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Dec 15

Self Family Christmas Letter 2014

We missed sending out a Christmas letter last year—life kinda got away from us. So this year’s letter is a brief, illustrated, catch-up on where and how the Self-clan are doing, starting with the youngest.




Jon is in Burkina Faso, West Africa. He’s there for eight months as part of his UW International Development program. We talk on the phone almost every week and he sounds happy, although hot. Daytime temps are above 30 C. Recent political turmoil has not phased him. I guess that’s part of being 22. It does phase us which I suppose is part of us being over 50. (Notice I did not say how far over 50.) Jon will be back in Canada in April.





Jamie came to the cottage last summer (2013) to share a big announcement. Her name was Bec Rodda. As of August 25, 2014, she is Bec Self. Bec is Australian although she is seeking permanent residency in Canada—not an easy process. We attended Jamie & Bec’s beautiful Kelowna outdoor wedding with family and friends from across Canada, the US and, of course, Australia. A wonderful time! 



10482564_10153041356129062_182404248863578690_n-001Allan changed jobs in 2013. He is now part of the pastoral team at Niagara Harvest Bible Chapel in St. Catherines, ON. The move has been a positive one for their family. Cameron, now a very tall 7 years, is thriving in the new school. Grace is growing too, a very healthy little girl. You may remember she was born with some heart problems but since a surgical procedure July 2013 she is in perfect health. Allan is enjoying his new church responsibilities. As I write this he is completing the last course for his Masters of Theological Studies. And Natalie is blossoming too—in more ways than one. A third little Self is expected in April 2015. 



photo 3 (2)Harvey never stops it seems. Between church, Presbytery, Legion, community events and walking the dog, he rarely sits still.  Add to that our rather hectic travelling schedule in 2014—BC in March to meet Bec, Colorado in April for the sad funeral of brother-in-law David Winn, Thunder Bay in July for niece Sarah Baxter’s wedding, a quick hop to Nova Scotia for some cottage maintenance and BC in August for Jamie’s wedding. We are appreciating a slightly quieter fall. (That’s us at Garden of the Gods in Colorado.)


Jayne, for the time being, is setting aside her serious writing to focus on her duties as director of Write Canada annual Christian writers’ conference. She now has two mysteries published—Murder in Hum Harbour and Death of a Highland Heavyweight—available on Amazon and through links on her website She’d love for you to visit and leave a comment. Commercial finished.

And now you’re all caught up. So from our house (well, houses and apartments) to yours, we extend our love. We pray this Christmas finds you well, secure in our Heavenly Father’s loving care. And no matter how life is treating you, we trust He will be your strength and shield now and in the New Year.

God bless.

Sep 11

Review: Bloom and Doom

51BOp9+ZNYL._AA160_Bloom and Doom

by Beverly Allen

Berklyy (2014)

Bloom and Doom, Beverly Allen’s first Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery, is an entertaining read. Allen has created the perfect heroine in Audrey Bloom. She’s intelligent, imaginative, quick-witted, and just a little clumsy. Totally delightful. Audrey and her cousin Liv co-own a florist shop in Ramble, Virginia. Ramble’s the ideal setting for a cozy mystery, a small town with plenty of off-beat characters and oodles of regional charm.

In this first mystery, Audrey’s friend Jenny is accused of murdering her fiancé—the town’s most eligible bachelor. As with all mysteries, people aren’t what they appear to be and Jenny’s dream-man is no exception. Neither is Jenny, for that matter. With the help of a handsome sidekick, cupcake baker Nick Maxwell, Audrey must sort through the weeds to find the truth. But can she stay out of trouble while doing it?

What fun would that be?

I give Bloom and Doom a solid five stars and I look forward to Allen’s next mystery, For Whom the Bluebell Tolls.

Sep 04

Review: Beneath the Surface


Beneath the Surface

by Mike Martin

Biaco Publishing (2014)

Once again Mike Martin delivers a gently meandering mystery set in beautiful Newfoundland. Always polite Sgt Windflower, the star of this series, has been farmed out to another detachment as part of a task force investigating drug related crimes. There’s a murder, this is a mystery after all, with a dash of international intrigue—human trafficking—and even some timely Canadian issues—the way the RCMP treats its female members. Although the book’s pace is relaxed, the issues addressed aren’t. As the title suggests, there are many things lurking beneath the surface.

