Monday, April 24, 2017

Sharing a Spring Short Story - Love in Lies

DK Davis here – sharing a Spring Short Story I wrote for the 750 Writer’s Group on GoodReads. They have monthly short story contests – March was 500-1000 words, and required three components: a boat, a storm, and an angry person. Hope you enjoy it;) Here’s my entry:

Love in Lies – written as Susan Davis   w/c - 960

“Marry me, Lisa.” Nick slowed the trolling motor to a stop. Water lapped against the boat from the jet-ski activity in the middle of the lake. “Five months is plenty of time to mourn and move on.” He pulled a velvet ring box from the cubby beneath the steering wheel. His brilliant turquois eyes studied my face, perhaps in judgment.

I closed my eyes for a moment in loving memory of my mother and silently spoke a, Bless You.

“We’re set for life. We could be travelling, enjoying our time together right now.” He flipped open the box in front of my face. “Let’s do this.” The diamond sparkled as did the sapphires on each side. “It’s rose gold, just like your mother’s.”

“It’s beautiful. Truly, but…”

“But—what are you going to say? What’s the reason now?” Nick’s lips pinched, his eyes narrowed.

Mom’s killer continues to run free. The lawyer is still clarifying all of Mom’s properties, business dealings, and assets. I’m following up on her insurances.

I could list a ton of reasons why marriage didn’t rate as a priority. “I’m not done grieving.” I’d used this before.

A couple of swans slapped the water announcing their landing a short distance away. They were building a nest in the reeds, making ready for a family. Something Nick never talked about, children. He wanted to travel, see the world and never allow any seedling to grow beneath his feet.

“I retired early for you, and now that’s not enough.” Nick snapped the box closed and dropped it into his pants pocket. He started the main motor and spun the boat around, toward the dock and Mom’s lake home.

“I’m not retired, why would I care if you’re retired? I’ve got a good twenty-five years or so to work. I never told you to retire for me.” Frustration and the knot in my throat stole my breath.

“Don’t give me that spiel about you need to work. I know your mother set you up. Hell, you’re a millionaire, if not a billionaire.” He shut the boat down and attached it to the dock. “You don’t need to work another day in your life.”

Why the anger? It was like he never lost a person he loved, but I knew he did.

What did I honestly know about this man?

I met him at Mom’s funeral. Right away he made me feel like no one in the world existed but me. We hit it off. He always said the right words to draw me out of my grief, to make me feel special, loved when I had no one else in this world. My father had passed years ago, and now my mother. No siblings; like my parents. No living grandparents.

Perhaps that was why I resonated so fast with Nick. His life sounded a lot like mine, at least according to him. He’d lost his entire family in a house fire when he was young, and then he lost a pregnant wife in a car accident. He was alone in this world, like me.

I never did a history check on him like Gordon, Mom’s lawyer and my best friend through high school, had suggested as soon as he knew of Nick. Perhaps I should, if only for peace of mind.

Dark clouds shuffled in from the western sky, inking away the mid-day sun. A stiff breeze whisked across the water, creating a chop of white to the waves. I craved some alone time, maybe until the darkness passed from the depths of my life.

Nick stood on the dock, staring at me. “What’s your big plan for today? Are we staying here or heading to your Colorado place?”

“I’m not leaving Michigan until I have a handle on Mom’s estates and holdings.” I sighed then climbed out of the boat. “I’m a lawyer with clients, even if it’s small town stuff. People depend on me.”

My office and home were an hour away from the lake house, so I didn’t visit Mom much, plus she’d traveled a lot.

“I want to set a date, Lisa.” His voice tightened. “Let’s nail down the wedding.”

A gust of wind whipped my hair around my face and knocked over a chair on the patio. I ran to the house as rain pelted across the lake in a fury.  

Gordon met me at the door, he’d let himself into the house. Nick followed me inside.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Nick’s hands fisted.

Gordon studied his face for a moment then turned to me. “It’s a matter of urgency, Lisa. We need to talk. In private.”

“Anything you have to say to her you can say to me. We’re getting married.” Nick shoved his way between us.

“Wait here, Nick.” I moved around him and led Gordon into Mom’s office. Outside the window, a couple of police cruisers were parked. “What’s this about?” I nodded my head toward the cop cars.

