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Meet Erica Neale.

As an adult, Erica graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, English from McMaster University.

She is married and cherishes time with her family.
Later in life, Erica enjoyed travelling to countries she only read about as a child.

She believes people want to be heard.  People need to be heard.
It is important to acknowledge other cultures whether at home or  abroad. It is one way to enrich our own views of life.

The elderly, particularly, through their life experiences, can offer wisdom and guidance to those who are willing to listen. They would like to be heard.

People need to understand the past in order to live in the present and prepare for the future.


Mature themes give these novels an edge as the characters struggle with fear, pain and doubt
as they become ever more enchanted with what evil has to offer.

Books by Erica Neale

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September 6, 2022Feeling rather philosophical lately. In a few weeks I will reach four score. I now completely understand when ‘old folks’ say, “how did I get this old this fast?” That cold draft I felt blowing across my shoulders was time! Time used to be an abstract but as the years flew by, the word ‘time’  took on an almost physical presence.  As we age, we slowly begin to notice changes within  ourselves:- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I like to think of it as growing rather than aging. We continue to grow until we don’t!  Writing The Sand Clock was important for me. As I aged and accumulated life experience, I began to notice people frantically busy living their lives, paying scant attention to the outside world. Notice was paid to local and world events, but since there was little the average person could do to effect significant change, we shrugged, voted when we required, and moved on. There are people, of course, who become involved with their community. Bless you and thank you for  stepping forward.   Now, I would I would like to discuss  the word ‘old’. I have never been of the opinion I was old until I was referred to as OLD. I am oldER.  Older folks are sometimes judged by their physical appearance.  Now, ask an older person how they see themselves.  You might be astonished at their reply!  Every person was once young.  I believe ‘old’ can be a state of mind.  We will never be young again BUT our attitude toward life goes a long way to staying youngER. Now, I am not talking about fairies in clouds, you understand!  When we age, life has a way of changing us in ways we once could never imagine! I smile as I write this.  I can visualize some of you reading this piece nodding and thinking, ‘Just wait! You have no idea what lies ahead!’   I notice how some people react when encountering an oldER person. They look away refusing to make eye contact. There is no acknowledgement of our existence.  The elderly are not invisible and,  aging is not a disease! Aging is a natural process, if we are fortunate enough to survive life.  People want to be acknowledged; even the youngest toddler in a stroller or the oldest person in a wheelchair.  A smile, a friendly greeting or a soft look can make the world of difference to someone. That acknowledgement may be the only act of human kindness received that day.  In effect, by looking away we are marginalizing another human being. That is discrimination, pure and simple. In The Sand Clock I point out we are all individuals. We adapt, cope, accept pain and tragedy and try to move on. Three women Barbara, Millie and Augie live in a retirement home sharing experiences, struggles and courage. They listen to each other. In writing this novel, I wanted to point out that we all have struggles in life. A little phrase often comes to mind: head up, shoulders back, kick-ass attitude in place, and let’s get this done! Support, not ignoring someone and not alienating, are the way to relate to our fellow humans.  We must never turn our backs thinking, ‘not my problem’ or ‘I have nothing to offer’ and, worse yet, ‘I don’t have time’ when only a hand put out in kindness will make all the difference to someone who is struggling.  We are all on a life learning path. We have lessons to learn, discoveries to be made, relationships to experience. [...]
May 20, 2022Why not you? Why not me? If you think about it, many of us have experiences in our lives that are fascinating, scary or moments in time that teach us lessons. Often, these events are shared with those closest to us. For some folks, writing about them is a way of remembering. For many of us, unless we write things down, they disappear into the ozone layer never to be recalled again! Writing can be an adventure in exploring ideas. These writings do not have to be profound or deep psychological insights or analyses. Putting thoughts down on paper can be  an exploration of ourselves. We write fiction fantasies, adventures, mysteries, murders, sci-fi, romance, historical adventures or supernatural plots. So many genres! Writing can simply be an expression of  imagination. Now if we are truly serious about taking our personal thoughts and experiences to another level and writing for others to read, we need to do our homework. Here are a few suggestions. Begin by checking out community