St. John’s, NL.  March 28, 2013 –  Breakwater Books is pleased to announce that Breakwater President and Publisher Rebecca Rose has acquired the rights to No One To Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP by former RCMP officer Janet Merlo.

Merlo is the Representative Plaintiff in a Proposed Class Action Lawsuit that was filed one year ago, on March 27, 2012.

A vocal supporter of the class-action suit, Janet Merlo was among the first female RCMP officers to publicly allege she had experienced sexual harassment and gender discrimination while serving in Canada’s national police force. The women kept silent for so long, Merlo says, because there was no one to tell.  In her courageous memoir, Janet recalls how her love of policing was soured by covert and overt sexism within the ranks and by an institutional culture that valued toughness and silence over ethics and accountability.

“After years of living and working in a hostile environment where silence was the norm, I’m finally finding my voice,” Merlo said today. “Sharing my story serves both as a way for me to find healing, and for me to reach out to other women who may be experiencing the same kind of harassment.”

Tracing her twenty years in uniform, Merlo’s story details the highs and lows of her career in the RCMP – while her mental health and personal life disintegrated. Eventually, the cost of keeping quiet was simply too high. Her story emerges as a lone, brave voice seeking change.

“Janet Merlo’s story deserves the nation’s careful attention,” Breakwater Publisher Rebecca Rose said. “Breakwater is pleased to be able to announce the acquisition today, as the class-action lawsuit reaches its one-year anniversary.”

The memoir will be edited by author Leslie Vryenhoek, with an introduction by journalist Linden MacIntyre.

No One To Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP will be published by Breakwater Books in September 2013.

For more information and all media inquiries, please contact:

Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Breakwater Books

phone.   (709) 722-6680 x 226



Breakwater grabs two Atlantic Book Awards nominations

The Atlantic Book Awards shortlists were released yesterday — and we’re very pleased to report that we’ve got two Breakwater nominees!

Bracothe debut novel by former Canadian Forces peacekeeper Lesleyanne Ryan, has been nominated for the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award. Told from a kaleidoscope of perspectives, Braco follows fourteen-year old Bosnian refugee Atif Stavic as he crosses forty kilometres of enemy territory to rejoin his family after the fall of Srebrenica in 1995.


In the Field by Joan Sullivan has been shortlisted for the Rogers Communications Award for Non-Fiction. A compelling history, In the Field examines the legacy of the death of Lieutenant Steven Norris of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment: both the immediate effect on his community and, almost ninety years later, the lasting impact of his story. 

Ryan and Sullivan just did a tag-team Book Club reading here at Breakwater Headquarters, and we couldn’t be happier to see them on the Atlantic Book Awards list together, as well! For information on the awards or to set up an interview or Book Club visit, please contact Elisabeth de Mariaffi:

(709) 722-6680 x 226, or by email,

The 2013 Atlantic Book Awards and Festival runs May 9-16 with free literary events taking place in all four Atlantic Provinces. Festival details will be available at in the coming weeks.  Winners of the 2013 Atlantic Book Awards will be announced at a special awards show on the last night of the week-long festival, Thursday, May 16, at 7:00 p.m. at the Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth, NS. It’s a special year this year for the Dartmouth Book Awards – 2013 is the 25th anniversary of these awards, some of the oldest in Canada.

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I’m No Bully!


Happy Pink Shirt Day, everyone! I just spent the morning at Roncalli Elementary School in St. John’s, where Breakwater’s own Debbie Hanlon put on her Read-Along I’m No Bully! show for an ocean (or, at least, an auditorium’s-worth) of pink-shirted, anti-bullying cuties.

Kids' author Debbie Hanlon poses with Roncalli  school teachers (wearing their Pink shirt Day finest!)
Kids’ author Debbie Hanlon poses with Roncalli school teachers (wearing their Pink shirt Day finest!)

With the pages of Hanlon’s first book, The Adventures of Gus and Isaac: Backyard Bullies projected up on the big screen, the 200+ crowd of kids were all treated to a read-along led by Miss Debbie herself.

“This is a story about Isaac the Cat,” Hanlon begins. ” Now, who knows what’s different about Isaac?”

“HE HAS NO TAIL!” all the kids holler back. Many of them already know the characters: Gus, the Seagull-Who’s-Afraid-Of-Heights, and Isaac the Bob-Tail Cat.

In this first adventure, Isaac is new to the neighbourhood and finds himself a target of the neighbourhood bullies: Vamps the Cat and his cronies, Berg and Flake.

