My Books For Your Reading Pleasure

My Books For Your Reading Pleasure
Proud Indie Author

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Creative Connections Artist/Writer Collaboration

You are invited to attend the reception taking place in the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre, Elliot Lake, this afternoon (Tuesday, March 27th) from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.  celebrating Creative Connections, the Artist/Writer collaborative exhibition which has been on display there in the Welcome Lobby throughout the month of March.

Here is your opportunity to meet the authors, the visual artists and to enjoy a pleasant afternoon.

If basement reno doesn't keep me away I will hope to see you there.

As it turns out I am sorry to say I missed this afternoon's presentation.  Below is a picture of the beautiful painting created by my collaboration partner, Elaine Vegeris.  Below the painting are the words her painting inspired me to write.

The Maidservant

By Audrey Austin
This partial recreation of Artemisia Gentilleschi’s Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes with the artist’s focus on the Maidservant is an acrylic painting by Elaine Vegeris.  The original painting was created c. 1625. Elaine’s interpretation has inspired me to think about what daily life must have been like for this beautiful maidservant.
Much has been written about the Biblical Judith.  The Book of Judith is a deuterocanonical book meaning it is a book whose inclusion in the canon of scripture is debated.  It is included in the Septuagint (a Greek version of the Jewish Scriptures redacted in the third and second centuries B.C. by Jewish scholars and adopted by Greek speaking Christians) as well as the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian Old Testament of the Bible yet the Book of Judith is excluded from the Bible by the Jews and Protestants.
What I have learned about Judith is that she was a beautiful, daring widow who goes with her loyal maid to the camp of the enemy general, Holofernes.  There she entices him with her charming beauty and ingratiates herself into his life.  She gains his trust.  One night while he is laying in a drunken stupor she decapitates him.  She then takes his head back to her fearful countrymen.  The Assyrian enemy, having lost its leader in this way, disperses and Israel is saved … so goes the story.
Some call this story the first historical novel ever written.  As for me, I don’t know if this story is fact or fiction but if it is fiction Judith, indeed, makes a fine heroine with Holofernes, the villain.
But what of the Maidservant?
The original of this painting was created in the 17th century and at that time servants often lived in the main part of a house with their employers.  Perhaps the original artist thought that this particular Maidservant lived in the main part of Judith’s house.  In those long ago times servants had a greater social standing than their 18th century peers. Servants included gentlewomen and often poor relations of the owners.  Perhaps the artist felt that these two women, Judith and her Maidservant, must have been related.  No doubt they shared an irrevocable bond.  In the painting Judith holds the sword but it is the Maidservant who holds the victim’s head in her hands. 
In this wonderful interpretation painted by Elaine Vegeris we see a lovely young woman who appears very worried and watchful.  We feel the tension knowing the young woman is in imminent danger.  Can you imagine the overwhelming emotion she feels as she endures such a horrific experience?  We see above her head the sword of Holofernes.  Held in the hand of her mistress, Judith, this is the weapon which does the deed.  In this focused painting we do not see that in her hands this Maidservant holds the decapitated head of Holofernes but we do see terror in her fear-filled face.
The Maidservant in this painting may well have been a relative of the famous Judith of Biblical times.  Indeed she was instrumental in ensuring that the daring deed had a successful resolution.  I see yearning and fear in the eyes of this lovely Maidservant with the bloodied hands.
History has considered her important enough to be mentioned.  It is said that Judith and her faithful maid take the decapitated head back to Bethulia and display it from the outer walls of the town.  Upon seeing the head of Holofernes the enemy troops know they have lost their leader.  Knowing they are easy prey for the Israelite troops they waste no time in departing.
Judith is hailed as a national heroine, as so she should be, but what of her Maidservant?
Was she not as lovely, as brave, as loyal, and as heroic as her mistress?  How sad that this Maidservant throughout history remains in the background, not considered worthy of the acclamation bestowed upon Judith.
 The name of Judith’s Maidservant is Abra which means the mother of many.  Indeed the name Abra is the feminine form of Abraham.  I wonder if Judith’s Maidservant yearned for fame and acclamation or did she find comfort and safety in such invisibility.  Had Judith taken her Maidservant into her confidence?  Did the Maidservant share Judith’s convictions?  Did she simply follow the orders of her Mistress or was Abra a willing accomplice to murder?
We will never know.  We can but wonder.
I am grateful to the wonderful artists, including Elaine Vegeris, who have cared enough to paint Abra’s portrait, allowing us to know about her and the powerful role this Maidservant played in saving her people from the Syrian enemy.

Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes.

An Unsuspecting Community ......... excerpt

When I received the request from Carole McNamara Veilleux to assist in the promotion of her first novel it was my pleasure to offer to post her first chapter here on my blog.  :-)

Hello Audrey
Thank you for agreeing to read my first chapter and offering to place it on your blog
At the end of end of the chapter I have the necessary information to the future readers how to contact me

  Karine stared at the antique hairclip on the dresser. For the sake of her aunt she tried hold it in her hand, but again she trembled What was once a beautiful family heirloom was now a constant reminder of that tragic evening and everything leading up to it. She breathed deeply. The day had finally come and would justice prevail? Ironically, today two of the women united by this series of tragedies would be separated by legality.

   Matthew entered the bedroom. Taking his wife in his arms he stroked her shoulder length brown hair and ran his hands down her back, resting them on her slim waist. For the first time during their relationship, she appeared vulnerable and her mere five feet and less than one inch.   

 “It’s time to go,” he said lifting his arms from her. 

Taking her hand he led her to the car in silence. 

“Strange,” he said as he slid behind the steering wheel, “We didn’t even know each other  

when this all began.” 

She nodded. 

  One always tries to trace back to where the first domino was dropped.: how one’s simple safe behaviours can become a part of something not so safe and simple.  

   Fingers typed on laptops; heads moved in rhythm to music; hands clicked knitting needles. People glanced up from books and newspapers, nodding in acknowledgement. Conversations developed periodically, at times leading to friendship, even love. There was a sense of familiarity and security within this mobile community. The 54 was frequently taken by the residents of two neighbouring Canadian cities. 

   When it was not necessary to drive his truck Stephen liked to take the bus as he could relax and enjoy the scenery. He noticed Karine two seats ahead of him and was taken by her appearance. His observations were interrupted when other passengers got on the bus. He smiled at a woman whom he had seen several times before. 

“W- would you care to sit down?” he stuttered. 

“No, thank you, I’ll be sitting down all morning, playing bridge.” 

“Th- that’s an excellent game.” 

“You play?” 

“Only with my aunts and uncles. I st-stutter and that can be annoying to the others. 

“Don’t be shy because of that.  

“I’ll think about that.” 

“What are you doing this morning?” 

“I- I'm going to visit my aunt and uncle. Tomorrow I have a job installing cabinets.” 

“Oh, you’re a carpenter.” 

“Sort of. No ma-major construction jobs just some minor to medium renovations, I al- 

also do snow removal in the winter and lawn care in the summer” then gazing once again toward Karine  

  Karine sat quietly, occasionally, glancing in different directions and observing the expressions on the faces of the passengers: the eyes were always a tell-tale sign of internal conversation. She noticed a handsome thirty-something man, who was obviously troubled. What might be the cause?.

   Knowing that he could not own a vehicle in the near future, this bus ride was an exercise in adaptation. David had no particular destination. Having just re-entered the 'outside'; he was adjusting to the many changes in his life. Unfortunately, he had not become aware of his former girlfriend’s compulsive shopping habits until it was too late. After she had maxed out the joint credit card there were no alternatives to bankruptcy and hence to the loss of his welding business. The results of this loss were depression and alcoholism, which led to a six-month stay at the Mason Clinic. He would still attend therapy.

  A woman holding a newspaper took the seat beside Karine. Headlines never seemed to go unnoticed by the person beside the reader.
“Excuse me, at first I merely noticed a few headlines, “her pronunciation of headlines revealing her French Canadians roots,“ but I just saw that a prostitute has been found dead--

“Another one,” the woman responded. She had an unusual accent. “That’s the second one  

in the last three weeks.” 

