Serial stories in the newsletter

In know this may be confusing but there are two different ways to keep in touch with me. One way is here in my blog where I post random thoughts (you have probably figured that part out) on life. Much of these is like the “Flypaper thoughts” I used to post on my now retired sewing blog. If you are reading this now there is a good chance you have signed up to be notified when I post something like that.

In a more formal way I also write a regular email delivered newsletter that focuses more on my writing and less on life. To receive that you will have to sign up on that link on the page. I decided to give people the option because I know some of you are less interested in book news or in receiving too many emails.

What might interest you though is that I have decided to write some stories in a serialized format and release those, chapter by chapter, to my newsletter subscribes as I write them. When these shorter stories are done I will ask my readers for help in naming them and then publish them officially.

It’s sort of a fun process too.


Are you interested in advance review copies?

I have recently published my first in a series Crafting for Murder and will be releasing my spring novella Panic in the Pansies in another week, with a summer, fall and Christmas novella to follow as well as a book 2 in the Gasper’s Cove Cozy Mystery series.

I have so much appreciated the support I have received from my readers and beta readers so I have a request.

I am putting together a small group of readers and active reviewers I can send the completed books to a week or two in advance of publication so reviews are available at all the usual places, Amazon, Kobo, Goodreads and Bookbub for anyone else who might enjoy the books.

If you would like to be part of this review group please get in touch by leaving your email or contacting me directly with any questions at barbara@babsemodi.com


Flypaper thoughts International Women’s day edition

  • Last week contained International Women’s Day
  • Which got me thinking
  • Writing is spitting up into my head and onto the page what I’ve been noticing
  • Over a lifetime
  • Which is this
  • There’s nothing ordinary about ordinary women
  • My mom was born premature, this baby’s going to die they said
  • The aunts took her home and put her in an apple basket
  • You know the quart kind with a wooden handle
  • Wrapped her up and put her in a corner of the window
  • It was January in Winnipeg Manitoba and they invented the incubator
  • She turned 95 two months ago
  • I worked with a man who had a brother
  • Who turned up young on the doorstep after the war
  • Good old dad had fathered him when he was off in the war
  • My boss’s mother took this boy in and turned him into a son
  • After spending five years on her own during the war raising the family on her own
  • How did she feel when she opened that door?
  • I look down my street and I see too many old men retiring into the Lazy Boy recliners
  • Doesn’t happen to the women
  • We reinvent ourselves over and over again our whole lives
  • There’s nothing ordinary about ordinary women
  • And that’s a story worth telling

Flypaper thoughts

  • Would it ever occur to the makers of GPS units that an instruction “Go north on …street”
  • Is completely useless. If I was the kind of person who knew where north was I wouldn’t need a GPS would I?
  • I miss my dermatologist. He caught a couple of things that needed catching and always made it seem like a joke. Going to see him was like going to the movies. One time after a trip I had down south he had on a Make America Great Again hat on his head during the exam to make me laugh.
  • He died suddenly but sometimes when I have a thing to think about I say to myself what would Dr. Murray say now and I smile.
  • What an amazing contribution he made to the world.
  • Increasingly I think it is about the details.
  • The reason I write about Nova Scotia is because this place is entirely about the details, everything else goes to the back of the line.
  • My niece moved here from a huge city.
  • Everything here takes so so long she said. I had to wait an extra ten minutes in the grocery line up because the cashier had to tell the woman ahead of me how not to worry about her hysterectomy because this is how her own turned out.
  • They were strangers.
  • In a place where they don’t understand the concept of personal space.
  • My niece stayed and I made up Gasper’s Cove.
  • Reasons I married my husband #9004.
  • He took the oven window apart to remove the gunk that got caught between the panes of the glass on the front.
  • Who does that?
  • Of course he stood in the kitchen in muddy boots while he did it.
  • Marriage in one image.
  • In closing a picture of my old deaf, half blind now, puppy mill mom rescue dog asleep with her best friend, always looking out for her:

On eccentricity

On February 25 the first in my Gasper’s Cove Crafters series will be released. I loved writing that book and have just finished the second one, which will be published the end of the year. I am also going to release some shorter novellas in between because there is a lot to say about Gasper’s Cove.

I live in Nova Scotia. I write about here because this province is so rich in characters that it has developed an almost inbred tolerance for eccentricity. Small parts of people I know have been combined to make the fictional personalities in my books and this has made them easy for me to see and write.

The funny thing about this approach however, is that some editors have found aspects of my folks hard to believe. The best part of these comments is that what they found difficult to imagine were the parts that were most real.

Which brings me to the topic of eccentricity.

I come from a long line of highly successful eccentrics.

