Sunday, December 29, 2013


Over the Christmas holidays I watched three versions of Dickens, A Christmas Carol. First, I watched the version with Alistair Sim playing Scrooge. Next, a film made in 1935 with Seymour Hicks playing Scrooge. Third, George C. Scott playing Scrooge.

I cast my vote for Alistair Sim playing Scrooge. He was a superb actor and had a wonderful cast playing all the parts. Kathleen Nesbitt who played Scrooge's housekeeper stole every scene she was in. In the other versions the housekeeper had no part. I don't know who cast her and made sure she had a good part to play should have a pat on the head and a raise in salary. If you have time, you're sure to find A Christmas Carol starring Alistair Sim available.

The 1935 version was well done. Seymour Hicks had an evil countenance to start and played Scrooge as a miserable, man who bullied his employee Bob Cratchit and made his life as miserable as possible while allowing him to have Christmas  Day off. The film was simply made but the message was clear. Change is possible when Scrooge had three ghosts revealing his life, making him understand how badly he had treated his sister, his sweetheart and his nephew. In 1935 the film makers didn't have fancy tricks to move the story along. A great film version, worth watching.

George C. Scott made a fine Scrooge in brightly filmed version of A Christmas Carol. His Scrooge pulled out all the stops especially the scene where the Ghost of Christmas Present flipped his gown open to reveal two pitiful starving children, one is ignorance - I forget the other, but the scene was a show stopper. Scott was excellent but the cast of supporting characters could not match those in the Alistair Sim version.

Miles Mallenson (probably spelled wrong)as the character buying the bed draperies from and other items stole from Scrooge's home after he'd died. Wonderful acting. Of course, the housekeeper, was perfect as she passed the items to be appraised. Just watch the two of them bartering.

To see acting of a high calibre, download a copy of, "A Christmas Carol,"starring Alistair Sim. Enjoy.

2014 is with days of coming to life. Enjoy the Old Year ending and the New Year beginning.
Enjoy being alive and continue reading. Reading is good for the soul.


Thursday, December 19, 2013


This is a short note. Did anyone read my Christmas story on my last post? Writing it brought back so many memories I suggest you write your own Christmas story, good or ill. Some Christmases of which I've heard were truly awful when an alcoholic parents goes on a rampage and ruins the holiday.
Let's not think about that. Bringing back memories is good for your soul.
Did you see the television coverage of a Canadian Forces helicopter rescuing a crane operator clinging to the top end of the crane while a raging fire roared beneath him. It was a truly amazing rescue.

I'm editing my Ghost Writer Mystery. I paid a professional editor to work on my book. She did some work on it but we were at odds on things like "point of view." Also she thought there was too much going on so I decided it wasn't worth continuing. I paid her, of course, for her work. I'll see if I can e-publish it when I finish the edit.

Have a gentle few days before Christmas so you will have lots of energy to enjoy the feast. Unless you are of a different faith. In that case  enjoy watching your neighbours having a great celebration.

My romance novel ISABELLE is a great gift for a reading lady on your Christmas list. It's not too late to purchase a copy.

Anita Birt

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Christmas and I go a long way a back. Back to when I was a child in London, Ontario. Long before television. Long before air travel became common. Back to a time when only wealthy people travelled very far. Ordinary folk in cold Canada stayed home to tend the furnace. My parents banked up the coals at night to keep heat coursing through the house.
We greeted winter and the first snowfall with joy. In London there was lots of snow and ice. No salting trucks spoiled our fun. Few cars dared the snowy streets. We kids made great long icy slides on the sidewalks. After a long run we’d land feet first on the ice and balancing like acrobats fly joyfully to the end.
Sometimes a crotchety old dame spread ashes on our slide. A sacrilege, never forgotten. On summer nights we’d ring her doorbell and run.
My mother was Scottish. Her mother lived with us. Two Scots in one house meant two Christmases for my brother and me. In Scotland, Christmas was more of a religious holiday. New Year’s Eve, Hogmanay, was the time to whoop it up. On Christmas Eve, we hung up our stockings as lovely pine scent from the freshly cut Christmas tree filled the house.
Harry, my brother, was eighteen months younger than I was. We were like twins, doing everything together. We managed to get into lots of trouble. My sister, Helen Edna, five years older, ignored us when she could.
One special Christmas Harry and I wakened at 4:30 am. It was pitch dark. We crept downstairs and turned on the living room light. Under the tree were our stockings stuffed with goodies. Unwrapped and shiny new, with my name on them - a pair of skates! I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Harry had a new sled. I had to try on my skates. He had to try his sled.
Dressing to face a freezing dark winter morning in those days was not a quick and easy task. No natty snowsuits. First I had to put on long underwear, then a liberty bodice with suspenders. I had to wriggle into long ribbed cotton stockings and snap them to the liberty bodice.
Imagine if you will, trying to keep my long underwear tight around my ankles with one hand and peeling my stockings up over the underwear with the other. Girls in my day had strong characters. We learned patience and gained strength struggling against the gods who invented long underwear and cotton stockings.
Finally with my underwear rumpled under my stockings (I was in a hurry) I pulled on a sweater and a warm skirt. Harry was lucky he had woolen britches to wear over his long underwear. Girls did not wear pants as they do now)
I dragged on thick socks, headed for the back door and laced up my skates. Stars shone like diamonds in the still dark sky. Harry belly flopped on his sled and whizzed down the icy driveway. I skated after him, falling twice into snowbanks.
It was heaven. New skates. No present ever meant as much to me as my new skates. My first real skates.
On New Year’s Eve we hung up our stockings again, only this time at the end of our beds not at the downstairs fireplace. When we wakened to welcome a New Year our stockings lay bulging and enticing at the foot of our beds. They were filled with small toys, an orange and a bag of nuts.
It was a precious time to be a child.
Copyright 2013 Anita Birt

Friday, December 6, 2013


Friends and acquaintances have asked how I began writing romance novels when I was in my late seventies?  I wrote my non-fiction book, THE HOUSE AT BRIDAL VEIL (available at ABE books or as used books.) It's a very interesting history about four nuns belonging to The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, all professionally qualified as teachers, dieticians, engineers and one with building experience.

How I met them is an interesting story that will take too long for me to tell right now. If you want to know, leave a comment. I did a lot of interviewing to find all the people who had lived in the run down mansion the Sisters hope to buy for their Mother House. It was built in 1917. Elegant, graceful inside and out in a glorious setting, a large heated swimming pool. It was a wreck.

There's a little bit of the House at Bridal Veil. Seek out a used copy of the book. It really is a wonderful story of how the four nuns, through hard, hard work, brought the run down old mansion back to life. Much work still to be down. It was a start.

There I was. I'd never written a book. I had a computer and printer and looked around book stores to see what was selling. ROMANCE NOVELS, of course. I had never read one. I picked up a Harlequin romance, read it and decided I could do that.

I sent off the first three chapters and waited for the mail to tell me my story was excellent and offered me a contract. Of course, I was rejected. Humbly I began to go to writing workshops, I joined the Romance Writers of America. I went to conferences all over the States. My writing was critiqued and found wanting.

I soldiered on until the magical day when Ellora's Cave offered me a contract to publish, A VERY DIFFICULT MAN, as an  e-book. E-publishing was very new at the time but I jumped at the chance. And the rest is history. I was thrilled to have my five romance novels published in e-format and now they are available in trade paperback. Do have a look at ISABELLE, the latest of my books in print.

That's part of my life story. I'm continuing to write and hoping, hoping, hoping to have, "A GHOST WRITER MYSTERY, find its way into print. E-published or book format. I'll accept whatever is offered.


Saturday, November 30, 2013


I'm a Weaver of Tales now instead of writing a Journal. It won't make a bit of differences since I'm not sure a single living soul reads my deathless prose. Ah well, I must struggle on and hope that one bright morning someone will comment on my writing.

It's been pouring rain all day. The sky is breaking up in the south west so it might clear. I need a breath or two of fresh air and a long walk to loosen up my ancient knees. They enjoy walking and so do I.

