Saturday, June 30, 2018

BWL Pubilshing New Releases



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Grace MacKinnon’s widowhood promises little but a life of drudgery under her father-in-law’s oppressive rule. When quiet rebellion turns to opportunity, she books passage on an Atlantic steamer only to face near disaster in Halifax harbour.

Her future looks doomed from the start until with the help of a sympathetic stranger, and a chance meeting with Lucy Maud Montgomery, she changes destination and arrives on Prince Edward Island.

Her new found independence drives her to undertake a brave new adventure in a male dominated world, and a chance encounter with Lucy Maud Montgomery brings her a surprising ally.

Despite the challenges, Grace keeps her head and prevails, until an encounter with bootleggers during Canadian Prohibition threatens to topple her hard won success. Can Grace trust those she goes to for help, or as a woman alone in turn of the century Charlottetown are the odds stacked against her?

Thursday's Child
Book 5, Heroines Born on Different Days of the Week
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On their way to a ball, eighteen-year-old Lady Margaret is reminded by her affectionate brother, the Earl of Saunton, to consider her choice of words before she speaks. Despite his warning, she voices her controversial opinion to Lady Sefton, one of Almack’s lady patronesses, who can advance or ruin a debutante’s reputation. Horrified by her thoughtless indiscretion, Margaret runs from the ballroom into the reception hall where she nearly slips onto the marble floor.
Baron Rochedale, a notorious rake catches her in his arms to prevent her fall. Margaret, whose family expect her to make a splendid marriage, and enigmatic Rochedale, who never reveals his secrets, are immediately attracted to each other, but Rochedale never makes advances to unmarried females.
When Margaret runs out into the street, out of chivalry it seems he must follow the runaway instead of joining his mistress in the ballroom, where anxious mothers would warn their daughters to avoid him.
Rochedale’s quixotic impulse leads to complications which force him to question his selfish way of life.
Entangled by him in more ways than one, stifled by polite society’s unwritten rules and regulations Margaret is forced to question what is most important to her.
Darkness Descends (The Twisted Climb, Book 2) 

Climbing to sleep is such a nightmare. Jayden, Connor and Max thought they had climbed their way out of ‘falling’ to sleep. Little did they know that they would be pulled back into Richard Hatemore's dreaded dream world, triggering a new wave of adventures and paranormal terrors.

Cal's past comes back to haunt him.  Then it comes back to kill him.

Calvin Knox didn’t do anything criminal.  He just committed a heinous offence against human nature a desperate act of cannibalism high up the Andes Mountains.  Even worse: the whole world knows the gory, shameful details.  After a year of therapy Cal begins to get some normality back into his life.  Then one day vengeance comes knocking on his door.  Someone wants Cal to pay the ultimate price for his sins. 

Cal is torn between running, fighting, or accepting the summary judgment his unseen enemy will stop at nothing to meet out.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Burr-Hamilton Duel ~ A few thoughts.

We're approaching July 11, the anniversary date of the Burr-Hamilton duel. During the Revolution, these two men were much alike, young, brilliant, ambitious brothers in arms. It didn’t take long after 1792 for them to move to opposite sides of the playing field.
Aaron Burr was born into a leading Connecticut family. He was a descendant of Aaron Burr, Senior, a Presbyterian minister and second president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton). His mother, Esther Edwards, was the daughter of the famous theologian Jonathan Edwards. he like Hamilton was an orphan, but the young Burr was rigorously educated by his stern Connecticut relatives. He did not enter the College of New Jersey when he was 11, but passed the examination at the ripe old age of 13. 

Hamilton had a far more difficult time growing up. This “bastard brat of a Scot’s tinker” as John Adams would have it, was always jealous of his hard-won “honor” and of his status as "gentleman." Thin-skinned doesn’t begin to describe Alexander Hamilton. At eleven--the same age as young Aaron was applying for Princeton--he spent his days in a St. Croix warehouse, perched upon a high stool writing letters and balancing his master's accounts. He earned his daily bread and board in the sweat of his brow. 

