Saturday, May 21, 2016

Z Fold Mother's Day Card by Cheryl Wright


Since Mother’s Day has just passed, I thought I’d post a Mother’s Day card.  (Sorry, I should have done this before Mother’s Day!)

My own mother has long passed, but my mother-in-law is still with us. She lives in a nursing home as she has advanced dementia, so I try to make cards that will be reasonably steady as she has trouble making them stand.

Here is the card I made for her:

If you are interested in learning how to make this card, go to my card making blog for the video instructions by UK card maker JanB. 

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


My website: 
BWL website: 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

These Days Everyone's a Writer by Stuart R. West

"Everyone has a book in them, but in most cases that's where it should stay."

The quote is most often attributed to Christoper Hitchens (1949-2011), a famous journalist and intellectual. Some sources argue the origin of the quote. Regardless of who said it, I couldn't agree more.

It's not that I'm snobby or believe my writing's the cat's pajamas. On the contrary, I'm always striving to improve my writing. And I've been more than willing to help out new writers. After all, every writer should be given a chance. Or so I used to think.

Over the past several years, I've had people crawling out of the woodwork asking me to read their Great American Novels. People I've never met before. People who have no business writing. People who become a little "stalkery."
I took on many cases until it became overwhelming and more than a little discouraging.

I worked on one guy's coming of age (groan!) novel for more than two years. At the end of our trial by fire, he still didn't get it. It was a mess, more head-hopping than a psychic's convention. I tried telling him what he was doing wrong. Every time he'd respond, "Oh, yeah, I get it now." Then he'd continue to do the same thing.

My mother, a "snow-bird" in Florida, has a new suitor who's a writer! He's written a spiritual self-help book. Wants my opinion. I honestly don't know how I could be of help to him when I'm writing jolly serial killer books and what-not.

Recently during a medical exam with a tongue depressor lodged into my mouth, a young doctor told me he's writing a book about government mandates on the beautification of homes and lawns. I said, "Really?" He said, "Yeah, it's a comedy." Not exactly water-cooler talk.

The other day my neighbor told me he's writing a book.

"Cool!" I said, while inside I died a little bit. But trapped as I was, I pursued it.

"What's the book about?" I asked.

"Well...that's hard to say...something about a Christian alien planet."

Noooo! "Huh. Okay, let me read it."

"I'm just starting it. But I will."

I told him I couldn't wait, ran inside and locked the doors.

Some of these writers take my advice to heart and actually work at improvement. All writers should. But some of my other pet projects? I've had a few writers get quite angry regarding my commentary, yell at me, then take their toys and go home.

The advent of "self-publishing" is a double-edged sword. While it opened up an alternate venue for fledgling writers who may not have had a chance via the traditional "over the transom" route in the past, it's also full of people who are absolutely clueless.

Which is why I appreciate dedicated publishers like Books We Love who uphold a high level of quality in the books they put out.

From now on, though, I'm closing the door on new writers who hit me up. (Except, of course, for my neighbor's upcoming epic about an alien Christian planet!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Even Bad Days are Good Days by Nancy M Bell

photo credit: CBC

As some of you may know Fort McMurray, Alberta is on fire. While the fire has passed the city now, new evacuations to the north were ordered May 17th, 2016. I have been helping with the relief efforts through the animal shelter I volunteer at. Last Sunday we held an open house for Ft Mac evacuees who needed food and supplies for their animals. It was both sad and wonderful at the same time. Some of the people have lost their homes and everything in them, as well as their jobs. Many business are destroyed and now the fire, nicknamed The Beast, is bearing down on the work camps north of town where 4,000 workers who have just returned to work this week were evacuated today. The effects are far reaching and not just financial.
The uncertainty and sheer terror of fleeing the fire has marked every one involved. Even those of us on the outskirts are feeling the stress. I can only imagine how those who are displaced and living in temporary housing, with friends or camping out in RVs must be feeling. But through it all our resilience shines through. We keep on keeping on and doing what needs to be done.