My mother used to wash the carrots in the washing machine. She had a theory that the little holes in the drum wore away the skin, so she wouldn’t have to peel them. My father used to put cans of spaghetti in the car engine to cook on long car trips, ready for lunch. And, I had a great uncle who went to his daughter’s bridal shower dressed as a woman, so effectively, that his own wife and daughter didn’t even recognize him. If I put all this into a book, and one day I might, who would believe it?

But what a thing it is to be so reckless, so confident, so secure as to be that original. How much do we lose when we sand off the corners of people with self-improvement, self-awareness, and self-actualization?

Where’s the story there?





What a couple of years this has been for the world.

Right now my husband and I are in Austin Texas visiting our youngest son. The last time we were here, having a lovely time in the RV at the state parks, we had to break camp and go home because Trudeau called all out of country Canadians back to the mother ship. He was worried about something called covid. There was even talk of the border being closed.

It was an odd trip back to Nova Scotia then. Some states we drove through were like ghost towns and other like nothing had happened.

Not to worry we thought then, three years ago, we’ll go home, sit tight, and wait for the vaccine. That will be that. Remember TB, remember polio? One shot and it will be over.

As we all know it was more complicated than that. And I don’t need to tell you, because we all know, that the world went a bit nutty after that, on many levels.

So this New Year’s, after that experience, and I enter a new year not knowing what it will hold. Fabulous things have happened in the last few years of course, but I no longer assume those to be guaranteed.

Which is why I want to share my favourite fact with you.

Here it is.

Do you know that Charles Darwin never did say that only the fittest survived?

Nope, what he actually said was that the most adaptable survived.

Which is why we still have algae and not dinosaurs.

It seems to me that the same is true for people.

No one’s life is without the unexpected challenges, and no one has all their dreams come true.

But the thing is, it is alway possible to adapt. To invent the detour yourself, to rig up a fix, to find the silver lining, to search out and capitalize on the opportunity in any crisis.

Being from the Maritimes I have always loved that old phrase, smooth seas don’t make for skilled sailors.


So this year I am not making any resolutions, stating any intentions, sending out to the universe whatever I want it to manifest for my own selfish self.

Instead I want to be nimble, to be adaptable, and to be the best, skilled sailor I can be.

That, will make a year worth remembering.

Take care



Celebrating Christmas where they are

I have a hero.

My daughter. My girl, now grown up with three kids of her own, is amazing. She herself has MS but in addition to running a Cracker Jack household she also studies, does research, and works full-time as a paediatric oncology coordinator. If your child has been diagnosed with cancer she’s the person who sits down and says “OK this is what we are going to do together.” I have heard her on the phone taking after hours calls from parents. I don’t know how my little girl does it.

She is wonderful.

She is also wise.

One of the things my daughter has taught me is the concept of meeting people where they are. Not deciding for them, or laying on your own expectations, but understanding where they are in life and going there to relate to them.

I have used this approach a lot lately and it has occurred to me that it has a special place at Christmas.

What other time of the year is so heavy with expectations, hopes, memories, and sometimes subsequent disappointments?

Here’s the thing.

Right now I am in Texas, a long way from Nova Scotia, going to see one of my sons for the holidays. Being here reminds me of how much Christmas, the lights, wreaths, decorations etc. are amplified in a northern country. Christmas where I come from, is a signal that the long, cold, dark and snowy and often hard winter is about to start. This makes the lights and brights of Christmas for us such a huge deal.

It doesn’t look quite like this house in Halifax here:

So this year, one when my son and his girlfriend will be hosting not one but two mothers who have never met, he has decided to order in Chinese food, to keep it chill. Not ask the mothers to make the old family favourites, which is the point, and one I get because I am. of course, totally chill myself.

Also because I have been travelling I have not done my usual make it myself Christmas, where I produce all my gifts. In fact when I told my two boys down here I could sew or knit anything they wanted, they said, gee thanks don’t need anything. The guys have better taste than I do and we all know that.

So this Christmas is going to be about what really matters, being with the people who do, on their terms, which, as families are meant to evolve, is about time.

However …. the Chinese food eating son did admire some decorations I made for his brother’s tree in Berkeley, so I made some of those on the ride here for him too:

They’re not perfect, but then again neither is the person who made them. I am going to buy a big cactus and hang them from it. What do you think?

Have yourself a Merry Christmas,



CRAFTING FOR MURDER: Gasper’s Cove Mysteries Book 1

So much catching up to do.

On the personal front there have been many family events (new grandson in California and a month there to help), a 95 year-old mother who moved into assisted living in Winnipeg and then had to be nursed through Covid (recovered, amazingly). All very occupying but through it I have been writing.

Writing, I have discovered, is a great way to rest your mind, particularly if you have somewhere to go like the fictional, but to me highly familiar, community of Gasper’s Cove Nova Scotia.

Also during this time I was contacted by the wonderful folks at C&T (who did such a good job with my sewing books) about publishing my fiction.

