Thursday, June 29, 2017


1967--Wearing Aunt Juliet's 1950's Dress which she sewed for an Ohio State dance

My mother’s parents had a beautiful backyard in the small Ohio town of Yellow Springs. Their house and backyard are the very first I remember. I was a war-time baby, and because of the housing shortage, my mother lived with her folks for some years while my father was serving over-seas. 

Grandpa had made his yard special by that time, but when they first came to town, in 1927, the “yard” was barren. The only tree was a young sugar maple which provided afternoon shade.   Grandpa Liddle was an English Professor, but he’d been raised on a farm, so he knew how to grow things. By the time I’d reached consciousness—say, 1947—his backyard had become a lovely place, now hidden from the neighbors by a living wall of cedars.

Inside this, twenty years on, was a flower garden, where colorful Dutch bulbs bloomed in spring—daffodils, tulips, anemones, narcissus—followed by all kinds of lilies and roses in summer, as well as Canterbury bells, bachelor buttons and a host of other familiar plants. There was also a pear tree, a stand of raspberries, a grape arbor and rhubarb. All the surplus was either turned into jelly or canned for winter use. In summer fresh fruit was always on the menu—my cornflakes always had raspberries; our lunches were accompanied by pears or grapes.

Celandine, brought from the NY family farm to Grandpa's Ohio yard, to mine 

In the shadiest part of the yard, by a small stable which sheltered the ponies that belonged to his daughters, he had a wildwood area. This contained a variety of ferns, trillium, phlox, wild violets, and bleeding heart. Dutchman’s Breeches, Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Dutchman’s Pipe were two of the oddest denizens of this garden.

Dutchman's Breeches

Under the big maple, on the brick patio, in good spring weather, he’d occasionally host a small senior literature class in Milton, Chaucer, or Shakespeare. This was not a problem for the students generally, as the house was only two blocks from the college and bicycles, in those days, were part of campus life. If I arrived in the middle of one of these classes, I knew to quietly head into the house. Here, I’d find Grandma in the kitchen, getting a proper English tea ready to serve. Of course, there was always some for me.  

Professor A.W. Liddle, a.k.a. "Grandpa"

Grandpa also had a little pond for goldfish. Nearby, he planted two sweet cherry trees, one for me and one for my cousin, Michael. Pies made from the fruit are another happily remembered treat, fresh ones in summer, followed by winter’s, made with Grandpa’s canned cherries. The pond was my favorite spot to sit, where I waited to glimpse furtive tail-flicks of orange.

Aunt Juliet & me. Hula skirt courtesy of a Vet on Leave from Pacific Front

I fed the fish whenever I visited. As soon as they spied me, peering down at them from my dimension of air, they would obligingly rise to the surface to take whatever I’d brought. ( I suppose, however, that, ordinarily, the resident mosquito larva was sufficient.) In the autumn, Grandpa would dip out the pond and put the fish into a tank on a side table in the sunlit breakfast room. Mostly, the goldies survived to return to the pond again in the spring. Some of these wintered-over fish grew quite large.

There were two weddings held in this garden, first that of my parents, and later, post-Korean war,  of my Aunt Juliet. I was the flower girl and my Cousin Michael, still in diapers, was the ring bearer. Later on, I nursed my first son sitting in that same utterly private backyard, while my grandparents told my husband and me stories about their 1927 arrival in this small middle-western town. 

Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH

~~Juliet Waldron
See all my historical novels @

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Coming Soon: Fly Away Snow Goose, in the Canadian Historical Brides series

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How Do You Go About Developing Your Characters? by Connie Vines

How do you go about developing your characters for a story?

How much time do you spend or does it just happen in the writing process ? What inspires you?

Thank you Rhobin, once again, for a great writing topic.

I believe development of my characters has a great deal to do with the type of novel/story that I am writing at the time. Obviously, my novellas, for lack of work count, are not superficial by any means, but my information is given via dialogue or internal thoughts with visual clues. My romantic suspense will have a lesser degree of character development, unless it relates to the 'suspense element' that say, my traditional romance novels.

