Windsor Author: Shay Lee Soleil

PictureWindsor writer Shay Lee Soleil didn’t put her stories to paper until she had to take a medical leave from work. Soleil had just completed her radiation treatment for breast cancer and needed something to keep her mind busy while she recovered.

“All these thoughts were running wild in my head and I had to rush to write them down before they were lost,” said Soleil. “I find writing makes me happy.”

Her husband and children could see the time and energy Soleil put into her writing and encouraged her to let others read her stories. In 2015 she published the first book in her erotic romance Unforgivable series: Lust & Fire. In 2016 the second book in the series, Lust & Restraint, was published. The books follow 22 year old Keera:

Keera was thrown into a life of independence at a young age after both her parents died in a tragic accident. Her childhood friends and grandparents helped her through the devastating loss. Living a lonely life, she dreams of having a passionate relationship like her parents had, but will she ever let a man into her life?

“I am now my own publisher and have sold my books worldwide,” said Soleil. “It is such a great feeling when your readers contact you saying they loved your books and they can’t wait for the next.”Picture

Soleil is currently at work on the third book in the series, and hopes to have it published by the end of 2018. Her advice for new writers is to take the plunge and write their book.

“There are so many people who tell me they started to write a book or they’ve always wanted to and I say, you should,” said Soleil. “You should definitely follow your dreams. Life is short.”

Soleil will be available to meet readers in-person at her upcoming signing at the Devonshire Mall Chapters. The event takes place on Saturday, February 10 from 1:00-4:00. Her books are available as paperbacks at Chapters, can be ordered from Coles, and can be purchased as eBooks from on-line book sellers (such as Amazon). For more information you can also visit her website.

[originally posted on Windsor Arts & Crafts]

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A Photo Book for a Good Cause

book cover outline It’s a Dog’s Life: Saving Lives Through the Lens is a full colour photo book following thirteen different furry canines, with a portion of its proceeds helping rescue dogs.

The project is the work of Sarnia based photographer Laura Lynn Mclean. She began her photography career shooting weddings and later transitioned to working in her home-based portrait studio. The studio eventually became a pet portrait studio and Mclean also volunteered at the Sarnia and District Humane Society, photographing adoptable pets. She has always been an animal lover and has fond memories of her first dog, a black-lab mix named Star. She currently has a 13 year old rescue dog named Maggie and a cat named Truffles.

In 2017, Mclean decided to pursue project based work with her photography, and it only seemed natural to continue photographing dogs.

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Photo by Laura Lynn Mclean

“This allows me to take my time to create art that means something to me, not just commissioned,” said Mclean.  “It’s a great mix of both worlds.”

Finding the right families with the right dogs was the first step of the project. The dogs needed to be comfortable around strangers, happy to be photographed, and the family had to be able to commit to at least two photo sessions and an interview about their pets. In the end, Mclean found thirteen wonderful participants who are now featured in the book. The dogs range from purebreds to rescued street dogs.

“Doing the book was a way to connect with pet owners and give them the opportunity to show off their dogs in a positive way,” said Mclean.  “Not all dogs are treated equally because of breed, size or adoption status.  I wanted the book to cross those boundaries.”

The focus of the book is to the show the life of the dog from the dog’s point of view.

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Photo by Laura Lynn Mclean

“The focus had to be on how the dog spent their days,” said Mclean. “Little to no people in the images unless necessary.”

Mclean thoroughly enjoyed the process of meeting the new dogs and spending time with them to capture the perfect images, which truly shows in the photos. The dogs are photographed exploring the great outdoors, playing with a favourite toy, or lounging in a favourite spot. The book includes 84 full colour photographs.

“I never rushed a session, and it was as much playtime as it was taking photos,” said Mclean. “Learning each of their personalities was a tremendous learning experience.”

A portion of the proceeds of each book purchased in 2018 will be donated to CK Animal Rescue. After 2018, the book will no longer be available, but Mclean is hoping to create volume two of It’s a Dog’s Life for 2020. CK Animal Rescue is a dog and cat rescue group that is based in Chatham. The rescue group accepts applications from potential adopters in Chatham Kent, Sarnia, Windsor, London and points in between. Their animals live in foster homes until their volunteers find their perfect forever home.

