Saturday, February 18, 2017

Better Late than Never by Nancy M Bell

His Brother's Bride is the second release in Books We Love Canadian Historical Brides series to celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday. YOu can click on the image to be taken to my author page at Books We Love to see more.

I apologize for posting late this month. I'm off to beautiful Banff Alberta with Victoria Chatham, author of Brides of Banff Springs, and publisher Jude Pittman to promote the series with a reading at Banff Library. So I apologize again for the lateness and shortness of this post. But I leave you with images of the lovely mountain town I'm about to leave for. It's supposed to snow this afternoon so the roads may be a bit tricky but the scenery is certainly worth it.

Til next my new book...opps did I say that out loud? LOL

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Belated Valentine's Day Story

Pursuing Doctor West

Many years ago, my husband and I had our first date on Valentine's Day. I was on crutches. Made for an interesting day but let's go back to the why. It really began with me turning him down with these words, "I hate doctors. Get lost."

Why would a mild mannered Cancer who was usually nice say those words to a potential mate. The day began with the surgical intern helping a patient out of bed. Though there was a sign on the bottom of the bed that said Bed Rest, he helped the man to stand so he could use a urinal. Guess what! He left and the patient fell on the floor and fractured his hip. The patient had terminal cancer and very fragile bones. After screaming at the intern, who appeared not my future husband and my response.

The evening became worse. This was the US Steel ward. An admission had arrived at change of shift and I had done nothing more than assessed him. I was returning to the nurses' station when my aide came flying out of the room and smashed into the wall. Fortunately he wasn't hurt.

"He's having the DTs," she said.

I went in to assess the situation and approached the patient. "When I went to take his pulse, he swung. I did one of those quick football turns and you could hear the cartilage pop. I went out to call the intern and the patient's doctor. Took three of us to medicate him. The wife arrived for visiting hours. I took her aside to talk about his history.

"Me, Does he drink."

Her. "He never touches alcohol."

Me. "Really."

Her, "He does drink a case of beer a day but that's not alcohol."

Me. "Duh."

Two days later, The orthopedic surgeon went in to repair the cartilage. Fortunately he was the Steeler's orthopedic surgeon and my scar was a mere two inches long. A week after the surgery, I returned to work.

And that's how I had my first date on crutches.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The art of being sorry

The Twisted Climb - a novel for teens, young adults and adults young at heart.

As a Canadian, I reserve the right unapologetically for being sorry. I'm sorry - for whatever it is that has disturbed the air between us, around us, behind us. You see, being sorry is the Canadian custom.
It's like this:
Sorry if I'm in your way when you walk past me on the street. Also sorry that you're in my way when I walk past you.
Sorry for not keeping the mall entrance door open for an extra second or two as you walk out.
Sorry for my shopping buggy blocking your outstretched arm for that specific jar of jam.
Very sorry. Truly.
And meaning every apologetic syllable. Sor-ry. Tru-ly.
We are so darn polite! It's become the Canadian way.
But being courteous and civil is something I've grown up with - maybe my Irish heritage (sorry, but it's true. There's that sorry again.)
And being sorry - or is it really being humble or kind or polite? - is something that I tried to engrain in my three children, too.
I believe I've succeeded when my son opens the door for me. When he says sorry for not calling more frequently. I believe I've succeeded when my other son helps me put on my coat. And says sorry for not calling more frequently. And I believe I've succeeded when my daughter says sorry for calling me so frequently. Aren't these great things to be sorry for?
It's a very nice thing to offer loved ones and strangers alike kindness instead of rudeness. Perhaps it's the Canadian in me? It really is like this. Sorry if you don't agree. So sorry. Truly!

WINNER - The Best Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers' Poll

I am absolutely thrilled (and not sorry about it), that my book took first place in the P&E Readers' Poll. The Twisted Climb was published in June 2016 (ebook) and July for the paperback, so it's so very exciting to win this award.
I am grateful for the support from colleagues and readers alike. Thank you!

J.C. Kavanagh
The Twisted Climb
A novel for teens, young adults and adults young at heart.
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Back Pain and Alternative Medicine

In a remarkable new set of guidelines, the prestigious American College of Physicians has recommended that doctors avoid opiods or any kind of medications for lower back pain as a first option, a departure from previous guidelines.

Instead, the guidelines suggest alternatives: yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and cognitive behavior therapy, among others.