“We discovered who murdered your mother.” He motioned for me to sit. “This man had been spending a lot of time with her. We understand from a few of your mother’s travel companions, he was set to marry her…until he found out about you. He doesn’t like children.”  He cleared his throat and handed me a photograph. “His name is Jonas Stark, a wanted man in a number of states.”

Turquoise eyes, silver-gray hair, a goatee, different from the look he wore today, dark hair, clean shaven, and yet the same man, Nick Spencer.

My heart shattered.

Gordon clasped my hand and drew me out of the chair into an embrace. “You’ll survive this, dear one. Begin anew.”

And the storm raged as policemen filed through the front door.

DK Davis writes YA sci-fi, supernatural, and fantasy with a good dollop of all the relationships woven in between. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, spending time with grandchildren or her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan. She also writes paranormal suspense-thriller romance as S. Peters-Davis, and all genre short stories as Susan Davis.

You can find DK Davis at these links:

Enter Books We Love Contest here:   Yummy Romance books & Chocolate...check it out

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Never, Never, Ever Play Poker With Raccoons

Never, Never, Ever Play Poker With Raccoons

This is my after Easter blog post. Hey, everyone posts on Easter, thought more people would read it after. Especially the harassed Easter Bunny.
Which begs me to ask the question, how is it possible that a bunny lays colored eggs? But that’s just me, I often ask What if? Questions.
Like what if Santa flew on a sled pulled by reindeer? I’ve often wondered just how thick those long-johns of his are, mighty chilly up there all night long. You think he’d never make it over China or Russia without being shot down? I recon the underneath of his sled and the reindeer's hooves are coated in the same radar reflective Stealth Technology as the US Air Force uses. PS, since he’s been around a lot longer, I think he’s got the patents to it all and is basking in his royalty cheques in the off season (like the other 364 days). Man, now that’s a job I’d like to have.
 Back to today’s topic. I played poker the other day with two raccoons, Rocky and Ricky. They were twins I think, looked the same, but then they say that about us as well. “Humans, since they walk upright we can’t tell them apart as raccoons traditionally have bad eyesight and we can’t get glasses.”
I managed to lose by betting my outdoor statue, Stumpy on the outcome. See the video below and you’ll know what I mean.


I’m also in the process of starting my first Author’s Newsletter page. Go to my Facebook published author’s page, and on the left side you’ll see email signup.

And sign up. You could win some nifty free swag, like ah, I don’t know, let me look around the room. Oh, pencils, I’ve got some cool pencils. And dust, lots of dust. I can give away all of my dust. Man, why didn’t I think of this earlier.
As for the raccoons, they won, only to find out Stumpy is too big for them to take away. Raccoons don’t do take away, they eat everything on the spot.
So they rioted and pushed Stumpy over and tore up all of my tulips. Man, I wish they’d learn to use a lawnmower. I wouldn’t mind it if they cut my grass instead. But that’s a tale for another day.
And if you enjoy that, maybe my newest video promoting myself and my writing will bring a chuckle to you as well.

Purchase at Amazon
My HollyWood Blurb for Raven's Lament: When Harry Met Sally, slammed into Canada's Karate Kid, set in a Harry Potter backdrop and populated by Native Mythical Beings
Purchase at Amazon at 

Thunderbird's Wake, The Hollywood Blurb: Green Mile set on the west coast, screenplay by Agatha Christie, Directed by Quentin Tarantino. 

Frank Talaber’s Writing Style? He usually responds with: Mix Dan Millman (Way of The Peaceful Warrior) with Charles De Lint (Moonheart) and throw in a mad scattering of Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get The Blues). PS: He’s better looking than Stephen King (Carrie, The Stand, It, The Shining) and his romantic stuff will have you gasping quicker than Robert James Waller (Bridges Of Madison County).
Or as is often said: You don’t have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps.

Writer by soul. Karma the seed. Words born within.
Paper the medium. Pen the muse. Novels the fire.

