Paradise Lost?

Healing Hearts, my latest release, a romantic suspense/western, is based on a real event. Five years ago the tailings pond of the Mount Polley copper mine in North Central British Columbia burst and spilled twenty-four million cubic meters (6,340,129,256.6 US gallons) of mine waste into nearby Hazeltine Creek, obliterating the narrow creek. This tidal wave of sludge and debris destroyed everything in its path and poured into pristine Quesnel Lake.


Warning signs posted at the mouth of Hazeltine Creek.


Mouth of Hazeltine Creek.

Quesnel Lake, at 600 meters (1969 feet), is the deepest glacial fjord lake in the world. The area is remote and stunningly beautiful. Trophy-size fish can be caught right from shore. The views of the snow-capped Cariboo Mountains and the lake’s many secluded bays and beaches make this area a treasure.


Quesnel Lake on a rare calm day.

The government scientists tell us the water in the lake is okay for fish, birds, and humans, but when you see the horrendous destruction to the environment, there’s no question that this beautiful isolated lake has been changed forever. The mining company has made some environmental remediation, and the work is ongoing, but the damage is done.

In Healing Hearts, the hero is fighting a mining company that is determined to develop a copper mine on his ranch. This story, set in the beautiful and remote Chilcotin Plateau area of British Columbia, is close to my heart. My family and I have spent countless days camping in our truck and camper in this stunning wilderness region.


Canoeing on Quesnel Lake.



Release Day!

My sixth Romantic Suspense/Western, published by The Wild Rose Press is out in the world today! Very exciting. Day 1 and Healing Hearts already has two 5 Star reviews. Can’t get better than that.



Reeling from loss and heartbreak, Stella King is desperate to escape painful memories. The position of nanny on an isolated ranch in British Columbia’s rugged Chilcotin Plateau seems the answer to her prayers.

Cattle rancher, Dawson Wheeler, has worked hard to overcome grief and build a predictable world for his young daughter. The last thing he needs is the all-too-attractive Stella disrupting the smooth running of his ranch, especially now that disturbing incidents are happening on his property.

Defending his land against those who want to gut it will be a challenge, but the biggest threat of all may be to his heart.

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The Chilcotin Plateau, British Columbia.


Canoeing on Quesnel Lake.


Chilcotin wild horses.

My Top Ten Reads

I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life. If forced to make a choice between watching television or reading a book, the decision is a no brainer. I go to bed early so I can read, and I get up an hour earlier in the morning to read. My taste runs across the spectrum, and I read mysteries, romances of all genres, Scifi, thrillers, literary fiction, and even a few westerns.

Choosing the top ten books I’ve ever read is a monumental task. I could easily come up with hundreds of great books. But forced to choose, here’s my top ten (in no particular order):

  1. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – Who can resist this sweeping saga of the fall of the American South in the Civil War. The sparks between Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara are off the charts.


  1. Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel – This book explores the possibilities of contact between Neanderthal and Cro-magnon humans. I really enjoyed learning about herbal remedies, to say nothing of the hot romance between Ayla and Jondalar.


  1. Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott –This popular young adult story follows the lives of the four March sisters as they struggle with the transition from childhood to becoming women. Loved it when I was a kid. Reread the book a few years ago, and I still loved it.


  1. Not Without My Daughter By Betty Mahmoody –An autobiographical account of the author’s escape with her daughter from her abusive husband in Iran. A fascinating read, and with what’s happening in the world today, all the more relevant.


  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon –A terrific time travel romance. Claire Randall travels through ancient standing stones and is transported from 1943 Scotland to 1743 where she meets the oh-so-dashing highlander, Jamie Fraser. I couldn’t put the book down.


6.  Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. –The heroine, Katniss Everdeen, in this dystopian young adult novel, battles powerful forces, saves her sister, helps her community, and finds love. Non-stop action from beginning to end.


  1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque –A very moving story of a young German soldier’s trials fighting in trench warfare in World War 1. The story will stick with you long after you finish.


  1. Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene –This series of children’s books is a bit dated, but as a child, I was enthralled with Nancy and her adventures. Who doesn’t love a good mystery?


  1. The Da Vinci Code By Dan Brown – This exciting mystery thriller kept me on the edge of my seat. The historical details are fascinating, and the hero’s adventures riveting.


  1. Anything by Sandra Brown –I love all of her stories. She’s a master of mixing romance with suspense. Always guaranteed a great read.


Any books to add? I’d love to know. I’m always looking for another great book.


New Release!

I’m thrilled to announce that Healing Hearts, my sixth Romantic Suspense, published by The Wild Rose Press, will be released on March 23!



Reeling from loss and heartbreak, Stella King is desperate to escape painful memories. The position of nanny on an isolated ranch in British Columbia’s rugged Chilcotin Plateau seems the answer to her prayers.

