Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering September 11, 2001

I asked Karla if I could exchange dates with her for today, as this day has a special meaning for me, and she graciously said yes. We lost friends on this day, and this was my memorial to them, and to all who died that day.

It was almost midnight, September 11, 2001. My husband and I were exhausted. We had been glued to the TV since early morning, watching this unthinkable tragedy unfold before us. We had wept, together, privately, and I could take it no more. I told Richard I needed some time alone, and went out for a walk.

Outside, it was eerily quiet. Usually at night, you can hear frogs croaking, the crickets churring, the night wings of a bird late to roost. Bright eyes from some small animal would peer out of the bushes, or a possum or rabbit coming back from a late date would scurry across the street. Tonight it was strangely silent.

I leaned against the old wooden fence at the end of our road. It surrounded a farmhouse that had been there for over 100 years. Horses and cattle grazed along the hillsides, but tonight they were gone. All of them. Something else unusual.

I looked up at the sky and saw the moon and stars. But tonight, the moon just didn't look right, and the stars weren't twinkling. The moon looked like it had a fine layer of something red covering it. The logical part of my mind that was still operative said, it's just some kind of atmospheric event. It's not what you think. But the rest of my mind said, No, the moon is covered in blood.

There was a whirring of wings, and a large bird flew over my head and landed on the post next to me. It was a Golden Eagle, one of those who live and nest in my area of California. I was startled, as an eagle seldom lands without a warning scream. She was so close I could have touched her. She sat and stared at me. I stood quietly and stared back. We had a 'stare down' for several minutes. She wasn't about to move, and neither was I.

Finally, she stretched out her neck until her beak almost touched my arm. Then she gave a scream, flapped her wings, and flew off. She circled me once, almost touching my head. I wasn't afraid but I had no idea what she was doing. She circled me twice more, that gave a cry that sounded like someone screaming in pain, and flew off into the night.

I came home, sat down and wrote this poem.

And The Eagle Cried

She spread her wings and flew across the blue skies,
Rejoicing in the brilliance and freshness of the new day.
She swooped and swerved high over the towers below
Until the steel monster from the Land of Hate
Flew beneath her.

She watched, not understanding, as the towers she teased
Burst into fire, and flames and smoke turned her world dark.
She found a perch and folded her trembling wings
As all that she stood for crumbled around her.

And the Eagle cried.

She saw her land, her America, her land of Freedom,
For which she so proudly stood as a symbol
Falling, falling, falling into heaps of ash and debris.
She saw humans on fire, falling from what was left of the towers.
She saw fear turning into abject terror.

She watched her people cry, scream, run away
From a scene only imaginable in horror films.
But she knew this was no movie from which
She could easily fly away. There was no escape here.

And the Eagle cried.

The personification of Evil sat across miles of ocean
And clapped his hands, laughing as the pictures of
Death and destruction came to him over the television.
He couldn't have been happier: America was dying!

He was wrong. As Evil most often is.

They came from everywhere: the firemen, the police,
the doctors, nurses, the people on the street.
They gave no thought to their own lives or safety,
For they had a common purpose: to save those they could.
Many of those everyman and everywoman also died that day.

And the Eagle cried.

But America does not give in to those who exemplify hate,
Who would render God's grace and love impotent.
America is one land, one nation, one people
Indivisible by those who spread Hate around the world.

Americans will join hands around this great country
And show the world the Courage, the Dignity, and the
Unity we Americans are known for.

We wept today. We grieved today.
We will never forget today.
Today will join that other one and will live in infamy forever.
But we will be stronger, and we will be nobler because of today.

We are a grieving nation, but with that grief comes strength.
Our flags will fly higher and more proudly than ever.
Our tears will cleanse our souls, and God will hold
All of America in the palm of His hand, and give us solace.

And the Eagle will never cry again.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Masculine Card by Cheryl Wright

Most card makers I know struggle with making cards for men, and also teenage boys.

I'm pretty sure the problem stems from the fact we can't use all those lovely girly embellishments we use on feminine cards, such as ribbons, sequins, pearls, and glitter.

I can't ever recall a time where I've felt stalled making a girly card, but I certainly have with making masculine cards.

It was recently hubby's birthday, so I had to put my thinking cap on, and get stuck in. Here's what I came up with:

I decided to combine masculine with vintage, which is why I've used a vintage car image. This is from a very old Tim Holtz set - so old I can't remember the name of the set.

The paper is from a Kaisercraft paper pack, which is also old, but only from last year. It's called Garage Days, and I thought the background paper worked well with the image. (I distressed the edges to give it an old feel.)

The silver banner is from the same pack, and the newsprint-looking banner is exactly that - I cut it from a newspaper. If you look closely, I even used text from the car sales section!

