Spring-cleaning (a little early)

The best thing about hibernating inside during a cold and snowy winter is getting a head start on all the spring-cleaning that needs to be done. In the last few weeks, I’ve gone through closets and weeded out old clothes, sorted through papers dating back twenty years, and cleared out books that were very much loved but needed a new home. Not only did I free up space with all the de-cluttering, but I had a great sense of satisfaction doing it. And the best thing about spring-cleaning is the chance to recycle and donate the stuff to a good cause. Our local symphony hosts a big book sale each year to raise money, so I dropped off five bags of books for them. Another bag of books went to a neighbourhood drugstore that raises money for children’s charities. A drama company took a bin and four bolts of fabric…

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Visiting author Constance Bretes!

I’m having fun over with author Constance Bretes talking about a quirky character trait of Sarah’s that’s based on something I do. Come join us and find out if you share the same trait! 😀 It’s HERE

Between the Pipes is live and it’s only 99cents ($1.29 Canadian)! 

Sarah Jain is a family doctor in a hockey-crazy town. She hates hockey. She hasn’t gone anywhere near a rink in years, until her friend, the team doctor, calls in a favour. Mike Wallace is the starting goalie for the Clarington Quakes, the local professional hockey team. He’s not about to let an injury slow him down or a rookie doctor call the shots. Sarah and Mike don’t respect each other’s jobs. When they have to work together, sparks fly and ice melts. Can they play a game they both can win? Love on the ice doesn’t always go smoothly.

Buy links:  amazon.com   |    amazon.ca

Day 1 ~ Between the Pipes Countdown!

picture of call a no. oneIt’s Day 1, and we’re counting down the release of Between the Pipes ~ Book One of the In the Game Hockey Romance series! Woohoo!!

Here’s a sneak peek of the first chapter of Between the Pipes!! Tomorrow’s the big day!!



Between the Pipes (In the Game Hockey Romance, Book 1)

Chapter One

Dr. Sarah Jain sat at her desk scrolling through the latest version of Medical Travel Alerts. A patient had walked barefoot through a mud puddle in Honduras and had returned home to Canada with an itchy foot. It was definitely a parasite. She had seen it under the skin. The question was, which one? Hookworm, Tungiasis, Schistosomiasis – so many to choose from. That was the fun thing about family medicine. So much variety.

A knock on her door had her looking up.

“Oh good. You’re still here.” Dr. Danni Angelo, her best friend and colleague at the family medicine clinic, walked in. “Are you free Friday night, by any chance?”

Sarah hesitated. Danni was also the team physician for the Clarington Quakes, the local professional hockey team. Friday night was game night. Maybe Danni wanted to catch a movie, but more likely it had something to do with hockey. Sarah wasn’t busy, but maybe she should be.

“I might be washing my hair. Why?”

“I have a favour to ask.”

“The answer’s no.”

Danni put her hands on her hips and tilted her head with a smirk. “I haven’t told you what it is.”

“We’ve been best friends for a long time. I can guess. I’ve successfully dodged those favours for the past two years – it’s a survival instinct I have.”

“Ah, come on. You know I don’t like to ask you, knowing how you feel.”

That was true.

“But this time I really need your help.”


“The Quakes are playing and my sister’s wedding rehearsal dinner is that night.” Danni had taken time off for the wedding and then was indulging in a few extra days off because the hockey team had a weeklong break to accommodate the upcoming All-Star game. “Trevor was scheduled to cover the game, but he just got a call from his mom that his dad had a stroke, so he’s flying home. And Ari’s working in emerg. He asked around, but he can’t find anyone to take the shift for him.”

Trevor and Ari were the alternate physicians who helped with the team. They loved hockey.

“Please, could you go to the game? Please, please, please.”

Sarah sighed at the puppy dog eyes. “Jeez, Danni, is there no one else you can ask?”

“Honestly, no. I know it’s short notice.” Danni sat down heavily in the chair in front of Sarah’s desk. “You don’t have to watch the game; you just have to be at the rink. Maybe it will be a quiet night.” Her voice didn’t hold much conviction.

