Come What May is close!

Come What May is close 2


Dear Readers

Thank you for your patience with me as you wait for Come What May, Book 2 of The Iceberg Trilogy. I have spent the last five weeks doing rewrites and edits of my manuscript. The good news is nothing much has changed in the arc of this novel. I’ve just been able to add greater insights, emotions and depth to the characters and some of the events that they go through. I’m much happier with the novel now and I’m hoping it will have a similar emotional resonance as my debut novel, Seldom Come By.

I am aiming to release this in mid-late September – the exact date will be advised shortly – with the Advanced Readers Edition (ARE) for Netgalley, bloggers and review sites being available on 1 September.

However, as a thank you to my supportive readers of Seldom Come By I am also going to GIVE AWAY 6 copies of the ARE (ebook) on 1 September as well.  I’m running the competition over here on my Facebook page.

The competition is geared around reviews of Seldom Come By.

3 winners will be drawn from people who have already written a review.

3 winners will be drawn from people who write a review between now and 31st August.

(Cut off will be midnight Hawaii time.)

So if you have been meaning to write a review of Seldom Come By I hope this will be the incentive you’ve been looking for.

If you haven’t read Seldom Come By yet but have been meaning to, well great news, the ebook is on sale for $1.99 until 31st August. You can buy it here.

Here’s the various locations where you can write a review:

The site where you purchased your ebook from:

Or Goodreads or Book Movement

You have to signup to be a member of both Goodreads and Book Movement but membership is free, painless and worthwhile and I would really love it if some of the book clubs who have read my book could write a review on Book Movement!!


The youngest son

In Come What May, the sequel to Seldom Come By, Rebecca and Samuel’s children come into their own. The story opens where Seldom Come By left off — in Newfoundland in the summer of 1939. Jonathan, their eldest is twenty-one years old and has remained in Montreal, but their other four children are with them in Salvage. Abigail is twelve, Morton is eight, Gene is nearly six and Joel, just four. Here’s how Joel came into the world — a deleted scene from Seldom Come By. FYI, Leise is Analeise, Samuel’s older sister. 

Rebecca thought the phone was a fabulous invention, particularly on a day like the one she was having. ‘Hi Leise. How are things?’

‘We’re home alone without the children. It’s weird, hard to get used to. They’re all at the flicks. What about you?’

‘Oh, I’m coming along,’ said Rebecca in a sing-song voice.

‘Coming along now?’ asked Analeise in alarm.

‘Oh I think so.’

‘Is Samuel with you?’ 

‘No he’s taken Jonathan ice sailing down on the lake. I’ve got the girls and Morton here with me.’

‘Pack your bag,’ said Analeise.  ‘We’ll be there in five.’ Seven minutes later Rebecca heard Analeise calling out for her. ‘Where are you?’

‘In here,’ cried out Rebecca.

‘In the bathroom,’ queried Analeise.

‘Yes, come in. I’m sure you’ve seen it all before.’

Rebecca was inside the bath, squatting. Her bottom half was naked. On her top half she was wearing just a singlet.

‘My God, Rebecca!’ Leise rushed to her side. ‘Is the baby that close?’

‘Like a steam train,’ she said. ‘Talk about an iron will,’ and then another contraction came over her and all Rebecca could do was grunt and push with it.

‘Are you pushing already?’ 

‘I’m pushing, he’s pushing,’ she said between puffs. ‘I swear this child is a boy. It’s like Morton all over again but ten times as fast.’

Analeise leant over to have a closer look at what was going on. Her gasp said it all. Meeting Rebecca’s eyes she said, ‘Well, he’s about to head into the world, that’s for sure.’

Swallowing, Rebecca said, ‘That’s what I’m counting on,’ as she blew the air away.

‘Just hold your horses,’ said Analeise. ‘Wait a minute while I wash my hands at least and grab some clean towels.’ Analeise tore off her coat and washed her hands and went to the linen cupboard down the hall.

