Category Archives: Without Proof

Without Proof Photo Album

I’ve shared photos before of things my characters might have seen in Secrets and Lies, and today I have a few images from Without Proof. If you’ve read the novel, you’ll know that Amy’s estranged father wants to be part of her life, but there’s a lot of hurt for her to get past first. When he visits Nova Scotia, once she agrees to meet him, they spend part of a day prowling some of the local tourist sites to avoid the awkwardness of sitting and making conversation.

A natural spot for them to visit is Peggy’s Cove, which is not too far from where Amy lives and which is the home of perhaps the most photographed lighthouse in Canada. Here’s a brief tour:

Wooden bench on the rocks at Peggy's Cove

Amy and Neal may have sat on this bench when they shared a brief heart-to-heart.

View from the bench: plenty of ocean, with the rock-lined edge of a roadway in the foreground.

Looking straight ahead, this is what they might have seen, if the wind was calm that day.

The iconic Peggy's Cove lighthouse, surrounded by tourists.

Looking to the left, they’d have seen the iconic lighthouse, surrounded by tourists. Yes, this whole area is essentially a collection of huge rocks with a few plants growing wherever they can.

Peggy's Cove Fisherman's Monument, carved by William E. deGarthe

Amy pointed out the Fisherman’s Monument to Neal. The monument was carved by William E. deGarthe, and if you click the image, the link will take you to more information. As I said, the rocks are everywhere. So too are persistent plants. In the lower right-hand corner are wild rose bushes, and you can see grass and a few trees as well.

Wild rose growing in a crack of a granite boulder

Trivia point: the background image of my website is a huge chunk of Peggy’s Cove granite with a tenacious wild rose blooming in a crack. Here’s a smaller version of the image.

If you walked up to the restaurant and out onto the point, you’d see a greater expanse of boulders that project like hills into the sea. People love to clamber across the rocks, although, tragically, some venture onto the slippery black rocks where the water comes, and get swept into the ocean. I didn’t include that part of the locale in our photo tour, nor the restaurant and shops, because how many pictures do you really want to look at? And I didn’t include a shot of the gourmet ice cream sold on-site, because that would have just been cruel. 🙂

If you haven’t read the novel and want to know more (it’s Christian romantic suspense), check out the Without Proof book page.

[All photos on this page are my own, taken by me.]

Novel Research: the fun and the strange

“What’s the strangest tidbit you discovered in researching your novel?”

That’s a question I like to ask other writers in interviews. Or, “what’s the most interesting thing you learned,” or “what was the most fun to research?”

Today I’m asking myself those questions. Writing suspense novels means most of what I research is unpleasant. Sometimes I even wonder if someone in a uniform will show up at my door to take away my laptop. I try to get the difficult topics out of the way first, so I can reward myself with the lighter things.

So… here’s what I’d call the most fun… and the strangest:

Heaven’s Prey: most fun: definitely the racing. In the name of research, I attended the movie Kart Racer, about a boy learning to race competive go-karts. Much later in the process, I discovered a slew of online videos on driving tips and engine sounds.

Secrets and Lies: most fun: spending a day with my husband, visiting the Centre Island Park where Carol and Joey picnicked in the novel.

Paddleboard and sailboat as seen from Toronto's Island park.

Carol and Joey may have seen views like this.

Without Proof: strangest: causes of small plane crashes. In all seriousness, plane crashes are not funny. People get hurt or killed, costly damage happens. But setting the tragedy aside momentarily, some of the circumstances of these accidents are highly amusing. My favourite, I think, is the crocodile incident as described below:

A passenger brought aboard a crocodile hidden in a sports bag. The crocodile escaped, causing a panic among passengers who all rushed to one end of the plane. This caused an imbalance in the aircraft which led to loss of control and a crash.
[source: http://www.planecrashinfo.com/unusual.htm]

The article at the PlaneCrashInfo.com site is lengthy, but it’s an interesting history of unusual accidents from 1933 to 2010. Some are sabotage, others are stupidity. If you’re so inclined, there’s a lot more things to check out on the site.

What about my new series? The crime and health resources would give spoilers for the books, and they’ve been neither fun nor strange so far. One thing I’ve been looking at is dory photos, to find out what the boat looks like in front of the Green Dory Inn. (The boat’s not seaworthy, and the owner has turned it into a flower garden.)