It’s a Dog Life can be purchased directly from Laura Lynn Mclean. She asks that you contact her at lauralynnmcleanphoto AT gmail DOT com. The cost of the book is $52.48 (additional charge for shipping).

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Photo by Laura Lynn Mclean

[originally published on Windsor Arts & Crafts]

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Windsor Author: Sharon Ledwith

Sharon LedwithWindsor author Sharon Ledwith will be the featured author for the upcoming Taste of Literature series. The event will take place at The Twisted Apron (1833 Wyandotte St E) and will feature a dinner inspired by Ledwith’s latest book, Lost and Found. The event takes place on January 15th at 6:30 pm, and tickets are $50 (plus HST) per guest. After the meal, Ledwith will be doing a reading with an author discussion to follow.

Ledwith is a self-proclaimed late bloomer when it comes to writing. She started out penning paranormal romances in her mid-thirties, until she had a dream about mysterious arches that inspired her time travel series for young readers.

“I really thought about that dream a lot to the point where an idea for a book began to grow, and take root,” said Ledwith. “So, I thought I’d challenge myself and write a novel—a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience.”The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis (Paperback)

Since then Ledwith has had three books published in The Last Timekeepers series by Windsor’s own Mirror World Publishing. Her latest book is part of a brand new teen psychic mystery series titled Mysterious Tales of Fairy Falls. The first book, Lost and Found, follows Meghan Walsh, a teen with the ability to communicate with animals, who finds herself wrapped up in an adventure to help save an animal shelter.

“The second book in my teen psychic mystery series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, will be released sometime this year,” said Ledwith. “It’s entitled, Blackflies and Blueberries, and is about seventeen-year-old Hart Stewart who possesses psychometry—the psychic ability that discovers facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them.”

Ledwith plans to continue her writing career, with a total of ten books outlined for The Last Timekeepers series and five books planned for the Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series.

“When writing two series at once, my plan is to release one book and write one book during the course of a year,” said Ledwith. “I alternate writing the books for each series, which helps me produce fresh content every year and building both book series backlists at the same time.”

Ledwith believes being a writer in Windsor definitely has its perks.

“Windsor hosts a few writing groups to help writers improve their work for publication,” said Ledwith. “Add in the fact that there’s the Windsor International Writers Conference and you’ve got a place that gives a writer plenty of chances to grow and learn. Windsor also boasts about seven publishing companies and over a thousand published/self-published authors. Not too shabby statistics for a city that’s known more for their manufacturing acumen.”

Ledwith’s advice for new writers includes investing in yourself and to never stop learning.

“As you grow, so will your readers, so be prepared for this,” said Ledwith. “Never give up. That’s a given and should be part of any author’s credo.”

Ledwith’s books are available at local retailers Juniper Books (1990 Ottawa Street) and PB Books (3947 Tecumseh Rd E). You can also purchase books directly from the Mirror World Publishing website – with free delivery to customers in Windsor! Tickets for the upcoming Taste of Literature event can be purchased at The Chef Next Door (1833 Wyandotte St E) until January 13. For more information about Sharon Ledwith and her books you can visit her website/blog: I came. I saw. I wrote.


[originally published on Windsor Arts & Crafts]

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2017 in Review

Well, I did one of these Year in Review things for the past two years, so here we go again.

Cornelia and Timothy - Making zines

Illustration by Nicholas Beckett

In April my short story “The Winter of the River” was published in the Spring issue of Stinkwaves Magazine. Then I decided to go through all my old short stories from my zine-ing years. I picked seven short stories that I thought went well together and are suitable for children and spruced them up a bit. Many of these stories were written when I was a teenager or in my early twenties and were published in my litzine, 398. I submitted this newly polished collection of stories to Handersen Publishing, since they’re the publishers behind Stinkwaves Magazine. They agreed to publish the book in 2018 and then Nicholas Beckett agreed to be the illustrator. Nicholas has been hard at work creating some beautiful pictures and soon I’ll be hard at work doing editing on the stories with Tevin and Nichole. The book should be out in 2018.