About Steven Johnson's book. "Where Good Ideas Come From," and the meaning of "the adjacent possible."  I won't begin to explain it, you must read the book, but ... I'm leaping now into my meaning, "The adjacent possible," is to take what has gone before, twist and turn it a bit, and create something new as did the brilliant young man (whose name escapes me) who cobbled together FACE BOOK and made himself into a millionaire. Social media builds on "the adjacent possible," and develops Twitter, and how about Steve Jobs? The I-Phone, the I-Pad, etc. I do not own either but I do have  a Kindle.

What are you reading? I am well into Eleanor Catton's book, THE LUMINARIES. I have a problem with it. It is physically a heavy book, about two inches thick, I can't hold it like a paper back. If I put it on my lap I have to bend my back slightly to read it. Not good for my ancient bones. I put a small pillow on my lap and rested the book on it but that doesn't work. It's like having an extra blanket and who needs that when it's not perishing cold.

Any brilliant ideas? Do send them to me.

About "the adjacent possible." (I can't seem to leave it alone) After writing romance novels I have started writing mysteries. Why now? And why now when I am well into my ancient years? What prompted the change? I can't write romance novels at my age so what do do? An interesting character floated into my writing brain. What to do with it? I needed a secondary character to complement the first one. The story fell into place and became, The Ghost Writer Mystery. I am writing a second book in the series. I know I've mentioned this in a previous blog. I repeat myself to keep the story spinning.

My book "ISABELLE," is available in trade paper back now. Two romance novels in one book. Try my other books, A VERY DIFFICULT MAN, RING AROUND THE MOON, TOO YOUNG TO DIE. Enjoyable reads.


Thursday, November 28, 2013


Anita, Weaver of Tales. Still hell bent on having another book published! Never give up.

Anita who reads too late at night. Her brain is too active to invite sleep. The book in question that did me in last night:  "Where Good Ideas Come From," by Steven Johnson. I have to think about the content as I read. Johnson is a superb writer and makes reading a real treat. My problem is digesting the content slowly. It all makes wonderful sense as I read but it sneaks up on me and I have to back track to truly understand the meaning of  "the adjacent possible." It is a concept of the scientist, Stuart Kauffman. Johnson comments. "The phrase captures both the limits and the creative potential of change and innovation." I shall read the book during the day so I can sleep at night.

I visualized my grey brain networked by blood vessels trying desperately to stay on track by twisting and turning, or whatever brains do when they're working hard. I pictured my brain blushing red from the effort of understanding what I was feeding into it.

Give your brain a treat and buy "WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM" by Steven Johnson, Published by RIVERHEAD BOOKS, published by the Penguin Group.

Then to add insult to injury I read a book excerpt in The National Post newspaper. Here is the title of the excerpt. "A TORRENT OF WORDS." It's from a book by Clive Thomson, "SMARTER THAN YOU THINK."

Masses of words to read. My little blog has no scandals or corruption to report. There's stuff in the newspapers about the senate scandal. There's more about Rob Ford the shameful mayor of Toronto who will not resign. Smoked Crack. Drinking while driving. Alcoholic and won't go into treatment. Peed in a public place. Smokes weed. It goes on. And he is hugely over weight. Not a pretty sight.

My evening reading will not upset my brain. I'll find something relaxing. Or maybe there will be something to watch on TV. I'll have a glass if wine with my dinner and think, but not too hard.,

Do buy my books. Find me at Ellora's or check,, I'm not brilliant but I do write a good story.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Have you done your Christmas shopping? Can you afford to do your Christmas shopping? Have you given up?

I don't shop for my family now. They are all grown up and I haven't a clue what to buy for them so I send them cheques or money orders for my grandson and his darling wife, Francesca, who live in Arundel, England. I'll send them extra money to buy something for my great grand daughter, Caroline..

When Fraser, my Grandson, had an opportunity to work in London, England, he jumped at the chance but I think, and his parents think, it was the underground train system that attracted him. As a little boy he loved his special train set. When we visited friends in Bridal Veil, Oregon, trains rumbled by and we had a grand view from an old lumber yard. Trains are more interesting that aircraft. You actually get to see them. Wave at the engineer or fireman or passengers. Can't do that at 35,000 feet.

My son and daughter-in-law have returned home, all is quiet. I have to get my head back into writing mode. It's a process for me. I'm already thinking about where the story is going at this point. Finding a very nasty son who wants his mother's money. I don't know what's up with him but he is a unpleasant piece of work.

This book is the second in the series I started as A Ghost Writer Mystery. Two main characters are the same. Whether I will live long enough to write a series of more than two books is moot. I shall see how things go. In the meantime, writing keeps my brain working in mysterious ways.

Have you purchased your copy of ISABELLE? Have you purchased my romance novels.They are available as e-books and in trade paper back. I am buying books. It's like an illness. I enjoy reading on my Kindle but am also a lover of holding  books in my hands.You have a choice with my books! E-books or paper back books. Comment if you have a mind to do so.

I am reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. She won the Man Booker Prize. The book is physically heavy, about two inches thick, a lot of reading.

My web site is have birth pains but will be ready soon.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I have my son and daughter-in-law visiting and have no time to think about my blog. I shall return early next week. In the meantime, we are enjoying terrific weather on southern Vancouver Island. Sunny skies and light breezes. To have my family visiting and to have such perfect weather is a gift.

I am awaiting word from my editor about my mystery novel, A GHOST  WRITER MYSTERY.  I am not an idle person so have started on the next book in the series. Lots of fun. No writing done while I have visitors but the story is working its way in and around my head.

Must go. Do purchase ISABELLE from Ellora' or book stores in the United States. Elsewhere order it from, or You get my two Isabelle stories in one book. A bargain. The cover is beautiful. Check it out at Ellora' and search my name, Anita Birt.

Enjoy your day


Sunday, November 17, 2013


About my blog about poetry yesterday. Sorry about the spelling errors. I thought I had caught them all. Sigh. I didn't.

I realize I am back in years gone by with my love of poetry from Victorian times. Such a wonderful way with words so many poets had.  John Keats' ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.

 "Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird, No hungry generations (tread thee down.) The voice I hear this passing night was heard, In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-dame song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when sick for home, She stood in tears among the alien corn; The same that of-times hath Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn."

I cannot read those words but feel for Ruth, "sick for home, She stood in tears among the alien corn."

I have lived away from home and missed friends and family. I have lived across seas. Like homesick Ruth, I have lived through  the pain. Having memories to treasure is a blessing. Lucky me, I still have a good memory, short and long term. Now that is a blessing.

The light is darkening outside my window. Time to turn on the lights and pick up the book I'm reading. Time stands still when I am deeply involved in a story.

"Tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps on this petty pace from day to day." Oops I didn't mean to start on Shakespeare.


Thursday, November 14, 2013


Bear with me, if there is someone out there in cyberspace, who cares about what I write. I'm on a poetry kick this afternoon. Was hooked when I picked up my copy of ROMANTIC AND VICTORIAN POETRY, edited by William Frost. It's an old copy used by my son when he was in senior high school. His remarks are all over the poems he studied.

Back to me. As I flipped pages my eyes fell upon ULYSSES by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I have to share some lines. "How dull it is to pause, to make an end, To rust unburnished, not to shine in use! As though to breathe were life."

And this that I memorized and still recall. Tennyson again.
 "There is sweet music here that softer falls Than petals from blown roses on the grass, Or night dews on still waters between the walls Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass. Music that gentlier on the spirit lies, Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes. Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies. Here are cool mosses deep, And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep. And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep."

I didn't know back them when I was a teen that the poppy in Victorian poetry signified opium, one of the favourite drugs used at the time.

One more favourite. I could go on and on, boring you to tears. This is John Keats poem:
"St Agnes' Eve - Ah bitter chill it was! The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold; The hair limped trembling through the frozen grass. And silent was the flock in woolly fold:"

I read those lines and almost feel the cold.

