisoned Pen Bookstore

And right now visitors to the website can be entertained by Barbara Peters’ TV show “The Criminal Calendar“.  More than 90 one-hour interviews with the world’s top crime writers. ( )

See ya there!

Win autographed copy of new paperback release of SHADOWS

shadowsRomance Junkies is holding a Halloween Contest and you could win an autographed copy of the trade paperback edition of LET THE SHADOWS FALL BEHIND YOU being released this month….and Ganong chocolates.  These are made in St. Stephen, New Brunswick and I will swear on my children, the best chocolates you have ever eaten.

To enter just scroll down RJ’s CONTEST PAGE to NEW HALLOWEEN CONTEST and click the link to find the haunted castle.  You’ll find me and all the details on how to enter inside.  Hint: I think cats are magical.  Good luck! 

Lovely review for SHADOWS

roadLThank you to Gordon Hauptfleisch for the lovely review posted today on Blog Critics:

“Name one thing. One thing that you are truly fearful of,” the central character of Kathy-Diane Leveille’s haunting and intricate psychological thriller Let the Shadows Fall Behind You is asked.

Her surprising answer: “’Sliding.’ Into people, beneath their skins, she clarified silently. Needing them, loving them, sliding into the hole, the darkness left behind when they’re gone. … ‘Sliding backwards. Not moving forwards. Stagnating. That’s it.’”

That prideful sense of aloofness and elusiveness and a feeling that going back home means growing stagnant may be what’s holding up Brannagh Maloney in  picking up the pieces of a once-promising career and relationship and returning to her hometown, but there’s much more to the story than escape and hitting the roads of Canada once again. In Brannagh’s confrontation with a turmoil of emotions and a troubled past, secrets abound and uncertainty dogs every move when she leaves her stint as a cataloguer for prominent environmentalist Nikolai Mirsky – with whom she had lived and loved — after he suddenly disappears.

This of course is a matter of momentous heartbreak and confusion, though a guarded and complex Brannagh would offer a seemingly cynical, protests-too-much contention to others that “all we shared was birds and orgasms.” Perhaps closer to the mark is the vulnerability she admits to herself in more reflective times:

Maybe love is supposed to be confusing. Maybe there is no tacking it down. Maybe it is as ambiguous as the bumbling humans who are dense enough to leave its barbed hook snarled in their contracting hearts.”