Friday, May 10, 2024

New Beginnings - Barbara Baker



I tied my manuscript up in an electronic bow and sent the final version off to BWL Publishing. Let me tell you, there were days during the last edit when I had panic attacks about practise and practice, passed and past—had I used the correct one? Two periods should have been question marks and three commas should have been periods but finally, Jillian of Banff XO was done and will be released on July 1st, 2024.

I thought writing The End was my goodbye to Jillian and I was excited to see what story would be next. But damn her. While I was enjoying a perfect spring ski day with gorgeous blue skies and slushy snow, Jillian popped into my head and would not leave. 


She’s a few years older now, a bit more worldly and … very persistent. So, I skied faster. But Jillian was relentless. And when I finally couldn’t take her badgering any longer, we agreed to try another book. I already love the opening scene. 

My fictional character, Jillian, is like a favourite child who wants to spend more time with me so I will see where her story takes me this time. I’m sure she’ll be tapping me on the shoulder with more suggestions while I’m out and about but that’s enough about Jillian for now.

After a great ski day, there’s still lots of daylight hours to see what spring is up to—who’s blooming, who’s sunning themselves and who’s busy mating.

Of course, the crocus leads the bloomfest and no one ever said, “You have too many crocus pictures.”


Painted turtles are my next big find. They stretch out on logs to dry the itchy shit off their shells which accumulated after spending months under water. Turtles go into a state called brumation in the winter—their metabolism slows down; they go without food for months and absorb oxygen from water through their skin ... their version of hibernation. 


After cleaning the winter debris from my flowerbeds, I turned the garden hose on and the tiniest ball of fluff hopped out from a patch of tall ornamental grass. It was a very wet baby hare. I knew not to touch it, so I stood back and guarded it in case a raven or hawk flew by. After the youngster dried off in the sun, it hopped back into its nest. 


I Googled hares and learned the babies are called leverets. What? Chicks, fawns, cubs … how come they get cute names, and a hare gets stuck with leveret? Apparently, it means ‘a young hare’ in French but it still doesn’t seem fair. 

Unlike rabbits, hares are born with a full body of fur, their eyes are open, and they can survive on their own a few hours after birth. The young have no scent and Mom only comes back once every 24 hours to feed them for a few minutes, so she doesn’t leave her scent in the nest. No wonder she's okay with mating again while she’s nursing. Parenting seems to be pretty easy for hares. 


Next fun find in the spring is garter snake balls. The snakes slither out of their dens when the ground warms up and congregate in balls for warmth and sex … a lot of sex. The female lets off a sex pheromone and males rush to please her.

As many as a hundred males will attempt to mate with a single female. It’s an athletic endeavour and they get all crazy and hence, the mating ball is formed. During this orgy, male snakes go without food and show no signs of aggression until after they’ve mated. How gentlemanly of them.

I’ll leave you with these visuals because there is such a thing as too many snake pictures.   


There's almost two months before Jillian of Banff XO is available. What fun activities do you plan for your book release days?

You can contact me at:

Summer of Lies: Baker, Barbara:9780228615774: Books -

What About Me?: Sequel to Summer of Lies : Baker, Barbara: Books



  1. Great post. Here in Arizona, the spring looks very different, and we already had 3-digit temperatures. Lots of things I didn't know about turtles and snakes. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh! You must have a large property to have a pond and those lovely turtles! Happy spring!

  3. Ah, that persistent voice of a character so... so real.
    What - leverets? And balls of snakes? Thanks for the spring 'mating' lesson ;)


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