Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Meg Sheppard Mystery Series Now Available On-line!


Both books are now available in-store and on-line at Blue Heron Books.

Here's the link: Meg Sheppard Mystery Series

They are both cozy mysteries set in the unique world of thoroughbred horse-racing and of country living.


The first in the series is What Happened to Frank?

I think you might enjoy the second one, Over Frank's Dead Body, more if you've read the first one!

Bill Bell, a reader, gave this review of the first book:

"This book reminded me of why I like a good 'whodunit'. The tight writing and fast pace quickly drew me in and didn't let go of me until the last page. Move over Hercules Poirot and Inspector Banks - there's new sleuth in town!"

Happy Reading!!





Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Thank You for Book Launch Success at Blue Heron Books!

Thank you to all the readers who supported my book launch on October 13 at Blue Heron Books!
It was a great success and I hope you are all enjoying the books.
I re-issued What Happened to Frank? and launched the second novel in the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series, Over Frank's Dead Body. I offered them at special launch prices and sold over 70 books!
They are available at Blue Heron Books (the store) and will be included in their website soon for purchase on-line.
And the e-book versions will be uploaded in the near future.
The plan is to have them available at another bookstore - I will keep you posted.
These books are cozy mysteries and the set of two makes a great gift!
Happy reading!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Article about Book Launch appears in the Uxbridge Cosmos!

Here's the article which appears in the Thursday, October 11, 2018 issue:


 Local writer launches second book at Blue Heron Books this week-end

It took Vicky Earle over fifteen years to finish her first book “What Happened to Frank?”. When asked why it took so long, Earle confesses that horses and her career were the main time-consumers. Since publishing her first book, Earle, now retired, completed her second in the Meg Sheppard mystery series in about three years. 
  “Most of my readers would like me to write faster!” Earle says. “But they’ve been patient, and I’m excited that I’m finally launching ‘Over Frank’s Dead Body’ at Blue Heron Books on Saturday, October 13.” 
  Earle adds that everyone is welcome.
  When asked what the setting is for her books, Earle says she draws on her long experience of living on the family’s 10-acre horse-farm in the Uxbridge area which is home-base for the small, family-run, thoroughbred breeding and racing business. She and her husband, Martin, race at Woodbine Racetrack and are very familiar with the backstretch from the owners’ point-of-view.
  “I enjoy writing about horses and country-life, as well as the thoroughbred horse-racing business. And I have fun developing plots and characters. But the most rewarding thing about writing is having readers who enjoy your stories.”
  Earle is a member of the Uxbridge Writers’ Circle and credits this group, as well as courses she attended at the Blue Heron Studio, for both encouraging and challenging her.
  “Without the support of other writers, I wouldn’t be launching my first book, let alone my second. And a big thank-you to Blue Heron Books for being there for fledgling authors like me, who need a little help learning how to fly in the real world of books.”
  At the launch on Saturday October 13, Earle will read a few excerpts and will be available to sign the novels for readers between 2pm and 4pm. Both books will be offered at a special reduced price during the launch. 
  “And readers will be glad to hear that I’ve already made a good start on the third in the series.” Earle adds. Readers can keep up-to-date by connecting with Earle through her blog: vickyearleauthor.blogspot.ca

                                                           

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Setting for My Books

As you can guess from the covers of my books shown here, the stories are set in country life (in which Kelly, the border collie plays a significant role) and in the thoroughbred horse-racing business. These are the worlds I know quite a lot about - although horses keep you humble - I continue to learn every day.
There are many ups and downs.
We have a three-year-old called George, who did poorly in training last year, so came home early and didn't race.
We decided we'd give him a head-start this year and send him for preliminary training in Florida - a big step for us. At the beginning of January, two days before we'd arranged for him to leave, he got into trouble in his stall and demolished a wooden wall (we don't know what happened). His injuries were serious including a fractured jaw, cracked gum, broken hyoid apparatus (supports tongue and larynx), chunks of his lower leg missing (one was the size of a tea-cup). We were in shock.
The snow was bad. The vet got stuck. Transport was hard to find. But we finally got him to the equine hospital at Guelph University. There was little they could do - he needed TLC and time.
At first he wouldn't eat, but things gradually improved. He loved having four small meals a day along with his grated carrots. Then the bandages could be left off. He got stronger. We regained hope that perhaps he could go back into training at Woodbine one day.
Sure enough, he went back on April 25. But it was a slow start. Nevertheless, we all decided to be patient. He had been through so much.
And yesterday he ran his first race and came third. I don't think we've ever been so pleased with a third place before. I'm posting the video on the page "Wins at Woodbine Racetrack" - even though it's not a win. His racing name is I'm a Home Brew, he's number 4 and has white blinkers, and he's the only one who's not raced before ("maiden" means having not won a race). Wins at Woodbine Racetrack Page Yeah, George!!
Perhaps this will give you a taste of the setting that I enjoy to write in and why. Hope you have fun reading my books.
See you at the launch on Saturday, October 13, 2pm to 4pm, Blue Heron Books.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Book Launch! Save the Date!