She returned with some towels, one of which she knelt on as she crouched next to Rebecca, patted her on the shoulder and said, ‘Okay I’m ready.’

On the next contraction, out came the baby’s head and then after another half minute his whole body. A boy, as Rebecca had predicted. Rebecca took her bloodied son to her chest and collapsed back into the bath  ‘Oh sweet Jesus,’ Rebecca said. ‘I am so pleased that’s over with. Thank you,’ she said looking at Analeise.

‘Hey, I didn’t do a thing.’

‘You were here. I wasn’t alone. That was plenty.’

When Samuel came back an hour later, he found Analeise in the kitchen and his brother-in-law Randal reading to his children.

‘Hi,’ he said. ‘This is a surprise. Where’s Rebecca?’

‘Hi back,’ said Analeise. ‘She’s upstairs.’

‘Has her labour started?’ asked Samuel, suddenly very alert.

‘I’d say you’re not far off,’ said Analeise.

‘Thanks for coming over,’ said Samuel giving his sister a quick hug as he walked by. ‘If you need to go home, Jonathan can look after the kids now.’

‘Oh we’re in no rush. We don’t mind,’ she said.

‘Okay, Thanks. I’ll just have a shower and then we can go.’

‘I’d probably look in on your wife first if I were you.’

‘Ha,’ said Samuel.

When he walked into their bedroom he found Rebecca asleep and a baby tightly bound nestled beside her. Samuel had to shake his head and blink three times. He picked the baby up and took him to the window to have a closer look at him. He was stunned at the day’s events and that his wife and Analeise had delivered this healthy robust baby without him.

‘I thought we might call him Joel after your friend,’ said Rebecca in a weary voice.

Samuel started and turned to her. ‘I think by your superhuman efforts today you’ve earned the right to call him whatever you want.’ He bent his head and kissed his wife. ‘Congratulations. You’ve got all that you asked for haven’t you? Two boys and two girls.’

‘Yes,’ sighed Rebecca, ‘after all those years in the wilderness I have been blessed.’ 

They stopped at Joel Adonis Dalton.

Here’s a pic of ice boat sailing then and now. The b&w pic taken in 1912 on Lake Ontario.

Icesailing on iceboats Tto 1912


Positioning Seldom Come By

4 books fan


As an indie author when it comes to marketing you have to use ‘all the weapons at your disposal’. For me that meant being very clear on who I was targetting with Seldom Come By:  fans of Outlander, Into the Wilderness and The Bronze Horseman series.

There were some common elements: young love battling adversity; an intensity of feelings – not just passion but the full spectrum of human emotions; a stunning, unusual location as the backdrop; characters you could care deeply about…the list goes on.

People have been sceptical – understandably. I get that.

Did I think twice about adding these elements to my marketing:

“If Jamie and Claire

Nathaniel and Elizabeth

Alexander and Tatiana

mean something to you”


“Reminiscent of The Bronze Horseman”

Absolutely. Butterflies were in formation that’s for sure.

Did I word that extraordinarily carefully and get some trusted people to review it?  You bet.

Did I do that in complete isolation?  No.

This, from one of my early beta readers, Su:

“Their intense love for each other and the love scenes reminded me of Tatiana and Alexander.”

Was I far from the mark?

This, from Sarah who emailed me just a few weeks ago:

“I have read The Bronze Horseman, it is one of my all-time favourites, and Seldom Come By definitely gets to the same level.”

What I strove to do with this positioning was to pull my book from virtual obscurity and get it on to the consideration list. That is one of the biggest parts of the battle.

I’ve learnt long ago how true the cliché is: you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Writing like any artform is highly subjective.

But my aim is for part of the reading public to fall in love with my characters and what happens to them. If I’m honest, for enough of the reading public,  so I can write full time and provide more memorable, heart-wrenching books for people to read.

And so I want to say a special Thank You to Karen Scott from Ontario, Canada, for voicing what I’m sure a lot of people have thought when they’ve approached Seldom Come By.