If there is a breathing human being out there, do you have a favourite poem. Please comment.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I've been thinking about what it feels like to grow old. I mean really old, like ninety! What about starting a NINETIES Club? And that made me smile. Clubs have rules after a fashion. Imagine electing (by a show of hands) a ninety-five year old woman, let's call her Grace, a pleasant old fashioned name. She uses a walker and seems a little frail but is bright and humorous when the spirit moves her.

So to the first meeting of the NINETIES Club held in a convenient room in a retirement community where they all live. Ten joined the club. One died, now there are nine. Reminds me of that silly song about ten green bottles sitting on a wall. This club is risky. Join at your peril. Members are given tasks! Bring in something of interest to share with the other members. A book. A piece of knitting. A small piece of rock found on a recent walk.

Then I started thinking about how many of the members will live another year, never mind another two . That made me smile. Without new members rushing to join, the club will die, with its members within a couple of years. Not good to go.

I'm reading A.S.A. Harrison's book, The Silent Wife. I almost tossed the book aside because the characters didn't interest me. They seemed unexciting. Living lives without passion. But as I continued reading I became engaged in the unfolding story. I have to put it aside at night or I'll stay up reading. I am eking (is that a correct word?) the book out as I go about my day, my long walks and my own writing. I thought time would drag as I aged, instead it is flying by. Stop the world! Let me catch my breath.

I also thought about being a brilliant blogger, catching a brilliant idea and going with it. I read about such bloggers but my ideas are not brilliant. How about writing about the sky outside my window? As I glance outside, pale gray rays of sun are slanting through a narrow gap in a lowering sky, threatening rain. Sunsets are spectacular over the Strait. Like postcards. Then we have roaring gales lashing the coast. The bare dry bones of trees lie on the stony beach. But, that's not going to interest anyone. So what to do?
About my published books. A VERY DIFFICULT MAN. I'll send a copy of a promotional disc and a card and envelope to the first three people who send me her/his name and address. No charge.

My new web site is a few heartbeats away

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


My new web site is coming along. It looks fresh and interesting. Small changes from the old one. I was looking over my site and reading reviews of my books. Loved reading them. Now I really must have a new book to add to the mix. I await word from my editor. She might think it's not up to scratch, unlikely to be published and other ugly rejections.

Stop thinking negatively. Bad for the brain. Turn it around and think it's a really good read. How many mystery novels have a Ghost as one of the main characters. Working with a ghostly character who is neither male or female posed a problem or two. I kept referring to Ghost as a she or her and that just would not do. Not in the story I created.

The other character is a writer, Liz Stanley, who writes Lady Mary Mysteries using the name Amelia Blackstock.

Neil Gaiman in his recent lecture given at The Reading Agency. 'I'm going to tell you that Libraries are important. I'm going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for  pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do."

So buy one or two of my books, buy ISABELLE. Lose yourself in a fictional world. Forget your troubles. Enjoy a good read.

Reading fiction is good for the brain. Better than any pill. There are millions of books waiting to be read by you and me. I have barely scratched the surface. How are you doing?


Saturday, October 26, 2013


Much ado about nothing. That's how I feel about writing in my journal this afternoon. With the sun shining outside I should be walking but I had my granddaughter, her partner and my darling great granddaughter Willa visiting. Willa runs everywhere. She knows the building where I live. Going for lunch? She runs into the dining room enchanting all the old folks with her smiles.

Let's see the fish. She runs to the fish tank. Let's see the birds. She runs to the two caged birds. By the time the family left I was pooped. I do love them dearly.

I don't like seeing cages birds. I read their bird minds. I know they want out to fly around and stretch their wings. But is that my fancy? When you're  hatched and live all your life in a cage that is all your know.

I shall not go all philosophical how all human beings live within the structure they were born into, within reason, of course. Life's journey is all I have and I live it as best I can. There's a big section in the National Post newspaper on dying and how we do it. Right now I want to think about something else.

Our librarian encourages us to write about our lives. A paragraph. A sentence. A book! She is dropping items/ideas around the building. Our task is to choose one of them and write about it. Imagination is the key.

Alas. How many people imagine? Create stories inside their heads? I suggested we first of all have a workshop titled.

Writers have vivid imaginations. They create stories from scraps of information. Or they make it all up!

Do you have an imagination? What do you do with it?

Comment Please


Sunday, October 20, 2013


Confession time! A senior moment struck me dumb while writing about Neil Gaiman's wonderrful. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK

The names of the two ghostly characters who raised the little boy were Mr. and Mrs. Owens. I lived in Wales for many years the names Owens and Lewis were very common. So instead of thinking Owen, I thought Lewis.

Doesn't make sense, does it? Owen not Lewis. My brain plays tricks now and again. Forget a name? Make up another one.

Read THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. I've read the beginning again. It hooks the reader into the story. Let your imagination roam free through THE GRAVEYARD BOOK.

My new website will be up and running soon.


 I have changed my title from "note book," to Journal. Don't ask. It felt right to make the change. I keep a personal Journal, no earth shaking revelations, no philosophical musings, a simple recounting of my day.

I have discovered a new author and am delighted to share him with you. NEIL GAIMAN. I read THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE.  Had trouble getting into the story. I wanted a PLOT. When I gave up looking for a plot I discovered the magic in Neil Gaiman's writing. The nine year old boy thrust into coping with changes in his family found a girl living on a farm down the lane with whom he had adventures and to whom he could discuss the evil woman come to keep house while his mother worked. His magical thinking detailed in the book is wonderful. Reminded me of my own long ago childhood.

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is classified as a Child's Book. I could not put it down after reading the first few pages. A little toddler escapes from a murderous plot to kill his family. They are murdered but the kid makes  his way up the hill to the Graveyard. He creeps under the locked  gate, is picked up by Mrs. Lewis who cuddles him and persuades her husband to let her keep him.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis died a few hundred years ago and live in a crypt but they come out with other graveyard residents to pass the time of day and discuss what to do with the toddler. They name him Nobody Lewis. He is known to all the residents as Bod. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is a wonderful read. Believe it could happen and enjoy the story of Bod as the story unfolds.

Unlike the wonderful story of ALICE IN WONDERLAND,  THE GRAVEYARD BOOK  has no political or clever references to nineteenth century issues popular at the time.

I lived with the story  of Bod from start to finish. I believed a live little boy was nurtured and cared for my people long dead who were able to live temporarily in the present. Bod lived in the comfort of their crypt. Ways and means were found to bring him food and eventually clothing. For years he contentedly wore a winding sheet.

Take your imagination with you and enjoy THE GRAVEYARD BOOK.

Anita Birt

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Sad to say my Sitemarker has crashed and I haven't a clue who is viewing my site or not. I think the problem is related to the work being done on my old web site. I'll check it out.

I've had my royalty cheque. A VERY DIFFICULT MAN is doing well but not much doing for ISABELLE.  Only one copy sold. It's only available in trade paper back so that will slow down sales. So if one or two of you would order ISABELLE you will have two romance novels in one book! A real bargain. That's my sales pitch for now.

I began series of special exercise classes this morning to strengthen all the muscle groups and improve one's balance. I notice a slight change in my balance after having chemo-therapy and radiation 2011 -2012. Not masses of radiation but something changed in how my body worked. The cure is wonderful. The aftermath is manageable. There are so many new ways to threat cancers in people of all ages it's not the death threat it used to be.

I am writing  a sequel to A GHOST WRITER MYSTERY. It's not yet published, not yet professional edited  but I had an idea for a sequel and am working on that. Writers write even me. I'm a very tiny fish in a tiny pond in the giant publishing ocean but the urge to write is there so I write. Whether I publish another book is uncertain but I've paid my dues in the business and hope a contract will fall into my lap.

Anita Birt is under construction.
Save a visit for when the new site is ready. I will let your know.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Can't go out for a walk until the wind dies down and there are no white caps on the sea. There's a black cloud moving in, could be rain. Definitely not a good time to head out.

