About the Author
Author photo by John Nistico
Margaret Schweitzer grew up in Lappe, a rural community of early Finnish settlers in northwestern Ontario, Canada. Since childhood she has loved exploring; first in the forest where she lived, then later in the relationships between people. Examining the trials and triumphs of our lives inspires much of her work today.
Marg has had a variety of careers, including aircraft pilot, photographer, archaeologist, and author. Early in her working life, she served three years with the Canadian Armed Forces. She enrolled at Lakehead University as a mature student in 2007, earning an Honors Bachelor degree in 2012 and her Master’s degree in 2014. She is a member of the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists and the Thunder Bay Hiking Association.
Although she’s been writing ever since learning to read, Marg only got into the publishing business in 2022, with her first fiction novel, The Copper Kettle. That same year, she published a peer-reviewed scientific paper in the journal of the Ontario Archaeological Society; her article is entitled Billings Bridge (DbJm-34), A Paleo-Indigenous Site near Thunder Bay, Ontario. She also writes a regular column, Nature Northwest, featured on the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists website.
Her second novel, Miss Putnam's Garden, was released in late 2023, as she began work on her fourth book. This next one is based on the life of her maternal grandfather, with expected release in 2025. Marg works full-time in the natural resources sector, and her interests include traditional music, the outdoors, fishing, and stock car racing. Most of all, she loves stories.
At last, the thing was partially levered out of its grave and Frank lay his head down, panting with relief. It was a copper kettle, discoloured and bent. They weren’t made anymore, but this one was clearly recognizable. Uncle Jim had had one just like it. It may have even belonged to him. Cradling it, Frank curled up around it as best he could, comforted. Surely it was a sign, from Mary or Jim or even God, telling him to keep on going. Its shape rounded by frozen dirt and leaves, Frank moved his hands gently over every bump and roughness, as if he were blind. The spout was broken off near the tip, leaving a sharp edge, but he didn’t feel the cut it left on his palm or the warmish blood that issued forth. For the first time since his ordeal began, Frank felt a wisp of happiness weave its way around his heart. The kettle had materialized to give him hope; he was certain of it.
Frank Carlyle has always been most at ease in the northern Ontario wilderness, hunting and being at one with nature. But now he’s a fugitive, alone, lost, and injured on the very land that used to bring him peace.
Through a series of flashbacks from the 1950s to 2005, middle-aged Frank looks back at his life, reliving events and emotional and psychological struggles with family and friends, trying to come to terms with pain he suffered as a child, not achieving the goals he set for himself, and feeling trapped by circumstances.
With no one to help him in the woods, and too wounded to elude police much longer, Frank is finally forced to stop running from himself and face his inner demons, once and for all.
Grief is the best known conversation killer in polite society. The subject of death, whenever it arises, is either joked about or quickly discontinued in embarrassed silence. As we so often hear (and say), life is for the living. But what do you do when you experience grief first-hand? For many, it is the most uncomfortable and frightening event of their lives and one that they have had minimal exposure to at best. Close contacts who should have been on hand to help are nowhere to be seen.
Unlocking The Blue Door helps the bereaved navigate this most difficult of journeys with practical tips in plain language. Topics include the loss of friends, coping skills, forgiveness, children and grief, and learning how to get through the worst of days. There is also advice on how to support and communicate with someone who is grieving. Written from a female perspective with compassion and understanding, the guide provides a safe space to begin healing. The information is compiled from many hours of frank and confidential discussion between the author and those who are (and were) actively grieving. This book may be paraphrased to help young children in their pain and loss, but it is written for an adult audience.
Proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to agencies that support mental health program initiatives.
Growing up in rural Ontario, Shirley knows how difficult life can be. With an abusive father and a loving but ailing mother, she relies on her farm and a lot of hard work to survive. While enduring economic downturns, harsh winters, and a world war, Shirley feels a special connection to the land and the medicinal benefits of the plants that she cultivates. Rumors of her incredible botanical knowledge travel far and wide, until tourists arrive to reap the benefits of Miss Putnam’s garden.
Although she’s an independent woman, Shirley eventually falls in love and has a daughter whom she hopes to love and cherish as much as her mother was devoted to her. But life is never straightforward and there are always pitfalls to navigate. She has had her fill of love, loss, and closely kept family secrets; enough to bury in the soil of her beloved garden.
Miss Putnam’s Garden is a testament to the power of the human spirit, and a chronicle of the lives of three incredible women.