Friday, March 24, 2023

Sable island by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey


Sable Island

I am a Canadian writer and all my mystery, historical, romance, and young adult novels are set in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, Canada has 52,455 islands and ranks fourth in the world for number of islands. However, it is a long ways behind Sweden that has 267,570 islands, Norway with its 239,057 islands, and Finland with 178,947.

Canada has three of the top ten largest islands in the world and all are in the northern territory of Nunavut. Baffin is Canada’s largest island at 507,451 sq km (195,928 sq mi) and the world’s fifth largest. Victoria comes in second in Canada at 217,291 sq km (83,897 sq mi). It is the world’s eighth largest. Ellesmere is third in Canada and tenth in the world at 196,236 sq km (75,767 sq mi). It is slightly smaller than Great Britain.

Canada also has the world’s largest fresh water island. Manitoulin Island is located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario on Lake Huron, one of the Five Great Lakes. The island is so large that it has over one hundred lakes on it.

One of the most famous Canadian islands is the crescent-shaped Sable Island, off the southeast coast of the province of Nova Scotia. It is believed to have been discovered by Portuguese explorer Joao Alvares Fagundes in 1520-1521. In 1598, a French nobleman, Troilus de la Roche de Mesgouz, tried to colonize the new world with convicts but they mutinied and, in punishment were put on the tree-less, stone-less Sable Island. A few managed to survive in mud huts until 1603, when they were returned to France.

Sable Island has over 350 bird species and 190 different plants but it is best known for its feral horses. The ancestors of the present day horses were seized by the British from the Acadians, a French-speaking group who settled in the New France colony of Arcadia. They were expelled between 1755 and 1764 after the English took over the colony. Their horses were purchased and some were taken to Sable Island in 1760 for grazing.

The Sable Island horses number between 400 and 550 and due to limited food supply on the island are small and stocky in stature. Although in the past, some of them were rounded up and taken to Nova Scotia for sale, today they are unmanaged and left to live their lives as wild animals.

In 2008, the Sable Island Horse became the official horse of Nova Scotia and in 2011, the Sable Island National park reserve was created to protect the horses and the island.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

English in the Modern Idiot by Victoria Chatham



I was sorting my way through homonyms, homographs, and homophones, those tricky little similarities that can and do trip up the unwary writer. In case you are unfamiliar with them, homonyms are spelled and pronounced the same way but with different meanings, like the word pen: an enclosed area or a writing tool.

Next are homographs, words spelt the same but with different pronunciations and meanings, as in these two examples. The wind is blowing indicates moving air and rhymes with pinned. I have to wind my watch, which rhymes with find. 

Lastly are homophones, words with the same pronunciation but different spelling and meanings. Do you think it will (rain, rein, or reign) today? Or: Can I come to the park (to, too, two)? Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to insert the correct word. In this, Google is not your friend, as all of them are proper words. If you fail, I promise you will not self-destruct. (Sorry, Charlie.)

The vagaries of the English language are numerous and devious, but how did we get into this mess? English as we know it developed like good wine over time. Going back in history, we would likely not understand a word said then, as a person from A.D.-whatever would be unlikely to understand us today. 

Historians tell us that five invasions of Britain contributed to the development of the English language. The earliest people to inhabit the British Isles were the Celts, an Indo-European group from before the common era. Spreading westward into Southern France, Spain, and Central Europe from as far east as the Black Sea coasts, the oldest evidence of the Celts was found in Hallstatt near Salzburg in Austria. The languages they spoke still survive today in the forms of Gaelic found in Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and more familiarly, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Although innovative farmers and artisans, the Celts did not have a developed form of writing. We know of them mostly from Greek and Roman historians, who did. Bear with me while I throw a few dates around. The Romans had already made contact with the Celts about 55 B.C. Still, the Roman invasion didn’t begin until later, around A.D. 43. They brought with them not only their road and fort-building skills but their language too, and Latin became the universal language of the time.

