Saturday, June 13, 2015

My Self Defense Class

My friend, Crystal takes Ju Jutsu and she said that her instructor, Warren, lets people come out for a free class before deciding if they want to take lessons. She asked me if I want to try a free class. I had been thinking of learning some sort of self-defense so I accepted her invitation.

     On the Monday evening I wore leggings and a t-shirt fully expecting to watch from the sidelines and maybe try a couple of moves. Crystal told me to remove my shoes before walking on the mats and then took me to a room where she found a white canvas gi jacket that fit. I donned it over my t-shirt and wrapped the left side over the right. Crystal showed me the proper way to tie the obi or belt.

     Everyone in the class did their own stretching and then Warren had us run around the room, first forward, then backwards, then sideways. Once that was done he said. "Line up senior to junior." I knew I was the oldest one there so I headed to the beginning of the line. Everyone looked askance at me and grinned.

     "I'm the most senior person here," I said. But, apparently, the line up isn't by age. I headed to the last of the line. The person at the end gave me a warm welcome.

     "At least now I'm not the newest member," he said.

     The instructor then told us to do forward rolls. The others immediately took turns rolling their way across the room. Warren stood beside me and showed me how to put the back on my left hand on the mat, tuck my head and shoulder down, and push off with my back leg. Talk about being disoriented and dizzy when I sat up. Definitely not like the summersaults I used to do as a child.

     "Do it again," he encouraged.

     I knelt, put the back of my hand down, tucked and, after a deep breath, pushed off. Same result only this time I also felt a bit queasy. I guess I shouldn't have eaten before coming. After the third time I quit and watched the others. Warren called out for backward rolls. He looked at me with his eyebrow raised. I shook my head.

     When everyone had practiced their rolls, Warren ran through a demonstration on how to get out from under an attacker when he has you pinned on the ground and is sitting on top of you. I watched others do it then tried it myself. So long as my attacker gives me lots of time and offers me a few helpful hints, I will be able to break his hold.

     Warren did tell me that I should not waste my energy struggling against an attacker. It will just weaken me, he said. He showed me a choke hold to use that is easy and effective.

     Ju means gentle, pliable or yielding and jutsu means technique and is the manipulating of your opponent's force against himself. It was developed to fight the armed samurai of feudal Japan in close combat by using throws, pins, or joint locks. Over the centuries ju jutsu evolved into different types of martial arts around the world, some of students practicing potentially fatal moves and also learning break falling skills so they can practice dangerous throws.

     Since the beginning, students of ju jutsu trained in formal kimonos. In 1907, the founder of Judo introduced a uniform called the judogi. The gi consists of three parts: a heavy jacket called a uwagi, light canvas pants, shitabaki, and the cotton belt, obi.

     At the end of the class Warren said I could come back for two more free lessons. I must have really impressed him. However, while I was glad to have had the opportunity to try a ju jutsu class I didn't return for my other two free lessons. I decided I didn't like throwing myself or other people around on a mat.

     Since I was a teenager, I have practiced my own techniques to prevent being attacked that have served me well. I try not to be on the streets after dark but if I am walking at night I stride confidently with my head up and shoulders back. Attackers are cowards and they look for someone weak whom they can overpower. I carry my car keys spaced between my fingers to use for stabbing or slashing. I wear pants which are harder for an attacker to get into and low shoes or running shoes so I can get away easier. New technology has given us panic buttons on our key fobs which can be pressed to start our vehicle's horn blaring. I keep mine handy.

     And I've noticed in books and on television shows that the women who are attacked and even killed are always wearing matching panties and bra. Just to be on the safe side, I never do.