The greeting is from Inspired by Stamping, which is an Australian company. I do love their images, and have a lot of their stamp sets. This set is called Masculine Tags.

Where possible, I keep the theme going inside. Here's what I did to with this card:

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


My website: 
BWL website:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


If you haven't visited our main website in awhile you'll notice some exciting changes, especially the lineup of bargain books.  Here you'll find some of our most popular selling books priced between .99 cents and $1.99, and, best of all the books are easy to purchase in any format you need for your eBook reader.  Simply click the book cover and you'll be taken to the book description page where you can make your choice.   The pictures below represent a few of the exciting books being offered in our bargain store.   Make your way to   and while there, be sure and click the Contest Button, where you can enter our contest to win your choice of any one of three popular eBook readers: Kindle, Nook, Kobo.  AND, if you'd like to be the first to purchase one of our fall new releases click this link where you'll find the latest Books We Love New Releases.



Monday, September 7, 2015

Domino Theory by Tia Dani

                                             Click to purchase from Amazon

Self-editing is tricky. For example as the author you are so familiar with your story you could absentmindedly forget to include information along the way...say an important point you thought of but, without thinking, left out.

Keep this point in mind while editing, a reader knows only what you have actually told (or shown) them on paper.

When we go back through our stories during the editing process we try to remember this and work together to make sure that we haven’t left out important details and confused our readers.  Plus, we don’t want our writing to be choppy and sound like there are two writers. We have worked very hard to create the Tia Dani voice.

We call this particular part of our editing process the Domino Theory.

Imagine you have spent hours, aligning hundreds of dominos, narrow-end up, across a flat surface. You’ve placed the black, shiny tiles perfectly so they form an intricate and unusual pattern. Once finished, your finger is poised at the beginning. You tap the first domino lightly. With pride you watch as the line tumbles gracefully, one clicking against another, until the formation comes to a glorious end.

Writing a well-designed story is very much like setting up the dominos. Each sentence, paragraph, scene, and chapter must be aligned in your intricate formation. The writing dominos you work with generally are combinations of showing vs. telling, description, view point, senses, mood, voice, plot, dialogue, characterization, humor, and motivation. If any of the writing dominos are off-centered or missing entirely, your beautiful story will falter or even fail.

Writers who understand the power of correct placement look upon their manuscript as an exciting challenge. They instinctively study a newly finished scene and ask themselves what needs adjusted, added, or deleted. Will they need a domino from their bag of writing tricks for a missing slot? Or carefully adjust an off-centered tile so it aligns perfectly with the others?

For beginners (and for those who haven’t yet developed this gut instinct), condition yourself to recognize what a missing or an off-centered domino looks like. If time is available, put the work aside, return later and reread with fresh eyes. Or have a trusted friend read the scene and ask if anything seems unclear. Don't ask them to edit, just read for clarity. After while you will begin to see a pattern of how you misaligned your work or left something out entirely. The bottom line here:  Knowledge comes with practice, hard work, and common sense. It is also called pay-attention-to-what-the- reader-sees.

For examples, let’s look at some obvious missing dominos.

Problem:  Imagine paragraphs one through twelve has Katy in the house washing dishes and talking to her mother on the phone about her lack of boyfriends. Suddenly in paragraph thirteen Katy is outside washing the car and talking to her dog about going for a walk.

Solution:  Transition Domino. Add a short paragraph between twelve and thirteen to show why Katy ended mom’s phone call and went outside with her dog. Voila! You’ve filled in the missing slot.

Problem:  Veronica is home, alone, with only a dozing cat for company. She’s just finished reading a romantic love scene in one of her favorite books and is staring dreamily into the fire. Suddenly Veronica throws the book across the room and jumps to her feet, dislodging the sleepy animal from her lap. She mumbles something under her breath then walks slowly into her darkened bedroom to get ready for bed.

Solution:  Motivation Domino. Let’s say the author used the correct dominos needed to build a believable scene; such as the five senses, description, and mood. However why did the character suddenly throw her book? The author neglected to explain poor Veronica hasn’t had a date for over a year and she feels that her chances of meeting an interesting man are nil to none.

Problem:  A scene takes place outdoors. The day is sunny, horribly hot with no wind. The characters walk and engage in a captivating conversation which has drawn the reader in, yet something feels not quite right.

Solution:  Off-centered Domino. The characters appear to be totally unfazed by the high temperatures. This scene requires one of the five-senses realignment. With a few short sentences the author can adjust the scene to show perspiration dripping from HIS brow or SHE rapidly fans her face with her hand.

