Thursday, August 31, 2017

Priscilla Brown meets a Scottish horse (kind of)

I love to travel in Australia and overseas, and recently was lucky enough to visit Europe (at least 21 hours flying from Sydney, folks!) As I travel, I am noting locations, characters and situations which eventually may weave their way into my contemporary romantic fiction. But I cannot work into this genre of novels a story I found in Falkirk, Scotland. Before this visit, I knew kelpies only as Australian sheepdogs. Then I discovered "kelpie horse" structures located by the Forth and Clyde canal.

Unlike kelpies, horses appearing in "Hot Ticket", a recently published Books We Love contemporary romance, are warm-blooded handsome characters in their own right, with parts to  play in the blossoming love between their owners. Love or her career? Will ambitious lawyer Olivia listen to her heart or to her head before it's too late? Her career, and she can ride her beloved horse Silk Georgette every weekend. Love, the length of the continent away, what can she do with Georgette?

For more information and to purchase, visit Amazon on B01N7F0SQX

  These Falkirk structures replicate the head and neck of kelpies of Scottish folklore.

 Their complex engineering, at 30 metres tall (about 100 feet) the world's largest equine sculptures, took approximately 18 000 pieces of steel for each one. While impressed with the design and construction, I became interested in the kelpie mythology.
According to the lore, kelpies are water spirits, and also known as spirits of the dead. They inhabit lochs and rivers, appearing in the shape of a horse, usually white, and identified by its wet mane; they can also shape-shift between horse and water, and on land into a human. This shape-shifting ability may be located in its bridle (how a wild thing like a kelpie came to have a bridle seems unexplained, but then this is myth, no logic necessary), and if a human could grab it and keep it, that person could control the creature. Apparently this would be useful, since it purported to be as strong as ten 10 real horses.
These beings are malevolent, and like to lure humans, especially children, into the water. A common tale I heard from more than one Scot involves nine children, attracted by a ride on the kelpie's back; the kelpie's skin then became sticky so they couldn't fall off and escape.A tenth child, managing to avoid the trap, was chased by the kelpie, but still got away, presumably to relate the story. The nine were dragged down, killed and eaten.

I peered into a river close to where I was staying; an angler asked me what I was looking for. I told him, and he shook his head. He didn't laugh.

Best wishes, Priscilla

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Newest Releases from Books We Love

Don't miss these exciting new releases from the talented authors at Books We Love. Available now at your favorite etailer.  Find them all on our website.  BOOKS WE LOVE HOME PAGE 

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Women's Equality Day  A Master Passion
woman behind the man

This little known American commemoration (August 26) was created back in the 70's by Bella Abzug, a colorful, out-spoken member of the House of Representatives (1971-77). She was a labor attorney, a graduate of Columbia (Harvard, which she was qualified for, refused to admit her because she was female). She was always an activist, a force in the peace movement, the antinuclear movement and the civil rights movement too. Later, Bella became a leader of the women's movement. How well I remember her rousing speeches!

The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.

 Women's Equality Day is meant to be a celebration of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution, the one which gave American women the right to vote. Before that, women obeyed the laws and paid their taxes, but, never mind--taxation without representation for people of the "wrong" gender remained the law of the land.

I've always loved research, so digging around in the past comes naturally. I often write novels with female protagonists, and the social/cultural conditions which affect my heroines are always a big part of the background. 

I've just participated in a local celebration of Equality Day, so it's fresh in mind, and I think American women ought to know more about their own history. As I started reading,  I stumbled into a whole world of forgotten, not-in-the-textbooks people and fantastic facts. I thought that this month, I'd share a random few.

