Thursday, May 31, 2018

Priscilla Brown reflects on diamonds

For more information and to purchase this and my other contemporary romances, visit

Recently at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra I attended an exhibition of jewellery created by the Paris House of Cartier.  Writers often keep their characters in their heads, and during this I was accompanied by Cassandra from Silver Linings. Crazy? Probably! Cassandra designs and fashions silver jewellery, and though Cartier works with gems, she would love such an exhibition.
 The more than 300 pieces of jewellery and related ephemera have been lent by Cartier, by the British royal family, the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Princely Palace of Monaco, private collections and others. The first impression on walking into the darkened exhibition is of glittering and almost overwhelming opulence. The pieces are displayed in LED-lit high-security cases of varying sizes according to the item, and accompanied by brief details. I was particularly entranced by the life-size figure of Queen Marie of Romania, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, wearing a ball dress with a long shimmering pendant given to her by her husband King Ferdinand.

And the jewels themselves – diamonds, diamonds and more diamonds, different sizes, different types of ‘cuts’ and facets, various settings in precious metals such as gold or platinum; some larger gems such as emeralds are carved, others are polished but not given facets. Designs of every imaginable style are evident.
As well as jewellery for personal adornment, Cartier designed accoutrements including vanity and lipstick cases, powder compacts, clasps for handbags and evening bags, clocks, watches, cigarette holders and cases and lighters, cigar cutters, ashtrays. One area of the exhibition displays historic items specifically for men, and contains several smoking accessories.   Another space is set up to illustrate the stages of jewellery production. Each table explains the process from the designer’s idea, to the jeweller, the cutter and the polisher, with one table showing the tools used.  Cassandra would have been interested in these as some are similar to those she uses for her work.

As well as European royalty, Indian maharajahs, and the generally very well-heeled, Cartier attracted stage and screen personalities, the latter not only with jewellery for themselves but to display in their movies. In the final section of the exhibition, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe flaunt jewellery in movie clips shown sound-free with subtitles, making an enjoyable ending to a couple of hours spent with the jewels.
Leaving Cassandra behind, over coffee at the café I wondered whether, as a writer of contemporary romances, I could imagine a story where the lead character owns a vault-full of diamonds.  So far, my notebook is blank on this, but who knows!
Enjoy your reading!  Priscilla

(This image is not from the exhibition.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Murder in a Karate Studio is the subject of this newest release from BWL Publishing and Diane Bator

Dead Without Honor
A Gilda Wright Mystery

The scroll of the Four Possessions of the Samurai holds the key to a deadly mystery…

Gilda Wright thinks she’s landed a dream job as the receptionist at a karate school. Her boss, Sensei Mick Williams, is almost as demanding as he is sexy, but Gilda is inspired by the strength and courage of the people around her. When Gilda finds the body of one of the instructors in the dojo with a sword through his chest, she must find her own inner strength and fast! The police regard everyone in the school as suspects, including her boss, and it’s up to Gilda to find out what really happened. She follows the clues of the missing scroll of the Four Possessions of the Samurai down a deadly path filled with lies, deceit, and poisoned ninja stars. If she doesn’t watch her back, she just may become the killer’s next target.


Previously published as Can’t Keep a Brunette Down
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series
By EH (

This is the first book in an awesome series by Diane Bator. I loved the characters & the setting (Karate Studio). I highly recommend getting this and the second book together so that you can keep reading about these engaging characters, Gilda Wright is the main character who works at a Karate studio. She keeps finding dead bodies when she goes to work. Gilda & her friends must find out what really happened before it's too late. Well written, funny series.

5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and highly enjoyable cozy mystery.
An awesome book! Even better than I expected. Gilda is of course the most clearly defined character and she is so relatable. The book is very much written in the cozy mystery style but it goes beyond the typical. The characters are not all good or all bad, well except for the murderer of course. Gilda sees the weaknesses in her friends but she can still love and respect them. While I was able to guess the murderer, I wasn't sure until near the end and could only partly guess the motivations. That makes for a good mystery to me.