I really appreciate you, Karen, telling it like it was for you. And I hope you don’t mind me reprinting your Goodreads review in full here:

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

4.5 stars

I was a little daunted by the size of this book and the fact that it was part of a trilogy. Used to books that were half this size, I wondered if my attention would last the full book (it did–in fact it grew as I continued to read!) Then, there was the summary that the author provided where she mentioned Tatiana and Alexander and Jamie and Claire. Okay, you got my attention, but can you really pull that off?? These are some literary power couples and those names should not be tossed around lightly. I’ll admit–I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder after that. Above all this, I had the encouragement from Hildy, my book boss, telling me to give this book a try and I try to listen to her suggestions. 🙂

This book was a real treat to read. Caulfield’s writing was refreshing in that if she’s writing about a scene, it’s valuable to the story. There are no wasted scenes or superfluous descriptions in this prose. (Though I love her, Diana Gabaldon might take note. *cough* Echo in the Bone *cough*) Caulfield gives you only what you need to understand and feel the characters–and feel you do! By 30% in this book, I was completely invested in the characters. I was excited to get back to reading and postponed lunch dates because I needed to return to Newfoundland! 

Are Rebecca and Samuel the Canadian Tatiana and Alexander? I wouldn’t go that far. I liked how reading this book *reminded* me of The Bronze Horseman (because I like being reminded of that book), but Seldom Come By is not a rewrite of TBH, not by a long shot. The strength, passion and adversity that the couple has to endure are reminiscent of TBH, but beyond that, Rebecca and Samuel find their own way of handling things.

I have already found myself recommending this book to others that have loved The Bronze Horseman. I do believe that if you enjoy an epic love story, this will make a fine reading suggestion.

Must love wolves


Anyone who has read Seldom Come By might get the sense that wolves have a special place in my heart.

Some of my readers have asked how that came to be, given I grew up in rural Queensland, where the closest thing to a wolf was a TV cartoon series called: Cattanooga Cats. Do you know it? It featured a skit called: “It’s the Wolf” better known as “It’s the wool-uff!” For some reason, we – my parents included – had a fascination with this program. I loved the rock star cats; my elder bother, Greg, loved Motormouse and Autocat; and my sister, with her blonde curly hair, was nicknamed, Lambsy, after the frightened yet artful lamb forever chased by the wool-uff. The moniker stayed with her for 10 years.

There were no wolves on the sloping hills of Cedar Pocket that’s for sure. But there were rare sightings of red foxes. And whenever there were, my father would speak about them in gleeful tones: “Hello Mr Foxy Loxy.” As if they were long lost friends. His sister had married a man named Len Fox, so perhaps each time he saw them they reminded him of them. Who knows?

Even though European red foxes were an introduced species to this country they were relatively harmless to stock unless starvation or bravado forced them to raid your chicken coop. But mostly the sighting of a fox was a privilege – like the sighting of an iceberg for one Rebecca Crowe.

Many years later when I lived in Sydney I spent countless weekends in the Blue Mountains, rock-climbing, canyoning, bushwalking or horseriding in the Megalong Valley. One late September afternoon when I was horseriding by myself I came across a vixen and her cubs in a paddock that was dry and over grown with pale tussock grass. She stared at me, sizing me up, knowing instantly I was no threat to her or her young. Still, she decided to veer wide, but rather than duck under the barb-wired fence to make a quick escape, she nimbly climbed up the wooden fence post, perched ever so briefly atop to glance my way before bounding off. I loved that about her: her telling me she was leaving, not sneaking away and that her leaving was on her terms.

A few months after this encounter, I travelled to Sweden, where my partner’s brother and his wife lived about 90 minutes from Gothenburg. It was late January and each morning and afternoon we would crunch through tamped snow as we traipsed through hushed forests of spruce and birch. There, large elk roamed, carefree. So peaceful, so right, so at one with humanity.

In some things, LIKES absolutely attract LIKES. And I have been very fortunate in my life to share the communion of nature with other like-minded souls; to witness, in awe and celebration, the marvels of the animal kingdom.