All Americans know the Paul Revere story, but who has heard of Sybil Luddington? When the message "The British are coming" arrived at her father's house--he was a colonel in the Colonial Militia--his 400 men were 40 miles away on some other task. The original rider/horse was too exhausted to continue, so Sybil, aged 14, mounted the family steed and rode all night--a distance of 40 miles--to call the men back to battle. We may not have heard much about Sybil, but still, at half Revere's age, she rode twice as far to deliver the same important message. General George Washington knew her, though, and later came to the Luddington house to say his personal thank-you. Now, Sybil was news to me, and I thought I knew a thing or two about the American Revolution.

Or, much later, how about Claudette Colvin? In 1955, on her way home from High School, fifteen year old Claudette refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, AL bus to a white passenger. This was some daring, as it would be 15 months before Rosa Parks did the same thing. Here's what she told Newsweek:

 “I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, ‘Sit down girl!’ I was glued to my seat.”

Truth is powerful, and it prevails

Claudette was arrested for violating the segregation laws and the entire family was threatened with mayhem and death by white supremacists. Fortunately, the judge gave this brave young woman probation instead of a jail sentence, and, to my knowledge, the family escaped unharmed. 
And here are some fantastic facts concerning voting rights in the US. I've just learned that women actually  possessed the right to vote in several of the original 13 states, but lost it under the brand new "revolutionary" governments. 

In 1777, New York revoked women's right to vote, followed by, in 1780, Massachusetts. In 1784, New Hampshire did the same. When our present Constitution was adopted in 1787, the allocation of voting rights was left to the states. All states, except New Jersey, promptly put an end to a woman's right to vote. In 1807, New Jersey stepped backwards with the rest of the country, effectively leaving American women without the right to vote until, post Civil War, a few western states (Wyoming, Utah and Montana), began to do things differently. 

Women have still got a lot of work to do on the equality front all over the world. Here in the west, we're fortunate not to be considered chattel property, which is the case in many of today's Third world nations. However, things aren't perfect for us, either. Here are a few (not so) fantastic facts about the economic costs of being female in the US:

According to statistics released in 2015 by the U.S. Census Bureau, year-round, full-time working women in 2014 earned a real median income of $39,621 and full-time, year-round working men earned a real median income of $50,383. The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 Current Population Survey found progress in closing the wage gap so slim as to be “statistically insignificant."

According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, over a working lifetime, wage 
disparities cost the average American woman and her family $700,000 to $2 million in lost wages, impacting Social Security benefits and pensions.

Four in ten mothers are primary breadwinners in their households and nearly two-thirds are primary or significant earners, making pay equity critical to many families’ economic 

So sisters, let's go! Get to the polls and exercise that hard won right to vote. Get familiar 

with local issues and engage in off year elections too. If you've got ideas--speak at the town hall meeting or better yet, run for office! Inequality will continue to negatively affect you, your daughters, and your grand-girls unless we in this generation fix it, once and for all. 

"...I’ve been female for a long time now. I’d be stupid not to be on my own side."

--Maya Angelou

~~Juliet Waldron
See all my historical novels @

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Decluttering Your Novel by Connie Vines

You know that feeling when you open up your closet and it’s so stuffed with clothes you don’t wear that you can’t find the ones you really like?  Or you locate something from the depths of your closet you don’t recall every seeing before?

Or maybe your desk is piled with papers that need filing, and you waste time looking for that one you need? Clutter adds stress and sucks up valuable time.

The same situation applies to writing. Unnecessary words and redundancies in a page or paragraph obscure its core meaning and interrupt its flow. The essence of your message is buried under all those excess words.

Once you’ve written the first draft of your novel or short story, it’s time to go back and look for cluttered sentences and paragraphs.

Ferret out words that don’t add to the meaning or imagery and are just hampering the fluid flow of ideas. Look for instances of overwriting or beating a point to death. Say it once, or twice — then move on. Otherwise you risk annoying your readers.

Ready to search out the clutter in your story?

1. Avoid little-word pile-ups and eliminate redundancies

Reveal the essence of your message by streamlining your words. Instead of “in spite of the fact that,” just say “although.” Instead of “in the vicinity of,” say “near.”

