Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life, Travels Around the World

Little Libraries across Canada

Happy July, this summer is flying by really fast!

I spent most of July on the road, traveling across the western part of Canada, the trip was about 10,000 kms by the time we got back home to our slice of heaven in the central western part of Ontario. It was just the DH and I this time, our kids stayed home with one of their aunts and our dog.

Since COVID, I have been amassing a lot of author copies and I was running out of room. I don’t plan on doing any signings this year, so I had to do something and I thought about the Free Little Libraries that were scattered all over the old city I used to live. I knew they were in other places, so I found a free app called Little Free Library.

I got the brilliant idea to drop off author copies as I make my way across across to Alberta and then do a reading of A Reunion, A Wedding, A Family in Jasper where it’s set. My videos and reading are on Tik Tok under Amy Ruttan (I refer to myself as a reluctant farmer!).

I signed the books ahead of time and marked them with a Canadian author sticker. I took my debut book from 2013 Safe in His Hands and dropped it by the closest Little Library to our farm in Seaforth, Ontario.


The next Little Library came at 8 in the morning after an eight hour drive. Yep, an eight hour drive, we left shortly after midnight, to get around Lake Superior from our house, it takes about 17 hours.

The Little Library I stopped in was in Bruce Mines, Ontario and after my visit there I woke up the next day in Thunder Bay to discover I had made their news! They were thankful for the book and encouraging others to donate to their Little Library.


The next day, we left Thunder Bay and were heading for Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Another 17 hour day. It takes two days to drive out of my province! First I stopped in Kenora, Ontario and dropped a book at Little Library outside a woman’s shelter. It was packed full and well used!

We had to cross Manitoba and most of Saskatchewan to get to Saskatoon. I had never been to Saskatoon, but it’s very bizarre to be watching for a city on a flat prairie horizon and not see it until you go down into a river valley. Saskatoon is beautiful and I found a gorgeous little library in a tree lined neighborhood know as Caswell Hill.



It’s not far to Alberta and we had a couple days to ourselves and headed to Drumheller, which is the badlands in southern, Alberta. Drumheller had an amazing Little Library with Moby Dick and Lord of the Rings quotes painted on it. After Drumheller we made our way to Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump and I left a couple more books in towns like High River (where they film the TV show Heartland) and an author friend Taryn Leigh Taylor left copies in her home town and a town near her.

After some days with my other sister in law at her ranch. We went into Jasper, Alberta the setting for A Reunion, A Wedding, A Family and I did a reading at Medicine Lake. Forest Fires have devastated the area. The last time I was there, Medicine Lake was lush with trees…now, just the ghostly remnants of them remain. It is a natural cycle to a forest though. And even though it had changed, I was still privileged to see elk, big horn sheep, wolf, black bear and my first time seeing a Grizzly Mama and her 3 cubs!


Medicine Lake!

The nearest little library to Jasper, is Hinton, Alberta. And the caretaker there originally is from the town where I currently live. So that was a small world experience. I left a copy of A Reunion, A Wedding, A Family there.

After our time in Alberta, we made our way to Winnipeg on a day that Canada had a nation wide cell phone outage on the network I used. It also knocked out all Interac purchases. I was very glad we had our credit cards and cash. I was also glad our GPS in our Jeep was still functioning or we would’ve never made our way from Alberta, through Saskatchewan to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

I got to meet an author friend Elle Rush for lunch and visit the monument of Louis Riel. My ancestors were Metis, which is a mix of European settlers and Indigenous. Metis people are an Indigenous nation and have their own culture. Louis Riel is a founding father who fought for the rights of Metis, he was an elected politician and led resistance movements before he was hanged for treason.



As someone of Metis background, this has been a life long dream to visit his monument. My father, had to hide who he was for many years, to avoid residential school. For him and me, it’s been hard to try and process our loss of identity. Also to find ancestors, but I have been finding more and more names. Women, who were indigenous, often lost their identity when they married a white man.

I left a book in Winnipeg and we made our way back to Ontario and stopped in Thunder Bay. I am really getting to know Thunder Bay. My daughter goes to school there, so I make the drive often.

Thunder Bay is the lake head of Lake Superior. The last place Terry Fox stopped after his Miracle Run for Cancer because his cancer had returned and he collapsed, but one of the Little Libraries surprised me! It was on Ruttan street. Ruttan is my maiden name, so I looked up the history and discovered that Ruttan’s helped with the development of Port Arthur and Thunder Bay.

So of course I had to leave a book there!



And that was just a part of our trip. I dropped books off in Sault and Sudbury on the way home. I have way more pictures and a lot more special memories, but it was so good to get back to the kids.

I took a whole box of books and left them all on my journey.

If you happen to stumble on a Little Library I encourage you to donate or even just take a book too. Spread Literacy and help communities. I learned so much from this experience and fell in love with my country all over again.

It’s why I continue to write books set in the place I love the most. Canada.

Here’s a slideshow of some more pics along the way!

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Virtual Tour of Jasper

Lockdown. Travel restrictions. It suuuuuuucks.