5.0 out of 5 stars From the cover I was expecting just some book about ...

By Mary Nash

From the cover I was expecting just some book about a chick learning the martial arts and becoming a champ. This book is so much than that. There is so much intensity, intrigue, and mystery, and yes a little romance, that the book starts off with a bang and keeps on going til the end. This is not a cutesy little story. It is so much more

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

They persisted...

I've been pretty down of late, as I look at the state of the world. Here and there, though, there are still a few signs of the positive--maybe it's not exactly winning, but at least it persists in the face of negativity from every side.

My friend Dolly, now a cane-wielding elder living in a local HUD building told me this story, and I thought I'd share it. Her apartment building, between HUD and various ill-organized and underfunded landlords, has been undergoing a much-needed upgrading of facilities. The end results are fine, but the long drawn out process of waiting every day for "the workmen to come" --ones who rarely if ever do show--has been going on for over a year now. Some of these tenants are on oxygen, some use walkers and wheelchairs to get around, some are mentally challenged. Only a very few have access to transportation. The long waits between one improvement and the next are punctuated by bursts of frantic activity and huge amounts of noise, usually beginning around 6 a.m. with no notice. This uncoordinated rehab has frayed the tenants' sanity--and some of them are already a bit short on that commodity. Added stress is not welcome in a community of the disabled.

On her little balcony Dolly once looked down up a small green space with a few trees, a bench, and a flower bed with a geranium in summer and daffodils in spring. The local community, in its wisdom, just turned that into an acre of concrete--a new downtown shopping mall with parking for visitors. This too is unfinished, and it contributes to the construction site ambiance around the building. On that balcony, she had a basket from last year still hung, and as the weather warmed, she noticed that a pair of purple finches were cheerfully building a nest there, now that there was nowhere else in their neighborhood. 

Dolly was delighted--but terrified, too--because workmen were supposed to sandblast her balcony and install some new screens and she really had no idea when that might happen. So now she worried about the tiny birds, singing so happily just outside her window, oblivious to the noise of construction and traffic far below. Her heart yearned over these bright innocents; she wanted them to be successful, happy parents and to keep singing, but now she feared that like a lot of things she'd seen in life, the end would not be happy.

The Mrs. and her Mister.

When she began to tell about the birds over the phone yesterday, I could feel my guts clench with unhappy anticipation. She said that the finches had laid eggs and were sitting on them when the sandblast guys arrived. Dolly met them at the door in a panic, begging them to "be careful of my poor birds." She drew a deep breath and then said: "But you know what? Those men were so good! They covered everything, and they were so careful of the nest and got it all done quickly."

"All that noise and commotion!"

"Well of course the parents left."

"Poor things; they had no choice."

"Yes, but I couldn't believe it; they came back!"

"OMG! They persisted!"

"That's right, it was just like that. I couldn't believe it either. On Wednesday morning, when I looked out, there were four baby birds, little heads sticking up. The parents have been coming and going all the time to feed them." 

Whew! At least for now--a happy ending.

But I should add another paragraph to this story. These kind workmen are itinerant labor, men who work far away from their homes just to collect a $12/hr. paycheck. These guys took the time to listen to a little old lady who must have looked about half crazy when she met them at the door. Even more, they went out of their way to be helpful to these "insignificant" fellow creatures by protecting that nest.

Bless 'em, I say, for their decency to a tender-hearted elder and to those little bitty birds.

~~Juliet Waldron

Monday, May 28, 2018

Sizzling Summer Spectacular Contest now launched at BWL Publishing

Visit our webpage and Enter this great new contest

1st Prize - Your choice of either a Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Fire eReaders

2nd Prize
$25.00 Amazon gift card.