“That’s right,” Hanlon says. “He’s a bob-tail cat, and that sure makes him different! And what sometimes happens to people who are different?”


The kids have had good Pink Shirt Day training, and they have lots of ideas about what makes people bullies: usually, bullies are pretty scared themselves. Scared of people who are different. But bullying isn’t the way to combat those fears. Hanlon leads the kids in a discussion of the “bystander” role in a bullying situation, and reiterates the two things every kid needs to do if they see someone being bullied:

1. Say something! “Stop! Bullying isn’t cool!” the kids yell.

2. Tell someone! “Find an adult — it can be your teacher, your Mom, your Dad — and tell them what’s going on. An adult will help you!” Hanlon says, before leading the kids in an anti-bullying ditty she’s written herself — accompanied, of course, by a pink ukelele.

Hanlon’s I’m No Bully show is a favourite at elementary schools across the region, with frequent performances in the St. John’s area, and a recent fall tour into Central Newfoundland. Next up, Hanlon plans to hit the west coast, with stops in Corner Brook and Stephenville.


Chad Pelley, Super Genius (… and Breakwater author, of course!)

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Layout 1Congratulations CHAD PELLEY! We couldn’t be more proud to have you on our Spring Roster! Check out the press release, below, for all the deets on Pelley’s big short fiction win — and take a look at the video above to hear a short reading from the prize-winning story.


Saint John, N.B., February 21, 2013 –The Telegraph-Journal, New Brunswick’s provincial newspaper,, is ecstatic to announce that Newfoundland-based author Chad Pelley has won the inaugural Salon Fiction Prize for his short story ‘A Second Look at Nothing.’

Launched July 2012, the Salon Fiction Prize awards $1,000 for a previously unpublished work of Canadian short fiction. The winning piece is also published in the Telegraph-Journal’s weekend fine arts and culture section, Salon. ‘A Second Look at Nothing’ is running in the Feb. 23 issue of Salon.

Chad Pelley’s short story was selected from more than 100 entries from across Canada by an esteemed Atlantic Canadian jury empanelled for the new prize: Giller Prize-shortlisted short story writer Alexander MacLeod; Halifax-based Atlantic Poetry Prize-winner Sue Goyette; and Université de Moncton professor Thomas Hodd.

Chad Pelley is a multi-award-winning writer, songwriter and photographer from St. John’s, Newfoundland. His debut novel, Away from Everywhere (Breakwater Books) was released in 2009, and his follow-up, Every Little Thing (Breakwater Books) hits bookshelves in late March of this year. Recipient of the Newfoundland and Labrador Art Council’s CBC Emerging Artist of the Year award, Pelley is president of the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador and runs the CanLit blog

We appreciate any help you can provide in getting the news of Chad Pelley’s big win out there via social media, blog posts and traditional media.

Pelley is available for interviews. You can reach him at:

The second annual Salon Fiction Prize will open June 29, 2013.

For more information, please contact:
Mike Landry, arts & culture editor
O : 506-645-3225 C :506-977-3625
Published every Saturday in the Telegraph-Journal, Salon is home to some of the best arts and culture writing in Canada – honoured with both national and regional newspaper awards. As space and resources devoted to books continues to dwindle, and the CanLit landscape disappears from Canadian newspapers, Salon remains dedicated to supporting our nation’s writers and their words.

This One is for the Lovers… (Lovers of Writing, that is)

6803723367_3020ed37a1_zWhat to do on this Snow Day? I’ve been meaning to post a list of upcoming writing competitions and calls-for-submission for all you up-and-comers out there… so here you go! Sharpen those pencils and fire up your laptops. You’ve got some writing to do…

The Poem Cometh: CBC Writes, Poetry edition. Competition opens up on March 1. Deadline May 1, 2013.

The Antigonish Review Writing Contests: Two versions of this one — The Sheldon Currie Fiction Prize for stories of 20 pages or less, Deadline: May 31, 2013  and The Great Blue Heron Poetry Prize, Deadline: June 30, 2013. All the details at the Antigonish Review Online.

Got a tale about the Twitter? Pinterest prose? Submit to Only Interconnect: Social media + short fiction, a new anthology that deals with social media —   — Deadline April 4.

The Malahat Review‘s Far Horizons Short Fiction Contest comes with prize money to the tune of a cool grand, and is open only to writers not yet published in book form. Deadline: May 1, 2013.

The Short Grain Contest features categories both for poetry and for short fiction, big prize money, and a deadline of April 1, 2013.