The Romans remained in Britain until the fall of their Empire in A.D. 420. When they decamped, Britain and her shores were left undefended. Roll forward to A.D. 450 or thereabouts, and along came the Anglo-Saxons, Germanic tribes who raided the coastal areas but by a couple of hundred years later had settled in different parts of Britain, and guess what? Each tribe had its own dialect. What we now call Old English mostly came from the dialect of the West Saxons, who settled an area in the south of England known as Wessex.

After the Romans and the Anglo-Saxons came Christianity, not a military invasion as such. The religion was not unknown in Britain, but the Anglo-Saxons suppressed it as much as they did the Celtic tribes. That all changed in A.D. 597 with the arrival of St. Augustine, who was determined to Christianize pagan Britain. The monks who inhabited the early monasteries began to record the oral stories of the Anglo-Saxons. This assimilation of Anglo-Saxon oral tradition into the Christian culture led to many words with Latin roots finding their way into common parlance.

Did you think that was it? Sorry, not a bit of it. Next came the Vikings, those invaders from Scandinavia, raiding and pillaging their way around Britain between A.D. 750 and A.D. 1050. Sharing many similarities with the Anglo-Saxons, their language was absorbed into the emerging English language. In addition to their oral traditions, they carved marks into bone, stone, and wood. These marks were called futhark, the runic alphabet.

With me so far? Not to worry, we’re nearly done. So after the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Christians, and Vikings, next came the Normans. I, and every English school kid of my era, knew that the Normans invaded Britain in 1066, dispatching the English King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Along with William, the Duke of Normandy, forever more known as William the Conqueror, came a new language and culture, adding another layer to those already in existence. The language used in court, government, and the church was now Old French. Old English, the language of the Anglo-Saxons, only existed in the lower orders of society.

Over the next few hundred years, this mix of oral and written history developed into the English language as we know it today, along with our love/hate relationship with its glorious, sometimes messy, grammar. However, we are not done yet. So far this year, no less than twenty new words have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, so English as we know it continues to evolve.


Victoria Chatham


Profile of BWL Author Victoria Chatham

 Being born in Bristol, England, Victoria Chatham grew up in an area rife with the elegance of Regency architecture. This, along with the novels of Georgette Heyer, engendered in her an abiding interest in the period with its style and manners and is one where she feels most at home.

Apart from her writing, Victoria is an avid reader of anything that catches her interest, but especially Regency romance. She also teaches introductory creative writing. Her love of horses gets her away from her computer to volunteer at Spruce Meadows, a world class equestrian centre near Calgary, Alberta, where she currently lives.   


 those Regency Belles Book 3

Her fortune attracts many suitors, but when they discover Phoebe Fisher’s one notable and outstanding flaw, they depart as quickly as they arrive. Phoebe despairs ever finding someone who will love her just as she is.

Returning to his family home after an absence of ten years, Andrew Fitzgibbon is devastated to find his only relative deceased, the house derelict and the estate almost bankrupt. Without the funds to support it, the title he inherits is worthless. He needs a fortune. Phoebe has one. Reluctant to offer marriage to a young lady simply for her wealth, Andrew finds her intriguing and suggests a solution that might suit them both.

Phoebe agrees, but Andrew’s past may cloud their new life together. Will it make or break them? Will their marriage of convenience become a love match, or will Phoebe never know what it is to love and be loved?





those Regency Belles Book 2

Charlotte Gray discovers her home ransacked, her father missing, and a dark and dangerous stranger, Benjamin Abernathy, waiting for her. He had promised to take care of his friend’s daughter if anything befell him and must now follow through with that promise.

With no other options, and despite her misgivings, Charlotte becomes established in the stranger’s home as governess to his nephew and niece. Benjamin doubts her ability to cope with the two young hellions but is quickly reassured as he recognizes the sharp mind behind her blue eyes. But is it Charlotte’s mind he falls in love with, or her delectable body?

With Charlotte hunted for the knowledge she is suspected of possessing and Benjamin, for the threat he presents, danger stalks them. But the smugglers and spies behind the threat have no chance against this duo, who will go to any lengths to protect the secrets they each must keep.