Leaving Hils and Katsi was bittersweet. Ahead of us was the multi-isled city of Stockholm, with its Vasa Musuem, its Gamla Stan and its Skansen Zoo. It was there I came face to face with my first-ever wolf.

On a cool still morning I stood in front of a woven wire fence and stared at a grey Nordic wolf for so long that the fence disappeared. This wolf’s eyes were like none I had ever seen – not in a human or an animal.

Full of aquamarines and emeralds. Full of life, intrigrue and trust.

I can’t tell you how long I stood there staring at this wolf staring at me.  I did not want to move. Neither did she.

That wolf made its way into Seldom Come By.

And so I wanted to share with you this amazing four-minute movie of the wolves of Yellowstone National Park.  So you can see why I love wolves.

Sharing the Love this Valentine’s Day

Feb 12 Fbook Mast

Over on my Facebook page  I am running a 5 day promotion to celebrate Valentines day.

I am giving away 2 paperback copies of Seldom Come By  to 1 lucky person and 2 ebooks to another – so you can SHARE the book, and the LOVE. To enter you simply have to:, with a friend OR give both copies away to 2 friends you love.

1) LIKE my page (if you have not already done so)

2) COMMENT on my giveaway post, tagging the NAME of  the friend/s you would give a copy of Seldom Come By to if you won.

Tell your friends about it so they can enter as well 🙂 Competition is open worldwide!

All those who comment up to 6 pm Monday 17 Feb AEST will go into the draw. The winner will be announced on my Facebook page on Tuesday 18 Feb, so please pop back then. If not claimed within 48 hours the prizes will be redrawn.

You can also earn BONUS  entries, by commenting on any previous Facebook post – or any new ones I post over the coming days.

Please Note: this giveaway is not endorsed, affiliated with, or otherwise connected to Facebook in any way.

When you can’t get past an experience

Boat in the fog copy


I had my first DNF (Did Not Finish) today. The reader couldn’t get past THAT Scene. You know the one that shan’t ever be mentioned here or over on Facebook.

I tried to encourage her to keep reading, to reassure her that life gets better for the people she had taken into her heart. But, no.

I understand why she was upset. Truly I do. I was a MESS writing THAT scene.  I was a MESS editing THAT scene.

Adding to her distress was a lot of physical pain, for which she was on medication. Sadly, it was all too much.

 “Tears fall and I ache,” she wrote to me.  And: “Why?” And: “Reading books isn’t supposed to be…torture.”

I’m sorry for her that she invested so many hours reading my book and didn’t get to experience that satisfying feeling that comes at the end of a book that you so enjoy. For prior to this point she was enjoying it. She messaged me: “I woke up looking forward to reading your book. That’s how good it is!”

I appreciate her writing to me all the same and telling me what she thought. I really do. She was very polite and respectful. I would send her a gentle hug if I could but I’m not sure how welcome that would be. I sense she thinks I’m a tad disturbed or need counselling. For the record: Seldom Come By is not autobiographical.

The description of Seldom Come By reads:

But as the war moves towards its final harrowing days, they both discover that tragedy and terror can strike anywhere, setting their love on an unforeseen path.” 

Harrowing. Tragedy. Terror.

 Now, I’m wondering whether I should have a WARNING label on my book.

You will fall in love with people. At some point, terrible things will happen to them. BEWARE OF LIFE. 

So did you want to throw my book at the proverbial wall?

Have there been other books or films that you’ve read or watched where you’ve gone: “No, I just can’t continue.”

I have walked out of two movies in my life – I should warn you I am a wimp when it comes to horror films. I don’t do scary or horror very well. Just ask my partner, Mark, or my work mate, Alistair.

The first was The Fly with Jeff Goldblum…in the wrestling scene when he snapped his opponent’s wrist and you saw the bone pierce the skin. Gasp! Gulp! Way too graphic for me.