Registration is now open for the famous Contemporary Verse 2, 2-day Poem Contest. Think you can write an original poem in just 48 hours? There’s only one catch: prize goes to the best poem that uses CV2‘s list of 10 contest words. Register now and you’ll get the word-list when it’s released on Friday, April 12 — poems are due at the end of the weekend.

Got an Earth Day Haiku in You? Submit up to 5 original haikus to a new Earth Day Haiku anthology. Deadline: March 31, 2013.

… and that takes care of your spring writing deadlines! Happy writing!

Write Like A Motherfumbler.

Pleased as punch to announce this one! Breakwater is thrilled to be publishing the first book by the motherblogging shining star of compu-land. Vicki Murphy, self-described “mom, writer and hot mess from Badger’s Quay, Newfoundland”, is better known to readers as Mother Blogger. Murphy’s whip-smart, kick-ass-funny narrative about her world as working mom to a kid she’ll only identify as Turbo Ginger can be found both on her own page and over at the Huffington Post, where she’s a regular contributor. Motherfumbler, Murphy’s first book, will be published by Breakwater Books in Fall 2013. 


Our Writers Resolve: A Handful of Breakwater Authors Give Us Their Top New Year’s Resolutions for 2013

Look who’s back in action! If you’re reading this, then congratulations! You survived the Mayan-End-Of-Days crisis AND your NYE Hangover. We’re back in full-gear here at Breakwater headquarters and first on our list was a list… of resolutions. We asked a handful of Breakwater’s authors to give us their top resolutions for 2013, literary or otherwise, and here’s what they said:

Kerri Cull, author of 2012’s Soak and curator at The Book Fridge:

My literary resolution: to complete drafting a manuscript of short fiction that is currently 24 stories deep.

Debbie Hanlon, author of two Adventures of Gus and Isaac books, including 2012’s Ho Ho No Christmas!:

2013 will be a year of the Deb! Looking forward to getting my red belt in TKD, completing Trouble times in Tickle Harbour, the 3rd book in The Adventures of Gus and Isaac series, spending as much time as I can with my amazing husband, traveling, and taking good care of myself and my loved ones..all in all continuing to love and live my amazing life!

Susan M. MacDonald, author of Edge of Time, winner of the 2012 Moonbeam Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy:

I’ve got to stop sitting in front of the computer and get up and MOVE. Of course, I’ve got to spend more time at the computer, WRITING, too.

Ergh, I hate New Years resolutions.

Samuel Thomas Martin, author of 2012’s A Blessed Snarl

My two aims this year are to finish my novel Odin’s Eyes and, since I’m living in Iowa, have tea with Marilynne Robinson. Both, at this point seem equally as (un)likely.

Trudy J. Morgan-Cole, author of By the Rivers of Brooklyn and the 2012 NL Heritage and History Award winner, That Forgetful Shore:

I just posted a vlog all about my writerly New Year’s resolutions so it’s fresh in my mind … I have a few things in mind but the main one is to finish researching and writing this draft of my current work-in-progress, “A Sudden Sun Discloses,” which is (partly, at least) about suffragists in 1890s and 1920s Newfoundland.

Chad Pelley, author of 2010’s award-winning debut novel, Away From Everywhere and the forthcoming novel, Every Little Thingto be released in March 2013:

For me, 2013 is going to go down as The Year of Ambitious Writing. I have two goals. One is to curate a collection of shorts by March, from the 27 stories on my hard drive. There’s at least a dozen there that’ll work well together: funny ones, sad ones, funny-sad ones, about people longing for something they’ll never have. It’ll be called Big Red Hearts. Come February, I’ve cleared my schedule of everything – day jobs included – to write the novel I’ve been preparing to write for years now. It’s about a small town forced to turn on each other, with subplots and backstory including a man’s divorce and search for his missing daughter. I’ve never been more excited about a writing project, and the first draft will exist by 2014.

Claire Wilkshire, author of the forthcoming debut novel, Maxine

1. Smile more.  (Less scowly-frowniness, even if it’s just from concentrating.)

2. Encourage people.  (Do we think “Good old X, he really taught me a lot that time when he accurately pointed out every one of my shortcomings?” No, we do not.)
3. Be optimistic.

These appear in blue marker on a yellow, star-shaped sticky note on my computer stand. There’s also the small matter of the 20 lbs. but in order to remain optimistic, I decided to leave that one off the note.


