Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Look into the Life of Officer and Author Ron Crouch

by DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard

From The Standard article, found here

NORTH DURHAM: After a 35-year career in law enforcement spanning two continents, local North Division police officer Ron Crouch will be hanging up his badge this week.


The veteran officer has been with Durham Regional Police since 1992 after beginning his career in law enforcement in his native England in 1978. Since 2002, Officer Crouch has worked out of DRPS’ North Division.


However, his journey to become a police officer began several years earlier.  "It was 1971, and human rights was in its infancy, so they turned me down because I was too short. Half an inch too short," said Officer Crouch.


So, instead Officer Crouch joined the Merchant Navy as a navigator, an adventure that allowed him the opportunity to see the world.


"I had this romantic idea of girls in grass skirts and tropical islands." recalled Officer Crouch "During the next six years I worked aboard oil tankers, including super tankers, general cargo ships and container ships. I never did meet any girls in grass skirts during that time, but I sure saw a lot of sea and a lot of desert and had many adventures along the way. My fondest memories are of navigating the Norwegian fjords."


In January 1978, Officer Crouch joined the Sussex Police, and was posted to the busy seaside town of Brighton for 11 years before spending an additional 18 months in the village of Storrington.


It was a turbulent time in the UK, and according to Officer Crouch, led to several violent incidents.


"Respect for the police was nonexistent. Just about every arrest resulted in a fight; few were willing to come quietly." Officer Crouch told The Standard. "This was the era of riots across the UK, including the almost decapitation of Constable Keith Blakelock during the Brixton riots."


In July of 1990, Officer Crouch arrived in Canada after 10 years of applications, but the trip was almost very short-lived.


"I almost went back in the first hour, because I ran into Canadian bureaucracy," said Officer Crouch.


After a series of jobs, and subsequent lay-offs led him to almost return to his native England after just 18 months, Officer Crouch was hired by Durham Regional Police, spending time in the Major Crimes Unit in Oshawa before heading to North Division in 2002.


Widely respected throughout the department, the interview with The Standard prior to his final night shift on the force was frequently interrupted by well-wishing comrades who came to pay respect to Officer Crouch.


"Ron genuinely wants to help people - even career criminals - he wants to get to the root of the problem so that he never has to see you again for the wrong reasons," said Constable Craig Mullen. "The compassion that he shows people, I haven’t seen in another officer that I’ve worked with."


According to Officer Mullen, the positive impact Officer Crouch has had on the community over his 11 years at North Division is evident everyday.


"Not a single day goes by that someone doesn’t stop to thank Ron for the things he’s done to help them and the way he’s treated them," added Officer Mullen.


Aside from his career in law enforcement, Officer Crouch is also an avid painter as well as a writer.


In recent years, Officer Crouch has self-published a children’s book and had two adult books published by Books We Love, a crime/romance novel set in Ontario and a crime mystery set in England. As retirement from the force looms, Officer Crouch is looking forward to publishing a memoir of his experiences over a 35-year career in policing.


In a career marked by highs and lows, it’s the camaraderie of the position that Officer Crouch will remember most fondly.


"What I think I’ll miss most is the banter and laughter in the locker room at the end of the shift between he crossover of the two platoons," Officer Crouch said. "And the old guys I sit with in the morning at McDonald’s."


His legacy of compassion for all people will live on through the efforts of those proud to have served alongside him with DRPS.


"Ron has taught me aspects of policing that I’ll carry over through my career and pass on to younger officers," Officer Mullen said. "Ron has made me a better police officer." 


Find Ron's BWL titles here




Saturday, January 25, 2014

IT'S BECOMING PAINFUL TO WATCH TV by Ginger Simpson


I've always been very open to suggestion and even had to stop watching Marcus Welby M.D. in my youth because I manifested the same symptoms the morning after I viewed an episode. Now don't class me as a hypochondriac... there's a vast difference between inventing illness and mimicking one.

I thought I had a pretty good handle on that problem, but now I have to worry about the side affects of the medicines I take...you know all those things they babble at sound faster than the speed of light at the end of the recommending ad?. Would you rather have RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) or a severe gambling problem? I'm not sure. Depends on my luck, I guess.

Although I don't suffer from the condition, I'm thrilled that those with genital warts are trying to protect their partner by taking a little pill a day, but how happy will they be when their mates suffer a stroke? How about that commercial that shows someone slumbering restfully after ingesting just one little tablet? How peaceful can you sleep when complex behaviors such as “sleep-driving” have been reported by people taking the drug. I kid you not! And what about this epidemic of penile flacidity? Is that even a word? Has this always been a problem and if so, why are we forced to hear about it now? Shouldn't that be a personal issue?

