Meet Amanda Joyce
Meet Maureen Lippe
Seven years after she retired from a lengthy career in banking, Yvonne Blackwood surprised her friends and family by returning to school at age sixty-four to pursue an English degree. Her purpose was fueled by four powerful reasons—to add texture to her writing; to ward off dementia; to enhance structure in her life; and to inspire her two young grandsons to continue their education after high school. But as she stepped onto the campus of Canada’s third-largest university, Blackwood had no idea of the hurdles she was about to face.
In a retelling of her journey into a new beginning, Blackwood details how, after enrolling in York University, she struggled to maintain her established lifestyle, attend class with hard-to-connect-with millennials, and face a series of challenges that included two strikes at the university, a campus lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a shocking health diagnosis in her final year of studies. While leaning on the university’s motto—the way must be tried—Blackwood tells an inspiring story of how she persevered and learned to rely on her faith as she bravely conquered her fears and vulnerabilities to eventually achieve her goal.
College Life of a Retired Senior is the true story of a former bank manager’s experiences as she returned to college in the third act of life to earn a degree in English.
Meet Yvonne Blackwood
Yvonne Blackwood is the author of four adult non-fiction books, Into Africa: A Personal Journey, Will That Be Cash or Cuffs? Into Africa: the Return, and College Life of a Retired Senior: A Memoir of Perseverance, Faith, and Finding the Way. She has also published three children’s picture books: Nosey Charlie Comes to Town, Nosey Charlie Goes to Court, and Nosey Charlie Chokes on a Wiener. An award-winning short-story writer, Blackwood has contributed stories to several anthologies, including Human Kindness, Canadian Voices, and Wordscape. She has published articles in magazines including More of Our Canada, Adelaide, InTouch, and Green Prints and has written columns for the Toronto Star, Pride Newspaper, and The African Connection.
Can a mother be both loving and selfish? Caring and thoughtless? Deceitful and devoted? These are the questions that fuel psychologist Dr. Judy Rabinor’s quest to understand her ambivalence toward her mother.
While leading a seminar exploring the importance of the mother-daughter relationship, Dr. Judy Rabinor, an eating disorder expert, is blindsided by a memory of a childhood trauma. Realizing how this buried trauma has resonated through her life, she sets off to heal herself. The Girl in the Red Boots weaves together tales from Rabinor’s psychotherapy practice and her life, helping readers understand how painful childhood experiences can linger and leave emotional scars. In the process, Rabinor traces her own journey becoming a wounded healer and ultimately making peace with her mother, and herself.
Not a traditional self-help book outlining “steps” to reconcile or forgive one’s mother, The Girl in the Red Boots is a poignant memoir filled with hard-won life lessons, including the fact that it’s never too late to let go of hurts and disappointments and develop compassion for yourself—and even for your mother.
Meet Nichole Carpenter
In The House on Dogbone St., Julia Duthie takes us on a walk through the tumultuous life she was destined to endure.The feeling of treading on eggshells for the little girl who had no choice but to navigate one of the most dreadful paths that life could offer, displaying her resilience and go-getter attitude no matter what obstacle was thrown her way, is fascinating. We cannot blame her for being naive in some circumstances as the two people meant to protect her were in a world of their own. One, in a depressive trance, while the other was never fully present.
However, from start to end, her story is a lesson for every one of us. Ignorance takes no blame in this journey as Julia made the best of what she had and what she thought to be right. It is the advantage taken by elders and those who camouflaged their real personas that are the actual culprits of a life filled with scars at every turn. How she turned those dents into beautiful blooms is the intrigue of it all. Walk her path through this great rendition to encounter neighbours and teachers who stood in the shadows and shed a slight reflexion of hope toward her direction, never knowing how much it would finally mean to her and what she would eventually become.
Although it is a triumph to be celebrated, the unwelcome demons she collected along the way sometimes threaten to manifest themselves and take her back to a state of defeat. But will she follow suit? Find out in her extraordinary memoir.
Dancing was her life. Until a paralyzing virus threatened to shatter her dreams.
Forever on Pointe: A True Story is the fascinating account of one woman’s ever-evolving journey from the intense world of professional ballet to the bloody streets of the Hungarian Revolution to the glittering nightclubs of Montreal. In this intimate and revealing memoir, Agota Gabor shares how grit and determination allowed her to attain her wildest dreams.
As a young girl, Agota intends to become a professional ballerina in Budapest, but her dream is shattered when she contracts polio. Through gruesome therapy and iron willpower, she learns to dance again, making a living as a dancer in Canada after her home country erupts in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
Agota forges ahead to achieve a prosperous and dynamic life, working as a chorus girl in Montreal casinos and nightclubs. But she wants more than just the glitz and glam. After going back to school, Agota becomes a television journalist and works with her foreign-correspondent husband as they live the expat life, traveling across the world from Hong Kong to Jakarta to London. Agota’s roller-coaster life continues as a mother and a businesswoman, as she runs a successful communications firm and makes a killing in real estate.
The very concept of New York City conjures up a wealth of emotions in many people. For writer Joanie Strulowitz, it has always been a place of magic: an enticing playground, a cascade of art, a wonderland of fascinating characters, a youth serum to keep her feeling forever young.
Believing herself to be a New Yorker who just happened to be born in Iowa, Strulowitz felt the tantalizing call of Manhattan from the time she was four, and eventually made her home there. In this love song to the City, she pays adoring tribute to the essence of Manhattan from its intense pace and the pounding excitement in the air to the funky charm and even the glittering pavement that provides a stage on which it all unfolds.
The City is her laboratory, her art studio, and the extraordinary inspiration for this collection of captivating vignettes. In each short but sublime piece, Strulowitz evokes the luminous ambiance that has lured artists and adventure seekers to the island metropolis for generations: enthralling chance encounters, the slightly terrifying exhilaration of first subway rides, the soothing clink of silverware in a favorite sidewalk cafe, the urge to break into song when discovering a perfect little boutique.
Anyone who has lived in New York City, played tourist there, or just dreamed of paying a visit will find something to love in this transcendent appreciation of the jewel-encrusted celebration of life and art that is Manhattan.
Meet Joanie Strulowitz
ALTHOUGH JOANIE STRULOWITZ is seasoned in numerous aspects of the arts and business, writing has always been her baby. While raising her two daughters in Iowa, she joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Years later, after finding her first apartment in Los Angeles, she discovered that–magnetically–the SCBWI offices were two blocks from her front door.
Originally from Iowa and later Chicago, Strulowitz moved to New York because, as she explains in My Love Affair with Manhattan (Vignettes of a Life in the City), “My soul has always lived there, and my body needs to catch up.”
With a memory that is largely emotive, she recalls almost every square inch of how she felt growing up. As an observer who always thought something was wrong with her because she didn’t fit in, she discovered that writing books, and being involved with all of the arts, help to make sense of life.
Now she seeks to be the voice she searched for, so the lessons she learned can help others to find the gifts in their differences–and to believe in themselves and their dreams.
Today you can find her (and her black turtleneck) in Los Angeles, writing a chapter on her grocery bag while walking home, or completing her YA fantasy novel during Pilates sessions.