The Travelling Detective Series boxed set:

Illegally Dead

The Only Shadow In The House

Whistler's Murder

Thursday, June 11, 2015


FAN FLIRTING by Karla Stover 
The morning after her coming-out ball, a young debutant sits in the family drawing room pretending to read while her mother writes letters and a parlor maid feeds the fire. When the doorbell rings, the debutant looks up, hope written on her face.  After a few long moments, a  footman appears carrying a silver tray on which rests a nosegay of deep red carnations tied with a piece of blue plaid wool.  “Who are they from?” asks the mother. “There’s no note,” says the girl. But she caresses the ribbon and smiles.  Surely this is the Napier plaid, she thinks, remembering the Scotsman with whom she’d danced the previous night. And surely he knows red carnations mean, ‘Alas for my poor heart’ in the language of flowers. And so she plans her fan flirting for the next dance.
The fan’s subtle language is now dead, but in the days when women were less bold, knowing that looking at a man while carrying an open fan in the left hand meant, “Come talk to me.”  And that perhaps later, after seeing her mother frown, the girl is smart enough to twirl the fan in her left hand, letting the man know, “We are being watched.” The Victorian woman carried on entire conversations with her fan.
At the next ball, the debutant sees the Scotsman and holds her fan in her right hand in front of her face, “Follow me,” and then, oh so subtly, touches it with the tip of her finger, “I wish to speak with you.”
But wait! What is her would-be suitor doing? In agitation, the deb passes her fan from hand to hand—“I see that you are looking at another woman.” The Scotsman half-smiles and nods in her direction, but in vain. The slow-moving fan cooling the girl’s flushed cheeks speaks as loudly as words: “Don’t waste your time. I don’t care about you.”  He appears at her side but she uses the fan to tap her ear, “I wish to get rid of you.”
The hour grows late; the debutant’s mother beckons but the young man refuses to leave her side. She rests the fan on her lips for a moment with her little finger extended: “I don’t trust you. Goodbye.”
And then, at the door, she half-turns, and uses the fan to move a wisp of hair off her forehead: “Don’t forget me.”
In 1923, Agnes Miller wrote Linger-nots and the Mystery House, a young adult mystery. In the book, the Linger-nots discover a secret room containing war artifacts by interpreting clues left in the flowers a young seamstress used when making her sampler—the language of flowers. In the animated opening of Mystery on PBS’s “Masterpiece Theatre”, a lady is seen holding a fan in front of her face—fan language.
You never know what will pop up and where.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wedding Card by Cheryl Wright

As you can probably imagine, I've made quite a few wedding cards over the years.  It's not always easy because I try to make my cards fairly unique.

I recently found a website with a lovely wedding card that was totally different to what I'd seen in the past, so I had to try it. This one uses a paper doily. It looks as though it would be quite complicated, and even time-consuming, but really it's not. (If I can do it, anyone can!)

The background was done with an embossing folder (from Stampin' Up!), and the greeting is from a very old duo set from Gina K Designs. If you are interested in learning how to do the fold, click here.

(It looks like the dress is just one piece, but it's two pieces joined together.)

Sometimes the simplest of designs are the most appealing.

I hope you've enjoyed this card. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time!


My website: 
BWL website:

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hey, Dad! It's Your Day by Tia Dani


When we decided to write about Father's Day, a friend, father of two and a non-romance writer, asked, "How can Father's Day have anything to do with writing a romance novel?"

"Au contraire," Tia replied. "Fatherhood could have much to do with it." She mentioned books where the beloved heroes were raising a child or children...and how it only took a heroine's arrival to sweeten the mix. And, of course, men, who weren't fathers, but became one under unusual circumstances. She proceeded to inform him about Secret Baby books.

He shook his head. "Secret babies? You're kidding, right?"

"Nope." She grinned. "There are even stories where the heroine (the mother) doesn't know when or how her baby was conceived."

"Oh." He walked away totally befuddled.

We loved it. Befuddling men is fun.

Let's take a look at the special day that venerates those proud, paternal-driven papas. Fathers have been around since Adam first fertilized Eve, but, it wasn't until the early1900's ministers and women's magazines seriously touted the righteousness of fatherhood. Whatever for we have no idea. We decided to go look into the reason.

