Friday, July 28, 2017

A Poodle, a Wedding Anniversary, and a Opossum By Connie Vines

I had an article about the craft of writing written and ready to post.  I decided, instead, to share that post next month.


For those of you who follow my Twitter, Instagram, author Facebook page, or website, you know I often share stories about my little poodle-mix puppy, Chanel.

Please, no groaning from those of you who prefer cats.

Chanel, is lively, friendly, and poodle-like in her powers of reasoning.

She is also serious about her friendships.

Well, before the SoCal winter rains, there was a young opossum who would walk along the block wall several nights a week at 2:00 A.M.  I know this because this is the time I usually finish writing and get ready for bed.  Chanel dance in a circle requesting to step outside.  She would run over to the wall and bark, causing the little white-faced opossum to dart away.

I would pick her up, instructing her to leave “Harvey” alone.  (Yes, I know he is a wild animal and does not possess a name.)  Chanel, however, knows every ‘thing’, be it a person, toy (bouncy-ball, Side-kick, blue bouncy-ball), animal, or ‘food’, has a name.

So, this opossum was dubbed Harvey.

Harvey didn’t return during the rains, or afterwards.  Then, magically, one night a larger, more attractive, and braver “Harvey’ returned.

This time he sat on the wall and waited for Chanel to bark at him.  I’d pick her up, bid “Harvey” good evening.  While the two of them stared at each other for a few moments.  We’d go in and Harvey would leave.

Where does “Harvey” live?  I believe he lives in the yard next door (the owner is a bit of a zealous ‘collector’), or perhaps in the shrubby in a nearby park.  I’m not too sure if he has a family.

It has never gone past the ‘flirting’ stage with Chanel.   And ‘Harvey’ never ventures into our yard when we are about.

Today, all of that changed.

Today was my wedding anniversary.  My husband and I went to local home-style diner for an early dinner.  We bid Chanel bye and promised to bring her home a mini-hamburger patty.  No. Sorry. No riding in the car this time.

When we got back to the car, packed left-overs and doggie meal in hand, my husband voice his concern about something handing from his side bumper.

I bent over to examine it.  While my husband kept saying he would yank the piece of the plant out from the bumper, I objected.

It wasn’t a plant.

It had an odd texture.  It was a pale color.  It was a snake, no. A rat. . .oh, no!
It was the hook of a opossum’s tail.

“Harvey!  I hope we didn't kill Harvey!"

“Harvey?” my husband questioned.

“Yes.  See, that’s Harvey’s tail.”  The tail went limp, they turned back into a hook.

“This could only happen to you,” my husband’s response.

“Harvey just wanted to join us for our Anniversary dinner.”

My husband stifled a chuckle.  “I doubt that very much.”

“Now at least we know where he sleeps during the day.”

So, we drove home via the city streets, so not to ‘over heat’ Harvey.  While my husband explained that freeing 'Harvey' was my responsibility. When we arrived home, Harvey had pulled his tail back up into the wheel well, waiting for us to leave.

Do you have an unexpected anniversary story to share?

Happy Reading,


*The chance of rabies in an opossum is EXTREMELY RARE. This may have something to do with the opossum's low body temperature (94-97º F) making it difficult for the virus to survive in an opossum's body.*

They are beneficial to eliminate rodents, snakes, insects and carrion, and they provide a VITAL “grounds-keeping” function in most urban environments.

October 2017 Release
                  Barnes and Noble

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The upheavals of moving - by Vijaya Schartz

Find all my BWL books on their site HERE

My cat Jasmine was very upset when she saw all the books disappearing from the shelves, and many of the small furniture, wall pictures and mirrors vanish from what had been her home for the past three years. And what was that strange contraption on the patio? It looked like a cage!

I only moved a mile and a half away, and I had a month to make the move, so I took my time carrying out the small stuff myself. Never would I have guessed I had accumulated so many things in the short three years I lived there.

So upset was Jasmine by the time the movers came, she hid in the cupboard under the bathroom sink for the entire duration.

Finally, at the end of the major moving day, I went to pick up Jasmine. The poor thing didn't want to come out from under the sink. After much coaxing, she finally stepped out, only to bolt back to her hiding place when she realized the entire apartment was now empty.

After much effort, that included crawling under the bathroom sink, I retrieved my reluctant little kitty (not so little, as she is a well fed cat) and managed to get her into the carrier under violent protests.