My brand new web site is being created. I feel like an expectant parent waiting for the web site to appear. I have rejoined Romance Writers of American and applied to join The Writers' Union of Canada. They may turn my down because my books are not considered "literary." They are well written with twists and turns as the story develops. But they are ROMANCE novels. They are classified as "Bodice Rippers," or some such nonsense. How can you rip the bodice from a young woman who doesn't have a bodice and who'd smack the first man trying to feel her up.

I'm hoping for good sales of ISABELLE. Two books in one volume. Isabelle's Diary and Isabelle's Story. When my publisher, Ellora's Cave decided to print the books she decided to put Isabelle's Story first and Isabelle's Diary second.

I wrote Isabelle's Diary first. It's a contemporary novel and reads like a mystery. Sally Carter is searching for her family tree in church archives in and around Llandrindod Wells, what she finds surprises her. The mystery lingers on until the last few pages of my book. Even though I'm the writer I get the shivers when Sally opens a box filled with family history and photos and comes across . . .

Buy my book and find out how  ISABELLE'S DIARY ends. You won't be disappointed.

ISABELLE'S STORY almost ended in a tragedy. Romance novels have to end happily but lots of difficulties abound for Isabelle until the final few pages.

I live with my characters when I'm writing. I visualize them. I sense what they are going through.

Writing is a lonely occupation but I'm never alone when I'm writing. I am living the story I'm writing. When the story ends I have to say good-bye to the characters with whom I've spent months. I grieve a little as I say good-bye but I've sent the on their way. They have a future! I let them go.

Bye for now. Leave a comment if you feel like it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

ANITA BIRT'S NOTE BOOK and sundry bits and pieces.

The weather has calmed and the sun is struggling to work its way through the clouds. I am pleased to tell you my new web site will be up and running in a week or so. Depends on the work load of the site planners.

As  I sent my thoughts to James and Ray who are creating the site it occurred to me that I have five romance novels languishing in my files and on my computer. One, a historical romance, dear to my heart. It's called, The Crofter's Daughter. or The Scottish Witch or A Long Journey. .I based the start of the story in the late 19th century when Scottish crofters who had worked and lived on small parcels of land for hundreds of years were driven off, lost their cottages, the few animals they had, so the wealthy landowners could raise sheep. Sheep made money.

During the upheaval my heroine, Ailsa Macrae, was wrongly accused of stealing sheep, a capital offence. With her father she escaped over the border into England but even there, the authorities were on the look out for the escapees. Ailsa and her father had enough money to pay for a passage to Canada but Liverpool  was out of the question, even there Ailsa and her father were in danger. So they travelled south. Wanderers in a strange land. Without friends.

Encourage me to send this book to a publisher. It's a tale of loss and courage. Ailsa's bravery makes her a true heroine. My family background is Scottish. My folks were not Highland crofters but the tale of their suffering is heartbreaking.

My other novels are all contemporary. I shall dig them out and have a look. What about "Marrying The Boss." The first line in the book is: "Of course you will accept." I leave you with that.

Must return to the creepy story I'm writing.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book

A computer glitch has cut off the first letter of my name on my last blog. To all and sundry, near and far, my name is ANITA BIRT.

My romance novels, all five of them, are not a series. Every story is different. Historical, time travel, contemporary and a murder/mystery.

However, my not yet published, A GHOST WRITER MYSTERY will have a sequel, not written yet but in my mind. Instead of concentrating on that I've been caught up in the beginning of another story, nothing to do with anything in particular, but it has grabbed me. Will it be a short story? I hope so, I'm not in the mood to write 100,000 words without a publisher in sight.

I'm changing my website. My grandson, James and his friend, Ray will design a new site.They are specialists. Nothing but the best. My site won't be complicated but it has to be attractive and interesting and draw readers in. I have thinking to do.

No newspapers delivered to Vancouver Island to-day. The papers come from the mainland by the last ferry of the day. A huge gale blew in yesterday with the seas heaving as if a giant groaned and flexed his muscles down below. Ferry sailings cancelled.

All is calm this morning but it is raining. The giant has gone to sleep. The sea is calm.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nita Birt's Note Book

My goodness, I created a pretty frame for my blog. I wonder why I can't see it now. It has humming birds humming - quietly. Anna's Hummers spend the winter on southern Vancouver Island and take off south when the weather warms here. Don't ask, it doesn't make sense to me.

An interesting article by Robert Fulford in the National Post to-day about how common the use of "motherf..." has become as part of modern parlance. Not with me or my friends. Older people don't talk like that. When I was growing up I'd see the "F.." chalked on a wall or on the sidewalk. I turned my eyes away. Girls were so innocent then. We didn't have a clue what "fuck" meant and I never heard anyone say it, not even the high school boys who probably knew everything.My mother never explained "sex" to me. How times have changed. For the better? I wonder. We didn't have the scourge of unwanted teenage pregnancies either.

Now I pass by kids of various ages swearing like troopers using every bit of bad language they can fit into the conversation. My ears hurt. 

That's my rant for to-day. It's Robert Fulford's fault for writing the article about "motherf...."
It's not a word I want to hear. My aged ears would crinkle and my aged eyes would blink.

Comment if you dare.

Anita Birt

Monday, September 23, 2013

Anita Birt's Note book

Is it possible to have an attractive frame around a blog? I'll have to investigate. My blog is not much. I'm not famous. Or beautiful. Or clever. Or inventive. I am who I am for good or ill. I read this in one of the newspapers the other day.

"Be gentle with one another's efforts. It's just as hard to write a bad book, as it is to write a good book."

When I'm writing, is it good or bad? For instance, a scene popped in to my head two days ago and would not go away. I sat down and started writing. I'm not sure where it's going but it seems kind of creepy to me as if two characters are not what they seem to be. My protagonist is "normal," it's the two  characters who enter the picture I'm not sure of.

I'm also writing another story, normal in the sense that some of the characters behave badly because they are not nice people. When bad people are in positions of power, the powerless behave heroically.

I'm reading "The Ghost Map," The story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World.

We're talking about Cholera.

My historical romance, A Very Difficult Man, takes place in 1858, in London, England. While researching the history of the time I read about the cholera epidemic in London; that led me to Steven Johnson's book , The Ghost Map. It's a wonderful read, full of fascinating insights into cities, how they became cities and the problems facing cities as the population grows faster than the underlying infra-structure can cope.

Steven Johnson is a brilliant writer who brings the story of the cholera epidemic to life by describing how and when it all began. How London became such a large city in a relatively short time and the problems it faced. THE GHOST MAP is an interesting read. Mr. Johnson writes like a mystery writer. The Ghost Map is a page turner. Recommended

Anita Birt (still in transition)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and other bits and pieces.

Weather news. We broke a heat record on southern Vancourver Island yesterday. It was 30.7 deg C. that's about 90  deg. F. It's cooled off a bit to-day.

Have you ordered, rushed out or otherwise purchased your copy of ISABELLE?

Here's how Isabelle's Story starts: Isabelle's brother tapped on her bedroom door the night before her fifteenth birthday and hushing her to be quiet handed her his gift. "I thought it best to give it to you now. If mother knows you are keeping diary she will insist on reading it." And so will father, Isabelle thought.

In the morning she smoothed her hand on the maroon leather cover of the precious diary, rested her cheek on it, breathed in the scent and slid her fingers along the glossy gold-edged pages. She had never owned anything so beautiful and hesitated before picking up her pen to write. It seemed a shame to sully the pages with her boring thoughts but she had the diary and boring or not she'd start writing in it to-day.

And so Isabelle's Story begins.

I've been doing a lot of editing to-day. It's slow work for me not being as swift as I once was. I'd love to have a new book published at my advanced years. Never give up. If I don't crack the publishing world I won't curl up and die or wither away or fall into a deep depression. I shall continue writing a second book I have just started. Writers write.

