Saturday, March 25, 2017

Around Europe with Randall Sawka

Rough Business by Randall Sawka

March brought Nancy and Me to other parts of Europe. For two weeks we hiked
around Malta. The weather was just OK thanks primarily to the heavy winds.
It limited excursions for a few days but did allow me to get a great deal of
writing done. My favourite place was the Starbucks knockoff. Here are Nancy
and me in front of the Lion sign.

The third week of March brought us to Budapest. This is now officially our favourite city in the world. Amazing food, amazing architecture, and very, very walkable. Thought I would show you our luggage for the trip. Actually, Nancy is lugging the luggage. Plenty of time doing laundry, but were able to take 6-7 discount airlines with just carry on bags and saved a lot of money.

Our final overseas stop in Paris (Not Ontario). I call it writing intimidation time. We revisited the Latin quarter where we had coffee at the "Les Duex Magots" the Paris cafe famous as a gathering place of James Joyce, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Ernest Hemingway, among others. I sip espresso while Nancy sits Beneath the Magots (mandarins, Magicians, alchemists)-your choice.

This morning we took a short walk past the Moulin Rouge and in to Montmartre
Cemetery. Here I am beside the resting place of another great, Alexandre Dumas.

The rain is now moving in for a couple days. Please see the sky in the above image. The flight back to Canada leaves in five days. The trip has been wonderful. I recommend it for anybody.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Story-star Confession: Samantha Parks from Secret: In Wolf Lake

Hello everyone: ) Thank you for stopping in to check out Secret: In Wolf Lake story-star, Samantha Parks, a.k.a. Sam. She actually hates too much attention, so I (DK Davis, writer of her story) took on the role of interviewer. Mostly just to get her talking: )

DK Davis – Okay, Sam, time to get started. Tell everyone a little about yourself – you know, like your age and interests, things you love to do.

Sam – I’m fifteen, actually closer to sixteen. *she looks at me and I nod for her to continue* Okay, let’s see, I love fishing, adore my chocolate Labrador, Koko, and enjoy being at Wolf Lake. I’d rather be there than my other option.

DK – Ahhh, yes, let’s talk about the other option…what is it and why the negative vibes regarding it?

Sam – Mom wanted me to travel with her and Matt. Can you imagine being the third wheel on a European honeymoon? I’d hate it. *rolls eyes*

DK – That’s not really why you chose not to go. Give it up, be honest with us.

Sam – Fine. *big sigh* Matt and Dad were best friends. I mean they grew up together, all through school, like brothers. They did everything together. Now he thinks he can move deeper into my life and replace my father!?

DK – But why would he think that? What happened to your father?

Sam – *eyes shine with water* Dad was killed two years ago. Hit by a druggy driving through the school parking lot where my father taught.

DK – So sorry for your loss, Sam. *Sam nods* Let’s talk about something else, like what are your dislikes as a girl in today’s world?

Sam - *smiles* I have a hard time relating to girly-girls. My cousin, Lisa, is one of those. All she thinks about is guys. Seriously. Well, that’s not all she thinks about…I mean she’s always checking her hair, painting her nails, doing her make-up, wearing clothes that…well, seem tight and revealing to me, uncomfortable.
We used to have fun together, a few years ago…before her every thought included a guy. Now…we pretty much can’t stand each other.

DK – So what’s the best thing about Wolf Lake?

Sam – I’ve always loved Wolf Lake. It was where we went for vacation when Dad was alive. I have good memories from there. Plus, there’s something else I discovered at the lake…a secret…something I promised not to talk about until given permission. Now, I have new memories…and honestly, new friendships, the kind that might last forever.

DK – Well that pretty much sews up our time today – thank you, Sam. I really appreciate you coming along, agreeing to the interview, and sharing as much as you have. I know some of it wasn’t easy for you.

Sam – Thanks for asking me here, DK. Even though some of my story still hurts, I want everyone to hear my story, to know the secret locked inside, and to love and resonate with the ending like I do: )

We hope you’ll check out Sam’s story, Secret: In Wolf Lake, a YA Sci-fi Fantasy adventure. For now – Sam would love to answer any questions or comments you’d like to make. Please don’t be shy…because…she’s shy, but agreed to answer questions; )

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.
You can find her at these links:

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Will Someone Pass Me The Nuts?

Will Someone Pass Me The Nuts?