The second was in Cape Fear, which had a great cast and came highly recommended by Melina, a part-time actress, with whom I worked. It was good but it was terrifying. I just wanted the Robert de Niro character to die. Die!  And leave everyone in peace. Please! Near the end when he was riding under the car I just had to get up and walk out. I’d had a stressful week and wanted a relaxing, uplifting movie, not one that was going to give me a heart-attack in my late 20s.

There was another movie that I’m sure I would have walked out of, had I seen it at the cinema, and that was The Piano Teacher. Fortunately, we were at home watching it on video. Still, we had to pause it while I rushed to grab an ice-cold washer to drape over my face while I lay down and willed myself not to faint and willed myself not to think about what that woman had been doing with a razor blade. Some time later we decided we would continue. Surely it would get better. Surely this woman would redeem herself in some way? It was not to be.

So what about you? Have you had any books or movies you’ve had to pass on because the experience was unbearable? Care to share?



Two sisters, one stranger

Newfoundland Sset 2

Imagine you are a teenage girl living in a very remote place and you only have one sibling, a sister, who is also your best friend. And then into your banal life comes a stranger with a smile like no other, with tales of adventures you can’t get enough of, and  a way about him that is just breathtaking. You and your older sister are both captivated. What do you do?

This is the beginning of Seldom Come By. My first draft was pushing 230,000 words – way too many – and so to improve pacing I cut the point of view of different characters and in lots of places reduced two pages into one paragraph. One such section explored Rachel and Rebecca’s growing feelings for Samuel.  You can read it below. (Also thanks to Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism for the above photograph.)

The summer of her fifteenth year was a summer of many firsts for Rebecca. And for Rachel and Samuel too. In what was undoubtedly the busiest time of the year, the presence of Samuel buoyed and energised Rachel and Rebecca like nothing else. Neither girl had ever spent such time in the presence of a man so clearly different from the one they knew so well. Without even trying, Samuel was warm, friendly and helpful. He was easy to be with – never solemn or withdrawn or grumpy. He was just himself. And at times himself was extremely playful.

Throughout these long summer days, Morna’s ‘keep them busy, keep them apart’ stance had mellowed into a ‘keep them together; there’s safety in numbers’ approach. After all, two’s company, three’s a crowd. But even she in the end was swayed by her growing ease with Samuel, her faith and her belief that his gratefulness towards them would prevent him from doing anything to upset them.

Besides who had time for mischief? That year Newfoundland was a summer wonderland and it did not disappoint with its ample abundance. The earth, the sea and the sky were laden with nature’s bounty And to add to their haul, care packages had started to arrive for Samuel from his mother and brother after he had written advising of his intention to bide out the summer with the Crowes.

Her father had spent a Saturday showing Samuel how to work some of his seldom-used lobster pots so Samuel could bait and check them every day or two in his absence. Rachel had taught him the fine art of jigging for squid in between cooking meals and preparing the smokehouse. Smoked fish made a pleasant change to the salted variety they got from the Deception Coop as part of Silas’s haul. Meanwhile Rebecca and her mother had single-handedly prepared a hay field so they could harvest at the end of the season to feed their stock over winter.

In the midst of their growing friendship with Samuel, neither girl would give voice to the fluttering of her own heart. For Rachel delighted in Samuel’s company. She became more relaxed and flowing and for the first time in her life felt like a woman, ready to be a wSunset walk copyoman. She would lie in bed at night thinking of his bare shoulders and wanting to run her hands across them, wanting to know how that would feel and what changes might happen inside her, inside Samuel if she could do that, if she had permission to do that and to look inside his eyes for meaning there. She would toss and turn trying to settle her imaginings. It seemed to her that Samuel also delighted in drawing her out, in watching her rediscover her own playfulness. Yet Rachel still wore the mantle of maturity and protocol, bound by religious rights and wrongs, hoping and waiting and praying for the day when Samuel would drop the playfulness and share with her the yearnings of his own heart – the yearnings for her heart? For in Samuel she had found a companion and confidant, one she would like to claim for her own, yet it wasn’t her place to do so. She was neither brave nor sure. She was only hopeful and amazed that she could spend so much of her waking day thinking of him and concealing these thoughts from everyone. What had occupied her mind before him, she wondered?