Cattle rancher, Dawson Wheeler, has worked hard to overcome grief and build a predictable world for his young daughter. The last thing he needs is the all-too-attractive Stella disrupting the smooth running of his ranch, especially now that disturbing incidents are happening on his property.

Defending his land against those who want to gut it will be a challenge, but the biggest threat of all may be to his heart.

Available for Preorder:


A Busy Month

Wow! November is shaping up to be a very busy month. My upcoming romantic suspense, Healing Hearts is at the copy editor and should be released in the New Year, and all the promotions are going on.

Looking for that perfect gift for the reader in your life? My book (as well as many other Wild Rose Press authors’ books) is featured in the N.N. Light’s Book Heaven’s Holiday Gift Guide.

Holiday GIft Guide 2019

I am also featured in this month’s issue of Uncaged Book Reviews magazine. You can read my interview, see my latest book cover, and read about Jazz, my German Short haired pointer, whom we recently lost. R


Finally, The Wild Rose Press 2019 edition of the Holiday garden Gourmet cookbook is out. Follow the link below and get your free copy. My Sauerkraut-Rye Bread is a family tradition and delicious, especially toasted or served with a hearty bowl of soup. Find the recipe on page 34. /2019HolidayGourmet_w14464_digital.pdf


Aloha From Maui!


The beautiful sands of Big Beach.

Aloha! My husband and I just returned from two fabulous weeks in Maui. The trip was great, and we got our fill of surf, sun, and sand. We spent our days walking the miles of pristine sandy beaches and hiking through verdant tropical rainforests. The eerie creaking and clacking of bamboo trees in the wind in a shaded bamboo forest is something I’ll never forget. We also trekked over craggy black lava beds to secluded beaches, and climbed to over 10,000 feet to the top of the Haleakala Crater and hiked the cold, desolate moonscape on the Slippery Sands Trail.


View from the Haleakala Crater. 10,023 feet above sea level

Swimming and playing in the warm sea was a joy. Sea turtles and colourful tropical fish swam around us in the clear azure waters. We even tried boogie boarding—not something I’d recommend when the beach lifeguards have issued a red flag warning for the surf. Let’s just say, we put on quite a show for the people watching from the beach, and we survived intact.


Many of the roads in Maui can be challenging. The most well known is the road to Hana with its narrow, winding sixty-four miles (one way), including 620 hair pin turns and fifty-nine single-lane bridges. Whew! At times, the vehicle coming towards us scraped by with mere inches to spare.


One of the many waterfalls on the road to Hana.

It has been almost forty years since I was last in Maui. Lots has changed, but the warm, friendly, slow-paced vibe is the same, and like a comfortable shoe, I slipped back into Maui time. Mahalo, Maui.


Beach was closed as five reef sharks were sighted.


One of the many lava formations.



Exploring The Rock


I’ve travelled to many beautiful locations, but my recent trip to Newfoundland was one of the best. Newfoundland is a hiker’s paradise with stunning ocean vistas, abundant wildlife, very friendly locals (The people in this province took in hundreds of stranded airline passengers after the 9-11 tragedy), and best of all—no crowds.

Every town has trails, and my husband and I hiked along shaded, forest paths, climbed steep, rocky cliffs, rapelled down cliff faces, and explored hidden beaches and sea caves. Incredible views waited around every bend.


Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was amazing. We arrived the day before Hurricane Dorian was due to hit, but the weather was sunny and warm, with not a breath of wind. Impossible to believe a massive hurricane was headed our way. We took advantage of the beautiful day and hiked Gros Morne Mountain (806 meters), a very challenging sixteen-kilometer climb with a hard scramble up steep, rocky scree to the top. The views of the fjords and surrounding mountains were breathtaking.


View from atop Gros Morne Mountain.

The hurricane hit the next afternoon, but we managed to get in a windy hike in the morning through scrub forest and peat bogs to a waterfall. We were fortunate, and other than a power outage and downed trees, the storm caused only minor damage.

Our next stop was L’Anse aux Meadows, the location of the first known presence of Europeans in the Americas. More than a thousand years ago, Vikings settled there on the tundra and barren rocks.


Port aux Choix was another mind-blowing experience. The rugged landscape and the pounding surf were incredibly beautiful. Crossing the limestone barrens with fossils embedded in the rock, and passing through ancient archaeological sites was a dream come true. We even spotted a herd of woodland caribou.


Rocky shores, picturesque fishing boats, and wind-swept cliff tops made Bonavista, where John Cabot discovered North America in 1497, another fascinating area to visit. At Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America, we faced driving rain, gale force winds, and fog, but also rugged beauty.

