Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mardi Gras! Ooooh La La! By Connie Vines

Mardi Gras 2017 falls on Tuesday, February 28.  Today.😘 🎉

This is why today is the most perfect day for me to post on BWL Authors’ Blog.

My upcoming release “Gumbo Ya Ya” an anthology for women who like romance Cajun, takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana and features Mardi Gras and Cajun/Creole culture.

For those of you not familiar with Mardi Gras, I’ll give you a bit of a summary, via pictures and links, so that you can experience the excitement of The Big Easy (as New Orleans in called).

The most popular time to visit New Orleans is the extended weekend before Mardi Gras (February 24- 28). Come then and you'll be sure to catch the most popular parades, like Endymion, Bacchus, Zulu, Rex and all of the festive celebrations throughout the whole city.

Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday," is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Most visitors will plan to arrive no later than Saturday, February 25, 2017 in order to enjoy an extended weekend of festivities.


Watch the Floats and Catch Mardi Gras throws.

Enjoy jumping up to catch beads, doubloons, cups, stuffed animals, etc.! Yell, "Throw me something, Mister!" at the float riders. Bring a large, sturdy plastic or cloth bag to hold all the treasure you'll be catching. If you try to put all of your beads around your neck, you'll have a hard time standing up straight. Be prepared: some people get so overcome with excitement they will occasionally jump in front of you to grab what a rider has thrown to you. Don't get into a tug-o-war; there are many more floats on the way. Some visitors from far away hold up a sign saying where they are from: our local riders love to see that people from out of town having a good time, and will throw to them to make sure they do.



If you can’t visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras, try ‘tasting’ a few of the famous ‘foods’ of The Big Easy!



For easy to prepare New Orleans Fare visit All Recipes http://allrecipes.com/recipes/192/holidays-and-events/mardi-gras/


Listen to Mardi Gras Music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJARs46wMZ8


A video look at New Orleans during Mardi Gras.  http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/videos.html


Let the Good Times Roll!

Connie 



My favorite New Orleans Cafe, Cafe DuMonde



Coming Soon

Available now: at Amazon.com








Monday, February 27, 2017

Romance authors at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire, by Vijaya Schartz

Angel of Lusignan by Vijaya Schartz
Click to find it HERE

The Glendale Chocolate Affaire started just over two decades ago under the sponsorship of Joe Ceretta, the owner of the Ceretta Candy Company, located in Glendale Arizona. 

Joe Ceretta, initiator of the Glendale Chocolate Affaire.

This event usually runs on the Superbowl weekend, the first weekend of February, shortly before Valentine's Day. It takes place in Murphy Park, around the Velma Teague Library and goes on Friday night, Saturday all day and night, and Sunday afternoon. The theme is Chocolate and Romance, and since the inception, the local Romance Writers have been part of this event.

Getting Ready Friday night - an impressive lineup of authors
View from above. The Glendale Glitters are still decorating the trees since the holidays.
This year (unlike some previous years when it was cold or rainy) the weather was balmy, the sun shone on the event, and the crowds came to attend the free event. This year it gathered a whooping 85,000 visitors. There were vendors of chocolate, of course, and all kinds of sweets and yummy crepes and sausages and fried bread, wine, beer, chocolate-covered fruit, and many mouth-watering delights, like pulled pork and delicious curly fries drowned in melting cheese. You will also find there popcorn, hats, jewelry, art, and a trove of other treasures for Valentine's Day gifts.


On Saturday, many of the participating authors also gave free writing workshops in the Civic Center Annex, for aspiring writers of all popular genres, on how to write, edit, polish a novel, and get it published, as well on how to market it.
Vijaya Schartz, holding the first print copy of ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN

The most exciting thing for writers about this event, is the opportunity to meet their readers, year after year, as they return to tell them how much they liked last year's books, and to check what new titles they have published since the last Affaire.
Wearing sunglasses and summer top on this hot February day in Glendale Arizona.
So, if you live in Arizona, or happen to visit at that time of year, and if you like romance or chocolates, mark your calendars for next year and come say hi to our local Romance authors, at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire.

Vijaya Schartz
  Romance with a Kick
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
  Amazon - Barnes & Noble Smashwords


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Have good manners gone forever? Tricia McGill

Visit my Books We Love Author page
This morning something happened that made me wonder. Where have good manners gone?

