Saturday, March 26, 2016

More Great New Reads from Books We Love

Rangeland Ruckus by Randall Sawka

Chet Mitchell left the mines of California to pursue a wife and raise cattle. He had his eye on a seemingly unaccessible valley near the town of Tanning. The problem was that Dave Tanning owned the town and most of the surrounding land. Indeed, the whole Tanning family didn't take kindly to strangers ranching land they felt they owned.
At first Everyone laughed at the thought of someone thinking they could access the valley surrounded by mountains and enormous rock walls. Many had tried. Many had died. Could Mitchell find a way to get cattle in to the valley? Jaws dropped and guns fired when Mitchel unveiled his surprise.

Dave Tanning had always got his own way but now he had to face Mitchell, a man who knew how to treat a lady and how to handle trouble.

Officer Down (Sam Stephens Crime Thriller Book 2) by Ronald Ady Crouch

Constable Sam Stephens, now out of probation on the streets of Toronto, takes on new and demanding challenges. Inspector Althoff continues to go out of his way to make Sam’s life as miserable as possible. Water off a duck’s back to Sam. He is dispatched to the call from hell. “High school active shooter”. Sam, former Canadian Forces, Special Ops, enters the school to devastating carnage – Officer Down.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Books We Love's Latest Releases

Seducing the Photographer (At First Sight) by Janet Lane Walters

Meg is sure she’s made a mistake when she agrees to pick up and Injured Steve, the magazine group’s photographer from the airport. The first moment she saw him, the Blakefield Curse took effect. She fell in love and she was a forever woman. He wasn’t. Spending time with him over the weekend only cements her feelings. She has rules of life and she breaks everyone of them even the new ones she added that weekend.
Steve has been intrigued by Meg and he enjoys her blushes. He’s found ways to raise them but something more is happening here. When she leaves abruptly, he wants to track her down but his broken leg makes pursuit difficult. Now he must find a way to win her over and that takes some time and clever moves. 

Sapphire Kisses by Joanie MacNeil

Alexandra Jordan doesn’t anticipate the challenge ahead of her when she agrees to spend the summer as a research assistant for acclaimed author, David Meredith, who is gradually losing his sight.

David feels threatened by her presence in his home, his sanctuary, the only place he can be independent. He is determined to prove he doesn’t need help and wants Alex out of his life. She is equally determined to do the job she’s been paid to do. Once he accepts Alex isn’t like other women, her beguiling ways soon intrigue him…until he discovers her secret.

"Can these two wounded souls find happiness together? Fun to read, I enjoyed the way that David and Alex grew separately, facing their individual adversities and becoming stronger independently so that they could more fully give their love to each other." ~ Grace Atkinson

Previously published as Sapphire Summer

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I'd Like More Peace in Today's Bloody Politics by Sandy Semerad

 I've been reading a book on nonviolent communication, hoping to achieve more harmony in my life.

I write about murder, but I prefer to live in harmony and get along, rather than argue. This particular book gives the following advice on how to do that: Don’t judge. Observe and listen. Mirror back what the other person is saying. It also provides tips on how to express feelings.

When I express my feelings, rather than keep them bottled up, I’m less likely to get angry. It’s helpful to use words like I’m feeling happy, sad, frustrated, angry, etc. and not use judgmental words like rejected, abandoned and attacked, this book advises.

As I was learning how to communicate better, my mind wandered to the tumultuous political climate and the heated rhetoric spouted by some of our Presidential candidates. I’m wondering what the experts could do to diffuse their anger.

What would they advise Republican front runner Donald Trump? He wants to “Make America great again,” he claims. “Build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.”

While his supporters agree with him, the Republican establishment would like to stop Trump. Former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Trump “a fraud,” but Romney’s denouncement didn’t seem to hurt Trump’s campaign.

Many of Trump’s adversaries have entered the fray. Even popular author and liberal democrat Stephen King has criticized the billionaire businessman. King wrote this slogan which he thought best represented Trump’s philosophy: “If you’re white, you’re all right. Any other hue, I don’t trust you.”

Trump usually fights back, going for the jugular. He shouts, “Get them out,” referring to protesters attending his rallies. Or he might yell, “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Recently, a Trump supporter did just that at one of his events.

Supporters of nonviolence have recommended a much more civilized approach, but I doubt the angry rhetoric and name calling will stop anytime soon in this heated political climate.