Aside from the terrific hiking, and great wildlife viewing (moose, caribou, coyotes, and puffins), the food was unique. We ate our fill of bakeapple berries, wild blueberries, partridge berries, and blackberries. The traditional Newfoundland dish of fishermen’s brewis, made with salted cod, hard tack bread, scrunchins (salted pork fat, chopped into small pieces and fried in grease) was tasty, but definitely not healthy. Fried bologna was another treat. And then there was cod—deep fried, battered, breaded, cod tongues, and cod cheeks.


We stopped in Dildo, Horny Head Cove, Tickle Bay, Witless Bay, and Cuckholds Cove. Is it any wonder the Rock is one of my favorite places? I’m a come-from-away gal, but I’ll definitely be back.


A Close Call!

Rivers are funny things. They change from season to season and from week to week. That’s part of what makes them so fascinating, but it also makes them dangerous.

My recent canoe trip down the Blackwater River proved this point. My husband and I have canoed this river countless times and always had a wonderful experience. The river wends its way through remote, rugged wilderness in north central British Columbia. The banks are lined with towering cottonwood trees, pristine wetlands, pine forests, high sandy banks, and rocky cliffs. Wildlife is abundant and eagles, black bears, moose, deer, geese, herons, and ducks are common sights.


A young cow moose on the upper section of the Blackwater River.

We set out on our adventure on a sunny morning in July. The first fourteen kilometers was an easy float as we navigated around shallows, hidden rocks, sweepers, and logjams. It was a beautiful, relaxing day…until…it wasn’t.


The calm waters of the upper Blackwater River.

Due to recent forest fires that transformed the terrain, we missed the outflow of the Euchiniko River and continued along the Blackwater. Almost immediately we realized our mistake, but there was no turning back. The full force of the river quickly funneled between towering cliffs and rocky canyons. Large boulders lurked beneath the rushing water, and spray soaked us as we hurtled through the grade 2+ to 3 rapids.


The canyon.

Knowing a narrow, impassible canyon was downriver, we dug our paddles in deep and pulled hard for shore. We decided to line our canoe (tie ropes to the stern and bow) and float the canoe down the river to avoid the worst of the canyon. The plan fizzled almost immediately. The submerged rocks were covered with slippery weeds, and we risked twisting an ankle (or worse) if we continued wading along the shore.Unknown-4

With no other choice, we left our canoe on the bank of the river, and with our gear in tow, we struggled, some times on our hands and knees, up the steep river bank. We climbed over downed, fire-scorched trees, fought through tangled clumps of prickly wild rose bushes, and fended off hordes of hungry mosquitoes. Finally, we reached a logging road where we flagged down a passing vehicle and caught a ride back to our truck.

The next day, we returned and descended the steep bank to retrieve our canoe. After the canoe was loaded on the truck, we drove a kilometer down the road to a viewpoint overlooking the river. The thunderous roar of the churning water was deafening as the Blackwater River surged through narrow, boulder-filled channels that would have dumped us and destroyed our canoe. There’s no question—we wouldn’t have made it through without incurring injuries.


The canyon as seen from above.

The trip was a frightening experience we’ll never forget. But we can’t wait for our next river adventure. We’ll just be better informed.


Ready for the next adventure.


Fearless In Peru

This blog is from fellow Wild Rose Press author, Brenda Whiteside’s Fearless Friday blog.

Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru has long been a dream of mine. The stunning Inca ruins, the gorgeous mountain scenery, the terraced mountainsides…I wanted to see it all. What I hadn’t counted on were the devastating effects of hiking at a high altitude.


Climbing the infamous Monkey Stairs on the Inca Trail.

The second the plane touched down in Cusco (elevation 11,152 feet), shooting pains attacked my joints, waves of nausea washed over me, and even walking the slightest uphill had me struggling to breathe. I took prescription medication for altitude sickness and chewed the cocoa leaves the locals swore would ease my symptoms. Nothing helped.

The hike was even harder. Each step up the ancient stone stairs required a massive effort. My heart thundered in my chest, and I gasped for oxygen in the thin air, but I was determined to finish. The trek lasted four days, and by the time I crested Dead Woman’s Pass (elevation 13,828 feet), I was exhausted, but thrilled. I’d done it! I’d pushed my body to its limits and beyond and made it to the highest elevation of the Trail.

This accomplishment filled me with a new confidence. I now know I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I went on to cycle through Central America and hiked towering, glacier-clad mountains in Patagonia. This strength of will also helps with my writing. When things get tough, and the writing muse deserts me, I keep on trudging…one step at a time until the writing flows.


Made it! The iconic view of Machu Picchu.

Stop by Brenda’s blog if you want to see the original post.



10 Essentials for Attending Romance Novel Conventions by C. B. Clark (Romance Author University/Night Owl Reviews)