K.L. McCluskey

Writer and Fitness Advocate

Ms. McCluskey has first hand experiences similar to that of the main character of the Kirk Lake Camp and Back Road to Shore series of murder mysteries.

She joined the Hamilton Regional Police Service in Hamilton, Ontario and was a police officer for 14 years. She started as a beat officer in Stoney Creek, then became a Detective Constable in the Criminal Investigative Division, partnered with a Sergeant, investigating crimes such as serious assaults, robberies, sudden deaths, sexual assaults and break and enters. She was promoted to Sergeant and worked in the Special Investigative Unit as a detective in the Sexual Assault Unit. She was also specially trained in Child Abuse investigations and Domestic Violence.

She passed her Staff Sergeant exams and attained the rank of Acting Staff Sergeant before she left policing and moved on to another career in which she owned a water access resort in northern Ontario that included 12 rental cottages, fishing boat and canoe rentals, and a small general store.

After seven years she sold the resort and taught Police Foundations at a small college in Sudbury, Ontario, before she moved to Victoria, B.C.

She moved back to northern Ontario and concentrated on her work as a freelance writer going back to what she missed most, writing.

Well before her policing career, she graduated from Print Journalism. She has been writing for over 40 years including her time as a police officer and resort owner. Her articles included a weekly fitness column, feature stories, and a short stint as a beat reporter for criminal court and town council.

Back in her early days, as an offshoot from her fitness column and training as a fitness instructor, she started her own business, Basic Fitness. It was a bi-weekly exercise class for local women in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Her business was in operation for eight years until she was asked to be the Director of Fitness at the downtown Kitchener YWCA.

She now lives with her partner in an old farmhouse in a small community along the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, not far from Cape Breton Island.

She enjoys traveling to visit her daughters and grand-children. While at home she kayaks, hikes, cycles, swims, practises yoga, and drives the back roads to explore the beauty of her new province where she gets inspiration for her writing and life in general.

The Kirk Lake Camp Series

The Kirk Lake Camp Series is a six book set of cozy mysteries set at a cottage resort in Northern Ontario and in Nova Scotia. The lead character is Charlene Parker, a former police detective and now cottage resort owner/operator who is equally busy running the resort and solving murders for the local police.

Cover for Kirk Lake Camp series book one, A Kayak For One.

A Kayak for One

Book one in the six book
Kirk Lake camp series.
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Cover for Kirk Lake Camp series book Two, Two Buckets of Berries.

Two Buckets of Berries

Book two in the six book
Kirk Lake camp series.
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Cover for Kirk Lake Camp series book three, Three for Pumpkin Pie. Cartoon painting of a knife stuck into a bleeding pumpkin pie.

Three for Pumpkin Pie?

Book three in the six book
Kirk Lake camp series.
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Cover for Kirk Lake Camp series book four, Fore! in the Hole.

Fore! In the Hole

Book four in the six book
Kirk Lake camp series.
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Cover for Kirk Lake Camp series book five, Cocktails at Five.

Cocktails at Five

Book five in the six book
Kirk Lake camp series.
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Cover for Kirk Lake Camp series book six, Six Is the Limit.

Six Is the Limit!

Book six in the six book
Kirk Lake camp series.
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Basic Fitness

Fitness tips and advice for anyone ... anywhere ... anytime.

If anyone had asked me nine months ago if I was going to write about fitness again I would have said that ship sailed years ago. However, the state we find ourselves in, worldwide, with COVID-19 and our dramatically altered lifestyles and need to re-evaluate how we stay as healthy as possible in an unhealthy environment, has made me think that my initial writings about fitness, at its basic level, may resonate with others once again. And, what better time than during COVID-19 to look in drawers rarely opened and organize! I found my newspaper clippings saved from years ago - decades worth and started reading through them.

I wrote a fitness column called Basic Fitness, after my business venture of the same name, fitness classes I taught several times a week beginning in a church basement in Waterloo, Ontario.

I was 25 years old. I can't believe it when I reflect back.

