Monday, October 16, 2017

BOUCHERCON 2017 - Passport to Murder

Two years of anticipation and it’s over in a flash!

Pam and I registered back in 2015 and were confident we’d be published authors by the time the conference rolled around. We were excited to be attending a book conference of this calibre and weren’t disappointed. We also determined that we'd have the first draft of the sequel to "The Silk Shroud" done before Bouchercon and that's also been accomplished.

About 700 authors and nearly twice as many readers, aspiring, and nearly-published writers were in attendance. The Sheraton Hotel on Queen St in Toronto provided comfortable accommodations and all the space required to showcase so many participants. We won’t mention the day we had two fire alarms, shhhh! 

The view from our 34th floor room provided a vista of downtown Toronto, and beyond, that I haven’t seen in a while.

Authors and books and panels, oh my! 
The bookseller’s room held thousands of books for sale. What a great opportunity to pick up books and then have them signed by the author!

As debut authors Pam and I were invited to participate in the Debut Author’s Breakfast held Friday morning, along with about three dozen new authors. It was a fun event as we each had a turn to sell our work within just a minute or two. This is when having a writing partner is invaluable for moral support!
Pam, Liz, Lynn McPherson, Jennifer Soosar

We connected with two other Black Opal Books authors – Lynn McPherson and Jennifer Soosar – who have their debut works published this year as well.

We also took turns promoting Crime Writers of Canada on Saturday, when CWC hosted the hospitality suite. A terrific opportunity to meet fans and other writers.
As well the conference provided the opportunity to reconnect with friends we haven’t seen for a while.

Panels were interesting, informative and fun, but my favourite was the intimate chat between Louise Penny, Rhys Bowen and Deborah Crombie. The ballroom may have been standing room only, but yet the three authors obviously share a friendship and ease with each other which made the attendees feel as if we had joined them for a personal visit.

Rhys Bowen, Louise Penny, Deborah Crombie

Standing room only to listen to the three ladies, but Gloria Ferris and Kay Kendall managed to find two of the best seats in the house!

I was so pleased to be able to hear from the likes of Peter Robinson, Ann Cleeves, and Kathy Reichs to name a few. And so many wonderful, and successful, Canadian authors. If I start naming, I’m afraid I will leave some out! Among them Linwood Barclay, Vicki Delaney, Melodie Campbell and so many more!

Pam with Linwood Barclay

Our Genre5 group have come away with memories, tips and advice. For a while, Genre5 turned into the Magnificent7, when we hooked up with good friends Kay Kendall and Lorie Lee Steiner. I never managed to get a photo with all of us. Lorie is missing from this one.
Donna Houghton, Gloria Ferris, Kay Kendall, Pam, Liz, Donna Warner

I came home tired, but energized, with a new focus on writing. But my writing partner, Pam, left the conference and then headed to Edinburgh, Scotland! I hope she was able to catch some sleep on the flight. She’ll be out of the country until early November, and I have to return to the corporate work world tomorrow.

But on Thursday Oct 19, I’ll be joining  Donna Warner, Gloria Ferris, Alison Bruce and Cheryl Cowtan for our workshop “Conjuring Up a Work of Fiction” at the Elora Public Library. Sure to be another good time!

Kudos and much appreciation to Bouchercon Co-Chairs Helen Nelson and Janet Costello. You and your team provided a memorable event.

And now I think I have a book or two to read.



Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Launch Plus One Month

The official launch for The Silk Shroud on April 23 was a huge success. Held on a beautiful sunny spring day in Oakville, we had standing room only at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Center. 

All books on hand were sold and due to popular demand, Pam and I are hard at work on a sequel. We’d already had the beginnings of a follow-up book in the works thank goodness!

To see a little of our long anticipated launch check us out on YouTube

Didn't matter how cold the day, Jamie Tremain couldn't wait to show off "The Silk Shroud" in February. We'd had a great day with our Genre5 Authors Group just north of Guelph.

We’ve been receiving lots of photos where The Silk Shroud has been travelling. I should be so lucky to reach some of these destinations! From Texas in the United States to Sorrento, Italy, our book is getting around!

