Words & : finally! My very own bookstore.


For years I dreamt of having a bookstore, and now I do! It was always going to be named “Words &”—and now it is.

I got the idea from David Abram’s wonderful blog, Book Pregnant. To see his store: click here.

My bookstore is also an Amazon store, simply because Amazon makes it possible. (Note that all of the books are available from other vendors, including IndieBound, but Amazon is the only site that offers this feature at this time.)

Words &: my bookstore!

 And, because my books are available in the US, Canada and the UK and beyond, I couldn’t stop with just one bookstore: I had to create three:

US store above: click here. This is the Mother Ship.

UK (Sandra Gulland INK titles): click here.

Canada (my own titles there): click here.

And, because my research titles are rather a different sort of store: I’m contemplating a fourth.

Let me know what you think. So far, it’s a work-in-progress. Many, many more titles will be added.

It has been great fun setting it up. If you’re inclined to create a bookstore of your own, click here, and Amazon’s Affiliate programme will take you through the steps. Look for the aStore tab. Not hard! If you do create a bookstore, be sure to let me know.

I’ve been having fun with the categories: Fantastic fiction, Historical fiction that awes me;  Wonderful books on writing … It’s a pleasure putting all the books I treasure in one place.

jumbled bookstore

AND … if you buy a book at Words & (how thrilling), let me know that, as well. I’m interested to see how the process works. I understand that there is very little money to be made on books sold through such bookstores, but I like making it possible for readers to easily check out the books I mention on my blogs.

Travel gremlins beware!

It snowed here yesterday, and so it seems only right that we’re heading off for the winter tomorrow.

Even so, it’s so beautiful, it’s always wrenching to leave. It’s said that home is where your books are, and leaving my books is hard. 

It’s going to be a long trip. We’re going to London, Paris, Burgundy and Switzerland before returning to Toronto and heading down to Mexico for six months. It’s a complex transition to pack for, a complex trip to plan! 

But by tomorrow mid-day, the items on my To Do Lists (note: more than one list) will have been ticked off, and those things not … tant pis! 

I believe in Travel Gremlins … don’t you? They’re a playful sort of spirit that will throw a surprise catastrophe in your path just when you’re about to step out the door. A basement flood, a child walking into a hornet’s nest, the cat having kittens—these are the more memorable tricks they’ve played on me in the past. I’m on guard! 

Going over one of my lists, I noted an invitation from the owner of The Red Wheelbarrow in Paris to stop in for a visit. She’d posted a lovely review of Mistress of the Sun on her blog. A few quotes:  

Mistress of the Sun was a thoroughly enjoyable read.”

“Rich descriptions aside, what elevates this book from romantic fiction … is the portrait Gulland paints of Petite. As portrayed under Gulland’s skillful hands, Petite is a conflicted person who struggles to do her best according to her convictions. While she loves the King greatly, she is unable to reconcile this love with her religious convictions.”

I’m looking forward to meeting the proprietors of The Red Wheelbarrow on this trip. Anyone who names a bookstore after a poem by William Carlos Williams is “thumbs up” in my mind. From the photo above, it looks like my kind of bookstore.  

My travel reading has been selected: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Have you read it? 

Happy "Buy Indie Day"!

Happy "Buy Indie Day"!

Today was declared “Buy Indie Day” in support of independent bookstores—a wonderful excuse to spend more money on books. Today I bought at the wonderful Nicholas Hoare Bookstore on Front street in Toronto:


Mrs Woolf & the Servants, by Alison Light (about Virginia Woolf‘s relationship with her servants—delightful, and mildly research-related);

Homecoming, by the wonderful German writer Bernhard Schlink, author of The Reader (which I just read);

Grimoires: a History of Magic Books, by Owen Davies—research for The Next Novel.

I also ordered The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo, who I’ve mentioned several times on this blog.

I’m also, now, the proud owner of a Toronto Public Library card, and brought home The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield,


I’ve so many good books to read, I hardly know which way to turn.

On airport bookstores

On airport bookstores

I cannot pass a bookstore without browsing and for a few moments in a Virgin bookstore in the Vancouver airport, I lose myself in the titles. And then I wake up: I’m an author, I’ve a new book just published, is it on the shelves?


I can’t believe it. How is that possible? It’s not that it’s a hardcover, for they do have other hardcover fiction titles displayed, and published by my own publisher — titles not on the Maclean‘s best-selling fiction in Canada list for over two months, I note with angry jealousy. For a crazy moment I consider inquiring of the clerk and imagine her saying, Oh, we just can’t keep it in stock, it flies off the shelves. Instead I skulk away, pouting.

It’s amazing how emotional this can be. I’m not this type of person — normally. But normally, too, I’m not on a book tour, I don’t have a book out and normally I do not have a book on anyone’s best-seller list. A sense of entitlement comes quickly … and lethally.

I remember walking in a mall with my then-young son just before my first book was to be published. Passing a bookstore I told him, “Next time we come, my book will be in that store.” I realized, then, that my bookstore experience would change forever. No longer relaxed and easy browsing. Once I had a book published, I would approach bookstores as an Author, making sure I was presentable, checking to see if my titles were on a table or shelf, and then going up to the clerk and explaining that I was the author of a book on their shelf (pointing), and offering to sign.

It’s a job, what you do. My experiences have been varied, from the manager of a large store jumping up and down with enthusiasm, to an annoyed end-of-day who-needs-this response from a clerk. More and more, I’m asked to prove my identity first with an ID before being allowed to sign.

I came to see airport bookstores as the cream of the crop, and longed for the day when my books would be in one. I remember with great satisfaction when I first saw the titles of the Josephine B. Trilogy on the shelf of a bookstore in a San Francisco airport. As the Trilogy became more successful, I began to even expect to see it.

And so, grumpily, I left the Virgin bookstore in the Vancouver airport and proceeded through check-in. There was another bookstore on the way to my gate: I glanced over the shelves warily. No. No. No.

And then: yes. There is was, Mistress of the Sun stacked ever so nicely on a shelf at the front.

Happily, I got on the plane.


Image from BibliOdyessy.