It began with Mr. William Jackson Smart. His daughter, Sonora Smart (a neat first name, isn't it?), aka Mrs. John Bruce Dodd of Spokane Washington, came up with the idea in 1909 while listening to a Mother's Day sermon (a holiday which originated two years earlier.)

Sonora, along with five brothers, had been raised by their widowed father, a Civil War veteran. Following the death of his wife in childbirth, Smart struggled to work his eastern Washington farm, while keeping his children clothed, fed and properly reared.

Mr. Smart, an admirable man, considering in the early 20th Century men frequently lost their wives to childbirth. The majority remarried quickly so they wouldn't have to care for children, specifically newborn infants, alone.

Widowed men, often farmers, looked for a widow with children. Marrying her, he not only had a woman seeing to his home and children, her offspring were needed help with the never-ending farm chores. Many second marriages turned into genuine love, others didn't, but both ways, more children were born and families often grew as large as 6 to 15 kids living at home at one time. Now, that's what we call being a fertile father.

Sonora Dodd's proposal was met with enthusiasm by local ministers. The date suggested was the fifth of June (William Smart's birthday), but many of the ministers needed more time to write their sermons, so the celebration was moved to the 19th, the third Sunday of the month.

Word spread and newspapers across the country endorsed this new holiday. One notable supporter to Mrs. Dodd's idea was orator and political leader William Jennings Bryan. He wrote "...too much emphasis cannot be placed upon the relation between parent and child." However, even with notable support and the holiday being accepted across the nation, members of the all-male Congress at the time felt to proclaim the day official might be interpreted as a self-congratulatory pat on the back. (Go figure, huh?) So the holiday remained a minor one.

But it didn't remain a silent one. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson and his family personally observed the holiday, and President Calvin Coolidge wrote in 1924 that states, if they so wished, should do whatever they wanted as far as celebrating the holiday.

In 1937, New York City founded a National Father's Day Committee and decided to choose a theme for each Father's Day and select a Father of the Year.

In 1957, Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote to Congress saying Americans should honor both parents. To single out just one and omit the other was "...the most grievous insult imaginable."

Yet, it wasn’t until 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June to be identified as Father's Day. In April of 1972, President Richard Nixon signed it into Public Law 92-278.

How about that? It took 62 years for fathers to be officially recognized!


Here's a bit of trivia for you. Did you know the Romans observed a Father's Day, every February...but...just for dead ones. Think about it. It could be an interesting twist for a Secret Baby story.

Here's some of our family photos. 

Tia's great-grandparents, George and Katharina Meir (later changed to Meyers) because my great-grandfather wanted to sound more American.
Katharina married George after he lost his first wife, leaving him with two children. Katharina too was a widow with three children. All together they had 10 children.  And, yes, they had a large farm. Everyone worked. Including my grandmother, Elizabeth. Despite she was a girl, she worked along side her father out in the fields

Tia with her dad. Note bandage on my chin. Fell off a stone ledge and split open my chin. Had to have stitches. What can I say, I was quite a rough and tumble kid.

 Grandparents JW and Emma Eaton. Emma was also a second wife. However they didn’t live on a farm. My grandfather owned a barbershop and ice cream parlor. Can’t remember if my grandmother had been married before. I don’t think she had been. But between them they had quite a few children. Can’t remember right now what the total was, darn it. What I do remember my dad was the last one born.

                                                                       Dani and her dad.
            Yes, I'm the little baby he's holding. Uncle Hershel sitting on the curb. This is in southern California.

Dani's grandparents.
Grandpa H.L Christian and his second wife, Mae. Grandpa had 6 kids when she married him and together they had 6 more including my mom. The little girl in picture is my mother. All worked the farm in Arkansas.

To find out more about the writing team Tia Dani and our books visit us at:

Titillating preview by J.C. Kavanagh

WINNER Best Young Adult Book 2016, The Twisted Climb I've been prepping for Autumn book signings and excited to meet new and...