An exciting new program!

Sponsor a book for a child or a classroom!

We have an exciting new program to announce! You now have the option to sponsor a book (or 2 books… or more!) for a child or a teacher who is stocking their classroom library!

How it started

This all started when I received an email from a new fan. Her teacher had won The Spyders: Slither Me Timbers as a prize and this girl, who is in grade 4, loved it. Her favourite character was Thaddeus because he’s brave and she had really good questions about the story and where my ideas came from. She said her teacher was going to buy the second book so she could read it. This was really the most awesome thing – I love connecting with readers, and I remember when I was that same age and attended the Young Author’s Conference in Kamloops (I think it was the first one they offered). I wrote to a poet and she wrote back to me and I was completely hooked.

I told a friend about this and she was so blown away that she offered to sponsor the book so the teacher didn’t have to pay out of her own pocket. Teachers pay for a lot of things out of their own pockets, and many build their own library collections or classroom sets of books for their kids to read – all with their own money. And many kids can’t afford books of their own.

This started the ball rolling and my brain has been buzzing with this ever since!


I later connected with the teacher through Twitter and she told me more of the story. This student is a bit of a reluctant reader and the teacher was trying to connect her to a book that would capture her interest. The teacher had won a copy of The Spyders: Slither Me Timbers I had given to CBC Radio and was going to read it to her class. But when this little girl said she liked spiders, the teacher took a chance this might be the book. That young reader persevered with the help of her teacher. She was so proud of herself when she finished it.

When I heard this I was pretty much sobbing on the floor. Teachers, librarians, and parents often struggle with finding that right book to light up a child’s interest in reading. I can’t express how honoured I am that my book was that book for one child. That is the ultimate praise and I will treasure this interaction always.

Friends… with no kids!

I have had many friends who are thrilled about my author journey and tell me how proud they are of what I’ve done. They always say they wish they could support me more, but they don’t have any kids in their lives who are the right ages. Well, here is an easy way people can support literacy, teachers, readers, and authors even if they don’t have kids who are the right age.

How it works

I’m so pleased to be starting the Book Sponsorship program. I’m hoping to eventually include other independent authors and expand the program, but for now, it will be about getting books about spiders into the hands of readers and teachers.

If you want to sponsor a book (or two books) to go to a child or a teacher, you just need to click on the sponsorship links in my store. These funds will be held in a reserve and when I have teachers or children who are nominated or sign up for this program, I will deliver the book(s) you paid for directly to them. Each book will have a sticker on the inside cover indicating that it was part of the sponsorship program, and I will sign the copies. With their permission, I’ll share their stories in a special newsletter.

For children, I am being very careful that lower income children aren’t singled out or identified in any way and their privacy will be protected. But the books aren’t just for lower income children, they are also for avid readers, and kids who really like to write stories. Putting a book in the hands of a child opens a world of possibility for them and sometimes connecting with an author can be a life changing event like it was for me.

This program isn’t a charitable program and no tax receipt will be issued as I’m not a non-profit organization. But you will enjoy the knowledge that because of you, more children have access to books. And really, isn’t that just the best thing ever!

Let’s get books in the hands of kids and teachers!

How to help:

If you would like to sponsor a book (or 2), the link is here.

If you want to send a copy to a teacher or book outside of the Kamloops area please send an email to first!

If you know an elementary school teacher or student you would like to nominate for this program please fill out the form here!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Audiobook Review

I can’t remember how I came upon The Death of Mrs. Westaway but I picked it up on Audible and it sat in my library for a few months before I actually listened to it… and then couldn’t stop listening to it. I think I’ve listened to it three times now.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a classic mystery with plenty of plot and psychological twists and turns that centres around an old inheritance, and murder from long ago, names and identities, and just plain greed. Hal, Harriet Westaway, is the main character in the story. A tarot reader who is barely getting by, Hal tells herself she doesn’t believe in the cards she turns for others, but she does, in some way, believe in them for herself. She is alone in the world. One day she receives a letter about an inheritance and everything changes, but instead of being showered with money, she is thrown into the intrigue of a story that played out decades earlier.

