Mounties on Mayne


Mounties on Mayne.

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Mounties on Mayne


Today I was in the RCMP Station on Mayne Island. Don’t worry. It was a friendly visit. I had an important question for the constable. Let’s call him Constable Troy Silver, not his real name. He was very welcoming, and as soon as he heard why I was there, he invited me in. Simply, I wanted him to read my book, or at least the parts where the RCMP are mentioned. Happily for me, he agreed at once.

A few years ago, when I was writing my first book, Magda’s Mayne Island Mystery, I went to see the constable who was then living on Mayne Island, let’s call him Mick Lodge. He, too, was very supportive, read my book, and told me where I had made procedural errors. His children were the models for the book cover. I tried to simulate moonlight of their silhouettes by putting a light behind them. Self-publishing takes you in many exciting directions, like photography.

I think a mystery writer should be on good terms with the local constabulary. I’m glad to say that I am.

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Definitely Not Pysanka


Each year I used Ukrainian egg dyes and traditional patterns to make lovely dyed eggs to share with my friends and family. I was proud of the way they looked. I even taught other people to dye eggs. But this year I thought I’d try something new. I wanted to try dying eggs using natural dyes.

This morning I went shopping for ingredients. I bought two kinds of onions, beets, purple cabbage, cranberries, carrots with tops, and turmeric. I had already cooked four little eggs last night, one for each grandchild.

eggs easter start 2015

I boiled up the ingredients, each dye lot in its own pot, then transferred the dye to a stainless steel bowl when enough time had passed for them to have a good colour.

I drew the first initial of each grandchild’s name on the eggs, then, when the dye was dry, I covered the letter with wax from a birthday candle. (This was something my older sister and I had done as kids – written our names in invisible wax before we dyed our eggs). So after that I dipped the eggs in the appropriate dye bath and presto! Easter eggs.

The biggest surprise was the red cabbage, which gave me a lovely blue colour (T) but turned sort of violet (J) when I added vinegar. The pink egg (S) was made with two dyes, cranberries and beets. And the one I thought worked best (B) is yellow from turmeric. The onion skins and carrot tops dye didn’t look festive to me so I didn’t use it. I shone the eggs up with olive oil and here they are.

eggs Easter 2015

They certainly aren’t Pysanky eggs. They aren’t even anything special, really. But they are made with love and it was fun trying something new.

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Book Names and Branding


Your blog post was so helpful , Kristina. My four book mystery series might benefit from a review of the titles. I love the idea of one word titles. And I think Blaze is a much more exciting title than Burnt. Thanks for your help.

KRISTINA STANLEY

Ready to Publish?

If you haven’t read my blog before, I’ve just signed on with Imajin Books and intend to blog about my publishing adventure. I’ll share what I learn and hope it helps someone out there get their novel published. At the end of my last blog, Ready to Publish?, I gave myself two action items:

Step one : Re-launch website and give it a cleaner look.

Done: Or sort of done. I’ll keep working on this as I get feedback. What changes did I make to the site?

  • I changed my home page to a static page instead of my blog. I did this so when I have book covers designed, I’ll have a landing page to post the covers.
  • I chose a new format that I found pleasing to the eye and what I think is a more professional image.
  • I updated the image at the top…

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Mystery Book to Tantalize You


The owner of our local bookstore is after me to finish writing my book! She said that people have been asking her if it’s out yet. I told her it’s nearly finished. She said, “Then why are you reading from it at the Active Pass Festival? Are you just tantalizing us?”

Festival Active Pass will a big event on Mayne Island and the other islands bordering on Active Pass. This April the 17th, 18th and 19th many of the local clubs and enterprises of one kind and another will be welcoming visitors to three days of activities. On Sunday, April 19th, the library has lined up local writers to read mostly from their books for young people. I’m so excited to be reading from Magda’s Mysterious Stranger, the fourth Magda book set on Mayne Island. It is a work in progress that is almost ready to go! Continue reading

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Bearing the Unbearable Truth


Bearing the Unbearable Truth.

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Bearing the Unbearable Truth


The novel I’m working on, Magda’s Mysterious Stranger, addresses this horrendous issue of child soldiers. My heart aches for these kids.
Magda and her friends, Brent, Jo, Shauna, and Rowan, encounter a man that has a lot of anger and behaves suspiciously. Their suspicions and their actions create a major problem for the man but also for the residents of Mayne  Island.
Life has more horrors than they knew about, though. They are confronted by the nearly unbearable reality of child  soldiers!
Art is often a strategy people use to cope with incomprehensible situations. These five friends use their music to do something constructive to help deal with what they’ve learned.

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Christine Lowther on Mayne Island


Christine LowtherA determined group of Mayne Islanders turned out on this rainy night to meet Christine Lowther and hear her read from her book, Born Out of This. She focused on her childhood love of our island, comparing it to Narnia, then gave us a brief trip through years as a foster child, the world of punk, her activism, and her return to Mayne Island. She now lives at Clayoquot Sound in a float-house.

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The Play-writing Bug has Bitten Me.


It’s over. Saturday was the best night of all, sold-out. The three-night run of five short plays on Mayne Island has ended.

The call of, “Author, author,” brought me and the other three playwrights to the stage. Standing up there with the cast of my plays was unexpected, a little terrifying, and very gratifying.

Many people from the audience took the time to approach me to say they found Car Stops very funny. The audience laughed a lot, so I guess it’s true. I enjoyed it, too, and laughed along with everyone else.

Other people came up and told me that my historical play, Thin Ice, was wonderful. It was called “moving”, “thoughtful,” “well-written” and “something that needed to be written” among other positive expressions. I actually cried a little while watching the interaction between the grandmother and her grandson, so tenderly played.

I feel encouraged by all these remarks.But even if the plays had not been well received, the play-writing bug has bitten me. I will write more. Wait and see.

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Writing a Play


I never thought of myself as a playwright. But a few months ago, the Mayne Island Little Theatre challenged locals to write plays that were no longer than twenty minutes, had no more than three characters,  and depicted a view of island life. These plays were to be submitted blind, no names attached.

Well, finding that a challenge was just what my writing needed at the time, I decided to give it a try.

I recalled a humourous experience while giving a ride to someone, and this became my first play.

My second play started life as a short story about the internment of Mayne Islanders of Japanese origins.

I enjoyed writing the plays, but was of two minds about submitting them. I rather timidly, and urged by friends, while not really expecting them to be chosen, entered them.

I was shocked when the theatre company’s readers selected both my efforts. Tomorrow and for the next two nights,  my little darlings, along with three others by local writers, will be displayed for all to see.

You can probably imagine my excitement.

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