I have a free week-end. Except for playing bridge with friends tomorrow night I don't have to go anywhere or do anything I don't have to do.  Oops. I have some ironing. Can't keep avoiding it, I will do it first thing after breakfast then back to editing with a clear conscience.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and more

Have you picked up a copy of ISABELLE to enjoy two romance novels, one historical and one contemporary?

I've been reading manuscript pages all afternoon and my brain is tired and so am I. I have printed off copies of my mystery novel, The Ghost Writer Mystery, to edit before sending the manuscript to a professional editor before sending it out to publishers and agents hoping to catch a break. My story if very different. The protagonists are two interesting characters working to solve crimes taking place in and around a retirement residence.

I have a beautiful brand new great granddaughter, Caroline. She is adorable and smart, of course. All grandchildren and great grandchildren are smart. Sadly for me, Caroline and her parents live in England so I have to rely on lots of photos sent by e-mail and wait for Caroline and parents to fly here to visit.

We are going to have a small marketing event where I live to promote ISABELLE. Writers are often asked how they get their ideas. I remember very clearly how I decided to write ISABELLE'S DIARY.  A scene in a small cafe in the town of Llandrindod Wells did it for me. I was sitting in a cafe with my husband, we'd been on a walking holiday in Wales, and stopped for a coffee in the cafe on the main. street.

I noticed an older teenager sitting at a window table. She was dressed in black. Girls were wearing vintage clothing at the time, a bit of a lark. The girl kept looking out the window as if expecting someone.

Here's the scene I imagined. My heroine, Sally Carter, has stopped for coffee in the cafe and noticed a girl dressed in Victorian black sitting at the window table. She holds a diary in her hands. She weeps  as she turns the pages. Sally thought she should off help but she was distracted. When she looked again the girl had disappeared and the waitress insisted no one had sat at that window table all morning.

Who did Sally see weeping over the pages of a diary? You must buy ISABELLE to find out.

Anita Birt

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and other ramblings

My publisher surprised me. My two ISABELLE stories have been combined in one book. I think it's a fabulous idea and it does work.

The historical - Isabelle's story is set in and around Llandrindod Wells in Wales. I mentioned that in my last blog. 1895 - 1900. Isabelle lives with her parents and brother. Her father makes all the family decisions, reads all the mail no matter to whom it's addressed, he makes decisions about Isabelle's future without consulting her. It's the wish of her parents that she marry but Isabelle isn't in hurry until her parents try to foist a young clergyman on her. She detests him.

She accidentally meets a titled young man visiting the town where his mother and grandmother are "taking the waters" at the Spa.  It's the beginning of a love story with tragic overtones. A page turner. A love story.

Isabelle's Diary - a contemporary romance. Sally Carter is on a walking holiday in Wales and stops in a cafe in Llandrindod Wells for a morning coffee. When she sees a young girl dressed in black weeping over the pages of a  a diary Sally is compelled to offer help. When the girl disappears Sally tries to trace her without success. But ...

There's a wonderful love story when Sally asks for help from a handsome Welsh historian.

Isabelle's Diary has twists and turns. A page turner until the last few pages when ...

Buy ISABELLE from, If you live in the States, my book is available in your favorite book store. My publisher does not market in Canada or the UK.  Order from my publisher, Ellora' as well.

Two great reads in one volume. What could be better?

My web site is still in transition.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and other musings

About the re-issue of my e-published book, Isabelle in trade paper back, as ISABELLE with a gorgeous new cover. Price is interesting. On the web site my book is priced at $18.99 . On the price is $14.27 There's a war of words and perhaps legal action pending against Amazon's pricing. They are taking away the profit from the publisher who promotes and publishes the books. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. Not pleasant.

My publisher is sending me author's copies of my book. I want to hold the book in my hot little hands and admire the cover.

In the meantime, I have started writing another book. A whole scene suddenly appeared inside my head. What to do? Ignore it. It didn't want to disappear so I have kick started a book. This takes place in a care home for people suffering from dementia and/or Alzheimers. Not a pretty picture but my character is not suffering from dementia. Why is she there?

That's all to report this Sunday. I am awaiting the birth of my first great grand child in  England. The baby is due any minute now. My son and daughter-in-law are eagerly awaiting their first grand child. So much excitement.

Do order ISABELLE and enjoy a historical romance, 1895-1900. The setting is in and around the town of Llandrindod Wells, in Wales.

I'll let you know when my new web site is up and running. My web mistress wants me on Face Book to promote my books.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book

I should be used to it by now but having one of my e-books now available in trade paper back is always a thrill, especially ISABELLE  with the lovely new cover. I hope I will never get to the point in my life where I ignore a "thrill" and miss the pleasure of anticipating something new.

My mystery novel, A GHOST WRITER MYSTERY is still in the hands of my editor, whom I am paying, to give my book a professional touch.

When I wrote my romance novels for they provided the editor. She lived in Australia. We did all the work via the Internet. It worked out well and my books all had excellent reviews.

I received my royalty cheque yesterday from My historical romance, A VERY DIFFICULT MAN, sells better than my other books. If you haven't read it, try it as an e-book or in trade paper. My royalty is better when you purchase it in trade paper.

Do try my other books. ISABELLE'S DIARY, only available as an e-book. Read it before buying ISABELLE (You are buying it, are you not? Makes a wonderful Christmas or birthday gift for a woman who enjoys a good read. It's a historical romance.)

RING AROUND THE MOON - a time travel with a difference. He comes from the past to the present time. It's set in magical Cornwall where the unexpected can happen. Dip your writing toes in my book and enjoy the journey.

TOO YOUNG TO DIE - a contemporary murder/mystery where my courageous heroine, in order to escape from a man with rape and murder on his mind, has to save herself and the three month old baby she is caring for by heading into the  Cascade mountain forest at midnight.  Bears. Cougars. Lynx. Who knows what lurks in the trees? Enjoy my book as an e-book or in print.

ISABELLE is now available in trade paper back. Cost. $18.99
Save your pennies. Buy a copy for a woman who enjoys a page turning historical romance. It almost didn't have a happy ending. Came close though.

Anita Birt

Monday, August 12, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and other ramblings

I think Ellora's Cave must have the price wrong for my historical romance, ISABELLE. Who is going to pay $18.99 for my book? USA dollars makes it even more expensive for Canadian buyers. The price is way out of range for romance novels.

Go have a look at the cover. See it at, www.ellora'  Type in ISABELLE in the search box.

My web mistress (sounds like a spider at work!) is reconfiguring my web. Change of colour. Scene changes. She might put in a swan since it was seeing a swan swimming in the sea and writing;
THE MISADVENTURE OF TILLIE,  A SWAN, that I found my writing voice.

I have done no writing to-day. Had an appointment to see my doctor. Unusual for her, she was running late. Made me late getting home and by that time my energy level had dropped. I also walked over 1000 metres in the morning. Can't do everything.

The Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield has written a book titled, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. Worth a read. He spent six months commanding the space vehicle (can't think of its name) He played guitar and sang. Entertained classrooms of kids. Inspired we on earth to live well, think well and do well.

That's all my ramblings for tonight. I have to send e-mails to family, friends and various hangers on to buy ISABELLE and make me smile.

Anita Birt

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Anita Birt/s Note book and breaking news

The news is not about my mystery novel. I have just discovered my publisher Ellora's Cave has taken my historical novel, Isabelle's Story, renamed it Isabelle, created a beautiful cover but. . .
My name is misspelled on the cover. Sigh.

The book is just on the market so the name can be changed. It's listed under my name but my last name is wrong on the cover. It's in trade paper back listed at over sixteen dollars. Will it sell?
That's my news for to-day.

My new story is coming along slowly. The story is writing itself, so to speak. I await what happens next.

If you are anxious to look at the cover of Isabelle. Go to www.ellora's, search for Isabelle and it should pop up. The cover is really pretty.