About five o'clock Wednesday morning, July 11th, 1804, Hamilton left town, probably from the area which is now Horatio Street in the Village and was rowed to the dueling ground. Weehawken is on the west bank of the Hudson directly across the river from the west end of what is now Forty-Second Street in Manhattan.  The passage across was near 3 miles. With a light breeze, and they arrived about 7. Burr and his second Van Ness were already on the ground and had cleared away some brush and branches to make “a fair opening.”  This was on the extreme southern point of the Palisades, 20 feet above the water, about 22 paces long and only 10 feet wide.

 On the way across the river, Hamilton told his second, Pendleton, that “he had made up his mind not to fire at Colonel Burr the first time, but to receive his fire and then fire into the air.” Pendleton argued with him, but Hamilton said “it is the effect of a religious scruple, and does not admit of reasoning. It is useless to say more on the subject, as my purpose is definitely fixed.”

The accounts of the seconds were at odds as to which man fired first. This is because the seconds had their backs to the duelists, in order to provide a certain level of deniability. Dueling was by this time illegal in both New York and New Jersey. If Hamilton threw away his shot by firing wide--as he'd proposed to do--he may have fired first. Logically, this would show Burr that he meant no harm, but, of course, it would also leave him at Burr's mercy. How Burr reacted would then be up to him. 

If Burr shot first, as Pendleton later declared, his shot would have hit Hamilton and caused him to spin about, clutch at his weapon, and discharge it harmlessly into a tree. The passage of a .54 caliber ball is not easily overlooked. Whoever shot first, we know the outcome.

“General Hamilton was this morning wounded by that wretch Burr, but we have every reason to hope he will recover.” Angelica Schuyler Church wrote to her brother, Phillip, In Albany.  It would be his duty to notify their father, the Old General Philip Schuyler, who was in failing health. Angelica went on to say:  “My sister bears with saintlike fortitude this affliction. The town is in consternation, and there exists only the expression of grief and indignation.”

Angelica Church with her eldest, Phillip

Oliver Wolcott, Jr., a close friend who attended  Hamilton's death bed at Bayard’s Mansion on the Hudson, also wrote to his own wife. "Hamilton suffers great pain – which he endures like a Hero.” He “has, of late years experienced his conviction of the truths of the Christian Religion and has desired to receive the Sacrament—but no one of the Clergy who have yet been consulted with administer it.” 

After the duel, Burr’s barge landed him and his second Van Ness at Canal Street, where, according to some sources, he simply went on to his law office as if nothing had happened. Others say he went instead to his home at Richmond Hill. This might have been wiser, because of the fame of both men, and because of the illegality of the morning's activities.

Richmond Hill

The Church’s dueling pistols—like many of the best in those days, contained hair-trigger mechanisms. Articles on the pistols have called these mechanisms “hidden” and “newly discovered,” although that speaks only to 20th Century lack of understanding of the 18th Century Code Duello and of the specialized weapons involved.   

In fact, Burr may have used these very pistols some years earlier in a duel with John Church, so he was more familiar with them than was Hamilton. On the narrow ledge at Weehawken, it would have been impossible to change a setting—the guns were always set up by the seconds “inspecting, setting triggers and loading”—without anyone noticing. Pendleton, Hamilton’s second, in fact, reports that he had asked whether Hamilton wished to have the hair trigger set. His friend had plainly answered “Not this time.”

The "hidden" hair trigger was made to seem like a big new discovery in a New York Magazine article, whose author insinuated that Hamilton had intended to secretly make use of it.  I will let Robert A. Hendrickson, one of Hamilton’s most passionate biographers (Author of The Rise and Fall of Alexander Hamilton) speak for his hero:
“Disenchanted as he was with himself, never able to rid himself of his sense of public accountability, if Hamilton had wished to survive (the duel) at all—a question ultimately unanswerable—the unlikeliest way he could have found to do so was by a secret trick that four men and all their friends, whatever their other differences, would agree was dishonorable. Worse than dishonorable.  Despicable. (And) "Honor was the subject of the morning’s exercise.”

