Novel Manuscript Looking for a Home

Before I Sail Away (working title) is the sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking story of an old woman on a mission to find forgiveness before she dies.

“I found myself thinking about Grace and her dilemma in between sessions… I think you’ve done a great job of catching and conveying a woman of great character in all her idiosyncrasy and complexity. She is someone the reader is glad to spend time with, and someone we can admire and love.”

Marina endicott (Good to a Fault, The Difference) in notes on before i sail away

If you’re one who likes Canadian books like Late Breaking (K.D. Miller) and The Wheaton (Joanne Jackson) for their late-life epiphanies, 90-year-old Grace and her wry musings may appeal to you. Or, if you enjoy international books like Three Things about Elsie (Joanna Coleman), or The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Rachel Joyce) for their unconventional mystery and unsanctioned geriatric adventures, you may also like this one.

Perhaps your taste runs to Atlantic Canadian stories like Amazing Grace (Lesley Crewe) or Keeper of Tides (Beatrice MacNeil) with themes of ageing, remembering and atonement. If so, you’ll like Before I Sail Away, too. Then again, if you’re a history buff and enjoy the everyday details of bygone Canadian life that have been drawn so well in books like The Forgotten Home Child (Genevieve Graham) or Few and Far (Allison Kydd), there is room between the covers of Before I Sail Away for you.

Keep checking back. I’ll be sure to announce when and where you’ll be able to buy it.

Short Story Collection

While working on my novel, I read a lot of books on writing by authors who purport to know how to do it. Many advised that, before one can hope to write a good novel, one must first write a good short story.

Teacher and Students of West Covehead School (c. 1922)

So, I started creating short stories. Some are the ones you see on the “Fiction” page (click here). They are part of a growing collection. When complete, it will serve as a tiny-yet-fascinating window into early 20th Century life in Maritime Canada. It follows a group of people loosely connected by blood, love or circumstance and spread between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It is mostly inspired by stories I heard as a child, while my father (centre front in photo) and the visitor of the moment passed their time smoking pipes and drinking tea (or something stronger) in the kitchen of our old farm house.

As you read this, I labour earnestly to make them into a publishable collection.

The Meaning of Forever Project

Since January of 2016, my friend Joan Olinger and I have been enjoying a labour of love called The Meaning of Forever Project. Initially a drive to collect stories that would eventually form a book about others’ comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed away, the project evolved into a four-year (and counting) blog.

The inspiration for the title comes from the idea that not many of us really think about what we mean when we tell someone we will love them forever. Captivated by the question, “Does forever love even exist?” Joan and I set out to answer it in the affirmative, and the stories we have collected bear this out: True love does not die, no matter what happens to the physical body.

Have a look at our blog and see what you think. If you feel like submitting a story of your own, we’d love to see it. You can email us at, contact us through our Facebook page, or write a comment on our blog.

Photos: Featured Fishing Shacks – Brian McInnis; Teacher and students of West Covehead School c. 1922 – Beairsto Family Collection.