Web site in transition

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Anita Birt's Note book and earnest remarks

I made up the bit about "earnest remarks," because I don't have any. As I mentioned in a previous blog, unread, of course, I am at loose ends, having finished my very first mystery novel. What to do? 
A scene came into my head. A woman in a care facility of some kind had a craving for a piece of apple pie with a small chunk of aged cheddar cheese.  She  pushed a call button on the arm of her chair. An Aid dressed in white knocked on the door and entered. Aid's name is Martha.  The name of my character is Lorna Ritchie. 

The vague smile on the Aid's face is one Lorna has seen many times before. A pity for the demented patients in the facility but she dislikes the  look of disgust that she has to deal with women who are not "all there."

Lorna is certainly not demented and knows it. She is incarcerated against her will. She pushes the limits. "I want a piece of apple pie with a chunk of old cheddar cheese to go with it."

"But it's tea time, Mrs. Richie. We don't have apple pie. We have small cakes, cookies and crackers with cheese." "Crappy cheese," snaps Lorna."

This is a strange start to a story. I have no idea where it's going. I shall follow it and see what happens.

In the meantime. Continue to purchase my romance novels. A VERY DIFFICULT MAN,


TOO YOUNG TO DIE. Sometime in the future I'll be urging you to purchase my mystery novel. Stay tuned.

My web site is in transition

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and various trivia

I have finished editing my mystery novel and await to hear from the professional editor who will read and comment and make suggestions.  In the meantime, what am I to do? I've been busy writing day after day I'm feeling a bit lost without something to do.

I have an idea or two. A novella appeals to me. I don't want to tackle another full length novel. My Ghost Writer Mystery came in at 85,000 words. Not a long book but I'm not as young as I used to be and something short appeals to me.

I might add another adventure to Tilly. Remember her. "The Misadventure of Tilly, a Swan." Or pick another animal, like a little goat or little donkey.

Anyone wanting a copy of The Misadventure of Tilly, a Swan, leave your e-mail address in the comment section below. I cross my heart never to keep your address on file.

Big article in the newspaper about the making of a hamburger in a lab from a cow's stem cells is yucky. No thanks. Too freaky for me.

I shall return. It's time for lunch.

My web site is being changed, refreshed and intriguing. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and things of interest

On my July 4th blog I mentioned my daugher-in-law's father's Al Smith whose aircraft had been shot down over France on July 4, 1944. The crew all survived thanks to the French farmers who sheltered them before someone in the network betrayed them to the Gestapo. Al, his crew and other captured airmen were thrown in Buchenvald concentration  camp.

Al was in the RCAF, 419 Moose Squadron. Their motto was Fear The Moose.

He and the others who were shot down in flames, eventually walked out of the camp  (Russians were coming and he German guards ran away) The men walked to the Baltic Sea, Al weighed 90 lbs when he was rescued.

The men who survived and escaped were awarded the Caterpillar Pin. A much prized pin. Al was 92 when he passed away. Not many survivors left to tell the tale.

As he floated down that night he saw Chartres cathedral.

As for me. I am progressing with editing of my book. Adding bits, taking out bits. I like my story whether a publisher will is a moot point. Great Summer weather. Great for walking by the sea where there is always a cool breeze.

Leave a comment if you feel like it.

Anita Birt

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and other stuff

Hard to believe it's August 1st tomorrow. I am editing my mystery novel, making changes as I go along, adding bits here and there to make the story move along. Hard work. When I was writing my romance novels in early 2000 and onwards I could write three or four hours at a time. Now I am much older, one hour and a half is enough. I'm not the woman I used to be so I have to slow done to a more measured pace.

My web site is  having a major face lift in the next week or so. It's in dire need of up dating. My fault for not keeping my eye on it. I want to give it a kick start, something like this.

Anita Birt:  Author of romance novels. Writer of a mystery novel. A story teller for children. Book Covers. Reviews.

I'm sure I mentioned my children's story, suitable for 3 - 6 year olds. "THE MISADVENTURE OF TILLY, A SWAN."

If there's someone out there who would like a copy of the Tilly story, send me your e-mail address and I shall e-mail it to  you.  I promise to cancel your e-mail address when I have sent you the copy of Tilly.

I don't like working in the evening so shall not do much editing. Must do some though to have it ready to send to a professional editor. I want to have my book published! The dream of all authors, large and small.

We haven't had rain on Vancouver Island since June27. The weather has been gorgeous. Warm and sunny, not too warm. Living by the sea means it never gets hot,  hot, hot and humid.

Anita Birt

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book of fascinating stuff.

This is a question to you who are writers. I'm closing in on the last chapter of my mystery novel and damned, if the villain I'd chosen is not the villain. Talk about mysterious writing when me, the author, is upstaged by a character and forced to make changes,

Has that happened to you who writes? I'd really like to know. I find the writing process endlessly interesting. I hope it's not endlessly boring! When a character takes over and decides who is guilty, I have to justify the change and make it work.

That's what happened to-day. Apart from that life goes on. A spider bit me! I wakened on Tuesday morning to find a bright red spot, about the size of my thumb nail, just below my left collar bone. I could feel a tip. I won't go into all the details but there was a little infection I've cleaned and am now treating with an anti-biotic cream. The spider, probably a little devil must have got in or on my bed. How a spider reached my third floor apartment is a moot point. The redness is fading.

The weather gods are playing hell with the weather in parts of Canada and the States. Not fun for those whose homes have been flooded or had giant trees fall on their houses. The clean up goes on and on in High River Alberta.

I wearied my brain reading a long article in the Globe and Mail titled. "Canadians helping to unravel secret of  universe's existence." Think about  "the first time a muon neutrino was seen transformed into an electron  neutrino - something never witnessed before."

Physics was never my strong suit never having studied it at the country Ontario high school where I spent time as a teenager. Basic math, some algebra and some geometry left my math skills sadly lacking. I have read The Stardust Revolution, learned a lot. I am fascinated by the latest news from the team of physicists studying the cosmos and the stars and the planets circling some stars and it goes on and on. It's fun for me although I don't understand the finer points about muon neutrinos and particles and leave it at that.

If you're a writer and one of your characters decides to take over, let me know.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book

So many disasters besetting Canada this year. Floods in Alberta. The monstrous train accident in Quebec. It never should have happened. A series of human errors, one after the other, leaving the engine teetering on the top of a hill before it plunged down with its load of tank cars to burn a pretty little town to pieces. So many people dead.

Toronto had a deluge two days ago that flooded the city, the subway, the underpasses, basements of houses. power outage, a proper mess.

To turn to me and mine. Books I mean. In a previous post I mentioned the enormous changes in technology since I wrote my contemporary romance, ISABELLE'S DIARY. Cell phones were on the market but not in the numbers they are now and not in the sophisticated I-Phones everyone seems to be using. Not me!

ISABELLE'S DIARY takes place in Wales. My heroine uncovers family secrets. She sees a ghost. Believe her. The ghost is her ancestor who suffered a broken heart, eventually healed when truth is revealed.

There's a twist in my story revealed in the last few pages. My book is e-published. Read it and let me know what you think. Does the lack of a cell phone make it bothersome? A friend suggested I re-write it and bring it up to date with I-phones, I-Pads, I-pods and the like. Should I?

I have to finish my mystery before I tackle another thing. Stay healthy. Eat well. Go on walks if  you can. Smile.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and whatever comes to mind.

To all my American friends, HAPPY JULY 4th. Enjoy the day.

On July 4th, 1944, Al Smith, age 23, a navigator with the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) parachuted from his aircraft, shot down over France. It was dead of night. Al didn't know where he was or whether a German patrol was nearby prepared to shoot and kill him.

Al landed partially on a tree but freed himself from his parachute. He removed his pistol and threw it as far away as he could. Caught with a fire arm and he'd be a dead man.

Al Smith is now 91 years old. He's the father of my daughter-in-law, Alana. Al's crew all survived, taken in and sheltered by French farmers who risked their lives to save the airmen. However, someone reported them to the Gestapo who rounded up the crew. They ended up in Buckenwald (forgive my spelling) concentration camp. This was against all the "rules of war." Captured aircrew were supposed to be sent to special prison camps supervised by the German air force. Instead there were fifty or more British, American and Canadians in the concentration camp.

