The Gift: Awakening has a new cover

Awakening’s new cover is here! We’ve not strayed far from Viona Halim’s winning design, just a little tweak here and there.

New_cover_for_The_Gift:_AwakeningFor those who prefer the original design, which is no longer in print, I do have a limited number of first edition copies available.

The book retails for $27.99 Canadian plus taxes. While supplies last, I’m happy to sign and personally inscribe a book, and mail it anywhere in Canada for $35.00 including taxes and shipping.

If this offer interests you, email me at jpmbooks (at*) before December 1st. We’ll arrange payment and you’ll have your book in time for Christmas.

Email me for prices on orders outside Canada.

Have a great day.

 *replace (at) with the @ symbol and remove spaces.
Posted in Book Series, Cover Art, Cover Reveal, The Gift Legacy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Susan Toy Turns Two!

Well … maybe not Susan herself, but her Reading Recommendations site is celebrating two fabulous years!

One of a writer’s most difficult jobs comes after the writing is done. It doesn’t seem to matter which publishing path you choose, discoverability is the next step, and it’s a tough slog.

When I was new to the publishing world, I floundered around the Internet looking for information on how to get the word out about my book and find readers. It seemed an insurmountable task, and as a newbie, sorting the wheat from the chaff proved taxing on my time and my sanity.


Susan Toy

Happily, I stumbled upon Susan Toy and her Reading Recommendations site. It was such a refreshing change to the naysaying negativity that can run rampant on the Internet. Here I found a woman with a long history in the publishing industry, and a writer herself, making the time and effort to support other writers.

But I am not just a writer, I’m also a reader, as most writers are. Through Reading Recommendations, I’ve discovered many new writers (here and here) and continue to do so. These are books I may never have found if I hadn’t read about them on Susan’s site.

And that is discoverability, the very thing all writers strive for.

Reading Recommendations works, and better still, I’ve met a network of writers who are supportive, approachable, and readily share their knowledge.

November 18th is the second anniversary of Reading Recommendations. I am grateful and proud to be a part of this supportive network of readers and writers. On November 18th, join the celebration on Facebook!

Congratulations, Susan, on your second year anniversary, and thank you for being at the helm.


At home in Bequia

Posted in book promotion, Gratitude, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Edits and Shiny New Toys


Half of me is thrilled to be going full tilt on the editorial review of The Gift Legacy books for WindStorm Press. The work invigorates me and the view from my writing desk inspires me.

The other half of me is chomping at the bit to get back into the new material. Four exciting projects stamp their feet at the gate. It’s shiny new toy syndrome, and it tempts me.

But I know my limits and the review requires my full attention. The shiny new toys will have to wait. Besides, the more hours I devote to the review, the faster I’ll get back to the shiny new toys.

The opportunity to revamp the books and their covers came with the new publisher. Over the years I’ve grown as a writer, so I jumped at the opportunity to re-visit these early books.

The goal is to ensure the story and language are as tight as they can be. Here’s a sampling of what I’m doing (the crossed-out words are gone, the underlined words are new):

  1. Better and active verb choice:

There was a lot of laughter cascaded around us and I welcomed the change from the gloom that Cassandra cast over us moments earlier.

  1. Removing unnecessary dialogue tags that can slow down the pace.

Oh, god, no. I knew what this was. I had to stop him. “No! Don’t go!” I shouted.

  1. Tightening the prose:

If you missed the sound of waves, you might just smell the briny air or catch a whiff of briny air or pungent seaweed in the ocean breeze.

The changes are small, but powerful. I’m halfway through the review and excited with the results. I can’t wait to share them with you.

Meantime, enjoy the sunrise.

You can get Penance, the latest book in The Gift Legacy series here.
Posted in About Writing, Editing, Publisher, The Gift Legacy | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

New Publisher for The Gift Legacy

The_Gift_Legacy_HeaderIn my last post I referenced some exciting news that I am now able to share. It gives me great pleasure to announce that the first three books of The Gift Legacy will soon be re-released by WindStorm Press.

In the coming days, Awakening, Revelation and Redemption will be temporarily pulled from the market. It’s a necessary step as the books change hands from one publisher to the next.

When the books are re-released, they will have updated covers. Viona Halim, the original cover designer, remains connected to the project, so expect those ominous seascapes to be featured.

If you’re looking for first editions, get them while you can. Awakening’s first edition is on its way to the vault. Editorial review on Revelation and Redemption is still incomplete, but I expect they will also undergo a nip and tuck.

Revisiting these books has been an interesting experience. It reminds me that every writer is a work in progress. Each offering improves our craft, and The Gift Legacy will sparkle with the effort of the review.

I can’t wait to share them with you!

First editions are going fast. Grab them here while you can: Awakening, Revelation, Redemption.

Legacy Poster no text 600 px wide

Posted in About Writing, Editing, Publishing, The Gift Legacy | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Got Crabs?

A_crab_appleAh, the first crisp days of fall. Refreshing brisk morning air. Brightly coloured leaves rustling underfoot. Glossy red crabapples adorning the lawn like jewels.