My websites

Twitter: @FrankTalaber

Purchase at Amazon at

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What's a Cozy Mystery? by J.Q. Rose

Cozy mystery author J.Q. Rose
Dangerous Sanctuary available at the Books We Love bookstore

What's a Cozy Mystery? by J.Q. Rose

When my romantic suspense novel, Dangerous Sanctuary, was first released, I received this review from Susan B. "It was a delightful cozy, with some romance, some religion, and lots of mystery. This novel has an interesting cast of characters, humorous situations, and was filled with surprises."

As I read the review, I wondered how many readers had heard of a cozy mystery. How many writers? For sure, when I began writing Dangerous Sanctuary, formerly published as Coda to Murder, I wasn't thinking "cozy mystery." I just wanted to write what I like to read. 

I like stories with 
▶ a mystery and some humor, 
▶ a strong female protagonist, 
▶ not a lot of blood and gore, 
▶ and some sweet romance. 

I had to research police procedures for my novel, Dangerous Sanctuary.
I didn't choose a main character who was in law enforcement mainly because I have no experience with police methods.  Because there was a crime committed in my story, I had to research a few procedures. Thank goodness my neighbor was a policeman and a valuable resource.

Until I received Susan's review I never even considered I had written a cozy mystery! I definitely began looking into the elements needed to fit the qualifications for a cozy mystery and discovered my novel did fit into the cozy mystery genre. Most authors and readers agree on the following points:
1. The investigator is not a professional in law enforcement In Dangerous Sanctuary the female pastor is the sleuth.
2. The main character's vocation is different and interesting. I thought a female minister fit the vocation requirement very well
3. The crime is usually murder, but not a lot of gory description
4. Quite often the story takes place in a small town.or a place where the investigator has contact with many people e.g. the church members. 
5.  Romance, but no explicit sex.

Abraham the pig has become quite a star in the cozy mystery, Dangerous Sanctuary.
Do you read cozy mysteries? What do you like about this genre? Please leave a comment below. If you have other elements to define a cozy mystery, please add them in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks.

Find several talented cozy mystery authors at the BWL bookstore.

Connect online with JQ Rose
J.Q. Rose blog

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

From Bedroom to Book: Chili Run by Stuart R. West

From pillow to page...

Despite the rather enticing, come-hither title of this post (gotcha!), I'm not going to start writing erotica.

Rather, it's a round-about way to chat up my new comedy thriller, Chili Run.
Sorry, sorry, sorry, a kazillion times sorry!
Let's back up...

I have a vividly wild dream life, ranging from talking cat gangstas to bathrooms that eat people. After these strange dreams--during that oddly drifting, half-awake, half-asleep state of mind where the dreams still somewhat resemble logic--I think, "Hey! This would make a nifty book!"

Then, I wake up and think, "Man, what was I thinking?" No one wants to read an epic fantasy novel about a family of royal lions who fly 1930's fighter planes to save the kingdom. I shower, go about my day, the dreams drifting away like cottonwood in the wind.

This wasn't the case with Chili Run. This dream stuck with me, absurd though it was. I toyed with it, determined to find a way to make it work. I knew what the gist was; now I had the unenviable task of trying to make sense of it.

Well, here...the blurb says it best:

When Wendell Worthy decides to blow off laundry for the day, he has no idea he'll soon be running across downtown Kansas City in his tighty-whities. But a murderous, psychotic drug dealer has his brother and the ransom's a cup of chili that has to be delivered within two hours.  The catch? There are rules in place: no rides, no money, no help. And Wendell has to do it in his underwear. Regardless of the rules, he knows he can’t go it alone. The only person downtown who might help is Alicia. Too bad their one and only date ended in disaster. Wendell can run like the devil’s on his tail, and he’s gonna’ need to, because all sorts of hell’s about to break loose.

Okay, I know dream analysts are gonna have a field day with the subject matter. There's the requisite recurring nightmare of being caught out in public in your underwear (or nude). I pay it full tribute and absolutely own it.

Researching the book was a bear. To accurately describe downtown, Kansas City, my wife patiently drove me around so I could plot out Wendell's trajectory and, I hope, paint a unique, darkly comic, nightmare vista.

