About Joyce Sandilands

Robert and Joyce worked tirelessly for 20 years collaborating as authors and Indie-Publishers of 11 novels, 2 children's books and four audio products. Joyce was also editor of all their books and produced all the audio products for her husband, 3x bestselling novelist, J. Robert Whittle. Joyce is also an award-winning Indie-publisher and they shared Two Independent Publisher Gold Medals in 2007 and 2008. Robert passed away in August 2017, at the age of 84 after suffering for many years with Coal miner's Black Lung. He worked in the coalmines for 20 years beginning at the age of 14 and at 24 began leading a First Response Rescue Team in UK and Europe for his remaining 10 years as a Mining Engineer. His widow, Joyce Sandilands-Whittle, plans to continue writing and selling their books both on their website https://jrobertwhittle.com and possibly at some local summer markets and Craft Shows in 2019. She will post News under Events and on Facebook.

SSL Compliant

Yah, we’re SSL Compliant … there is so much more to having a website these days, especially on the subject of security. If it chased you away for awhile, I certainly don’t blame you. I hope you are watching and come back to see us real soon. 

It’s been Google’s fault that we all had to spend more money on our websites. I don’t actually handle money for our book sales so didn’t understand at first why I needed to do this. Paypal does that for me, but according to Google I still needed to pay $5.95 US/mo (that’s almost $10 Can. to bring it up to their standards … or they would warn everyone not to buy from our website. Then, another company wanted $25.95 US for some more security. That was when I put my foot down. Cash grab or not, it was secure after the first step and this website will not give customers a warning anymore.

I am currently adding a new theme and some new products and the website will be shiny and new by the end of September 2018). We hope you’ll come back many times to check us out. I have lots of new products planned and not just books that I write.  Thanks in advance for your support.

Download our Audio Books

We’re happy to announce that we recently added 3 of the audio books we used to sell as CDs to their ‘book’ pages on this website. You can now purchase and download each of them directly and burn them to a CD. The books are the “Moonbeam Series (chapter books) and also “Laughing Through Life: Tales of a Yorkshireman,” Robert’s very popular autobiographical presentation (Bio).

In case you are not familiar with these products, Joyce narrates the Moonbeam Series and Robert narrates his “Tales.” In this age of automation, we had some bad luck getting this product out through two different website stores who didn’t pay us and disappeared, so we are trying again. Leaving out the middle man this time, we hope this news reaches the right people. Please tell your family/friends and spread the word for us as you have been so good at doing in the past! Thanks 🙂

 

 

 

Homeschoolers discover us.

Home schooling helps+ families

Ever since we began bringing our family friendly books to the public arena in 1998, adults interested in homeschooling have taken notice of us. Robert met many executives of Canadian and US homeschooling organizations and they often purchased our books for personal use and asked him to bring our books to their area. They love our concept of real history set into an actual, touchable place where they can bring their children to learn more about that area and its history after reading the books.

We have come to understand that homeschooling parents teach by doing … taking their kids to parks, special activities, other towns and countries. As our Australian grandson’s wife is homeschooling 4 of their 5 children in Perth, we were thrilled to send all our books back with them when they visited in 2015. We are told that Homeschoolers love to explore new areas and new situations which helps their child’s awareness of the world and of each other as they adapt to the necessary subjects. They like to use every opportunity possible to teach their precious children something of importance to help them blossom in a world where learning is of the utmost importance. They realize only too well that for their child to be able to earn a good living in the future, he/she must have a vocation they enjoy and can be enormously proud of. These parents take their jobs very seriously by educating the next generations.

We have actually been invited to several conventions and conferences across North America. It saddened us to have to refuse. We are a very small company and self-published authors don’t receive grants to help defray travel and conference expenses but we are always happy to ship books to you or show you how to purchase them Internationally.

So, if you know or are a homeschooling parent and you haven’t discovered our historically correct, educational, heartwarming, family-friendly tales of another century … the 3-book Victoria Chronicles is set in Canada/USA and Lizzie Series are set in London, England. Both Series are on sale NOW. Check the announcement/prices at the top of the Home Page and on our Shopping Cart.

