Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Random Thoughts on June by Helen Henderson


Windmaster Golem
Click the title for purchase information

Topics for June are often focused on weddings and Father's Day. The weddings, or handfastings in the fantasy worlds I hang out in,  have been covered numerous times. The formal ceremonies of Captain Ellspeth and Lord Dal kicked off their adventures in Windmaster Legacy. Fire and Redemption ended not only with the closing ceremonies of the trader clan's convocation but with a celebration of Karst's and Brial's commitment to each other.

Which left acknowledging the men in my life. One would have a heart attack if I posted his picture and an anecdote of our fifty-plus years together. The other took his final flight westward a few mere weeks before the towers fell on 9-11. A family favorite picture is of him in his flight uniform, cap pulled down over his eyes, peacefully sleeping in his recliner. But that is a private image, not one to risk posting on the Internet. So I shared another one. However, a cautionary note. Riding sans-saddle with only a blanket is not recommended. When the pony was not on a lead line and we were out in the plowed field, I allowed him to pick up his gait. He hit a full gallop, I slid off and found the one rock left in the field. Stone met arm then arm met a cast.

I have been told that there are special moments in their lives. A wedding day and the birth of a child. Which reminded me that June can be known for another significant event - high school graduation. College graduations were the end of May, but high school (at least in the region where I grew up) were always late June. They ended early enough that the students were free to help bring in the summer crops. A happy note on the local news of a sailor who made it to his son's graduation with minutes to spare reminded me that like many in the airline industry or the military my father was unable to attend my graduation. But he slipped in the back of the room, uniform and all, at the honor's dinner. So he in essence was able to be there for one of the activities surrounding my graduation.

In recognition of Father's Day and graduation days, a snippit from Windmaster Golem. To set the stage the candidates for journeyman status have been summoned, the bonfire lit, and the family's gathered. The crowd was silent as one by one several students answered the call. The tension deepened when Ellspeth and Dal's twin daughers, Elendl and Denai, walked hand-in-hand in support of each other to the bonfire, and selected the hilt, blade, and element that would be their symbol as a mage.

Elendl and Denai’s shift to stand before their parents pulled him from his thoughts. Elendl kneeled before her father, offering the blade, hilt, and stone. Denai mirrored the actions to her mother.Although neither Ellspeth nor Dal allowed the pleasure they felt an uncontrolled rein, Brodie sensed their happiness join the rest of the good wishes rising from the bonfire. Hilt slid into the blade, and their token of magic, whether the shell or stone, clicked into its setting. Their hands on their daughters’ heads, both Ellspeth and Dal moved their lips in silent blessing.

“May Lady Ellspeth and I have another moment of your attention,” Dal called out. In response, those watching quieted. “Ellspeth and I have an announcement.” A wave brought Denai and Elendl to them. “There has been talk about my lady and I being prejudiced about Denai and Elendl’s powers. And you’re correct.”

Laughter rippled through the crowd, then died down. “I swear on my honor as archmage, that they have not received any awards they did not earn.

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 have adopted her as one the pack. Find out more about her and her novels on her BWL author page.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Going down the Rabbit Hole by Nancy M Bell


To find out more about my work please click on the cover.

Working on a historical mystery has its own rewards and challenges. There is so much information to track down and then process. How to fit it all together...what to keep...what to throw away...what to actually use in the story...

The process of tracking down the information and then verifying said information is an experience all on its own. I find myself following links and leads from one site to another and then oh my! looking for actual books, either hard copy or digital, to further add to the pile of data that needs to be sorted through.

Ultimately, I arrive at the bottom of the rabbit hole and I'm never sure if I'm any more enlightened than when I started. But of course, then the author has to start to shovel their way back to the surface, sorting the dross from the gold. I emerge into the light holding some tiny nuggets of  gold (information I can actually use).   

However, the journey is important because even though I may not use all the information directly in the final product, the finding and sorting of all the information helps me to formulate the background structure that I will ultimately pin my story to. It enriches the overall image and atmosphere I wish to create, a backdrop if you will, against which my mystery and the characters involved can play out the storyline.

Though, sometimes I do wish the rabbit hole was not quite so deep or the rabbit warren not quite so extensive.

The Tom Thomson Mystery releases from BWL Publishing in November of 2024. I think you'll find it interesting with a rather unique POV from my protaganist ~ Harriet Agnes St. George of Sprucedale Ontario who is spending her spring and summer of 1917 in Algonquin Park  in what was known then as New Ontario.

Until next month stay well, stay happy

Monday, June 17, 2024

New Series - mystery and romance combined by Janet Lane Walters #The Writer's House


This cover is the Writer's House where a number of writers rent a work room and also congregate. They are giving a seminar on writing a book for a new writer. Valentina Hartley or Val decides to take the course. She  is new to town and is looking for an apartment or house for her mother and five-year-old son in Rockleigh where she now resides with her partner in their business We Research. Val goes to the seminar at the Writer's House where she meets Dana Bradley who interest her in a half house her brother rents. When the talk and questions end, Val leaves since she starts the research early each morning. She discovers the lights for the porch and parking lot are out and calls for help. Believing she remembers the porch, she starts out. The lights come on startling her and she trips. She discovers the obstacle is a dead man and she screams. Val almost appears guilty. She is newly come to town but she swears she has never seen the man before.