Award Winning  Author Kay Kendall in Texas

Long time Jamie Tremain fan, Jane P, took The Silk Shroud along on her trip to Cuba

Pam's brother Raymond 

Raymond's wife Lynda - beautiful gardens at their home in Edinburgh, Scotland

Liz's cousin Mary G, relaxing with a good book in Felixstowe in Suffolk, U.K.

Good friend Linda H has her copy at home in Easly, SC, United States

Fantastico! Shirley J brought The Silk Shroud along to Sorrento, Italy

Liz's sister Michele, enjoys reading during an  R & R break at  the Idlewyld Inn, London, Ontario, Canada 

Terry M shows off a good read in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada

While Pam's sister Caroline has made The Silk Shroud feel at home in the Netherlands!

Daughters are the best - both have shown such great support to their mothers.

Liz's Daughter Christine in Kitchener               and                       Pam's Daughter
                                                                                               Courtney in Barrie, Ontario

One of Jamie Tremain's first confirmed Kindle purchase was
from Pam's sister Rosemary, in Peterborough, England

On vacation with Pauline G in Mexico


And all the way to Victoria, Australia with Pam's cousin, Jan S.

Jamie Tremain is truly grateful and appreciative of the support so many have shown us over the years as we worked towards this goal of being published. We love to see where our book has traveled and would welcome your photo as well for a future post.

Next up for Pam and me, as Jamie Tremain, is to attend the upcoming Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston, Ontario the weekend of June 3-4. If you're in the area come by and see us!

And then it will be Bouchercon 2017 in October. We are really excited to be able to attend!

And remember as you plan your summer get aways and cottage retreats, take along a good book!


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

APRIL 23 2017

A date Jamie Tremain has been working toward for quite some time. Yes, it’s the official launch and book signing for “The Silk Shroud”.

We’ve garnered some fantastic reviews on Amazon and are now gearing up to make the debut of our first novel official. A great opportunity to personally thank so many of our faithful supporters as well.

The event promises to be a little different from other launches and this will be all due to Pam’s proven talent for event planning. A great venue located in Oakville will be the setting and already we’ve received a steady response from those wishing to attend and almost reached capacity seating. WOW!

We’re pretty excited and anticipate a day to remember for our first novel.

“The Silk Shroud” is available through and, as well as Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo. The book can also be ordered directly from our publisher, Black Opal Books. We also have available signed bookplates for those who live farther away and wish to have their copy of the book signed.  An email to will ensure we send you a bookplate right away.

Jamie Tremain will also be attending the Limestone GenreExpo in Kingston in June – details to follow. And Bouchercon 2017 (in Toronto this year) is fast approaching. Some book clubs and other events are being lined up – it promises to be a busy year for Jamie Tremain.

Best Wishes and Blessings for a Happy Easter and Passover!


Saturday, February 11, 2017


If patience is a virtue, then Pam and I should be the monarchs of long suffering.

After a very, very long journey our book, "The Silk Shroud" is set to be released February 18 2017!

I've gone through at least two computers since starting this foray into the writing world. Countless re-writes and discussions with Pam over our characters and the direction of the story have made weeks fly into months, turning into years.

Well it's all finally coming to fruition and we are beyond excited.

Over the years so many of our family and friends have been faithful encouragers and supporters, never giving up on us - a HUGE Thank You to each and every one of you. To our steadfast and devoted followers of the blog and on Facebook - we truly could not have done it without your reassurances that we would see our book in print.

More details will follow in the coming days regarding an official launch, where Jamie Tremain hopes to share in our success with you in person.

Until then - Cheers!


Friday, December 30, 2016

No time for Goodbyes

It's been six months between blog posts. Not a good thing when those that follow Jamie Tremain wonder what happened. Is it time to give it up and move on to another form of communication? I don’t think so. Life, in all its forms, got in the way. Big time.

2016 started off well with the writing. Liz and I made some revisions to The Silk Shroud and sent the manuscript to the publisher after some blood, sweat and tears. We kept busy with editing another book and plotting of a sequel to Silk Shroud while we waited on the second edit. You need lots of patience in this business.

This was a milestone year for me. January, I had a HUGE birthday and looked forward to other celebrations. Our 50th wedding anniversary on June 4th with friends and family was special. June 16th was our 50th year as Canadians. July, we toasted my dear friend Bertha’s 100th birthday.