The short drive to the new place was punctuated by much complaining from Jasmine, in the carrier belted onto the passenger seat. She never liked riding in a car and let me know it loud and clear.

Finally, I took her out of the car and carried her upstairs. When I opened the carrier, she immediately stepped out then looked around. Realizing all her favorite things were here, she started purring and exploring, with her tail up, like a happy cat. My new residence, another small apartment, was now packed with boxes and piles of books.

The furniture, bought to fit the previous place, did not fit as well in the new rooms. Although of similar size, the different dimensions and proportions of the rooms did not allow for the same setup.  I had to try several configurations, as the one I had originally intended did not look good once in place. But Jasmine had already found her favorite spots. She loves windows and here there are tall trees, and birds in them. Free TV for cats!

The worst part for me was to live without internet service or TV for over a week. But after all these details were resolved, Jasmine and I are ready to enjoy our new place. Here she is, at home at last, enjoying the recliner, like any spoiled cat must.

As for me, I'll soon be back to writing, once I catch up with all my emails and social media obligations... and up to date with all my changes of address. Moving is definitely a major event, no matter that it was only a mile and a half away.

Keep up with my books on my website:

 Vijaya Schartz
 Action, Romance, Mayhem
 Amazon - Barnes & Noble Smashwords -
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ghosts and memories—Tricia McGill

Check out my Books We Love author page for information on all my books. 
This little story I wrote years ago is one of my favorites, for it reminds me of holidays my husband and I spent in Devon and Cornwall in the early days of our marriage. I loved those dear little cottages with a staircase hidden in the corner of a tiny living room. I so enjoyed walking along a beach with the wind blowing a gale, or horse riding in the surrounding countryside. But most of all I loved the ghost stories the locals enjoyed regaling us with.
The Blue Ball Inn

A typical Cornish Cottage
We spent quite a few holidays in Lynton/Lynmouth and also stayed at a farmhouse owned by friends. All I recall is that we drove past the Blue Ball Inn on Countisbury Hill (an old coaching inn), which still thrives, to reach it set in a vale. I saw one of my first ghosts in the bedroom of that farmhouse while my husband slept blissfully at my side. I loved the landscape that inspired R.D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone. I had one of the first editions of the book, so small I could barely read it, but unfortunately it has been lost somewhere along the way.   
I hope you enjoy this small tale. It’s far from the romance I usually write. And I would love to hear from you if you know any of the places above or are lucky enough to live in that area.

The Ghost

On this gusty windswept day, the trees along the shore bowed in the southerly blowing in off the ocean. Mavis strode along the sands, pausing now and then to pick up a shell that caught her eye. At 84 Mavis didn't look her age, for she was spritely, always on the move. "No time to dawdle," she claimed.

Mavis enjoyed her single state. Jilted years ago by a salesman passing through who offered her marriage before skipping off, and taking her savings with him, she chose to be a spinster. Mavis’s coat was the black one she'd worn for her mother's funeral twenty years ago to this day.

"Evening Vicar," she said to the tall man who stopped and raised his hat in greeting. "Bit blowy today, eh?" The parish priest was one of the only two men in town she ever deigned to pass the time of day with. The doctor was the other one. They were fun to argue with.

"Have to expect it now Mavis, with winter on us." He smiled benevolently.

Mavis pushed the hair escaping from her bun out of her eyes, and grinned. "Best time of the year. No tourists. Darned tourists are enough to make you sick." She waved a bony hand, grimacing. She hated the streams of visitors who flocked to their little Cornish town every summer.

"If it wasn't for them the town would be in poor shape, Mavis. We need them to keep our heads above water," he said wryly.
"Make an awful mess and chase the wildlife away, and drive about like lunatics," she told him in disdain. "Must be off, lots to do." She gave him a wave and marched on along the sands. The wind grew stronger, blowing grains into her eyes. She squinted and scowled at a group of local children running her way.

"Here comes the old witch," she heard one of them say, and she laughed to herself. Good. If they thought her a witch they'd keep well away from her.

"Snips and snaps and frogs and old bones," she wailed, turning off into the bushes that shielded the main street from the sea. The branches of the smaller trees were bent low and one caught her on the cheek as she ducked under it.

"How d'ya know she's a witch?" one child asked, as Mavis leaned against the trunk of a gnarled tree to catch her breath.

