Saturday, March 5, 2016

March Releases from Books We Love

Paranormal Liaisons: Rising from the Civil War's Ashes
by Troy Seate 

On a sloping hill overlooking the poetically named little town of Sugar Creek, Tennessee rests an old cemetery where, in the 19th century, people buried their dead. The old timers call the strip of land The Resting Place, but local legend suggests it is anything but restful. To the east in Washington D.C., a family deals with life amidst a nation still recovering and rebuilding from the Civil War’s debacle. Into a mother’s life befalls the tragedy of losing a daughter. It is but one of many unsettling events that occur, but it proves to be the linchpin for paranormal events to follow.
These are tales of fear and confusion; horror and tragedy. It’s also about loss and betrayal, and how life’s fabric can unravel in the most shocking and tragic of ways. Two towns, one north and the other south of the Mason-Dixon Line, deal with supernatural speculation in the American Civil War’s aftermath. 

Seducing the Chef (At First Sight Book 1)
by Janet Lane-Walters 

Seducing the Chef - Allie Blakefield, editor of Good Eatin' wants to do a feature on Five Cuisines a restaurant across the river from NY City. Her father forbids the feature and won't say why. She's not one to sit back and be ruled by someone. She borrows a friend's apartment. While leaning over the balcony she sees a handsome dark haired man doing a Yoga routine. He looks up and she is struck by the Blakefield curse. Love at first sight.
The pair start a hot and heavy romantic interlude. She visits the restaurant and is recognized by Greg, the chef's mother. The woman goes ballistic and the affair is broken. Can Allie learn what's going on and rescue her love?

Someone Like Him
by Ann Herrick 

City girl, country guy. Will opposites attract--or clash?

When New-York-City girl Emily visits her cousin Janelle in Oregon, Emily wonders how she'll survive the wilderness. Janelle wonders if the wilderness will survive Emily's visit--and if she can convince her cousin to help save part of an old-growth forest.
Meanwhile, Emily also wonders if a big-city girl can get along with a county guy--named Bret. Under forest canopies and by crystal-clear waters she struggles with her growing attraction to him. But they're so different. Whoever thought she'd fall for someone like him?

Friday, March 4, 2016

Books We Love Insider Blog: More Frightful Murders and other Horrible Deeds by...

Books We Love Insider Blog: More Frightful Murders and other Horrible Deeds by...: 17th Century Physicians Dissecting a Body  My era is 17 th century London when medical doctors used hanged convicts to study anatomy...

More Frightful Murders and other Horrible Deeds by Katherine Pym

17th Century Physicians Dissecting a Body 
My era is 17th century London when medical doctors used hanged convicts to study anatomy. They would cut up the dead to see how men and women’s organs worked. Plague victims were also dissected. Opening the body, physicians who survived the pestilence found evidence of the buboes on lungs and other innards, or so they wrote.

The Royal Society used live animals to experiment on, like transferring blood from one dog to another then documented the results. Generally, one dog lived (the one receiving the gift of blood) and the other (who gave the blood) died. Unfortunate.
Body Snatcher at Work

Into the 18th century the laws changed. There were fewer hangings and more deportations to penal colonies. This caused slim pickings in the London cadaver field.

Medical men faltered a bit, then someone came up with an idea. Why not snatch bodies from the grave? I mean, no one will know. The dead person won’t care. For the fellas digging up the bodies, they can take rings and gewgaws left on the body as an added incentive. Everyone’s a winner.

Well, not really. Families of the dead and gone got wind of these ‘body snatchers’ and protected their loved ones with a mortsafe ( says a mortsafe is a heavy iron cage or grille placed over the grave of a newly deceased person in order to deter body snatchers.). These would be used until everyone felt certain the poor dead person wouldn’t be ‘fresh’ enough for dissection. 

During the early 19th century if you were caught digging up a body you could be heavily fined or deported. Not fun, but hey, the reward was worth the danger. Men in the medical field took the bodies no questions asked. Everyone was happy—or so one would think. Unfortunately, greed got in the way of a good thing. 

A man in Edinburgh owned an inn for pensioners. One fellow died owing Mister Hare £4 which annoyed him. Along with another fellow (Burke), Hare removed the pensioner’s body from the coffin, filled the said box with something equivalent in weight; then hid the cadaver in an empty room down the hall. The parish authorities took the coffin away, blissfully unaware there was no body in the box.

