I apologize for missing the last two Friday updates, but I was on vacation! My awesome husband treated me to a week in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Because everyone heads north in the winter, right?  Actually, he gifted me a writing retreat with my bestie, Donna Alward who lives outside the city.  She and I, along with another author friend, Jenna Bayley-Burke, have been planning a Halifax invasion for years. We were all set to storm the province in the fall of 2020, but like every other plan made that year, it fell by the wayside.

While we were there, Donna got word that her first historical fiction novel – a heartbreaker of a story set during the Halifax Explosion – sold to Harper Collins. As a result, our writing retreat turned into a celebration, with many toasts and many uniquely-named Halifax cocktails.


It’s important to celebrate wins, even when you’re not in another country with your buddies. Too often – especially in the creative world – we treat our accomplishments like boxes on a to-do list. Once an item is complete, we cross it off and move on to the next item to tackle. Seldom do we stop and reflect on our hard work.

While in Halifax, Donna and I visited the Dartmouth Book Exchange. Manager Sue Slade is a huge champion of reading and of Step into the Story.

Or we rank order accomplishments, deciding some milestones are too small for acknowledgement. We toast scoring an agent, but not having the guts to put our work out in the first place, or we celebrate finishing the first novel, but not the ones that come after.  The truth is every milestone is worthy of celebration. When we write (or paint or perform) we aren’t simply doing a job; we’re sharing parts of ourselves. Sometimes the deepest, darkest, most raw parts. That we even attempt it is a achievement, but then to risk having those parts rejected as not good enough?  Go us.

Take a moment then to reflect on what you’ve done. It doesn’t have to be a big celebration, just a moment of rest or a cup of coffee or hell, a glass of champagne. But, take the time. You’ve earned it.

One of my favorites was the Destiny’s Grandchild from the Middle Spoon restaurant. I only got a taste of Donna’s, but it was amazing  If I can get ahold of some hibiscus syrup, I’m going to try and recreate it. (You can find the recipe online as a Hibiscus French 75)

Destiny’s Grandchild
3 oz gin
6-8 oz prosecco
1-2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs Hibiscus simply syrup

Mix in a shaker with ice and strain into a champagne flute. 


Recently, I was asked to give a brief presentation at the Historical Novel Society’s North American conference in San Antonio this June. The subject: Writing the Cozy Mystery. This was the second (or third) time that week that my cozy series had come up in conversation.

Apparently the universe was sending me a message. I’m happy to say that while in Halifax I began plotting out the next Sadie McIntyre Mystery. Barring bad luck, First Dates are Fatal will be out  in 2024.

Meanwhile, I’m revising my historical fiction and getting ready to query agents. Fingers crossed one of my top ten decides to take me on.

Lastly, if you missed any of our Step into the Story videos this month, you can watch them on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@stepintothestory9824.  While you’re there, don’t forget to like and subscribe. We’re nearly a real channel!