And then things started to unravel. My younger brother Alister, was diagnosed with lung cancer. I made plans to fly to Scotland. He died Aug 23. I was late by two days and did not get to say goodbye.
A week after a very emotional funeral, (he was loved by many) my husband Peter called to say Bertha had died very peacefully on September 5th, with her daughter Sandra by her side. This beautiful woman was my Canadian mother and once more I did not say goodbye.

Reeling with this news I decided to stay longer to assist where I could with the family. Nothing prepared me for the phone call the next day. I had called home to find out how Peter was coping on his own. He never did learn to cook. My grandson answered and said Grandad was in the hospital/intensive care after having a heart attack. I just went numb and with the help of Peter’s nephew I made it home to Canada in 24hours. I went from the airport to the hospital to visit Peter. The doctor had scheduled open heart surgery. Next day I visited the beautiful new hospital in Oakville and we sat for two hours chatting. Hooked up to monitors and tubes, the nurse said he could walk to the bathroom. He told me to go grab a coffee while he changed his gown and brushed his teeth. Those were his last words to me. I'll always remember September 9th. Once more there were no goodbyes.

Why am I harping on about saying goodbye? There must be a moral here somewhere. Say all you must say to your loved ones now. Don’t wait until they are gone. It has been three months since Peter died and it is still surreal.

My writing life will perhaps save me from moping and maudlin thoughts. I've lived long enough to have ammunition to write but never three deaths in three weeks of people I loved dearly.
The second edits are here and Liz and I, as Jamie Tremain, are looking forward to a publishing date very soon. Stay tuned for updates.

Many thanks to my family, friends, the writing community and many of Peter’s friends I had not met, who gave me love and support these last months.

Goodbye 2016, I will not miss you.
Hello, 2017. The best to all of you for a happy and prosperous New Year.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fifty Years a Canadian

We were very young. I was twenty and my new husband twenty-two. Twelve days married and we were flying off to a new country that we knew little about. We were told it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer but not much else. After our wonderful wedding, we said our goodbyes to our family and friends.

We were supposed to sail but a boat strike was on so we flew on a Boeing 427 or maybe 707, I think. What did I know about planes as I’d never been on one? Peter had to drag me over the tarmac. I think I cried for a solid hour before I was introduced to a Manhattan cocktail. Now that perked me up as it sounded so exotic. I’ve loved them ever since. I had a look out the window and saw a Rolls Royce symbol on the wing and felt safe so I settled down for the rest of the journey.

Why Canada you ask? Why not? We were young and wanted to see the world. Hitchhiking in Europe had given us the bug to do something different but no one had prepared us for the June heat in Toronto.
We landed in Montreal and took the train to Toronto to be met by my cousin Joe in a ’57 Chevrolet. It looked like a bus as we climbed into the back seat. White with big wings on the back. Red terry toweling covered the seats in case we stuck to the vinyl upholstery. No air in this car.

Peter was wearing a three- piece suit with shirt and tie. We didn’t clue into the fact that he could have removed his tie at least. I was wearing a wool (going away suit) that’s what brides wore from the honeymoon. Pill box hat, (I thought I was Jackie Onassis) and patent leather shoes. We must have looked odd to everyone else wearing sandals and shorts. We adapted fairly quickly after I got over the heat prostration.

We both landed jobs quickly. Peter in the Metro Police department and I in an office as a switchboard operator. After a month, we had our own apartment.
Culturally Canada was different but we soon came to love everything Canadian. There was the usual comparison about how people live, music, politics and other aspects of life. I took to it like water. Not so my husband. He became very homesick. After seven years he wanted to go home. So we did.
This time, we sailed to Southampton on a Polish liner with our first child Erik who was two. It was an expensive move. We were back in our condo apartment in three months. Fortunately, it hadn’t sold.

No, you can’t go home again. The family is the same but all your friends in the meantime have gone on with their lives without you. Some have moved away and others talk about things you’ve never heard of.

New jobs, two more children, a new home in the suburbs and many friends to share our lives.
Canada has been good to us. Its our home and we love it. Yet we still call Edinburgh, Scotland, home. I think that is true of anyone who is an immigrant. I like to visit my home country and see family and old friends but when I come back to Canada it feels good to be ‘ home’.

Our three children gave us five terrific grandsons. Watching them grow up in this wonderful country warms my heart.