While there's a streak (ugh on the pun!) of humor running (again, ugh.) through the book, it's not as in-your-face, silly as my Zach and Zora comic mysteries, but it's a cousin of sorts. (There's even a quick connection for eagle-eyed readers to the aforementioned series, cementing it in the same universe). Here the stakes are higher and lives are hanging in the balance.

For me, the book's kind of an experiment. As Wendell runs through most of the book, I strove to keep the book moving along from one bizarre and dangerous adventure to the next. It's told in "real time," too, kinda' like the TV series 24 (while writing it, the soundtrack in my head consisted of that annoying "ka-ching, ka-chung" of 24's clock running down; plenty of aspirin were consumed).

What I thought was going to be an easy-peasy, cakewalk of a book turned into a huge struggle due to the above-mentioned reasons and more. I mean, honestly, how many different ways can you describe running?

Along the way, just like my protagonist's character, themes developed and grew, some understated, some not so much. It's about racism, writing, and above all--most surprising--it turned into a love story.

All in a little book about a guy running through public in his tighty-whities trying to save his dumb brother's life.

Chili Run: The perfect thriller for the reader on the go.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sailing , Sailing.... By Nancy M Bell

His Brother's Bride Book 2 in the Canadian Historical Brides series. Click here for more info on this title.

When you all read this I will be sailing the ocean blue. At least it better be blue and sunny and hot. It's time for a break after a long winter of writing and researching. My contribution to Books We Love Canadian Historical Brides series released March 1. I'm excited about it and it has garnered some very nice reviews.
But back to the break, May 7 will be our 40th anniversary so Doug and I are taking a Panama Canal Cruise aboard the Coral Princess. A bit early, but that's okay. We leave April 16 to fly to Fort Lauderdale via Toronto, then the next day we board the ship at Port Everglades. We arrive in Los Angeles on May 2 and then fly home. We've done this cruise before with a bit of a different itinerary. The first time we went west to east, ending up in Fort Lauderdale. While it was a wonderful trip, going west to east means you lose three hours as you pass though the different time zones. SO....This time we are going east to west which means three more hours of sleep for me!

We start in Fort Lauderdale, then we stop in Aruba, Cartagena Columbia, then through the canal (which takes a full day and the captain turns the ship over to the canal pilot for the day), after we reach the Pacific the next port is Puntarenus Costa Rica (which means Sandy Spit), then San Juan del Sur Nicaragua, Huatulco Mexico and Puerto Vallarta Mexico before docking in LA.

Below are some photos from our last cruise through the canal...See you in May!

In the Canal headed east.

Costa Rica Mangrove Swamp

First two are Costa Rica, then Cartagena Columbia

Til next month, stay well stay happy!

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Writing Style - Janet Lane Walters - Panster or Plotter

Past Betrayals, Past Loves

Had some problem getting in this morning but problem solved.  I've noticed people have been writing about their way of writing.

I'm always asked this question. Are you a Plotter or a Panster? I answer, I'm neither or maybe both. This puzzles people but it's the way I work. Let's look at my way.

I tell myself a story when I'm going to sleep each night. Some idea has caught me that I would like to explore. I create a title. I can't tell my story unless I have a title The nightly story telling continues until I can see my characters. Then I must give them names. Until I have the names puzzled out, I can't write the book. Then I look at the title and see if the title still works. Then I set down the story I've told myself on paper.

The story I've told myself now takes form but there are no details just the bare bones. It's sort of like those Dick and Jane stories we read as children or a fairytale only the structure is there.  Then I sit down and write the story letting those ideas I've jotted down take form and towing me where I will go. But I know the ending I'm searching for, sometimes in full detail. This forms the rough draft which at times is a scrambled mess.  I once wrote this out in about 40,000 words in forty-eight hours.

Now the story is there and I go through looking for Plot holes, Character Flaws, Setting Needs, Dialogue and Language. Then the book is done.

Can you tell me if I'm a Plotter or a Panster? I believe I'm both.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Writing Game, by J.C. Kavanagh

Best Young Adult Book, P&E Readers' Award, The Twisted Climb

There are times when I sit in front of the computer impatiently waiting for the words to appear, my fingers hanging precariously over the keyboard. It's when the story and the characters get hung-up on, well - something - I guess it's - indecisiveness. Yes, it is. It's when the 'swings' in the playground of my mind move back and forth, back and forth, without rhythm and without harmony. Slowing..... stalling.