I take medication for atrial fibrillation that comes with a warning list a mile long. I can't take over-the-counter cold medicines because I might have a stroke, and if I combine it with a certain anti-depressant, I might become suicidal. Next thing I know, I won't be able to have sex on a night with a full moon in any month beginning with J.

What happened to the days when we didn't have to hear about feminine itching, hemorrhoids and especially sexual dysfunction. Do we really want to see a couple who has that problem, see the twinkle in their eye and know their business? I don't. I'm an author and I believe in a good romance, but I like something left to the imagination. Don't you?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Killing Your Darlings

or The Dangers of Thinking 'Outside the Box'...by Jenna Byrnes

This post was originally written a few years ago when I was a regular columnist on the 'Oh Get A Grip' blog. Hope you enjoy the reboot!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I thought long and hard about the subject this week, "Killing your darlings."

Huh.

None of my darlings has ever died.

You see, I write HEA. Happily ever after. Killing off one of the main characters works directly against the HEA affect I strive to achieve.



Do I ever put them through torment before that last page is turned? Duh. Books need conflict, or there won't be an interesting story. Most often, the conflict involves something dreadful that's keeping Boy #1 away from Boy #2 (or Girl #1, if you swing in that direction!) As with most good movies or TV shows, the conflict could usually be solved if an objective third party would sit Numbers 1 and 2 down and set them straight with the facts. But that wouldn't be nearly as much fun.

Recently, I tried to kill off a character. Not a main, but a secondary 'snitch' that had a fairly decent role in a cop short story I wrote. As usual, I sent it to my second set of eyes, Jude Mason, for editing. She sent it back with some red marks, some nice comments, and the phrase, "I don't think killing that guy is going to work."

Harumph.

It was my story, and I wanted the dude to die, so I left it in. I got the acceptance back with a contract and short note from my editor, "I really don't think that guy should die at the end. Not a very 'romance novel' thing to do."

Well, whaddaya know? Jude Mason was right. LOL (Okay, she usually is. But sometimes I fight it as much as possible.) And so, with the click of a few keyboard keys, the snitch was pulled back from the brink of death and was healing nicely by the end of the story. I didn't really mind making the change, but sometimes I question the 'in the box' parameters that romance writers have to stick with. I get tired of men who must be alpha males, and just once, I'd like to send one careening over a cliff at the end of a book. I know, I know...not a very 'romance novel' thing to do. But I've often wanted to try my hand at horror. Maybe there, it would work.

Heh heh heh! 



Jenna Byrnes
Page Scorching Erotic Romance
http://www.jennabyrnes.com/
http://bookswelove.net/jennabyrnes.php  




Monday, January 13, 2014

The Back Nine


 


 I FIRST STARTED READING  & WAS READING FAST UNTIL I REACHED
THE THIRD SENTENCE. I STOPPED AND STARTED OVER READING SLOWER AND
THINKING ABOUT EVERY WORD. THIS EMAIL IS VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING. MAKES
YOU STOP AND THINK. READ SLOWLY!

 AND THEN IT IS THE WINTER OF YOUR LIFE€¦   TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU'LL EVER BE,

SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS.

 You know ... time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware
of the passing years It seems just yesterday that I was young, just
married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it
seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that
I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my
hopes and dreams.

 But, here it is... the "€œback nine" of my life and it catches me by
surprise...How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where
did my youth go?

 I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that
those older people were years away from me and that “I was only on
the first hole” and the "back nine" was so far off that I could
not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

 But, here it is...my friends are retired and getting gray...they move
slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse
shape than me...but, I see the great change...Not like the ones that I
remember who were young and vibrant...but, like me, their age is
beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see
and never thought we'd become.

 Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for
the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore... it's mandatory!
Cause if I don't on my own free will.. I just fall asleep where I sit!

 And so...now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all
the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do
things that I wish I had done but never did!! But, at least I know,
that though I’m on the “back nine”, and I'm not sure how long it
will last...this I know, that when it's over on this earth...it's over.
A new adventure will begin! Yes, I have regrets. There are things I
wish I hadn't done...things I should have done, but indeed, there are
many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime.

 So, if you're not on the “back nine” yet...let me remind you, that
it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to
accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don't put things off too
long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can
never be sure whether you're on the 'back nine" or not!