Problem:  Envision a scene where Charles is hiking and has stumbled across a rattler. The snake coiled, ready to strike. Yet paragraph after paragraph, the author goes to great detail in describing the beauty of the reptile, the sound of the animal’s ominous rattle and the texture of the sand surrounding it.

Solution:  A 'mis'-aligned domino. The detail, though well-written, is not pertinent to Charles view point. Charles would not be noting sand textures here. The snake is about to strike! Try going back over the scene and weave in some extra dominos so that the emotional dominos and descriptive dominos form a dance in time with each other. It might take some work but will be worth it when completed.

Here are some important points to remember.

* A domino line can be fixed at any time by concentrating on one very important rule. For every action there must be a reaction. Use it as a mantra.

Beverly Petrone                   Christine Eaton Jones

Tia Dani is the writing team made up of good friends, Christine Eaton Jones and Beverly Petrone. Together they create endearing and realistic characters, humorous dialogue, and unusual settings. 

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

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Countdown to Seenager! By Gail Roughton

Sometimes Facebook really nails it.  That poster says it all, doesn’t it? In eight months, one week (as of the date of this post), that’s going to be me!  And I can’t wait for glorious retirement.  While I’m waiting, though, I’ve heard from both sides of the early retirement versus the “What would I do if I retired? I’d be bored to death! And broke!” factions.  

“But…but…you’re only 62! Why don’t you wait and retire when you can get full benefits?”  That’s the most common question.  My answer?  “Because, sugar.  By then I might be dead.” I hope I’m not, you understand.  I certainly don’t expect to be, but then, I don’t think anybody does. I’m blessed in not having any health issues, neither does my already retired husband (well, that’s not exactly true on the already retired part, seeing as how he’s “Granddaddy Day Care”, the man really earns his keep) and trust me, I know how fortunate I am to be able to say that.  It’s cause for celebration, and what better way to celebrate it than to retire and enjoy it? 

“But…but…nobody else can do my job the way I can! I don’t know what my boss/company/firm would do without me!” My response to that?  “Darlin’, I don’t care what my boss/company/firm is going to do without me.”   Let’s face it. If I (or anyone else) should be killed in a car accident this afternoon, another warm body would be at my desk (or anyone else’s) the next day. Because no one is irreplaceable. I’ve spent the last forty years in a law office as a legal secretary/paralegal.  I’m good at my job. I’ll go further than that.  I’m very good at my job. I do the best job I can under all any circumstances. I always have, and I’ll do that until the day I walk away. That doesn’t mean nobody else can step in after me and do the same thing. Maybe not as well, not at first.  But they’ll learn.  Who knows?  Maybe they’ll even be better at it than I am. And the world will keep right on turning in its assigned orbit, now won’t it?

“But…but…I’d be bored!”  Really?  My sympathies. Because I won’t be. Oh, granted, I have the small advantage of being a writer, and being a retired Seenager will finally give me the time I don’t have now to dive right into that next plot waiting over the horizon, or that one over on the side that’s been brewing for these last few years, or that one that just sprang up, full-blown, from a chance conversation overheard in the check-out line at the grocery store. I have not one but two coming soons, covers over on the side of this paragraph, that have been coming soons so long  my fans (yes, I really do have one or two) don't even ask when anymore.  (But before I retire, I promise, I'm workin' on 'em, I'm workin' on 'em,) But even without that—because writing’s definitely not the only way I’ll be spending my time—I have growing grandchildren two miles away to play with, a husband to go shopping with in the middle of the day if we want to, pets to nuzzle my face with wet noses, television shows and movies to watch, sunsets to marvel over, hoot-owls and crickets to listen to in the evening twilights. Again, I’m blessed.  And I know it. And again, what better way to celebrate such blessings than to enjoy them?

“But…but…I can’t afford to retire!”  I’ll admit that’s a personal decision no one can make for another, and whether that statement’s true or not for any individual depends to a great extent on personal preferences and lifestyles. Me, I’m a simple country girl. I always have been.  If my dream retirement consisted of world travel, well, no, I couldn’t afford to retire. Of course, I couldn’t afford to do that if I didn’t retire, either, so that’s kind of a moot point.  Fortunately for me, I don’t even like to travel. We have the home we always wanted which is comfortable, but not fancy, set squarely in the middle of a fifty-acre wood we couldn’t have afforded if we lived in any other area of the country.  In short, I have everything I ever wanted and I don’t want anything I don’t already have. Blessed.

Would I turn back the hands of time and do things differently if I had that magical power?  Change my life? Nope. I wouldn’t be a day younger than I am right now if you paid me.  Because everything that’s ever happened in my life has made me who I am, right now, at this precise moment in time. And being a Seenager is going to be a lot more fun than being a teenager! Bring it on! 

Find all Gail Roughton titles at
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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...