“This is what happens in the sex trade. Sometimes nothing for a long time, and then there 

are several deaths in a short period.” 

“It says she was thirty-three years old. She had apparently been beaten. The police are  

withholding the name until her family has been notified.” 

The conversation seemed to have attracted the attention of other passengers. 

“A real tragedy for her family; unfortunately the police don’t seem to investigate these  

deaths as thoroughly as those of other women.” 

“Sad but true. In a situation like this it might be difficult to convict the killer. The sperm  

of several men would probably be found, even DNA could be dismissed as circumstantial  


“I never thought of that; that's an interesting, but sad fact,” commented Karine. 

“I’ve finished reading and get off at the next stop —” 

“Thank you,” Karine said, accepting the paper. 

Having already discussed the story of interest, she only wanted the paper for the lighter 

side of the comics. Humour in English was often subtle. Sometimes when she went to  

movies, she experienced delayed reactions to jokes: which was embarrassing.  

Karine removed her hairclip and sat it down on the newspaper beside her. She then began

adjusting her hair. 

“Don’t look at me. I’m not for sale!” Allison exclaimed, attracting some attention.  

Karine turned around and watched her momentarily; a man looked up from his work; David chuckled for the first time in months. He looked more closely at Allison, thinking she was quite attractive despite having the mind of a child. She was casually dressed, but clean, her hair tied in a ponytail. 

“That’s Allison,” Stephen said to the woman, “We talk periodically. She has her good days and bad days — like my speech. Hey, I just got through a few sentences. I-I know she has so some sort of disorder. She just needs a little understanding.”

She nodded, “My stop is next.”    

 “I h have a few to go. I’m Stephen, by the way -- Stephen Clark” 

“Linda Stark,” she responded with a smile. 

Suddenly realizing it was her stop, Karine rushed toward the back door leaving her  

hairclip behind.  

Passengers ascended and descended, and the seat once holding the hairclip was now  


Allison grew silent, looking straight ahead as if focusing upon a target. She checked to see that her knapsack was attached securely; it contained her two most prized possessions: a first-aid kit and the baseball she had received from her great uncle. The bus stopped. With the rhythm of a marching soldier she trudged through the familiar neighbourhood. As usual, she paused for a moment before the neighbourhood hospital and envisioned caring for the sick. She continued on to her other special location. As the doors opened she beamed with excitement. She knew what many people thought — among other things, that she was probably illiterate— if only they knew the whole story. She began her search for information. Her two favourite places in the library were the medical section and the language lab. 

David sauntered through the neighbourhood looking at various buildings. This was a

commercial area, with health clubs, restaurants, and many boutiques. He had never liked 
boutiques. Quality often was not exceptional and similar clothing could be found in warehouse-style shops. People paid not for the clothes, but for popular labels and to be dressed and hypocritically complimented by the salespeople. David guessed that this attention gave them a sense of importance. He was a working man who wore jeans and plain shirts purchased at factory outlets. He liked to wear his suit occasionally to a fancy restaurant, and he liked a woman to be well-dressed, but there was a limit. His business, which took five years to build, had been destroyed in five months of common-law and compulsive shopping. 
While searching for a restaurant that would be within his budget, David saw the sign "Greg’s" and entered the quaint place.

“Hello Sir, you may choose your table,” the waitress said in a welcoming tone. 

“Thank you,” David responded. “If you serve a club I won’t need a menu.” 

“Anything to drink?” 


The thought of a woman bringing him his food was always pleasurable. He would miss that. Sonia had always been a good servant: she had been a spotless housekeeper and an excellent cook. She had loved to go grocery shopping, but unfortunately her love of shopping had not stopped there. 

He smiled as Lise brought his lunch. He tasted the first bite of the sandwich; it was   

delicious. The atmosphere was relaxing, unlike that in a fast food restaurant. 

When his plate was empty the waitress approached him once again. “Would you care for  

some dessert? We have some great homemade blueberry pie.”

“Why not?” he replied. 

“You’re entitled to a free refill.”  

“No thanks, one cup is enough.”