“Right. What about suturing? You sew more than Jordyn, and she’s a seamstress.” Jordyn Kendra, one of their best friends, designed swimwear and skate-wear for a living.

“Well, perhaps you might have a teeny bit of suturing to do, but what better way to keep up your skills?” She gave a hopeful grin.

Sarah shook her head. “Still no.” Her reluctance wasn’t about the medicine.

“Listen, I’ll make it up to you. If you do this for me, I’ll work one of your half-days.”

Sarah rolled her eyes. If she wanted extra time off, all she had to do was change the schedule.

“Okay, okay.” Danni leaned back in the chair and pursed her lips. “How about I arrange to get the snow tires on your car? And,” she added reluctantly, “you can use my car while I’m away.”

Sarah wrestled with guilt. Danni had a sweet chocolate-brown Porsche that she rarely let anyone else drive. She must be seriously desperate to suggest lending it.

But could Sarah get through the game? It had been years since she’d stepped into a rink. She glanced at Danni’s worried frown. She’d have to try. “All right. But it’s a one-time deal.”

“Of course.” Danni jumped up and scooted around the desk to give Sarah a quick hug. “Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I’ll text Trevor right now.”

“Before I change my mind?”

Danni nodded with a grin and rushed out.


One of the best perks for the Quakes’ team physician was getting waved through all the parking lot checkpoints at the arena and snagging a prime spot right outside the entrance. It was a typical Friday night in Clarington, and the arena was hopping. Sarah carefully manoeuvred the Porsche into the reserved space and shut off the engine.

Danni’s Porsche was a dream to drive – very smooth and powerful. No sneaking off for junk food at the drive-thru, though. People noticed you in this car. She’d laughed, a little embarrassed, at a wolf whistle when she’d been stopped at a stop sign. And she’d accelerated a little too quickly at a green light when a group of men had ogled the car, but she’d managed to make it without a scratch or a ding. Danni would appreciate that.

Sarah sat for a moment in the car, watching the crowds of people streaming into the arena. She wouldn’t be surprised if it was another sell-out crowd. Clarington was very supportive of its hockey team and had raised the money to build the rink. The building, with attached banquet facilities, had opened six months ago. It had been a five-year project that the city council had heartily endorsed and all but a minority of Clarington folk had embraced.

Sarah was part of the minority. She hadn’t been to a rink in over nineteen years and wasn’t looking forward to it tonight. She loosened her coat as sweat gathered on her forehead. The inside of the car suddenly felt airless. She fumbled with the door and stepped out. Think happy thoughts. You can do this.

Danni had lent her a team tracksuit to wear. They were the same height, which was handy, but Danni had a few more curves, so the fit was a bit loose. She hiked the pants up and grabbed a bag off the seat. Danni had also sent along ice-gripper shoes, which were designed to make walking on slippery ice safer. Luckily, they both wore a size nine shoe. She hoped she wouldn’t need to use them, but if she did have to go out onto the ice, at least there’d be less chance of her ending up on the sports channel highlight reel for the game’s most embarrassing moment.

Sarah bypassed the main doors and made her way to the staff entrance off to one side. Security personnel scanned her medic pass, and she was waved in. People milled about in a bright open foyer. Moving ramps carried fans to the second and third decks, and those lucky enough to be in the main arena were directed around the rink on moving platforms. Enormous shiny silver spotlights illuminated the periphery, and navy and silver Clarington Quakes logos flashed at regular intervals. The navy walls, with a band of stainless steel tiles, were elegantly interspersed with pale grey brick columns.

Sarah tried to absorb the fans’ excitement and energy as they made their way to their seats, but her heart pounded and her chest tightened. She struggled to ignore the smothering feeling until her vision greyed. Feeling lightheaded, she sat down on a bench and leaned on her elbows. Her shoulder-length chestnut-brown hair fell forward, hiding her face.

Deep breath in. Slow breath out.

