Past Newsletters

May 2022

Introduction

Spring has finally reached Ontario Canada, and with it comes tulips, and with the tulips comes the reminder of the glorious tulip fields in the land of my roots – the Netherlands. May is also the time in the Netherlands when people remember the hardships of WWII and the joy of their liberation. In this month’s feature interview with a character from my debut novel (shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize), Family Business, we talk about both the 1945 liberation and tulips.

In the monthly Feature Interview section, one of my many fictional characters will talk about something that has not been included in any existing book. I hope you enjoy getting to know the people a little bit more!

Feature Interview

We’re talking to Johan Meijer, youngest son of widowed mother Agatha, about the liberation of the Netherlands in May of 1945.

Renny: “Johan, the war in Europe was such a time of deprivation and hardship, so when the liberators came, it must have been a time that no one would ever forget. Tell us about the most memorable events for you in those joyful days.”

Johan: “Yes, we were starving, so of course, my greatest memory was when the food drops began. The first one was in late April, and I heard afterwards that it was an RAF bomber called Bad Penny, crewed by men from Ontario Canada. Between the RAF and the Americans, the food drops saved so many lives, and I know that these planes were still being shot at. We were so grateful for the risks they took. It was tulip time, and I heard that some tulip farmers spelled out the words ‘many thanks’ in tulips so the pilots could see that for themselves from high above.”

1By Unknown author – Original text: Imperial War Museum? – picture scanned by me Ian Dunster 15:01, 30 September 2005 (UTC) from the They Fell Right In The Larder article in the May 1985 issue of Aeroplane Monthly and uncredited., Public Domain, https://c

Renny: “It must have given you such hope, along with the actual food that you so desperately needed.”

Johan: “Yes. And then when May came and the cease-fire was in place, that’s when the real celebrations began. From those days, one event really stands out in my memory. My friend Hank lived in Haarlem and had found work as a caretaker in a small hospital, so I went there to be with him to watch the arrival of the liberators.

When the Canadians drove into the city, they were mobbed by the crowds. It was really overwhelming. In the hospital, many of the patients were far too ill or wounded to come out and participate in the celebrations but wanted to share in the joy of the moment. As one convoy came past, the hospital Matron ran out into the street and stopped a jeep carrying an officer. I listened as she explained how the patients would be so grateful for a chance to thank the Canadian liberators. That officer, along with his small entourage immediately parked and went inside. Hank told me later they spent the next hour going from bed to bed shaking hands, touching gently and speaking to the patients. You can imagine that many cried with gratitude for the liberation and for the thoughtfulness of the soldiers who took the time to stop to meet them. That memory stays with me. The fact that these Canadians took the time to stop and go inside the hospital.”

Renny: “Johan, thank you for sharing these memories with us today.”

Read the story of Johan Meijer and his family in FAMILY BUSINESS

Announcements

I’m delighted to reveal the cover of the second book in the Cape Breton Mystery series:

Sea Child will be available for pre-order on Amazon, Kobo and other online bookstores on June 1st, 2022.

Caught up in an investigation that threatens the lives of those he loves, Detective Gordie MacLean and his partner are drawn into a dark world far removed from the seemingly simple life of a lobster fisherman.

June 2022

Introduction

With the arrival of summer, we here in Ontario experience the annual rebirth of the natural world. The snow is truly gone, and everything is in bloom. The blossoming fruit trees, my purple irises, red roses, and fragrant white lilies of the valley surround me with scent and colour. After the first excitement of witnessing this annual miracle, my thoughts turn to vacation, and my writer’s retreat in Nova Scotia.

In the monthly Feature Interview section, one of my many fictional characters will talk about something that has not been included in any existing book. I hope you enjoy getting to know the people a little bit more!

Feature Interview

This month, we’re talking to Gordie MacLean, a detective with the Cape Breton Police Services Major Crimes Unit.

Renny: “Gordie, readers have been interested in following your case files; first with Garden Girl, and more recently with Sea Child. What I think people would like to know though is a little more about you, the man rather than the detective. We’ve seen that you enjoy spending time alone. Why is that?”

Gordie: “I’ve always been a solitary person. When I was a child, other kids were not welcome at my house, and because it would have been odd to be invited to the homes of other kids and not reciprocate, I just kept to myself. My sister Jean was my closest friend, and she probably still is.”

Renny: “You say visitors weren’t welcome. Is that because of your alcoholic father?”

Gordie: “Yes. There were days when he would be fine, but others when he wouldn’t be. I never wanted to take a chance. The good thing about the home situation is that it fine-tuned my ability to read people, which has been of great value to me as a police officer.”

Renny: “Thank you for your honesty. You’ve been a bachelor all your life, but now we see you developing a relationship with Vanessa Hunt. What’s it like to be part of a couple instead of on your own?”

 Gordie: “It’s quite a change for me. I’ve been in relationships before, but never for this long, and quite honestly, I never had such an interest in making it last. I’ve had to take a look at myself to try to do things differently this time. I’ve been used to just having Taz, my dog, and she’s much more forgiving when I mess up.”

 Renny: “Speaking of dogs, we know that Taz is a great Pyrenees, but you probably have had dogs before her. Tell us about your first dog.”

Gordie: “I was a teenager when I got my first dog. She was a shepherd cross called Bailey, and I think she was my saviour. I was at a stage where I needed a friend, and my mother must have recognized that, so she allowed me the dog. To this day I believe she was the smartest dog I’ve ever owned. She could read me even better than I could read my father. We took a lot of long walks together. I guess that’s when I developed that habit of walking off my problems with my dog as my sounding board.”

Renny: “One last question Gordie. I heard a rumour that Tim Hortons is discontinuing their oatcakes. What will you snack on if that happens?”

Renny: “Readers – Gordie MacLean is wearing a look of horror on his face and has nothing to add while he mulls over this news, so we’ll close by thanking Detective MacLean for his time today.”

Catch up on the Cape Breton Mystery books (Garden Girl and Sea Child) to read about Gordie MacLean and his police procedural stories. Available on Amazon, Kobo and other online retailers.

Garden Girl: http://mybook.to/GardenGirl

Sea Child: http://mybook.to/SeaChild

Announcements & News

With the publication of Sea Child, I have put together a book trailer.

Enjoy: https://youtu.be/V1o7Q9EegQU

Looking for a signed book? Here’s where I can be found in July:

SATURDAY, JULY 2, 2022 AT 11 AM – 4 PM

Lakefield Outdoor One Stop Shopping Event

25 William St, Selwyn, ON

SUNDAY, JULY 10, 2022 AT 10 AM – 3 PM

Craft & Vendor Show
Ennismore Arena
553 Ennis Rd
Ennismore, ON