People have remarked that one of the things they enjoyed from my new novel “Thunderbird’s Wake” is the banter between the two main characters, Carol and Charlie. When I was going through all the edits and had others editing as well. Trust me my editing and grammatical skills leave much to be desired. Hey, I just write the stuff and hopefully leave them laughing. I think that humour can be well used and if you can make someone laugh, it not only brightens their day, but should help sell a book. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, Carol and Charlie. Those scenes were done in one sitting and required virtually no editing. That’s when you know you’re in the writing groove and when you’ve got solid realistic characters. They often take over and begin to write the scenes and dialogue themselves.

Buy at Amazon

From Thunderbird’s Wake

(Charlie has just managed to talk Carol to joining him from her holidays and help solve a case in a penitentiary where Charlie has just got his first job)

“You’ve never worked before?” Carol said as she entered his office. She stared pointedly at the largely blank sheet of paper that was Charlie’s resume. He looked up at her, he had been busy reading from the stack of documents sitting on the desk before him.
“Well, I’m a shaman. You know, live-off-the-land type. Help little animals fight oppression, the lack of nuts and the Freedom of Planting Act.”
“The what?”
“The Freedom of Planting Act. It gives squirrels, chipmunks and even crows and ravens the right to plant fallen nuts wherever they desire.”
Carol shook her head and smiled. “Can’t say I’ve missed this inane banter of yours. But really, never had a real paying job before? How is this possible in our day and age?”
“I’ve had a few small jobs, fishing, selling jack pine mushrooms, got paid in cash. Darn Japanese are crazy, they’ll pay nearly a thousand dollars a pound for the stuff. And they eat sushi, raw fish, yuck.” Charlie wrinkled his nose. “Good to see you too Carol, I knew you were a person of your word.”
Carol scratched at her shoulder where the sunburn hurt the worst. She hated him being right most of the time. “I thought you were a native, eat wild roots, live off the land. Smoke salmon.”
“Yeah, but this is the twenty-first century. We’ve got electricity. Cooked, deep fried, breaded, now we’re talking. Raw! Hell, haven’t you heard of fish lice? They’ll eat you alive from the inside out. That’s it. I can’t read anymore. If I knew I had to read this much, I’d have thought twice about getting hired. “Charlie got up and headed out the door of his office, chucking down the wad of paper before him.
“Hey, where you going?”
“Cafeteria, see if old Sandy will do me up a smoked salmon sandwich. Talking about food gets a guy hungry. Are you coming?”
Carol decided to join him. “You can’t seriously be telling me you rerouted all of the applications so they’d have to accept yours?”
“Okay, so I won’t tell you.” Charlie laughed as he tapped his cane down the hallway.
“How did you tamper with the federal mail? Oh, let me guess.”
“Nephews and uncles.” They said at the same time.
“You’re getting it.”
Carol groaned. He either had great balls to pull off this kind of grandiose lunatic kind of stunt or dumb shit ass luck. Probably mainly the latter, she muttered to herself, remembering the incident earlier in the year with the smuggling out of the deceased shaman’s remains into Stanley Park that Charlie had arranged by another of his ‘nephews’. But she knew this, if he thought the man was murdered, he most likely was. Now they had to find just cause. “Okay take me out to the sweat lodge after we eat.”

And if you enjoy that, maybe my newest video promoting myself and my writing will bring a chuckle to you as well at the link below. Sorry I tried to download it here, but it was many megapixies. Although I didn't know that pixies came in extra large, Learned something new today. Copy and paste and have a chuckle.

And just to let everyone know I'll also be attending The Creative Ink Writers Festival at the end of the month. Hope to see some of you there. 
Link below.

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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

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dedicated to My Grandmother, Maw

Dangerous Sanctuary by J.Q. Rose
Romantic suspense
For more information about BWL books by J.Q. Rose, 
and to purchase, please visit J.Q.'s 
My Grandmother, Maw by J.Q. Rose
My grandfather and my grandmother Maw
My grandmother Maw, as we called her, was an intelligent woman who passed her love of reading and teaching to me. In fact she was the one who encouraged me to write stories. I dedicated my latest romantic suspense novel to Maw whose real name is Beulah Lee. March is the month of her birthday. She would be 125 years old this month, and I'm sure she was celebrating with the angels in heaven.

