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By October 30, 2017 Books, Guest Bloggers

Our guest blog today is courtesy of Janet Land, a Toronto actor and author of a fascinating new book sure to entice history buffs.

By Janet Land

My father, William “Bill” Land, served in WWII and kept a journal, which I fortuitously discovered some years ago. I wanted to share his unique experiences with a larger audience to contribute to WWII awareness. From the culturally diverse places Bill was stationed in, to the people he met, to his surprising observations along the way, I was compelled to document and share these findings as examples of humanity during a time of such global conflict.

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Long weekend reads

By May 19, 2017 Books, Performance

What happens when you grow up with the Bogeyman narrative playing out large in the culture around you?  Literary darling Emma Cline grew up in California where the Manson drama was the defining event in the zeitgeist of her parent’s adolescence. The story of the charismatic sociopath was too familiar to her as a novel protagonist so she decided to focus on the peripheral players in the story, and conjured up a character who might have been on the sidelines of a dangerous cult. This became the starting point for her critically acclaimed debut, The Girls, which kept me enthralled on my sickbed this week.   Read More

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Have you read a poem lately?

By April 28, 2017 Books, Performance, Urban gadfly

April is National Poetry Month.
We almost missed it, didn’t we? There are so many distractions in this fine city. Last night I was at Hot Docs 2017, with Last Men in Aleppo. There are two more screenings of this. Highly recommended. I cannot think of anything else this morning.

Thank goodness for Henry, a clever boy I love, who gave me one of my most favourite gifts ever last year: a collection of his own poetry.

Meet the under ten set’s new poet laureate.

Hooray for Henry, you’re our Friday inspiration.

For more on poetry…

from a year ago:

The profane and the sublime

While you wait, make eggs. Read poetry.

from two years ago:

Whale breath

from three years ago:

Unclogging the air

from four years ago:

Pack a rock

from five years ago:

We were all children once

Happy weekend.

PS. The Handmaid’s Tale begins this Sunday on Bravo!


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Best of 2016

By December 31, 2016 Art, Books, Film, Life, Performance

2016 was a year to say goodbye to my youngest off to university, and to my childhood home where my parents lived for almost six decades. A year of frights that came deep in the night, some that lingered longer than others: my mother and my oldest child suffered accidents, as did my father-in-law. Caring emergency workers and excellent medical supervision mean we have them all yet to cherish this holiday season.

We will toast them tonight, but first, a peek at some of my favourites of 2016:image-3 Read More

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By November 30, 2016 Books

My food memoir hit stores this week in Toronto. After a sneak peek event for family and neighbours in my garden this summer, the official launch arrived.

Dreams. They’re worth having.


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Meet the team: love and sugar heroes

By November 25, 2016 Books

Love and Sugar Launch Countdown Week

Writers work alone. Maybe there’s a writing circle for support, or rituals known only to their editors.  Support, when it comes, is crucial. Just ask Canadian literary star Miriam Toews, who scooped the $50,000 Writers’ Trust Fellowship earlier this week.

The fellowship affords me an extravagant amount of time to write, and time is the most meaningful gift a writer can receive.

-Miriam Toews

Time, yes, was needed for my with love and sugar project, for inspiration to root into shape.

Inspiration is a small bouncy ball that flies at you, you who often forget your catcher’s mitt. A  lost single glove in the gutter. The sign on a church billboard as your car stops at a red. Overheard trails of conversation while you wait in line. The pink elephant in your home office.img_0279

Inspiration are the pair of pom-poms, cheerleader red, worn by parents who mark up your advance copy with sticky notes.

Are those mistakes you found?, Author Daughter wonders.

No, they are all the things I love, responds Agent Mother.

Inspiration is a think tank interested in accountability and croissants or yogurt parfaits as meeting tools. Show up and spew might be the theme for our bi-monthly meetings: mostly, it’s thinking out loud, coffee, giving feedback, coffee, sharing failures, coffee, applauding success (however minute). Did I say coffee? Made by someone else? Handed to you as you slump to your seat? Good morning. I have nothing for you today. Wait, okay, maybe I do.

Nancy Macdonald

Inspiration is a team of bakers with their own m.o, each answering the call and delivering up delights on a tray. No, I didn’t pay them.  But taste testers and bakers were as much as part of this journey as anyone else.


Inspiration is a vat of booster fuel from life coaches, self-avowed and otherwise, ready to jumpstart flagging engines, cross the city in a mass book delivery wearing a chauffeur cap and feather boa (is there a better delivery uniform? Let me know), or remind you that yes, you really did do it.12342320_10153824959254066_4293986945597405530_n

Here are a few heroes with the love and sugar breakdown.


