Mike Martin – an update on a new novel

Mike Martin was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in November, 2013, and again in May, 2014. He’s back now to tell us about a new novel!


A Twist of Fortune
by Mike Martin

The small town of Grand Bank in southeast Newfoundland, at the very eastern tip of Canada is in crisis. Their largest employer and a link to the glorious past, the fish plant is closing. Sgt. Winston Windflower’s personal life is also in crisis since his longtime girlfriend, Sheila Hillier is leading a community protest to try and stop the closure. It may be too late for the fish plant, but is it too late for Windflower and Sheila?

If that isn’t enough, they are being buried in snow and an epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is creating major problems for people and the police who patrol the area. An accidental death on a snow-covered highway leads only to more questions and more problems for Sgt. Windflower and the RCMP to resolve.

A Twist of Fortune is the fourth book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series and it continues the adventures of Sgt. Windflower as he tries to solve crime and experience the joy and the sadness of life in a small Newfoundland community. Follow along as he feels the sometimes bitter taste of an east coast winter and the unique culinary delights of this part of the world. This story is like the weather in Newfoundland. It can twist and turn at any time.

The Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series is set in small fishing communities on the southeast coast of Newfoundland on the easternmost tip of Canada. They feature RCMP Sgt. Winston Windflower, a Cree from Northern Alberta who fights crime, solves murders and tries to have a good time doing it. There are now four books in the series: The Walker on the Cape, The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface and now A Twist of Fortune.

All of the books provide information and history about the local area that has been populated by fisherman from all over the world since the 1600s. They also highlight the culture, customs and food of Newfoundland which Windflower learns to love and enjoy as much as the locals. He also finds the love of his life and a place where he can feel at home.

The series has been compared to some British mysteries like Hamish MacBeth and A Touch of Frost. It has also been optioned for TV.

Where you may purchase Mike’s book:
Amazon UK
Chapters Indigo

Paul Butler – an update on a re-release

I read Paul Butler’s novel, Hero, when it was first published in 2010 and I was the Alberta sales rep for Nimbus Publishing and Vagrant Press. I enjoyed reading this book so much that I “hand-sold” it not only to my bookstore and library customers, but also other reader friends I knew would enjoy it just as much. I was so pleased when Paul announced that this earlier novel was being re-released by the same publisher that I just had to invite him back to Reading Recommendations to tell us about Hero! It probably goes without saying that I highly recommend this book and its author. (Paul was previously featured here in Sept. 2014, and has been a welcome supporter since that time, so much so that I’ve listed him as one of my All-Star Authors.)


Paul Butler
published by Nimbus Publishing and Vagrant Press
literary fiction/historical novel

In a St. John’s hospital in 1945, Elsa Evans keeps a furtive vigil over the deathbed of Abram Kean, the renowned sealing captain. Remembering her first husband and her two brothers killed in the trenches thirty years before, and another young friend, Noah, frozen on the ice during the sealing disaster of 1914, Elsa contemplates a hideous revenge. The shock of her own bitterness forces her to retrace part of her life which is interwoven with those of her former employers, Simon and Sarah Jenson.

On the morning of July 1916, officer Lt. Simon Jenson, severely shell-shocked and demoralized after a year and a half in the trenches, fails in leadership, hanging behind his men as they march through into no-man’s-land. When a figure emerges from the drifting smoke, he thrusts the blade of his bayonet forward not into the enemy but into the body of Charles Baxter, a comrade and the brother of his fiancée, Sarah. Surviving against the odds, and with his battlefield actions misinterpreted, Simon is feted as a hero. But when Simon returns from the war, Sarah finds him emotionally fragile and prone to violent rages – not even their young daughter Lucy can cheer him. Worse, their lives are soon overtaken by the shadow of blackmail, and Sarah and Elsa, Lucy’s governess, are forced to reconsider everything they once believed about loyalty, valour, and responsibility.

“[A] brilliant new novel . . . Butler uses imaginative, textured language to convey the emotional contradictions of his characters. . .” Atlantic Books Today on Hero

Nimbus Publishing and Vagrant Press

Where to purchase Hero:
eBook and paperback available
Amazon Canada
Amazon US
Barnes and Noble
and Independent Bookstores throughout Canada
See on Goodreads

Paul Bowdring

Paul BowdringPaul Bowdring

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The Strangers’ Gallery, a novel.

Quick description: An “historical” novel set in present-day St. John’s , Newfoundland.

