Sugar and Spice


Growing Up Before the Blitz

Ben Nuttall-Smith and his sister Naomi had an idyllic life before the bombs came:

When we heard the birds building nests beneath the eaves, I teased my sister. I told Naomi the birds were coming to our bedroom to peck out her eyes ‘cause she was “sugar and spice and all things nice.” I’d be safe, “Little boys are made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails.” If my sister cried loud enough, Mommy would spank my bare bottom with the hairbrush.

I got spanked for climbing the apple tree, too. After a spanking and time crying in my room, Mother held me and rocked me until my sobbing subsided. Such moments of love and undivided attention were wonderful, and I looked for them more and more. If pain was the only way to assure undivided love from my mother, then I was willing to make the sacrifice necessary to win her love. At an early age I learned to equate pain with love.

Naomi was born in London. That made her more English than I, born on safari in Tanganyika. Mother said a hyena frightened her while I was being born, so I came into the world laughing. I always got fits of the giggles when being told off, which was most annoying to those doing the scolding. Also, according to Mother, since I was born in Africa, I had to be boiled in a pot for several days just to make me blonde. The fairies delivered Naomi so she was perfect.

Come out to hear Ben read from his book, Discovered in a Scream, on Friday, February 16th, at the Double Header Book Launch. See the event description in EVENTS
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Salmon Arm Library Talk

Kay McCracken is giving a talk/reading at the Okanagan Regional Library Salmon Arm branch, Wednesday, February 14th, 2 – 3 pm.
Her supporters will be pleased to hear her read from her recently published book, Beyond the Blue Door: a writer’s journey.
Following the readings Kay will answer questions.
The book is published by Rutherford Press. See it on  Kay’s author page.

OH Kay!

As seen in the Shuswap monthly, Friday AM: Oh Kay! by Lorne Reimer, editor & publisher,

Kay McCracken has a regular column and she is active hosting and MCing events in and around Salmon Arm. She will be on Vancouver Island in February, followed by “Kay’s Army”. Here is the article:

Kay McCracken will give a talk/reading on her new book, Beyond the Blue Door: a writer’s journey, at 2 pm, Feb. 14 at the Salmon Arm library branch. The cover art is by Frieda Martin.

“I have such respect for Kay McCracken’s indomitable spirit and
unquenchable creativity. In this, her second memoir, her eloquent and brave insights offer life-changing revelations about anxiety, depression, children of alcoholics, care-giving and reconciling with aging parents, hardwon self-awareness and how one good and tough soul hung on to her dream of writing until she became a prolific and beloved poet, performer, journalist and memoirist. As she says best: ‘Life dishes up enough heartache; I’ll grab joy while I can.’  This writer and this book are an inspiration and comfort.”  – Caroline Woodward

The reviews are coming in for Kay McCracken’s second book. Her memoir, Beyond the Blue Door: a writer’s journey, is a sequel to A Raven in My Heart: Reflections of a Bookseller. It picks up where Raven left off and even answers a few questions.
According to Kay, “The Blue Door symbolizes anything we want to get beyond: our fears, anxieties, illness, failures and even hopelessness.”
The story deals with her struggles and ultimately, following a dream, and is bound and intertwined with her mother’s journey as well.
The book should be available at local bookstores by February 9 and through Rutherford Press at and at Amazon, either in paperback or ebook.
Kay has given the All Month its literary creds as our longtime literary columnist. We are also truly proud of her role as co-founder of Word on the Lake, one of BC’s most established writer and readers’ festival.

Come out to Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on February 16th to hear her read from Beyond the Blue Door: a writer’s journey.

Double Header BOOK LAUNCH – Feb. 16th

Rutherford Press is proud as punch to invite you to a Double Header Book Launch!

Kay McCracken will be reading from her new memoir, Beyond the Blue Door: a writer’s journey.

And! Ben Nuttall-Smith will be reading selections from his new books, Crescent Beach Reflections, Discovered in a Scream, and Mad God of the Toltecs.

Mark it on your calendar!

Friday, February 16th at 6:00 pm

at Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, Windsor Rm.

This facility is at the terminus, called Ravensong Exchange, for BC Transit bus #91 Intercity, which comes directly from Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Mall, and also, periodically, starts right at the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal:

Of course, this will be a free event. There will be a donation box for those who are able to contribute to the expenses – much appreciated!
Drinks and snacks will be provided.
Come and see your reading friends!

As the room may quickly become filled, we ask that you RSVP your attendance intention at YES

Dynamic Presenter

Ben Nuttall-Smith’s highly regarded workshop, the Dynamic Presenter, will be given free at the Vancouver Public Library’s lower level on December 9th at 2:00 pm.

Please call to confirm your attendance: 604-331-3603

Shuswap Writers Events

Askew’s Foods’ Word on the Lake Writing Contest is now open and will close at midnight on February 28, 2018.

Contestants may submit original unpublished works in the following categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. First place winners will receive a cash prize of $150 plus a 2018 conference package, Saturday Night Award Ceremony ticket, and be published in the Askews’ Foods’ Word on the Lake Anthology, which will be available at the festival and after the Festival through Bookingham Palace Books, Salmon Arm BC.

Winners will be contacted prior to Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival, May 11 – 13, 2018 at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort and Okanagan College in Salmon Arm, BC and will be recognized at the Saturday night festivities. For further details concerning the writing contest including submission guidelines, and information about the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival go to

Mary-Lou McCausland, Writing Contest Co-coordinator



A Note about Shuswap Association of Writers

The above media release announcing the Askews’ Foods Writing Contest which opened December 1, 2017 and which is a feature of this year’s Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival is a Shuswap Writers Association programme to encourage emerging writers. Would you kindly make this announcement available through your public service announcements, newsletter, postings or emails to whomever you think may wish to participate so that we may reach as many writers who may be interested as possible?

Celebrating its fifteenth year, Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival provides a three-day conference that attracts participants primarily from British Columbia and Alberta. We are fortunate to have bestselling authors such as

Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival is the major annual event of the Shuswap Association of Writers which is a BC registered Society based in Salmon Arm, British Columbia. Our mandate is to organize events to enrich the cultural life in our community and British Columbia, with a focus on the Written Arts.

Shuswap Association of Writers wishes to acknowledge the support of Askew’s Foods, who through their sponsorship, made this writing contest possible.

Thank you for helping us reach out to the writing community with this offer.

Kay Johnson


Shuswap Association of Writers



Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival (WOTL) May 11 – 13, 2018, Salmon Arm, BC.

WOTL is bringing back two all-time favourites: Arthur Black and Grant Lawrence of CBC fame and fortune.

Other award-winning authors confirmed for 2018: Sheri-D Wilson, C.C. Humphries, Jacqueline Guest, Ian Weir, Jack Whyte, and publisher Howard White (Harbour Publishing & Douglas & McIntyre).

As other presenters are added we’ll let you know.


Kay McCracken

Promotion Committee

Word on the Lake Writers Festival


Phone: 1-250-832-6083