Like Martin’s first two mysteries, The Walker on the Cape and The Body on the T, this books is full of Newfoundland colour, Newfoundland food and Newfoundland lore. Martin delivers a pleasant tale that will please the fans of his other novels.

Mike Martin is presently on a book tour. To check when he’ll be in your area go to

Mar 04

Eric Wright Interview

Celebrating Riptide



I’m pleased to welcome Canadian author Eric Wright and to talk about writing and his newest novel, Riptide.

Hi Eric.

Can you tell us about your varied writing experience and how you came to write romantic suspense?


I’ve been writing ever since I went to Pakistan as a missionary in 1964 when I was challenged to write prayer letters every month. I wanted to make sure they were interesting to read. Then I got involved in theological education by extension where we had to write our own self-teaching texts. In the 6 or 7 years following I wrote 5 courses. When I returned to Canada and took a pastorate, I felt deeply about two things; the need for all of us to have a forgiving spirit and our need to minister in the area of our gifts. Out of those came two books, Church–No Spectator Sport and Revolutionary Forgiveness. A missionary colleague had recommended me to a British publisher.

So I’ve done five non-fiction books including books about missions. Then in 1992 I began to write what became two books on country living because we moved to a country home. These two books reflect my love for nature.

I began writing suspense in about 2004 when I became frustrated with the books I was reading. I enjoy books with contemporary suspense and realistic characters in a realistic setting. Also a neighbour suggested that I write in story form, not just in prose, non-fiction style.


What three words would you use to describe Riptide?

That’s hard!

Suspense, Christian, romance


Riptide is set in the southern U.S. but you live in Canada. What’s the secret to your ability to bring this town and culture to life?


When I was writing one of my books, we took a sabbatical from the pastorate in St. Simons Island and fell in love with the place. Since then we’ve also vacationed there a couple of times. Plus, Mary Helen, is from the south.


Riptide is written from a woman’s point of view. What were some of the challenges of writing from a woman’s point of view?


I found it very challenging to put myself into the persona of a 40ish woman, but I feel considerable compassion for single mothers, divorcees, many of whom are the more innocent victims of male insensitivity. My all female critique group helped immensely where I stumbled.


Usually I ask if there’s a little of you in the hero/heroine. Does she reflect you in any way?


The heroine reflects what I would hope to do in such situations; persevere in spite of pain, fight for her freedom.


Did Riptide require much research? What was the most surprising thing you learned?


It required research in money laundering and shrimping. I was shocked at the amount of money laundered into the world economy without any taxation or accountability. I learned most about shrimping from a couple of books I read on the subject; the different kinds of shrimp, the high quality of shrimp from this area of the coastline, the devastation of shrimp beds by industrial pollutants in the Gulf, the effect on the industry of Asian shrimp farms, the competition against shrimpers by sport fishermen and the turtle conservation lobby.


Do you have another book in the works?


Yes, I have a third Josh Radley suspense novel in the works. This one is set in Vancouver Island, Vancouver and Seattle. It concerns smuggling of illegal immigrants, etc. I also have a children’s adventure book in revision.


You are a busy man, Eric. Thank you for taking the time to drop by and share.


You can visit Eric’s website.

and sign up to receive his blog: Country Inspiration



Feb 25

Review: Riptide



by Eric Wright

Harbourlight (2014)

Craig and Ashlyn Forsyth stand at the back of the church listening to the choir. He hands her a sealed envelope, and walks out. Leaving Ashlyn alone, and her hope that this romantic vacation would rekindle their marriage destroyed.

Ashlyn is a Christian marriage councillor who thought she had her life in order, thought she was in tune with God’s plan. But as her life falls apart—between run-ins with FBI agents and Russian mobsters, her life really is imploding—Ashlyn must reassess who she is, and what is really important.

Canadian author, Eric Wright, gave himself an interesting challenge by writing this novel from Ashlyn’s point of view. He does a commendable job portraying her thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. He also paints the setting for most of this novel, St Simon’s Island, Georgia, with believable strokes. From waitresses to shrimp fishermen, the characters come alive.

Pacing is a bit of an issue in the first part of the novel. I would have liked the action to start a bit sooner. But once it does start, there is no time for Ashlyn or the reader to catch their breath.

Riptide is a fun, satisfying read

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