B.R.B. (Be Right Back)

You’ll have noticed a distinct water-theme in this website. In this first blog, I pay tribute to my hometown and the Ottawa River, my first and lifelong muse. It runs through me wherever I go. The following is the mid-section of a three-part poem invoking this amazing waterway.

High Water

Here in Deep River
the Tim Horton’s
counter stands
at the highwater mark
of an ancient glacial sea.
Beyond the plate glass:
wind and Highway 17.
White pine over the road
grapple with the sky. Likewise,
the skyscraping water tower
with its changing,
high-spirited identity:
but mostly
every year at grad.

The turn off at Deep River Road
is easily missed,
same as any road
to any town up here.
Take it, though, glide down
the sandy remnants of the
Champlain Sea. Careful at
the controversial crosswalk—
await Mrs. Grey with her mail!
Veer right, swoop
farther down to the river: pewter today,
half-tame, lazing in her
accustomed bed, carelessly

My Articles

Pages and Owl’s Nest carrying my books

Calgary fans! All three of my books are now available at Pages on Kensington and Owl’s Nest Books.

Christmas Dreaming in the Nest

Friends and supporters! Come visit me at Owl’s Nest Books this Saturday, November 9 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. when I’ll be trading many hours of reading entertainment in the form of mystery, mayhem and magic for a few paltry dollars! Come munch on candy or chocolate (TBA) while you browse for that discerning reader on your list. Oh–and as for my own books, you can buy the Pine Rapids series individually or as a be-ribboned set. Can’t wait to see you!

Going Deep

An enthusiastic audience of 40 or so turned out at the Deep River Yacht Club for the eastern launch of Riotous Assembly. These are my “Pine Rapids” family, both long-time dear friends and more recent aficionados of Kate Smithers’ adventures in that wacky town up a mid-northern Ontario valley. I was humbled and flattered by the distances some came for the event: from Toronto (by bus!), Ottawa and Killaloe! Just proves there’s no place like home.

Making Tracks for Ontario

The yacht club waterfront calls. Can’t wait to see Ontario friends as I launch Riotous Assembly in Deep River on September 22. 

What a hoot–Owl’s Nest Books

Had a wonderful time meeting Owl’s Nest book lovers and customers at high noon, high summer. Quite a few walked away with one or more “Millar marvels” for their reading pleasure!

Riotous Assembly coming to Owl’s Nest!

Sun, sand, books! Excited to bring my latest, Riotous Assembly, to Owl’s Nest Books this Saturday, July 27, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Grave Concern and The Rules of Partial Existence also available. I’ll be the one at the corner table. Come for the chocolate, stay for the good reads!

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Woohoo! Wasn’t that a party!

THE CALGARY LAUNCH OF Riotous Assembly, the second book in the Pine Rapids series, went off beautifully, with more than 60 invitees—plus a few strays from an unrelated meeting elsewhere in the building!

Paule Poulin mounted a large display of her vibrant art (her work graces the book’s cover); Murray Fitch provided relaxed ambiance on keyboards; Emma, Laura and Marion smoothly womanned the bar; Linda and Lone ably womanned the book sales table; Frank suavely MC’d; and Elizabeth introduced Yours Truly with abundant flattery!

My talk, which I was frankly a tad worried about, went over far better than expected, with lots of laughs had by all.

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On Writing, with Judith Millar

This interview was originally published through Open Book Onterio in September, 2012! Enjoy!

Tell us about your new book, Grave Concern.

Grave Concern is a cross-genre goulash of literary fiction, mystery, humour and romance garnished with a soupçon of magic realism. Despite the dark happenings that set the plot in motion, the book is deliberately entertaining and light in tone. The story: after the sudden death of her parents in a car accident back in Ontario, middle-aged, sharp-witted, underemployed Kate Smithers ditches her antiseptic and lonely existence in a boomtown Western city and returns to her hometown. Living back in her ageing childhood home, she opens a grave-tending business. Needless to say, the longer she remains, the more remains she discovers—in particular, those of long-buried town secrets that eventually reach around, full circle, to Kate herself. 

Your main character, Kate, returns to her hometown in Ontario. What did you enjoy most about setting this novel in the place where you have your own roots?

Pine Rapids’ geography is a composite of a couple of Ottawa Valley towns, while its spirit and street layout is similar to my hometown. It’s always fun setting the action in a place you know well, because it is so indelibly etched on your own being there’s no need to stretch for symbolic meaning. Everything has been working away so long in your unconscious you just have to tell the story and the place participates as a matter of course. On top of that, local readers experience a very real joy; response so far is all crazy grinning and that deep satisfaction you get from having your place seen and recognized. 

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