"She's got a mole on her face with hairs sticking out of it, and a pointed nose, like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. And did you ever look at her eyes? They're like rat's eyes—all beady and glassy. Of course she's a witch."

Mavis cackled and pulled a butterscotch out of her pocket, popping it into her mouth as she made her way home to her cottage on the outskirts of town. With its four rooms, two up and two down, it was a bit cramped while her mother and father were alive, but now she was on her own it suited her nicely.

After hanging her coat on the hall-stand she went to the tiny kitchen off the living room and put the kettle on. It was getting dark. She shivered. That was the only trouble with winter. It was coming up to the time she dreaded. The time when the ghost was reportedly seen walking the streets, seeking revenge.

She made her tea and sat with a contented sigh on the armchair by the fire, poking at the coals until she got it glowing nicely. A loud thump brought her out of the chair with such a start that she knocked her cup of tea over. "What in heaven was that?" she whispered, brandishing the poker as she moved to stand at the base of the narrow enclosed staircase in a corner of the room. Another loud bump was followed by a strange sliding noise. The hairs all over Mavis's body stood to attention.

"Who's there?" Despite trying to sound fierce, she only managed to sound as scared as she felt. "Come on down and show yourself," she ordered, pulling the edges of her old cardigan together as if it would give her protection.

She heard a low moan and cringed back in fear. "Come on down this minute." She took a few paces back, when the top stair creaked as it always did when someone stepped on it. Her teeth began to knock together and her knees shook.

Whoever was up there was coming down. She counted the stairs. One two three... right up to twelve, but still no one showed their face. Mavis bit back a scream as she moved slowly forward. Peering round the edge of the wall encasing the stairs, she prodded with her poker.
"Ouch," a voice close by said, and Mavis jumped a foot in the air, then raced to the far side of the room to hide behind the sofa, every inch of her shaking. The wind knocked at the windows and howled down the chimney, sending sparks from the fire onto the bricks in front of it.

"Where are you?" she moaned like a frightened child. "What sort of trick are you playing?"

"No trick madam." The voice came from the other side of her sofa. Mavis peered over the top. The sofa was empty, but one of the cushions moved slightly and then a dent appeared in its middle. "I'm sorry if I scared you, but I was looking for my ring. I lost it last winter as I was passing through, and I thought I may have left it here."

"Here?" Mavis squeaked. What was she doing talking to nothing?

"Yes, I've been staying here for the last hundred years or so on my way up north. Nice lodgings you have here."

"Lodgings?" She bristled indignantly. "What are you doing coming into my home like this and thinking you can stay when you feel like it." Holding the poker in front of her defensively she walked round to the front of the sofa and began to wave it about.

"Careful where you put that, madam," the voice warned. "I died by the sword, so I don't wish to be marked again by a poker." The voice guffawed and Mavis couldn't believe her ears.

"I don't believe this," she declared, sure it was all her imagination playing tricks. "If you were a real ghost I'd be able to see you." She reached forward with a hand and moved it about where she estimated the voice came from.

"You wouldn't want to do that madam, believe me. I'm not a pretty sight. Who would be after the death I went through? At least I haven't got to carry my head around like some I know, for they didn't chop it off." He laughed again, quite cheerfully.
"They? Who's they?" Mavis was interested, in spite of herself.

"The King's guards. I was a trader. Pirate, I believe you call it these days. Oh what fun we had, smuggling in wine and perfume and fine silks and goods. I was betrayed by a woman. One I thought cared." He sighed long and sadly, then cheered up as he declared, "I'll show you where my stuff is all cached away if you like."

Mavis sat beside the dent in the cushion, intrigued now. "How can you show me if I can't see you. I can hardly follow you, can I?"

"Why ever not, madam. Come follow my voice." The cushion moved and then the voice said from somewhere near the door, "Let's go, follow me up to the large cave near the castle wall and I'll show you a way into the secret cellars."

Without thought, Mavis did as he bade.

* * *

They found her next morning, sitting in the cave where the ghost was said to haunt each mid-winter. Her eyes were unseeing, her clothes soaked by sea water, and her mind gone.

"So sad," said the vicar. "It's not like Mavis to go out without a coat at this time of the year."

There were scratches on her hands and her nails were all broken. They found marks on the back wall of the cave as if someone had tried to claw their way through. On the third finger of her left hand was a huge emerald set in a thick gold band. Mavis smiled as she touched it when they gently carried her away.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Randall Sawka, Books We Love Western and Suspense Author

 My names is Randall Sawka. I live with my wife Nancy in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I'm an author of western and crime mystery novels.