Next week I was supposed to be packing and heading to Texas for my first ever Romance Author Mastermind run by Skye Warren. I was SO stoked to travel to Houston. I always wanted to go to Texas and I was doubly excited to attend RAM, which I had heard amazing things about.

Then 2020 happened. Thankfully, RAM is going to be online and I get to attend my third virtual conference of the year.

It got me thinking about travelling though. I kind of miss it.

Even parts of Canada are restricted. Each province has their own particular rules, including mine (Ontario).

I was hoping this past summer I could’ve gone back out west and taken fresh pictures of one of my favourite National Parks, Jasper, which is also the setting of my newest release A Reunion, A Wedding, A Family.

I was hoping for fresh pictures so I could do this blog post, but we’re going to have to stick with pictures of my last trip there in 2012. And these pictures represent places my characters have been!

So this is heading away from Hinton, Alberta and into the park. I never did get a good gate shot of the park entrance, but we’re just past the entrance. Along the river bank is where Candice and Jimmy would have parties with their friends when they were younger and it was along one of these shoulders that Candice and Jimmy delivered that wee baby.

I just thought this was a funny shot of my kids when they were MUCH younger. That little girl is going off to University next year and possibly way up north, so I had to throw in a shot of them so young. My eldest boy is also taller than me at 6 feet and the youngest is a preteen now. Time flies, but this was a shot taken from downtown Jasper. It’s Jasper the bear!

Waiting at the lower station at Whistler’s to take the tram up over Jasper, Alberta.
The campground at the base of this tram way is where there was some “bear” disturbances that Candice and Jimmy had to attend to. Also where Candice sprained her ankle.

This is a view from the top of Whistlers Peak. It was my first time up this mountain.

This is heading down the Maligne Lake road. The first time Candice and Jimmy worked together was at the Maligne Canyon with a wayward rock climber!
This is also where I saw my first grizzly bear off to the side of the road!

These are the rapids from Medicine lake that flow through the canyon. Their cold, fast and dangerous.







This is Medicine Lake, which I mention in the book. It’s right before Maligne Lake. Medicine Lake actually isn’t a lake, but a river. And it fills up during the melt (we were there in early July so it was still draining). The idea is like it’s a bathtub that filled too quickly and is draining slowly.
I thought it was beautiful, but I would like to see it drained when it returns to just a small trickle of a river.

It’s off this road to and near Maligne Lake where Candice and Jimmy start their hike up into the mountains. I never did that hike when I was there in 2012 because I had small kids and I wasn’t physically able to do it (It takes several days). My goal is to go back one day and do it!

Making sure I have lots of bear spray!

We shall see!

I hope you enjoyed my small virtual tour of Jasper, Alberta. I have way more photos, but not enough space to share them all!

Keep safe and healthy! ❤

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Heading North!

Happy Friday!

Today is a bit hectic as I pack up our trailer and we ready ourselves for a big camping trip 13 hours north of where I live up onto the Canadian Shield.

I think I did talk briefly about this last year when I posted pics of our trailer.

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Our trailer, last year at Inverhuron Provincial Park

I always wanted to go to Neys Provincial Park which is near Thunder Bay, Ontario.

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It’s not my first time to the lakehead of the great lakes, but it’s been about nine years.

I didn’t think we’d be able to make this work because of COVID-19, but Canada and in particularly Ontario, has worked hard. We did a trial run camp at a Provincial Park in July and the Ontario Parks system has done an amazing job of keep the parks clean and safe.

The number of operating campsites has been reduced, so less campers.

There are no showers open, so they can focus all cleaning on the bathrooms.

So once we did that trial run in July, we felt safe driving north to take part in our week long vacation on the shores of Lake Superior.

We have masks, hand sanitizer and except for bathrooms, we’re self contained.

The only thing I won’t have is cell service (it’s kind of sketchy up there). I’ll be disconnected and I’m really looking forward to it.

Things I want to see:

Moose: I have not seen a wild moose. I have spent many years up north and they continue to elude me. I’ve seen every other big game animal in the wild, but no moose. So fingers crossed.

River Otter: I’m hoping I spy these guys as they swim up the Pic River into Lake Superior.

Pereseid Meteor Shower: It’ll be picking the nights we’re up there and it’s pretty dark in northern Ontario and we’re in a dark night preserve. Fingers crossed for clear nights.

I’m never more at peace, than when I’m north. My Dad is from up here (you can’t actually see his home town because it’s still a bit further north), but this is where my roots are from. I’m very glad to be going back, even for a short time.

So that’s what I’ll be up to this week. I hope you all have a great week and I’ll “see” you when I get back. That’s if the bears or the black flies don’t carry me off! 😉

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Yes. It’s way faster to go through Michigan from my city, but the borders are still closed, so we take the northern routes around the lakes. It takes 2-3 days to get out of Ontario and head west.

I’ll leave you with a Canadian folk classic! xo

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Treasure Hunt!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but my father is downsizing. He’s moving into a smaller place near my brother, about 3 hours from me. And I’ve been in charge of cleaning and going through what remains of his 74 years. Things he has to part with and things I’ve been sorting through for him and storing.