As he waited for his pie, David looked around and discovered that the restaurant was now empty. He sighed, thinking that the others had returned to work, and he was now part of the system he had once criticized. 
Allison felt the dry brown leaves crunching under her feet; she inhaled the cool air. After the hot and humid temperatures of this Canadian summer, the late fall seemed colder than winter. Unfortunately she had been asked to leave the library shortly after she had gotten there. A man at her table began strumming his fingers and she was infected by his actions -- she began strumming in sync with the man, and this led to a full percussion solo. She knew she should only go to the library on certain days but her quest for knowledge was like an addiction. She had been walking in the park for an hour and a half. The physical activity was good for her mental health, but that alone was not enough. 

There was one place she could always go.
“Hello Allison,” the sister welcomed her into the mission. 

“Hello Sister. I know I’m a little early.” 

“I imagine you just need a little warmth.” 

“Yes. I that’s all I ever need from you. Would you let me light a candle?” 

“Certainly. How about a cup of hot chocolate?”  

“Lovely. It’s not easy, Sister. If I stay in my apartment I become depressed. But I can’t be  

outside all day. I do spend a great deal of time in the library when I can” 

“I understand.” 

“I appreciate your contact.” 

“We want to act the way Jesus would.”

Allison bid goodbye to the sisters — although she had nowhere to go but home, she did not want to abuse their kindness.
 “Excuse me sir, have you finished reading that newspaper?” Allison asked a man at the bus stop.
“Yes,” just pass it on to someone else when you’re finished.
“Thank you” 

She was immediately drawn to the story of the prostitute.

“Miss, the bus is coming” 

“Oh thanks,” closing the newspaper. 

This was a time of day Allison disliked going home, as afternoon television was not worth watching. Soap operas were something unbelievable, and she considered watching them to be mental masturbation. Occasionally, during a blizzard or when the temperature dropped below minus twenty-five, she would turn one on. She was aware that no unemployed person was immune to the soap opera syndrome. Life was a paradox — on one side people were losing their grip on reality because they could not make a living, but on the other side actors were making a living, losing a grip on reality.  

Allison's and Stephen's faces met in a mutual nod. She had always felt a sense of security through Stephen’s presence. Seeing the newspaper in her hand, he knew not to disturb her. Sometimes she wished she could stay on the bus all day and night and avoid returning to her neighbourhood.  

Allison entered her tiny apartment. She had to focus on needs and budget, rather than 
style, and it was somewhat drab. She kept only one picture of her immediate family [SC1] in the drawer of her dresser. It had been a difficult relationship, and although she had experienced neither abuse nor neglect, she had often felt the gnawing pain of indifference. She was always longing for the positive reinforcement that was given to her brother[SC2]  Joe. During the past year there were periodic exchanges of short notes expressing little more than acknowledgement of each other’s existence. Allison, however, did keep several pictures of her Great Uncle Jack. Although he was her mother’s uncle Allison grew closer to him than anyone in her family. He was a man of many talents. Unfortunately his dream of becoming a doctor was shattered after his father’s death and he took over the family farm. After careful consideration, Allison’s parents agreed to move onto the farmland when she was very young.

 Uncle Jack was aware that Allison was different from many children, but he had always focused on what she could do rather than what she could not He knew that she was not mentally slow — just that something was not quite right. While her mother had only taught her to clean and to cook, he had always been patient and had taken time to guide her through many tasks of farm life 

Uncle Jack had always wanted to pass on the Ukrainian language and culture, but unfortunately his siblings saw no use for it in Canada. When Allison was a little girl she would go for walks with Uncle Jack and he would tell her stories about their family tree. During these walks she would constantly ask “What’s that in Ukrainian.  On her twelfth birthday her mother reluctantly agreed to let Uncle Jack take her to see some Ukrainian dancers. Uncle Jack began speaking to them and Alison listened attentively and soon began engaging in the conversation. She told the dancers that she had a wonderful teacher..

She poured herself a glass of juice and sat down in her rocking chair. She opened up the knitting basket — it was the sisters who had given her this and had taught her to knit. Allison smiled, knowing she would complete the toque and scarf that evening, and knowing also for whom it would provide warmth and comfort.