Lower back pain is incredibly common. It is in the top ten reasons why patients visit their doctors. Yet no is quite sure what causes it. Besides structural reasons, it is associated with smoking, obesity depression and anxiety. It can also be more complicated than that. “Our best understanding of low back pain is that it is a biopsychosocial condition—meaning that structural or anatomic causes play some role, but psychological and social factors also play a big role,” says Roger Chou, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University.

The report recommends over-the-counter medications only if the patient requests it. Opiods, now commonly prescribed, are discouraged as they have a high risk for addiction and accidental overdose. Dr. Morton Tavel, a clinical professor of medicine at the Indiana School of Medicine, recommends avoiding opiates entirely, as they don’t speed up recovery anyway.

This is not news to Nancy Servine of Moline, Illinois. She is seventy-six years old and uses her yoga practise to prevent pain. “The stretches like this are like you would get in therapy,” she says. “So my doctor says keep doing what you’re doing.”

Her instructor, Tricia Fuelling says that while it helps prevent pain, it also helps treat it. “You don’t get groggy side effects from yoga, you don’t have nausea or any of those, you can drive after doing yoga, where you can’t necessarily do that after taking medication.”

Mohan Ashtakala is the author of "The Yoga Zapper-A Novel," published by Books We Love Ltd.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Was Valentine a romantic hero? by Sheila Claydon

For more information about Sheila Claydon's books, or to purchase, visit her 
As someone who writes romantic fiction, I thought it beholden upon me to write about St Valentine's Day when I realised it was my turn to blog on 14 February. After all, who doesn't secretly hope to receive a token of love on the one day of the year reserved for lovers. When I realised I didn't actually know much about St Valentine, I decided I had better find out. The result was not quite what I expected.
February has long been celebrated as a month of romance but why? Although the truth is hidden in the mists of time, the modern tradition of St Valentine’s Day is linked to christianity and ancient Rome. So who was Valentine and why was he made a saint? 
There are at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One was a priest who lived in third century Rome at a time when Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men because he thought single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families.  Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform secret marriages for young lovers. When Claudius found out he ordered that he be put to death.
There is also the legend that Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape from harsh Roman prisons to rescue them from beatings and torture.
My favourite, however, is that an imprisoned Valentine sent the first valentine greeting himself when he fell in love with a young girl who visited him in jail, and who it is rumoured was his jailer's daughter. Before his death he supposedly wrote her a letter signed From your Valentine, the very same expression modern lovers use today. 
Whatever the truth behind the legends, they all describe Valentine as a sympathetic, heroic and romantic figure, and by the Middle Ages he was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
So is Valentine’s Day celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the St Valentine’s death or was the choice of date an attempt by the church to christianize the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, which took place on February 15 every year. Lupercalia was a pagan fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. 
Young women today wouldn't find being slapped with strips of goat's hide that had been dipped into sacrificial blood very romantic, but it worked for young Roman women who believed it would make them fertile for the rest of the year. According to legend, once slapped each girl would place her name in a community urn and wait for one of the city's bachelors to choose her to be his partner for the year. This didn't always end in marriage! 
When Lupercalia was finally outlawed at the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was a long time before it became associated with love, however. In the Middle Ages, France and England believed that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which is definitely not the same.
The oldest known written valentine was penned in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. It is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.
I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine,
Since for me you were born too soon,
And I for you was born too late.
God forgives him who has estranged
Me from you for the whole year.
I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine.

Well might I have suspected that such a destiny,
Thus would have happened this day,
How much that Love would have commanded.
I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine.

In the UK Valentine’s Day gained popularity during 17th century, and by the  
middle of the 18th century the exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten 
notes was common.  Now, of course, printed cards are the usual way of sending  
Valentine’s Day greetings, but they are no less welcome for that.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bride of my novel Romancing the Klondike 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 introduction to the bride of Romancing the Klondike.

Bride of Romancing the Klondike

It is 1896 and nineteen-year-old Pearl Owens is a modern young woman. She has given up the long, full skirts that were heavy and cumbersome, the corsets and petticoats that further limited her movement and the high-collared the dresses that forced her to hold her head high or even tilted back. She wears bloomers, styled after Turkish trousers, and ankle-length skirts.

     Pearls idols are Anna Leonowens and Annie “Londonderry” Choen Kopchovsky. In the 1860s, Anna Leonowens taught the wives, concubines, and children of the King of Siam, while during the years 1894-1895, Annie “Londonderry” Choen Kopchovsky became the first woman to travel around the world on a bicycle. She was testing a woman’s ability to look after herself.

