China, Not Paper!



Photo credit: i_aint_got_no_id jmartin_earth_apple via  photopin (license)

A series of posts by a Toronto-based novelist who’s trying to reduce her carbon footprint by making more thoughtful choices in her daily life.

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪ 

For over thirty years, one of my favourite Boxing Day rituals was a trip to the mall to snap up bargains. And every year, I’d visit card stores, where I would purchase next year’s cards, paper, tags, and bows, all at half price. All too often, I’d also pick up small paper plates printed with festive holiday images, such as vibrant red poinsettias and big white and silver snowflakes.

These cheerful paper plates added colour to our Christmas table, and I loved seeing them year after year. But after dinner was over, these now-soiled, unrecyclable plated were always tossed out. A couple of years ago, I began to wonder what happened to these plates after I threw them out. Did they end up in a landfill somewhere?

Deep down inside, I knew the answer: I was creating waste. And I had to stop. But what alternative did I really have? Good-quality, Christmas-themed china plates aren’t exactly cheap, and a whole set of them would cost a fortune.

But I didn’t need to purchase an entire set; a partial set of dessert plates would do. In January 2020, I spied a set of six small Lenox china appetizer plates (which could be used to serve desserts on) with a pretty green holly pattern on sale at Hudson’s Bay for $112 (marked down from $250). I snapped them up. I wanted to buy six more plates, but they were sold out at the Bay, so I searched online. I finally found them on sale at Wayfair for the higher but still reasonable price of $180.

I now own a set of twelve gorgeous, holiday-themed china plates that will last for years and years, purchased at a fraction of the original price (over $500). And, most importantly, I’ve stopped buying—and tossing—those pretty paper holiday plates that are easy on the wallet but hard on the environment.

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at or on Twitter at and sign up for free updates at ‪  Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from ( and Indigo Books and Music ( Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room at


Writing the Quirky Novel


photo credit: 2009 06 25 Library Bookshelves via photopin (license)


By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪ 

Most novels fit neatly into a genre: science fiction, romance, mystery. These genres have large and enthusiastic audiences, making them attractive to publishers hoping to sell large volumes of books.

But some novels don’t fit neatly into established genres. Some novels can fit into two or more genres; other novels don’t seem to fit anywhere. And these hard to categorise novels can be difficult to market. So, what’s the point of writing an offbeat, “quirky” novel?

Freedom. Unconstrained by the “shoulds” of conventional fiction, quirky novels give writers the freedom to experiment, to try out fresh ideas, to go wherever their imaginations take them. Quirky novels break rules; even the ones that can be pigeonholed into a genre often break the rules of that genre. Rule breaking is exciting and liberating, and frequently leads to surprises and intriguing insights. What’s more, a well-written offbeat novel tends to be memorable . . . and very entertaining for readers!

Of course, the very uniqueness of quirky novels can make them hard to sell. Literary agents and editors at large publishing houses, sniffing around for the next million-selling blockbuster, usually aren’t interested in them. Authors of quirky novels should consider submitting their work to small presses—which tend to be more open to unconventional books—or even following the self-publication route.

The very existence of a quirky novel is something of a small triumph in a huge universe of increasingly bland and predictable books. As the author of a recently published quirky novel, I know the thrill of seeing a writer’s special vision in print, especially when it’s enjoyed by readers. There’s nothing quite like it.

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at or on Twitter at and sign up for free updates at ‪  Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from ( and Indigo Books and Music ( Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room at

Meet Author Kathleen Jones At The Word On the Street!!!

Here is the updated map for The Word On the Street. Kathleen will be selling copies of her novel Love Is the Punch Line from Booth 346 (at lower left in the map).

Location: The Word on The Street, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Date: Sunday, September 23, 2018

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Festival features the best selection of Canadian books and magazines you’ll find anywhere, as well as hundreds of author readings and activities. Admission is free. For further information:

Love Is the Punch Line Is Now Available at Book City!!!

Save on shipping charges! Support a local author! Purchase your copy of Love Is the Punch Line at the Danforth branch of Toronto’s biggest bookstore chain.

  • Location: 348 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, on the north side of Danforth, one block west of Chester subway in the Carrot Common Building.
Phone: 416-469-9997
  • Parking: Free on side streets; meter parking on Danforth; municipal lot off Chester; meter parking at the Carrot Common
TTC: One minute walk from Chester Subway Station at the Carrot Common
  • Hours: 
Mon 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, 
Tues – Sat 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
; Sun 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

New Interview With Kathleen Jones, Author of “Love Is the Punch Line,” on


Q&A: First-time Toronto author aims to twist romcom genre

Kathleen Jones fulfils childhood dream of becoming a novelist

Kathleen Jones

Toronto resident Kathleen Jones is the author of Love is the Punch Line. – Dan Pearce/Metroland

Love Is The Punch Line

Love is the Punch Line by Kathleen Jones. – Dan Pearce/Metroland

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Ever since Kathleen Jones was in Grade 2, she has always wanted to write a novel.