I'd like to introduce you to my crime mystery novel called Rough Business. This novel was number four on the Calgary Herald best-seller list.
Two detectives team up to hunt a ruthless killer.

Little do they know that there are two and they are twins. Twins with shattered lives, seething hatred, and brilliant minds. The police are led on a non-stop chase that leaves death and destruction at a level they could not imagine.
The twins plan is simple: massive revenge on those that devastated their family. Can the police corner them when they can't get closer than two steps behind?

I sat contemplating blog ideas and caught my reflection in the glass. New glasses!

New. What else was new? Well, I purchased glasses online. They cost one-quarter of the price compared to a retail store. Excellent quality and perfect fit. It turns out my dentist also used the company and liked it as much as I do.
Now my new specs, with new progressive lenses will guide me as I put the finishing touches on my latest novel. Oh, oh, another new thing. The Baganti Attack is my first Sci Fi novel. I don't have an image of these intergalactic troublemakers. They are a bit shy. However, the new cover will be out soon.

Life in Toronto (yes, new) is fun. I've dipped my thespian toe into acting pool. I've joined an acting group and an iprov group. Loads of fun and lots to learn.
The novel to follow "Baganti" is already taking shape. Oh, shape. It's new too. With the awesome gym and amazing walking along Lake Ontario I've dramatically increased my exercise schedule and reduced my food intake. It is paying off!
Speaking of life on the Toronto waterfront...
We are sandwiched between the water and the CN Tower. Quite the contrast from Victoria. The big adjustment is to the humidity. Yikes. Little wonder everyone here has AC.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Exclusive Story-Star Interview with Kendra Spark of Unorthodox

Hello everyone and welcome to Books We Love Blog: ) I’m S. Peters-Davis, author of Unorthodox, a paranormal suspense-thriller. Please come on in, find a comfy seat, and grab a cup of your favorite beverage – I’ve got Kendra Spark sitting across from me. She’s a mystery romance author, the main story-star of Unorthodox, and she’s agreed to an exclusive interview.

I’m totally geeked as she’s always been on the ink-side of my pen, and now she’s…well, wearing a gray and green jogging get-up that reminds me of Jenna’s (another story-star in Unorthodox). *smiles*

Without further introduction, I’m going to jump right in and if anyone else has a question or comment for Kendra, please feel at liberty to post it in the comment section – she’s ours for the day; )


SPD – Kendra, your eyes really are the most beautiful shade of violet in this lighting and your hair is longer then I remember, a lot curlier too. Do you wear tinted contacts?

Kendra – No. I don’t wear contacts or glasses, at least not yet; and my hair grew a bit longer since last we saw each other. Humidity determines the tightness of the curls in my hair, and it’s been crazy humid lately. I love the four seasons of Michigan, but boy, sometimes that humidity…whew.

SPD – I hear you. You’re north of where I live, thought it would be milder. *chuckles* How about your writing? Clara Jones is your literary agent, right? *Kendra nods* How’s that relationship going?

Kendra – Clara’s happy for the moment, but she’ll be pressing for the first book in the next series. She thrives on productive authors and she’s good at inspiring performance.  I just got back from California, signing a contract with Knixton House Publishing. Thankfully the publisher enjoys mysteries and romance…and he’s willing to wait for the next series. I have a feeling the upcoming case that I’ll be working as an FBI consultant with Derek and Jenna (in Malevolent) will be jam-packed with story potential for my mysteries.

SPD – Oh, so you’re working as an FBI consultant? As in you decided to take the job?

Kendra – I just received a proposition from FBI Special Task Force Director Jackson Powers. Apparently my ability can be an asset in solving cases. My grandmother believes it’s my true calling over everything else, including my novel writing. I’m not sure about giving anything up yet…only that I’ll be working on Director Jackson’s next case with Derek and Jenna.

SPD – So…about Jenna…

Kendra – Without giving away any spoilers…all I can say is Jenna is still working cases as an FBI criminal analyst.

SPD – Okay, understood. I’ll move on to Derek. He’s an attractive single FBI Task Force agent…one of the best, I understand. And you’re an attractive single mystery author. * I wiggle my brows* Anything you’d like to share?