Replace “in the direction of,” with “to” or “toward.” Instead of “came in contact with,” say “met.” Instead of “during the time that,” say “while.” No need to say “located at” – just say “at.”


On their cross-country trip, they slept each night in the cheap motels located less than a mile’s drive from the interstate.

On their cross-country trip, they slept each night in cheap motels just off the interstate.


The car drove slowly through the large complex heading in the direction of a secluded building at the back of the facility. It was located on the shore of the Mississippi River. The vehicle came to a stop next to the entrance to the building.


The car drove slowly through the large complex toward a secluded building on the shore of the Mississippi River. It stopped next to the entrance.


He was shooting off his mouth in the bar last night telling everybody that he was going to find the jerk that ratted on him.


He was shooting off his mouth in the bar last night about finding the jerk that ratted on him.


He moved his mouse pointer over to the other email that he had received.


He clicked on the second email.

2. Don’t drown your readers in details

Leave out those tiny details that just serve to distract the reader, who wonders for an instant why they’re there and if they’re significant.


He had arrived at the vending machine and was punching the buttons on its front with an outstretched index finger when a voice from behind him broke him away from his thoughts.


He was punching the buttons on the vending machine when a voice behind him broke into his thoughts.

In the first example, we have way too much detail. What else would he be punching the buttons with besides his finger? We also don’t need to know which finger he’s using or that it’s outstretched, since everybody does it pretty much the same. Minute details like these just clutter up your prose.

3. Remove empty, “filler” words

Words like “it was” and “there were” simply get in the way of your story without adding anything useful.


I headed down a rickety set of wooden steps to the basement. There was a dim light ahead in the hallway. To the right there were cardboard boxes stacked high. To the left, there was a closed door with a padlock. Suddenly, I heard muffled sounds. There was someone upstairs.


I headed down a rickety set of wooden steps to the dimly lit basement. To the right, cardboard boxes were stacked high. To the left, I saw a closed door with a padlock. Suddenly, I heard muffled sounds. Someone was upstairs.

The After result is more intense. More immediate.  This pulls your reader through your story.

4. Take out the word “that” wherever it’s not needed

Read the sentence out loud, and if it still makes sense without the “that,” remove it. This change soothes out the sentence so it’s less clunky and flows better.


She said that you thought that it was too expensive and that you wanted to shop around.


She said you thought it was too expensive and you wanted to shop around.

5. Delete words or phrases that unnecessarily reinforce what’s already been said.

Cluttering your sentences with too many unnecessary words can get in the way of clear communication and confuse and subliminally irritate the reader. Go through your manuscript and see where you’ve cluttered up sentences and paragraphs with little words and phrases that aren’t needed and just impede the natural flow of ideas.

The phrases in italics are redundant here:

We passed an abandoned house that nobody lived in on a deserted street with no one around. The house was large in size and gray in color.

6. Don’t tell after you’ve shown

For example:

She moped around the house, unable to concentrate on anything. She felt sad.
He paced nervously around the room, muttering to himself. He was agitated.
In both instances, the second sentence should be deleted.

7. Condense any long-winded dialogue

In real life, people don’t usually speak in lengthy, complete sentences or uninterrupted monologues. Read your dialogue out loud to make sure it sounds natural, not like a rehearsed speech.
Break up any blocks of one person speaking at length by rewriting them in questions and answers or a lively debate, with plenty of tension and attitude. Try using lots of incomplete sentences and one- or two-word answers, or even silences.

How would your characters actually speak in real life? Think about their personalities and character traits. For example, men, especially blue-collar men, tend to be terser and more to-the-point than women.

Decluttering isn’t always easy.  I realized that when I write for hours at the time, without interruptions, my draft at the end of the day is less cluttered.  However, when I am required to stop and start throughout my writing session my draft is cluttered with ‘and’, ‘and then’—which I spot the next day.