colleges and libraries for evening courses on writing. Attend seminars or book readings at the local library. Scan the book shelves of your local book stores for a section devoted to local authors. Borrow/buy books on writing. Research. Make notes. Lots of notes. I became more observant of my surroundings paying closer attention to my five senses. For example: the roar of wind through trees as a prelude to a storm, the beauty of morning dew on the flowers and grass or the fragrance of the flowers in the garden on a hot summer day, the smell of the earth after a rain, the touch of a cold metal railing on a winter morning, the deliciousness of an ice cream cone or the wonderful aroma of a hot dog stand on the beach. I became more observant of how people reacted in situations: their facial expressions, demeanor, body posture, temperament or the tone of their voice. Me? Well, one day I sat down at the computer to play with thoughts and The Emissary (named later) was born, sort of. I was fortunate to know a self-published author in my community and he introduced me to the members of his writing group.  Their comments were invaluable. One thing I would like to mention, if you are serious about taking your writing to the next level (publishing) find a management company that has a staff of professional editors. The cost is well worth it. So is the advice you will be given. One comment I will offer is to take a deep breath and  stow the ego!  Writing, for me, became a sort of personal journey and adventure. It began as a thought about whether this was something I could, or wanted to try.  Would anyone want to read what I had laboured so long to say? In all of my novels I began with past experiences, observances of people and nature, thoughts of ‘what if this could/would happen’ and, of course, my imagination and off-side way of looking at life.    [...]
March 23, 2022Several weeks ago I returned to “Newcombe” to visit the old village which was the background for both Emissary books. During the long Covid isolation, I began reading The Emissary and the Emissary’s Endgame and decided I needed to return to the village of all those childhood memories. We drove through “Newcombe” down the village’s main street and across the old steel bridge, before turning back. The old saying of ‘you can never go back home’ was never more true. “Newcombe” had morphed into a place quite unrecognizable to me. “Newcombe” had been citified!  The tranquility and general peacefulness of a small village of the ’40’s was gone. There was now a general busyness on the streets. People were everywhere! Yes, I know, time marches on and major changes take place but……! I never thought I would feel this sadness for the passing of time. “Newcombe” must have at least quadrupled in size. Several of the old places were still there – ie: not torn down to be replaced by modern homes. “Newcombe” was no longer a charming village but a bustling town with its own distinct personality.Let’s go down memory lane of my books. In the original The Emissary, the general store was  owned by Fritz and Martina Orlowski. The structure is still there. It was closed but I visualized a second hand store/antique shop or perhaps even an art gallery. The Emissary home of Margaret and Violet Sills now sports a ‘heritage’ designation. I remember the original two women who lived there walking through the house in darkness with their oil lamps. The original house/cafe/restaurant of  the character, Arlene, still stands but as someone’s private home.  Arlene’s house was based on a woman who turned the front room of her home into an ice cream parlor and side porch into a restaurant. The old hotel (in which the character Tony spent a few nights) had been around for well over a hundred years. In reality, it burned down and had been rebuilt only to burn down once again. During the early 1920’s, the hotel had been a summer retreat for city folk who spent a week every summer to escape the heat of the city.   What used to be a blacksmith’s shop eventually turned into the local fire hall. The character of Susan in The Emissary lived in a beautiful white clapboard house on one of the back roads. The house is still there but now has many neighbours and the road is completely taken over with large homes. The church in “Newcombe” has changed with the times. The present congregation added to it to allow more room for church activities. Where the ladies of the church in The Emissary used to quilt on Wednesday afternoons, the current village ladies now knit. In the Emissary, the old church of  Newcombe was pastored by Reverend Robert Whitehead and his wife, Caroline. I located its current pastor and requested time to sit quietly by myself in the church and simply breathe. Thank you for your graciousness. Yes, you can go back and relive memories, experiences and sensations. I spent an hour just wandering through the church cemetery searching for the names of old villagers. They were all adults when I was a small child but nonetheless, it was a reconnecting experience.  The experience of returning to my childhood years was enlightening. I learned time plays no favourites. How we interpret the past, learn about it and from it, helps us to continue our growth as an individual no matter our age.   [...]
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