This experience coupled with the experience I went through this past winter when my oldest son (36 years old) spend eight weeks in intensive care with us being told not to expect him to leave the unit alive has brought home to me the realization that we never know what the next day might bring. The last thing I expected on Christmas Eve was to hear my son was in ICU on life support, my husband was on a plane to Winnipeg and my youngest son was driving across three provinces to be with his brother. I stayed home to arrange care for the animals. Christmas Day I spent alone with the critters in a flood of tears. The bright spot was my ex-daughter-in-law kindly invited me to her house for a few hours in the afternoon. In the midst of tragedy we find kindness. I caught a plane at 5am on Boxing Day to be with him.

During the long days and nights spent at the hospital with my daughter-in-law at his bedside not knowing if he would wake up and if he did would he know who we were was hard. But when faced with the possibility that what he suffered from had no cure and we would be faced with watching him fade away from us made still having him there a blessing. No matter how awful things got and how scary and uncertain things were, the fact he was still with us was something to hang onto. Those bad days were good days. I know it was unrealistic but I refused to let myself believe that he wouldn't get well. On the white board in his room I wrote across the top on one of the darkest days "He is getting better" I wrote his full name, but I won't use that here. At that point we had no idea what was wrong, but they were throwing around things like prion disease, Crutchfield-Jacobs Disease, and a few others I've forgotten. All with no treatment and no cure. Even when he lost the ability to speak and then to swallow, those were good days because he was still with us and there was still hope. New Years Eve passed without me hardly realizing it happened. Late on January 11 the resident came into the room and gave us a miracle. They had a diagnosis, he had a rare form of encephalitis, but it was treatable. The day started out badly, it was his birthday and it was hard to see him lying there on a ventilator, drugged to the gills, but it was a good day because we finally knew what was wrong and it was treatable. Even bad days are good days.

So too with the evacuees, they are still alive, they have their families, most of them have their pets, although some are still in the rescue centres as they search for the owners, the vast majority were saved. Yes, these are hard days, bad days, and there are more to come once the crisis is passed. There is a ton of rebuilding to do in the Mac, and a ton of healing for the community. Some will leave and return home, some will return to Fort McMurray and start again. The good we have to hold onto in these bad days is we will rebuild and Fort Mac will rise again. All of Alberta is behind them and the support and help won't go away once the news crews pack up and the fire moves on and all that is left is to shift through the ashes and start anew. There's a lot of Maritimers living and working in Fort Mac and they stand with us as well. We are Alberta Strong. #albertastrong There are good days ahead.

On a different note:

I have a new release in the Arabella's Secret series. The second book is Arabella Dreams and picks up her story after she leaves Cornwall at the end of The Selkie's Song and makes her new life in southern Alberta. It's available on Amazon, Kobo and wherever good books are sold. Available in print and ebook.

Arabella Angarrick is heartbroken. Exiled from her beloved Cornwall, she must come to terms with life on the Canadian prairies and her arranged marriage to D’Arcy Rowan. She struggles to reconcile herself to life on a remote ranch with a man she barely knows. He knows he’s getting a two for one deal and Bella is thankful he is happy to welcome her unborn child into his home. D’Arcy is a kind man, but try as she might, Bella just can’t bring herself to love him. Her heart still yearns for Vear Du, the father of her baby. Will she ever stop dreaming of him?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Looking at Critique Groups - Janet Lane Walters

In many ways, writing is a lonely game. The people you meet are often those you've created on paper. Telling stories that are produced on paper or electronically takes time and being alone. Trying to write when surrounded by people carrying on conversations can be difficult if not impossible but writing in a vacuum is also difficult. One needs feedback from others. Just sending off a story and waiting for an editor to comment can be hard. So what can you do?

Writers often band together with other writers to share their works and receive comments from their fellow writers to help. But critique groups may not always work for one author or another. I've belonged to three in my long career as a writer. The first one was centered only in poetry and while I learned there things like rhythm and word choice there was no appreciation of my prose. Since it was the only group in town, I remained and my fellow writers at least were supportive of what I was doing but they didn't help me hone my craft. Then we moved.