Decluttering in your writing and in your life makes your day flow happily along. . .or at least, until the next ‘plot point’.

Happy Reading and Writing 😊

See you next month!

Connie Vines

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Valerian and the city of a thousand planets - by Vijaya Schartz

Find Vijaya's science fiction at BWL

A phantasmagorie of epic proportions. A thousand worlds anchored into one single city floating in space. Virtual worlds to be sure, but worlds nevertheless, where people thrive and tourism brings millions of humans and alien species. I love the graphics, and the many worlds Luc Besson brought to life.

Impressive photography, I loved all the alien races represented and the many worlds, with their different civilizations. There, a tourist can travel through the universe without leaving the safety of the city in space. A very lucrative business, to be sure.

Of course, all repairs and maintenance are performed by robots... including security, by a cylon-like race of faceless military giants.

The heroes are young and fearless, kind and selfless.

Some aliens are peaceful and idealistic.

They have cute pets that can reproduce whatever you feed them... including priceless energy pearls... which they use to create their own virtual world.

 But that world is threatened by greedy humans, bent on owning the adorable pets for the sake of controlling energy sources.

I loved that famous actors and personalities play secondary roles... including Rihana, who portrays an alien shapeshifter who helps the heroes along the way.

And of course, there are the alien races. Here are a few examples:

And the various habitats of the thousand planets, and the technology, the spacecraft...

All in all, the movie, like Avatar, is an experience you do not want to miss. As for the story and the characters, unlike in Avatar, I found them too simple, and the characters too young and lacking a back story, not deep enough to be interesting. 

Still, if you like science fiction, you will want to see it.

Vijaya Schartz
  Action, Romance, Mayhem
  Amazon - Barnes & Noble Smashwords -

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Call Through Time by Tricia McGill

Award winning author Tricia McGill began life in London, England, but moved to Australia many moons ago. Her published books are all romances but cross sub-genres into fantasy, time-travel, contemporary and historical. Her short stories have been published in magazines (Romances of course). A late starter, she took up writing full time after early retirement. A devout animal lover, Tricia devotes as much time and money as she can spare to supporting worldwide conservation groups, and dogs cats and at times horses have appeared in her books, and she would love to feature an elephant one day.

The blurb for A Call Through Time, her latest Time-Travel:

The Lord of Castlegrove Manor, heir to a vast fortune, is a studious History buff who loves reading about the years following the Roman occupation of Britain. Dissatisfied with running his extensive estate, a distraction from Bart’s boredom is his erotic dreams. No woman but his dream lover will ever offer him the satisfaction he craves.
During one of these dreams Bart wakes up miles from his comfortable existence and in the year 450AD. When he comes face to face with Haesal, he knows instantly this is the woman who has shared so many of his heated fantasies.
Most Celts have fled west to escape invaders from over the seas. Haesal and her brother have been captured by an evil barbarian and Bart comes to realise that his mission is to rescue them and return them safely to their home in Cornwall. Haesal’s belief in shapeshifters and the fairy folk helps her better understand the sudden appearance of this handsome stranger in her life who claims to have a deep knowledge of her. But can the love they find with each other survive through time and treachery?

Tricia McGill’s Books We Love author page:
A Call Through Time is available at:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

An Idea Evolves and Unorthodox is Born…

Hi everyone, S. Peters-Davis here. Thanks so much for stopping in:)

It’s getting closer to the release date of Unorthodox, A Kendra Spark Novel – book one in the series, and I admit to being geeked – happy, excited, and anxious at the same time. Happy I wrote my first book in this genre blend and excited the release date is fast approaching. But I’m also anxious as the first book in any series does that to me; it’s the foundation for character introductions, relationships, and story threads. All of those components need to be strong enough to evolve throughout the series.

