Monday, September 25, 2017

Artsy late-summer in Toronto


September has been heavy with "arts" in the Sawka household.

The main focus was getting my next novel ready for submission. Mission accomplished. Of course, I never seem take a break. Already I've started working on my next two novels. It really is fun.

That's not to say that I don't take time for other thinks. Last week I took an extremely well deserved break from filming the first comedy skits for my Youtube channel, SAWKA TV.

Of course it will have promos for my BWL novels. Right now we are testing the cameras finding locations and writing scripts for these promos. All is well so far.

Last week Nancy and I attended the Toronto International Film Festival. We saw the amazing documentary called The Judge. The film tells the story of Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first woman to become a judge in Palestine. Turns out we were at the world premier of the movie and she was attending. I was lucky enough to have a photo taken with her.

Yesterday my acting classes started again. It is always a challenge for a novice like me. However, I'm learning a great deal and throughly enjoying it. We work on short scripts from movies and TV and get excellent advice on our technique. This class used very short scripts and at the end we swapped scripts and did a quick cold read. By chance my acting partner and I were handed a scene from the popular show Greys Anatomy. This also happens to be my Wife's favourite show. As for me, well, I usually (always) leave the room.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Story-star Kendra Spark – Growing up with Ghosts

Hello everyone and thanks so much for stopping into BWL today: ) I’m Kendra Spark, the story-star of Unorthodox, a paranormal suspense-thriller with elements of romance and a generous portion of supernatural; ) The story released on September 15, 2017, and I’m as excited about it as S. Peters-Davis is, my author: )

S. (that’s what I call her) asked if I would share what it was like growing up with the ability to see and communicate with ghosts…so here goes…

I honestly don’t remember a time I didn’t see ghosts, mostly because I didn’t know the difference between people alive or people dead, they all looked the same to me and pretty much treated me the same. The first time I realized it was when my mother asked about my imaginary friend. At five years old, I didn’t really understand the word imaginary, other than it meant not real, but Jonny stood right beside my mother. Our chat about Jonny didn’t go so well.

Mom ended up taking me to a few doctors to find out what was up with a daughter who always played with imaginary friends. Thank goodness Grandma Ellie whooshed in and saved the day before I ended up on medication. Grandma knew about Jonny, she could see what I saw.

The thing is, ghosts knew I could see them…I never hid it, so they kept coming around, wanting me to give someone a message or just wanting to talk. They were mostly lonely.

As I grew older it was tougher to chat in public with spirits. I got labeled for being a weirdo and became a bully target. I shut down all “air-talk” and only my best friend, Jenna, knew about my ability. It mostly scared her, so I didn’t talk too much about it with her either, only with my grandmother.

I didn’t have a lot of friends, not even in college, but I loved journaling about my ghost experiences. That was partly why I became a writer…I adored writing out their stories. Plus the fact I was an avid reader and enjoyed losing myself in someone else’s life, especially mystery-suspense romance stories.

Ghosts are part of my life and I’ve finally accepted my ability as something worthy…even though I won’t share this with most people. They don’t see what I see and will never understand, unless they actually know I’m an honorable person who doesn’t lie…like you all now know: )

Thank you for stopping in and hearing all about my ghost sight – about why I do what I do; ) I hope you enjoy S. Peters-Davis’ book about me, Unorthodox, A Kendra Spark Novel – I plan on being in a few more of her stories.

Happy reading; )   


About my author:

S. Peters-Davis writes multi-genre stories, but loves penning a good page-turning suspense-thriller, especially when it’s a ghost story and a romance. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, playing with grandchildren, or enjoying time with her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.

She also writes YA paranormal, supernatural novels as DK Davis.