Rebecca’s world was in a spin. She’d oscillate between wanting to gaze upon Samuel’s face, but not wanting to catch his eye, as then the hollow, sickening feeling would start up again in her stomach and she’d barely be able to breathe. To steady herself, she plotted a raft of questions to ask him as his strong sonorous voice would calm her and his replies would always entrance her. How long do you think icebergs last for? Where would you like to travel to next? How many ships does your Uncle have in his fleet? And whenever her interest was piqued she was never afraid to gaze into his animated face, to ask every question, to tap every last ounce of information and experience his body had to offer and his soul too, though she did not know that at the time. She had no notion of possession. And she was no copycat either. She was someone who wanted to live her life fully, as fully as possible. And she saw in Samuel her best opportunity to do that. He was her closest ally in mind and spirit.

But every so often in their conversations, Samuel would pause and stare at Rebecca, almost as if he was wanting to ask her a question, something entirely different to the topic at hand. Unknowingly she would hold her breath, and before long she would part her mouth and breathe through it, then Samuel would swallow before continuing. At times like this she couldn’t handle looking into his eyes. Instead, she would lower her gaze and stare into his mouth, at his teeth and his tongue and watch the words as they came out, listening to the rich deep timbre of his voice. And that was something else about him that stirred her; how someone who was only nineteen could possess the most masculine soothing voice she had ever heard.

No one noticed the subtle changes in Rebecca’s behaviour. Everyone was so preoccupied with their own business and their own version of Samuel that none noticed her ingrained eagerness giving way to teenage tremoring and the wonder of her own awakening.

As time marched on, the girls formed an unspoken pact where neither would talk about Samuel or the time they spent alone with him. Each was stockpiling their own treasured memories, not wanting to know or invade or upset the motives and dreams of the other.

A little unknown fact about icebergs


Antarctic iceberg


Ever since I heard the story of the Titanic when I was a little girl I have been fascinated with icebergs.

And in 1993 – three years before my first visit to Canada – I went on a trip to the Himalalyas, to Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world. And there, no matter how hard you tried, you could never capture in a single photograph, the scale or grandeur of those formidable peaks. Imagine, I thought, just imagine that, as an iceberg, as a floating glacial giant, submerged in icy blue green waters. It is quite astounding to think that when you look at an iceberg, when you look at its mountains and plateaus and valleys, you are looking at something that is largely hidden from sight.

In writing Seldom Come By, I did quite a lot of research on icebergs; quite a lot that I never ended up using, such was my thrall. However all my research did not reveal to me this startling, obvious fact:

that icebergs emanate cold, like fires emanate heat

It was my good friend Leah, a native Newfoundlander, who apprised me of this point. She grew up in St Johns, the capital of Newfoundland, where many a time her world was so fogged in she couldn’t read a street sign just a few metres in front of her. But even on the foggiest of days, even if you couldn’t see a thing through your clouded surrounds, if you were close enough to the coast, you could tell the approach of an iceberg simply because of its halo of cold air.

And from that pivotal conversation, came my opening to Seldom Come By. Thank you, Leah!

Some days she knew they were there, just by a drop in the temperature, if they were close enough, but not today. Today she saw them first, not one but two towering spectacles. In the space of one hour they had come drifting casually into sight, carried along on unseen currents, their presence more than anything marking the shift in seasons. And had she had her head down or her back to the ocean she would have missed them. These floating, breakaway giants calved from the glacial north. Frozen formations that enthralled her with their crystal palaces, soaring peaks and mythical creatures revealed in icy magnitude. How they made the seascape come alive.

The poetry of Seldom Come By

Poetry is a writer’s best friend.  It’s a breathtaking art form where a writer’s thoughts are crystalised into the most explicit and sentient form, conveying the intense emotion and sublime imagery of an experience. I’ve found when writing, that reading poetry is a great way to ignite my imagination.