However, I do write character sketches for all of my 'people'. I may sprinkle the info in the story, or simply keep in in the back of my mind for character motivation.

  • I often use astrological signs to help develop my characters and create conflict. Rodeo Romance, Book 1, (LYNX). Lynx Maddox is a Leo and Rachel Scott is an Aquarius. Opposites attract but they also create great romantic conflict.
  • Birth Order is another way to develop your character(s) actions and outlook on life. Pairing a 1st born woman with the 'baby' of the family or vise-a-versa, will create writing inspiration.
  • Ethnic background is also to be considered. If one character is from a large immigrate family is dating a person who is an only child (4th generation) with have all types of expected things popping into picture.
  • If I am writing a historical novel, I often make a composite of historical people/clues in diaries and letters (WHISPER UPON THE WATER)
  • At other times, with all of my careful planning, the writing process flips my character into a secondary character or he/she evolves and I go back and edit/change several scenes.
  • Also physical attributes/challenges. We all have them. Did those dimples work in her favor?
What inspires me? Life. People's hopes and dream. Honor. Justice. And sometimes, just the need for a good laugh.

Happy Reading!

Connie Vines

I am so sorry about the late post and lack of photos and links.  My PC crashed during our recent So.Cal outage (last night) and I'm working on my very ancient VISTA Dell PC.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Finding the truth buried in the legends

Find all the books of the Curse of the Lost Isle series and other books by Vijaya Schartz  from BWL HERE

Myths and legends are often cautionary tales, but each of them relates to specific events and periods of the faraway past, and contains a kernel of truth. Even these immortal ladies were modeled on existing heroines of old, who influenced society in times of turmoil.

Beside the persecution of Pagans during the dark ages, many important historical events punctuate the lives of these immortal ladies. The Viking invasions in Scotland are front and center in books one and two. Then the foundation of Luxembourg in books three and four. Feudal life and religious struggles in France come to life in book five. The greatest adventure of all times, the Crusades with their different facets are depicted in books six and seven, and the best known legend of Melusine the Fae in Aquitaine, the cradle of many royal lines, comes to light in book eight.

But who were these strong women who fought to survive against all odds, in a world ruled by men, in a violent society where life had little value?

They were Celtic and Pagan. They did not abide by the rules of the new religion Charlemagne had imposed by the sword. They believed in equality and refused to bow to the will of the men who would tame and control them. They practiced kindness toward all and worked for the common good. Early on, they symbolized hope and freedom for many, especially the oppressed.

The ruins of the castles they built still stand. Here, Melusine's tower in Vouvant, Aquitaine.

These ladies were smart and astute politicians and influenced the rulers and the historical events of their day. They had the welfare of their community at heart. They fought for what was right in a world where the powerful held sway with ruthless violence, and often with impunity.

These ladies were not perfect. Far from it. Each of them made grave mistakes in their youth, using their powers for purposes other than the common good. For these mistakes, they were cursed, and spent their entire lives dealing with horrible woes... all the time struggling to hide their Pagan origins and avoid discovery by the Church... which would lead to burning at the stake. They also sought redemption in the eyes of their Pagan Goddess.

Melusine in her cursed shape still graces the walls of the castle of Lusignan

 Even in today's society, these ladies of old stand as a shining example. I loved writing about them. Their names are rarely mentioned in the history books, although they appear in many legends. But their famous and infamous descendants blazed new trails throughout history.

I hope when you learn more about them, you will like them as much as I do.

Vijaya Schartz
Romance with a Kick
Find my page and all my books on:

Monday, June 26, 2017

The magical world of Time-Travel as seen by Tricia McGill

Find all my books on my Books We Love Author page
I am not sure where my fascination for Time-Travel evolved from. Perhaps it stems from one of Enid Blyton’s series of books that I read many years ago. The children didn’t exactly time travel in the land of “The Faraway Tree”, but they did journey to many extraordinary imaginary places when they entered the Enchanted Wood.  I spent many ecstatic hours with them as I did also with Enid Blyton’s “Famous Five” on their adventures.