To this day, Al can't stay in a small room with the door closed.No special treatment for any of the captured airmen. No post traumatic stress treatment. They got on with their lives, married and had children.

As for me. I have enjoyed the day but tired myself out by doing too much. I'm not the woman I used to be and my energy level has to be cranked up after a busy day. 

My mystery novel has reached a crucial point. I'm looking forward to writing the scene tomorrow because I'm not sure what's going to happen.

My historical romance, A VERY DIFFICULT MAN, is selling, not hugely but selling. Try it if you like a good historical romance. So is my time travel, RING AROUND THE MOON, set in magical Cornwall and my contemporary mystery where murder and mayhem swirls around my heroine who is on the run with a three month old baby.  The title is TOO YOUNG TO DIE. Imagine being lost at night in  the Cascade forest in Washington. Cougars? Bears? The men hunting her.

The three books mentioned are available in trade paper back and in e-book format.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and whatever comes to mind.

June 21. The summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year. Am I doing something brilliant? Hardly. It's 7.25 pm.  I'm typing away hoping to make sense of something but I'm not sure what.

Do you know the expression, "getting something for old rope?" It means earning something easily . I know what it means but wanted to know where it came from. There are several explanations if you Google it but the one I like best is this. In medieval times the hangman kept the rope he'd used to hang someone. Many people wanted a piece of the rope for a keepsake. (They had different views than I have) The hangman made money by cuttings pieces of the rope and selling them. Hence, "Getting money for old rope."

That's my wisdom for this evening. My mystery novel is coming along. The plot thickens and  characters emerge who may or not be guilty of diamond smuggling, or smuggling illegal substances , i.e. heroin or the date rape drug or trafficking women across borders to work as prostitutes. Lots of bad people out there.

Then we have Canadian Senators stiffing the poor bloody tax payers by lying about their expenses and so on and so on. It's enough to make an elderly lady weep.

I'm going to sit down, put my feet up and read," Pretty Girl," by Annabel Lyon. She takes the reader back to Athens when Aristotle held sway.

Do read my romance novels until my mystery novel appears as en e-book or trade paper back. It'll be awhile but I shall make it!

To remind you about my romance novels, here they are. A VERY DIFFICULT MAN, historical. ISABELLE'S DIARY, contemporary with a twist. ISABELLE'S STORY. historical. RING AROUND THE MOON, Time travel.He comes from 200 years in the past to the present time. In magical Cornwall. TOO YOUNG TO DIE. A page turning contemporary mystery with my heroine on the run with a three month old baby.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book

It's the deer problem. It's  a problem without an easy solution. Victoria and surrounding cities, like Oak Bay, are over run with deer destroying gardens, leaving behind their pee and poop. It's so bad parents of young children cannot let them play in their own back yard or front garden.

So fence your property, say the bleeding hearts. "The deer were here before us. Learn how to deal with them."

Farmers on Vancouver Island lose millions a year from marauding deer. Fence your fields cry the bleeding hearts. The cost of fencing in large acreage is out of the question. Millions of dollars.

Cull the deer. Bleeding hearts suggest capturing the does and sterilizing them. At what cost?

Hire hunters to kill the deer seems to be the only option. Hire sharp shooters to make sure the deer are killed quickly.

Oh dear, We suffered from a plague of rabbits on the grounds of the university not so long ago. The bleeding hearts were out in full cry. Can't kill them. Capture them and send to safe places in the country where a foolish woman promised to fence them in and care for them.

Within months she ran out of money. Rounded them up and sent them to a safe place in the States.

Any brilliant ideas on how to get rid of deer running wild in our cities?

FATHER'S DAY to-day. My father passed away in 1948 when I lived in Wales. I was devastated. I'd last seen him in August  1944 when he and my mother waved me off on the train at Union Stations in Toronto.  I was on my way to Halifax and then overseas to Britain.
Rest well, Pop. You were a good man.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Anita Birt's Note book and other stuff

My mystery novel is progressing. I've never written a mystery and keeping the story alive and interesting means keeping the characters interesting. It also means keeping the story on the move, going from one incident to the next and tying them together.

The thing is, tying them together is not as simple as it seems. Lots of threads to weave into a pattern that holds together. But threads have a nasty habit of shaking loose, especially when a new development comes into play and the threads want to take part.

Because it's not bloody and murderous and characters are civil in their dealings, except when one of them runs amok, tries to hold one of my protagonists hostage. She saves herself by whacking him over the head with a paperweight. I may have told you this in an earlier post. Senior moments come and go.

All is well in this part of the world. No floods. No tornadoes. No hurricanes. No bush fires. Living by the sea has its advantages. We have unpredictable weather. Warm and sunny in the morning. A wind picks up in the late afternoon. It gets chilly.

As for getting old. I touched on that some time ago. Seems being an aged person is nothing these days. A friend turned one hundred a couple of months ago. Big party. Family visiting from all parts of Canada. And now. She carries on as if being one hundred is no big deal. She is in pretty good health and eats well. What more could one ask?

Another issue that bugs some of us. We old folks are costing the health system a lot of money. At the end of our lives we are a drag on society. So what are we to do? Leap into the cold water I see from my window! Leap out  the window! Slash wrists with dull blades. Deliberately fall down stairs. 

Gruesome thoughts. Forget I wrote them. I figure as long as I'm paying my fair share of taxes, I'm not bleeding the system, so to speak.

Happy Father's Day all  you fathers and grandfathers and granduncles. You are fabulous. I send a happy hug. Buy Dad one of my romance novel.  He'll enjoy, A VERY DIFFICULT MAN.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and other stuff

Think of it as a senior moment. My mystery novel requires 100,000 more words to go to market. My senior moment had 65,000 words fixed in my mind. Not enough! So I am doing what novelists do, I am going over my work and adding/padding (?) words.

I shall not mention names but the author of the book I'm reading now tells the same story, slightly different versions, three times already and I'm only half way through.

There is hope for me. In the meantime my brain gets a work out  and I enjoy writing my story. I can't say too much about the protagonists because one of them is an unusual character about whom I really enjoy writing.

I am very bad at sending material to my web mistress to jazz up my web site. I hope she has time to work on it.We shall see.

About this blog. I am torn between leaving it as it is or signing up for one of those places who'd give it more viewers. But!! My blog is not exactly earth shaking unless I carry on discussing aging and how to live longer and happier.

As I think back on myself as a child, my basic personality hasn't changed that much. I'm still as curious as ever. I still enjoy listening and conversing. I love being outdoors. Loved it as a child and have many happy memories doing things like . . . after a heavy rain storm sending little sticks down the flooded gutters. Going bare foot most of the summer. Making mud pies. A girl thing. Adventuring in and around the neighbourhood. Sleigh riding on the hills out of town. Yes, my brother, Harry and I walked the mile to the hills after school on wintry days.

One memorable day we hadn't told our mother we were going. She was frantically calling for us when we turned up. My goodness was she mad. We both got a licking and sent to bed without supper but our grandmother intervened and cut up pieces of bread,  soaked them in hot milk and sprinkled generously with brown sugar over the top. You have to be eight and six years old to truly appreciate the treat.

Do continue buying my romance novels. Enjoy a good read on your e-book or buy three of them in trade paperback. A VERY DIFFICULT MAN. RING AROUND THE MOON. TOO YOUNG TO DIE.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and other bits and pieces

I have a cold that has settled in my nose. Not very pleasant but it's okay. As for my mystery story, I am in a dilemma. What to do next when I wrap this it up and send it off for editing and, I hope, to an interested editor.

Writers are ever hopeful for the big break that may or may not come, mostly it doesn't come. At my advanced age I'm not sure if I want to start a new novel of 65,000 words. I may not live long enough to finish it. I imagine a future great, great grandchild searching through my files and finding a partial manuscript. Will she or he finish it? Make much of finding it? A future dream of which I will have no part.