Trump called Texas Senator Ted Cruz a liar, and referred to another competitor Marco Rubio, as “little Rubio,” and the battle escalated. Rubio responded by saying Trump’s hands were small, insinuating his manhood was also small. 

Ohio Governor John Kasich wants to position himself above the fracas with his “positive vision for America,” he says. But Kasich’s message doesn’t seem to resonate with the majority of voters. He won his home state, but trails in the polls, and claims he wouldn't accept a Vice Presidential nod from either Trump or Cruz. Senator Rubio failed to win Florida, his home state, a death knell for him, so he dropped out.

Cruz says he’s "Reigniting the Promise of America.” But I’m uncertain as to what this means. When I think of America, I think of the American people, a conglomeration of men and women and children, all nationalities, all races, religions, enjoying the freedoms stated in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation, although I would add the word women, to insure all women and men are created equal.

Cruz also wants to “Take America back.” Does he want to take us back to the time when the thirteen colonies declared independence from Britain in 1776? I have no idea.

I prefer clearer messages, and I cringe when I hear name calling and combative words coming from someone who wants to be hired as our next President.  

On the democratic side, the candidates appear more cordial. They focus on the issues and the differences between them. Although Senator Bernie Sanders has riled up voters by saying, "A political revolution is coming." When he asks his packed audiences of young voters “Are you ready for a revolution?” they yell, “Yes.”

While I don’t “feel the Bern,” I see his appeal. When I was in my teens and early twenties, I wanted to be a rebel, too.

Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton offers a more practical approach. “I will work for you,” is one of her slogans. “I’m fighting for you,” is another one. She has also countered Trump’s message. “America is already great,” she says. “I want to make America whole,” and recently I saw this sign attributed to her: “A woman’s place is in the White House.”

When Hillary Clinton ran against Barack Obama and lost to him in the 2008 election, her slogan was, “Solutions for America.”

 President Obama, a dynamic campaigner, used this saying, “Yes we can.”

In President George W. Bush’s campaigns, he had several different slogans: “Compassionate Conservatism,” “Leave no child behind,” “Yes, American can,” “Moving America Forward,” “A Safer World and More Hopeful America.”

President Bill Clinton used these: “Building a Bridge to the 21st Century,” “Putting People First,” and “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow.”

One of my favorite Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, used this catchphrase at a time when we were embroiled in a Civil War. “Don’t Swap Horses in Midstream.”

But as far as avoiding conflict, many of these political figures, past and present, seemed to have subscribed to the adage, “Politics is a blood sport.”

As for me, I prefer to avoid bloodshed and combative behavior. I’d rather leave that to the characters in my novels.

Here’s my latest novel, A Message in the Roses:

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Popular Pashmina by Victoria Chatham

One of the many aspects of writing historical novels is clothing your characters in the correct costume of the day. The Regency, my favorite historical period, was the most under-dressed era since the ancient Greeks emulating their draperies  with light and flowing muslin and silk. Imported from India by the East India Company muslin, especially white muslin, became the prerogative of the upper classes. Muslin had identical warp and weft and came in different weights and widths. It could be embroidered or printed and easily dyed. Muslin could be used for day or evening wear, but was not very warm. As houses could be cold and draughty and ladies dresses were rarely designed for warmth, the addition of a Kashmir shawl thrown around her shoulders or worn as a stole for evening wear would have given some comfort and protection from any chills.

Kashmir, or cashmere as we know it today, is the fiber spun from the soft, downy winter undercoat of goats, especially Asian goats. As the days grow shorter, this fine underhair grows longer. The wool is collected during the spring moulting season when the goats naturally shed their winter wool. If it is collected by hand and combing there is a higher yield of pure fiber. If the fleece is shorn it has to be separated from the coarse outer hair, which can be used for brushes and coarser fabrics. 

The founder of this industry is traditionally considered to be the fifteenth century ruler of Kashmir, a region in northwest India, Zayn-ul-Abidin, who introduced weavers from Turkestan. From pashm (the Persian word for wool), these weavers produced the wonderfully warm and soft pashmina shawls. These were introduced into Western Europe by the General-in-Chief of the French Campaign in Egypt (1799-1802) who sent one to Paris where it caused immediate interest.