She glanced up, wondering if there might a doctor somewhere in the crowd – one who could look after the team so she could leave. She swallowed past the lump in her throat and tried to settle her racing heart.

Danni had promised to update the injured player list before she left, and she’d suggested Sarah drop by the trainer’s room before the game. Ben Matthews, the head athletic therapist, and his assistant, Dave Reed, would be there with any athletes who needed last-minute treatment. Sarah had met Ben and Dave at a handful of team fundraisers over the past two years.

Danni’s suggestion was a good one, but it wasn’t going to happen. Another wave of nausea hit her, and Sarah put her head down between her knees and pretended to tie her shoes.

After a few minutes, the dizziness subsided and the nausea passed. She rose slowly and made her way into the rink. If Ben needed her, he’d find her in the stands. She’d be the one looking a little green.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of Between the Pipes! The wait is almost over – tomorrow is release day!! Woohoo! Preorder it here: amazon.ca | amazon.com


Day 2 ~ Between the Pipes Countdown!

It’s Day 2, and we’re counting down the release of Between the Pipes ~ Book One of the In the Game Hockey Romance series! Woohoo!!

It’s Day 2 – time for the You-two-be video! Here’s the book trailer for Between the Pipes! (I picked the music – what do you think? :D)



Between the Pipes ~ Love on the ice doesn’t always go smoothly. Only 99 cents!! 😀 Preorder links: amazon.ca | amazon.com

Day 3 ~ Between the Pipes Countdown!

lit number three

It’s Day 3, and we’re counting down the release of Between the Pipes ~ Book One of the In the Game Hockey Romance series! Woohoo!!



A version of Between the Pipes was the very first story I ever wrote. It’s come a long way since then! It’s good to know I’m growing as a writer. 😀 When I changed it from She’s Not a Fan to Between the Pipes, some of the scenes were deleted. Sometimes it was because the story-line changed a bit so I couldn’t use them, sometimes it was because there was a lot of Sarah’s job in the first version and the editor (gently) suggested it didn’t further the love story. Here are 3 deleted scenes from the first version:

In this scene, Sarah was invited over to Mike’s house for dinner.

The music shifted tempo and Mike stepped back. “Let’s sit outside. We can watch the stars come out,” Mike said. He grabbed a blanket and led her outside. Large patio stones curved around in a walkway leading to a sitting area close to the water. Two chairs and a comfortable lounger circled a copper fire pit. Mike reached over, lit the logs in the fire pit, and a small fire roared to life. Tugging her down, Mike stretched out on the lounger and nestled her to his side. With his arms around her, he tucked the blanket in close.

“Are you warm enough?” he asked.

She almost laughed. Her blood was singing through her veins. He was so hot and sexy, she didn’t need the blanket or the fire. “Yeah, I’m perfect,” she said, thinking it was the biggest understatement. Deep breath in. Slow breath out. Relax.

The clouds had cleared and the night sky was glittering with stars. The moon was almost full and reflected off the water. As the fire crackled, the waves lapped gently against the shore in a quiet rhythm. A bat swooped down over the river. She relaxed her head on Mike’s shoulder and heard the steady slow rhythm of his heart. Good thing he wasn’t listening to hers.

They chatted easily as they listened to the night sounds. She sighed, knowing that she had to broach how she felt about hockey.


In this scene, Sarah has realized that is would never work between her and Mike and she’s working hard to try to get over him.

Regrets about Mike were easier to set aside when she was involved with patients or immersed in work. It was tougher at night when she was alone.

She couldn’t stop thinking about what could have been. She missed Mike, his easy smile, and the interest in his eyes directed at her. She wanted to be held in his arms and kissed until she was breathless. Regret circled in an endless loop in her head. It was driving her crazy.

Time to focus on something else.

Cleaning had always helped in the past, so she vacuumed and polished and cleaned out her closets. She sorted through clothes, put away her summer wardrobe, and pulled out sweaters and jackets for the winter. Her closet was more organized than ever before, but she didn’t feel any better.