I was given the finger by a fellow motorist as I drove out of the local shopping center. For those of you who are non-Australians that means a finger was pointed at me in a rude gesture by a scowling male driver. And what did I do to deserve this insult? I allowed cars the right of way onto the main highway. But obviously this young person considered that I made him wait too long behind me while I applied my good manners on the road. To show me his displeasure he came around on my outside beeping his horn full blast (bear in mind that we drivers sit on the righthand side of our cars over here in OZ and one of the road rules is that we give way to the right). He then proceeded to come across at speed so that he was in front of me and then he did a sudden jerk to the left while giving me aforementioned hand signal as he turned left into a service station (mouthing apparent obscenities). Now, how urgent was his need for petrol that he had to perform this amazingly bad mannered and ignorant act, putting other drivers at risk, simply because I did what comes naturally to me, I allowed the traffic coming from my right side right of way.

Fellow drivers of my generation will know exactly where I am coming from when I say that in the “good ol’ days” we would not only give way to other drivers but they would then give us a friendly salute to say thanks. Back then we knew what good manners were. I sometimes wonder how some of these younger drivers get their licences. I know we all think that we are the best drivers in the world when we are young and perhaps impatient, but at times they test my patience to the limits with their rudeness, and I wonder if they are taught manners at home.

We were taught to respect our elders, something else that came naturally. We would not think of sitting on a bus or train while an elderly person stood. The men of our era always, without fail, opened doors for us ladies, and walked on the outside of the footpath. Men might use plenty of cussing and swear words while in the company of their mates but never let a swear word pass their lips while in the company of females. And if they did let one slip they would immediately apologize. These days I am becoming sick of seeing movies that are peppered with blasphemies and curses, and by just as many women as men. My mother would be disgusted if she heard some of the language that seems to be the norm nowadays.

That’s not to say I haven’t used the odd swear word in my books, but only when it is appropriate to the character. I make no apologies to those who think me a prude, I have been known to let my tongue get the better of me at times when no other word will suffice, but mostly my dogs are the only ones who will hear.

It seems that nobody can solve the problem of whether manners maketh the man.
According to this writer’s point of view the problem today is that men are frightened of being embarrassed if they perform an act of chivalry. So, perhaps it is the women who are to blame. What man will offer to hold your chair out for you or help you on with your coat ever again if he is ridiculed by his friends or even the woman he is performing this mannerly act for?

Here’s what Sting had to say about good manners. I’m sure he won’t object to me using this brilliant quote:

“If "Manners maketh man," as someone said
Then he's the hero of the day
It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile
Be yourself, no matter what they say."


So, there you go, men of today (and sometimes women) have to stop being so self-conscious of doing what is right. Instead of making rude gestures simply because a fellow driver has made you wait a minute or two to be on your way, or a salesperson has held you up at the supermarket, take time to pause and smile. Life is too short to be in such haste to show others how rude and ignorant you are. I’m certain that this young man who was so rude to me has many people in his life who love him dearly—or perhaps he doesn’t and that is the root of his problems.

Remember Brian’s famous quote from Monty Python’s Life of Brian “Always look on the bright side of life.”

And then there’s the scourge of the internet—the troll. Need I say more? Every writer has suffered slanderous words aimed at their work by these faceless people who must surely have very unhappy existences if they take pleasure in sniping at other’s achievements.  

Another of my mother’s memorable words of wisdom was: “If you can’t say something nice about someone, then best say nothing at all.”



Find more on my Books We Love titles on my Web Page

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Randall Sawka, the Continuing Journey







Our journey, which turned out literally to be around the world, enters the home stretch. The six months living (we basically lived with the locals and avoided tourist spots) in England was amazing. Mostly amazingly dry. We arrived in late September and depart in late February and have had five to six days of rain. This was not at all what we expected. We love Weymouth on the south coast. Plenty of hikes.

Check out Randall's Books We Love author page for more on  his books.


http://bookswelove.net/authors/sawka-randall/




The city also boasts many great coffee shops. We grew close to Coffee 1 as my main writing spot, it is a chain that makes Nancy's favourite, pumpkin spice lattes and an interesting thing called Cornish lemonade for me. They lack WiFi, so I get far more writing done without distraction. Except the charm of my lovely wife, of course. Another excellent place was on the Oceanside about a two hour walk from our apartment. He I scribbled down some words and celebrated with cake, a favourite in the UK. The one that looks like it has cherries on top is actually cherry cake. Our first time for that flavour.








This coming weekend is our last one here, but will be spent in Salisbury, a short train ride away. During my local promotion of my novels a country western club invited us to a dance Saturday night. Yee Haa.

