Meet Guest Author Susan M. Toy


Susan M. ToyI have been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and a promoter of fellow authors and their books through my company, Alberta Books Canada. I am also an author and publisher, under my imprints, IslandCatEditions and IslandShorts. Through Alberta Books Canada, I represented authors directly, helping them find promotion for themselves and their books, seeking out new readers, and assisting them in making wise career decisions. I championed Alberta authors in particular, singing their praises throughout the province and online to the rest of the world, and displayed books for authors and publishers at Alberta library conferences. I continue to promote authors and good books in general, throughout the world and online, with my blog, Reading Recommendations. I created the writing contest, Coffee Shop Author, sat on the Board of Directors of the Fernie Writers’ Conference, served as a member of the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program steering committee, and was a member of the board of directors for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. I now concentrate on my own writing and publishing, dividing my time between Canada and our Caribbean home in the Caribbean.

Bequia Map 01
In 1996, my partner and I packed up everything in Calgary to live in the house we built on the island of
Bequia in the Caribbean. During this time, I began writing a murder mystery set on the island. When I’d received my 38th rejection from publishers for that manuscript, I decided perhaps it was time to take some writing courses, as reading books and a life-long literary-based career didn’t seem to be enough training for writing my own novel.Bequia Map 02

Besides studying online through the Humber School of Creative Writing, I enrolled in other courses, covering trade publishing and editing. A fellow student talked me into entering a writing contest, which I enjoyed so much that I became a contest jumkie, entering several NaNoWriMo and 3-Day Novel contests, and managed to stack up 5 novels, 3 novellas, and 13+ short stories throughout that time. I even won prizes with three entries.

I moved back to Calgary in 2008 and, after a short stint again at sales repping, I began freelancing under the company name of Alberta Books Canada as an authors’ promoter, and offering sales assistance to publishers.

A trip to the Fernie Writers’ Conference in 2009 turned out to be a life-changing experience. I have since served on the board of directors, attended several conferences, and saw my idea of a writing contest, Coffee Shop Author, realized.

I continue to write, and have met many wonderful supportive people along the way: fellow students, instructors, publishers, booksellers, readers – but, especially, writing colleagues – all of whom have been extremely encouraging, not to mention generous with their time, help, counselling, and critiquing. I look forward to many more years of association with these fine people. For me, this business is ALL ABOUT THE AUTHORS AND READERS!

island shorts IIIn Feb. 2012, I decided to put into action some of my ideas concerning the new direction I could see publishing was moving and I ePublished my novel, Island in the Clouds under the publishing company, IslandCatEditions. In June, 2012, the print edition was released. I continue to experiment with new ways to promote and sell both the eBook and print editions. In 2013, I set up an imprint called IslandShorts that specializes in ePublishing short stories and novellas (my own novella, That Last Summer, was released in Sept. 2013), longform non-fiction (essays), poetry, and anything else I find to be interesting.

I read widely, preferring literary fiction – novels and short stories. I’m also an accomplished amateur cook with a particular interest in baking, and I own a library of over 500 cookbooks that I continue to consult, in spite of the speed of internet searches for recipes. There’s just something about pulling out a stack of books in the morning and flipping through the pages while sipping a coffee, planning the evening meal, that just can’t be matched by enter and click. I don’t mind, however, reading eBooks and I am ambidextrous in owning both a Kindle and a Kobo – although I have not yet learned how to train my eyes and brain to read both eReaders at once. I’m still working on that..

About Island in the Clouds, a Bequia Perspectives novel

IitCThe dead body in the pool is putting a serious dent in Geoff’s morning. An ex-pat property manager on the Caribbean island of Bequia, Geoff doesn’t want a spotlight shone on the secret past he left behind in Canada, but now he’s the suspect in a brutal murder. With no help from the inept local police force, he’s drawn into investigating the murder himself, to clear his name. As Geoff finds out more about the circumstances surrounding the killing, and he and his loved ones find themselves in danger, he begins to see a very dark underbelly of the place some people call paradise…

Part travelogue, part mystery, Island in the Clouds takes a long, hard look at the reality of living in a place that seems perfect — from the outside, anyway.

About That Last Summer

ThatLastSummerIn the summer of 1965, Rachel Wainstaff is uprooted from her life in Toronto and her boyfriend to spend a reluctant summer with her family at their secluded cottage at Lone Pine Lake. In this story of self-discovery and young love, Rachel’s joys and disappointments are inextricably tied to making new friends and meeting a special boy, all while dealing with the irritation of her younger sister. Still, the true heart of this piece lies in the complicated relationship the teenaged Rachel has with her mother and father. That Last Summer is a poignant love letter to the lazy, sun-soaked days of an Ontario summer at the cottage.”
~ Kim McCullough, author of

And my links:

Website   –   Blog   –   Reading Recommendations Blog

Facebook   –   Twitter   –   LinkedIn   –   Google+   –   Goodreads

YouTube author page   – author page

Shelfari – Island in the Clouds   –   Shelfari – That Last Summer

Bequia – All the Best eZine   –   eBooks News & Reviews eZine

And a couple of fun promotions for readers:

Where/Who in the World is Reading Island in the Clouds???

(Readers are asked to send in photos of them reading my book wherever they happen to be in the world)to:

FlipSnack flipbook samplers: Island in the Clouds

And That Last Summer

Island in the Clouds on Books Set In

Island in the Clouds on International Crime Fiction Map


Like me, Susan promotes authors on her blog – why not contact her directly regarding appearing there as well – TSRA




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