We always had fun together. When I went to her house to visit, she usually had several doll outfits for my beloved Ricky Jr doll for me. She created them using her foot pedal sewing machine. She could look at a dress in a magazine and make it. What a seamstress.
Maw and I had a special connection and not just because we loved to shop. (When her social security check came in, she cashed it into small bills and stuffed them in her wallet. She delighted in showing me the stack of cash she had for us  to spend on our shopping trip.) Besides shopping, we were readers and loved words and books.

Her reading probably spurred my love of reading which in turn developed my desire to write stories for others to read. I began writing little stories when I was in second grade and developed a writer’s bump on my middle finger from writing constantly. (Anyone else get that bump?)

In seventh grade I decided to tackle writing my first novel. The story line was about a horse and a girl probably influenced by my love of the book, Black Beauty. I wrote the entire book on lined yellow tablet paper and shared it with Maw. Taking those awful scribbles of sentences and typing them into a manuscript became her major project.

Antique typewriter
Courtesy of  thaikrit at
Maw's blue eyes twinkled with excitement when she handed me the typed pages. I was so overwhelmed with joy when I saw the typed manuscript, I cried. I was overcome with the idea she spent so much time "publishing" my book for me. She was delighted at my reaction, but she really worked on the project because she loved the story. Maw encouraged me to write more stories for more people to enjoy. From that day forward, I knew I wanted to tell stories and have them published so I could share them with readers.

I wish Maw were here now to be a part of this writing experience in the 21st century. I recall her typing away on her old typewriter. She would be amazed at these keyboards and laptops, wouldn't she? To be honest, when I work at my laptop, I feel her presence. I'm sure her blue eyes are sparkling with pride.

Author J.Q. Rose
Who influenced you to become a writer? a reader? Please leave a comment below and let us know. Thank you.
# # # #
About J.Q.
After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction. Her published mysteries are Deadly Undertaking and Dangerous Sanctuary released by Books We Love Publishing. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She spends winters in Florida and summers up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.
Connect with J.Q. Rose online at

J.Q.Rose blog
Books We LoveAuthor Page 

Forcing Myself by Ginger Simpson

I've completed a great many books, and the return is abysmal for the work I've put in.  It's no fault of my publisher.  Jude goes the extra mile to make sure we get exposure and everything good, but Amazon seems to have lost it's compulsion to push books.  I guess the existence of other box stores who ship for free and promise quick delivery is giving them a run for their money and causing them to focus elsewhere.  In the meantime, some of us have stalled on writing.

I'm trying to finish a book right now, but I got to the point where the heroine is in the throes of labor and she's too uncomfortable to speak to me.  I'm a "pantser" who listens to my chracters, so without her voice to guide me, I'm stuck in labor.  *lol*

Since I don't have much prepared to share, please excuse me if I use a recycled blog about tweeting.  I just had my taxes done and discovered I've spent 3 times what I earned.  I'm looking for less expensive ways to promote myself.  Care to help?  I'm discussing a topic that seems to be very political these days.

Twitter seems to be the biggest enigma of the promotion options.   If you read the tweets that are "trending"daily, unless you're a celebrity who is doing nothing worth noting, ask yourself why you bother.  Kim Kardashian shared a picture of her newborn hooking fingers with his older sister, North; Kate Mansi, An actress  on the soap, Days of Our Lives, is leaving the show, Anne Hathaway shared a picture of her in a bikini while pregnant with her first child.  Who cares?  I'd much rather read about me and my books selling.

Then there are articles about sites like Triberr that make you question whether or not you time is being wisely spent by sharing posts of tribemates who don't bother to share your's  If they do share, and you aren't "trending," does anyone read the tweet?  Can we compete with Mark Zuckerberg's announcement for his person challenges?

For the sake or educating those who have no idea what I'm talking about...Posts  at triberr are "blog feeds."  You set up your blogs to feed to Triberr daily with the hope that your fellow tribemates will mark them as shared so they will be tweeted widely.  For those who don't aren't familiar with Triberr, it's a tweeting site where you join 'tribes' that fit your needs.  For example, I belong to Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, and a few others, but then I read that there are folks who decide whether or not your blog posts fit their "agenda."  Some don't want to be associated with Porn, and of course non-writers care nothing for author's blogs.  That's why you need to pick your tribes carefully.

 I recently discovered that if you hover your mouse across a poster's picture, stats appear, and you can see whether that person is sharing your posts or not.  Today, I decided, if you aren't sharing mine, I'm not sharing yours.  Sadly, I hid more than I shared.  Why do I feel guilty?