You're invited! The exciting launch of my second book in the Meg Sheppard mystery series will be:

On:     Saturday, October 13, 2018
       2pm until 4pm
At:     Blue Heron Books, Uxbridge

My first book, "What Happened to Frank?" will also be available.
I hope to meet current fans of the Meg Sheppard series as well as new readers!

Stay posted. There will be more information coming. (Sign up to receive email notifications of new posts by clicking on "follow by email" at vickyearleauthor.blogspot.ca).
Information on Blue Heron books can be found at: blueheronbooks.com

Monday, 10 September 2018

Two New Micro-Stories and One Micro-Non-Fiction Piece!

These short pieces were each written during a meeting of the Uxbridge Writers' Circle as part of the "ten-minute on-the-spot" writing segment. We can use the photos provided or we can just write what we like. No editing!
Then we share!

The first one is based on the picture "Grandpa and Me Ice Skating" by Norman Rockwell:

Grandpa was a boring old man with white whiskers and deep wrinkles. He sat in his recliner and it seemed to me that he spent more time snoring than he did talking. He must have had so much he could tell us about, so many interesting things, but we didn't hear any of it.
But he was the best Grandpa in the whole wide world when we went skating. Somehow his stiff body would unwind and energy seemed to travel from his toque to his toes. His scarf would fly around this way and that as he spun and twirled. He skated backwards at an atrocious speed, often barely missing us.
We would watch in awe, the cold seeping and creeping, until we realized we hadn't moved for several minutes as we watched his show.
One afternoon, as he untied his skates, I plucked up the courage to ask him how he learned to skate like that.
"Ah, I was a hockey player many, many years ago."
"Wow. With the NHL?" I asked.
"Yep."
"That must have been the best."
"It was okay, but we didn't wear helmets like your Mom makes you wear."
"I'd like not to wear one."
"You could hit your head on the ice and end up like me."
So, I always wear my helmet. I don't want to get wrinkles like my Grandpa.

Vicky Earle Copyright 2018

The second one is non-fiction about our foal, Chase, who was born on May 15, 2018.

We watch as the foal kicks up his heels, bucks and then canters around the patchy green field, almost colliding with his mother. She ignores his display, making the best of her time outside to graze, seeking out the blades of grass in between a myriad of weeds.
The two-month-old colt takes a nip out of the man repairing the fence - as he does, he shows off the scrape he gave himself as he pranced by the loose oak plank. The man pats him on the rump and tells him to go away. The colt's answer is to rear and then tear off to the other side of the paddock and stick his muzzle onto my husband's phone as he attempts to capture the antics of the new member of the family.
Our grandsons have named him Chase and we can already imagine him flying out of the starting gate and crossing the finishing line. With each new arrival there is excitement and optimism. Breeding, raising and racing thoroughbreds is fraught with set-backs and liberally scattered with disappointments, and we've had our share. But, for the moment, we're wallowing in the pleasure of watching Chase enjoying life. Every buck and every dash bring smiles, and makes everything seem worthwhile.
Photo: Chase with his mother, I'm a Kittyhawk. Taken by Vicky Earle. 

Vicky Earle Copyright 2018

The third one is based on a photo of a cat with the caption "Missing You".


Beluga, the fat grey cat, sat on the windowsill - looking much like an overstuffed furry pillow with whiskers - and watched the family leave for the cottage again. Looking at him, one couldn't see the frown on his face but the fury flashed in his eyes and twitched along his whiskers. They had left him alone once too often and he was going to show them.
He thought of the big plan as he sat staring at the chickadee which looked far too cheerful. But, since he couldn't reach him, he closed his eyes and focused on the plan.
He woke up with a start as the grandfather clock struck. He must have had a nap. He stretched, yawned, landed with a thud on the wooden floor and waddled to his food dish. Just that foul dry food awaited him. Where was the fresh fish? Beluga remembered he'd been left again and recalled the great plan.
The first thing on the list was to leave grey hair liberally spread on Anne's new white bedspread. He lapped at the water which was lukewarm, not cold how he liked it, and then heaved himself up the stairs. The bounce had gone out of his steps. He clawed his way up the side of the bed, hanging onto the bedspread. He was exhausted, and curled up in a dip between the pillows and fell asleep.
"Beluga!" Jenny called. "We're home!"
The great plan was put on hold again.

Vicky Earle Copyright 2018

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

The Grand House: A Story


This is the story I wrote incorporating the words for the July writing challenge (which are shown in italics). 
Hope you enjoy reading it!