 You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your
life...so, live for today and say all the things that you want your
loved ones to remember...and hope that they appreciate and love you for
all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!

 "Life" is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to
those who come after. Make it a fantastic one. LIVE IT WELL! ENJOY
TODAY! DO SOMETHING FUN! BE HAPPY ! HAVE A GREAT DAY Remember "It is
health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. LIVE
HAPPY IN 2014!

 LASTLY, CONSIDER THIS: ~Your kids are becoming you......but your
grandchildren are perfect! ~Going out is good.. Coming home is better!
~You forget names.... But it's OK because other people forgot they even
knew you!!! ~You realize you're never going to be really good at
anything.... especially golf. ~The things you used to care to do, you
no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don't care to do
them anymore. ~You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring
than in bed. It's called "pre-sleep". ~You miss the days when
everything worked with just an "ON" and "OFF" switch.. ~You tend to use
more 4 letter words ... "what?"..."when?"...” ??? ~Now that you can
afford expensive jewelry, it's not safe to wear it anywhere. ~You
notice everything they sell in stores is "sleeveless"?!!! ~What used to
be freckles are now liver spots. ~Everybody whispers. ~You have 3 sizes
of clothes in your closet.... 2 of which you will never wear. ~~~But
Old is good in some things: Old Songs, Old movies, and best of all, OLD
FRIENDS!!

 Stay well, "OLD FRIENDS!" ! It's Not What You Gather, But What You
Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.



 HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS

Saturday, January 11, 2014

INSOMNIAC




No Sleep by Milosaur
 

It’s 11:11 p.m. Sometimes, it’s 12:12. And other times it’s 3:33 or, maybe, it’s 4:56.  These clock times engage my imagination. They happen mostly the dark hours, when I wake up, check the time, shake my head and either stagger off to the bathroom, let the cat in or out, or wander around the house for a half an hour until my old joints unkink sufficiently so I can go back to sleep.

I suppose I shouldn’t waste time thinking about whether this means anything, but the problem is that during the '60’s I dabbled in numerology, and that years earlier, sitting on the floor to the off-stage right of a Barbadian bar, this little girl read books about aliens visiting earth in ancient times, which accounts for most of our mythology, or about prehistoric collisions of the earth with Venus, or about contemporary African tribes who somehow or other know all about the invisible-to-the-naked-eye-red-dwarf companion of the blue giant star, Sirius. I’ve been soaking in this other-worldly, one-brick-shy-of-a-load content since I was a post war precocious child, with predictable results.

Whenever I wake up at night, I always look at the clock, and because there is usually some variation of what I take to be a “meaningful” configuration, I’ve begun to imagine these are messages—from somewhere about something. Don’t ask me what, although I’ve spent plenty of 2-4 a.m. hours wondering.

Are these omens, messages from a hitherto uncommunicative universe? 

Is the TARDIS land going to appear in my bedroom? (Cool!)

Is some Nightmarish Being from an occult Lovecraftian dimension with three toes and a long snaky snout lurking just behind the bedroom door?

Is my ship—so long awaited—about to come in?

Or is it all simply a series of unrelated events, just “random chaos ”(as one of my friends has it), business as usual on this particular plane?

 ~~

Juliet Waldron
Author of Mozart's Wife, Roan Rose, Nightingale
and other historical novels. 
http://www.julietwaldron.com
http://www.amazon.com/author/julietwaldron
 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's All About Blogging

Following is a post I shared in 2007 on my own site.  I love to go back and read how much I've grown as an author and what sort of things I've added to my schedule.  Of course, I see a ton here I no longer do, and friends I've lost contact with.  Sad, but I've made a hundred new ones since then, so I can't be unhappy with the outcome.  The bottom line:  Blogging has brought me joy.  My most current comments are in ( ) below each paragraph.


 How long have you been blogging?
 Not long at all. Only since the very end of September (2006). I began in 2004 with a monthly newsletter and my membership grew to over 550. Although I enjoyed producing a monthly rag, I hated the bounced emails, the constant changing of them, and just the general headaches. So, when blogging became all the rage, I decided to give it shot. The downside was losing all my subscribers, but I found a way to add a subscription link and I actually forced everyone to sign up. Not really, I thought I could import my addresses but found I couldn't, so I spent three nights typing in addys complete with those stupid spam guard letters and numbers. When I went to bed last night, I swore they were tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. I'm happy to say that most of the people I subscribed, confirmed and have signed on for another round of torture. (I have since invited Rita Karnopp to join me, and I benefit from the wisdom in articles she shares on her days.)