Friday, September 22, 2017

High Tea and Higher Spirits

High Tea and Higher Spirits

I'd thought I'd write about ghosts, with the most spookiest time of the year approaching. Since I'm writing a new book series that starts in Victoria. You know Victoria, BC, more English than the English. And more haunted than your average graveyard on All Hallow's Eve. Don't believe me. Well listen to these tales and I'll have more next month.
The Fairmont Empress has several ghosts frequenting the building. As early as last year two contractors quit during the new renovations when they heard noises in a empty suite next to them. Both swore they saw a figure hanging from a rope. The figure was a man that hung himself, in that room several decades ago. 
There's reports of a woman that knocks on doors, and is seen trying to get into rooms. Apparently a former cleaning maid, still making the rounds after she passed away. Her name is Lizzie and she fell to her death near the front entrance from the sixth floor. During the early years of the hotel when another tower was being added the staircases were temporarily taken out. She hadn't noticed and was found dead. Sometimes she's also seen laying content on the ground holding her prayer beads.
Then we have Margaret from Calgary, who lived in the hotel back in the fifties, when the hotel was nearly empty in the winter. So she stayed there for months on end. Did everything on a set precise schedule and time. When she didn't show up for tea at her set time, someone went up to her room and found her passed away in her bed. It soon became to be known as the unrentable room, with people claiming the TV channels would switch on their own, lights would turn off and on. And some swore the sheets would pull down by themselves. It was soon converted into a storage area and all was quiet. Until the hotel decided to add a new elevator several years later to go to a higher set of floors. Quickly the reports of lights dimming, knocks on doors and a elderly lady asking for directions began afresh. 
Then there's the builder of the hotel himself, Francis Rattenbury. Who also built the legislative buildings, the Lake Louise Hotel in Banff, among other great buildings. He received little or no recognition for his grand structures and after leaving his wife for a much younger lady, he was found bludgeoned to death by her younger lover. Sir Francis was buried in a unmarked grave and his ghost is often seen near his picture by the front entrance.
 I guess while the guests often return, so do the departed for another cup of the fine tea and great scones. 

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Meet Julia-Rae, successful business woman and photographer. Only she runs into a man that wows her to the marrow. Only a slight problem. He wants to take over her company and she isn't the woman he thought. So does love win out, or does the grizzly get the girl in the end. OH, the griz, did I forget to mention it?????
My Romance 'Shuttered Seduction' is on a promotional special through Smashwords. Get it for $2.00.

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If I've grabbed your interest, try my authors page on facebook. 

or my short story page.

People have asked who the heck is Frank Talaber and what’s his writing style?
I usually respond with; mix Dan Millman with Charles De Lint and throw in a mad scattering of Tom Robbins. 
PS. He’s better looking than Stephan King and his romantic stuff will have you sobbing and gasping quicker than Robert James Waller.

His novels transcend the boundaries of urban fantasy, science fiction, crime, mystery, thriller, spirituality and comedy. He also writes in the genre of romance, mystery romance, thriller romance and sexy erotic romance. 
With a knack of bringing the BC west coast to life he was born on the wild Canadian prairies but immigrated to the cedar forests of coastal BC. Mated to a mad English woman, from gypsy ancestry, him not the wife. In the early hours of morning, when only cats stir and raccoons fear to tread he is writing, creating or making coffee. Stranger ways exist in the backwoods of Borneo, Australia or the American Bayou. But not here in the country of Bigfoot, Timmy’s and hockey. 
Or as he also often says; you don’t have to be mad to be a writer. But it helps. A lot.

"After being stranded twenty kilometers from the nearest road at the tip of Rose Spit, Haida Gwaii, and having to push his spanking new SUV a few kilometers along the beach before the tide came in and we ran out of booze, my first reaction on being asked to write a back cover blurb was, “over my dead body." Some people will do anything to get an endorsement.” 
Susan Musgrave 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fields of Gold Beneath Prairie Skies, Canadian Historical Brides, Book 6 (Saskatchewan)


Newly released and available at your online and brick and mortar bookstores, be sure to add this one to your collection.  Author Suzanne deMontigny has done an amazing job of telling the story of this couple struggling against huge odds to build a life on the Saskatchewan Prairie following WWI.

French-Canadian soldier, Napoleon, proposes to Lea during WWI, promising golden fields of wheat as far as the eye can see. After the armistice, he sends money for her passage, and she journeys far from her family and the conveniences of a modern country to join him on a homestead in Saskatchewan.

There, she works hard to build their dream of a prospering farm, clearing fields alongside her husband through several pregnancies and even after suffering a terrible loss.

When the stock market crashes in ’29, the prairies are stricken by a long and abysmal drought. Thrown into poverty, she struggles to survive in a world where work is scarce, death is abundant, and hope dwindles. Will she and her family survive the Great Depression?