Some years later, when questioned on the subject, Burr was quoted as saying that had his vision not been impaired by the morning mist, he would have "shot Hamilton in the heart." According to the account of the noted English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who met with Burr in England in 1808 (four years after the duel) Burr claimed to have been certain of his ability to kill Hamilton. Bentham concluded that Burr was "little better than a murderer."

But Burr had his reasons for rage. His career had been blighted by Hamilton, who had denounced Burr repeatedly, calling him an “embryo-Caesar” and “unprincipled both as a public and private man.”  

In the winter of 1800-01, during the disputed election between Jefferson and Burr, the Electors had deadlocked, throwing the election into the House of Representatives. Thirty House votes would be logged before this impasse was resolved. Hamilton worked tirelessly to block Burr from assuming the presidency by writing to his federalist friends in the House, saying that Burr “is bankrupt beyond redemption, except by the plunder of his country.  His public principles have no other spring or aim than his own aggrandizement.” 
 As we know, Jefferson was finally elected, after a group of Federalists elected to abstain from voting, sending in blank ballots. For Alexander Hamilton and many others, the choice between Jefferson and Burr must have been like choosing between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
Thomas Jefferson
Of course, there is always acrimonious rhetoric—the self-interest games that all politicians-- both the principled and the unprincipled—play. Politicians have to do "whatever it takes to stay in the game." But unlike today’s short-sighted hacks-in-office, Hamilton wasn’t just thinking of the here and now. He had always had a vision of a mighty future for his adopted country. A top-notch administrator, he'd seen Burr party jumping and now fanning Secessionist fires in New England which he knew must be doused--by any means possible. "Indivisible" was the keystone of his dream of American greatness, and under no circumstances would he let it go.
Because Hamilton fancied himself a rationalist above all, the letters he left to be read in the event of his death show that he understood all implications of the upcoming duel. In the end, despite the claims on his heart of his wife and of his adored children and despite the creditors to whom he had become obligated while building his new home,  he would risk everything and hazard his life in order to destroy Burr and thus preserve the Union. 

That morning by the river at Weehawken, Alexander Hamilton threw his shot away and left himself at the mercy of his enemy. I'll have to quote Trelane, the super-being in the original Star Trek Squire of Gothos episode and end it here: "...your heroic Alexander Hamilton."

The Grange - and the elegant dining room 

~~Juliet Waldron


 Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow ISBN: 1594200092 Penguin, 2005 
The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, 21 volumes, Harold C. Syrett, Ed., Columbia University, 
Founding Brothers by Joseph L. Ellis, ISBN: 9780375405440, Knopf, 2000 
The Rise & Fall of Alexander Hamilton, Vols. 1&2, by Robert A. Hendrickson, 9780884051398, Mason/Charter 1976 
The Founding Fathers, a biography of Alexander Hamilton in his own words, Vol. 1&2, ed. by Mary Jo Kline, Newsweek Publishers, 1973 
 Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, a Study in Character by Roger G. Kennedy, ISBN: 9780195140552, 2000 
Alexander Hamilton, Writings, ed. Joanne Freeman, ISBN: 9781931082044, Library of America 
The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr, by R. Kent Newmyer, ISBN: 978-1-107-60661-6. Cambridge University Press, 2012 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Becoming an Unexpected (and Unwilling) Culinary Artist by Connie Vines

It all began with the color purple.

For clarification: The color purple, not the movie.

On and off, through out my life time, I’ve had a love affair with the color purple:  Violet. Lilac, Lavender, Amethyst. 

