sonia and deer eyesMY FIRST NOVEL WINS BIG

Deer Eyes has captured a Silver Medal for fiction in the Independent Publisher book awards.

The award (known as an Ippy) was announced May 6, 2015 -and I’m thrilled.

The IP awards program – open to small publishers and self-published writers of both fiction and non-fiction – is one of the world’s largest. This year, nearly 6000 entries poured in from all 50 U.S. states, eight Canadian provinces and 34 other countries.

Competition was thus fierce. Yet my fictional tale -about a botanical artist who inherits a house in the Canadian wilderness and meets a compelling deer hunter – managed to snag the Silver slot in the regional category (eastern Canada).

I’m very pleased as this story is my first attempt at fiction after writing seven non-fiction books.

The awards ceremony takes place in the Big Apple May 27. You can bet I’ll be there to collect that Silver Medal!

Click on this link. If you want more, the paperback version is available from or for about $17.99 or less. The E-book is $7 or less. The plot concerns a botanical painter and the deer hunter she meets – and there’s lots of stuff about plants to interest gardeners. (Sorry, the book is not available from public libraries. I have to earn a living too, folks.)

At the Amazon website, click on my name or the title of the book. Sometimes — don’t ask me why – one of those doesn’t pop up when it should.


Magnificent monkshood. Still blooming in my garden until late every fall. One of my perennial faves among plants.

Yet this is a flower with a very sinister side. Discover what that is by reading Deer Eyes.

Several other plants familiar to gardeners play a role in the novel too, which I describe as“ a mystery-cum middle-aged romance with a dark twist.”


“Probably one of the best novels I have ever read. The plotting is very clever. Script writers should do half as well.” – Harrison Ellenshaw, Los Angeles

“I couldn’t put it down. Absolutely loved it.”
– Lis Eyles-Foley. Mississauga, Ontario

“What a smasheroo of an ending! Positively Shakespearean.”
– Julie Henderson, New York City

“When a book grabs you right from the first line and you keep reading…. that’s a very good sign. Read this book.” — K.J. Lieber, Montreal

I’m now, belatedly, on Facebook. Check for updates about my books and activities at

A new version of my award-winning  book The Untamed Garden: A  Revealing Look At Our Love Affair With Plants is on sale.

The paperback edition sports a lusty brand new cover and would make a neat gift for anyone interested in the sexy world of plants.

It costs only $14.40 if you order it through Amazon. Here is the link>>

It’s also available for less than $20 through any independent bookstore.  Please support them if you can.

This book won the top Gold Award at the Garden Writers’ Association  annual convention. It beat out competition from books all over the  U.S. and Canada and has received rave reviews. More about the book  below.

Read more in these two news stories, published in the Toronto Star:

You never know where a book will take you. Heather Killan of Limehouse, Ontario, bought my memoir Middle-Aged Spread, Moving To the Country At 50 a few years ago and loved a recipe in the book that I devised myself. It’s called Ravishing Redcurrant Cake. She took the book with her during a visit to her daughter’s villa in Cavan, Provence, left it there– and subsequently, many other visitors (and locals) have read the book and fallen in love with the recipe too.

Now, it seems my humble cake has become a popular item in Cavan, which perhaps isn’t that surprising. The French are fond of redcurrants, and this concoction of mine is a great way to use up a bumper crop.

The cake is not too sweet, it’s loaded with redcurrants and also contains a bit of grated orange peel. And the recipe?  Sorry, folks, you’ll have to read Middle-Aged Spread to find out. It’s unfortunately out of print due to the bankruptcy of Key Porter Books, but you should be able to find a copy in your local library. And I’m thinking of updating this memoir and republishing it as an E-book. Let me know if you’re interested.

WATCH ME reading some sexy stuff beside the tallest, most suggestive flower in the world. This flower, called the Amorphophallus Titanum, bloomed for the first time in Canada during May 2012 at Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse. And it caused a huge sensation. The botanical biggie also plays a starring role in my sexy book, The Untamed Garden, A Revealing Look At Our Love Affair With Plants. So videographer Mark Disero and I hopped down to Niagara to witness its performance.

Sonia’s story about the Titan Arum appeared in the Star. Here’s the link:–world-s-tallest-plant-ready-to-bloom-in-niagara-the-real-dirt

My seventh book, The Untamed Garden – A Revealing Look at Our Love Affair With Plants –contains delicious tidbits that may surprise you. I reveal some of its lusty secrets in this gorgeously illustrated little volume, which was deemed so original, informative and entertaining, it won the top Gold award from the Garden Writers’ Association in late 2012.

Why do people like it? Well — whoo hoo — you can read about:

  • A luscious-looking rose whose name scandalized the Victorians.
  • A suggestive plant that caused a Spanish queen to faint at court.
  • The real forbidden fruit which caused the downfall of Adam and Eve.
  • The amazing Coco De Mer, which resembles the pelvis of a naked woman.
  • The reason why men fall in love with orchids.
  • The night-blooming flower with a scent that turns men on.
  • Love potions and lots more.

My colourful little book on growing food in the city (which won Silver at the Canadian Cookbook Awards in late 2011) is now on sale in Turkey under the name Sehirdeki Bahce. The largest and oldest publisher in Turkey, called Inkilap,  bought rights to the book from Firefly, the North American publisher. There are apparently legions of rooftop gardeners in Turkey’s sophisticated capital city, Istanbul, so here’s hoping for big sales!