Softly falling snowflakes drift past your window; the evening darkens to a deep blue quietness; you have time to yourself at last. The perfect setting for a good book.
A glance at the “local authors” section in any of our independent bookstores will confirm that this part of Ontario is rich with literary talent. From national award winners to memoirists to creators of cosy mysteries, this region is home to the people who have written the books we want to read this year.
We asked eight authors who hail from all over the Watershed area to tell us about themselves and their new books. The scope of these books is as varied as the vistas, topographies and people that make up our counties. We’re sure you’ll find something here that piques your interest, a companion to energize your mind and warm your heart as winter closes in around us.
Stuff I Told You – Prince Edward County Stories according to Janet Kellough | Published by the author
I am the author of seven books in The Thaddeus Lewis Mystery Series and the science fiction thriller The Bathwater Conspiracy as well as a number of contemporary novels and stage works. I have also spent a great deal of time on a stage, in front of an audience, telling stories, mostly about Prince Edward County. Now that I’m too old and rickety to get up on a stage any more, I thought a book of the stories I told might find a different kind of audience.
Stuff I Told You is a collection of stories from my onstage repertoire – old stories, new stories, funny things that happened; tales of shipwrecks, lost love, missing husbands, and missing teeth. Some of them have been told many times, others only once or twice. Some are tragic, some side-splittingly funny. All of them are a reflection of my multi-generational roots in Prince Edward County, the tales drawn not only from history, but from my own experience of a close-knit community where news was shared on the steps of the post office.
I’ve put the stories down exactly the way I told them out loud. But in some cases, I’ve added a little background to put them into context, or there’s a funny story to go with a funny story, so I included that too. And since I worked so often with local musicians, I threw in some of my County-related song lyrics as well. A few of the stories have been recorded or have appeared in other publications, but a lot of them were just living in my filing cabinet. I decided it was time to put them together once and for all.
Stuff I Told You – Prince Edward County Stories according to Janet Kellough, is available at Books & Co. in Picton.
“The Mother of All Degrassi is my personal story about the grit and determination necessary to make it as a woman entrepreneur in the burgeoning independent Canadian television industry of the early 1980s.” LINDA SCHUYLER
The Mother of All Degrassi | ECW Press
I’m Linda Schuyler, CEO of Skystone Media and cocreator of Degrassi. I am an educator by nature, a storyteller by nurture, and an entrepreneur by necessity. For many years I’ve enjoyed splitting my time between our condo in Toronto and our country home in Grafton.
During Covid, I happily spent most of my time in the country and this bucolic environment was conducive to me finally finishing my memoir, The Mother of All Degrassi. A near fatal car accident in 1968 sent my life in directions I had not anticipated. The accident led me to embrace my innate abilities as an educator and later to discover my passion for storytelling.
The Mother of All Degrassi is my personal story about the grit and determination necessary to make it as a woman entrepreneur in the burgeoning independent Canadian television industry of the early 1980s, a time when a new world order was promised, but old-world attitudes still prevailed.
It is also my own story about the creation and long life of the multi-award-winning Degrassi television franchise, which spanned forty years (so far!) and influenced and encouraged teenagers all over the world.
In The Mother of All Degrassi, I share my strong belief that television is all about story, and good story is all about making the political personal. Through anecdotes and introspection, I examine my philosophy to dream big, think small, meet life head on, and always keep an open heart.
Thorneside Stories: A Mix of Sun and Cloud | Iguana Books
When we moved to Northumberland County five years ago, I found the people and places here so rich in colour and texture that I knew there were stories just waiting to be told. The result is my first book of fiction, Thorneside Stories: A Mix of Sun and Cloud.
I love the work of Stephen Leacock, and the book’s subtitle is a personal nod to his sharp wit and gentle wisdom in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.
Thorneside Stories: A Mix of Sun and Cloud is a set of humorous, slightly irreverent tales about life, love and choir-singing in a small Ontario town. Is it a collection of short stories or a novel? Well … I like to call it a “novel in stories.”
Like everyone, the folks of Thorneside have their own unique lives, but as the book unfolds it turns out that many of those lives are linked together in ways that are funny, touching and sometimes a little shocking.
There are three separate groups of characters in Thorneside Stories: You’ll meet the members of the St. Ninian’s Anglican Church choir. Then there are two men who find themselves in conflict with one another over some Tim Hortons coffee cups. And there are four unforgettable women; the secrets of their intertwined lives could wake the dead – or in one case, have the opposite effect.
You’ll also meet a choirmaster who has been scanning obituaries for over twenty years, searching for one particular name; a former big-city paramedic who now drives a hearse for the local funeral home so he doesn’t have to worry about killing his passengers; and not least, a mysterious stranger who shows up in town and charms everyone he meets. Nearly everyone.
These are their stories.
The Game is a Footnote | Crooked Lane Books
I’m Vicki Delany and I live in Prince Edward County. I love to write mysteries. In fact, in 2019, I was awarded the Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. I am a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival.
The Game is a Footnote is the eighth book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series. Like the rest of the series, this book is a mystery, but intended to be light and funny, not taken too seriously.
The protagonist is a modern young woman, who owns the aforementioned bookstore, and who just happens to have a mind like the Great Detective himself. Strange and mysterious things have been happening at Scarlet House, an 18th century building that is now a museum, and people are starting to wonder if the place might be haunted. Against her better judgment Gemma Doyle and her friend Jayne Wilson are persuaded to spend a night in the museum in order to “eliminate the impossible.”