I remember the first time I was in awe of poetry. It was in Grade 11, studying the poems of young Australian poet, Michael Dransfield, when I read his description of the arm of a heroin user:

Needle craters of old hallucinations

And then his frustration with his own inarticulateness.

You realise that what you taste now in the mornings is not so much blood as the failure of language.

From poetry, we learn about rhythm and rhyme, metaphor and eloquence. And at times we learn that try as we might, we simply can not say it better than the piece we read for inspiration. And so we bow to greatness.

Think of Four Weddings and a Funeral and W H Auden:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone

And in A River Runs Through It – when the Maclean family, trying to come to terms with Paul’s death, turns to Wordsworth:

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;

 Right there is one of the key’s to great poetry. Aside from being timeless and universal is its immeasurable source of solace.

Like the McLeans in a River Runs Through It, the Daltons in Seldom Come By were a family that read and enjoyed  and talked about poetry, art and music. Fortunately, for them, they had the means. And so through Seldom Come By I wanted to includes elements of some of the poems, they loved – and incidentally so do I.

So you will see snippets of:

The English Romantic poet, Wordsworth:

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused

The Latin poet, Catullus:

unless I love you to distraction and hereafter
am prepared to love you continually throughout the years
as much as he who can love you most,

 America’s father of free verse, Walt Whitman (pictured):

We two boys together clinging,


The world below the brine

And more, but I don’t want to spoil things for you.

And of course, famous Canadian war poet, John McCrae who is a minor character, a friend of Samuel’s brother Matthew, in Seldom Come By,

I hope you enjoy the odd sprinkling of poetry in Seldom Come By and that you too find solace in it, if you need it.

Coming up with a title

I have a friend who from the get go was never enamoured with the title of my first book, Seldom Come By.  Her advice: ‘Go back to the drawing board.’ She was a published author with two novels under her belt. Reluctantly, her advice was not to be scoffed at. But try as we might – and I say we as there are two other people I always involve in the creative process when it comes to the big questions – we couldn’t seem to come up with a few mere words that said it better. Over a few years we came up with hundreds and in the end only two other sets of titles came close, but they didn’t eclipse the ones we had. (Yes, I will tell you more about the alternatives another time. 😉 )

Part of this complication was, naturally, I wanted the three titles to work together.

  • Seldom Come By
  • Come What May
  • Come Full Circle

I also wanted them to be apt for each individual story.

And I wanted the first one to have a strong connection to Newfoundland and, if possible, icebergs, because the sighting of icebergs was so exhilarating for Rebecca and hopefully for my readers as well.

If you spend any time looking through the history and geography of Newfoundland, you will find many charming and quirky names begging for an explanation — and these in themselves add to the personality of the country and no doubt the character of Newfoundlanders. Places such as:

  • Black Duck Siding
  • Halfway Tucks
  • Stepaside
  • Blow Me Down
  • Tilting
  • Jerry’s Nose
  • Lushes Bight
  • Heart’s Content

There was even a Come By Chance. But in the end I settled on Seldom Come By: in honour of Rebecca’s majestic icebergs; in honour of Samuel drifting by in his tender and the unlikelihood of Rebecca finding him; and by no means least, in honour of the original and striking young woman that was Rebecca.


 “As each mile on his voyage brought him closer and closer to Deception, Samuel could feel his excitement building. It was bursting through his veins like the boat’s bow ploughing through the water. Who was it that he was really coming here to see? He knew the answer to that right enough. And for what? So he could go away and spend another two or three years thinking about her, dreaming about her. So he could know for sure that what he felt for this girl was real. To know for certain that she still held his heart captive with her longing and her melancholy, with her beauty and her joyful, youthful delight. He knew it would only take a moment, a breathless fatal moment, and yesterday it had. In three years he had not been able to get this girl out of his head and now he was overjoyed that he had failed.”


So what do you think of the title, Seldom Come By?