Available from a Bookstore near you.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fall Camping with J.Q. Rose

Hello and welcome to the Books We Love Insiders Blog! 
You can get to know more about your favorite authors, meet new authors 
and discover great reads right here.
Dangerous Sanctuary by J.Q. Rose
Pastor Christine Hobbs never imagined she would be caring 
for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.
My dear hubby, Gardener Ted, and I just returned this week from a camping trip to Ludington, Michigan. We camped in the city's Cartier Campground and explored the area known for their beautiful sandy beaches on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan shoreline
Photo by J.Q. Rose
Are you a camper? I'm a camper, but I'm not a hardy camper. I like to camp with AC, microwave, and an electric blanket in our 25' fifth wheel trailer. We tried tent camping when we were younger, much younger, and I didn't like it. But with all the amenities available now with the new, roomy campers and motorhomes, it's more like living in a condo on wheels. My kind of style.
Our camper
Photo by J.Q. Rose
The autumn season is the best time to camp. People are geeked up to go camping when spring comes, especially after a cold, dark winter of staying indoors. While every season has its own benefits, I am a fan of fall camping, especially if you can go in the middle of the week like we did

Here's a list of reasons why I enjoy fall camping Up North:

1. No crowds. Because school has started, families can only camp on weekends, and yet, many are busy with a full schedule of sports, clubs, and family activities to keep them from camping.
2. Mild temperatures. Great sleeping weather with temps in 40's-50's and bright sunny 60-70 degree days. (Cool temps in the morning and evenings make a campfire even cozier.)

Warm campfire
Photo by J.Q. Rose

3.  No bugs. Mosquitoes are too cold to fly!
4.  The fall colors. Breathtaking panoramas of color in the woods. I never tire of seeing Mother Nature dress up for autumn. 
Colorful fall trees
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
5. Apples. Mmm. Crispy, crunchy treats that are actually good for you. The roadside markets and farmers markets are teeming with fruits and vegetables of the season.

Are you a fall camper? What do you like best about the fall season? 
Please leave a comment below.

J.Q. Rose catching the sun
on the beach in Ludington, Michigan

Click here to connect online with the J.Q. Rose blog.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bad Day in a Banana Hammock by Stuart R. West

For a Listing of Stuart R. West's Books and Purchase Links, Click Here for Stuart R. West's Books We Love Author's Page!  
About Stuart R. West
Author Stuart R. West, just like his smarty-pants books, thinks he's funny. Yet over the years, his family, teachers, bosses, and wife have told him it's just not so. You be the judge.

 Zach wakes up with no memory, no phone, and no clothes except his stripper g-string. And oh yeah! There’s that pesky naked dead guy in bed next to him. Problem is Zach's not gay. Or a murderer. At least, he doesn't think so.

Only one person can help him, his sister, Zora. Of course Zora's got problems of her own—she has three kids at home and is eight month's pregnant with the fourth. So she’s a bit cranky. But that’s not going to stop her from helping her brother.

With kids in tow, the siblings set how to find the true killer, clear Zach's name, and reassure Zach he's not gay.

Reviewers who DO find Stuart R. West's books funny! 
“An hilarious murder mystery romp. Ride along with Zach and Zora on this most entertaining of mysteries.”
-Heather Brainerd, author of the Jose Picada, P.I. mystery series.

“Bad Day in a Banana Hammock will have you wiping up tears of hysterical laughter.”
-Suzanne de Montigney, author of the Shadow of the Unicorn series.

Book #2 in the Zach and Zora Comic Mystery series!

And coming in October! The third book in the Zach and Zora Comic Mystery series: Nightmare of Nannies.

*Stuart R. West's Books We Love Author's Page:
*Stuart R. West's (totally inconsequential) blog: Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley
*And the rest (like on Gilligan's Island): Facebook, Twitter


I'm SUCH a Little Girl! by Stuart R. West

Click here for The Book that has Stuart R. West in gender crisis!
After my wife read my latest book Peculiar County, she said to me, "I can't believe you were able to capture the mindset of a teenage girl so well."

Talk about a backward compliment! I mean, should I be worried? Should I hand in my Manly Man Membership card?

Maybe I'll start having sleepovers, invite all the neighborhood teen girls over. We can stay up all night, do each other's hair, talk about cute boys and boy bands. Pillow fight!


Not only do I not have any hair to braid, I don't think the neighbors would look too kindly on an old bald guy hosting a teenage sleepover.

So. Foregoing sleepovers, what are my other options?