I joined a second critique group who said they were interested in both poetry and prose. Problem was they were interested in intellectual prose. I wrote genre fiction, stories with happy endings. My characters had goals and motives and coflicts that could happen to writers in every day life. Did I learn here. Yes and no. I learned I was never going to write "literary" fiction, but some of the authors the quoted as being wonderful didn't write "literary" fiction in the days when they were producing. I also had fun. Doing poetry readings in NYC and meeting people whose poetry was recognized was a great experience. I also had some poems published. My fiction suffered in some ways and grew stronger in others.

Then I found a third critique group. While the writers were mainly focused on romance they could give pointers on some of the other areas I was exploring. The group formed in 1990 has continued and is still active today. Actually we meet at my house and read from five to ten pages and do a round robin critique. Not all the original members still belong. Some of them have gone on to become best-selling authors. Some have moved and some have dropped out of the writing game. I always wonder about the strong writers who simply gave up. Was it something the group was not giving them or was it a fear of faila fear of success. Through this group I discovered electronic publishing years before it became the boom it is now. And I think a lot about those people who left the writing game. But each time one of the members or former member's career takes off I feel inspired and wonder if somehow I have helped them move forward in their careers the way they have helped me.

Seducing the doctor is a new release. Pursuing Dr. West, Gemstones and Healwoman are on sale for another few days. Escape is also on sale.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Books We Love's Tantalizing Talent ~ Author Gail Roughton

Gail Roughton is a native of small town Georgia whose Deep South heritage features prominently in most of her work.  A retired paralegal as of 2016, she worked in a law office for over forty years, during which time she raised three children and quite a few attorneys. She kept herself more or less sane by writing novels and tossing the completed manuscripts into her closet. A cross-genre writer, Gail’s produced works ranging from humor to romance to thriller to horror, sometimes in the same book.  When she’s not writing, she’s busy spoiling her grandchildren, enjoying her family and giving thanks for retirement.

Gail Roughton Books published by Books We Love

my name be Cain..and my color be Se’ben
Country Justice  (Southern Justice, Book 1)
Sisters of Prophecy – Ursula (Co-written with Jude Pittman)

War-N-Wit, Inc.: The Novellas
The Witch - Book 1
Resurrection - Book 2
The Coven - Book 3
MeanStreet, LLC - Book 4
(All four novellas available together as a Boxed Set)

Country Justice – Southern Justice – Book 1

What goes around comes around. That’s justice. Especially in small towns where everybody knows how many eggs you ate for breakfast before you've even left the Scales of Justice Café. Funny thing, though. Usually what everybody thinks they know—they really don’t. Take the folks in Turkey Creek. Oh, everybody knows Maggie Kincaid doesn’t speak to her father. They think they know why. But they don’t. They know Billy Brayton died twenty-five years back. Too bad nobody told him. Because now he’s home. And it’s time to right some past wrongs. Time for justice. Country Justice. 

War-N-Wit, Inc.

Paralegal extraordinaire Ariel Anson’s life wasn’t going at all the way she planned. Not after private investigator Chad Garrett of War-N-Wit, Inc. roared into her life in response to her urgent call for a skip-trace. Instead of settling down with her steady CPA fiancé, Ariel’s swept into another life entirely. How could she know War-N-Wit stood for Warlock and Witch? Or that Chad Garrett was a warlock in search of his eternal soulmate, the witch he’d reincarnated with through many lifetimes? The witch he insisted was – her! From Vegas to Savannah to Daytona Bike Week and back to Vegas, this series takes the characters on some out-of-this-world adventures! 

my name be Cain…and my color be Se’ben

Deep in the woods that slide off into Stone Creek Swamp, teenage drug dealers retrieve their stash and receive an unexpected dividend—the unwitting resurrection of Cain, powerful Bokor of Black Magic. Atop Coleman Hill, two young attorneys renovate a decrepit relic of a house for their home and office. A house with a past it wants to share, showing Ria Knight tantalizing scenes of its original owner, Dr. Paul Devlin. Dr. Devlin’s not exactly alive and well, but he’s not dead either. With Cain’s resurrection, the battle between the two first begun in 1888 rages again. Because the past, like evil, never dies. It just—waits. 


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...