But her dream never came true — until now.

In April, the 58-year-old Victoria Park and Eglinton area resident’s first novel, Love is the Punch Line, was published.

The midlife romantic comedy tells the story of a washed-up 54-year-old comedian’s relationship with a 50-year-old businesswoman.

I’m not trying to stay within a genre; I’m just trying to write the best and most interesting story I can come up with. — Kathleen Jones, author of “Love is the Punch Line.”Jones sat down with Metroland Media Toronto recently for an interview about her book and new career.

It has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: How did you become an author?

A: I was always good at writing stories but the problem was when I graduated university, I knew how to make a living and I knew it was hard to make a living as a fiction writer. Also I was just too intimidated to try, so I put it off and until midlife and worked instead as an editor at a number of Canadian book publishers. In my mid-40s, I decided to try writing again. I wrote a novel part-time and it wasn’t any good, so I gave up. Then in my early 50s, I had this idea for a novel … this took about three-and-a-half years and by this time I was in my mid-50s. The company where I was working offered me an early retirement package and I took it because my dream was to write.

Q: Where did you come up with the idea for this novel?

A: When I was in middle school, I had a romance with a Jewish boy. I didn’t date him, but he used to flirt with me by making fun of me but I knew he was flirting. He was the class clown, so I guess at some point I thought this personality would be a great basis for a novel. I let my imagination go and before long I changed him from a 12-year-old class clown to a middle age standup comedian.

Q: What do you enjoy about writing?

A: It’s fun to let my imagination go. It’s fun to express what I feel and think and create characters.

Q: What are your goals as an author?

A: I’m trying to come up with stories that are fresh and original. I try to be as honest as possible in the novels … I’m not trying to stay within a genre; I’m just trying to write the best and most interesting story I can come up with.

Aaron D'Andrea

by Aaron D’Andrea

Aaron D’Andrea is a reporter with Metroland Media Toronto. He can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook


How to Wear Vintage Clothing Without Turning Yourself Into an Antique

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist

One of my oddball passions is collecting and wearing antique clothing from the 1940s and 1950s. A long-time classic movie fan, I’m drawn by the ultra-feminine styles, fine fabrics, and precise tailoring of the clothing worn by the Hollywood stars of that era. When I started purchasing vintage clothing in 2003, I tried to mimic that look, combining a fitted, nipped-in waist suit jacket with a full skirt appliqued with shiny beads.

Of course, I ended up looking ridiculous. My outfits were more costumes than ensembles. But I still loved vintage clothing and didn’t want to give up on it. After fourteen years of trial and error, I’ve finally learned how to really integrate vintage pieces into a modern wardrobe:

  • Choose a specific era, the one that suits you the best.
  • Limit yourself to only one vintage item per outfit. I usually base outfits around my signature piece: a 1940s or 1950s fitted wool, hip-length jacket with a nipped-in waist and pretty dressmaker details, such as fabric-covered buttons and satin-trimmed lapels.
  • Mix modern and vintage clothing and stick to one silhouette. I stick to a fitted silhouette, mixing fitted antique jackets with slim fitting, tailored, simple modern sportswear, such as collared button-down shirts, trim ankle pants, and pencil skirts.
  • Don’t be afraid to refashion vintage clothing to make it more modern and flattering. I hired a tailor to recut and shorten a mid-calf, A-line, gray wool skirt from the 1940s (half of a suit) into a slim, knee-length pencil skirt.
  • Search for modern pieces that look vintage, such as a full-skirted dress or a jacket with a peplum. Alternatively, you can buy vintage patterns online and pay a dressmaker or tailor to make them up for you in new fabrics. Both of these choices can result in pieces that mix well with real vintage items but look fresher and more modern.


With a bit of thought and experimentation, vintage clothing can fit easily into a modern wardrobe and open up a range of exciting style choices in a retail environment increasingly dominated by bland and cheaply-produced clothing.

Want to Read More?

Check out Rebecca Emily Darling’s post, “How to Wear Vintage Clothing Without Looking Like You’re Wearing a Costume” at

Do you have any tips for adding vintage clothing to a modern wardrobe? If you do, please share them with us.

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at or on Twitter at and sign up for free updates at ‪ 



Photo credit: carbonated Vogue Balmain suit 1083, 1949 via photopin (license)