 David awoke at 6 am. After completing a workout of various martial arts movements, he showered ate breakfast and then turned on the television. Having worked very hard and paid taxes for ten years, he had earned his disability insurance and the right to do nothing for a while. Taking the basement apartment permitted him to afford cable. He could not understand the purpose of reality television, yet it attracted his attention: extreme makeovers of obesity and infidelity. As far as he knew Sonia had never cheated. She had a good body and had always satisfied him sexually He stared viciously at the one remaining photo of Sonia. This was his voodoo doll.
“Your time will come. You took away my life, you bitch!” realizing he had spoken out

He wondered what unemployed people did to pass their day and decided he should go out  

instead of just lazing in front of the television 

The 54 arrived on schedule. Allison knew today she was free to spend the entire day in  

the library. She felt invincible on days like this.  Knowledge was power! She ascended  

the bus and sat down beside an elderly woman who was knitting. 

“That’s a fun hobby,” said Allison. 

“You knit too?” 

“Yes Ma’am, and, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe you are of Ukrainian origin.”  

“You’re right.” 

 To the woman’s surprise Allison began speaking in Ukrainian… 

When David got on the bus he saw her again. Contrary to his predictions of strange comments and entertaining incidents, Allison was calm and was speaking a foreign language. Seized by this enigma he decided to follow her. He was surprised to see her enter the library and was astonished when she stopped at the medical section. Looking around, he experienced a true sense of peace and tranquility. People spoke just above a whisper, and no cell phones could be heard. He took a book from the fiction shelf and then carefully chose his seat so that Allison would pass him on her way out. He started to read and was soon engulfed. 

Finally, after two hours of studying, Allison rose and donned her coat and gloves. David followed her to the nearby park; there he walked, periodically changing directions in an effort to remain inconspicuous. He was aware of her brisk pace and concluded she was physically fit. He was curious as to why she squeezed a baseball. As she moved toward the mission he followed her, but he stopped before a health club. He peered through the window of the health club while eating his lunch. He was pleasured by the sight of fit well- sculpted women and amused by the sight of fat, awkward ones.  

Allison later returned to the library for her second session of informal studies. This time 

David found her in the language lab. Influenced by her actions, he sat down in one of the booths; the musical sound of Spanish brought a smile to his face. He changed places periodically, but she did not move until the sun set. David could not believe her mental endurance. He planned to continue his investigation  of this mysterious female creature. 

The air was cold and crisp and Allison felt the first flakes of melting snow fall upon her shoulders. She walked through her neighbourhood in the darkness. It was considered to be a shady one. Crimes, however, were committed mainly among people of two basic categories. Possibly she had developed a false sense of security, but she never felt threatened — the johns never approached her for sex, and the drug addicts knew she had no money to steal. She thought of the prostitute who had been killed recently. Sadly, such a death was quickly known, but soon forgotten. There was one prostitute whom she acknowledged. Their brief encounters of sincere "Hi how are you," were beneficial and neither woman felt judged. There was a common bond between them of having never made love to a man and of oblivion.  

“Hello,” Allison said, “I was beginning to wonder about you.” 

“You were thinking about me?”  

“Yes, the streets are a minefield. At least lessen the danger,” she handed a box of  

condoms to the woman. “And these are to keep you warm. I knitted them myself.” 

“Are you for real?” placing the toque upon her head and the scarf around her neck. 

“Some people wonder.” 

“What’s your name?” the woman asked with a chuckle. 


“I’m Gina.”  

“Try to be careful, Gina,” Allison was happy to finally place a name to this woman 

Knowing the prostitutes’ humiliation brought David satisfaction: these women represented the female population and therefore represented Sonia. He surmised that Allison was a do-gooder and not part of the sex trade. He felt no hostility toward her. He walked back to the bus stop, anticipating other interesting situations. 

After her encounter with Gina, Allison relaxed in her rocking chair, watching television  

and eating Skittles. She was pleasantly surprised to see that The Hours was being shown.  