Paisley became a popular pattern with which to decorate these shawls and could either be woven or embroidered in that pattern. The paisley pattern that we know so well today may have been derived from the buta or boteh, which is a droplet shaped design originating in Persia (Iran). It is also sometimes called Persian pickles in America and Welsh pears if used in Welsh textiles. However, the western name is likely derived from the town of Paisley in Renfrewshire, Scotland, which became the major producer of paisley shawls during the period 1800 – 1850.

Today we don’t have to worry about flimsy dresses or cold houses but still enjoy our pashminas in a variety of plain or patterned colors. They come in a variety of fabrics from wool to cotton and silk and various mixes of man-made fibers. They still add a touch of luxury and can enhance any outfit whether you choose to dress up or down, classy or casual and is one of the most versatile fashion additions to add to any wardrobe.

Jane Austen's World

Victoria Chatham

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Where Does A Writer’s Mind Go In The Spring?

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Where Does A Writer’s Mind Go In The Spring?

Spring has sprung, the grass is rising, darn, need to break out my lawnmower again and start another year of mowering and cursering at how I plant one bulb and get eighteen hundred weeds and the raccoons made off with my bulb for a fabulous lunch. So how come they don’t invent raccoon-proof bulbs that taste like curry when they bite into them. Yes, it’s been well documented that while raccoons love Chinese food, especially chop suey, they won’t go near any curry houses’ garbage cans. Small wonder the total population of raccoons in India and most parts of England is zero.
                So spring is about to be thrust upon us once again and that means Easter as well. I’ve already seen geese heading north and hens scurrying about in fright clenching their nether bits in fear. I’ve decided to write about topics in this blog that no other writer has ever written about. How am I doing so far?
                I was going to start with the educational part and talk about how to remove candy floss from your cat’s fur. Only the cat moved every time I tried to stick it on him. Which led me to believe that felines hate candy floss, well except the mouse-flavoured variety.
                So instead I thought of writing about the weird varieties of birds living in the jungles of the planet Eriditae in the constellation of Chickadeea. This is easy to write about since no one has ever been there or even know if such a place exists, except in this universe of a billion, zillion to the one millionth degree of known galaxies. Which would make the sands of the Sahara desert look like a sandbox for fleas in comparison. Hey if I can think it, it has to be out there. And if I can dream it, I can invent it. Just ask Einstein.
                You know, the dude who said something clever before breakfast one morning like E=MC2. He was trying to explain that if E=coffee, M=sugar and C=cream squared, he’d be the first person to ask for a double double. Which he did say to a fellow Torontonian while sitting next to the penalty box during a hockey game. Unfortunately for Tim Horton, he was the fellow sitting in the box at the time. Tim, known for his great elbows and fast thinking wit tied that idea with selling discarded parts of the donut no one wanted. The holes or bits as he called them, gave up his skates and made a fortune, all thanks to Albert.
                Or I could write about how to be polite and not point to rhinoceros crossing the road holding Gucci handbags, but I think that was done before.
                Okay how about this for a topic from my vacation to Bora Bora, where, at Easter. The natives dress up as Elvis on Tuesdays (Yeah, I asked the same question and would have picked Wednesday myself). They dance around in tutus to Saturday Night Fever. But I doubt anyone would believe me, even though I’ve got pictures to prove it.
                Or I could write about the many advantages knitting has over crocheting, but I’m not about to upset my granny. I did ask her once and suffered through three hours, afternoon tea (eight cups), 21 chocolate biscuits and a rather boring lesson on how to properly drink tea while dining with the Queen. I learned my lesson and never dis anyone over seventy on the topic of yarn. I haven’t even mentioned the rude letters I got from disgruntled sheep threatening to see if I like having my hairs sheared. BAAaa-aad
                But with spring in the air I realized that I’m not one to write about several silly topics that no one else ever has, well maybe one. No sorry, couldn’t lower myself to those standards and I hear the lawnmower muttering away, “turn me on and let’s have at those annoying green things popping up everywhere.”

                Do you think the Easter Bunny ever has this problem in the fall when he’s really bored? 

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Lego Card by Cheryl Wright


This is a very simple, but quite fiddly card for a young child.

To make the Lego pieces, cut out squares of different coloured cardstock. Then using the same colours, cut or punch four small-ish circles of the matching colours. Pop them up with dimensional foam and add them to the center of each coloured square as shown. The greeting can be added wherever you wish. (I used white embossing powder for mine.)