Exercise? She joined a yoga class at the local gym. All that stretching and bending – poses she had never seen or heard of like downward dog, dolphin plank, cow face, and wild thing. Turned out, she wasn’t a wild thing. No surprise there. It took concentration and flexibility, and apparently, she had neither. It did help to distract her temporarily, which was good, until the meditation began. To summarize, the goal was to stop thinking about what would be bad for her…Mike. And instead focus on what would be good for her…still Mike. Ugh. She needed to focus a little less, so she cleaned some more.

She scrubbed her tub and washed the walls. She unclogged the drains and soaked her showerhead until the water pressure forced her back out of the stream.

She pulled out her favourite books and went to the library to find a few more. Light-hearted ones failed to make her laugh. Mike became the handsome hero in every romance novel, and she had to set them aside. She tried heavier classics with hidden meaning and subtle metaphors but couldn’t concentrate enough to figure out what they were. In the end, she returned all the books to the library and resigned herself to more cleaning.

Setting tables was a hobby of hers, so most of her kitchen cabinets were filled with dishes, rather than food. It came in handy when she needed something to do. There were plenty of shelves to dust and dishes to organize. She stacked her chargers and sorted them by colour with all the matching plates and bowls. She burned a lot of “let’s try to forget Mike” energy cleaning and sorting through glassware. It sparkled and shone, but in the end, it only made the reflection of her unhappy face that much clearer.

It was time to pull out the big guns – chocolate.

Hadn’t research shown that dark chocolate was as good as sex for making you feel good? She was sure she’d read that somewhere.

Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, she tried them all. It was tasty, but it didn’t settle her cravings. She’d still rather have sex. With Mike.


This is one of the work scenes that was chopped.

Sarah met up with the Mobile Clinic at the downtown location and arrived to a waiting room full of patients.

She ushered in a young woman named Kelsey Deville. Her hair, dyed a brilliant purple, was pulled back into two ponytails. A blue bomber jacket didn’t quite meet the top of her loose cotton pants, and the waistband was rolled down to reveal the silver stud in her belly button. She came in with the problem of constipation.

Sarah went over the usual advice about staying well hydrated and increasing the fibre in her diet.

“So, let me get this straight,” Kelsey said, popping a bubble with her chewing gum. “You want me to eat more fibre in my diet and make my sh–,” – she cleared her throat –my uh, poop bigger. Because bigger poop, is easier to pass than a pencil-thin small one.” She looked skeptical. “Are you sure about that?”

Sarah tried not to laugh. Kelsey actually had a good point. “Yes, I’m sure. It’s better for your bowels if your poop, or stool, is bigger. The best way to get bigger stools is to eat more fruit and vegetables. As little as one prune a day can make a big difference, or you could try to have whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Could you do that?”

“Sure, sure. I can try.”



These scenes didn’t make it in the final version. They were replaced by better ones! 😀 Between the Pipes ~ Love on the ice doesn’t always go smoothly. Release day is only 3 days away!!  I can’t wait. 😀 Preorder links: amazon.ca | amazon.com

Day 4 ~ Between the Pipes Countdown!

the number fourIt’s Day 4, and we’re counting down the release of Between the Pipes ~ Book One of the In the Game Hockey Romance series! Woohoo!!

As a family doctor, Sarah sees more incidence of depression in the winter months. Here are 4 tips for warding off depression. But remember, if you feel blue and can’t shake it, it’s time to seek professional help.

Get some light. Not sure if it’s the vitamin D or the light itself but you need it. Bundle up and get outside (unless it’s -36°C).

Socialize. People who interact with others fare better. And if you interact with people in meaningful relationships, even better. Invite a friend for coffee, watch a game on TV, or play cards.

Exercise helps. Find something you enjoy doing. Walking, dancing, pickleball, badminton, cycling, swimming, skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are just a few ideas. Remember – you’ll feel better if you’re active.