 What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors? 
 As an author, you have to establish a fan base and I like to know mine. I love interacting with people, and blogging makes that easier. The newsletter was fun while it lasted, but this allows people to comment back to me and let me know what they think. I can also invite other friends to come and share information on days when I'm just too lazy to blog myself. Mentors? I didn't know many people who blogged until I started myself, so I guess I'm my own mentor.
 (I must credit Jude Pittman with getting me started.  I was through her BWL group that I gained my followers…her interactive comment section  allowed me to interact with people who had stopped by, and I believe most of the people who continue to follow me have been with me for a long time. Thank you Jude…not only for being a forward-thinker before you started Publishing, but for helping a new author establish herself.)

 Are you trying to make money online, or just doing it for fun? 
 You can make money doing this? Since I had no idea, I suppose I should be truthful and say I do this for the fun of it. I also write because that's what I love to do. If I was in it for the money, I'd have hung up my keyboard a long time ago. Despite all the promotion I do, my last royalty check barely covered a Happy Meal.  (Things have definitely changed for me since then.  I moved up to Burger King and Whoppers. *lol*)

 What 3 things do you struggle with online? 
 a) The biggest struggle for me the lack of tone in email. There is none and it's hard to keep from adding my own. You know we all have those days when we're pissy and it's very easy to beat myself up with my own attitude. I think I'm insecure and I need my Mommy!  (Still struggle with this and forget that people use their own moods to inflict tone in what you write…I'm a people too, so I have to question myself many times before I respond with a biting tone.)

 b) The next hardest thing for me is saying no when people need help. I'm not a computer geek by any means, but I seem to have a tad more expertise than some, and I find myself fixing boo boos, moderating, doing videos, and tons of other things that take time away from my writing.  (I only say no when it's physically impossible.  I truly believe that being a successful author depends on those with whom you surround yourself.  I will always help promote others, and do what I can to keep us all moving upward.)

 c) The final struggle for me is finding time to visit all the networking sites and being able to keep my own pages current. We have BEBO, BOOKFACE, BOOKPLACE, MYSPACE, SHELFARI...just to name a very few. It's almost impossible to be visible on all of them if I want to keep up with my blogging. I've yet to find a happy medium and I'm driving myself nuts. Good thing it's a short jaunt.

 What 3 things do you love about being online?
 a) It takes away my feelings of solitude. Since I retired from my academic counseling job, I'm a stay-at-home "Nee Nee" to a five-year-old grandson. I hunger for adult conversation, and email and my networking sites is how I get my fix these days.  (Nothing changed here.  The majority of my best friends are people I've never met.)

 b) I'm a closet comedienne and I love to make people laugh. I have a serious side to my blog, but I also like to blend in a lot of humor. Everyone needs a chuckle now and then, and if I can brighten someone's day, I do. Blogging gives me a chance to laugh at the world and myself.  (I love to infuse humor in almost everything I write.  It's hard being serious all the time, so when I get a chance, I like to make people laugh…it's the best medicine, if you haven't heard.)

 c) One of greatest thing about being online is learning new things. Of course then this takes me back to one the struggles of being on line...saying no to people. I've learned to do video trailers, even started a little side business called, TrailMix, Videos. Setting up a Myspace page wasn't a daunting task, but you'd be surprised how many people can't figure it out. I've mastered moderating yahoo groups and setting up my own, and it seems that either people are playing dumb or they really find it a challenge. Nonetheless, I guess I'm destined to be a patsy for anyone in need. There's a lot of satisfaction in it. Makes an old gal feel smarter than she really is. :) I guess now, what I need to do is tag three more people for you to meet. Hmmm, let me see: Yvonne Perry is is a wonder. She's one of the busiest people I know but manages to organize and involve people in great blog chains that connect one to another. I've met some great people and drifted to spaces I would never have found on my own. Vicki Gaia is a good friend and fellow author I met on a critique group. I admire her positive attitude and spirit, and she's been a tremendous help in honing my work for submission to publishers. Anne Whitfield is another good friend and fellow author who started a Historical Fiction critique group and invited me to participate. I've made great progress, good friends, and turned out some pretty decent books thanks to Anne and her group. I owe her a lot. So there you go. This was fun. Thanks to Helen Ginger for recognizing my site and awarding me the 'meme'. I titled this "All About Blogging" but it really was all about ME! Hope you enjoy visiting the other sites and learning about how other people blog. Probably not as crazily as I do, but as entertaining I'll bet.
 (Sadly, the people I've mentioned are ones with whom I've lost contact with, but like I said…I've made many more friends than I ever imagined.  They may not know my face, but they know my name.  I no longer do videos for other people, it's been ages since I've been to MySpace, preferring FB instead, and I've also let go of lots of "time sucks" such as Yahoo groups that provided nothing more than endless excerpts which I doubt many people took time to read and reading reviews from trolls who take delight in desecrating the work of others.  I've also relinquished many networking sites in favor of those I know are frequented by those who love to read.)