Oh — and what I think may be the most fun research? I’d like to know what the best chocolate dessert is in the Town of Lunenburg, and where it’s available. Who says research can’t be hands-on?

On the Wonder of Flying

Last week I had the opportunity to share a guest post at the Castle Gate Press blog, on a “behind the scenes” aspect of writing Without Proof.

Flying has always caught at my imagination, and this post let me chat about how it led to the small plane flight in the novel. You can read it here: Behind the Scenes: Author Janet Sketchley and the Wonder of Flying.

Without Proof: the Playlist

Each of the Redemption’s Edge novels has an associated soundtrack in my head. For Secrets and Lies, it may have leaked into readers’ heads, too, because the novel is full of references to songs. For Heaven’s Prey and Without Proof, the music isn’t mentioned by name, but my imagination links certain songs with certain characters or situations.

Here’s my playlist for Without Proof: music that complements the characters and theme. Below the YouTube screen, I’ve listed each title and artist. Most connect with Amy’s identity struggles, but there’s also Michael’s song for Amy and what I think of as Michael’s and Gilles’ song from back in the day. Scroll down and have a look 🙂

Without Proof playlist:
Come as You Are” by Crowder
Always” by the Newsboys
Say You Need Love” by the Newsboys
What Are You Waiting For?” by Nickelback
Let it All Come Out” by the Newsboys
The Letter” by the Newsboys
I Belong” by Kathryn Scott
“My New Name” by Todd Agnew (not in the YouTube mix… I couldn’t find it there)
Child of God” by Kathryn Scott
Yours to Hold” by Skillet (Michael’s song for Amy)
A Friend Like You” by Geoff Moore and The Distance (Michael’s and Gilles’ song)

Oatmeal Brown Bread

Each novel in my Redemption’s Edge series has a recipe that’s significant to one of the characters. For Without Proof, it’s Aunt Bay’s brown bread, which is suspiciously like my adaptation of Grammie W’s…

For the rest of the story, head over to Country at Heart Recipes.

Oatmeal Brown Bread Recipe: to see the directions in print, follow the link to the Country at Heart Recipes post

Without Proof: Christmas Prologue

Whether or not you’ve read my new romantic suspense, Without Proof, here’s a short peek into Amy’s world that first Christmas after the plane crash:

Without Proof [Redemption's Edge 3]One of Amy’s spun glass Christmas angels twisted on its golden thread, sparkling in the tree lights. Of the original six, five remained, treasured links to her childhood.

Michael and his great-aunt had invited her to add a few ornaments to the bushy spruce he’d brought home this afternoon. Another thoughtful gesture in a string of kindnesses they’d shown her since the plane crash.

Amy inhaled the pungent sharpness of a real tree. She’d had a tabletop artificial one when she lived alone, and in the excitement of wedding plans, she and Gilles hadn’t thought ahead to Christmas.

Now it was moot. Amy’s fiancé lay in a frozen cemetery while she took refuge with his best friend.

Her injuries were healing. Her heart, not so much.

[To read the rest, click here: Without Proof Bonus Christmas Prologue.pdf.]

Win a Print Copy of Without Proof

This week there are two chances to win a print copy of Without Proof:

At Thinking Thoughts: New Novel News (ended Nov 23, 2015)

and at A Christian Writer’s World (ended Nov. 28, 2015)

Don’t need a copy of the book? Stop by and check out the interviews. Some of the questions made me think!

Without Proof available for print and in multiple ebook formats.

Read an excerpt from Without Proof

Want to read an excerpt from Without Proof? Here’s the start of chapter one: 

The doorbell echoed from the main floor. Amy dropped the square of sandpaper onto the frame she’d been finishing and flexed her aching fingers.

Overhead, light footsteps headed for the door. Michael’s aunt could sign for the delivery, but Amy wanted to check the boxes. She rolled her shoulders to work out a kink, then slid from the stool and brushed a layer of dust from her clothing.

Aunt Bay’s voice met her at the top of the basement stairs. “She may not want to talk to you.”

Not the printer order after all. She, as in me? Amy took a few silent steps but stopped out of sight.

Want to read more? Here’s the link to the rest of the Without Proof excerpt (it’s too long to post here).

Without Proof [Redemption's Edge 3][ Want the full story? Buy links are on the Without Proof page, and there’s a pre-order sale price for the ebook versions until Nov. 10.]

