Phyllis Entis

Award-winning mystery writer and food safety microbiologist

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The Importance of Reviews

Any writer who tries to tell you that reviews (make that ‘good’ reviews) are meaningless, that reviews make no difference, or that she doesn’t care whether or not there is a string of 4-star and 5-star reviews posted to her book’s Amazon page, is lying through her teeth.

Reviews matter. They figure into Amazon’s search engine – that magic software that determines which book titles pop up on the first couple of pages of a search result. They influence a reader’s decision as to which books to buy. But, most importantly, reviews are the best way for a reader to communicate with an author.

I can tell you that reviews matter to me. I read every single review that is posted, whether on Amazon, goodreads, or any other site. When my writing is sputtering, and I wonder why I should bother trying to string words together, I take heart from a reader who posts that he is impatient for the release of my next book. It’s all very well to proclaim that I write because I love writing;  the truth is that writing is much more enjoyable when I know that people get pleasure out of my stories.

Today, I am basking in the afterglow of a wonderful review of The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper that appeared on the blog site On My Kindle. Please follow the link and discover why Charity Rowell-Stansbury called The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper her “…favorite book in the Damien Dickens Mystery Series thus far.”

Buoyed by the encouragement I’ve received from On My Kindle and other readers, I am now hard at work plotting Damien and Millie’s next adventure. Wish me luck!


Remembering My Heroes

imagesOn the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns fell silent in Europe. The First World War – The War To End All Wars – was over. Whether referred to as Remembrance Day (throughout the British Commonwealth of Nations) or as Veterans Day (in the USA), the anniversary of the end of World War I is a reminder of the horror of war.


Several members of my family served in the Canadian military, most of them in World War II. Fortunately, all of them survived their war service. These are my heroes.

Uncle Reuben Lapidus with mates (courtesy of Rubin Vineberg)

Reuben Lapidus (in the middle). My great-uncle served in the Canadian Army in both world wars.


Version 2

Louis Lutsky. My Dad drove supply trucks for the Canadian Army Quartermaster Corps through Italy and the Netherlands in WW II


Version 2

Moe (Moishe) Lutsky (1946). My uncle, a member of the Grenadier Guards, drove a tank in the Netherlands in WW II. You can read his story here.



Joe Quint (with my Aunt Lil). Uncle Joe served in the Canadian Army in WW II.


Photo provided by Rubin Vineberg

Maurice Vineberg. My cousin served in the Canadian Navy in WW II.


I also count among my heroes the fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and sweethearts who kept the home fires burning and the factories humming. Here are just a few of them.



My grandparents, Esther and Jacob Lutsky (1943).

Standing next to my grandfather is Dad’s youngest brother, my Uncle Marvin. Next to my grandmother is my Mom, who was not yet married to Dad. This picture was taken outside my grandparents’ general store. Note the poster for Victory Bonds hanging in the window above my grandmother’s head.


My Mom (1943).

She and Dad married after the war, in March 1946.


From left to right in 1944: My aunt, Lil Sonnenberg Quint, Mary Quint (my grandmother), Gertrude Quint (Mom), Jack Quint (my grandfather) and my aunt, Maisie Quint


My grandfather, Jack Quint


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Make America Kind Again

I was an eleven-year old girl, watching from across the US-Canada border, when John F. Kennedy delivered his stirring inaugural address, calling the youth of the United States of America to a life of service for their country and their fellow men and women at home and abroad.

I was a 40-year old woman when George H.W. Bush, accepting his party’s nomination as its presidential candidate, expressed his desire for a ‘…kinder, gentler nation.’ Twelve years later, George W. Bush described himself as a ‘compassionate conservative‘ during the first election campaign in which I, as a recently naturalized US citizen, had the right to vote. Once installed in the Oval Office, Bush reached across the aisle to join hands with Ted Kennedy and forge landmark legislation on education reform.

I have watched with dismay as the political, social and religious discourse in my adopted country has been sucked ever downwards during the ensuing years, feeding a voracious maelstrom of fear and hate. The election cycle that we have just survived was the worst by far.

I accept that there are deep divisions in this country. I accept that people hold deep-rooted and honest opinions that differ greatly from mine. That’s life. What I cannot, will not, accept is the transmutation of political differences into hatred, bigotry, and outright racism.

I did not vote for Donald Trump. But he won the election. He will be our president for the next four years. It’s time to accept that decision and move on. It’s time to look past our divisions and our differences and work together.

It’s time to make America kind again.