My manuscript Slip Jig Summer was also accepted in 2017 by Orca Book Publishers for SlipJigSummerCOVERtheir Orca Limelights series. I’ve done all my final edits, and now I’m just waiting for the book to come out on March 27, 2018. I will be having a book release event/signing at Juniper Books in April.

I also wrote a script about the valkyrie Brunhilde for Windsor Dance eXperience. The production team is currently at work finalizing the script and soundtrack. The show will be performed at the Capitol Theatre from June 1st – 3rd. If you’re in Windsor and like to dance and perform, auditions take place on Saturday, January 13.

25594142_200872697138897_6225434062392498860_nI really don’t like writing about myself, but I do miss writing about local events in Windsor. Recently I started a blog called Windsor Arts & Crafts where I will write and post pictures of fun artsy things happening in Windsor. I hope to continue to grow the blog throughout 2018.

I finished writing two other manuscripts for young readers, but I haven’t found a home for either. Maybe I will have more news about them when I write my 2018 Year in Review post. I’ve been working on other manuscripts too, including a novel version of my short story The Winter of the River.

I think that’s everything! Hope everyone has a good 2018. Now here’s a picture of my dog Daisy hanging out with Callie and a picture of old lady Lucy:

IMG_6824 (800x600)

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Announcing Slip Jig Summer!

In the new book news department, my book Slip Jig Summer now has a cover and is listed on the Orca website! Slip Jig Summer is a high-interest novel for teen readers about ballet-obsessed Natalie having to spend the summer with her Irish-dancing cousins. The book will be part of Orca Limelights, which is a really cool series of books featuring different performing arts – from dance, to singing, to circus acts! It’s the kind of book series I would have been obsessed with as a young reader and I am very excited to be a part of! As a young reader I was always upset by the lack of dance books about Irish dancing – so now I wrote one! Yay! The release date for Slip Jig Summer is March 27, 2018.


Learn more about Orca Limelights with this fun video:

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Stinkwaves: Spring 2017

My story “The Winter of the River” is in the new issue of Stinkwaves (Spring 2017) along with some other fantastic short stories, poems, and artwork.

For more information about Stinkwaves and how you can support this small press magazine for young readers, check out their latest blog.



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2016 in Review

I feel like I need to do a “2016 in Review” post – mostly because I posted one last year and I think I should carry on the tradition. The biggest news was that Mirror World published my second book. This Night Sucks, a young adult vampire comedy novella, came out in June 2016. In September I attended the Worlds Collide Gala. I even remembered to post a picture of it on my blog. It was a good time, but it would have been better if we weren’t worried about our basement re-flooding the entire time.

In other writing news, I had my short story Cornelia & Timothy and the Wonderful World of Zines published in the Spring issue of Stinkwaves Magazine. This story originally appeared in my litzine 398#8 many moons ago.

I’ve been working on other stuff and things. But I really don’t like writing about what I’m working on, so I’m not going to.

The only other thing I can think to post about is that Alex and I adopted a new writing partner. Her name is Daisy, she’s cute and brown-ish and likes to nap in my office while I work. She also likes to sit on Alex’s lap while he works. She’s been getting along great with our cats, Lucy and Callie. Here she is napping in my office with Callie:


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Worlds Collide Gala Photo

Here’s a photo of the authors at the Worlds Collide Gala, which was held on September 30, 2016.


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Mirror World Young Adult Sampler



The Mirror World Young Adult sampler is now available! Readers can sample the first chapter from all of these books:

She Dreamed of Dragons by Elizabeth J. M. Walker
Neo Central by Justine Alley Dowsett
Crimson Winter by Justine Alley Dowsett
The Watcher by Joshua Pantalleresco
Stormdancer by Joshua Pantalleresco
Disenchanted by Leigh Goff
This Night Sucks by Elizabeth J. M. Walker

Plus the short story prequel to She Dreamed of Dragons: The Search for the Golden Feather.

It’s FREE! Just go here to get it.

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Worlds Collide Gala


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