First_pail_of_crab_applesI could use a bit of exercise, I think, having been sequestered too long behind a keyboard.

In thirty minutes, I fill a five-gallon bucket with ruby crabs, stooping and scooping and feeling invigorated for the exercise. They make a pretty layer in the composter.

Crab-apple-downThe next day dawns and once again I gaze out at the newly fallen crabapple abundance. So beautiful, I think, and I’ll get another day’s much needed exercise.

Two_pails_of_crab_applesAn hour and two five-gallon pails later, I’m feeling pretty well exercised. I stretch my achy back, but man it feels good to get outdoors and get my quota of fresh air and exercise. Another fragrant layer gets added to the composter.

More_crab_apples_on_the_treeDay three dawns. I stare out the window and then up to the canopy of our beloved crabapple tree. That is one prolific tree, I think, gearing up for another day of crisp fall air and exercise.

It’s drizzling, but I trudge on. Ninety minutes later, I’ve filled four five-gallon pails and topped up a composter that could double for a six-person hot tub. I’m damp with sweat and my back’s threatening to pop a disc.

On day four, I wake to the sound of rain pummeling the steel roof. Or are those crabapples? I find myself holding out hope for enough rain to flood the lawn and float the tiny red orbs away.

But no such luck. I stare outside at a new thick mat of wet crabapples. Is birth control for crabapple trees a thing?

Apple_carpetI don my rain coat and the gloves that still feel damp from yesterday, and trudge off to face the crabs. It looks like the tree has thrown up on the lawn. Why aren’t the birds eating these things? My back aches at the thought of all that stooping and wine o’clock is hours away.

Hands on hips, I stare down at the pail and the rake, the tools of my torture, and wonder if exercise is overrated.

And slowly an idea dawns.

Crab_apple_shop_vacWith renewed enthusiasm, I jog to the garage, grab an extension cord and my solution to the crabapple plague: the wet/dry shop vac.

Much to my amusement, it works!

(I have some exciting news on the writing front as well … but I have to keep it under my hat until next week.)

If you’re looking for a crab-apple-free read, try The Gift: Penance. You can buy it with one click here.
Posted in Humour, Island Life, Seasons, The Gift Legacy | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Frog Whispering


Cottage on the Manitouwabing River

Well, maybe not frog whispering so much as frog herding, but I’m adding it to my CV. The cute little critter hopped into my sister’s ground floor entry while I was unloading the car. I would have stopped to snap a photo, but my bedroom was just around the corner and as much as I like frogs, I really didn’t want to sleep with the fella.


Herbie’s Point

After frog whispering failed to coax him on his way, I tried frog wrangling. He promptly peed on my hand and slipped out of my grip to hide behind a chest. That’s when I resorted to frog herding. I could have used my sister’s help, but she was busy laughing at me from upstairs. Thankfully, with a gentle nudge, he eventually found his way back outside.


Broadbent Sunset

And the frog was just the start of my Ontario holiday visit with family and friends in Muskoka’s cottage country. My time in Ontario is short, so we make the best of it. We roasted marshmallows over bonfires, cruised the river a time or two, and enjoyed a glass of wine with the sunsets.

And once again, I was honoured to be invited to read at the McKellar Public Library. Maxine, Joan, Jackie and Pat made me feel at home, and they’ll welcome you as well because this library is all about community.


On the Big Billboard

I’ve written about it twice before (2013 and 2014), so won’t repeat it here except to say you won’t find another library around where your library card will get you a book, a fishing rod and tackle! So if you find yourself on Highway #124 passing through McKellar, be sure to stop in for a visit.


Paradise Lake Dock Spider

This year, I made a side trip to Halibuton to visit a cousin who’s building a home on Paradise Lake. What a beautiful spot! Their claim to fame may be the biggest dock spider on the planet – kind of reminded me of the disembodied hand named Thing from The Addams Family TV show.

Soon enough, my Ontario visit came to a close, and on my way home I dropped by Barrie for a visit with great friends, a garden tour and an impromptu porch reading. It was a fine way to end my holiday.


Bonfire on Paradise Lake

As always, it’s good to get away and just as good to get home. I’m unpacked now and all caught up on laundry and emails. Best of all, I’m digging back into my writing projects. Yes … that’s an “s” on the end of projects, and I can hardly wait to share them with you.


New home on Paradise Lake


Barrie Garden Tour


Barrie Porch Reading

Until then … get your own copy of my latest book, Penance, with one click here.
Posted in Book Reading, Library, The Gift Legacy, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

On Festivals and Readings…


Full Sails off Denman Island

When you don’t hear from me for ages, you can assume the writing is going well, but even so, where did August go?

I’m at the Vancouver airport on an extremely long **yawn** layover to Toronto, and thought I’d take the opportunity to catch up with you.


Comox Airport

In July, at the Denman Island Reader and Writer Festival (DIRWF) I had the great pleasure of introducing award-winning author, Eliza Robertson. She read three short stories from her book, Wallflowers. I also had the opportunity to introduce eight of Denman Island’s local writers to the stage, and I then shared a reading from Penance.