I mean, I'm getting this kinda talk about my writing from a teen girl's perspective everywhere. Take for instance, "The Cellophane Queen," a notoriously hard-nosed book critic. Here's a snippet of her review of Peculiar County:

"The first person approach to Dibby, the 15-year-old female lead, is a highly dangerous task for a 50-something old guy, but he just dug in and channeled a perfect Dibby from 1965. This was a brilliant choice. Trying to emulate a 21st Century 15-year-old would be doomed to failure, but the 1965 version of a polite lil gal from Kansas with plenty of issues like a runaway mom and the high-school drama queen hellbent on making her life hell? Brilliant."--The Cellophane Queen review

See what I mean? Did the critic really have to bring up my *ahem* "50-something old" status? And make a big deal outta my writing from the viewpoint of a 15-year-old female?

Honestly, I just sorta wrote the lead character from an outsider's viewpoint, not too far removed from my own awful high school years. Changed things up a bit. And, frankly, anyone who's read any of my books knows the female characters are always the smarter, stronger ones.

Still, I'm scared. I've never liked sports, just kinda find them a waste of time. Bachelor parties? Feh. Who wants to go to parties without any women? And if I'm being absolutely honest right now (and I always am with you guys), I've owned a few pink shirts.

Fine. The critics have spoken. From now on, I'm only going to write books about serial-drinking, barrel-chested, bone-crunching, double-fisted, chain-smoking, hard-loving, window-smashing, refrigerator-lifting, terrible-smelling, neanderthal men! HooYAH! 

Right after I finish my planned epic series of books about Sweet Pollyanna Pourtney's New Red Velvet Shoes.

Stuart R. West's Books We Love Author's Page:

Monday, September 18, 2017

Like the March Hare, by Nancy M Bell

Laurel's Quest Book 1 in The Cornwall Adventures. For more info click here.

A trip to England sounds like a grand adventure, but Laurel Rowan can’t escape from her true reality. Her mother is terminally ill, and her father needs her to go so he can spend his time at the hospital. On a train to Penzance, Laurel meets a new friend, Coll. On the property of her host, she stumbles upon a magical spring. There she meets the White Lady, who offers her a chance at gaining her heart’s true desire, if only she can solve a riddle.
Pursuing her quest amidst the magic of the Cornish countryside, she is aided by Coll and her new friends Gort and Aisling. They are also helped by creatures of legend and myth, Vear Du, the Selkie, Gwin Scawen, the Cornish Piskie, Belerion the fire salamander, Morgawr the flying sea serpent who does Vear Du a favour, and Cormoran, the last giant of Cornwall. The friends must battle the odds in the form of bullies and confusing clues. Will they emerge victorious? Will Laurel have the courage to solve the riddle and fulfill her quest?

I feel like the March Hare today. I'm late, I'm late! Not enough hours in the day at this time of year. The gardens need to be put to bed and general tidying up outside in readiness for winter. I'm also getting ready to embark on a 20 library tour of northern Alberta starting October 2nd. I'm excited about it and nervous at the same time! Mostly, I worry about it snowing while I'm driving in unfamiliar territory, but I'm also sure it will all be fine. My last stop is on October 17th when I'll be visiting Plamondon and Lac la Biche. The next day I leave for the Surrey International Writers Conference in British Columbia. Rather than flying this year I'm catching a ride with my good friend Vicki. I haven't driven over the mountain passes in a long time so it will be a nice journey. Usually I fly into Abbotsford to avoid the craziness of Vancouver airport so only see the country side from above, and only then if there are no clouds. The mountains are magnificent no matter what the season.

September and October are some of my favourite months. I grew up in southern Ontario where October brings the flame of sugar maple trees massed on hill sides and lining roads with torches of orange, red and gold. The dark green of spruce and pine accentuate the brilliance of Jack Frost's artistry. Here in the west it is more the clear gold and yellow of larch, poplar and cottonwood. Summer's last gifts before the silver white blanket of late fall and winter comforts the sleeping seeds of next spring's growth.

For those of you who might be interested, I have new release coming out in November. Landmark Roses is the Manitoba offering in BWL Publishing's Canadian Historical Brides Collection. It tells the story of a typical Mennonite family in the 1940's farming just south of Winnipeg. I had the distinct pleasure of working with Margaret Kyle, she was kind enough to share her intimate knowledge of the Mennonite community she is a part of. Without her, the book would never have been written.

It's not available for pre-order yet, but should be soon. I love the cover.

See you in October! I'll have lots of tales to tell about my adventures touring the Northern Lights Library System's libraries.

Stay well, stay happy.

New Releases from Books We Love