What’s your favourite sweet thing to eat?

Stephanie Black: Cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce and homemade whip cream. Skip the fake cherries please!!!!
Before I had dairy intolerance – old fashioned butterscotch sundae at a 50’s diner would be ideal.

Lisa Simone: Chocolate Fudge Layer cake- icing not buttercream-sweet fudge OR two fresh Polish Panczky- doughnuts with plum filling and lots of liquid icing sugar dripping down the sides.

Cindy Andrew: My grandmothers carrot cake with cream cheese icing!

Janet Land: O’Henry Chocolate Bar and Pecan Butter Tarts. I can’t choose!

What’s your favourite sweet thing to bake?

Stephanie:  Being in Haileybury, Ontario, at my grandmothers:she would bring me homemade chocolate chip cookies (we made earlier that day) and a glass of milk while I read Archie’s with the dog beside me.

Lisa: Rice Pudding- although I never eat it.

Janet Land: Aunt Mickey’s chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

Cindy: My grandmothers carrot cake with cream cheese icing!!!…


A ritual you love?

Stephanie: A favourite ritual today is Shabbat dinner when we work together in the kitchen, light candles, pray, and say thanks and ask each other what we are grateful for, and what kind action was shown to us or what we did kind for someone else.

Lisa: A daily favourite is setting the table right before bed so it’s ready for breakfast, or preparing the strawberry French toast on weekend.

Janet LandMaking family weekend breakfast: french toast, crisp bacon, fresh strawberries, fresh OJ, fresh coffee.

Cindy: Today it is hard to find time where everyone has a few hours at the same time to get together but we make it essential at Christmas.. sporting our Santa hats, we pile into the car with the dog and a football and head to the tree farm. We grab some cider and a few saws and head out into the field for the perfect Christmas tree… singing carols which embarrass the kids until they just join in and love it… It still take a few hours to find the perfect tree (easier now that the kids are older and can toss the ball around while we hunt, but when they were 2 and 4 no matter how many layers of clothes we put on them, they froze and it never ended well until visiting Santa in his hut at the end…I love this part of Christmas… we are together, outside, playing and seeking that special tree.. some days it’s too tall and we have to cut off a few feet, some years it’s small, but every year it is our perfect tree and my perfect time with the family!

Thanks for sharing all.




HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE.   For those joining me on Monday at my launch, I promise Christmas cookies. ( to rsvp)


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Meet the team: love and sugar photography

By November 24, 2016 Books, Life

All images are under copyright. Act accordingly.

Love and Sugar Launch Countdown Week

Homework. That’s what I gave Paschalis Gogos on the day we sat down to discuss shooting the desserts in my book. Piled high in front of us was a stack of cookbooks.

This here? This is what I don’t want. No fussy studio shots. My desserts are all tied into events. For real people.

He smiled and told me he was new at this, shooting food, but he wasn’t new to photography. Read More

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Meet the team: love and sugar design

By November 23, 2016 Books, Life

Love and Sugar Launch Countdown Week

As a former producer of television arts and entertainment news, I thought I knew teamwork. Middle child of five? Teams-R-US.

(Stop snickering, siblings!)

I’m not young enough to know everything

-J.M. Barrie

This book of mine took up brain space without paying rent long before I sourced any help. It just sat there like a crazy squatter dreaming of a castle on a hill. The lines and bones of the castle were clear in my head, as were all the rooms inside. From head to finished product?


Roll out the team.
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Look for me here

By November 21, 2016 Books, Headlines

Love and Sugar Launch Countdown Week

A week from today ♥with love and sugar ♥will be available in a bookstore jammed with goodies.


Tucked on a Toronto midtown corner where passerbys can’t help but gape at the wondrous windows, Mabel’s Fables has survived where others have fallen. Since 1988, this gem has done far more than serve up children’s stories. It is a dream shop.
When owner Eleanor Lefavre invited me to launch my food memoir in her store, I might have fallen over right then. Fortunately for the stacks of gorgeous books around me, I wobbled but stayed afloat—just. Read More

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Summer? What summer? I’m still running.

By September 8, 2016 Books, Life

You were too busy to wonder where I went these months past. That’s okay. I forgive you. Summer is like that. We lose ourselves if we’re paying enough attention.  I got lost in all the right ways. Lost in endings and beginnings and falling head first into the bowl of life’s richest treasures. It took me awhile to get back up so pull up a chair and stay awhile.

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