Sunny spring is eluding us again and I fear the strawberry crop will suffer. I desperately want our wonderful fresh strawberries. They have a luscious taste that melts on the tongue.

As for aging. Is anyone interested it what it feels like to grow old in a society catering to the young, middle aged and early sixties/seventies. I wish some clothing store would feature an advertisement showing older women, looking elegant or cool. No spike heels, for  God's sake. If I dare to put on such a pair I would fall and break my hip! We need smart looking sensible shoes. Smart looking clothing. I love long skirts with a swish and bright colours.

Bright colours are in this spring. Lot of splashy flowers. I shall see if I can find such a thing.

I'm applying to renew my passport and have had my picture taken. I look as if I've been disinterred and might fit into a zombie movie.

Tell me, what is the appeal of zombie movies? Creepy and scary and really dumb. You'd have to have a secret weapon to kill someone who is already dead. Do they smell?

Enough already. Go buy my romance novels where real characters live real lives, struggle through adversity and score a happy ending. A VERY DIFFICULT MAN, ISABELLE'S DIARY, ISABELLE'S STORY, RING AROUND THE MOON, TOO YOUNG TO DIE.

 Order from my publisher, Ellora' or at,, Amazon.UK or other Amazons around the world.

Anita Birt

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and other Stuff

The "other stuff" is about writing and killing a character I didn't like. It was a bloody, nasty scene even to the point of getting rid of the body. I went to bed. I thought about the scene in the morning and decided it didn't fit  my book.

My novel is a mystery. There are difficult characters involved in illegal activities, drugs, dealing drugs and maybe, dealing in illegal diamonds from the Congo. So I cut out the murder scene and felt better. There is an accidental death to work around.

Living with my characters makes them very real to me. I am glad for them. I worry when there's trouble on the horizon. I like it when one of my characters makes tea properly, in a warmed pot. I like the German shepherd, the guard dog/pet for my tea drinking character.

It's easy to write a bloody murder and figure out how to get rid of a body. Not pleasant. That's why I cut it out and re-wrote the scene.

I have come across a Canadian poet, James Pollock, who is short listed for the Griffin Poetry Prize to be awarded in June. Pollock was interviewed in the National Post. I loved the poem presented in the article. It begins, "I sailed a boat to Babylon,
                             and rowed home lonely in the rain,

Look it up on the Internet and enjoy the whole poem. I'm reluctant to print it here because of copyright restrictions.

One of the things I liked about the poem is how the words feel in my mouth as I say them. I do say them out loud! To myself. I have memorized the poem. A good test for an ancient woman trying to dodge the dotage.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book and other stuff

It's Mother's Day tomorrow.Hard to miss with all the articles about mothers, especially young and pretty mothers, or actress mothers or famous mothers, i.e. Jackie Kennedy but not a single wrinkled old mother like me. Boo Hoo.

Life goes on. We can't stop time. We can't stop the changing seasons. We can't stop dying. It happens to all of us. "Life is a terminal illness." Don't like that, it assumes we are sick, sick, sick at the end of days. Doesn't always happen that way.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY tomorrow no matter what your age, weight, height or status. We are here. Enjoy the day. Quaff a glass of wine. Eat a piece of chocolate cake. Sit back with a hot cup of coffee and think how lucky the world is to have you living in it.

My mystery novel is progressing as it should. I'm pulling together evidence. Drug smuggling seems to be part of it. A side operation in diamond smuggling. What the hell! Why stop at drugs. Diamonds are much prettier and last a lot longer. Most women love diamonds.

On our sixtieth wedding anniversary several years ago my husband asked if I wanted a ring, a necklace or a bracelet with diamonds. I said no. Diamonds are not my thing. On the morning of our anniversary my husband handed me a brown envelope. Inside were twenty shares in a diamond mine! Worth a fair amount of money then but have dropped in price. I treasure the shares and will never sell them.

 I miss my clever, thoughtful husband but I sense his presence. A loving human being doesn't disappear after 65 years of marriage. I'm not talking about spooks, I'm talking about a feeling. You either have it or you don't.  My Celtic blood knows.

Make my Mother's Day a treat by ordering my five romance novels on your e-reader or in trade paper back. Order from my publisher, Ellora's Cave or from,, Amazon.UK



Saturday, May 4, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book

Shall we talk about aging? Shall we think about it? Like it or not it is heading your way and my way. Life is a terminal illness. Have I said that before? Who wants to think such a thing when we are young or sort of young or very old.

I am old and lucky to have made it this far. What is old? A state of mind? A fear of the future? I have inherited my aged health genes from two tough Scots women, my grandmother and mother. Did I tell you my mother was a writer. She wrote The Maxie Books for Girls as Elsie Bell Gardner. Maxie had terrific adventures in various parts of the world. Trinidad (my mother lived there as a child) Venezuela, Australia, Spain,  American cities and boarding schools. The books were written in the 1930's and early 1940's.

The books are hard to find even at ABE books. I have the seven Maxie books and treasure them. Their covers are faded and torn here and there so I keep them safely on a book shelf.

I am continuing my mystery novel. I've pulled together a list of  "persons of interest," and work with my two protagonists to wind up the story. I still have 20,000 words to go but time is flying by and summer is coming in. I'm not wild about sitting at a computer when the sky is blue, the sun is shining, the sea is rippling quietly and the snow capped mountains in Washington State add to the beauty.

I'm off. Comment when you feel like it.
Buy my books for your e-readers or in trade paper back.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lazy. This is a lazy blog where nothing important happens, nothing important is expected to happen and nothing ever will.

I'm so busy writing my mystery novel time flies by and I forget about this blog. It's bloody boring anyway, isn't? I shall keep it going to publicize my book when it's published. I am thinking very positive thoughts. For an aged lady still pounding out stories is not usual. Lots of aged ladies paint and knit and quilt and embroider but how many are writing mysteries?

That's all I shall say on that subject, except to say, my two main characters are a fascinating pair. Hmm. I've blogged about that already. I can still write but trying to remember what's I've blogged about is real downer.

Daffodils have faded but there are dark blue small lilies blooming. I think they are called, Camas lilies. They are really beautiful. Casting a blue haze over the rough grass bordering the path above the sea. Even with  bloody back spasms giving me a lot of pain, I feel good to be alive outside and gazing at the little dark blue lilies.

Drop a comment! Someone. Please. I know there are page views and I'm pleased with that but think how comforting it would be to read a comment.

Enjoy good reads on your e-readers by purchasing one or all five of my books.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Anita Birt's Note Book

My notes are about nothing in particular so you may stop reading now! I am working hard on my mystery novel. I did a lot of editing yesterday and enjoyed reading my story from the beginning. Having said that, my two protagonists have to get busy and find the bad guys who are connected to a murder, two assaults and other illegal activities. Lots of characters and lots going on.

My blog is of no interest to anyone but I keep on going, although I miss days when I'm not inspired to look at it. However, this item in a newspaper is worth sharing. It's about snakes. Garter snakes. Harmless little creatures who eat slugs that damage your garden plants.

The newspaper heading:" Garter snakes leave cosy digs in crawl space to slither through hospital halls." It started when a snake was seen sliding down a hall at the hospital in Herbert, Saskatchewan. Then another and another. I'm quoting from the article."Garter snakes turned a crawl space beneath the hospital into a warm home for the winter and began to emerge as spring approached."

The crawl space has been sealed off. About 100 snakes have been captured. They'll be set free to find their natural seasonal migration route of their hibernation areas.  All's well that ends well.

I am taking part in a competition that involves wearing a step counter and noting my steps in a daily log book. I walk by the sea unless a Force 8 gale is blowing and the sea is churning white caps. It was windy this morning but it was sunny. Lovely to feel the sun on my face. BUT. A storm has blown in and rain is pounding against my window.Can't trust Pacific coastal weather.

Until my new book is published do keep buying my romance novels. A VERY DIFFICULT MAN. ISABELLE'S DIARY. ISABELLE'S STORY. RING AROUND THE MOON. TOO YOUNG TO DIE.