Narrator Imogen Church has a haunting, understated voice that works wonderfully for Hal and all of the characters, both male and female.

I really love this book and it’s now in my collection of books to go back to when I need something to listen to and don’t want any new surprises. That list is very exclusive. It’s also one I recommend to my library patrons all the time.

(14 hours and 14 minutes) Simon and Schuster Audio, 2018)

The Death of Mrs. Westaway on Audible

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Audiobook Review

In true Brontë style, The Thirteenth Tale is not a story of the external ghosts that haunt buildings or graveyards. Rather, it tells of the internal ghosts that haunt us all. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the two apart. Jane Eyre, a recurring theme in the book, is referenced often and I have the urge to listen to it again so the mood this book has put me in doesn’t escape me. Setterfield manages to create a landscape for her book that is on the one hand bleak and on the other splashed with colours of passion and madness. There is A LOT of madness in this book.

The story is told from the point of view of a biographer, Margaret Lea, who has been commanded to listen to and record the story of a famous and reclusive writer, Vida Winter, who is dying. In the process, Lea uncovers the truth about Winters’ past, and at the same time acknowledges her own tragic story.

“All children mythologize their birth…” is how the story begins and through the pages we encounter a string of characters who not only mythologize their births, but grip the story of their births to point where they are almost unable to see anything else.

Setterfield has done a masterful job of maintaining the voices of these two women who are reliving their pasts while the present is crashing down around them. It’s hard to believe how well she captured the feel of Jane Eyre while telling a completely new story. The twists and turns of the plot were natural, and yet always unexpected. I found myself driving to work saying things like, “But what about…..”, or “Ah, so that’s it….,” out loud. I’m glad nobody was watching.

At first I thought it was a bit distracting having two readers, one for Margaret (Bianca Amato) and one for Vida (Jill Tanner). The two voices at first don’t have the same kind of contrast I’d come to expect from audiobooks that utilize multiple readers. As the story progressed, however, I saw how subtly and skillfully each embraced her part. By the end I couldn’t imagine only one reader bringing justice to the book.

I haven’t heard either Amato or Tanner read before and both were exquisite. It would be interesting to hear both of them read a book that was more upbeat – I wonder what that would sound like.

I listened to this on CD and it was well worth the irritation I felt changing discs all the time. There is a blank track at the end of each disc which I’m assuming was there to indicate that it was time to change discs. I haven’t encountered that before. It’s less irritating than a strange voice telling me what to do. I see it’s now available on Audible which would be much easier to listen to.

Apparently there is also an abridged version of this book on audio. I don’t do abridgements (EVER!) so I can’t really comment on it. It has different readers as well.

(15 hrs and 38 mins), Simon and Schuster Audio, 2006

The Thirteenth Tale on Audible

* Note: This review was previously published many years ago on my old Audiobook Freak blog.

The Final Flight by James Blatch

Audiobook Review

The Final Flight by James Blatch, narrated by Matt Addis, was an unexpected thrill ride for me. I was expecting a decent military story about the RAF. What I was not expecting was a first-class thriller that had me scrambling for every five minutes of listening I could find. Blatch has placed compelling characters, authentic research, and a believable storyline in an era that is underrepresented in the thriller genre. Set in 1966, the story is so vivid you can feel the heat of a summer’s afternoon, see the military row houses and period vehicles driving by, and feel the vibration of jet planes taking off and landing. Blatch expertly ratchets up the suspense with sequences of twists and turns that I did not see coming.

As an avid audio listener, I’m very picky about the voices I listen to and Matt Addis has been added to the list of readers I will search for more books by. He has an easy-going style that is similar to Simon Vance. His character voices are consistent, and each character has a unique voice that adds to their personality. My only criticism is how he does women’s voices. They sound less clearly defined than the men’s voices, but not to the point where it’s annoying.

Overall, I found this to be an astonishingly good thriller that I would highly recommend.