Those Regency Belles, Book 1. 

Hester Dymock dreams of one man, Lord Gabriel Ravenshall. She knows a liaison between them is impossible without her having title or fortune. Involved in an accident close to her home, he falls and breaks his leg. Abandoning all discretion, she rushes to his aid.

Gabriel has no choice but to submit to Hester’s care and that of her mother, an apothecary and her brother, a doctor. Embittered by the memory of his parent’s loveless marriage, he broods over his growing regard for Hester, unaware of her deep attraction to him. Once his leg has mended enough for him to return to his home, he is dismayed to discover that Hester is to continue tending him.

Her stubborn, uncooperative patient keeps Hester on her toes. With her help, will Gabriel learn to walk again? And will he allow himself to love her, or will her hopes for the future remain a dream?






Callie Wade: Some would call her a successful businesswoman. Colt McKeacham must call this knockout redhead his boss.


Colt McKeacham: Some see him as a rugged, tough ranch foreman. Callie sees a sexy-as-hell cowboy with an attitude. How can she resist him?


Callie Wade almost inherits a ranch from a grandfather she never knew she had. The last stipulation in his will, that she marry the ranch foreman, Colt McKeacham, within six months, leaves her reeling. When Callie visits the ranch and suffers a series of accidents, Colt sees a disturbingly familiar pattern and begins to suspect that her grandfather’s death was not what it appeared. Who is deliberately trying to drive Callie away, or worse? Despite their growing attraction for each other, Callie has her own suspicions that Colt wants the ranch more than he wants her. The truth stuns them both.



Overwhelmed by circumstances, Lady Olivia Darnley flees the scene of a society ball. She finds refuge in a darkened library but discovers that she is not alone. At her request, her unknown companion does not reveal himself but remains seated within the confines of a wing chair. When she finally exits the room all she has of him is his handkerchief.


Expected by his mother to choose a bride, Lord Peter Skeffington would much rather continue with his bachelor lifestyle and his literary pursuits. However, the lady in the library unexpectedly piques his interest and, much against his will, he finds himself more and more drawn to her.


 Will Lady Olivia recognize the owner of the handkerchief when she meets him? And will she forgive him for making her the heroine in her own story?




 Click to read a Five Star Review from Long and Short Reviews

Brides of Banff Springs by Victoria Chatham

Canadian Historical Brides Book 1 (Alberta)

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.  Ryan’s work with a guiding and outfitting company keeps him busy but he makes time for Tilly at every opportunity and he’s already decided to make her his bride.  On the night he plans to propose to Tilly another 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?






Newly-wed Lady Juliana Beamish has much to look forward to but her future turns bleak when the ship she is voyaging on is attacked by pirates.

Captain Drake O’Hara serves no master and only one mistress – the sea. On course for Jamaica he is reluctant to waste time investigating wreckage strewn across the ocean’s surface but when the debris offers up a beautiful survivor, he has no option but to take her aboard.

Drake undermines her every notion of what desire is but, uncertain if she is still a wife or might already be a widow, Juliana is unwilling to dishonor her marriage vows. Returning to England is the only recourse she has to determine her status. Can she continue to resist Drake or will she surrender to the unrelenting passions he has stirred in her?



Review: Rescued by handsome Captain Drake O’Hara, Lady Juliana Beamish falls under his spell, but she is unwilling to break her wedding vows. With a long journey ahead, will she continue to resist the passion he stirs in her?
This novel by Victoria Chatham is the right blend of mood and romance with a modern-thinking heroine who wrestles with the timeless problem of marriage and motherhood and her increasing desire for adventure. A most rewarding read! Sherilee Reilly



A London season is the last thing bright, beautiful Emmaline Devereux wants. Her grandfather knows he is dying and insists that she find herself a husband and secure her future. The only husband Emmaline would consider is her friend’s dark and imposing brother. But Emmaline has a past that, if revealed, will undoubtedly bring disgrace to her and those with whom she associates. Dare she risk pursuing her heart’s desire?