Our books are available in all ebook formats. If you can’t find them on your favourite ebook website, Smashwords is a great choice as you can purchase the same book in many formats (for any ebook reader) with no additional charges! (Revised: Jan /18)

 

Articles about our books seen in New York media

Repost from 2011:
Amazing news from a visitor to Victoria, BC today … she stopped to talk to Robert at Bastion Square Market and said she had just moved here recently from New York. He started to tell her about the books and she interrupted saying there was no need because she had seen so many articles about him in New York newspapers over the years that she knew exactly what she wanted to purchase.

She bought the Victoria Chronicles Trilogy in hardcover and his biographical CD, Laughing Through Life. She actually bought our last copy of the CD. Robert has sold an amazing number of copies of the ‘Laughing’ CD this summer! (We had disappointing experiences with two online audio companies, so Laughing Through Life is now available as a download in our Store but this could change in 2019.)

It was lovely to hear New York hadn’t forgotten us because some years before another customer told Robert the same thing. Quite amazing how one gets known in the publishing industry, especially when you are an independent!

An Awakening

Silent DestinyIt’s difficult to accept but I certainly feel as though I have been in hibernation for the past three years. It all began with the seemingly endless months of writing and editing our unexpected eleventh popular novel, Silent Destiny, a novel set in Scotland and containing a very compelling and exciting mystery about the 14th Century Scots hero, William Wallace. This novel was published at the end of October 2014. Also, in 2014, I made the decision that Robert and I could no longer live in our current home, one that we had loved for 28 years but had gotten not only too large for us but too difficult to manage due to our busy schedules and our aging circumstances. Yes, sadly, our years were catching up to us! So, I began the arduous journey toward that dreaded decision to ‘downsize.’ Robert believed he could persuade me to hold off for awhile longer but he had not yet experienced the scope of my determination! Cut to early Spring 2015 … when two neighbours helped me realize that time had definitely arrived. They reported that some extraordinary house sales had happened in our area, with prices well in excess of asking. I decided we (I) had to get a move on and fast, so I told Bob and got to work!

As the saying goes … to make a long story short, within 4 months he had told me he would not live in a condo and soon after fell in love with a one-level rancher in Central Saanich. I felt the importance of this house too as it was perfect for us and so I gathered my thoughts and also the help I needed to finish prep on our Gordon Head house so we could list it asap. Robert was in full swing down at Bastion Square so I knew I couldn’t count on him for any help. The move had become my baby and I was excited, so excited I suddenly had so much energy, unbeknownst to me I was heading for a health crisis. Clearing out 28 years of living is no easy task, although deciding what to get rid of was easier once we realized we were moving into a house. I knew (rightly) that our home was going to sell quickly thanks to the work my team and I had accomplished plus an amazing staging job. The morning we listed, we had word within 8 hours that there were 2 or 3 offers coming in the next morning. There were 3 actually and they arrived by 2pm the next day (as another gang of realtors continued the showings)! Our market was definitely hot! We accepted all of them so we had 2 backup offers and the best one, yes … it was a bit over asking! This meant we could get on with the next phase … horrors, it was moving time!

So, excited, but with no time to relax as yet as we had only 3 weeks to get the house organized, cleared out and move. Needless to say, it all came together amazingly well but I was exhausted and my thought processes had come to an utter standstill! My team of women, from my daughter to both the realtors (mine was the amazing, Colleen Milne!), our mortgage broker (Kelly Curtis of Mortgage Designers) and Tara, my OA (and her husband who did the heavy work) were instrumental for making it all happen! We were almost done and my daughter now referred to me as the Energizer Bunny. I had no clue anything was wrong because I had no time to think about it, despite the fact I had lost 15 lbs (not normal with a low-thyroid). 