She had wanted to see this film since it was first released. Every generation had its  


Carole McNamara Veilleux

This novel is copyrighted , but not yet published.  The rest of the story may be obtained via email for a token donation of one dollar.Contact me

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Meet the Author

Meet the Author is one of my earlier website pages that I invite you to visit.  There I have made a list of some of the many pieces of creative writing that found their way, and I will say one way or another, into publication.

Publishers including Wynterblue Publishing Canada and White Mountain Publications have blessed my life and I am grateful to Maggie Kirton and Deborah Ranchuk for their support and encouragement.

I have experienced some self-publishing but, alas, I am not as good a promoter as I am a dreamer.  The freedom to tour with my books, as often authors do, is one I am unable to experience to date.  Perhaps this will be something I will make part of my life in the future.
Since the publication of The Silent Star plus a Dozen I have written many more short stories.  Some of them have been published in e-zines such as or    In time, which is something  of which I never seem to have enough despite the fact that I know timelessness is a reality, I hope to put together another anthology which will contain more short stories I hold in my collection.

Thanks to Wynterblue Publishing Canada my first novel titled Sara, a Canadian Saga is now also available as an E-book on   Personally I still prefer the feel of a real book in my hands but for those of you who enjoy your E-readers I hope you will shop for a copy of Sara, a Canadian Saga

Currently my writing focus is on what will be my third novel titled Ellen and The Hummmingtree.  For the first time artist/illustrator Susan Krupp who also happens to be my daughter is collaborating with me.  Together we will produce this book.  Planned Elliot Lake launch of Ellen and The Hummingtree will be sometime in the fall of 2012.   You will enjoy your journey once you enter the creative world of Susan's website which is called 

Life sometimes gets in the way of living -- that may sound crazy but it is a truth; mine anyway.
Even the writing of this very short blog post has been interrupted several times by my adorable Dudley needing to get outside to pee; by an overflowing laundry basket that definitely needed to find its way to the washing machine; by the intrusive telephone that always seems to ring when I least want to hear it and by several other very ordinary life occurrences that seem to excel in announcing, "Who says creative writing should be a priority in your life?  Only you; yes only you."

But I insist and I persist.  Sometimes I shout, "I hate this life that gets in the way of what I really want to be doing."   It is my frustration that does all the shouting.   I know I am not the only writer who feels this way at times........perhaps you have at times felt this way too.  Perhaps we really do need to lock ourselves into an attic room and close out the rest of the world but then without life's experience, what on earth would we find to write about?    The bittersweetness of finding the balance is an admirable goal.  As the old saying goes, "Writers write" and when the ink flows it is indeed a joyful experience.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May you always meet your dreams at the end of the rainbow and find  peace of mind at the end of each day.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Creative Connections 2 - March, 2012

Creative Connections 2 -- artist & writer collaborative Exhibition is happening now and throughout the month of March, 2012  in the Welcome Lobby at the Lester B. Pearsn Civic Centre.  Admission is free and hope you will visit and sign the guest book.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Creative Connections -- Artist/Writer Collaborative Exhibition

What a pleasure it was to view Creative Connections, the Artist/Writer Collaborative Exhibition, on display in the Welcome Lobby of the Civic Centre today.

I plan to attend again one day next week, camera in hand, and I will post on this page some photos of the work presented by the many talented Elliot Lake artists and writers.

Basement reno and computer problems have combined to keep my postings on this blog scarce recently.  Hopefully it won't be too much longer before I can get back into my regular blogging routine.

Work on Ellen and The Hummingtree  continues and its Elliot Lake launch is planned for sometime in the fall of 2012.

I will be present at the Arts & Culture Trade Show happening at the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre on Saturday, March 31st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.      At my table I will have copies for sale of my two novels to date: Sara, a Canadian Saga and Reawakening.  I will also have some copies of my anthology of competition winning short stories titled The Silent Star plus a Dozen available.  Hope to see you there.  Enter the free draw for a chance to win a copy of your choice of one of these three books.

Elliot Lake Book Launch planned Fall 2012

Available now

Available now

Some copies available now.

To purchase your copy of one of the available books
please email me.

Cover Design on all four books by Susan Krupp.  Check out her website at