Lucius, Earl of Avondale, with a secret of his own, has sworn to not marry until he is forty but fate brings Emmaline to his door. Intrigued by her, Lucius


swears to unravel the mystery she presents. With a war raging between his head and the heart he is in danger of losing to her, he enters into a marriage of convenience with her.

But then Emmaline’s past catches up with her and she is abducted. Will Lucius succeed in finding her and will the truth tear them apart or strengthen their love?

 Review: HIS DARK ENCHANTRESS by Victoria Chatham was an excellent story that detailed a charming tale between Lucius Clifton and Emmaline Miles. I enjoyed the story with it's bits and pieces of history thrown into the mix. Emmaline's grandfather sends her to London for the "season" in hopes of her finding a husband, and hopes this happens before he dies. Emmaline seeks out her school girl friend, Julianna Clifton, and meets her brother Lucius. From there, the story continues. I don't want to spoil it.

What initially drew me to this story was the name Lucius, which isn't very common, especially today, but was my late grandfather's name. I'm glad I read the story. I will enjoy more books from Victoria Chatham. Very well written and interesting. Redrabbitt TOP 500 REVIEWER



Trisha Watts has a past she’d rather forget. She lost a career and nearly her life in an accident that sapped her confidence and haunts her dreams. The world famous Calgary Stampede presents a welcome diversion, but her past catches up with her in a way she could never have imagined.

One more big rodeo win will fulfill all champion steer wrestler Cameron Carter’s ambitions but when he meets green-eyed, long-legged Trisha his ambitions turn to wrestling of another kind. Is this cowboy too hot for her to handle?

From the pristine wilderness of the Rocky Mountains to the thundering applause of the Stampede Grounds, Trisha fights her growing attraction to Cameron – a man who sweeps her off her feet one minute then ignores her. Not trusting her heart, Trisha can barely wait for the Stampede to finish so she can go home, never expecting that Cameron will cross an ocean to track her down.

Will she believe this determined cowboy’s explanation? Or will she close the door on what could be the love of her life?

Review:  "This well written contemporary Western romance is a fun read. Loving That Cowboy is the story of Trisha Watts, an English photographer attending the Calgary Stampede to judge a sexy cowboy photo contest, and champion steer wrestler Cameron Carter, who wants one final big win before he retires from the rodeo circuit. A little suspense and a lot of spice will keep you turning the pages." A.M. Westerling




Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Social Filters

 What is a social filter? A great example arose while I was researching a scene where my Pine County deputies confront a group of bikers. My research included watching an interview with the leader of a national biker gang (whose well known logo is a virtual trademark). Near the end of the interview, the biker was asked about his tattoos. "Tattoos are a social filter. If someone doesn't have a tattoo, I know that I don't need to talk to them."

That interview, from several years ago, spoke to me. I immediately reflected on my limited interaction with members of biker gangs and thought, "Gee, that tattoo social filter goes both directions. There are a lot of people who avoid tattooed bikers."

I recommended a book, written by an obscure South Dakota author, to a friend. He emailed me the next week explaining that he'd thrown the book away. "The local police chief in that book is a biker. That is implausible. I couldn't read on after that revelation."

On a similar note, one of my beta readers scolded me for a character's use of strong language in Washed Away, the second Doug Fletcher mystery. She said that if the interchange between a park ranger and a surly teen had occurred on the first page, she would've sent the manuscript back to me unread. In that book, I tried to show the teen character's contempt for the ranger (and his parents) by his use of the word f**k. That single word defined his (lack of) character and his contempt. I could've spent a page explaining, that contempt. Instead, I chose to have that teen say that word, then move on with the scene. I have since had feedback from several readers that they were unhappy with that character's language. They had social filters about the use of profanity.

We all have social filters. My mother grew up in a very small northern Minnesota town. The only person of color in her school was Native American. That poor girl, who my mother befriended, was a total outcast, a pariah. That 1940s Scandinavian community wouldn't embrace a Native American girl.

I had a very religious reader tell me she'd been on a jury. When it was revealed that the defendant had fathered several children with different women, she decided that he was such a "slime-ball" that he was guilty of whatever he'd been arrested for. Her social filter found his paternity so unacceptable that she made up her mind to vote "guilty" without hearing any evidence of the crime he'd allegedly committed.

Whether it's a farmer wearing soiled bib overalls to a restaurant, or a lawyer wearing a suit and tie to that same restaurant, I've said something about those people without going into a lengthy description of the character's values, lifestyle, and status. The readers develop a mental picture of those characters, and I move on with the plot.

I like to watch people to see their reactions to different situations. On a recent trip to a Mystery Writers of America conference in Minneapolis, I watched people step to the far side of the sidewalk avoiding a panhandler whose tattered cardboard sign said he was a disabled veteran. Couples walking to a restaurant moved aside to let a group of rowdy teens pass. A waitress in an upscale restaurant showed particular deference to a group of young businessmen in suits while virtually ignoring a young couple in t-shirts and shorts. In each of those instances, social filters defined people's response to others.

I try to engage my reader's social filters. They can be an effective device to help them engage with the characters. Whether it's a profane teenager, or an outspoken senior citizen, a bit of dialogue can help the readers like, dislike, empathize with, or even hate a character.

Check out Fatal Business to see how I engage the reader's social filters in an exchange between a farm couple and an urban "Fed", or Sergeant C.J. Jensen confronting a group of parolees. I hope your social filters engage and draw you into the plot.

Hovey, Dean - BWL Publishing Inc. (

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A Frightening Encounter-from my upcoming release, by Diane Scott Lewis

Purchase my novels HERE

In my novel, Outcast Artist in Bretagne, due out in August, I explore a forbidden love that happens to the despair of my heroine, who doesn't need any more complications in her life.

Stranded in France after the Germans attack in 1940, Norah must maneuver her new situation. Will her cousin's husband demand she leave as the food supply wanes? But she has nowhere to go. What about the German commandant? Does he suspect she is a spy because she's English? Or are his increasing intentions of a different sort altogether? 

Why does she find herself suddenly drawn to him? He has secrets that will undermine Hitler's intent to capture all of Europe. Is he a decent man under that dreaded uniform?

Norah's first confrontation with the commandant:

Norah flinched and swung around. A baby-faced soldier in Nazi greenish-gray scowled at her. “What are you doing here?” he demanded in heavily accented, terrible French, two of his teeth jagged like a weasel.

She straightened, chin high, the pad pressed to her stomach. Inside, she trembled. “I live nearby. I was enjoying a walk. I draw birds.” Her French was passable after the year entrenched with her cousin, and her schoolgirl lessons from a decade ago. Her arrival happened only five weeks before the Germans invaded France. A desperate year because of that and for anguished, personal reasons.

The young man pointed at her book and bag, then shouted over his shoulder in German.

Was he alerting his superior? “Please, I’ve done nothing wrong.” She had no desire to come face to face with the Commandant. “You can search me…if you want.” She cringed at that idea.

“I have no choice but to report you.” The soldier shouted again. The officer’s heavy footsteps thudded closer.

He burst through the bushes, tall and broad-shouldered, his expression stern. The two Germans spoke in their guttural language.

Norah wanted to collapse to the ground but refused to show intimidation. Her spine nearly crackled as she held it firm.

The Commandant confronted her, his blue eyes penetrating. “What is your purpose out here at the shore?” He had distinct cheekbones, a handsome face, his lips full; a man of about forty. An iron cross hung at his high collar. “You don’t care to take instruction from we Philistines. Civilians are restricted.”

“I apologize,” she tried to keep the revulsion from her tone, though his near-teasing words —or perhaps a taunt—put her off-balance even more, “I was out for a walk and…I used to walk by the shore. Before—” Before you damned Germans arrived.

“What is in that book and bag? Give the pad to me, so I may inspect what you’re doing.” He reached out his gloved hand, his French excellent.

She hesitated, then handed the book over. “I like to sketch birds. I have a friend who is an ornithologist. We study them. Rather he studies them, I just draw.”

She opened the bag at his order, and the young soldier plowed through it. “I’d appreciate it if you don’t crack my pencils.”

“Show me your Identification Card. What is your name, prowler of the coast?” the officer asked in his clipped, almost raspy voice. He opened and paged through her drawings. “It is only birds, nothing more?”

“I’m Norah Cooper, and yes, it’s only birds.” She pulled out the card residents were now required to carry.

He snatched the card and read the words, perused her picture. Then he handed it back. “Ah, I detected an English accent in your French.”

His continued rough handling of the pages sent sparks along her shoulders. Would she be punished for being English, Germany’s worst enemy?

She reached for her book to mask her panic, the idea she could be interrogated or shot. Her knees wobbled. “Please…may I have—”

Diane lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and one naughty dachshund.

Monday, March 20, 2023

How do you read? Sheila Claydon


Claire, the heroine in my book Reluctant Date is in a rut. Her work as a librarian is no longer interesting but she isn't brave enough to change things until she meets her reluctant date who persuades her that her knowledge of books, her skills as a researcher and her love of photography are her route to a new life.

Thinking about Claire's metamorphosis (because of course all characters are real people to the writers who create them) made me think about the skills writers need. Imagination, creativity, the ability to research a variety of topics, persistence, being able to work alone for long periods, concentration, editing, being able to take criticism, typing and computer skills, administration skills and...and...I could go on because writing, on the whole, is a one person business. Whether regularly working alone in a designated office space or grabbing a precious hour or two in an otherwise busy day, it all boils down to the same thing. Writers are on their own.

We all need to relax though, so what happens at the end of a book, when the writer can take a breath and step back into the world. Everyone is different of course, so there will be some who will go jogging or exercise at the gym while others will pour a glass of wine and sit watching the sunset, or they will catch up with friends, or go travelling, I go again, another long list.  There is one thing that all writers do, however, and that is read. It's impossible to separate a writer from words, whether their own or other peoples, and this leads me to another problem. Reading books by other people can be tricky.

Overlong sentences, a slow storyline, grammar mistakes and typos (yes they occur even in much hyped best sellers) facts that are just plain wrong, a sense towards the end of a book that the author is trying to tie up all the ends too quickly, wordy technical explanations, characters that just don't ring true, a plot that doesn't sound plausible. Any of these things can spoil a book for any reader, but for this writer they make the difference between enjoying and finishing a book or throwing it aside.

Then there is the other problem. A book where the plot is good, the characters believable but the author's wordiness gets in the way. Reading a book where I can't stop myself mentally re-writing every other paragraph is so exhausting that skimming large sections of the prose is the only solution. 

Learning to cut words, to read and re-read a page, a chapter, the whole book until there are no superfluous words and the story flows is what most writers do automatically. The same goes for magazine articles and the opinion columns in newspapers. Some journalists are brilliant and very readable whatever the subject whereas others leave this picky writer/reader feeling 'so what' if I manage to stick it out to the end of the piece. Worst of all are the verbatim interviews that are becoming increasingly popular and which seem to suck the life out of the interviewee rather than enhance them.

So while books have always been the backbone of my life, and while I love reading and rarely have fewer than 3 or 4 books on the go at any one time, becoming a writer has made me increasingly selective about what I read. This does have some upsides though because my unintentional and unwanted pickiness has pushed me towards far more non-fiction than I ever read before, something which has greatly expanded my worldview. And the other thing, the best one of all, is the joy I feel when I discover that book! 

The book that I can't put down. The book that gets in the way of meal times, chores, plans and which follows me to bed until the early hours. The book that takes over my life from beginning to end. The book that all writers hope to write at least once in their lives.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Marching Into Spring by Helen Henderson

Windmaster Legacy by Helen Henderson
Click the title for purchase information

Topics for the month of March covered over the years have been the switch to daylight savings and the changing of the seasons. It is always fun to look at the holidays for a given month. They can range from food related, National Peanut Butter Day, to days acknowledging spinach, corn dogs, tamales, and my favorite, Orios. Some days are more prone to partying as people celebrate St. Patrick's Day or Mardi Gras. Or you can acknowledge our four-footed reading buddies on National Puppy Day, National Hug Your Dog Day, National Welsh Corgi Day, and Respect Your Cat Day. A day listed in the March calendar that was of a more personal nature is "National Hug a G.I. Day."