After the early Sept. move, I suddenly remembered to have my thyroid checked and thus began a years’ worth of unexpected health issues, high and then low thyroid, a trip to Emerg (calling 911 in early March) with extreme heart palpitations and 3 days later, 2 frozen shoulders that almost incapacitated me for the next 4-5 months! Chiropractor, Acupuncture, Massage and finally Physio all played a part in my speedy recovery from what I learned could have been 2-3 years. The worst of the pain was gone in 5 months. The palpitations remained, however, and after another trip to Emerg, I was put on meds that really helped. An interesting situation had developed where I had become super-sensitive to light (difficult in the summer!) which set off my palpitations with a racing heart incomparable to those I had experienced for the previous 50 years.

I also had to learn to say NO to anything that was adding stress to my life. Who would have thought 5 years before that stress could be my issue. As a result, in July I ceased doing the Sidney Thursday Night Market which was no longer a profitable place for our summer book sales … we discovered that Sidney area customers shop just before Christmas and catch us at the winter shows! Getting my health back in order was now my focus and walking and swimming became my regular daily routine so I could sit at the computer for longer periods of time.  My heating pad became my almost constant companion and boy did the hot tub at the swimming pool feel good!!!  I was on the road to recovery at last … as long as I kept active so my shoulders didn’t freeze up again as my thyroid righted itself. I had learned that each day was a new beginning, and even today most early mornings are met with degrees of tendinitis of the back and arms making me eager to get to the pool! I’m now able to swim again, beginning with one length and now up to 8. It’s a starting point. I also have a new understanding and respect for people who suffer serious chronic pain, like my daughter who has had FMS (Fibromyalgia) for about 5 years with no end in sight.

So, today I sit here thinking how lovely it is to be actually looking forward to doing anything related to our books, even to write a blog entry is a start. It is my ‘Awakening’ for sure and I consider it quite miraculous! 

Until next time … Joyce 

Note:  Robert and I are finished our Outdoor Markets for 2016 and now move indoors. More details on our Events Page.

 

Self-Publishing Tips

 

Self-Publishing Tips for Authors (2012)

2013 BookStackHave you had a story running around in your head for years? Have friends or family told you that you should write a book? After 15 years of editing, publishing and co-writing 10 popular novels, 3 of them bestsellers, I feel I know a little something about producing books and decided to share. 

To find a “publishing tip” that interests you, look under Categories on the right side of page.

 

Here’s a short video of me speaking at a local Self-Publishing Workshop in March 2012.

 

Enter Contests, it matters!

This was originally posted in August 2008, but the content is even more important now with thousands of new books being published every year and the list of contests is growing as well.

Back in June 2008, we had just won our 2nd IPPY Gold Medal in the Canada:West category of the Independent Publisher Contest and we were very excited. The book was our latest novel, Whispers Across Time plus my first co-authorship with my husband. In November we co-authored our 4th book. Whispers was such a fun (and complicated) book to write and edit but, nevertheless, fans were congratulating us even before the award. Once the announcements were made and the award arrived, boy, did it attract sales with that rather wonderfully huge, shiny gold medal sitting on the stand!! I gotta tell you, if you are a writer and self-publish your book, you just have to do the best job possible on it and enter it into this contest or any other one that fits your genre. Check the early-bird entry dates to save yourself some money! Trust me … an award does matter! Seven years has now passed and we’ve needed extra printings of both these books.  We’ve also recently sent our new novel, Silent Destiny, into the same contest to try our luck/expertise again. This time we’re in the Europe Category, Main Category and Ebook Category.

As usual with one of my husband, J. Robert Whittle’s novels, anything that sparks public interest will make them more popular. As with our other novels … there is a romance in this book, with no sex … it’s time travel but that’s our avenue to show you some more history. It’s also a ghost story although it’s not scary in the least! It’s also very suitable for teen readers and parents recommend it heartily! We have fantastic fans who are great with word-of-mouth … if only we could get them to write more reviews 🙂

Where Robert got this idea of writing a time-travel story, I believe it was based on my brief discussion with him of one of Diana Gabaldon’s books which I had read years before (when I had time for fun reading!). We had never seen a time-travel or ghost movie, and he had not read a book of that subject but somehow his amazing imagination brought us purely magical content … said his fans!