That's when I have to regroup and play 'The Writing Game.' Ever heard of it? Ever try it? My South Simcoe Writers' group plays it on a regular basis and this is how you play: Pick three things - a place, an action and a job title.

Then - write.

It's like lacing your fingers together and then cracking your knuckles before playing the piano. Except that you're bending the filaments of your imagination. Craaack.

Here's an example: hurricane; taxi; Private Detective.

My resulting story:

by J.C. Kavanagh
The air crackled around her, charged with the residue of the lingering storm. Streaks and ragged arrows of lightning flared in the sky, illuminating the 'Off Duty' sign on the roof of the taxi and giving the interior of the vehicle a ghostly glow.
This is going to be a long night, she thought, adjusting her position behind the wheel. Reaching upward, she angled the rear-view mirror and examined her face closely. The checkered cap was jauntily in place and the starched shirt collar completed the deception. Her pale face, devoid of makeup, was unremarkable. Even her mousey brown hair was bland.
I'm perfect.
She exhaled slowly, shifting the monster-lensed camera in her lap. Large droplets of rain fell on the windshield, heralding the onset of the Category 4 hurricane.
Her target should be arriving soon.
The trees surrounding the hotel began to bend in unison, as if bowing to the greater powers of the storm. The swinging neon sign hanging beside the front doors squealed in revolt and the "Welcome NASA" display blinked in a repetitive three-second pattern.
Nonetheless, the taxi driver kept her attention focused on the gaudy orange bus parked 50 metres ahead as it idled quietly in the rage of the storm, waiting for conference attendees to board. It seemed silently insolent, its painted orange glare a shiny bruise in front of the murderous blue storm clouds.
She raised the camera and focused the enormous telephoto lens on the door of the bus, preparing to shoot.
She jolted in surprise and quickly lowered the camera. The rear passenger door opened and a man slid in, holding a wet, folded newspaper above his head.
"This cab is out of service," she said curtly, glancing in the rear-view mirror.
"Not anymore," he replied.
She looked behind and gasped. It was him, her target.
He pulled a gun out from the fold of the newspaper and pointed it at her head.


A Kavanagh-clan castle, circa 1100 AD.

In last month's blog, I wrote a wee bit about my Irish ancestry - the Kings of Leinster. I'm still going through reams of information on this fascinating family that I call my own (without the crown of course. Or the castles.) More to come in future blogs.

Have a wonderful and peaceful Easter weekend!

J.C. Kavanagh
The Twisted Climb
BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers' Poll
A novel for teens, young adults and adults young at heart.
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lost Continents

An Early Map of Atlantis
Most people are familiar with Atlantis, the sunken continent, first written about by Plato. Supposedly situated in the Mediterranean Sea and inhabited by a war-like people, they embarked on  a naval siege of ancient Athens. Due to its superior political system, ancient Athens, Plato’s “ideal state,” was able to repel the invasion. The Gods, angered by the hubris of the Atlanteans, withdrew their favor and Atlantis submerged into the sea. While Plato’s story centered around an ideal political system and the arrogance of nations and their eventual demise, the mythical aspects of the lost continent caught the public’s imagination, and many attempts were made to locate this place. Fascination continues to this day, with a continuing cottage industry of books, films and comic books based on this legend.

Lost continents and civilizations have a long history, with stories and legends appearing in many cultures and places. Often, these catch the imagination of a people because they combine myth with national identity. One of these is Kumari Kandam, a lost continent supposedly drowned in the Indian Ocean, and the original home of the Tamil people of South India and named after the Hindu goddess Kanya Kumari. While belief in Kumari Kandam was a long history, it became more prominent in the twentieth century, as part of a popular revival of Tamil culture, which coincided with the ending of colonial rule in India. Supposedly ruled entirely by women who chose their husbands and enjoyed full property rights, it is said to be the origin of Tamil ‘Sangams’, or literary traditions, and seen as an ideal ancient civilization, excelling in all arts and sciences and the cradle of Tamil culture.