It’s been a whole process let me tell. It also meant going through and dealing with the remains of my mother’s items that were decorative.

But I found some unique stuff I’m thrilled to own now and will keep safe and a couple of photographs that amused me. The north is my jam, I love everything about the north, so a lot of these things are from there.

First up, my grandfather’s typewriter. It’s made of iron and heavy as I’ll get out.  My grandfather bought this new when he was 18. Now, the thing about my paternal grandfather is, he was born in 1885 and was 61 when my father was born. I never met him. By the time I reached the age of 7 in 1985 he would’ve been 100.

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I now have his typewriter. One he bought and lugged all over the north while working on the railroad. This thing was bought before WWI , which my grandfather tried to serve in but he was too ill and they wouldn’t take him. He tried to get in on WWII, but he was too old then and they wouldn’t take him. Drat, but instead he worked to keep infrastructure in the north going by working the railroad. And, German POW’s were often taken north on the rails once they were sent to Canada.

Yeah, so this Underwood is, about 117 years old. Heavy and I can get it to work again and restore it. I’m Super excited about it. I’ve always been fascinated by this.

Another piece I found was this plate. My Dad’s brother worked in what is now known as Nunavut, but then it was still part of the Northwest Territories and this plate depicts St. Jude’s Church in Frobisher Bay. On April 1, 1999 Nunavut was created, thus severing the vast NWT in two, making 3 territories in the north.

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Frobisher Bay became Iqaluit and this church St. Jude’s Anglican has the largest area of any Anglican diocese in the world as it covers the NWT, Nunavut, Nunavik and northern Quebec. Actually, the church depicted in this plate was lost to a fire in 2005 and a new igloo church stands in its place. Still, it’s pretty cool!

Which leads to this fella. Something else my uncle gifted to my parents when they were married in 1976. A seal carved by a Inuit artist, I think from Chesterfield Inlet. I would love to learn more about it.

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I found a series of photographs my father took while the CN Tower in Toronto was being built. I can tell you, that the waterfront is much more filled and cluttered today.

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And then this gem. Sigh. Me. I was about 2 months old, yes, I had teeth at month. My original derp face. LOL

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So that’s just some of the stuff I’ve been finding. They really have no monetary value, but they’ve been part of my life and my parent’s life for years and bits and pieces of the history of Canada.

And we’ll slowly get all the work done as we get Dad settled in with my brother. I’m going to miss having him close by, but this is for the best with the chemo he’s on.

It gives him his best shot and I want Dad to stick around for a while longer.

I do write about the north when I get a chance and you can read my latest and my 25th book which was set in Yellowknife NWT right now!

 

Medical2  His secret: he’s a prince!

Her secret: she’s carrying his baby!

After ER doc Lev Vanin shared one unforgettable night with gorgeous Dr. Imogen Hayes, he never expected to see her again. He couldn’t tell Imogen he’s actually a prince! But when a revolution at home forces Lev into hiding, he ends up working in Imogen’s hospital and his secret is out! Plus, Lev’s life is about to be turned upside down once again…because Imogen’s pregnant with his heir!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Up & Away!

So, right now while this post is live I’m at the amazing Romancing the Capital conference in Ottawa, Ontario. This is the third year for this conference that’s organized by Canadian author extraordinaire Eve Langlais. I went it’s first year and second year and now onto my third. I love it and I love that it’s close to home.

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Amazing as the conference will be I’m really looking forward to when I come back home. I have a day to recover and pack up my family before we fly to Calgary.

Now, I’ve been to Alberta before, but we drove last time so this is my kids’ first flight. I love the west, but this time after our plane lands we’re driving 17 hrs north to the Northwest Territories! I’m very, very excited. It’s been on my bucket list for years.

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Rapids of the Drowned. Great Slave River. My SIL to be took this pic.

I’ve never been north of 60. I’ve always wanted to go and I’m visiting a very special couple, my brother and his fiancee. They recently got engaged and I have to say my brother’s proposal to his intended was like the stuff of a romance novel. I’m super proud of him.

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Some of the local neighbours they regularly see.

His fiancee took a posting at the local hospital and has been teasing me with amazing pictures of her life in Fort Smith NWT.

Northern lights, buffalo, bears, Great Slave river, Great Slave lake and ice roads (I won’t be seeing ice roads in the summer). However, since she lives just outside of Wood Buffalo National Park and the night sky returns August 10th along with the aurora, I think my kids might finally be able to experience what I’ve only ever been lucky to see once in my life.

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Northern Lights

And Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest dark night preserve.

After a few days there, we’re headed back down to Edmonton to see my husband’s sister and her hubby. Then I get to roam Jasper National Park, Drumheller, Rocky Mountain House, High River and High Level! Also, for the first time, Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump.

I’ll be going from top to bottom in Alberta.

And I’m absolutely excited to soak up more great scenery, get inspired for more books and cross some more things off my bucket list.

What’s on your bucket list?

Check out Amy’s latest release here.

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