It just goes to show that when you’re a writer you shouldn’t put yourself into a box and not think you are incapable of something, you just never know. My husband says his books write themselves … and he just lets it happen with amazing results. When you start in later life, you need all the help you can get!

I am having so much fun co-writing with my husband and although we don’t do it together, we seem to have worked out the perfect methodology in our 10-year publishing/writing career. Can’t believe it will be ten years in December. So much has happened, so much has been achieved AND so much joy has been brought to people’s lives – we hear about it everyday. Somehow that makes all the effort worthwhile.

If you haven’t tried one of our books and are curious, check out our website links in the green list at right or here You won’t find them in your bookstore unless you live near Victoria, BC but we ship our books all over the world. Fans say our books make great gifts for any age and our books are so well made by our printer (Friesens) we never hear that they have fallen apart and, trust me, they are read and reread. They are totally family friendly and are used in schools and by homeschoolers.

Now, I’ve gotta get back to work, I have a book to finish for Christmas 🙂
Thanks for visiting … see you next time.

Writing ‘Silent Destiny’

Stirling Castle & Wallace MemorialIn brief … the story of  Silent Destiny travels to many parts of Scotland and, not surprisingly, also into Yorkshire. Whittle, athough a Yorkshireman, knew virtually nothing about Scotland before he discovered that my paternal lineage held a great deal of fascinating Scottish history. I didn’t even realize how Stirling Castle (at left) was going to fit into mine or William Wallace’s story when I snapped this amazing photo in April 2002. Amazing because the William Wallace National Monument managed to get into this photo (far left) without me knowing it existed! It’s also a slightly different view of our book cover.

My Sandilands ancestors, without a doubt, would have been living in Lanarkshire, not far south of Elderslie (believed by many to be Wallace’s home ground), during these tortured times leading up to and during the Scottish Wars of Independence. My family were aligned with the Douglas family, and also a Sept of Clan Douglas, but I can’t be sure how it all began. History has not given up its secrets prior to the early 14th century when Sir William Douglas apparently named us after the “sandy banks of the Clyde River” which enters from the sea near Glasgow and meanders through Lanarkshire County.

The editing process, always my favourite part of this job coupled with my usual hat of being co-author was a wonderful challenge but I certainly needed more time. I (Joyce), unlike Robert, have instant access to the internet. Many nights I sat here writing about travelling around Scotland and had both a streetmap and Google Earth open to assist me in making the travelogue more realistic. Editing/co-writing Robert’s books has naturally always been my favourite part of this business but this time, I also had the challenge of writing my own history. Until I received Robert’s manuscript on my computer, I had no idea what he was writing. When I realized he had included the Hospitallers and Torphichen Priority, I was thrilled. It was my opportunity to add even more history than he had planned because I felt our readers would want to know more than a teasing bit of history! I appreciated that not all our readers are going to be up on their Scottish history!

King Robert I

King Robert I

The whole book was actually more complicated than I had anticipated (being his usual intertwined style but also because I was out of practice lol It was five years since I had worked on a novel and due to so many factual scenes of very old history (up to and including my 13x great grandfather, Robert the Bruce at left), I had more of a challenge ahead of me than I could have dreamed.

It all sort of snowballed on me and was reminiscent of Robert’s research for the Victoria Chronicles Trilogy … he had all these dates and events to fit into his story. It was also similar, to the style of the Lizzie Series … with her many adventures fitting around other exciting parts of the story. Makes me tired thinking back on all that work!!

Starting to read Silent Destiny in late 2013, I soon realized that was a mistake as Christmas Craft Shows were going to take up all my spare time and energy until the new year. So, by November 2014 after working on it night and day since January 2014, I had the uncanny thought that this was paralleling my initial challenge of publishing our first book, Lizzie: Lethal Innocence … it arrived into the stores on December 8, 1998. I was only slightly ahead of that schedule for Silent Destiny, and I apologize for keeping you all waiting. I hope the wait is worth it!

On behalf of Robert and I, thanks for your patience and your continued support.

Joyce Sandilands Whittle