Get the sleep you need. Here are some sleep hygiene tips: no caffeine after 3pm (including hidden caffeine in chocolate and pop); avoid computer screens for an hour before you want to fall asleep; sleep in a dark quiet room; if you can’t fall asleep, get up and do something relaxing for 15 minutes (like reading or listening to music) and then try again. Don’t use medications for their sleep-inducing side effect. If you can’t sleep, chances are you’re stressed about something – it’s your body’s signal that it’s become overwhelming and you’ll need to deal with it.

Being happy requires energy and sometimes when you’re depressed, it’s hard to garner up that energy. Recognize when you need help and ask for it. We doctors are a friendly lot and want to help!

Between the Pipes ~ Love on the ice doesn’t always go smoothly. Release day is January 28, 2018. It’s up for preorder now and it’s only 99cents! Only 3 more days to release!! 😀 Preorder links: amazon.ca | amazon.com

Day 5 ~ Between the Pipes Countdown

green and yellow fiveIt’s Day 5, and we’re counting down the release of Between the Pipes ~ Book One of the In the Game Hockey Romance series! Woohoo!!


Sarah and her friends make a point of getting once a month to bowl. It’s a fun way to exercise and get caught up with all the news. Bowling is a game played indoors or outdoors where a ball is thrown toward pins in an effort to knock them down and score points. Sounds fun, eh? Here are 5 facts about bowling you can use to impress your friends.

Special bowling shoes are needed because they protect the bowler. They have a sole that allows the slide that is needed at the end of the shot when the bowling ball is released.





Bowling started with 9 pins but when 9-pin bowling was outlawed because of its association with gambling, crafty bowlers started 10-pin bowling. In Canada, we have 5-pin bowling and 10-pin bowling. There are a few differences. In 5-pin bowling, a player has three shots per frame instead of two. In 10-pin, each pin is worth one point so each strike is worth 10 points. With 5-pin, the pins are worth 5, 3, and 2 points so each strike is worth 15 points. But the difference I like the most – five-pin bowling has smaller bowling balls, which are easier to hold!

Back in the day, a pinsetter was a person who manually reset the bowling pins to their positions, cleared the fallen pins, and returned the bowling balls to the players. I remember my cousin doing this for a summer job! Now it’s all automated.

There’s a science behind bowling balls! Until 1905 they were made out of wood and didn’t have finger holes. Now, they are made out of a rubber composite or plastic, weigh a maximum of 16 pounds for 10-pin bowling, and have 3 or 4 finger holes.



Toppling all the pins with one ball is called a strike. A perfect game requires 12 consecutive strikes. Three strikes in a row is called a “turkey”. Four strikes in a row is a “ham bone”, six is a “wild turkey”, and nine strikes in a row is a “golden turkey”.

Make your next party a bowling party – and get out and have some fun!



Between the Pipes (In the Game Hockey Romance, Book 1)

Sarah Jain is a family doctor in a hockey-crazy town. She hates hockey. She hasn’t gone anywhere near a rink in years, until her friend, the team doctor, calls in a favour. Mike Wallace is the starting goalie for the Clarington Quakes, the local professional hockey team. He’s not about to let an injury slow him down or a rookie doctor call the shots.

Sarah and Mike don’t respect each other’s jobs, and when they have to work together, sparks fly and ice melts. Can they play a game they both can win?

Love on the ice doesn’t always go smoothly.


Release day is January 28, 2018. It’s up for preorder now and it’s only 99cents! I can’t wait to share it with you. 😀 Preorder links: amazon.ca | amazon.com

Day 6 ~ Between the Pipes Countdown!

fiery number 6It’s Day 6, and we’re counting down the release of Between the Pipes ~ Book One of the In the Game Hockey Romance series! Woohoo!!



In Between the Pipes, both Sarah and Mike love to cycle. In fact, their first “date” is a bicycle ride and picnic.

Here are six tips for safe cycling!




Always wear a helmet. Here’s a picture of a helmet of a cyclist who went head over handlebars when his tire caught a rut in the road of a city street. He hadn’t been travelling that fast, and if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet this would have been his skull. Don’t risk it!!