June 16th/1966-June 16th/2016. Here’s to the next…

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Green River Falling

Introducing R.J. MCMILLEN -  

The Author Behind the Dan Connor Mystery Series

Jamie Tremain is pleased to highlight R.J. (Rachel) McMillen on the blog this month. We are eagerly anticipating the release of her third Dan Connor Mystery on May 17 – “Green River Falling”

Set along BC’s remote central coast, Dan Connor is asked, by his friend Walker,  to discover the truth behind the brutal murder of five pipeline employees. A Haida man is suspected of being the one responsible, and may also be connected to the disappearance of a journalist. This is Walker’s friend and he insists he is innocent. Dan investigates, Walker goes missing, and then Dan is attacked and left for dead. Can no one escape the path of the real killer?

Rachel McMillen is a nomad of sorts who divides her time between Canada and Mexico. Born in England, and raised in Australia, she spent 3 years working in Greece before meeting her Irish-Canadian husband (they were married in India) and moving to Canada to raise her family. She and her husband spent many years exploring the beautiful west coast of British Columbia, on board their sailboat, Maquinna.

She has written numerous magazine and newspaper articles, as well as a travel guide to Baja California,  Mexico, titled: "Driving Baja". 

Welcome, Rachel, to our Blog

The spectacular west coast of Canada is the setting for these stories, and you have a current running through each book, the environment. This must be important to you because you’ve ensured its woven throughout. Can you provide our readers with a little background on why you decided to make this an integral part of your story telling?

Well, first of all, I think the west coast of Canada is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and yet it is mostly unknown, even to the people of British Columbia. Using this area as a backdrop for my stories gives me the opportunity to introduce this magical place to those who have not experienced it. Secondly, it provides me with the opportunity to indulge another one of my passions, which is sailing, and that, combined with the environment, helps me weave the twists and turns of my plot.

After three books, and I believe a fourth is in the works, do you have a recognizable routine for your drafts? Are you more prone to get the plot down first, or develop character profiles?

I start out by putting my main characters, Dan Connor and Walker, into a particular location, and then I add a current political or environmental issue and develop both plot and characters to go with that. While I always have a plan for where I am going, the details get filled in chapter by chapter. New characters often seem to appear along the way!

How long have you been writing?  Which is not the same thing as how long since you were first published. Jamie Tremain is well aware of how long it can take from the first draft to a contract.

I have to say I’ve been writing all my life. In Grade 10 I won a state-wide essay contest (this was in Australia), which came with a prize of $50 – a seemingly enormous amount in those days. I continued on to publish various articles, poems and short stories in the Melbourne University newspaper and the Literary magazine the Arts Department put out, and then when I moved to Canada I started contributing to magazines such as Pacific Yachting and B.C. Outdoors on a regular basis. Writing novels just seemed to be a natural progression.

You are a member of CWC. Are there any other writing/author organizations you belong to? What are benefits to belonging to a writing association?

I am also a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada as well as the Federation of B.C. Writers. Each of those serves a different but equally valuable purpose. The Writers’ Union is the most political, and it works to protect not only the rights of all Canadian writers, but also to keep us informed of what’s happening in the world of publishing, copyrights, contracts etc.

The FBCW is really Writers helping Writers. It provides workshops and organizes events where writers can improve their craft and share their stories and it does a great job of letting members know when there are opportunities to get together. Writing is a lonely occupation, and it is easy to become isolated. Organizations like this help ensure the free flow of ideas and knowledge.
Crime Writers of Canada is, of course, specific to those of us that write mysteries, and it not only provides me with a way of promoting my work but it also hands out the Arthur Ellis awards – the Oscars of Canadian Crime Writing!

By the time you’ve completed the last page of the last chapter, is there something you hope the reader feels about the story or characters?

Oh, yes. I think more than anything, I hope the reader feels that he/she has been involved, not only in the story itself, but also in both the environmental and cultural setting. I had one reader tell me that she was actually “a little bit in love with Dan Connor,” and I thought that was wonderful because it meant that Dan Connor was real to her.  Another asked me if I was ever going to find a woman for Walker to marry because he deserved to be happy, and again, I was delighted by the question (although the answer is ‘probably not’). And I think the greatest compliment I have ever received, and one that gave me an enormous amount of satisfaction, was when a Haida man stood up at the end of a reading I did on Haida Gwaii, and said that I was one of the few non-native people who, in his words, “got it”.