She sits in the drawing room staring up at the chandelier. The oranges and pinks of the setting sun are streaming in from the tops of the tall leaded windows and should be dancing in the crystal droplets. But there’s no sparkling. She presses a button and notes how long it takes for Charlie to reach her. It should take one minute precisely, but Charlie often takes two. She can feel her blood pressure rise as the large, dark grandfather clock ticks past one minute and past two.
            “You called, your Ladyship.”
            “I did indeed. Quite some time ago.”
            “Yes, your Ladyship.”
            “This chandelier. When was the last time you cleaned it?”
            “I think it was last week, your Ladyship.”
            “You think. That isn’t good enough. It must be cleaned every Friday so that it’s at its best brilliance for each and every week-end.”
            “Yes, your Ladyship.”
            “When is the car coming?”
            “I’ll check, your Ladyship.”
They both turn towards the French doors as the patter of little claws approaches. Charlie’s face reddens as she turns back to face the woman.
“What is Samuel Junior doing out of his crate?” Lady Devon demands. “I asked you to put him to bed an hour ago. I don’t want spaniel hair on my black dress. What are you thinking? Not much, evidently.”
“No, your Ladyship. I’ll put him to bed right away.”
“Pick him up, then. Before he comes in.”
“Yes, your Ladyship. The car must be here. Mr. Swan’s at the door.” Charlie lifts the dog up and pets him.
“About time too.”
“Lady Devon, I trust you’ll be comfortable in this vintage Rolls Royce,” the chauffeur says.
“No need for chit-chat. Just get me to the theatre in one piece and two minutes late.”
“Just as you say, your Ladyship.” He opens the door.
“I can’t be seen arriving in this!”
“What do you mean, your Ladyship?”
“There’s a hubcap missing, you fool.”
“Must have come off when I went down one of them there pot holes, your Ladyship.”
“I don’t care how it happened. You’ll have to call for another car. I’ll be waiting inside.” She brushes past the butler, leaving a trail of heavenly scent, apparently ignoring his existence. 
She anticipates a twenty-minute wait but a replacement car shows up in ten. That puts her in a better mood, much to the relief of Charlie who’s been summoned to clean the dust off the gilded picture frame hanging above the stone fireplace.

Lady Devon sinks into the leather seat and watches the sun sinking into oblivion as it lengthens the shadows of the grand oaks lining the one-mile drive.
The driver turns away from the city. She presses the communication button.
“You’re to drive me to the theatre. Where are you going?”
“Short cut, your Ladyship.”
“Is this car bullet-proof, as Mr. Swan ordered?”
“I wouldn’t know, your Ladyship. I’m just the driver.”
The speaker crackles, but she can detect something familiar about the man’s voice. She can’t see his face in the mirror in the semi-darkness and realizes she didn’t give him so much as a glance as she got into the car. She remembers that Mr. Swan opened the door for her. The driver didn’t even bother to get out and acknowledge her.
Something isn’t right.
She can make out the slope of the man’s shoulders and the squareness of his head. His hands are partly visible. A tremor of recognition quivers down her spine.
“Bartholomew, stop the car.”
“I don’t think you want to stop here, mother. This is the disreputable end of town.” There’s a hint of disdain.
“What’s going on?” This is why the dusting wasn’t done and why Samuel Junior wasn’t in his bed. No-one expects her to return. She’s going to be shot and her body hidden so that Bartholomew can inherit her fortune. He’s been blatant about his quest but she’s refused to bend to his demands. He wants to turn Dorset House into a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts and alcoholics. What a disgrace for the beauty of the old mansion to be destroyed so that people, who brought misery on themselves, can writhe in their vomit and scratch at the walls.  
“Let’s just hope the car is bullet-proof,” Bartholomew says. She can’t see the faint smile on his lips.
“Can we talk?”
“What do you want to talk about? We’re nearly there.”
“Where?” She looks around but can’t distinguish anything out of the shadows.
“Where we’re going.”
“You want to turn that beautiful house, my home, into a lunatic asylum.”
“That’s not exactly correct.”
“Why?”
“Because your grandson died of an overdose and I think it’s because we all failed him.”
“Johnny died of an overdose?”
“We hid the truth because of you - fearing your judgement, knowing you’d feel angry and ashamed. We shouldn’t have. We should have done something. We should do something. I’ve tried everything I can think of to get you to listen – threats and more threats. But you only hear what you want to hear. You haven’t wanted to know.”
“Johnny was only sixteen when he died.”
“Yes.”
“He was your only son.”
“Yes.”
“We should have done something.”
“Yes.”
“Where are we?”
“We’re back at the house. The lights are out. This is my last threat. I’m so desperate to do something so that my son, your grandson, didn’t die in vain, that I’m going to burn this place down and collect the insurance money. Yes, I fixed it so that I’m the beneficiary and I’ve a plan so that arson won’t be suspected. Then I can make the rehabilitation centre happen. Or, you’re going to help make this rehabilitation centre a reality in Dorset House. Your choice.”
“Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“Because you don’t listen and you have contempt for people who are poor, sick or addicted to anything.”
She believes he’s bluffing. It would be almost impossible to burn such a large place down without it appearing suspicious. But he’s planned it well: the missing hubcap, the dust, the dog; and he’s got her attention. She pulls her head out of the sand, and her grief stings like a wasp in her heart.
“I don’t believe you can burn the house down, but,” she pulls out a lace-trimmed handkerchief to dab at the strange drops which dampen her powdered cheeks, “I’ll help for Johnny’s sake. But they’ll be conditions. I’ll run the business affairs and I’ll have the east wing for my living quarters.”
“Done. I have the documents drawn up. Mr. Swan is waiting in the drawing room.”
“I’ll read them carefully before signing.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
  
Vicky Earle Copyright 2018