But I think my first foray into the likelihood of actual time-travel was brought about by the 1960 movie adaptation of H. G. Wells “The Time Machine” with Rod Tayler, Yvette Mimieux, and who can forget The Morlocks. If you never saw the movie you should wander over to this site where you can watch some of the scenes:

I have to agree that some of it was so far-fetched and seems corny by today’s standards, but it was a movie ahead of its time. It was remade in 2002 with Guy Pearce in the lead role, but this adaptation was far removed from the original that inspired me. I have an extensive list of my favorite movies including, The Terminator, Back to The Future, The Time-Traveler's Wife, Kate and Leopold, and Interstellar. The fact that so many movies have been made using the TT plot proves that I am not the only one fascinated by the subject. Put Time-Travel movies into the search bar and see what it brings up. 

Whoops! Nearly left out my favorite time-traveler of all. Who doesn't love The Doctor. I've been watching Dr Who from almost the first time it appeared on our TV screens in England when the deadly Daleks used sink plungers for weapons. What a success story and what a premise. He not only travels back and forth through time but also goes inter-galactic in his police box, the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space). And what a  brilliant idea to have him regenerate periodically when a different actor needs to take over the role instead of dying. 

I sincerely hope I live long enough to see someone make that leap into another time by using some means or other. Apart from the fascination with the theory of time-travel there is also the other factor that stirs my interest and that is how great it would be to see first-hand how people lived, loved and worked in times gone by. My time-travel stories to date have taken me back to Scotland of 1050 (Wild Heather Series—The Laird Book 1 and Travis Book 2), Jorvik (York) when it was a Viking settlement in 879AD (Maddie and The Norseman), and to the Ancient Britain of 450AD not long after the Romans left in my latest release A Call Through Time.

A large part of the intrigue attached to writing this genre stems from my love of research. It’s rewarding and satisfying to start out on the journey with an idea and to build upon that idea when you set a period in time and then go about researching time lines, costumes of the period, the food the folk eat, and how they prepare it etc. etc.  
When it boils down to it, much as I would love to take this journey back to a time and place when sanitation was non-existent, where life was basic with no washing machines, toilet paper, no cars, no planes or trains, I would always want to return to the present day of clean bed linen and sanitary products, of skilled doctors and surgeons. Imagine what it would have been like without the necessities we take for granted. But, that said, I would still love to know if life was really like it is portrayed in the movies. Apparently Cleopatra was no raving beauty like Elizabeth Taylor, but she did get some mighty influential men to fall for her: 

 The Elizabethans were a pretty grubby lot with perhaps one bath a year in dirty water at that: 

And what about the Vikings, I doubt they ever cleaned their teeth or brushed their hair: 

We romanticize a lot (or I do) about these times, but I can’t really see myself falling for someone whose mouth smells like rotten food and whose body must stink after months at sea on a diet of fish. But there you go, it’s a writer’s privilege to fantasize, even if it means turning fact into fiction to suit our needs.

Visit my web page for excerpts and reviews

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Settling In by Randall Sawka

Find this title at Amazon

The summer winds have blown us to our new home in the heart of downtown Toronto. Nancy and I are both prairie folk. Granted prairie folk living on Vancouver Island for the last 27 years.

A month has passed and we have to say, well, Toronto is, how shall I say it? Awesome!

It helps to be situated (thanks to our daughter's advise) in the ideal spot for us.

Across the road from our condo is a walkway with few lights or crosswalks. Perfect for walks or an early run, a coffee at wherever, or a picnic in a nearby park.

A walk through the area seen in the above photo brought an amazing surprise. The International Festival of Authors runs promotional events from September to June. Yes, I'll be looking into that!

As for writing. I'm standing at my early morning spot. I have found three places that I find comfortable for writing within a ten minute walk. The din of the city is everywhere. However, I've already tuned it out. Except the drama of the trolley trains below me blasting their horns when a car decides their tracks suits there needs. Note: The trolley always wins.

Settled in, have furniture, next book a blink away from completion. It took a few grueling weeks, but I have my website updated. I went green, but a green that might required sunglasses. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Unorthodox - Cover Reveal

What do an FBI Special Task Force agent (Derek Knight), a dead FBI Criminal analyst (Jenna Powers), and a Mystery Romance author (Kendra Spark) have in common?