I was qualified to instruct, having certified with the YWCA/YMCA. I taught gym and pool fitness classes at the Family Y in Waterloo then branched out on my own at the suggestion of some women I taught who found it too costly to continue with the membership fees. I was a stay-at-home Mom, with two young daughters and one household income, so I understood the need to be careful with expenses. I arranged my classes for evenings then I could work around being home with my children in the day. I prepared my instruction while they napped. I played albums, yes albums, and taped the music onto blank cassettes, yes cassettes, and went through my routine in my head over and over and over as I cleaned the house, did laundry, or whatever I did during nap time.

Three nights a week I got on my bike, strapped my giant, portable (oxymoron?) stereo into the child's bike seat attached to my bike, and rode downtown to the church.

After a year or so of teaching, in 1983, I walked into the office of the then Waterloo Chronicle and put forth my idea of a weekly fitness column to the editor. (There were no fitness columns back then in any local or national paper.) I graduated from Print Journalism and sold the editor on the idea that, with my fitness business and college diploma, I was qualified. Again, I was 25 years old, what did I know? I just asked and it all began. As my mother used to say, "Be careful what you ask for."

What began new for me, writing the column and what was fairly new, me being a fitness instructor, was not at all new as a philosophy for me. Fitness, physical activity, especially outdoor activity, was my thing and had been for, well...always really. What was new, was that I felt the need at the wise-old age of 25, to get basic information about fitness out there for others to get as excited about feeling good as I did. I didn't buy the "I haven't lost the fat from having children yet" or "I don't have time" or "I don't have the money" or the hundreds of other excuses out there for not taking care of one's body. I felt it was so simple, so basic, it burned through my fingers as I typed about it and in my exuberance in my class instruction.

Nap time became a busy time for me. I had fitness classes to prepare and a column to hammer out. Yes, on a typewriter and no, not electric. Every Friday morning became the trudge, in all weather, two kids in tow, to walk to the newspaper office to hand in my copy. I lived by what I taught and by extension so did my daughters. We walked everywhere. We had no car at home unless we all got up early to drive their Dad to work and get him again at the end of the day. That was more of a nuisance than not, so it didn't happen often. In fact for months we had no car at all, and family outings, even to get groceries, were on bikes with two child seats. The photo albums are full of pictures of outside play and sport. And, despite their childhood begrudging noises and faces etched in grimaces at times as they tested the waters more and more about staying inside, my adult daughters share my similar philosophy. They like it outside and enjoy physical activity and "get it", and by extension, so do my grandchildren.

Decades later, I still walk rather than drive and keep physically active. COVID-19 has closed down some facilities we relied on, like pools and gyms etc., but we can go back to basics. We can still walk outside and in our homes (around and around and up and down stairs) and what I wrote about for almost 30 years, and taught for over eight years, is as true today as it was then. No matter what age or body build or physical limitations, there is something each of us can do to become healthier or stay healthy, no matter the environment we live in now.

It's still, to me, so simple, so basic.

Click here for my fitness columns. Though dated, I hope you can take something from them and feel better physically and by doing so, feel better emotionally, in this unknown, stressful and emotionally up-heaving time.

Short Stories

NEW! Two books, each a collection of short stories with an east coast flavour by author K.L. McCluskey.

East Coast Eddies and Tickles, Rattles and Runs

Small stories of life in rural Nova Scotia.

Life in rural Nova Scotia along the eastern shore has its own culture and way. This collection of small stories from the perspective of a CFA, a Come From Away, highlights the author's view of life around her new home. Having lived in Ontario and British Columbia, and lived in both large cities and small villages and in areas where even villages were distant, the author is familiar with both urban and rural lifestyles, but living large along the coast in Nova Scotia has a distinct way about it. The small stories tell of a few ways in which the author sees the distinction.

Each book consists of 5 short stories with an illustration for each story by Nova Scotia illustrator Arthur McBain. The stories are fiction as are the characters but still touch on the distinct flavour of maritime rural Nova Scotia.

Both books are available as an e-book in various formats and from numerous merchants and as a paperback. Paperbacks are available at Amazon and at select locations in Nova Scotia.

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