So, now you realize why I'm monopolizing this blog. All the reasons above, plus people will only follow a blog that has frequent entries and interesting content.  Jamie put effort into creating this blog for BWL authors, and that's me.  I'm doing my part because I owe BWL a great deal of gratitude…and I love Jude and Jamie.  Next time, I'm going to share one of Rita's interesting posts.  She's a wise woman with tons of good reads.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Always Learning By Ginger Simpson




Writing is always a learning experience. And a confusing one. I thought creating a novel would be the hard part, but I was wrong. It's deciding which helpful critiques of your work make the most sense.

It's a known fact, if you solicit an opinion, you'll get one...and you may not always like it or agree. This aptly describes being in a critique group. Although, it's often a task to glean the most helpful suggestions from the stack, I encourage every new author to find a group and join. You may receive some negative comments, but you get tons of positive ones that help keep you focused. You have to remember the reason you joined is to help hone your story into it's very best, and everyone has an opinion on how to do that. *lol* The secret is to select suggestions that don't change your voice or alter your story-telling ability, but improve the flow and correct the flaws.

Receiving critiques is like going through an editorial process. You must keep an open mind and consider each possibility. If I like a suggestion, I follow it, but if I don't, I hold firm to what I've written. Sometimes, it's my voice coming through, and what separates my story from any other. Every critique or editing provides an opportunity to learn something new.

Herein lies a problem. When I post excerpts, I always notice something I know now that I wish I'd known then. *lol* But, one of these days, I'm bound to write that award-winning novel with all these facts floating around in my head. At least, as I write now, I stop and remember to replace was with a more active word, or remove the could, would and should to keep my story in the present tense and remove the passive voice. I don't need all those necessary instances of that. I stop and re-read the sentence with and without it, and frequently hit the delete button.

I now look for and delete prepositional phrases (to him, at her) at the end of sentences. A reader is usually smart enough to know what is implied. And certainly, if there are only two people in the room, most tags aren't needed. Nothing is more annoying than every sentence identifying the speaker when I can figure it out on my own. Don't treat your readers like they're dummies. *lol*

I've been told that phrases like 'seemed to," "tried to," and "began to," actually weaken a sentence. It's better to stay in the active mode. Example: The aroma of apple pie seemed to fill the room. Why not say: The aroma of apple pie filled the room and made his stomach rumble.

And hardest of all for me to remember: Cause & Effect. Something has to happen BEFORE some has a reaction. Example: She jumped when the door slammed might be considered okay, but it's better if The door slammed and she jumped. So much to remember!
See what I mean? If not for my critique friends and my wonderful editors, I'd still be just a story-teller. There is a distinct difference between that and being a novelist. The secret is in drawing the reader in, making them experience the smells, feel the emotions, and believe they can see and feel along with the characters. It's not an easy task, but the more I learn, the better I become.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Not a BWL Pub, But by One of Our Authors....

I decided to post an endorsement for a book not published by BWL but by one of our authors.  Sometimes, books published elsewhere lead reader's here because they are so impressed with the writing, they want to read more.  This is what I experienced when I read this book..  Killarney is an awesome author and I'm happy to share a recommendation that I don't give lightly:

Through Gypsy Eyes by Killarney Sheffield

All-in-all, this was a story I will long remember and I'm so glad I read it. If you're looking for a romance that contains a whole lot more, you'll appreciate the fact Ms. Sheffield has left most of the sexual exploits to your own fantasies, and she's written in twists and turns you'll not see coming. I consider this worthy of my "I Dug It" award.

If you're interested, it's economically priced by Crimson Romance and available for your Kindle on Amazon.

Christmases Past...by Sheila Claydon

My latest book, Empty Hearts, is a vintage romance. It isn't about Christmas, but the cover, designed by the wonderful Michelle Lee a...