Never: Grape, Mulberry, Eggplant or Wine.  Those shades are too dark and unwelcoming for me.
This year I’ve been updating my home in the suburbs.  I’ve ventured into a beige world about five years ago and decided it was too, well beige. It was time to update the master bedroom.

Hence, my color swatches and floral designs to locate the perfect draperies, bedding, throw rugs. . . candles, fragrance wax warmers, and a chair and ottoman.  I decided on a dove gray chair and added a purple (with a touch of gray throw).  I didn’t want matchy-matchy, but the shades needed to depict elegance.  I wanted a light airy feeling heightened by the French doors opening onto the patio.

Satisfied, I even located a collar, leash, and walking harness for Chanel in violet.  This is when my husband began to ask me when school was going to be in session again.


Perhaps I was getting a little too fixated on purple.  (I came to this realization after I painted my nails with purple polish).

I always become a bit of a baker when I write. Creativity flows forth resulting in an hour of gardening, listening to music, that sort of thing.  Well, I wanted to try a new specialty tea.
Just when I thought I was ready to get down to a day of blogging and promo on my latest BWL novel, I discovered by tea kettle had scorched and slightly melted bottom.


Knowing my husband operates a gas stove like it’s a Bunsen burner, I knew what had happened.
I was out of gluten-free table crackers and breads, so I’d just drive over to a Walmart and look at tea kettles too.

Sidebar:  I am not a shopper.  I shop like most men:  I have a list. I run in purchase what is n the list and leave.  My husband, on the other hand, examines every item, carries it around, puts it back, etc. Then he wants to go to a second store.  (As you have guessed, we seldom shop together unless it is a big-ticket item.)  I do however, shop online.  Frequently (not excessively).  Usually only during season-end sales or when I’m on summer and winter break.

So, back to the story.  I located a lovely floral tea kettle, tea pot, and a 4-quart floral stove top cooking pot with a lid too.  All on sale, all well made.  All stamped beneath “Pioneer Woman”.

Oh.  This was unexpected.

I watch a few cooking shows but never “Pioneer Woman”.  Apparently, I’m the only one not familiar with the program.

No, I did not binge watch the show.  I looked at an apple dessert receipt and something called Funeral Potatoes and saved both to iPhone for later reference.

Was that the end of it?

Of course not!

Walmart has a website you know.  Walmart also has free, speedy delivery.  (Remember the master bed room re-do? I shopped online at Wayfair and Overstock for all but the chair and ottoman.)
Connie purchased the Spring Bouquet 12-piece dinner set, storage bowls, 2 casserole dishes for the oven, salt and pepper shakers, and a few other misc. items.

This is getting a little out of hand.  I’m adapting recipes (scones and Pioneer Woman’s grits) to be gluten-free.  I’m inviting family over this weekend too.

I was thrilled I located powdered peanut butter in the market when I went shopping.

I hate to shop, remember?

I actually went shopping (of my own free will) twice last week.

I’m becoming a suburban Culinary Artist, I realized.

An unwilling Culinary Artist.

I’m certain this phase will pass—soon.

My husband loved the pot-roast, Funeral potatoes, salad, and gluten-free dessert I served to dinner.
After hand washing my new casserole dishes this evening, it was time for a manicure.

My husband was pleased with my lilac shade of nail polish, too.

Happy Reading!

Connie Vines

Links to my novels:

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Angels against robots? I'm taking bets - by Vijaya Schartz

Find all BWL titles from Vijaya Schartz HERE
As I'm actively writing the second book in the Azura Chronicles sci-fi romance series, I did not abandon research. On the contrary, even after creating an entire world, research is my main focus. Not only it helps me find new elements and threads to explore in the new story, but it opens so many possibilities...

Of course, I do enjoy the research. Who wouldn't like bingeing on the latest sci-fi movies and series (thank goodness for cable), reading great books and watching interviews of scientists on the advances of cybernetics, and the psychological consequences threatening future societies?