Without Proof: Meet the Supporting Cast

In getting to know the characters of Without Proof, we’ve met Amy, the heroine, Michael, her boss, and Aunt Bay, Michael’s great-aunt.

Today I want to introduce you to some of the secondary characters:

Emilie Renaud is the youngest sister of Amy’s dead fiancé, Gilles. She’s attending university in Halifax, NS, instead of her home city of Montreal, because she wanted to be near her brother… and to be near Michael, truth told. Emilie’s quirky, fun, and her hair is usually some bright, eye-catching colour.

Luc Renaud is Gilles and Emilie’s father. He owns an elite car dealership with showrooms in Montreal and Halifax, and divides his time between them. Luc has always been kind to Amy, but her questions about the crash turn him hostile.

Ross Zarin and his father occasionally buy Michael’s paintings for their hotel chain. Ross understands grief, and he’d like to help Amy with hers. He knows that sometimes those closest to us are too close to see when we’re ready to move on with life.

Troy Hicks is the journalist who starts it all with his questions to Amy. Troy’s a friend of Michael’s, and he and Michael attend the same men’s group at Troy’s church.

Safia and Dafiq are a mother and preschool-aged son who live next door to Michael’s gallery and studio. I just realized I never learned their surname, or Safia’s husband’s name. Safia is gentle and friendly, and Dafiq is, well, exuberant. Aunt Bay has a special fondness for him, cultivated out of kindness for his mother, who has no family nearby for support.

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Without Proof [Redemption's Edge 3]

“Asking questions could cost your life.”

Two years after the plane crash that killed her fiancé, Amy Silver has fallen for his best friend, artist Michael Stratton. When a local reporter claims the small aircraft may have been sabotaged, it reopens Amy’s grief.

Anonymous warnings and threats are Amy’s only proof that the tragedy was deliberate, and she has nowhere to turn. The authorities don’t believe her, God is not an option, and Michael’s protection is starting to feel like a cage.

Do you like clean reads with a Christian thread? Grab your copy today at the Without Proof book page.

Idea to Book

Ever wondered how a few scattered ideas turn into a novel? It’s a question I hear every so often, and I suspect the answer is different for every writer. Perhaps even for each book.

Without Proof is my third novel, and I’m still learning what works best for me, in terms of discovering the story. Seeds of this one showed up a long time ago, in a little coil-bound red notepad that I can’t find today. They percolated while I worked on other things, and when it was time to start writing, it looked like this:

Apparently graph paper is the best for my creative process.

Apparently graph paper is the best for my creative process.

For keeping the plot events in order, I played a bit with a great program called Aeon Timeline, but it turns out I need to see a calendar grid. That looked like this:

Sticky notes were so easy to move around!

Sticky notes were so easy to move around!

The writing happened in Scrivener, which is one of my best writing friends. [If you’re doing NaNoWriMo in November and you meet your goal, I think you’ll get discount codes for Scrivener, Aeon Timeline and others. If not, Scrivener gives you a month’s free trial, which should be long enough to convince you.]

I don’t work well with a word count deadline, so I committed to a few hours a day, Monday to Friday, seat in chair, fingers on keyboard, writing. I learned to stop in mid-scene for easier re-start the next day. I’d skim the previous day’s work and make minor tweaks, but instead of editing, I kept following the story.

Until I found my rhythm, the first 100 words were the hardest. Every day. For weeks. There had been such a long period of editing and marketing after writing the early drafts of Secrets and Lies that I was way out of practice. I suspect this will simply be part of the cycle.

The calendar chart helped. One character wanted to do something early, and the chart reinforced my argument that he had to wait. When another character wanted to speed things up, I saw that it could work, so he went ahead.

After finishing the draft, there were revisions, more revisions, and yet more revisions. Professional editing. More editing. More revisions. Early reader comments. More revisions.

Cover and layout design, and the publishing process. [I’m an indie author, so I did this part with the help of Scrivener (ebooks) and CreateSpace (print).]

At the end of the process:

Box of books.

So pleased with the finished product!

The official print launch will be Saturday, Nov. 7, 2pm at Regal Road Baptist Church in Dartmouth, NS. If you’re near enough to know where that is, you’re invited! Otherwise, check out the Without Proof page if you’re looking for preorder links. (Psst… the paperback is already available online through Amazon.)

Do you write short stories or novels? Scroll down to leave a comment telling us about your creative process.