La Morte D'Arthur by James Archer (1860)
A similar idea forms the basis of Avalon, a lost island west of England. Featured in the tales of King Arthur, it appeared first in the Historia Regum Britanniae, Lord Geoffrey Monmouth’s account of early British history. He mentioned it as the place where King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, was forged. This mythical island was seen as a type of paradise, where fruits and flowers grew profusely, and ideal human behavior was exhibited. For a long time, it was believed that Avalon was the home of model and original English culture, no doubt inspired by the ideals of chivalry, courage, romance and gallantry displayed by King Arthur and his court, including his ideal wife Guinevere and the knight Lancelot. Inspiring the imagination to this day, Camelot, the name of the King’s court, and Merlin, the court magician, remain popular literary prototypes.

The Island of Thule (surrounded by whales)
Further to the north lies Thule, an island variously located near Shetland or Norway. Appropriately, it is a land of eternal sunshine. First appearing in Greek epics, it supposedly exists in the frozen seas well north of Britain. Inhabited by blue-painted people who are expert warriors, it grows barley in the summer and provides honey, from which the inhabitants make mead, an intoxicating liquor, evidently, a gift from the gods.

Maui holds up the Sky 
On the other side of the globe, in the Pacific, lies the island of Hawai’iki (not to be confused with Hawai’i,) the legendary home of the Maori people. Its actual location has never been confirmed, as appropriately enough, it is seen as a physical as well as a spiritual place. Greatly important to the Maoris, it is the subject of many of their songs, stories and cultural lessons. As an indication of its significance, many Maoris trace their genealogies, from the original man and woman to the current generation, to that island. It is also the home of the Polynesian gods, including the trickster demigod Maui, famous throughout the Pacific, and a character in the Disney movie, Moana. Its central importance to Maori culture can be appreciated by the understanding that it is the place from which every person (soul) comes, and where each returns.

Finally, the lost continent of Lemuria actually has a quasi-scientific background.  When the zoologist Phillip Sclater, in 1864, noticed similarities between mammals and fossils in both Madagascar and India, he proposed a continent, now disappeared, which once connected the two lands. He named it Lemuria, after the small monkey-like mammals found in both countries.  Strangely enough, there seems to be concrete evidence for this theory. Plate tectonics, which describe the drift of continents, posits that Africa and India were, at one point, part of a super continent named Gondwana. Furthermore, in 1999, drilling by a research vessel in the Indian Ocean discovered evidence of a large island which was submerged about 20 million years ago by rising sea levels. In 2015, researchers from South Africa, studying the island of Mauritius, came across geological formations that strongly suggest that the island is the above-ocean part of a much-larger, now-sunken, land mass. Culturally, the famous theosophist and mystic Helena Blavatsky of the late eighteenth century, considered to be the mother of modern spirituality, provided Lemuria with a mythical history as the home of an ancient, highly-evolved people, after which it became popularized in the public’s imagination.

Mohan Ashtakala is the author of The Yoga Zapper ( published by Books We Love (

Friday, April 14, 2017

Serendipity is a Book Sheila Claydon

Mending Jodie's Heart, Book 1 of my When Paths Meet trilogy, has just been chosen for next month's read by a local book club. It goes without saying that I am beyond excited. I'd like plaudits of course but even if I don't get them, just knowing a group of people are going to read it and discuss it is enough.

How did this happen?

Well Mending Jodie's Heart is a story woven around the countryside and the village where I live. This is unusual for me because the ideas for most of my books are triggered by other places. Maybe getting away from the humdrum of everyday life gives my imagination the freedom it needs to create. This wasn't the case with Jodie however. She didn't need creating. She arrived fully formed in my mind the way the best characters always do, and so did Marcus, the hero, and the other important characters in the book.


I know it started when I spent an evening listening to a jazz band with a fantastic pianist but how that segued into Jodie's story I have no idea. Maybe it was the closure of a local bridle path and the ensuing campaign to get it re-opened. Maybe it was the demolition of an old farmhouse. Maybe it was the sight of a pretty, dark-haired girl on horseback. I'll never know exactly what started the story, and what made me continue it into Books 2 and 3. What I do know, however, is that to write it I had to 'borrow' the old farmhouse and the new house that replaced it, the same as I had to 'borrow' the bridle path, and the local riding stables.