For Kyle Bradley, the corpse becomes a puzzle. He has a SS number but no other information other than a computer, manuscripts for three books he's written. Is he in witness protection? When Kyle and his partner investigate, they learn though he had the number, it wasn't for him. They are faced with a puzzle. al has an idea that may help. Will it. By working together and being neighbors, the pair become friends.

At present, there are two other ideas for this series bouncing in my head. The History Writer's Snuff Boxes and the Erotic Writer's Nightgowns. Hopefully more stories will come as I work.

My Places



Buy Mark


Sunday, June 16, 2024

Clean dirt vs dirty dirt, by J.C. Kavanagh


The award-winning Twisted Climb series!
Click here for the purchase link:

Have you ever driven past a sign on the road that read, "Clean dirt wanted." I have, and each time I would laugh out loud. "Clean dirt?" Is there such a thing?

Apparently, yes.

My partner and I recently purchased a country property. When we inspected the property in February, there was fresh snow on the ground. It was a beautiful sight. When we moved in the following month, the snow had melted and we discovered the rear portion of the yard was not topped with grass, but with gravel and sand. And even worse, the south perimeter of the yard was surrounded by a clay-bottom, water-filled moat. 

Oh dear.

We live in one of a gazillion 'mosquito capitals' in Ontario and if you have stagnant or standing water on your property, it's a perfect breeding ground for these blood-sucking pests. 

But back to the dirt.

To eliminate the breeding grounds, we have to fill the moat. Before we fill the moat, we have to shovel out the clay bottom. Clay is so dense that water will not penetrate easily, thus the standing water. So we put on our Schwarzenegger arms and dig out enough clay to fill dozens of wheelbarrows.

Next, we research the best material to fill the moat. Sand? Gravel? Dirt? Ah, and that's where we went down the rabbit hole. There's six types of soil, three kinds of dirt and countless types of gravel and/or sand mixtures. We need to fill the moat with something that drains well, so sand was the best option. We ordered a tri-axle truck load and distributed it using a wheel barrow, shovel and rake. A very hearty work out.

Tri-axle dump truck carrying 20 yards of fill which equals 25 tons or 50,000 pounds

Since the back yard was sloped into the 'moat,' we decided to truck in additional loads of dirt to level the area and totally eliminate any ponding. Again, we went back to research and found that 'clean dirt' was the best - we could spread it and then add a good layer of top soil before seeding for grass. Clean dirt is composed of rock, sand and grit and has no compostable material in it. Whereas 'dirty' dirt may contain garbage, waste material and unknown substances. Steer clear of the dirty dirt!

Me on one load of 'clean' dirt

Three of six truck loads of clean dirt

Six truck loads later... we have almost half the back yard filled and levelled. 

Please, somebody hand me a beer.

In the Twisted Climb series, there are volcanic rocks and stone cliffs but the holes in the ground found in the dream world do not lead to rabbits; they lead to the Un-World. Order the series today and set yourself up for a fantastic escape into the adventures of Jayden, Connor and Max. And the Protector.

In the meantime, stay safe and don't forget to tell the ones you love, that you love them! 

J.C. Kavanagh, author of
The Twisted Climb - A Bright Darkness (Book 3) Best YA Book FINALIST at Critters Readers Poll 2022
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

Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Joy of Meeting Readers

Every time a reader reads one of our books, it is made anew. Readers' life, thoughts, feelings, go into their experience of reading. Is it any wonder that most authors love meeting our readers?

I appreciate you reading this blog, and enjoy reading your  comments. I love when readers write or email. I have mail from readers as far away as Australia that I treasure. 

Best of all for me, is meeting readers. I enjoy doing book signings and talks, often based on my research. When possible, I love teaming up with other writers for this. I often partner with BWL author Eileen O'Finlan. After I met her, we also discovered we are distant cousins. What a nice bonus!

Eileen and I have done talks on the experiences of Irish immigrants to America, the subject of two of our books, her Kelgeen and Erin's Children and my Mercies of the Fallen and Ursula's Inheritance.

We're about to launch a new speaking tour here in New England, entitled Witches and Vampires: When New World Nightmares Invaded the New World. This revolves around our two 2024 novels. Eileen's The Folklorist is a marvelous dual time-line novel set in the museum world of the 1970s and the New England Vampire Panic of the 1830s. My Canadian Historical Mystery #7 is Spectral Evidence, set during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-93. It's set in Newfoundland, where some survivor children are taking refuge with their Canadian cousins. So, I'm in charge of the witches, and Eileen, the vampires. We hope our talk is enlightening and enjoyable to our treasured readers.

And we hope to meet you someday soon!


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