Hare and Burke sold the body to a physician for £7, 10s, making a tidy profit. The process was relatively safe. No middle of the night dig in a cemetery. No worries of getting caught, being fined or deported. The men did not suffer driving rain or snow down their collars while at a dig, nor did they have to fret over sharp winds that could easily blow off their caps. Their new boots and carpets remained clean from graveyard dirt. (After all, the men had to spend their newfound wealth somewhere.) Hare and Burke had found a sweet deal at the pensioners’ inn.

Hare loved this new, lucrative end of the business. When another pensioner dropped off the twig, he and his partner repeated the process, but when another pensioner took too long to pop off, they smothered him with a pillow. It was worth the effort, for they received £10.

After a while, the inn ran dry of almost dead persons so Hare and Burke lured vagrants, drunks and prostitutes into their fine abode. They plied them with drink then smothered them after passing out. If they wouldn’t obey by slipping into a drunken sleep, “Burke would pin him down while Hare smothered him, holding his hands over the victim’s nose and mouth.”

As you would expect, Hare and Burke became reckless. “First, they killed Mary Paterson, a voluptuous 18 year old—so free with her body that it was recognized by the physician’s medical students. When they “murdered ‘Daft Jamie’, a familiar, good natured imbecile who made his living running errands on the streets of Edinburgh”, suspicion raised its dark brow.

The men were eventually arrested. Burke hanged before a large crowd some say that numbered in the 30,000s. His body was dissected on the physician’s table he and Hare had sold so many bodies to.

But Hare escaped this wicked end by giving state’s evidence, which meant he pointed his finger at the physician and his assistants. While in the school, the physician was stormed by a mob but police intervention saved his life. Even though he protested his innocence, he lost his profession and was hounded out of town.

And so goes a sad, woeful tale of murder and other horrible deeds.

The People’s Almanac by David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace, Doubleday & Co., Inc., New York 1975
All pictures come from Wikicommons, Public Domain

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

If something works, it works. By Diane Bator

Writers love words.
We love them so much, in fact, that we cram as many of them into one sentence, sometimes without really saying anything or being extraordinarily superfluous with our vocabulary to the point no one understands what we just said.
That's where a great editor comes in.
No matter how experienced the writer, everyone needs a second or even a third set of eyes to read through their work and clean up the extra words, the flow of the timelines, and even the typos spell check doesn't pick up. Sorry, writers, spell check isn't perfect either.
Many publishing houses have their own editors and a traditionally published author may go through several different edits before their work is published. Even Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have editors.
For a lot of beginning writers, especially those of us who do not have an English degree, and people who self-publish, editing is just as daunting and can create anxiety in our stomachs. Where do we start when there is no editor who will not cost us a mortgage on a small house?
Critique groups are a great place to start. Find an online forum. Find a Facebook group. Make connections. Before you trust anyone with your baby, aka your novel, be sure to read a sample of their work. Even if you're not a great editor, you should be able to read and understand their work as well as pick up on errors, grammatical and otherwise.
Writing groups can be local or online as well. Many of these groups offer critiques from group members. Just remember to take their input with the proverbial grain of salt. Not all the advice people give will be helpful, some will be more than willing to help hone your piece, some will be happy to simply tear it apart until you want to give up and crawl into a cave with something stronger than sugar in your coffee.
If you let several people read your work and several people make similar suggestions, be open to re-reading and editing. On the other hand, if only one or two people point something out, it may just be their own personal preference and making changes will be up to you and not vital.
Unless they're family.
Word of advice, don't give copies of your work to your entire family and expect a positive, good critique. Not unless Uncle Bill is an editor for a major daily or works for a publishing house. Expect kind words and to hear how great it is. That doesn't mean it is. A neutral third party is always best.
Good editors and critique providers abound on the internet. Just keep in mind, you not only get what you pay for, but you still have the final say about what you end up publishing.
Writing guru Natalie Goldberg gives the best advice on editing your work:  "Be willing to look at your work honestly. If something works, it works. If it doesn't, quit beating an old horse. Go on writing. Something else will come up."
Just never give up!


You can find my Wild Blue Mystery series on Amazon and through Books We Love. My books can also be ordered into any bookstore in Canada.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016



What can I say?  All the razzle dazzle, flashing lights and excitement, we loved it.

We stayed in the older part of Las Vegas at a casino called the Four Queens in Fremont Street. Unbeknown to us there is what they call the Fremont Experience every night. A domed roof that was several hundred yards long was the venue for an incredibly colourful laser show. There was music, bands, performers and people walking around dressed as Elvis Presley, Batman, Superman, Mary Poppins, Dracula and heaps of other well known characters. Not forgetting the show girls, decked out in their skimpy costumes, fans and feathers. It was amazing, bus loads of tourist came down every night to see the display, but we were right in the thick of it, standing at our hotel door.

Many of the casinos on Las Vegas Boulevard - The Strip, have themes. We visited Paris Las Vegas which was very French with a giant Eiffel Tower as the main feature. You could actually take a ride right to the top, but for us unfortunately, it was too windy, so we missed out. Someone told us that the Eiffel tower here was exactly 1/3 the size of the Eiffel Tower in France, but it was still a huge structure. While we were there I bought the most decadent French pastry I have ever eaten. It was to die for.

New York New York, was another interesting casino, Circus Circus was actually like being at the circus, we were only there for a short time, but watched a world class juggling act. Hubby won $100 on the pokies so he was happy. I wanted to stay and keep trying our luck there because he was on a winning streak, but he grabbed his money and ran. Another very interesting themed casino was Treasure Island, and the name truly said it all. It really did look like an island from one of Robert Louis Stevenson’s books, pirate ship and all.

We went through the Bellagio, luxury personified. Unfortunately, this poor Aussie author didn’t have enough pennies in the piggy bank to be able to afford to stay there.

Did I mention the shopping? Wow. So cheap. We had to buy an extra suitcase to bring home all the goodies that we bought.

All in all we had a wonderful time. The only downside was the trip home, talk about the flight from hell. We were diverted to Sydney because the plane was running low on fuel, then after sitting on the tarmac for an hour, a passenger became ill and had to be rushed off in an ambulance, then security stepped in because the passenger’s luggage was on board and he no longer was.  Three hours later it was all sorted out, and we took off and headed home to Melbourne.


Can a wealthy rancher ever hope to capture the heart of a beautiful English rose?

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

WHAT'S IN YOUR FUTURE (or present or past?) by Shirley Martin

Fortune-telling is as old as civilization. You may recall the biblical story of Joseph (Book of Genesis, Chapter 37 and following chapters.) Sold into slavery by his resentful brothers, Joseph was taken to Egypt. There, he gained the Pharoah's attention because of his ability to interpret dreams. The Pharoah told Joseph of his dreams, and Joseph interpreted them to mean that Egypt would have seven fruitful years of harvest and seven years of famine. The Pharoah realized that he should store corn from the fruitful years so that he would have a supply of grain to distribute during the seven years of famine. (More on dreams later.)

Scrying is another form of prophecy. It's not necessary to have a crystal ball; any reflective surface will do. The scryer must have absolute silence and clear her/his mind of all distracting thoughts. If the scryer has a certain piece of information she is seeking, e.g., the location of a certain person, she should concentrate on that before beginning scrying, then put it out of her mind before focusing on the task at hand.

Now, I'm going to stick my neck out and say that I think there is validity to scrying. I can't give a reason for my belief but can only say that there may be logic connected with the skill.

In my fantasy romance, "Night Shadows," Fianna,the heroine, flees home to escape an unwanted suitor. She escapes to Moytura, the capital city of Avador.  Forced to support herself, she obtains a position as a fortune teller at a tavern. She has a magic mirror that enables her to look into the past, present, and future. She thus supports herself by the money she earns as a fortune teller.

Seances were probably more common during the Victorian period than they are today, although no doubt many seances are held during our time..The word "seance" means sitting. A group of people meet for a metaphysical purpose.  Usually six to eight people are involved in this gathering, and they usually sit with a medium who is the channel through which the spirit communicates. There may be a variety of reasons for holding a seance, but mostly the object is to contact the spirit of the dead. The majority of seances are held in the late evening.

Some seances meet solely to hold a "rescue," aimed to help those spirits that don't realize they are dead and enable them to cross over.

Tea leaves can be used as a means of prophecy. In my latest fantasy romance, "Magic Mountain"
there is a scene in which the elven king reads the tea leaves of the human heroine, Princess Olwen. This method of prophecy was a favorite around the time of the last century and up to the 1930s and '40s. Gypsy Tea Rooms were popular at that time.

After the tea is drunk, there should be very little of the leaves left in the bottom of the cup. The client tips the cup and rotates it three times before upturning the cup in the saucer. Then the cup is turned right side up, and the diviner studies the pattern of the tea leaves as they are distributed about the inner surface of the saucer. How does this process reveal anything about the past, present, or future? This method of prophecy, called tasseography, has an elaborate interpretation system, so for both the client and the diviner, it apparently reveals the desired revelation.