Once the book was published I moved on, as writers do, except that I always thought of the 'borrowed' house as Jodie's house whenever I walked past it. Then Books We Love decided to make its digital books available as paperbacks and that changed things. As soon as I received a print copy of Mending Jodie's Heart I crossed my fingers and wrote to the owners of the 'borrowed' house explaining what I had done, and offering them a copy.

I posted the note into their mailbox  when I took my dog for a walk, and then turned into the adjoining woodland and set off down a narrow path between the trees...too narrow for dog walkers to pass one another without giving way. And this is where it gets weird but in a good way. I was halfway along the path when  I saw a pretty blonde woman walking towards me with her dog...a dog I recognised as belonging to Jodie's house, even though I had never seen the owner. With no option but to stop I introduced myself and told her about the letter I had posted. After all if she did decide she wanted a copy of my book I was going to meet her anyway.

How was I to know that she was an avid reader who has run a book club for the past ten years? How was I to know that she would be thrilled beyond belief that I had written a story around the building of her home, and how was I to know that she would be unbelievably friendly and interested. She even joked that she was going to see how her husband scored in comparison with the hero.

So there you have it. I, in true writerly fashion, nosey around other people's lives watching their house being built, and my eventual reward is a new friend and a book in her book club. And what of the happy coincidence that took us down the same path on that windy morning when we had spent the previous 5 years never setting eyes on one another. Serendipity is a curious thing that might just be prompting me towards another book...the second of my Mapleby Memories, but that's another story!

And there's still another copy of Mending Jodie's Heart to give the Riding School that let me watch the stable girls take their horses through their paces, so maybe some more friends too.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Writing Historical Novels by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

For more about Joan Donaldson-Yarmey's novels and to purchase visit her Books We Love author page

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday Books We Love Ltd is publishing twelve historical novels, one for each of the ten provinces, one for the Yukon Territory, and one combining the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. We Canadian authors were asked to pick one of the provinces or territories to write about or to do the research on for a non-Canadian author. I chose the Yukon because I have been there twice and love the beauty and history of the territory. The following is a quick summary of how I write my historical novels.

When I was in school I was told that Canada was too young a country to have a history and what it di have was boring, so I learned the history of the United States, England, France, ancient Greece and many other countries. Since then I have read many historical, non-fiction books written about Canada and have found that my country does have a long and exciting history. I decided to write a series of historical novels about Canada. My first two novels in the series are: West to the Bay and West to Grande Portage.

     Some writers have a historical period that they like to set their stories in. I don’t. I never really know what year or time period I am going to write about when I start to research a historical novel. So the first thing I do is begin reading non-fiction books looking for some historical event or person who grabs my attention. If it is an event, then I try to learn all I can about that occurrence: when it happened, what happened, who were the famous people involved, who were the ordinary people involved. Once I know that then I have to figure out who is going to be my main character and how that person is going to take part in that event.

     If it is a legendary person I want to include in my story, I have to decide how much action that person will have and how that person will know or be related to the main character. I don’t write a novel with a well-known person as my main character.

     When I have decided on the event or person, I read about the time period so that I make sure I have the food they ate, the clothes they wore, their transportation, and their home and furnishings correct. It also important to make sure that their speech is right for that time. Words that were first used in the 1850’s cannot be spoken by people in the 1750’s.

     I don’t outline my novel but during my research I write down all the details that I can find about the time period to make sure I have the incidents that happen in order. Then I decide on my characters and weave them through the history. If I include a well-known person, I have to find out about their lives and their families and how I can weave them into a story that does not suggest anything that will ruin their memory.

     As the story progresses it is important to keep track of the details that I am including or a secondary story line that I am setting up. If I have a character thinking about something or starting something or saying something at the beginning of the book that leaves the reader hanging, I write it down on a piece of paper to make sure that I clear it up before the story ends.

     I enjoy researching the history and sometimes spend more time on that then is necessary. But I don’t mind. I want to be sure my account is as correct as I can make it.

Sharing a Spring Short Story - Love in Lies

DK Davis here – sharing a Spring Short Story I wrote for the  750 Writer’s Group on GoodReads. They have monthly short story contests...