The colours pop more if added to black cardstock.

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


My website: 
BWL website: 

Books We Love's Tantalizing Talent ~ Author Joan Hall Hovey

I've always been drawn to the dark side of the human psyche, and devoured everything from Edgar Allan Poe to Shirley Jackson growing up. It is no surprise to me I turned out to be a writer of psychological suspense, often with threads of paranormal, mystery and romance.

I like to write about ordinary women who are at a difficult time in their lives, and are suddenly faced with an external evil force. Women who are stronger than they think they are. I didn't think a whole lot about theme until I had written a couple of books, but I realized with the writing of my third novel 'Chill Waters' that my books generally have to do with betrayal and abandonment in some form, and learning to trust again. And more important, learning to trust oneself. Almost any good book will tell you something about the author herself. (Or himself.) You can't avoid it. But first and foremost I want to give readers a roller-coaster ride, one that keeps them on the edge of that proverbial seats and resonates in the imagination long after the last page is read.

In addition to my award-winning novels, my articles and short stories have appeared in any many publications including The Toronto Star, Atlantic Advocate, Seek, Home Life Magazine, Mystery Scene. My short story Dark Reunion was anthologized in investigating Women, Published by Simon & Pierre.

I've held workshops and given talks at various schools and libraries, including New Brunswick Community College, and the University of New Brunswick. I am also a tutor with Winghill School, a distance education school in Ottawa for aspiring writers.

I'm a member of the Writer's Federation of New Brunswick, past regional Vice-President of Crime Writers of Canada and International Thriller Writers.



Following the deaths of her husband, Corey, and ten year old daughter Ellie in a traffic accident, author Abby Miller sinks ever deeper into depression. She contemplates suicide as a way to be with them, and to end her unrelenting pain.

In a last desperate effort to find peace, she drives to Loon Lake where they last vacationed together, wanting to believe they will be waiting for her there. At least in spirit. Barring that, the pills Doctor Gregory gave her to help her sleep, are in her purse.

The cabin at Loon Lake was her and Corey’s secret hideaway, and not even Abby’s sister, Karen, to whom she is close, knows where it is.

But someone else does. He is one of three men who have escaped from Pennington prison. They are dangerous predators who will stop at nothing to get what they want - and to keep from going back to prison. Having already committed atrocious crimes, they have nothing to lose.

Unknowingly, Abby is on a collision course with evil itself. And the decision of whether or live or die will soon be wrenched from her hands.

A suspense novel interwoven with threads of romance and paranormal.

Imagine discovering everything you believe about yourself to be a lie. And that the truth could stir a killer from his lair.

Following the death of the woman she believed to be her mother, 28-year-old Naomi Waters learns from a malicious aunt that she is not only adopted, but the product of a brutal rape that left her birth mother, Mary Rose Francis, a teenager of Micmac ancestry, in a coma for 8 months.

Dealing with a sense of betrayal and loss, but with new purpose in her life, Naomi vows to track down Mary Rose's attackers and bring them to justice. She places her story in the local paper, asking for information from residents who might remember something of the case that has been cold for nearly three decades.

She is about to lose hope that her efforts will bear fruit, when she gets an anonymous phone call. Naomi has attracted the attention of one who remembers the case well.

But someone else has also read the article in the paper. The man whose DNA she carries.

And he has Naomi in his sights.


After nine years in Bayshore mental institution, once called The Lunatic Asylum, Caroline is being released.  There will be no one to meet her. Her parents who brought her here are dead.

They have found her a room in a rooming house, a job washing dishes in a restaurant. She will do fine, they said. But no one told her that women in St. Simeon are already dying at the hands of a vicious predator. One, an actress who lived previously in her building.

And now, as Caroline struggles to survive on the outside, she realizes someone is stalking her.But who will believe her? She's a crazy woman after all.

Then, one cold winter's night on her way home from her job, a man follows and is about to assault her when a stranger intercedes.

A stranger who hides his face and whispers her name.

TRAGIC SPAWN (previously Defective)


Great Time Had by All at When Words Collide by Nancy M Bell

His Brother's Bride is Book 2 in the Canadian Historical Brides series. You can find out more by clicking here . I had the pleasure o...