Answer: UnorthodoxA Kendra Spark Novel – Due for release from Books We Love on September 15, 2017

Cover artist – CoveredUp.Net

Hello everyone: ) S. Peters-Davis here and so happy you stopped by to see the cover art reveal for my first book in the Kendra Spark Series, a paranormal suspense-thriller, with a dollop of supernatural, and a budding romance (at least I’m hoping that part of the story blooms in full at some point in the series) *grins*

Writing this mixed blend of genres gives a lot of opportunities for plot and subplot twists, tension possibilities, romance, other developing relationships, and of course with the supernatural there are openings for the impossible to become plausible.  I so enjoy that part and hope you do too; )

Here’s the mini tagline for Unorthodox:

Kendra’s ability of communicating with the dead is requested by her FBI criminal analyst friend to stop a killer from murdering agents.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Kendra Spark, suspense-mystery romance author and communicator with the dead, is requested to hop on the first flight to D.C.

Jenna Powers, FBI criminal analyst and estranged best friend of Kendra, gets ghosticized in a fatal accident before relaying all the details of the FBI killer case.

Derek Knight, a dedicated FBI Special Task Force agent, takes lead on the case.

The investigation into the FBI agent killings continues as Kendra, Jenna – yes, even after death – and Derek work together on the case before Director of the Special Task Force Jackson Powers’ number is up. He’s Jenna’s father and the end-game of the killer’s target list.

Somehow the elusive killer remains undetected, until Kendra’s unique ability produces results and a final possibility at stopping his killing spree before it’s too late.

Here’s the Kendra Spark Novel series mini tagline:

Kendra sees ghosts, and then her BFF, Jenna, becomes one. The two friends and FBI agent Derek Knight fight for justice to the victims of heinous crimes.

Here’s an excerpt from the Author Review Copy: (The scene – Derek has Kendra in a casual interrogation room inside the FBI building – D.C. location)

The door opened and Jackson Powers entered before I could respond.

He glanced around the room stopping when he saw me; his red rimmed eyes spoke volumes. I clearly remembered his presence, a straightforward man, full of confidence and direction, but in this moment he appeared like a man broken. I rose and reached for a hand shake. Instead, he grabbed my hand and pulled me into a big bear hug.

“I’m so very sorry about Jenna. Sorry for your loss, for my loss…” Muscles tensed around my vocals and cut off the words.

Tears spilled from both of us. Derek stepped out of the room, clicking the door closed.

“Jenna told me she was meeting with you today, going to show you the city sights.” Jackson held me for a few more minutes, patting my back and telling me it wasn’t my fault.

The thought of the accident initially being my fault had never entered my mind. Why would that thought cross his? I stepped back. Obviously he hadn’t received the latest details of the accident, but even so why would he consider that I’d feel responsible. Even if I questioned that maybe I could have done something to stop her in some way, she did save that boy. “Not sure what you mean…in thinking it could be my fault?”

His eyes widened, maybe a little startled at my blatant question. “I assumed Jenna ran after a little culprit that grabbed your purse or something much worse. She must have gotten caught up in the chase to run in front of on-coming traffic.” His face softened. “Kendra, I know Jenna, there was nothing you could have done to stop her. She’s always been head-strong…was always
head-strong,” he corrected himself, then his voice cracked, and suddenly something occurred to me.

Jackson isn’t privy to Jenna and Derek’s manhunt for the FBI killer, nor the reason I’m here. Of course. Jenna had tagged along to certain crime scenes while she was still in college, but from all that I remembered, Jackson wanted her profiling cases strictly inside the building. She had access to all the crime scenes from pictures and files on her laptop. At least she always used to complain about his restrictions, and I couldn’t imagine he would allow her in the field on a serial killer task force, unless things had changed in the last couple years.

There’d been a few close calls on other cases, some of the agent’s family members being abducted or being used for negotiation, leverage. While in college, Jenna told me all the rules her father had enforced if she were to join in any of the FBI cases. He protected her, and now she had returned the favor…to her demise.