I also attended the DIRWF writer-in-residence with Steven Price. You might remember that I’ve got a few writing projects on the go. One of them is a companion piece to Awakening. It’s the story told from Jackson’s perspective with the working title Sins of the Father. I took Sins to Steven Price’s workshop and the participants’ feedback improved and inspired the story. Can’t wait to finish it.


Mars Water Bomber over Denman Island

I’ve also been working on a new story, which I’m calling Witness. I’ve worked out most of the outline and even written a number of chapters. Interestingly, because I’m writing Witness from the third person point of view and Sins from the first person point of view, I’m finding it a challenge to work on both at the same time. When I try, I inevitably mix up the two.

Last week I attended When Words Collide in Calgary and had the opportunity to meet the extremely personable Diana Gabaldon and hear her read from the as yet unpublished ninth book in her Outlander series. What a treat.


Waiting at YVR

Which brings me to now … waiting to board a plane to Toronto and from there, points north. In addition to visiting family, I’ll be doing a reading at McKellar Public Library on Monday, August 24th at 1:30. If you’re in the neighbourhood, please stop by (701 Highway 124, McKellar, Ontario). I’ll be reading from Penance and offering a few other surprises. Come and check it out, and then check out a fishing rod and head down to the river to catch your dinner.

See you there.

The Gift Legacy books are available to borrow from the McKellar library, but if you’d like your own copy, you can pick up Penance for Kindle with one click here.
Posted in Book Series, Library, The Gift Legacy, Travel, Writer Festivals | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

J.P. McLean – Reading Recommendation Revisited

JP McLean:

Many thanks to Susan Toy for inviting me back to Reading Recommendations. Here’s the latest . . .

Originally posted on Reading Recommendations:

J.P. McLean was first featured on Reading Recommendations in January, 2014 after she had published the third book in The Gift Legacy trilogy. Since she has now just published the fourth book, making this a full-blown series, I decided it was time to invite J.P. back to update us on what she’s been doing in the past year-and-a-half. Besides, this is a woman who writes in a space with a view that rivals my own on Bequia! She must be an inspired writer!

JPMcLean Author Photo #2 for SToy

I’ve been hunched over a quill in a dusty corner of my hovel, scratching away for untold hours in the dark, deprived of all sustenance, devoid of human touch …

Ah! Just kidding – I LOVE this writing gig and I’m happy to report that The Gift Legacy is growing. Penance, the fourth book in the series is now out, and I’m grateful, Susan, for this…

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#New-books ‘The Gift Legacy. Penance’ by J.P. McLean (@jpmclean1) The fourth in the series. And where do we go from here?

JP McLean:

It’s such a privilege to be featured on Olga Núñez Miret’s blog. Not only is she a talented writer, but she’s a tremendous supporter of authors. Thank you, Olga!

Originally posted on Just Olga:

Hi all:

As you know on Friday I bring you new books and authors. J.P. McLean has already been my guest before and her series (initially a trilogy, but these things have a way of growing…) The Gift has featured with pride of place before. I knew that the next novel was nearly ready, and the author has been so kind as to send us her reflections about her writing and where she is now. And here, the floor is yours, J. P.:

Author J.P.Mclean Author J.P.McLean

Thank you, Olga for once again hosting me on your Friday guest author feature. It’s great to be back.

I’m at an interesting crossroads. Having recently released Penance, the fourth book in the contemporary fantasy series, The Gift Legacy, I’m now ready to start a new project. The decision is whether to take the road that leads to the next book in the…

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What’s Next?

Full-wrap-Penance-coverSince finishing the fourth book in The Gift Legacy Series, I’ve given a lot of thought to which trail I should traipse down next. There are a number of tantalizing story lines in the gift series I could follow up on, and a number of dormant ones that would roar to life with a poke in the right place, but is this the right time to tread that trail?

After all, I’ve been on that merry-go-round for a while now. The Gift has been a great ride, but perhaps it’s time to develop the other story ideas that vie for the limited space available in my head? After all, the new characters look interesting—the story lines are suitably dark and mysterious. The promises they whisper are compelling. Maybe it’s time for a change?

I’m sure I’m not the first series writer who has wondered if the readers who enjoyed the initial series would be interested in a new, unrelated story. Are the new protagonist and storyline suitably distinct and interesting enough to hold their attention?

Sometimes I even fantasize that I can write both stories simultaneously, but then I trip on my eyelashes and remember that for me, multitasking only extends itself to autonomous functions like breathing while pumping blood. Interfering in those processes inevitably leads to capsized canoes, broken unicorn horns and soggy underwear.

If you have an opinion on the subject, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, I’ll just stand here a while and savour the crossroads like an early riser at the bakery counter contemplating the tasty options.

Ever wonder which tasty morsel prompted The Gift Series? Get your own copy of The Gift: Awakening on Kindle with one click right here. Ooh! and I see it’s on sale for $4.61!
Posted in About Writing, Book Series, The Gift Legacy | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments