Friday, July 20, 2018

Learning to Grow Lettuce Plants in Water by J.Q. Rose

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Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose
Mystery, paranormal
Click here to find mysteries by JQ Rose at BWL Publishing

Learning to Grow Lettuce Plants in Water by J.Q. Rose
My husband and I were in the floral and greenhouse business for nearly twenty years, so I was familiar with the term, hydroponics. According to, hydroponics is "the cultivation of plants by placing the roots in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil." 
In the spring of 2017, hydroponics became very real to me when Gardener Ted decided to try growing lettuce and a few other plants by building a system of pipes to grow plants in water. 

He has grown lots of vegetable and annual plants as well as foliage plants, mums, glads, and Easter lilies in our commercial greenhouses, and he plants a vegetable garden which produces delicious food all summer for our family in Michigan and a small garden in winter in Florida for us. Yes, he gardens twelve months out of the year. A dream come true for him.
Lettuce and other plants growing in Gardener Ted's  hydroponic system
Photo by J.Q. Rose
He's always experimenting with new plants and new ways of raising them. But learning how to grow healthy plants in water is definitely not like raising plants in soil! Figuring out how to move the water through the pipes, adding nutrients to the water, and keeping the pH at the right level led to huge challenges for him. He soon learned the weather conditions affected the nutrients in the water. Warm, cold, wind, humidity, etc.affected the growth of the plants. Gardener Ted knew how to deal with weather conditions when plants grew in soil, but figuring out what to do to keep his plants healthy when their roots were only in water was a puzzle, at times frustrating. But he triumphed over the unknown and developed a working growing chamber which produced healthy plants.
Delicious speckled lettuce grown using the hydroponics system
Photo by J.Q. Rose
He followed through on producing lots of lettuce grown hydroponically, but the garden lettuce seemed to grow faster. I liked the hydro lettuce because it was clean when he cut it, whereas the garden lettuce had sand and soil on the leaves. 

This spring of 2018 he made improvements to his system and his plants are growing beautifully. We are enjoying a delicious, as well as, a pretty salad every day. And one other perk when gardening, he enjoys sharing his harvest with neighbors, friends and family.

Are you a gardener? Do you have experience with hydroponic growing? 

Click here to connect online with J.Q. Rose

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Adventures in the Amazon: Motokar Madness! by Stuart R. West

I flew 3, 265 miles to Iquitos, Peru, and all I have to show for it is a case of diarrhea! I kid, I kid (not really). 

Actually, I learned quite a bit from our trip to the Amazon, both about myself and the untapped, vast unexplored world around us. The adventures my wife and I shared will surely inform my future books and writing. Over the next several months, I'll be sharing some of my voyages into the jungle. So strap in, folks, it's gonna be a wild ride.
My wife and I all touristy in a motokar death-trap!
But I survived! Barely. My first time out of the United States and man, did I go big.

Day one of our journey to Peru actually took a day-and-a-half, all of it travel. Three flights, three airports, three rounds of security and customs and trauma. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a sucktacular traveler: "Are we there yet?" "I'm bored." "Can't we just be there?" "He's looking at me funny!" (My poor suffering wife.)

At 6', 2", weighing in at 225 pounds, flight engineers clearly didn't have me in mind when they created their flying crackerboxes. Our overnight flight to Lima was a contortionist's nightmare. At midnight, the flight attendants fed us dinner, then hurriedly shut out the lights, their intention to have us sleep for eight hours so they wouldn't have to deal with us. Sure, uh-huh, right. It's like trying to sleep in a bookcase.

When we finally landed at the Lima, Peru airport, I desperately found myself wishing I'd paid attention to my two years of high school and two years of college Spanish. Honestly, the local people in the airport put me to shame, most of them able to speak passable English. And here I am--ugly American--stomping around, adding "O's" onto the end of English words. ("Luggage-o?")

The Peruvian people were very helpful, even if all of them had different advice. Out of pure luck, we finally realized we had to reclaim our luggage and check it again. Total fish-out-of-water moment.

But once we hit the Iquitos airport, I was a whale-out-of-water, a (not so) Great White. The departure area was pretty much the size of a living room, hotter than asphalt on a Summer day, a crowded, sweaty hub of humanity.
Okay, about Iquitos... Hardly the touristy, exotic getaway locale I expected (man, I really should've done some research), Iquitos is over-populated, full of political corruption (citizens are forced to vote by law and bribed to swing a vote for the equivalence of twenty bucks), trash-strewn, crime-ridden, humid, terrifying, and absolutely exhilarating and thrilling in a roller-coaster, pants-wetting kinda way. Like an island, Iquitos is only reachable by boat or airplane.
History lesson! Years ago, Iquitos's citizens came out of the jungle and adapted civilization as they knew it (learned from TV) in their new city. Literally hundreds of tin shanties can be seen right next door to the few wealthy residents. Up to four families share the small, ramshackle dwellings. 
Yet even the worst tin shacks--holes and all--have direct TV dishes mounted on the roofs. Things exploded about six years ago when the former jungle dwellers discovered the internet and smart phones. Welcome to civilization.
The amazing Armando, motokar driver extraordinaire!
Unfortunately, as an adjunct to "civilization," unemployment (the rubber industry--Iquito's past major source of jobs and income--dried up, leaving people jobless) prospered.

Unless you're a motokar driver.

We've all been in white-knuckled cab rides before. Now imagine that multiplied by 200,000 unleashed motokars.

What's a motokar, I hear you asking? Why, it's a three-wheeled motorcycle of sorts. Unprotected, the driver sits in front while the terrified passengers are sardined into a tiny cabin behind him. Different designs adorn the tarp (Spiderman, Scooby-Doo, appropriate flames of Hell), the driver's number posted on back.

It's the primary vehicle of choice (cars are a rarity) and a new source of income, drivers eking out enough soleils for a day's worth of beans and rice.

And driving laws? Heh, don't be silly. Someone told us, "In Iquitos, there are no rules, no lanes, no lines, and no laws." (Check out the video below if you don't believe me.)
On our trip from the airport to the hotel, I thought we were going to die (and here I figured the jungle would get me). Two-laned streets turned into five and six, hundreds of motokars jockeying for front position like a vicious roller-derby. Near misses were common, no sweat to the crazed, undoubtedly caffeine-infused drivers. From the left, hundreds more swarmed. On the right, a small dirt road unleashed another couple hundred. They fused together like a massive swarm of bees, all of them chasing the honey at the end of their furious flight.  They swerved, cut others off, bounced back and forth like pinballs. The song, "Ride of the Valkyries" played out in my head as I held on for dear, sweet life.

Miraculously, we arrived at the hotel unscathed. There we met the gracious organizer of our trip, our "Jungle Momma" and her husband. 
Then we slept.

The next morning, cocky and sure of myself, I proclaimed, "Hey, nothing to it! I survived my first day. Got this by the cajones! What could possibly go wrong?"

As it turns out, kismet's got it out for me badly.

For a different kinda trip, come on down to Peculiar County, a lovely little day-trip away. Just make sure you're home before dark and lock those doors.
Click here for a scenic tour of beautiful Peculiar County!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

My First Four Ebooks Janet Lane Walters #MRFWAuthor #BWLPublishing #Mystery #Romance #Suspense #Fatasy

Murder and Mint Tea (Mrs. Miller Mysteries Book 1)Code BlueSearch For The White Jewel (Jewels of Erda)The Aries - Libra Connection (Opposites in Love Book 1)


Another year has passed and I’m now a day older than I was yesterday but I’m still celebrating my 50 years of being published in one genre or another. The covers you see are from the first four books I published after discovering ebooks. There were 6 or 7 books before that. Two were non-fiction but they’re so long out of date there’s no reason to feature them since the only way to purchase them is to pay large and strange amounts.

Though these books have been out there for some time 1998 to be honest. They have been updated for the most part and parts rewritten. But from the variety, you can see that I really wanted to write just about everything.

Murder and Mint Tea has seen many editions and the story started out as a short one called “And So We Walk on Eggshells.” An editor sent me a rejection and mentioned the short story sounded like the synopsis for a novel. I figured a way to turn it into a novel. The book has been in electronic versions, now print and long, long ago was on tape. The book has been one of my best sellers over the years. Here’s the blurb.

Katherine is a retired nurse and a retired church organist. The small Hudson River village where she lives in her Victorian “Painted Lady” makes her the neighborhood matriarch. Along with her Maine Coon Cat Robespierre, she guards friends and families. When amoral Rachel moves into the first floor apartment of Katherine’s house, trouble erupts. The murder weapon is one she recognizes and makes her fear for her friends and family. Finding the killer becomes her goal.

 Editorial Review Murder and Mint Tea is a gem in its genre, combining the voice of a classic American whodunit with that of a traditional British detective novel. Murder She Wrote meets Miss Marple in a beautifully crafted tale that makes the reader want to reach into the pages and dispense justice to the villainess themselves. ~ Writer Gail Roughton

Code Blue was the initial title for this book. Then some editor wanted a different title so it became Obsessions. Code Blue was returned as title when I came to BWL Publishing. The book had some rewrites to put in things like cell phones but is essentially the same book. I really liked the premise of a medical suspense a bit different from the usual ones. Here’s the blurb.

In the medical suspense Code Blue by Janet Lane Walters, published by Books We Love and previously published as Obsessions, nurse Susan finds the body of the hospital’s “gossip queen” in the orthopedic storage room. She doesn’t realize this is the first of a series of murders involving her colleagues or that her life is in danger. She is a widow and is exploring a new romantic relationship that promises love but she fears the man she is falling for is as controlling as her dead husband. The arrival of courtship gifts, at first, seen as innocuous soon takes on a sinister note.
This book kept me on edge from the first page to the last. Several times I just 'knew' I'd figured out who the killer was, but each time, there was a bit of doubt there until the very last paragraph! I highly recommend this book. 4 Stars (Excellent!)"--Tracie's Book Reviews by Kathy's Faves and Raves 
"A series of murders, suspense, action, a tad of love makes OBSESSIONS an intriguing tale designed to mystify your mind. If you love mysteries, you'll love Janet Lane Walters newest release. 4 Stars!"--Just Views 
"Fast-paced mainstream novel ... Walters plots carefully, each scene constructed to perfection. For readers who enjoy being terrified, this is an author to turn to for entertainment. She tells all, while managing to create paranoia among the characters."--Affaire de Coeur


The Secret of the Jewels was an interesting write. I wrote the rough draft in 72 hours with just a little time for breaks, Took much longer to complete the book. The book was to be a single title but an editor thought there should be more. I finally found the two books in the series.

When the Holder of the Yellow Jewel dies, her ward Liara believes she will become the new Yellow Holder. The dying word of the elderly woman astonishes the young woman. She will hold the White Jewel. This fabled gem has been lost for years since her mother and her sister fought and her aunt took hold of the Black Jewel. Liara, accompanied by her foster brother set forth to find the jewel, escaping the soldiers sent by the Queen and Black Jewel Holder. During their escape, Liara meets Valmir who saves her and her foster brother during a shipwreck. During their journey, they meet other holders of the Jewels, including Reena, daughter of the now dead Queen. Though she has the Black Jewel, Reena has no idea how to use the gem.

The Aries Libra Connection began like as In Opposition and I believe there was another title. While writing this book, I began using Astrology to cast my characters and thus the new title.

Jenessa is Aries, a nurse, union advocate and likes a good fight. Eric is Libra, Director of Nursing, and believes in compromise.

Can these two find a way to uncover the underhanded events at the hospital? They’re on opposite sides but the attraction between them is strong. She’s a widow who fought to save her husband’s life during a code. She feels guilty because the love she and her husband shared had died before his death. He assisted at the code but he feels guilty since he was the one who was responsible for the short staffing the night her husband died.

Now they face falling in love and trying to solve the problems between the nurse’s union and the president of the hospital’s Board who wants a take over of the hospital by his hospital group. Is their connection strong enough to survive?

Learning to Grow Lettuce Plants in Water by J.Q. Rose

Hello and welcome to the BWL Publishing Insiders Blog! Terror on Sunshine Boulevard  by J.Q. Rose Mystery, paranormal Click here...