My latest novel is coming along nicely. It is the first time I've written a book out of sequence. It is an. Interesting experience. I'll soon be busy sorting out the section and blending the ideas. The nice thing about doing the book this way is that I can dive in to the ideas as they pop in to my head rather than search for the next bit as needed. The ideas have been slow materializing or appear in wave-after-wave.


We will be back in Canada March 29th, jet lagged I'm sure, but happy we took this year to travel.

Sent from my iPad

Friday, February 24, 2017

What if...you meet an alien?



What if...you meet an alien? Thought provoking question, right?

Hi everyone. I’m DK Davis, author of Secret: In Wolf Lake, a YA sci-fi, fantasy adventure starring Samantha Parks. Her experience brings to light my own thoughts of ‘aliens walk among us’…and what if I met one? LOL Seriously, though, I did think about this, a lot when I was younger…and honestly, I’m not sure all of those thoughts have left the building. *grins*

I had an imaginative childhood. Yea, I had a few good friends, and three sisters that kept me fairly busy (me being the oldest and the responsible one), but I also had a wild imagination. Besides the inner search of my “soul belief,” (I was pretty young when I realized there was more to me than a mere physical body) I also believed that there has to be more than humans in all the galaxies of the universe.

Didn’t you back then?  How about now?

Science Fiction fed me for most of my life, so did the Sci-fi shows and movies…and then fantasy and the paranormal…and supernatural. I loved / love all of it. Like an addiction or craving, I can never get enough.

Imagination is at the core of creative story ideas…like the “what if”—I meet an alien?
How would it appear? Like a human, like a scary entity covered with wart-like oozing growths or tentacles that look like rat tails, or how about like a supernatural being…as in vampire, werewolf, any kind of shifter? Eyes glow, face blaze red, veins are dark blue when angered…and what would anger it?



My alien would appear human, at least for part of the time, because it would have the ability to “glamor” itself (change its appearance to look like anything or anyone). It would also have empathy for the human race and all the beings that share our planet. (It is my imagination at work here, after all) *grins*

It would want to right all the wrongs we as humans are doing to our planet. Most likely it would be some kind of advocate for all the right things to do for our planet to make it healthy. Naturally it would come from another galaxy and know exactly the steps required for Earth and all its beings.

We (the alien and I) would be drawn together by instinct – it would have the ability to read my mind…and perhaps I would share that same ability. Together, we’d right the wrongs. (I love being the hero – or at least one of the heroes; )

But, of course, we’d have to get past the naysayers – those afraid of the “unknown.” And, how will we do that?

And if we don’t get past those negative, close-minded beings, there’d be certain apocalyptic events, so a good dollop of building tension…will we succeed?

Well, just great, now we’re talking end of the world because of people fearing my alien friend. There definitely will NOT be a total annihilation of our Earth. Those darn naysayers will have to take a backseat and roll their windows up. I won’t hear any more of it. Geesh!

It is my story after all (another reminder)…about my alien and me.
Have you ever thought about aliens living among us? Come on…be honest, you’ve never thought about it?

Tell me something. Use that wild imagination of yours. It’s fun to play, you can call it brainstorming if that makes you feel better.

So, what would the alien you meet look like? And would he/she have any superpowers? Curious minds want to know; )



DK Davis writes YA sci-fi, supernatural, and fantasy with a good dollop of all the relationships woven in between. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, spending time with grandchildren or her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.
You can find her at these links:




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Thursday, February 23, 2017

February is the Month for Love by Victoria Chatham


February is not only the shortest month of the year but also the month in which St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated, the day when lovers traditionally declare their love and give each other gifts. However, history is hazy as to whom, exactly, Valentine was but there’s a strong possibility that any one of seven priests known as Valentine could be a contender. The two most likely candidates are St. Valentine, a bishop of Rome and St. Valentine, the first bishop of Interamna in Terni, a town in Umbria.
Our first St. Valentine lived during the reign of Claudius II who had something of a problem with his army. After engaging in several unpopular campaigns, married men simply refused to join up. Claudius understood this, so he banned engagements and marriages thinking that a single man had less incentive to stay at home. But St. Valentine, bishop of Rome, continued to marry couples in secret after Claudius had banned the ceremony. For this, and then refusing to renounce Christianity, Valentine was clubbed, stoned and beheaded on February 14th in Ad 269 or 270.
The second Valentine who might have been a contender for the title came to an equally unpleasant end. For the crime of marrying a pagan man to a Christian woman, he was scourged, imprisoned and beheaded on February 14th during the same period.
This for the Romans was the time of Festivals of Purification and Fertility, which took place from February 13th to 18th, and were dedicated to peace, love and household goods. But, on February 14th, the Romans celebrated Lupercalia – likely dedicated to Juno-Lupa, the She-Wolf. If you remember the story, Rome was reputed to have been founded by the twins, Romulus and Remus. They were raised by a she-wolf in a cave in the Palatine Hills and it was close to that cave that the festival took place.
In AD 496 Pope Gelasius declared February 14th to be the Feast Day of St. Valentine, patron saint of lovers and engaged couples. During this time young Roman men took to courting the young women they admired with handwritten greetings of undying love and affection. If this mutual admiration resulted in marriage then, to prove to the father of the bride that his new son-in-law had his bride’s best intentions at heart, the groom gave the bride a ring. This is believed to be the earliest time for a ring to be incorporated into the marriage ceremony.
During the medieval era, this tradition carried on when couples would put their own names in a box and then be drawn in pairs. Each couple would exchange gifts and the girl would be the man’s sweetheart for a year. He was duty bound during that year to protect her and wore her ribbon on his sleeve. The end of the year usually culminated in a wedding. These were the origins of what was called courtly love.
In 1382 Geoffrey Chaucer in his Parliament of Foules wrote ‘For this was St. Valentine’s Day when every bird cometh there to choose his mate’, and in 1537 Henry VIII, he of the six wives, declared by Royal charter that England would celebrate February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day, the traditional date for exchanging love messages and simple gifts. It was during the 1500’s that paper valentines began to appear and were known as poetical or amorous addresses.
Then there were the romantic poets and playwrights down through the ages from Shakespeare (When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew), to Christopher Marlow (Come live with me and be my love), John Donne (I wonder by my troth, what thou and I did before we loved?) and on through Lord Byron, Shelley, Keats and numerous other poets.
During the early 1700’s Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art known as the Language of Flowers to Europe. This attributed flowers with certain symbolic meanings, something the
Victorians took to heart as a means for a love-stricken swain to send clandestine messages to his intended. Chocolates came into the market in the mid-1800’s when Richard Cadbury invented a way to mix chocolate and cocoa butter to make sweeter, more edible chocolate. The resulting sweet treats were sold in fancy boxes and the Victorians snapped them up.
British artist Kate Greenway, 1846-1901, was well known for her Valentine cards and Esther Howland, 1828 – 1904, started making handmade cards but demand outstripped her capabilities and she began mass production of them in the US and the UK. These penned romantic verses continue in modern Valentine cards with a mind-boggling 190 million cards being sent last year in the US alone.
More latterly diamonds, the so-called King of Gems, have been become a popular Valentine’s gift whether in the form of earrings, necklaces or bracelets. The ancient source of diamonds was India but today the top five diamond-producing countries in the world are Russia, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, and Canada. South Africa, once a major producer of diamonds, is now at the bottom of that list. Diamonds are found in primary and secondary deposits of alluvial gravel, sand or clay. The rarest of all diamonds, the red diamond, is still only found in India. At the time of its sale in 1987, the Hancock Red was the most expensive per-carat gemstone ever sold at auction. Scientists are still not one hundred percent sure what gives a red diamond its colour. In 1475 Ludwig von Berquen, a Dutch lapidary, invented a way of cutting flat surfaces on gemstones, thereby increasing their brilliance. The best-known shapes are Princess, Pear, Marquise, and Emerald but for a breath-taking sparkling diamond ring, choose a round brilliant cut diamond.
However, whatever the real origins of St. Valentine’s Day, whatever the gift, the best tradition of February 14th is always the declaration of true love.