Unfortunately, the impossible is not eliminated when a sudden storm rises, the animals in the barn panic for no discernible reason, a woman screams, and strange sounds are heard throughout the house. Is it possible the museum truly is haunted? Or is someone all too real trying to frighten the curious away for their own mysterious ends?
The Game is a Footnote will be released on January 10, 2023. It is available everywhere books are sold in paper and electronic versions, and in libraries.
More than a Footnote: Canadian Women You Should Know | Second Story Press
I live alone; travel alone – that’s how you meet people; only cook when absolutely necessary and knit socks to stay sane. Exercise was turning the pages of a book, yet somehow, I ran a marathon – once. This book is what I like doing, digging up stories that have been missed.
Here are ten stories of Canadian women who missed the memo that said women weren’t allowed to be explorers, discover medical cures or, heaven forbid, grasp a cello between their thighs in public. They were never “victims” nor militant feminists, they just got on with things.
Mina Benson Hubbard from Bewdley talked herself into mapping northern Labrador after her sweet but inept husband froze to death; mousey little Trixie Worsley was the first person in the world to do a PhD in computers and eventually roared and called out her faculty colleagues as bullies; and outrageous Paraskeva Clark maintained that art was a tool of social change, took on the Group of Seven and had an affair with Norman Bethune. Adventure, intrigue and sheer tenacity – they were never boring.
More than a Footnote is available at Furby House Books and can be ordered through bookstores.
A Road through the Corn, Prince Edward County Poems, 1982-2022 | Cressy Lakeside Books
I am the author of six novels – the Campbell Young murder mysteries, set in Toronto, and the Joe Horn murder mysteries, set in Prince Edward County – and six books of poetry, including, most recently, A Road through the Corn, Prince Edward County Poems, 1982-2022. My wife and I live on 12 acres midway between Picton and the Glenora ferry.
A Road through the Corn, Prince Edward County Poems, 1982-2022 is a collection of 42 poems describing the people, places, and events that have inspired me to put pen to paper – or fingertip to keyboard – over the last 40 years.
The contents of the book are divided into three sections: longer poems, shorter poems and list poems. My focus has been drawn to County landmarks such as the Royal Hotel and the Regent Theatre; to features of the local landscape such as Gull Pond and Athol Bay; to the men and women who live and work here such as the farmer I encountered one afternoon at the Giant Tiger in Picton who told me about the fire that destroyed his barn; to everyday events such as a visit to John’s Barber Shop; and to historic events such as the Milford Fair and the Hay Bay drownings of 1819.
A Road through the Corn is available at Chapters (Belleville), Books & Company (Picton), Black Prince Winery (Picton), The Local Store (West Lake), Sidestreet Gallery (Wellington), The Store (Cherry Valley), Curious Goat (Milford), and online at cressylakesidebooks.ca.
“Here are ten stories of Canadian women who missed the memo that said women weren’t allowed to be explorers, discover medical cures or, heaven forbid, grasp a cello between their thighs in public. They just got on with things.” KARIN WELLS
Escaping Eleven | Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing
I’m Jerri. I write about dystopian nightmares, high stakes, and good old-fashioned romance. I love books of all stripes, indie music, homemade guacamole, and Indian food. Escaping Eleven is the first instalment in the Eleven Trilogy, and is inspired by the current climate crisis. When I’m not up until midnight writing, you can find me jogging along dirt roads, online shopping, or obsessively cleaning my floors. Here is a taste of Escaping Eleven:
In Compound Eleven, the hierarchy of the floors is everything. My name is Eve Hamilton, and on my floor, we fight. Which at least is better than the bottom floor, where they toil away in misery. Only the top floor has any ease in this harsh world; they rule from their gilded offices.
Because four generations ago, Earth was rendered uninhabitable – the sun too hot, the land too barren. Those who remained were forced underground. While not a perfect life down here, I’ve learned to survive as a fighter. Except my latest match is different. Instead of someone from the circuit, my opponent is a mysterious boy from the top floor. And the look in his eyes tells me he’s different … maybe even kind.
Right before he kicks my ass.
Still, there’s something about him – something that says he could be my salvation … or my undoing. Because I’m no longer content to just survive in Eleven. Today, I’m ready to fight for more than my next meal: I’m fighting for my freedom. And this boy may just be the edge I’ve been waiting on.
The Eleven Trilogy is available at Chapters, or from bookshop.org, which supports local bookstores.
Do Trees Have Mothers? | Published by Douglas and McIntyre.
Although I don’t live in the Watershed area, I am often a contributing illustrator and feel part of the magazine’s creative community because I’m good friends with Albert and Meg Botha (the magazine’s longstanding art director) and spend time at their home in Wicklow.
Do Trees Have Mothers? is my first children’s picture book. I wrote and illustrated the story with gentle text and whimsical art to help kids connect to nature and hopefully spark a lifelong connection to the outside world. As research tells us, the earlier a child is introduced to the natural world around them, the more likely they will choose to live within its wonder and calm and, most importantly, feel a responsibility as its future custodian.
Do Trees Have Mothers? is narrated by “Nuts” a playful squirrel and is inspired by the science of trees. As the original tree planter, Nuts tells us how the mother tree protects and nurtures its baby trees in the forest understorey, and he shows us what it means to care for his forest community, for our environment and the earth.
Do Trees Have Mothers? is available at local booksellers, Chapters-Indigo and Mastermind Toys and was selected in October 2022 as an Indigo “Heather’s Pick”.