3rd prize - choice of any BWL Publishing Print book.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

NEW RELEASE - ANGEL MINE - by Vijaya Schartz

Find this and more of Vijaya's BWL titles HERE

Azura Chronicles Book 1
by Vijaya Schartz

What in the frozen hells of Laxxar prompted Fianna to pursue her quarry to this forbidden blue planet? Well, she needs the credits... badly. But as if crashing in the jungle wasn't bad enough, none of her high-tech weapons work. She'll have to go native, after the most wanted felon in five galaxies. It's not just her job. It's personal.

Acielon has never seen an outworlder like this fascinating female, strangely beautiful, and fierce, like the feline predator loping at her side. He always dreamed of exploring the universe, despite the legends... and the interdiction. Is it truly a hellish place of violence, lies and suffering? If it spawned this intriguing creature, it must also be a place of wonders, adventure and excitement.

Fianna's instincts tell her someone is watching. Sheba, her telepathic feline partner, doesn't seem worried... yet, something on Azura isn't quite right.


There is a planet out in the universe, emitting a strange turquoise glow. A long time ago Azura refused to join the Trade Alliance. The Alliance sent their military fleet to destroy the Azurans, but their powerful supernatural abilities spread fear even among the fiercest Devil Dogs. Since then, records have been erased. Rumors and legends all but died. Azura is strictly forbidden, and the daring few who ventured beyond the warning space beacons were never seen again...

Hope you enjoy this new romantic adventure.

Vijaya Schartz
  High Octane sci-fi fantasy romance with a kick
  Amazon - Barnes & NobleSmashwords -

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Our ever-changing world as seen byTricia McGill

This and all my other books can be found here on my BWL author page. The buy links are just one click away.

In my latest work in progress I am dwelling way back in the past again as I did in Remnants of Dreams, now engrossed in a world far removed from today. This story is based on the life of one of my four sisters so begins in North London in the early 1930s when the rag and bone man roamed the dingy streets with his even dingier cart pulled by his poor old overworked and tired pony. He traded in mostly old clothes, for the folk back then would have little other that their cast-offs to trade with for a small amount of cash to tide them over until the end of the week when the man of the house came home with his pay-packet. Unfortunately, most women were not as lucky as our mother, and the weekly wage would have been depleted in a lot of cases by the husband paying a visit to the local public house on his way home from work. For some obscure reason the rag and bone man also gave out goldfish in exchange for rags, another thing that featured in this sister’s young life.

It is most likely that those of you reading this who were born after, let’s say the 50s, have no idea what a rag-and bone man was, so you can find out more here:

This pic is of Upper Street, Islington, circa 1914/16. My family lived nearby in the early days. The sister of my story was married in a chapel along this street.

Another thing that featured in my sister’s early life, was her wellies (Wellington boots). The pair she owned were inherited, as most things were, probably from one of our brothers. She cherished her wellies for the short time she had them before they disappeared, likely to the pawnshop. The old pawnbroker with his big three brass balls hanging outside his premises played a large part in most of the everyday lives of all the families struggling in those early days to make ends meet and put a meal on the table for their mostly large families. There was no such thing as family planning advice. The sister of my story was the seventh and I was the tenth and last. Things were getting a lot better by the time I came along so I was the pampered baby. Children started school aged three. There were no such thing as crèches, kindergartens or pre-school. My older sisters and brothers began working aged fourteen. If a mother was forced to go out to work for some reason either her mother or a neighbour cared for her baby.

My eldest sister would take the younger children off in the pram and they would wander the streets and visit the local park, and at times be away from home all day without fear. The only rule our mother passed to them, and also to me, was not to take sweets from strangers. Children played games out on the street, often until darkness fell in winter and their stomachs began to rumble or until their mothers called them in.

Can you imagine a life with no electricity, so therefore no washing machine, microwave, or swish oven. Somehow our mother managed to produce a meal every day for her ever-expanding family on a crotchety old gas stove. She would wash the girls’ dresses, and also their socks, each night so that they had a clean frock to wear to school the next day. Washing was done in the kitchen sink using a washboard, before being put through the mangle. The tin tub that was brought out weekly for the bathing was used at other times to soak bed linen. In winter when it was too cold and wet for the washing to be hung out on the line it was dried in front of the fire in the living room. Once the children were older they visited the local baths, a huge steamy place where you waited your turn and one of the cheerful ladies working there would clean off the scum left by the previous bather.