 For more about Victoria go to:



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Shaman A Day Keeps the Woos-woos Away



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A Shaman A Day Keeps the Woos-woos Away

People often ask me after reading one of my Stillwaters Run Deep books involving the Haida Ska-ga or shaman, Charlie Stillwaters, have I ever done anything woo-woo in my life.
Well I’ve done a lot of crazy things including: white water rafting on the Grand Canyon, bungee-jumping (in a tuxedo), firewalking over a bed of hot coals, and got married four times. Sorry, the last one was merely a joke. Hope the ladies don’t send their woo-woo stuff after me after that remark or their lawyers.
Actually if you ask my current wife, Jenny, she would definitely tell you I’ve got woo-wooness running in my bones. She gets mad, because I’ll often say something and she responds with “How did you know I was just thinking that?” Her nickname for me is Spooky Mulder (after what’s his name from the X-files.
I have pretty good intuition, well except for picking winning lottery numbers. I did many Self Improvement courses, (the Context series), amazing learnings, if anyone is interested. One time we had to perform a major incomplete before the course ended. The idea being to free up space in our lives by finishing any incompletes which would be draining energy from us.
At that time I had missed going to my friend Eric’s funeral. He was a dragster fan and I had this vision of always putting the Snake and the Mongoose (two top professional NHRA dragsters) on his gravestone. I had the Mattel Hot Wheels models he’d given me.
So one day at work I had this woo-woo feeling that today was the day. I phoned about four cemeteries and no one had records of him being buried there. I gave up, but my guts said today is the day and I knew I had to do this. So I remember opening the Yellow Pages (remember those) and saying to myself if I had to make one more call which one to make. This one number in the book drew my attention and I made the call.
She asked, “how did you know this man?”
I told her the story.
“He’s my brother in law,” she replied.  “I’m here on temporary relief for two weeks, don’t usually have to answer the phone, but the call person is on a lunch break. He is also buried under his mother’s Maiden name and if you don’t know that you’ll never find him.” She was correct, because I had called that cemetery and they said no one by that name is buried there.
I thanked her and told her the real reason for my calling. I think she was as amazed as I was and later in the summer I went to his grave and left the two race cars on his tombstone.
I have lots of other wild stories, but I like that one. So if someone asks, I guess it just feels natural for me to write about Shamans and those unexplainable bizarre events that make you go, “hmm.” Perhaps the gypsy blood inside.

Oh, and if you’re wondering yes, I’m still currently married to my English mad wife, Jenny. Who swears she has to wear a tinfoil hat every time we play any kind of games, because I read her mind all the time. Now, if I can just get those lottery numbers.


Purchase Here
Thunderbird's Wake Endorsements

Just when I was beginning to wonder where the next great Canadian story teller would emerge from, Frank Talaber has written a modern crime mystery with a twist. In “Thunderbird’s Wake” Talaber weaves the richness of Canada’s west coast aboriginal spirituality into the science of modern forensics. CSI comes to Haida Gwaii as the shaman and the detective conduct an investigation that will take them and the reader on a journey to a place where murder, redemption and ancient mysticism intersect.
Michael G de Jong, QC
Minister of Finance, Government House Leader,
Province of British Columbia

There are many aspects true to First Nation’s beliefs. For example the transformation of animals and anomalies within our realm. Frank Talaber’s writing is clear and concise, leaving no grey areas. But his true talent as a writer is not only a sense of time, history and capturing First Nation’s humor, but going from the real to the surreal and the supernatural. A gift he plies very well.
Tom Patterson
Nuu-Cha-Nulth Artist and Master Carver 


Back Cover Blurb
Agatha Christie, roll over in your grave, new sleuths on the prowl.  Haida shaman Charlie Stillwaters convinces Carol Ainsworth, a Vancouver detective, to join him as he breaks his way into a high security prison. The duo are determined to find out who killed the previous native elder before all lightning and thunder breaks loose. They encounter deranged inmates, mystical beings, ancient serpents, wood sprites and someone who should have been dead long ago.
Not your usual crime/mystery!
Not your usual criminal investigators!
You thought Jack Nicholson was mad in The Shining
Wait until you meet Charlie Stillwaters in the Sweat lodge.


Frank Talaber’s Writing Style? He usually responds with: Mix Dan Millman (Way of The Peaceful Warrior) with Charles De Lint (Moonheart) and throw in a mad scattering of Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get The Blues). 
PS: He’s better looking than Stephen King (Carrie, The Stand, It, The Shining) and his romantic stuff will have you gasping quicker than Robert James Waller (Bridges Of Madison County).
Or as is often said: You don’t have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps.

Website Links:
Main website:  http://twosoulmates.wix.com/frankt-author-blog
http://amazon.com/author/franktalaber
http://about.me/ftalaber
http://amazon.com/author/franktalaber
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frank-Talaber/805296946204873
http://www.bookswelove.net/authors/talaber-frank/

Twitter: @FrankTalaber


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Awesome New Releases from Books We Love

 New releases from Books We Love

     
       
        
       
 

 
 
      
 
 
   
 
 Find more new releases here

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...