My Newest Fan

Today was a busy day at the bus. I got a note! IMG_6121 But first, I’ve got to give props to Cornwall Living Magazine and their launch party last Wednesday. Not only did they let me bring my kids to the launch party, but the swag was perfectly kid-friendly: pencil crayons! And they fed us pizza. Then they played this video:–nA_4E& I laughed when I saw myself at 0:55, and Max said, “That’s you, Mama!”

Is it a selfie when you take a picture of your picture?

Is it a selfie when you take a picture of your picture?


Okay, that's a selfie. But Max steals the show.

Okay, that’s a selfie. But Max steals the show.

Where's Anastasia? Rolling around on the ground, of course. What else would you do in a restaurant?

Where’s Anastasia? Rolling around on the ground, of course. What else would you do in a restaurant?

Cornwall Living Magazine has generously offered to send free copies to people who ask. So get in there! They also send copies to embassies around the globe. Max, Anastasia and I raced home so I could hand off the kids and hurry over to my interview on Vankleek Cooley via VankleekFM. You can listen here: if you page down to “Listen to the May 28th, 2014 Show – Hour One.”  My interview starts at 31:00.

Fascinating to meet Louise Sproule, the owner and publisher of The Review. We chatted after, and she mentioned that she’s owned the newspaper for 22 years, and her articles can make people cry. They stop her on the street to hug her. One woman brought her flowers.

I explained that my overarching goal is to have my writing connect me with people, places, and things that excite me. But I started off writing in a vacuum, with only “It’s good. Keep writing” from Matt and editors’ rejection letters for feedback. So Louise and I are kind of the opposite. She knows that she has a dedicated audience every week who pay for her words and may tell her so every week, whereas I’m hungry to carve out my audience (not that I’m going to eat them, but while it’s mega-awesome to have a fan in Saudi Arabia and nab a rare sale in Trinidad and Tobago and Norway, I don’t have people crying on me).

Thus, I was blown away when the Glengarry Book Club chose CODE BLUES for their inaugural meeting.   IMG_2342 Then I waited for them to tear me into tiny strips of beef jerky, since that’s what writers usually do. My own daughter said yesterday, when I was packing my books up for Bloody Words 2014, “Mommy, I don’t like your books. I hate them.” Instead, they said that they enjoyed all the Montreal references, the joie de vivre, the multiculturalism. Fast-paced. Easy read. And they liked Hope.

  • “Hope was a really accessible, normal character. Nothing seemed ridiculous.”
  • “I felt sorry for her. The loneliness, the misery, the stress, a new city, her job, working with difficult people and bosses. I felt dirty. She hadn’t had a shower. I felt how she was feeling.”
  • “I’m looking at Hope, working in a hospital is just so foreign, it would never happen to me, I’d be on the floor. But here, I’m following her around, I’m right with her. She’s got these clues, I can put it together, I can relate to her.”
  • “Most people just don’t give a s—. ‘I just got here, I’m not doing that. I’m not going to worry about it.’ Hope just took off with [the murder case] right away.”

None of them figured out the murderer except Anne, a few pages before. Rhonda always reads the last page first, and she was still surprised.

Rhonda is the one holding up Notorious D.O.C. in the back. Isn't she cute?

Rhonda is the one holding up Notorious D.O.C. in the back. Isn’t she cute?

One of them said that she liked she sex scene. “Your description went to the senses instead of a visual image, which I really appreciated, the tactile details, instead of flowery description.”

Code blues cover 2013 EBOOK-200

The one with the sex scene. Among other things

I was waiting for the “but.” It never came. Maybe they’re too polite to say anything to my face, but it dawned on me that readers want to be entertained. They want to be pleased. They’re not like writers and critics. On a related note,



I was delighted when Bob, Max’s bus driver, wanted to buy “my best work.” I gave him TERMINALLY ILL, and now he periodically updates me on where he is in the book. “Elvis is awake!” “The other doctor wants to take the case!” Or, “There’s a bit of sexual tension here.” (Good thing I didn’t give him CODE BLUES, huh?) “My wife wants to read the book after me.”

If you got anything out of this post, join the team. Buy my book(s)!

In case you missed the Terminally Ill memo. Including the one that Ellery Queen says Hope Sze is “utterly likeable.”

To my amazement, one of the students piped up and said that she was reading HIGH SCHOOL HIT LIST on iBooks (High School Hit List – Melissa Yi). “It’s a bit scary. Is that okay?” I said, and she nodded. hit list POD cover-2013-ebook   Today, Isabelle passed me the note, and I’m waiting for the bus to come, so I can give her a signed copy of HIGH SCHOOL HIT LIST.


Vince wanted more dog pictures. Here you go.

