Phyllis Entis

Award-winning mystery writer and food safety microbiologist


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Wake up and smell the roses, etc.

What better activity for a Sunday afternoon than to take a walk around the garden.

I hope you’ll join me for a stroll as I sample just a few of the abundant variety of trees, shrubs and flowers in our private park.

Roses

No Victoria garden would be complete without roses. It seems as though each time I look, I find yet another shrub peeking out from among its neighbouring plants.

Rose

I found this beauty surrounded by a plethora of other shrubs and flowers. I’ve not yet managed to identify its neighbours, but I intend to.

 

Small rose

This little one was hiding under our boundary shrubs, enjoying the dappled sunlight

 

Patriotic Roses

I thought this was a single rose bush, until the red flowers started to blossom. Now I have a Canadian rose bush, displaying the red and white of our flag

 

Japanese Maple
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There are several types of Japanese Maple. Our garden boasts a pair of the lace-leaf variety.

 

Pure Purple
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Meet my Cotinus Royal Purple shrub, trying to hide behind the hydrangea.

 

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Can’t you imagine the Cotinus flower bedecking a lady’s hat on Opening Day at the races?

 

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The fuschia also qualifies in this category. Can you see the purple hearts in the flowers?

 

A Flower of a Different Nature

 

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I hope you will tune in to my podcast interview with Don McCauley. Our 15-minute conversation about my journey as a writer will run continuously from 12:00am to 11:59pm (Eastern Daylight Time) on Tuesday, July 30th.

To access the interview, go to The Authors Show and click on the live link next to my name.

 


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Welcome to Victoria, my new home

Victoria, located at the southern tip of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, is not Canada’s oldest city. That honour goes to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, founded in 1497.

Our new home doesn’t even crack the top ten among the oldest Canadian cities, missing that list by 50 years.

Victoria was founded as a Hudson Bay Company trading post in 1843, and was incorporated as a city in 1862, just five years before the British parliament passed the British North America Act, giving birth to the Dominion of Canada.

In spite of its relative youth, Victoria lays claim to being the site of the oldest Chinatown in Canada, the oldest synagogue in continuous use in Canada, and the oldest Masonic Lodge in British Columbia.

Victoria’s Chinatown is situated on the northern fringe of the city’s downtown core, just a couple of blocks away from Centennial Park and City Hall, and a 15-minute walk from the Empress Hotel, the Inner Harbour, and the grounds of the British Columbia Parliament buildings.

We lived in a vacation rental apartment one block south of Chinatown while we were waiting for our furniture to arrive from California, and we had the opportunity to explore the area.

The Gate of Harmonious Interest, at the corner of Fisgard and Government, adorns Chinatown’s main commercial block.

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There are several narrow alleyways, lined with shops, that connect Fisgard to Pandora, one block over. One of these is Fan Tan Alley.

 

The Chinese population of Victoria holds education in high esteem. The Chinese Public School, built in 1908, is still in active use today.

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Wherever you turn in Chinatown, there is a reminder of the heritage of this historic part of Victoria.

 

If you’ve enjoyed this first visit to our new home town, please stay tuned for additional glimpses into Victoria and Victorians.


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I’ll beat my drum

“I’ll march my band out, I’ll beat my drum” – lyrics from Don’t Rain on my Parade (Funny Girl)

I am one of those people who – happily or otherwise – is afflicted with the tendency to channel musicians inside my head.

Today’s guest artist is the great Barbra Streisand, in her role as Fanny Brice.

One of the most difficult chores for me as a self-published novelist is marketing. Selling myself – more specifically, my work – to the world.

I grew up in an era and in a family in which modesty about one’s accomplishments was the norm. Bragging or boasting was frowned upon. Blowing one’s own horn, or beating one’s own drum, was discourteous. It just wasn’t done.

But to be a successful author – to actually sell my books to strangers – I had to learn to promote myself. To learn that it is okay to brag about my accomplishments.

Today, strange as it still feels, I am beating my own drum.

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This juried award was bestowed in recognition of The Gold Dragon Caper, fourth of the Damien Dickens Mysteries.

I am grateful to the readers and writers who nominated me for this award, and to The Authors Show for sponsoring this annual competition.