St. John’s archivist Michael Lowe’s life is turned on its head when a Dutch acquaintance, Anton Aalders, arrives on his doorstep in 1995. Anton is searching for a father he never met, ostensibly a Newfoundland soldier who was part of the Allied forces that liberated the Netherlands at the end of the Second World War. Anton’s visit stretches from a few days to a few months, reluctant as he is to go in search of his father, and keen to learn as much as he can about Newfoundland, its history, and its people. Rabble-rouser and ardent Newfoundland patriot Brendan “Miles” Harnett, Michael’s friend and sometime bugbear, is obsessed with his own search for the lost “fatherland” of Newfoundland, which relinquished its political independence in 1934. Miles is only too eager to teach Anton—and Michael—the shameful, forgotten history (as he sees it) of the lost country of Newfoundland.

Strangers gallery cover NEW-1

Brief biography:
Paul Bowdring is the author of three novels: The Roncesvalles Pass, The Night Season, and The Strangers’ Gallery, which won the 2013 Winterset Award, the 2014 Nfld. Heritage & History Award, has been nominated for the 2015 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and is on the Long Shortlist for the 2014 ReLit Awards. He lives in St. John’s.

Links to buy Paul’s book:
Nimbus Publishing
Chapters-Indigo – paperback
Kobo – eBook
Amazon – eBook & paperback
and bookstores across Canada

Paul’s promo links:
Nimbus Publishing
Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC)
Writers’ Alliance of NL (WANL)

What are you working on now?
Finished a fourth novel tentatively scheduled to be published by Nimbus in fall 2015.

Paul’s reading recommendation:
Just finished re-reading (every year!) my very favourite novel: Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (1989), remarkable in so many ways, but for me, as a writer, its outstanding control of voice and tone is second to none. And I am always reminded of Ezra Pound’s remark: “Literature is news that stays news.”

Paul Butler

Paul Butler Paul Butler

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest book is a novel entitled The Good Doctor.

Quick description: The story revolves around an imposter pretending to be the renowned “medical missionary”, Doctor Wilfred Grenfell. The real Dr. Grenfell arrived in Newfoundland in 1882 as part of a mission for deep sea fishermen. After staffing a hospital ship, helping to set up nursing stations in Labrador, and founding a hospital in northern Newfoundland, he began to reach extraordinary levels of fame, particularly in the US where he did most of his fundraising. We first encounter the “fake” Dr. Grenfell on the lecture circuit of the northeastern US in 1910. The story traces their common history as medical students in the London of the 1880s when they shadowed each other through the East End slums, through the wards and corridors of the London training hospital, and through the affections of a young nurse. It transpires the doctors remain more closely linked than we could have imagined.


And if you are in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on Thurs. Sept. 18:
Please join us for the official launch of The Good Doctor by Paul Butler on Thursday, September 18, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at Chapters (70 Kenmount Road, St. John’s). The book will be available for purchase. The author will read from his work at the beginning of the event and then sign copies. There will be light refreshments.

From acclaimed author Paul Butler comes The Good Doctor – a tale of intrigue and mystery. A man claiming to be the famed medical missionary Doctor Wilfred Grenfell confounds an assembly gathered to listen to a fundraising lecture. Thirty years later, a journalist tracks the history between the imposter and the real Grenfell.

For more information, please contact Flanker Press at 709-739-4477 ext. 24 (toll-free at 1-866-739-4420 ext. 24) or visit http://www.flankerpress.com.

Brief biography:
Paul Butler is the author of ten novels including Titanic Ashes (2012), Hero (2009) and NaGeira (2006). His work has appeared on the judges’ lists for Canada Reads, the Relit Longlist for three consecutive years (2011, 2010 and 2009), and he was a winner in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards four times between 2003 and 2008 at which time he retired from the competition to be literary representative, and then chair, of the Arts and Letters Committee. He was born in the UK, emigrated to Canada in 1994, and lives now in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, where he works as an editor and runs creative writing workshops both live and online with a special focus on the novel.

Links to buy Paul’s book:
Flanker Press – eBook and print
Chapters/Indigo – print
Kobo – eBook
Amazon – print
Amazon Kindle – eBook

Paul’s promo links:
Author Website
Goodreads Author Page

What are you working on now?
I have been working on a novel set partly in St. John’s, Newfoundland, during the ferocious winter of 1818 when the harbour was frozen over and supplies diminishing.

Paul’s reading recommendation:
I have been reading some books by Sarah Waters, most recently The Little Stranger which is set in a kind of crumbling post World War II Britain and is a highly unusual take on the ghost story. One of the things I particularly enjoy about her novels is the depth of her understanding of the times she sets them in. The era itself almost becomes one of the characters whether it’s the grimy 1870s of Fingersmith, or the despondency of 1940s/50s England in The Little Stranger.