Most cycling deaths occur between 6pm and 9pm. If you expect to cycle in low-light conditions, wear brightly coloured, reflective clothing, and use lights in the front and rear of your bike. A strong headlight and a blinking red tail-light might save your life!



Scan the rear windows of parked cars and give a wide berth in case someone suddenly opens a door. Watch out for potholes and storm grates. Yield to pedestrians and cars and use hand signals so drivers are aware of your intentions.

Buy the right bike: mountain bike, city bike, hybrid, or road bike. Simply put, a mountain bike is built for rougher terrain and has wider tires and lower gear ratios for steeper terrain and better traction. A city bike is lighter with narrower tires and is designed for city streets and harder forest floors. A hybrid bike is a combination of a mountain bike and a city bike – with wider tires and a lighter frame. A road bike is usually the most expensive and designed to be ridden only on tarmac – the high-end bike for competitive cycling.

Keep the tires inflated and the chain lubed. Makes it easier to pedal.

Make sure the bike fits you. There are different ways to find the right frame size for your body, and a reputable dealer will help you out, but generally, when you straddle the bike and stand flat-footed, there should be one to two inches of clearance between your groin and the top tube. Your handlebars should be one inch lower than your seat top. Position the seat so that your knee is only slightly bent at the bottom of each rotation. If it’s bent too much, the seat is too low: if the knee locks when extended or it’s hard to reach the pedal, the seat is too high. You’ll enjoy cycling so much more if the fit is right!

Cycling is a great way to be active! You might meet Sarah and Mike on the bike trails. 😀


Enjoy Between the Pipes on January 28! It’s up for preorder now and it’s only 99cents! I can’t wait to share it with you. 😀 Preorder links: amazon.ca | amazon.com

Day 7 ~ Between the Pipes Countdown!

green number 7It’s Day 7, and we’re counting down the release of Between the Pipes ~ Book One of the In the Game Hockey Romance series! Woohoo!!

One of the best desserts in Clarington is a sensational Turtle Pie. It’s a decadent combination of chocolate and caramel and a fav of Sarah and her friends – especially freshly made by the chef at the new café at Bibbington Bowling Lanes. The chef was kind enough to share the recipe. Yum!! Enjoy!

Turtle Pie (Gluten-free!)

Baked Coconut Crust

1 c sweetened flaked coconut

¾ c ground almonds

2 Tbsp butter

Combine and bake at 350° F for 15 minutes. Cool.


Double Chocolate Mousse Filling

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate

1 c butter

½ c granulated sugar

½ c half and half cream

1½ tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350° F. Melt chocolate, butter, sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Whisk eggs separately in a large bowl. Slowly beat warm mixture into eggs until well blended. Pour into 10-inch greased spring-form pan and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from the edge comes out clean. Cool.


Crunchy Caramel Topping

1 c chopped pecans

1 c sweetened flaked coconut

½ c granulated sugar

½ c evaporated milk

1 egg yolk

3 Tbsp butter

½ tsp vanilla

Toast pecans (~8 min) and coconut (~6 min) on separate baking sheets in a 350° F oven, stirring once, until golden. Transfer to same large bowl. Cool.

Meanwhile, in saucepan, whisk together sugar, milk, and egg yolk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until consistency is slightly thickened (like a thin pudding) about 8-10 min. Stir in butter and vanilla. Stir into pecan mixture until butter is melted. Let cool. Spread evenly over pie.


Alternative Smooth Caramel Topping

In small pot over medium heat, simmer 1 can of Eagle Brand Dulce de Leche caramel-flavoured condensed milk for 5 minutes to thicken. Cool and pour over pie.

Enjoy a piece of turtle pie while reading Between the Pipes ~ Love on the ice doesn’t always go smoothly! Release day is January 28, 2018. It’s up for preorder now and it’s only 99cents! I can’t wait to share it with you. 😀 Preorder links: amazon.ca | amazon.com