I’m happy on so many levels. She’s obviously intelligent and curious, probably heard about the TERMINALLY ILL book launch and went on my website to find something that spoke to her age group. She reads both e-book and print. And she and her family are willing to spend their hard-earned money on my work! To answer her question, my e-books are available everywhere (just starting out on Google Play today). My print books are available on Amazon, and you can order them through your local bookstore, including R&L’s Book Nook, which will be hosting a book launch for the latest Hope Sze novella, STUDENT BODY, on September 20th, 2014. The Hope Sze medical mysteries are now available in trade paperback at the following locations:

R&L’s Book Nook in Alexandria
58 Alexandria Main, Alexandria, ON K0K 1A0; (613)525-9940;
The Quirky Carrot
1 main street south; (613)525-2229; Facebook
Sunset Yoga
Église Ste. Marie de l’Assomption, Cp 119 4172 Route 34, K0C 1L0; (613) 662-YOGA(9642);
Fassifern General Store; RR 5 in Alexandria, ON; (613)525-2144
Penny’s Market7340 regional road 23, K0C 1J0; (613)551-4806;
We’ve added three more retailers:

The Review 76 Main St. E, Vankleek Hill, Ontario, K0B 1R0, Tel: (613) 678-3327, The Brown House 20363 Concession Rd 5, Green Valley, ON K0C 1L0 (Hwy 34 & Brown House Rr 2), 613-347-2583 A L Macdonald Grocery Inc. Williamstown, ON K0C 2J0 Phone: (613) 347-2770 Happy reading!


Here she is. Yay, Isabelle!

Success: People, places, and things that excite me, from Shelagh Rogers to Bloody Words

Joanna Penn and Kris Rusch have blogged lately about success.

My success is minuscule compared to many writers, but my M.O. is not buckets of money. I like money, because it represents freedom, but I don’t neeeeeeed money or prestige.

I set out my goals here. I want my writing to connect with people, places, and things that excite me.

So when I picked up the phone and a neighbour named Rhonda asked me to join a new book club, and said maybe they could do my book for the next meeting, I was deeeeeelighted. (Also, surprised to hear that they’d hesitated to invite me, thinking I might be too busy. Ask me! I’m always looking for fun.)

Code blues cover 2013 EBOOK-200

Now starring the in the Glengarry book club! Will they like it? Guess I’ll find out next month.

And they did pick Code Blues, the first Hope Sze novel, which was awesomesauce. I just had to giggle in embarrassment when Rhonda told everyone it was a fun, quick read, and that they’d enjoy the Montreal references, but that parking tickets are now $52, not $30. Oops.

Steve Steinbock, the reviewer from Ellery Queen, Facebooked me seven reasons that I had to come to Bloody Words, the mystery conference in Toronto. (The list was hilarious. If I get permission, I’ll post it, but probably the funniest was (2) to join me, Howard Shrier, and Ken Wishnia in a Yiddish cussing contest.) I’d considered going after my friend Rebecca Senese told me about it, but the $190 conference seemed steep. After that message, though, I told Matt, “If Ellery Queen asks you to go to a conference, you go.” So I’ll be in Toronto June 6-8. And I have to say, it made my day that Steve was asking me to come. I’m a very small potato. Unbelieveable when someone higher up in the French fry industry says, Hey. C’mere.

Look. This incorporates both the theme of me as a small potato and the murder theme for me going to Bloody Words. You see how I did that?

Look. This incorporates both the theme of me as a small potato and the murder theme for me going to Bloody Words.You see how I did that?

Then Yasmin tweeted about my blog on Emergency Room: Life+Death at VGH, and I looked her up and realized that she’s one of the stars of the show. In fact, she got the closing words of the final episode. And the most hilarious parts is, she tagged my friend Anna to read the blog post…and Anna is the one who highlighted it in the first place, because she’s my Vancouver General Hospital friend who used to work in Montreal.

Yasmin ER star Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 8.54.43 AM

So it’s come full circle, and the closest I’ve come to a blog post going viral. In this case, it’s more like my blog post going water cooler, because it’s a relatively small group of people, but still. Shelagh Rogers. Need I say more?

Another Twitter win was that a new friend/fan made up a hashtag for Dr. Hope Sze, #HopeIsCool.

#HopeIsCool twitter Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 8.54.43 AM

I’ve never met @vmchick, so this here I am, connecting with new people who have excellent taste.  #livingthedream

“You’re quite the celebrity at the dentist’s office,” said my husband Matt, and in fact, when I made it for my appointment, Maria (the secretary), Dr. Levon Kichian (our dentist), and Kim (a dental hygenicist) all bought copies of Terminally Ill. “I started reading it already. Very intriguing,” said Dr. Kichian.

Loose Tooth

Look closely. Combines dentistry & bloody theme. Photo by Terri Heisele.

At the hospitals, they’re quite used to me writing, but if I call for a consult or for an admission, a staff member might say in passing, “Congratulations on your book” (which means they don’t plan to buy a copy, but they’re aware of my fifteen minutes of fame. Cool enough), or “I started reading your book. It’s beautiful. Now I have to buy the other two” (well, only Dr. Shah said that. But here’s hoping!).

One last win: Kobo’s Mark Leslie Lefebvre had pushed me to talk to bookstores. I found it hideously embarrassing, but I got over it, and now the Hope Sze books are available in the following select locations:

R&L’s Book Nook in Alexandria
58 Alexandria Main, Alexandria, ON K0K 1A0; (613)525-9940;

The Quirky Carrot
1 main street south; (613)525-2229; Facebook

Sunset Yoga
Église Ste. Marie de l’Assomption, Cp 119 4172 Route 34, K0C 1L0; (613) 662-YOGA(9642);

Penny’s Market
7340 regional road 23, K0C 1J0; (613)551-4806;

Coming soon:
Fassifern General Store; RR 5 in Alexandria, ON; (613)525-2144

You can also order any Olo Books/Windtree Press book from your local bookstore. Just go in and say, “Here’s my money,” and they’ll make it happen.

Thanks, exciting people. You rock!

“Only connect.” —E.M. Forster