     Pearl wants adventure just like her idols so she and her cousin, Emma, are on their way up the Yukon River to Fortymile. Pearl is on a trip to the north where she will be writing articles about the area for her hometown newspaper. The two women meet up with Sam Owens, Emma’s brother, and his two friends, Donald and Gordon, in Fortymile. The men, who have been searching for gold in the north for five years, have just returned from staking a claim on Rabbit Creek.

     Sam and his friends leave their cabin in Fortymile and move to their claims on what is now known as Bonanza Creek. Against Sam’s instructions Pearl and Emma follow them, setting up a tent on a bench at the mouth of the Klondike River overlooking the Yukon River.

     Pearl meets Joseph Ladue, the first man to ever set her heart aflutter, while Emma’s teenage feelings for Donald are rekindled. Pearl spends her time speaking with the men and women of the north and sketching the scenery for her articles. She writes about what it is like to be in the middle of a gold strike. She also describes the early development and growth of a town eventually known as Dawson.

     During the ten months they live in the north Pearl and Emma make friends, celebrate holidays, and suffer through tragedy. One of them finds love, one does not. Of the three men two get rich, one does not.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Charlotte Bronte's Umbrella

For more information about Susan Calder's books, or to purchase please visit Susan's 

This is my first appearance on the Books We Love Insider Blog. I thank BWL for the opportunity to write a monthly post. I like blogging, but tend to let it lapse, largely because I feel no one is listening.
However, I’ve had one blogging experience where my post made a connection across the world.

It began when I was visiting my Aunt Edith in rural New Brunswick. During our chat, I told her I was planning a trip to Britain in the fall. She reminded me that she had lived in England until age four, when she immigrated with her parents to St. Andrews, NB.

“My family’s from Oxenhope,” she added.

“Where’s that?”

“Near Haworth, West Yorkshire, where the Brontes lived,” she said. “You must know of them.”

Of course, I did. Charlotte Bronte, author of the classic novel Jane Eyre; Emily, author of Wuthering Heights and their literary siblings, Anne and Branwell. Dark stories of passion, set on the moors.

“I have an umbrella that was owned by Charlotte,” Aunt Edith said.

“Charlotte Bronte?” I sat up straight. “You do?”

Aunt Edith explained that the Bronte housekeeper came into possession of the umbrella, or more accurately a parasol. She passed it down to someone who gave it to Edith’s Auntie Eleanor, in Oxenhope. In the mid-twentieth century, Eleanor gave it to Edith’s sister, who lived in Rhode Island, USA. After her sister died in 2004, Edith inherited it. The umbrella was currently at Edith’s grandson’s house. He had been working to get it into the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, UK.

“The umbrella belongs in Haworth,” Aunt Edith said. “I want it to go home.”

"How do they know it was really Charlotte’s?” I asked of the parasol that had passed through so many hands.

“The museum has the knob missing from the top,” Aunt Edith said. “It matches.”

Over the years, Aunt Edith had been in contact with Bronte Parsonage Museum. When a friend of hers was travelling to London, UK, he offered to bring the umbrella there. The museum curator was so eager to get it he planned a special trip to London to pick it up. Unfortunately, someone mentioned this to British customs, which refused to let the umbrella into the country because its handle was made from material that is now banned—ivory.

Intrigued by this story of the illustrious umbrella’s journey to a Canadian fishing village, I wrote a blog post about my visit with my aunt and her troubles with returning the artifact to its home. A few days later, I received an email from a Bronte Parsonage Museum staff person. My post had appeared in their Google Alert for anything remotely connected to the Brontes. She said they had read my account with fascination and remembered the case clearly. The person who was dealing with it at their end left shortly afterwards and their correspondence with Aunt Edith lapsed. They were now keen to revive it. Could I put them in contact with my aunt?

I emailed Aunt Edith, who told me that our conversation had prompted her to have the umbrella re-examined by a local expert. He determined the handle material was bone, not ivory. This kind of bone is not a banned or restricted animal substance, which means that the parasol could enter the UK without a CITES* license. (*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

I gave the Bronte museum Aunt Edith’s email address. The staff person thanked me for my helpful post, adding that, without it, the parasol would have been forgotten. They arranged for Aunt Edith to have the umbrella shipped to the Bronte Parsonage Museum. I still subscribe to the museum’s newsletter. One of these days I hope to visit the parasol owned by Charlotte and my aunt.

I expect that Charlotte Bronte’s umbrella would have made the journey home to Haworth eventually, but I was glad to be part of its story.
                                            Aunt Edith, who celebrated her 100th birthday last August 

You can also meet Susan on her website and Author Page


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