I love my job. Especially when the creative juices take me in unexpected directions. Book 2 will also have a big cat of a very different kind. I love researching cats.

Cybernetics, will you ask? Maybe I already said too much. But it's the future, after all, and I can't wait to pit angels against robots. This world of Azura also has a predatory fauna. Which side will the nightcrawlers take? And what role will my new kick-butt heroine and her brave hero take in this new adventure?

But I already said too much. As I work on Book 2, you are welcome to enjoy Book 1, ANGEL MINE. Each book is a standalone, but if you are like me, you'll want to know what happened before in this world of Azura.

ANGEL MINE: 5-stars
find it on amazon

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.

"I don’t know how Vijaya continues to write books that both aggravate you to no end and keep you on the edge of your seat. You can’t put it down until you know what happens next. Before you know what happened, you are at the end of the book and wondering how you got there so fast. It is hard not to get caught up in and lost in the imagery created on the pages of the locations. You can even smell what is in the air. Yet another page turner I couldn’t put down! Thank you Vijaya for keeping me entertained."  5-stars - Beverley J. Malloy on amazon

Happy Reading!

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


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Can lovers be reunited across time? Tricia McGill

My Books We Love Author page
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In my latest book I say, yes they can. For a long time I have firmly believed that I have lived before and hope I will be reunited with a loved one in the future. The only explanation I have for this is that my dreams have me featured in certain circumstances and I know they are set in the past. Often I don’t  recognise the other person and yet know deep down who it is. The logical part of my brain tells me this is probably fanciful thinking, and my overactive imagination concocting stories I would like to be true. In one of my most vivid dreams I was most definitely in Ireland (never been there in this life) with a man I knew well even though he looked different to the one I know in this life. We had a family of children (I have none in this life) and were a struggling family which was obvious by the surroundings. It was so convincing I believed I was reliving a past life.

One of my previous doctors was born in Pakistan and later lived in India (or it might have been the other way around) before coming to Australia. We got to talking one day about my beliefs and certain religions and I was taken aback when he assured me I was a Buddhist, or so aligned with their faith it was obvious I shared their beliefs.

It seems I am not alone in my belief in reincarnation, as the concept has existed for a long time in certain religions. I was surprised, stunned in fact, to learn that there are probably more people alive today who believe in it than those who do not. This surprised me because of this technological age we live in I thought it would be something that wasn’t even considered. The most surprising fact to me was that a large proportion of  people in the USA and Western Europe do hold a belief in reincarnation.
Read more about it here: 

Another fact that surprised me is there is quite a difference in such beliefs in certain cultures. I believed it was something more taught by Buddhists but learnt that it features largely in the Hindu culture also. They believe in Karma and that rather than meeting up with past loves in the future we are more likely to simply be reborn, even as an animal or of the opposite sex. I am a great believer in Karma, or Fate as I like to call it, and know it has played an enormous part in my life.

Something that I found immensely interesting is that in 1961 Ian Stevenson who at the time was chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia was so intrigued by the cases of children claiming to remember past lives that he gave up his position at the University and opted on full-time research of the cases. He found children who spoke quite fluently of other lives and deceased people. Their stories were so convincing that some families made contact with members of this previous person the child mentioned in such detail.

At these meetings, the child would often be said to identify members of the previous family as well as items belonging to the deceased individual. Since he began his research he and others have found many such cases of children claiming to recall past lives. Seem too fanciful? Not to me, as children often have invisible friends, and I doubt if a child could go so far as to imagine and describe someone is such detail that it could be proved later this person lived. And cases have been found in so many different locations there has to be more truth in it than wishful thinking. Most common cases are found in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, West Africa, and mostly in cultures with a firm belief in reincarnation. It’s the fact that these are children and not adults who could clearly make stories up to satisfy the researcher that makes it so convincing.

My mother never had in-depth discussions with us on such things as life after death but I can still see her wreath lying on our father’s coffin, with her card that simply said, “Till we meet again.”

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