Edge of Time by Susan M. MacDonald wins Gold at Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards

Edge of Time, a Young Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction novel written by St. John’s author Susan M. MacDonald and published by Breakwater Books, was honored this week by the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, which recognize the best in North American children’s and YA writing and illustration.

Over 100 individual books from publishers across North America were recognized in 39 distinct award categories. An expert panel of educators, librarians, booksellers, and reviewers selected Edge of Time by Susan M. MacDonald as the Gold medal winner in the category of fantasy/sci-fi YA fiction – making it one of only 5 Canadian books to receive a Moonbeam Award this year.

“We’re just thrilled for Susan,” Breakwater President Rebecca Rose said yesterday. “Edge of Time was also a finalist for the 2012 Bruneau Family Children’s/Young Adult Literature Award here in Atlantic Canada. We’re so happy to see it continuing to get the recognition it deserves, here in Newfoundland, and also in the wider children’s literature market in North America.”

Coming up next? MacDonald is the Celebrity Judge in the St. John’s Public Library “Share A Scare” writing contest, open to kids ages 7 and up.

The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to celebrate children’s books and life-long reading. Award winners will receive their medals at the Traverse City Children’s Book Festival in Michigan on Nov. 10. A full list of recipients is available here.



Patrick Warner – Ever hear a love story in reverse?

Patrick Warner’s Double Talk is garnering some fantastic reviews! Take a gander and don’t miss out on the book launch, April 19th at the Ship (265 Duckworth Street) from 7:00 – 9:00pm. Ever hear a love story in reverse?

“As a novelist, Warner is a literalist and an astute one, and he parlays this gift into telling a really good story, populated by characters whose lives are, by turns, comic and tragic. From the start, as this story begins to tell itself, and these lives are revealed, the book becomes hard to put down. Warner packs a lot of life into a fast-read of 235 pages, something he’s able to do partly [because] of the alternating points of view from which the story is told – Brian’s, Violet’s, omniscient. In this often racy story which spares us little in the way of detail, Warner crafts a satisfying first novel – simultaneously funny and sad, and, at times, wrenching.” – Darrell Squires, the Western Star. 

Although the books opens, seemingly, at the end of the relationship, there’s still a tension and drive to the narrative, an evocative dynamic to the descriptions and settings, and a nimble and unflinching touch to the characterizations. It moves. It’s a page-turner.” – Joan Sullivan, the Telegram.

“Double Talk is more than a simple he-said/she-said account of a doomed marriage. It’s an exhilarating (and sometimes terrifying) look at the murky complexities that lie under the surface of all relationships.” Michael Crummey, author of Galore, River Thieves, and The Wreckage.

You can purchase a copy of Double Talk here.

Lots of Great Reviews for Glenn Deir’s “SICK JOKE: CANCER, JAPAN & BACK AGAIN”

Sick Joke
is one quirky travelogue. Glenn Deir spent two years happily stumbling through the conundrums of Japanese culture. Then he got tonsil cancer and less happily stumbled through the conundrums of medical culture. Sick Joke is a tale of two journeys told simultaneously that will make you laugh out loud.

“Writer and broadcaster Glenn Deir takes us on a personal health journey that begins — as many often do — with the discovery of a lump. Writing with brutal, laser-like honesty and rare humor, Deir takes us from Japan to Newfoundland to the famed Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, to that dark place where we’re forced to contemplate our mortality. And to that place where we surrender control of our bodies and make that leap of faith to trust our healers. This is ‘medicine, from Deir’s side of the gurney.’ If you’ve ever entertained a doubt that your doctors actually know what they’re doing, this is the book for you.”
-Dr. Brian Goldman, host of CBC’s White Coat, Black Art & author of The Night Shift (2010).

“Everyone who has ever battled cancer or known someone who has should read Sick Joke.” You will finish it with a renewed respect for what the human spirit can endure, and what a lust for life can get you through. Thanks, Glenn. Your book just might save somebody’s life.”
-Pam Frampton, The Telegram

“The book is funny – often hilariously so – because of Deir’s readiness to laugh at himself. But Deir is no clown; his voice is dignified, and comes across as true.”
-Darrell Squires, The Western Star

“As a funny, honest memoir about cancer, this book is really good… There aren’t enough funny books about cancer, and this is a good one.”
-Trudy Morgan-Cole, Compulsive Overreader

Sick Joke is [Deir’s] humourous – sometimes hilarious – account of his fight against cancer. In this memoir he shares the details of his battle in a commendable, vulnerably comical – p’raps witty is a better word – fashion.”
-Harold Walters, Southern Gazette