National Hug Your Dog Day, 3/10/23

Tighe Cat Demands Respect
Respect Your Cat Day 3/28/23











This year I decided to take another approach and use the month as the topic. Not the month, but the action. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "march" as to "to move along steadily usually with a rhythmic stride and in step with others." There is the Bridal March to guide a bride down the aisle or Pomp and Circumstance that welcomes students to the next phase of their lives. Then there are the military marches that help keep marches in step. A fond memory is of my two young nieces leading the town's Memorial Day Parade.

My favorite marching tune is usually hard on St. Patrick's Day when the fife and drum corps strike up Garryowen. However, in my mind it is not men stepping in time to the Irish air, but horses. Or more specifically, the magical equines called falaire.

A snippit from Windmaster Legacy of the falaire marching in time to music.

Deeper and deeper the fàlaire walked into the heart of Pilartri. Simple, stone-roofed cottages gave way to larger, more luxurious dwellings. People watched from open windows or stood in doorways as Dal rode Tairneach through the winding streets. He wondered how Taer would get through the press of bodies crowded under the colorful canopies of the marketplace without trampling someone. The fear vanished as a path remained open through the narrow walkway.

Tairneach neighed a command and shifted his gait to a high-stepping prance.

“Showoff,” Dal growled.

The stallion tossed his mane and Dal laughed at Taer’s response. The clop of hooves on cobblestones grew louder. Turning in the saddle, Dal looked back and saw the rest of the fàlaire following, in single file. He smiled at the way they synchronized their steps in precise time with each other.

Clinging to the skirt of a woman with whom she shared a striking resemblance, a child turned and pointed to the fàlaire. “Look, Mommy,” she cried. “The horses are dancing.” The girl loosed her grip on her mother’s skirt and smiling brightly, started clapping in time to Taer’s steps.

When Dal heard the light tone of Ellspeth’s flute, he gave up all hope of making an unobtrusive entrance. Cheers exploded from the onlookers lining the street when first Tairneach, then Zethar and the rest of the fàlaire changed their pace to match the sea tune Ellspeth played.

To purchase the Windmaster Novels: BWL

 ~Until next month, stay safe and read.   Helen

Helen Henderson lives in western Tennessee with her husband. While she doesn’t have any pets in residence at the moment, she often visits a husky who has adopted her as one of the pack. Find out more about her and her novels on her BWL author page.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Happy Anniversary - Murder and Mint Tea by Janet Lane Walters #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #mystery #25 years #Robespierre


Though today is Saint Patrick's Day and i'm wishing all those who are Irish and who are Irish today, I have another these for the blog.  Twenty-five years ago Murder and Mint Tea was published. Katherine and Robespierre are still out there for people to read and this is happening.

I remember the day when I first saw the electronic version of Murder and mInt Tea. Wow, I thought. We made it. The search for an editor had taken a few years of sending the mss out and being rejected, mostly kindly but sometimes not. I had discovered electronic publishing and found a publisher. Then came the fun of promoting and also looking for reviews.

The first review was rewarding. I don't know the name of the magazine any longer but I do remember the first few words. Move over  Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher, Katherin Miller is in town. That really gave me chills since I enjoyed both of the above sleuths.

Murder and Mint Tea is either loved or hated by the readers. Though there are more favorable reviews than unfavorable, I enjoy reading both once. This book has earned me money every year for those twenty-five. I've not kept a running total but I've been pleased.

Katherine and Robespierre ahve gone on to enjoy other visits and there's one more she's toying with. Not sure when she'll give me the murderer so I can write the book. Here's a hint. The victim is the town's mayor. COVID has lessened but he decides the village won't have their Halloween Parade this year as well as the COVID years. Needless to say there are many people who don't like his decision.

So once again, happy anniversary to Murder and Mint Tea. Twenty-five years and still counting. One little bit of information, Katherine retired from the hospital at sixty-two. If she existed in reality, she would now be sixty-seven the age I'll be on my next birthday.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Superpowers of the Anishinaabe, by J.C. Kavanagh


Book 3 of the award-winning Twisted Climb series

I continue to be pulled into the history of my country, Canada, and in particular, the history of the Anishinaabe tribes: Ojibwe, Algonquin and Cree. Also stemming from these tribes are the Potawatomi, Nipissing, Odawa, Chippewa, and Mississauga First Nations. If you follow my BWL blogs, you've read about the First Nation tribes and you know that their traditions and myths are woven into my latest book, A Bright Darkness. Still, I feel compelled to share the enlightenment and respect for nature that is intrinsic to the culture of the Anishinaabe. Their story is a fascinating tale of reverence and resilience.

Many thousands of years ago, the Anishinaabe lived in a place they called 'Turtle Island,' believed to be one of the Canadian Maritime provinces. The Elders of the tribe told the story of how the world came to be. Their legend, passed down from generation to generation, explained that the earth was made by Gitchi-Manitou (the Creator). Gitchi-Manitou created a family that preceded humans: Nookmis Dibik Giizis (Grandmother Moon), N’mishoomis Giizis (Grandfather Sun), and Shkagamik-Kwe, (Mother Earth). They chronicled the spiritual relationship between the environment and all living things, stressing that a natural balance was vital to all elements. They believed that all things in the universe had a connection, therefore a place of importance. And therefore deserving respect. From these sacred standards, the Anishinaabe developed the Seven Grandfather Teachings - wisdom, respect, love, honesty, humility, bravery and truth. These are what I believe to be the superpowers of the Anishinaabe. Remember - these sacred standards were developed tens of thousands of years ago. They are simple moral guides with an exceptionally high set of principles. The concept of respect/honesty/balance prevails in their traditions to this day. 

Anishinaabe Superpowers:
Wisdom, respect, love, honesty, humility, bravery and truth

While researching the Anishinaabe language, I found a great reference source - a book written by an Ojibwe Elder and teacher in Central Ontario. The Elder, B. Jeff Monague, is a former Chief of the Beausoleil Nation on Christian Island. His book, Ahaw, Anishinaabem (OK, Speak Ojibwe), was a valuable tool in understanding the nuances of the Ojibwe language. When Jeff was born, his parents were told they could not give him an 'Indian' name - only Anglophone names. This was due to the Indian Act restrictions at that time. His parents chose the names Brandon and Jeff which an agent recorded in the Indian Act Registrar. The Anishinaabe did not have surnames - each person had one name which was provided by an Elder after observing the child for a period of time, sometimes over the course of many years. One of Jeff's ancestors had the name Minonaakwhe, meaning 'shoots well.' In order to use that as a surname, the family had to substitute 'Minonaakwhe' with an anglicized version: thus 'Monague.'  (As a side note, Jeff is in the process of legally changing his name to Myiingan Minonaakwhe meaning, Wolf Shoots Well).

Thunderbird - the crest of the Anishinaabe people

A Bright Darkness, the final book in The Twisted Climb series, intertwines the traditions of the Anishinaabe and their mythological creatures. The three main characters, Jayden, Connor and Max, work with an Ojibwe Elder to release the lost souls trapped in the danademo nde' (place where the heart weeps) and seal the entrance to the Un-World. Action and drama abound in this epic conclusion. A Must Read!

Till next time, stay safe and happy reading!

J.C. Kavanagh, author of
The Twisted Climb - A Bright Darkness (Book 3)
The Twisted Climb - Darkness Descends (Book 2) voted BEST Young Adult Book 2018, Critters Readers Poll and Best YA Book FINALIST at The Word Guild, Canada
The Twisted Climb,
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers Poll
Voted Best Local Author, Simcoe County, Ontario, 2021
Novels for teens, young adults and adults young at heart
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)
Instagram @authorjckavanagh

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