Is there anything about this third Dan Connor story that sets it apart from the previous two?

I think that over the course of the three books, each has become more tied to current events and to environmental and political issues. All of those things are certainly featured more strongly in Green River Falling. The plot is loosely tied in to the northern pipelines and the environmental protests that have gone along with them, and there is reference to the Residential Schools and their legacy. Of course there is also reference to the history of Cow Bay, and to a certain café that sells the most amazing cinnamon buns!

You’ve also mentioned that you are careful to check and verify cultural references in your books. Is this done before the story is finished, or do you wait until it’s complete?

Before I start to write a book, I visit the place(s) I want to use for the setting (usually places my husband and I sailed to in earlier times). While I am there, I explore the area and learn as much as I can about the culture of the folks that live there. Then I find someone from the local band who is willing to edit the story from a cultural accuracy point of view. For the first book, Dark Moon Walking, I was blessed by meeting a man who was both from the local band and an ex-RCMP officer. With Black Tide Rising, the son of the only remaining family on Nootka Island (who happens to be a well-known carver), agreed to work with me. For Green River Falling, a Haida weaver, who also works at the Haida cultural centre as a cultural guide, was my cultural editor. Most often, I will send those folks one or two chapters at a time, and then follow up with a bigger section once any necessary changes have been made.

Jamie Tremain creates in depth profiles for our characters, but not everything we know about our character makes it into the story. Is there something about Dan Connor that your readers might not be aware?

Dan Connor is the mirror-image of Walker. He ‘s white, and he started out as a carefree, confidant young man who had the world by the tail when he joined the RCMP. He did well, got promoted, met a girl, fell in love, got married – everything in his life was perfect, until it all fell apart. His world collapsed and he tried to lose himself in the maze of islands that form the west coast of Canada.

Walker was a Native youth who was disenchanted with his village and his culture, found his way to the big city, met up with the wrong crowd, and got into trouble. When things go terribly wrong for him, he goes back to his village, in that same maze of islands, in order to find himself.

It is the interplay between these two that forms the backbone of all the books.

Do you have any plans to move away from a series and write a stand- alone mystery, or another genre?

I am currently writing the fourth book in the series, Gray Sea Running, and I have been invited to visit the Makah in Neah Bay, Washington to research the setting for the fifth, so the series will continue, but I have also started a Literary novel, which is about a young Afghani boy who is orphaned in the war with the Taliban, and who is found by a medic at the Canadian Forces base in Kandahar.

When you’re not writing, or travelling, how do you like to spend your time?

Well, there’s not a lot of time left after all the writing and travelling, but I do love to join friends for a coffee in the park, and I walk my dogs every day, and if I can squeeze it in, I like to weave on the lovely 8-harness loom I keep set up in the spare bedroom!

Thanks, Rachel, for being our guest today. We wish you much continued success with Dan Connor and can’t wait to read Green River Falling.

Reviews for R.J. McMillen
“McMillen is a solid plotter and there are no extraneous clues. What really makes Black Tide Rising zing is her love for the scenery and setting. You can almost smell the salt air and feel the trees. That, along with some interesting characters, makes for a terrific weekend book. This is a perfect cottage hostess gift.”  Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

Goodreads Readers’ Reviews for Dark Moon Walking
This is an excellent well-written mystery novel set in the coastal islands of British Columbia. The story brings together real modern day threats with believable characters and modern day First Nations circumstance and lore” - Al

“I love the idea of a mystery series based right here in BC. This first volume was a great start. The author is obviously well-acquainted with the coastal waters of the Inside Passage, and her vivid descriptions of the natural landscape were enthralling.”   Joanne

And for Black Tide Rising
“This was a pretty good mystery/ thriller. I loved the location: Nootka Island on the isolated West Coast of Vancouver Island. The story mixes in parts of West Coast Indian lore, RCMP activity and the BC criminal elements. The main characters doesn't ride to the rescue all the time but actually requires and gets lots of assistance. I really enjoyed the geography aspects of the story. The place names keep me looking at maps and visualizing what was there. Excellent read!”  - William

Be sure to watch for Green River Falling due to be released  May 17 2016 from Touchwood Editions.
And you can follow Rachel on Facebook