Kendra – Yes, Derek…striking blue eyes, dark wavy hair, dimple on his left cheek…just up from the corner of his mouth when he smiles. *she stares off for a moment and catches herself then chuckles* It’s the writer inside me that gets a bit carried away with defining descriptions. *she shakes her head* All I’ll say is, yes, he is attractive, but it goes much deeper than his good looks.

SPD – Interesting. And something to look forward to also, but for now, I’ll move on. What is it that annoys you most?

Kendra – Being called a psychic. Not just the name, but the inflicting tone used to say it out loud. That has a tendency to leave nasty burning holes in my confidence.

SPD – I’m sorry you have to deal with nay-sayers. I know you have an amazing gift and you’re putting it to good use. I agree with your grandmother’s thought about it being a “calling.”

Thank you, Kendra, for your honest responses – I appreciate the chance to get to know you and to share this exclusive interview with your fans.

Kendra – Thanks for having me – always a pleasure to spend time with readers who enjoy the paranormal, suspense-thrillers, and romance. Thank you to everyone for stopping in – have an amazing weekend: )

Unorthodox – A Kendra Spark Novel – Releases Sept. 15, 2017

Kendra Spark, suspense-mystery romance author and communicator with the dead, is requested to hop on the first flight to D.C.

Jenna Powers, FBI criminal analyst and estranged best friend of Kendra, gets ghosticized in a fatal accident before relaying all the details of the FBI killer case.

Derek Knight, a dedicated FBI Special Task Force agent, takes lead on the case.

The investigation into the FBI agent killings continues as Kendra, Jenna – yes, even after death – and Derek work together on the case before Director of the Special Task Force Jackson Powers’ number is up. He’s Jenna’s father and the end-game of the killer’s target list.

Somehow the elusive killer remains undetected, until Kendra’s unique ability produces results and a final possibility at stopping his killing spree before it’s too late.

About S. Peters-Davis:

S. Peters-Davis writes multi-genre stories, but loves penning a good page-turning suspense-thriller, especially when it’s a ghost story and a romance. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, playing with grandchildren, or enjoying time with her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.

She also writes YA paranormal, supernatural, or sci-fi novels as DK Davis.

Books We Love Sizzling Summer Spectacular Contest – Win a Kindle Touch and amazing ebooks – enter here:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Brides of Banff Springs by Victoria Chatham

 VICTORIA CHATHAM is a young-at-heart senior who has written short stories, newspaper and magazine articles on a variety of subjects from beer festivals to jousting. She credits the economy rather than her submissions for the subsequent demise of several of those publications. Her particular passion is for historical fiction, especially Regency romance. She has no time for wimpy heroines so her novels have a strong element of adventure in them. She is a member of the Calgary Chapter of Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of America. When not writing, Victoria relaxes by reading from a main menu of historical or contemporary romances with hefty sides of thrillers by various authors. She loves to travel and visits her family in England as often as she can.

BRIDES OF BANFF SPRINGS came into being because of the ghost bride stories that abound at the Banff Springs Hotel, now the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The story had to include accurately researched historical facts blended with a sweet romance. Even though this was a more recent history than my first historical novels, this was set in 1935, I still had to do a great deal of research. What better place to do that than in Banff itself.

In the Dirty Thirties jobs were hard to come by. Having lost her father and her home in southern Alberta, Tilly McCormack is thrilled when her application for a position as a chambermaid at the prestigious Banff Springs Hotel, one of Canada’s great railway hotels, is accepted. Tilly loves her new life in the Rocky Mountain town and the people she meets there.

Local trail guide Ryan Blake, taken with Tilly’s sparkling blue eyes and mischievous sense of humor, thinks she is just the girl for him. When a bride-to-be, whose wedding is being held at the Hotel, disappears, Tilly has an idea where she might have gone and together with Ryan sets out to search for her.

Will they find the missing bride and will Tilly accept Ryan’s proposal?

Tilly McCormack is thrilled when her application for a position at the prestigious Banff Springs Hotel, one of Canada’s great railway hotels, is accepted. Local trail guide, Ryan Blake, is sure she is the girl for him. When a bride-to-be, whose wedding is being held at the Hotel, disappears, Tilly has an idea where she might have gone. Will they find her, and will Tilly accept Ryan’s proposal?

Find out more about Victoria Chatham at:

A Poodle, a Wedding Anniversary, and a Opossum By Connie Vines

I had an article about the craft of writing written and ready to post.  I decided, instead, to share that post next month. Why? For thos...