Our father was a gasman, which meant he went from house to house to check on the gas meters which had to be fed with coins or you had no gas to heat the water for cooking or washing. He worked six days a week and had one week off a year. The bedrooms would get so cold in winter that they piled every available coat and blanket on the bed, which was usually shared by three or four of them. On mornings deep in winter, icicles would decorate the insides of the windows, as there was no such thing as central heating.

All these stories passed down to me were filled with the laughter shared and tinged with such a feeling of thankfulness that we had wonderful parents. Despite their poverty, they never thought of themselves as being deprived, as everyone was in the same boat back then and just got by. Between you and me, I believe we were better off. There was no social media, few glossy magazines, no phones, or TVs, so no such thing as cyber bullying. The world news was garnered from the newspapers, or newsreels shown at the cinema. No one owned a car so therefore there was little traffic on the roads except the buses or the milkman, coalman, baker or as above the rag and bone man. So there was no such thing as road rage, the scourge of our time as everyone loses their patience in the traffic hogging our roads each day.

Most families helped each other and knew their neighbours and their problems. Our mother brought up her large family, who all turned out to be pretty good citizens, without advice from some woman on the TV telling her how she should teach her children manners or how to behave. We learned our manners and respect for our elders from our parents’ example.

Perhaps we all looked back through rose tinted glasses but who cares, I feel blessed that I have such memories—and blessed that I had a family and parents who taught me the importance of books.

Visit my web page for excerpts etc. of all my book

Friday, May 25, 2018

Is Flying for the Birds?
Spring has finally arrived. Finally arrived. Finally arrived. It is quite different in Toronto where Spring is in Spring while in Victoria Spring is in Late February and March.
In any case, I am happy to once again be writing in the great outdoors. I looked up from my keyboard moment ago and a small group of birds (cormorants, I think) flew by.

t then struck me that after a year travelling the globe with over fifteen flights that ended this very day (May 20th in 2017) we have not been on a plane in the last twelve months.
Were we weary of travel? Yes. I actually think we were mostly tired of the headache of flying.
Watching the birds fly free and freely dredged up memories of long security lines, narrow seats, so-so meals.
Now, with a far more open schedule, I could imagine taking a short flight to NYC and hop on a cruise ship to Southampton to get to Europe. It is literally turning the clock...OK, calendar, back one hundred years.
Just to the right of the birds sits Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport. it is a fifteen minute walk from our home and a ninety minute flight. Nice.
The birds still have us beat. No luggage. No passport (yet). No droning safety announcement.
Hmm, a second look at Lake Ontario shows hundreds of the birds flying around the airport.
OK, time for a rethink.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ever-Learning, Writing Onward

Attending writers’ conferences is interesting for many reasons, the most obvious ones include learning craft and huddling in comradery. At each conference, I intentionally attend a workshop or two which have nothing to do with my genre or current writing needs. (That said, I do, however, read a number of books to keep up on craft, marketing, etc.) Last month I spent two hours at a conference learning about podcasting. I’m still letting that new information mellow in my mind, trying to decide how to work it into my writing plan. There is much potential there.

Take a leap sideways: I also am part of a writing group on GoodReads (Writers 750), where participants write a short story which include certain elements along with a setting or theme. Although four of my stories have gone into anthologies, none were written in my current genre.

Take another leap: Once I spent two full days learning how to trap and skin a rabbit. After taking what I’d learned, then writing it out over several pages to my own understanding, that research boiled down to two published sentences in one of my books.

Why should I learn new things (only to have them mellow in my mind) or write short stories (which are not in my genre)? Why, I ask? To learn. To grow. To never be stagnant.

What have you learned this month, or have needed a nudge (like this post) to get you indulged in learning that something new? Making wine, perhaps? Spelunking? Learning an instrument or new language?