Every book an author writes shares a piece of them, of their life, of their family and friends, and people who’ve touched them in some way…besides the creative imagination that speaks for itself. There’s a number of ways information comes to us: experience, education, books, research, listening in on conversations, TV, movies, and observing (among many others)…nothing you haven’t heard before.

So then an idea forms to light the way…

I picked up a crime suspense-thriller book and was pleasantly surprised to find it was generously laced with paranormal. My love of mystery, suspense, crime stories and the paranormal had me wondering if I could actually combine them with an element of romance for a story? *grins* Wheels churned for a while…mostly because as much as I loved reading crime books, I’d never written one.

I took an online Forensic Science course, stacked up on books about police and FBI procedures, conferred with others who wrote crime stories, joined Sisters in Crime organization and researched everything I thought might be pertinent to start my story.

As I considered my protagonist, I decided she would need some sort of job that made her familiar with a criminal mind, something giving her access and knowledge on what to research…like an author; ) Why not have the main character be a suspense, mystery writer? Hmmm

Finally, Kendra Spark, suspense, mystery romance author, introduced herself to me one night in a dream, and I knew it was time to write.

A writing buddy (close friend of mine) spent four days at an intense writing retreat with me. We brainstormed on a story she was plotting out and also on my story – at that point we didn’t have our titles or a complete list of our characters. Brainstorming with someone who understood my voice and style, my audience, and my mixed genre ended up playing a critical part in my novel writing. By the time we left our writing sanctuary, we had established our characters, main plots, along with a few subplot threads, and our titles.

Unorthodox…a new paranormal, suspense-thriller romance with a generous dollop of supernatural releases September 15, 2017.

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

Series 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.

Book Description:
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.

**Don’t forget to check out “Books We Love Frequent Reader Bundles” right here:

About the 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.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

JUST ONE MORE THING…by Victoria Chatham

Is she a wife or already a widow? Until she knows, ship-wrecked Lady Juliana will not surrender to the captain who steals her heart.

I recently had one of those mornings when I woke up really early. One of those instantly awake occasions instead of the usual dragging myself into consciousness mornings. Because I needed to leave home no later than 9.00 AM that day for my round of appointments and activities, I decided there were things I had time to do without waiting for the alarm clock to go off.

I showered but didn’t get dressed yet. Went to the kitchen, put the kettle. While it boiled for my morning cup of tea, I dusted and vacuumed the living room. Once that was done and the tea made, I checked the time. Oh good, only 7.15 AM. Still time to get some other stuff done. I sorted laundry, put that in the washer, poured tea, turned on my laptop. I guess y’all can see what comes next. Yes, folks, I went down the rabbit hole of ‘just one more thing’.

Peter Falk
Emails led to links, which led to more links. It wasn’t idle procrastination either, I was researching information for my Work in Progress. Who knew lamb bones could be used to buff marble? With a mug of tea in hand and one eye on the clock, I continued on my merry way. When the washer warbled that the cycle was finished, I checked the clock which told me it was 8.00 AM. Yes! I had time to put the washing in the dryer and have another cup of tea before getting dressed. 

What I should have done, of course, was to have got dressed and applied my makeup then. Unlike Peter Falk’s Lieutenant Columbo, who’s last minute line of ‘just one more thing, sir’, being the question that usually tripped up and caught the murderer and tied up the case, because of my ‘one more thing’, my day slowly unraveled.

But it’s not that day that concerns me now. No, it’s how that line has inserted itself into more recent detective series. I enjoy watching a good series on TV or Netflix and have heard that line repeated in Hawaii Five-O, the BBC’s Inspector Frost and Death in Paradise, especially the series with Kris Marshall playing the hapless Humphrey Goodman. In fact, the role of Humphrey, with his crumpled clothes and air of distraction could have been modeled on Columbo. In my case ‘one more thing’ was one thing too many which caused me to rush through my day. There’s also the old adage of less haste, more speed. From now on I think I’d better pay attention to both!

You can find Victoria’s books at Books We Love on her 
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