Jenna and Derek were hunting the serial killer behind Jackson’s back.

There was a tap on the door and Derek stepped in. His brows were drawn close, eyes narrowed, perhaps his expression of concern. “Sir, I thought Kendra might be hungry. She hasn’t eaten all day.” He smiled at me, and then looked back at Jackson. “I’m headed out for a late lunch and thought I’d take her with me.”

Jackson’s lips pressed together. He finally lifted his chin toward me. “Well, of course. We certainly wouldn’t want anyone going hungry now, would we,” more of a statement than a question. He patted my shoulder. “Go on, Kendra. We can continue our talk later. I’d like to hear exactly what happened to my daughter from someone who was there to witness it.”

Derek grasped my elbow and led me toward the door.

Instead of following, Jackson released a long breathy sigh and sat on the couch. “Shut the door behind you, Derek. And tell Darla I don’t wish to be disturbed.”

My heart swelled huge behind my ribcage, again the confining weight pressing in on my ability to breathe. I couldn’t imagine the emotional maelstrom Jackson was going through. I knew only my own turbulent ride. Now I needed to get some facts straight; it was my turn to interrogate Derek.

About S. Peters-Davis:

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.

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Friday, June 23, 2017


When I started writing seriously, over twenty years ago, I had never heard the term ‘craft books.’ I associated craft with knitting, sewing, or woodworking and furniture restoration. My first writing instructor explained that there were many, many craft books on the market and what some writers swore by was anathema to others.

My very first craft book on writing was Guide to Fiction Writing by Phyllis Whitney (September 9th, 1903 to February 8th, 2008.) I read it slowly and carefully and the one thing that struck me was her comment, ‘I had worked hard to learn my craft.’ This was something of an eye-opener as I had never thought of writing as work.

I suppose that stemmed from having always been good at English, a carry-on from early exposure to books and reading from a very early age. Not only did I enjoy my English grammar classes but also English Literature, both taught as separate subjects at the high school I attended. Words were fun, making up stories was even more fun. Writing prize-winning essays carried all the perks of extra points for one’s house and, if one was very fortunate, maybe the gift of a pen or a notebook.

But, as an adult, the fact that good writing didn’t just happen was something of a challenge to me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write, so continued taking short story writing courses until an idea gelled into a western contemporary romance. Did I know how to write romance? Nope. It involved a lot of reading and deconstructing some of the novels I read. It also involved many, many more craft books.

Other early books were William Zinsser’s On Writing Well and Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. These did not necessarily enhance my romance writing ambitions, but they did help the structure of my writing. I’m not sure at what stage I came across Stephen King’s On Writing, but that one book has remained my firm favorite. Being more mature when I really settled into my writing career, I really appreciated these words by King (2000):

‘I have spent a good many years since - too many, I think - being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent.’ (p. 50.)

My family and friends had always looked on my writing as ‘Vicki’s little hobby’, undermining any confidence I had. This resulted in me relegating whatever project I was working on to the back-burner until I had either a) recovered my courage enough to pick up my pen again or b) come up with a better idea. I got to the point of not sharing my ideas with anyone, secreting my scribblings away into deep, dark drawers.

Many years later, I am now comfortable with myself as a writer. I like to think that I have learned, and continue to learn, my craft. Along the way I have acquired many more craft books, too many to mention and goodness knows how much I have spent on them. I love talking to other writers and many have recommended books they find useful. Some I have read about in trade magazines or on some blog. As I have acquired a book, I have read it from cover to cover. Some have been discarded or passed on, many have been kept on my bookshelf and revisited often. I have my favorites, Robert Mckee’s Story being one of them. Dwight V. Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer is another and my go-to grammar book is the saucily titled Comma Sutra by Laurie Rozakis. I rarely go into a bookstore without looking to see what is new on the shelves but I have to be firm with myself. There is little point in getting lost in the how-to or why of writing. The lessons learned need to be put into practice by writing and then writing more.

So now I have finished writing this post, I am going to write the next thousand words in my work-in-progress. The operative word here, now that I am older and wiser, is work! If you have a favorite craft book, please share by leaving a comment.

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