Learn. Grow. Write.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Meeting a Fan by Victoria Chatham

I was at an event recently where I met a lady who had read all of my books. More to the point, she enjoyed each of them. To hear that was music to my ears and I was very happy to engage in conversation with her.

What I invariably find is that people who do not write are amazed at the amount of work that is involved in writing a book. My new fan thought I must be an experienced sailor to have written my sailing scenes as well as I did. I would have loved to say, yes, I’ve been to sea many times but that is simply not true. Thanks to Google, YouTube, and my youngest son, I managed to construct my scenes with some semblance of reality for the era in which my story is set after hours of research.

I read nautical manuals, I read a few of Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey/Maturin books set during the Napoleonic Wars and watched YouTube clips of the art of sailing three-masted ships over and over again. My fan, and her husband, both said they would not have the patience to do that. And that’s what research takes, patience. Sometimes you have to travel through many avenues to arrive at the nugget of knowledge you need for a particular scene or to add just that kick of spice to your book.

Writing any book requires so much more than ‘just coming up with an idea’. It is not a process for the faint of heart because an author needs a passion for their project, insight, patience, the determination to write and then write more, then work through revisions and re-write, sometimes again and again until the point is reached that they know they have done the best they can. Then it’s time to let the baby go. As a writer, I hoped I had learned the skill of drawing my reader into the world I created. From the conversation I had with my fan (and her husband, by the way), I consider I achieved that goal. And just to whet your appetite, here is a scene from His Ocean Vixen.

Still trembling in the darkness, dread seeping into her very bones, Juliana chastised herself for not having the courage to venture beyond the safety the locker afforded her. Much as she did not like to admit it, she knew Doctor Tryon had been right. Whoever had overrun them would soon best one lone female, armed or not. The only clear thought in her mind was that she would use her sword however she could to defend herself to the death.

For once in her life she did as she was told and stayed exactly where the doctor had stowed her. She did not know how long she huddled in the locker, praying all the while that Doctor Tryon had kept his promise to help William. The sound of voices faded away as the ship rocked a little, her timbers protesting as she settled in the water. She reached forward and lifted the latch, pushed the door ajar.

All she could hear was the sigh and whisper of the ocean and the squeak and rustle of rats as they scurried along the struts. She waited a few minutes more, each second taking a toll on her nerves, then pushed the door all the way open and emerged slowly, listening intently for any sounds of life above decks.

The boom of a cannon close by made her jump, and then a moment later the Jenny Wren shuddered under the impact as another missile found its mark. Juliana fell back, grabbing for a handhold in the darkness. Another explosion followed the first and the ship groaned as if in anguish and listed heavily to one side.

Juliana sprang into action, not caring about the swirling bilges or the rats jabbering about her feet. The sounds of splintering wood filled her ears as she scrambled up the steep steps of the stairwells. As her head cleared the last set of stairs, she stopped and took in the hellish scene on deck with wide-eyed disbelief.

Scorched stumps were all that remained of the once proud and tall fore and main masts. The masts themselves, with their yardarms and rigging, were a tangled mess of fragmented timber littering the deck. Shredded by cannon fire, what was left of the sails now draped the gunwales in tattered strips of canvas. Amidships the deck was nothing more than a black hole still reeking of gunpowder and smoke. The ship listed a little more.

Tripping on the end of a trailing rope, Juliana lost her balance and tumbled to the deck. Her fingers slipped through something wet and greasy as she tried to get up, and she fell again. Bile rose in her throat when she saw the blood on her hand. The coppery taste of it tainted her tongue. There was so much blood everywhere and, unable to get to her feet, she slid through it across the deck, grasping at anything that might halt her progress.

She landed against an untidy heap of clothing, caught her breath and screamed when she saw the huge, ragged splinters that pinned the man’s body to the deck. His sightless eyes stared at her and her stomach lurched. That was all the incentive she needed to grab at the cargo netting on the gunwale and haul herself to her feet.

 For more information about Victoria, visit her at 

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