There is no other publisher I would like to work with, so we have reached an agreement. I will be writing a series about Valerie Rankin and the Gasper’s Cove Crafters, the first to be released in February and now available for pre-order from retailers like this one or this one (more to follow after publication).

I am already well into Book 2 and have others percolating in my brain.

Now here’s the thing.

When this first book was in its draft stage I put out a call for beta readers in my newsletter. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested. The response however was amazing. I am still in awe of how many people helped out and I am so grateful for the useful comments and just general support and encouragement sent my way! The book above is a much, much better book because of the contributions of these readers, I just can’t thank you all enough. This experience alone made writing the book worthwhile.

And now this particularly busy part of my year seems to be settling down, I plan on blogging here every week.

I think we are just getting started.

Talk soon.



Free book for Christmas

One of the things I have decided to do is to offer my readers shorter books, what some call “one hour reads”, time to time between the publication of my full length books.

On that theme I decided to write and make available a free Christmas story called Jingle Bell Shock (Yes I know. I have a sister and brother-in-law who are big on puns and finally a use for that skill!)

I will be sending the links out in my newsletter for this month to subscribers but you can access the book for free yourself through these retailers or through this link.

Let me know what you think. Tell me if you think these shorter books between the big ones is something you would enjoy.

Merry Christmas!

July newsletter

Hi folks.

July 15, 2022

Hello my readers,

Don’t fall over. This is my first emailed newletter from Babs Emodi author in a long, long time.

But before we get to that wanted to share with you why I decided to write stories.

This is how it is. I have been around for a while and have collected many stories, human and humorous in my head. I really wanted a place to put them.

The main character in my series is Valerie Rankin and she teaches sewing classes in the family general store in Gasper’s Cove Nova Scotia, and later helps her community set up a crafter’s co-op.

Sewing classes have been a big part of my life, both as a teacher and before that as a student.

Let me tell you a story.

I am the oldest of four girls and grew up in a small town. When I was still in single digits my mother had my youngest sister, who is deaf. At that time, and in that place there were not many resources for helping deaf children (incredibly I can remember my grandmother suggesting she would be happier in an institution “with her own”. Aren’t we all glad we are no longer living in the good old days?)

Anyway, my mother somehow found out that the actor Spencer Tracey had a deaf son and had set up a foundation to send out mail order type lessons to teach small deaf children. My mother became obsessed with this program and our home was quickly blanketed with snap cards. (My sister by the way turned out brilliantly).

In the middle of all of this I was a bit of a nuisance. I had been given a hand powered metal sewing machine by a Czeck woman who lived across the street. This changed my world as I was always up to some scheme, as I still am to be honest. One of my enterprises was to run a doll clothes factory out of the garage. There I forced various small children to be my cutters and I stitched up my collections, which were then sold to whiny kids, some of whom were my cutters, (I hope I gave them a discount, I can’t remember) who went home begging for 5 cents or 10 cents to buy my clothes.

As I remember I was doing a roaring business until the mothers on my street banded together and decided to shut me down. I was in fact summoned to a meeting with the mother union. I distinctly remember riding my bike down to one house and knowing that I was going to get a good talking to when I got there. 

Back at home, sitting on the grey rug in the living room with a hyper toddler surrounded by educational materials from Hollywood, my mother snapped. She decided I needed to be sent off to a summer program of some kind to keep me out of her hair and to shut down the phone calls from her neighbours. The problem, of course, was that in ancient times summer programs for kids had not been invented. So, in desperation she signed me up for adult sewing lessons at the Singer Sewing School in the musty basement of the Singer dealership downtown.

And so, it all started. From that basement to Gasper’s Cove and Valerie Rankin. One straight line.

I completely loved every minute of learning to sew. The teacher was the most elegant woman I had ever seen, no housedress, just a light purple linen shift dress with beautiful, perfect, hand-running stitches accentuating every one of her princess seams.

I am happy to say that the curriculum was not adjusted at all to accommodate me. There in that basement, taught by a bouffant Jackie Kennedy look-alike, I learned to make tailor tacks and bound buttonholes. By the end of the summer I had made my own ten-year-old self a fully lined pink wool suit, and learned the first rule of wardrobe planning, sew what fits your lifestyle or you’ll never wear it.

Even more interesting to me than construction techniques was the conversation in that class and the first glimpse it provided to me of the stories women have to tell when they are given a chance.

There you have it, why I am writing.

And I think I’ll just tell little stories in these author newsletters. What do you think?

You probably noticed that my novels are murder mysteries too. Why not? There are a lot of mysteries in this life and people reveal who they really are under pressure. 

Which reminds me.

Did I ever tell you about the body they found in the professor’s office when I was in university?

Next time.

Thanks for reading, so much appreciated.

Your friend,