Astrologers believe that there is a very real relationship between the heavens and the earth. They believe that every element of the cosmos influences the whole. Originating in Mesopotamia, this art has been practiced for 5,000 years. The sun signs are the names of the twelve main divisions of the zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. One of my fellow authors, Janet Lane Walters, has done astrology forecasts in the past, along with a partner. Some day I'd like a forecast done for this most untypical Leo.

Known as the Sleeping Prophet, Edgar Cayce was an American mystic of the twentieth century. While in a trance, he answered questions ranging from healing, wars, Atlantis and future events. He used his mystical powers to heal people. While asleep, he was able to diagnose a person's sickness and pronounce the cure.

Not all of his prophecies have been realized. We have yet to discover Atlantis.

There are many more means of prophecy, enough to fill a book. But this list may give you and idea of how important fortune-telling is to people, and the different ways of achieving these revelations.

Now to return to the subject of dreams. There are four levels of sleep, and dreams usually occur in the theta level, and usually, too, with the REM (rapid eye movement) stage.

I believe we are all psychic to some extent; I know I am. And I believe that dreams can tell people about the past, present, and future.

Years and years ago, (more years than I care to count), my youngest son attended kindergarten. A neighbor friend had a son in kindergarten at the same time, so we walked our boys to school together. One morning, I told my friend about a dream I'd had the night before. It was a short dream but so vivid I woke up with tears in my eyes. I saw a small private plane crash to the ground and burst into flames. My friend and I discussed the dream for a few minutes, both of us saying we hadn't seen anything in the news about a plane crash. I forgot about the dream until about fifteen years later when my friend's retired husband was taking flying lessons. He crashed the plane and it burst into flames, killing him instantly.

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Books We Love's Tantalizing Talent ~ Author Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

       I was born in New Westminster, B.C., Canada, and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. While raising my own family, over the years I also worked as a bartender, hotel maid, cashier, bank teller, bookkeeper, printing press operator, meat wrapper, gold prospector, warehouse shipper, house renovator and nursing attendant. I also began my writing career. But I don't write in just one genre. Sometimes I have a story idea, write the manuscript and then decide what genre it fits. My past writing has consisted of historical and travel articles, seven travel books, four mystery novels, and two science fiction novels.
       I was taught in school that Canada doesn't really have an exciting history. Right now I am trying to dispel that myth by writing Canadian historical for young adults/adults, the first two of which are: West to the Bay and West to Grande Portage.

       My mystery novels are Illegally Dead, The Only Shadow In The House, and Whistler's Murder all in The Travelling Detective Series (boxed set), and the stand alone novel Gold Fever. My science fiction novels are The Criminal Streak and Betrayed in my Cry of the Guilty-Silence of the Innocent series.

       I love change so I have moved over thirty times in my life, living in various places throughout Alberta and B.C. I now reside on an acreage on Vancouver Island with my husband and three cats.

West to the Bay

In 1750, Thomas Gunn, along with three friends, join the Hudson's Bay Company and sail from Stromness on the Orkney Islands of northern Scotland to York Factory fort on Hudson's Bay. They believe they are starting a new and exciting life in what is called Rupert's Land, but tragedy follows them, striking for the first time on the ship. At the fort Thomas finds his older brother, Edward, who had joined four years earlier. He also meets Little Bird, sister of Edward's wife, and her family.

During the first year Thomas takes part in the goose and duck hunts, the fishing, the woodcutting, Guy Fawkes Day, the Christmas celebrations, and the burial of a friend. He also deals with the snowfall, the cold, the boredom, and a suicide, and learns how to survive in the lonely and sometimes inhospitable land.


West to Grande Portage
On his sixteenth birthday Phillippe Chabot is told that his brother-in-law has hired him to be a voyageur. He will be paddling west from Montreal to Grade Portage to trade supplies with the Indians for furs. He is overjoyed and receives all the appropriate clothing from his family as birthday gifts, even a tobacco pouch.

As the loaded canoe brigade gets ready to leave, his cousin, Jeanne, accepts the proposal of marriage yelled at her by the clerk who is going along to keep track of the trading.

Unfortunately, disaster strikes the brigade as the men paddle the rivers, make their portages, and get onto the sometimes violent and unforgiving Lake Superior. In Montreal, the city is ravished by a fire and many residents perish before it is extinguished.

Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

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...