For author's, finding inexpensive promotional sites is really important.  Those reviews that used to be easy to come by have become elusive and hard to acquire.  One of the reasons...most reviewers volunteer their time in exchange for free reads, and there are far more authors out there than ever before.  Choices are staggering, and unless you write a blurb that reaches out and nabs attention, your book is going to sit forever.  While I'd like to think my blurbs are real grabbers...they obviously aren't.

Speaking of reviews:  Now authors have to contend with what most refer to as "trolls."  These are people who leave snarky reviews that are usually a dead giveaway that they haven't even read your book.  The only logical explanation is that there are some authors trying to sabotage their competition, but this seems a little extreme.  Amazon is trying to remedy the problem, but is disallowing authors to review others authors the solution?  I may write books, but I also read them.  So far, I haven't had my reviews removed, but I'm aware of fellow authors who have...and they aren't happy.  Note:  Recently, I reported a review that simply said my book didn't deserve a review.  That sort of comment is neither helpful or wanted.  Of course it followed two great reviews, but I just wonder why I can't seem to even give a book away.  I just had a contest on FB and got only two entires.

Bottom line...whether we tweet, blog, or review, are we doing enough or are we spinning our wheels.  I'm always open to new ideas, so if anyone wants to share them here, please do.

Note from Ginger:    Currently, I've turned over both of my blogs to others, let my website go, discarded Triberr because I get tired of being the person who tweets everyone's post but gets very little in return for my efforts. Now I'm looking for things that cost next to nothing.  I guess handing out pens, flashlights, and notepads just doesn't impress folks.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

What Has Liam Neeson Wrought? by Stuart R. West

Click for laughs and mystery!
Laughs, mystery, no Liam Neeson, just a click away!
Liam Neeson has single-handedly revolutionized the plots of suspense thrillers. Not necessarily in a good way, either.

But, wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. The shocking, highly researched results of my studies may surprise you...
Over the holidays, my wife and I were traveling to Oklahoma and got bored. On her IPad, I sought out the most critically acclaimed films of the year that we needed to see. That grew predictably dull. Yes, the movies are supposed to be good for you. So are lima beans, doesn't make 'em any more tasty. So for grins, we ventured over into the worst reviewed films of the year.

Much more fun. And very eye-opening.

Several actors popped up three or four times each. And none of these films ever made it into theaters. I got excited.
Nicolas Cage! Bruce Willis! John Travolta! Pierce Brosnan (I always confuse him with the Perfect Strangers "Belki" guy.)! These actors...several academy award nominated...apparently have shifted into direct to DVD territory. The winds of change.

Oddly enough, all of them appear in a crummy movie with plots that go like this: "Rock Hardguy is an ex Navy Seal. Bad guys have kidnapped his son. Rock won't stop 'til he gets his son back. And cause all kinds of mayhem and destruction--call it collateral damage--doing so."
Thank you, Liam Neeson! This guy cornered the market, made revenge a genre unto itself. And he just won't quit. There's even a TV series based on the Taken movie series. Seriously, how many times can one father's kids be kidnapped? 

The above-mentioned actors are all prancing onto Liam's bloody turf. Keanu Reeves, of all people, got into the act, violently enacting revenge over his dead dog ("Whoa. Dude you killed my dog.").

First of all: kids, if your dad's Liam Neeson, seek emancipation. Second, are people really watching all of these ridiculous revenge films? Is this the future of suspense books? Personally, as a parent, I can't think of anything less entertaining than reading about a kidnapped child.

And when did Liam Neeson become a tough guy? Wasn't he kinda' a Shakespearean, hoity-toity actor, all up in art and what-all? What's next, the brothers from Fraser in a Death Wish remake?
Anyway, my wife and I tried to watch some of these awful movies. Wine helped, but didn't quite diffuse the stink. We cringed while Kevin Spacey turned into a cat. We sighed as John Travolta played a redneck power and light man whose brother is electrocuted in a tragic line accident (and do I have to tell you he raised his arms in the rain and screamed, "Nooooooo!"?). I slept when Nic Cage flew a plane while the rest of the world was whisked away by the Rapture. And, of course, the endless revenge flicks.

So thank you, Liam. Thanks a whole lot!
Wholesome fun even Grandma won't hate (totally).

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...