Saturday, February 29, 2020

Seat of the Pants + Writing Fiction    

That's what it is these days, pretty much, seat of the pants. Fortunately, I'm no longer an office worker, where this tendency is job-ender! Retired, however, I've become increasingly this way--culminating in tonight, wherein I crown myself Princess of Procrastination. 

My husband seems to believe that I have a record with put-off-till-tomorrow syndrome. He says he remembers college, and me sitting up half the night, bent over a textbook, performing a last minute stuffing on facts. But---shhhhh--I remember him breaking open his Statistics book the night before the final...

What happens when you yourself, a writer of books and proud, self-declared "Seat of Your Pants Plotter" find that inspiration has failed you? The seat of those pants has worn through, or something. 

I'm accustomed to being led (grabbed by the throat) by my characters, who are usually chatty and full of stories about themselves and their friends and relations, but what if they wander off and fall down a rabbit hole?

Far too many have been doing this to me lately. They start off with a conversation which really seems to be going somewhere, but suddenly, as if someone filled their 18th Century teacups with many, many drops of Laudanum, they fall back senseless upon the appliqued cushions of the settee, or, more likely, just vanish down a dark hallway of the rambling manor which belongs to their uncle, the sixteenth Earl of Whatever, and never return.

Afterward, no matter how often I attempt to recontact them--offering them dinner parties, glorious, thundering steeplechases, or handsome sweethearts, late night trysts in the Earl's topiary gardens or witty dialogue in Regency Ballrooms, they refuse to come out and share their stories with me.

This has been happening for the last year or so. It's annoying, really, when all the chatter just stops, because up till now I've been able to rely on my characters supplying entire story lines. Or to put it another way, the thread I've been following in the labyrinth breaks and there I am, left alone in the dark. 

I can't lay this at the paws of the two cats who vie for which one can jump the most frequently on my forearms while I am attempting to create

(Lizzie, who really knew how to cuddle on my forearms in such a way that I could still type.) 

Tony & Willeford show no interest in mastering Lizzie's talent. Willeford assumes the meatloaf position directly in front of the keyboard. Tony faces the monitor and refuses to be turned, so his legs keep straying onto the keyboard resulting in stuff like ,,,,hkkkjhkhgkkkkkkkkgkhhh;;;;;;;;;;

Schuyler in full meatloaf

But this cat-blaming is a deflection, a writer's cop-out. 

Facts are: I've gotta get this heroine I've been imagining back to work.  Perhaps a long absent relative from the East India Company--or maybe from the equally exotic, violent world of plantation Jamaica--needs to show up, in order stir the pot, and pique my young character's interest. I'll even go back to the drawing board of a re-write if that's what it takes to get the seat sewn on my plotting pants again.

Fellow fiction writers: Please be so good as to let me know if you have any tricks up your sleeves. (Pretty please?)

~Juliet Waldron

Friday, February 28, 2020

An Introvert-Writer’s Guide to Celebrating Mardi Gras by Connie Vines

#1 Celebrate from the comfort of your home.  

Am I kidding?  No.  My husband is from Louisiana.  We have vacationed in New Orleans, many times. I absolutely love New Orleans’ French Quarter. However, my husband has always declined to vacation during Mardi Gras season.


“Because there are people.  Huge crowds of people.  Loud people who toss/throw things at you.  They also get drunk and. . .” he explained.

I got the idea.  He was probably correct.  Reality-Mardi Gras might be too intense (recalling my experience with the man and the tickle-feather at the Renaissance Faire which did not end well).

Still, the origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. From here, the traditional revelry of "Boeuf Gras," or fatted calf, followed France to her colonies.

On March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, and named it "Pointe du Mardi Gras" when his men realized it was the eve of the festive holiday. Bienville also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America's very first Mardi Gras.

My day job requires interaction with staff, students, and social events.  I enjoy preparing regional meals.  I also like to throw family parties and get-together s with a small group of close friends.

Each year I host a “Mardi Gras” dinner party (I am an Introvert, remember.  No wild dancing or bead-throwing on the agenda). 

If you’ve ever traveled to New Orleans or are familiar with bayou cuisine, you may have tried a muffuletta. It’s one of my all-time favorite sandwiches.

 Muffuletta is both the name of a Sicilian sesame bread - and the name of a sandwich created by Italian immigrants (one branch of my family-tree originated in Sicily) in NOLA using the same bread. The sandwich combines Italian deli meats and cheeses with olive tapenade to create a layered sandwich unlike any other.

It’s Carnival season and there’s no shortage of delicious food to enjoy before, during, and after Fat Tuesday. If you’re having a Mardi Gras party, this slow cooker muffuletta dip is the perfect appetizer to serve to your krewe.

You can transform this quintessential New Orleans sammie into a dip for easy enjoyment at any party.  Plus, it’s research for my WIP set in New Orleans.
Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker

In a small slow cooker crock, combine giardiniera, cream cheese, chopped provolone cheese, cubed salami, and olives. Giardiniera is an Italian relish made of pickled vegetables. You can find it at the grocery store near the pickles.

Slow Cooker Mardi Gras Muffuletta Dip


1 jar (16 ounces) giardiniera, drained and coarsely chopped (Walmart—which I discovered by accident— Muffuletta mix in a glass jar).
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
1 package (8 ounces) sliced provolone cheese, coarsely chopped
4 ounces hard salami, cut in small cubes
1 cup sliced pimento stuffed olives
½ cup sliced olives
Pita chips/muffuletta bread


In a small slow cooker crock, combine all ingredients except pita chips.
Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or LOW for 4 to 4 ½ hours. Stir occasionally.
Serve with chunks of muffuletta bread/pita chips.

After your party, indulge in a steaming cup of coffee with chicory and hot milk while reading an exciting novel available at BWL Publishing.

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!  and my other novels, too!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

We are not alone in the universe - by Vijaya Schartz

Byzantium Book 2, BLACK DRAGON. Check it out
with my other books HERE

The mainstream scientists finally agree that it would be impossible for us to be the only intelligent race in the universe. And it seems that many ancient texts all over the world speak of visitations of powerful gods wielding thunderbolts, and other strange beings, some blue of skin, some with many arms, some with wings, others who emerged from the sea… who possessed incredible technology and waged war in the skies on their chariots of fire. 

Gods warring in the sky in ancient sanskrit texts 

Since Chariots of the gods, by Erich Von Daniken was published in the seventies, science is now answering many of his questions. Ancient mythologies might have described aliens descending from the sky, and their advanced technology was interpreted as divine powers. Some ancient ruins show signs of being destroyed by nuclear weapons millennia ago, and are still radioactive. 

In the light of our quick progress and our push for establishing colonies on the Moon and on Mars, it stands to reason that, if they are watching us, these other galactic races with incredible technology will want to make official contact with us… before we develop into a full-blown interplanetary race and interfere with their domain. 

It may be that we will colonize the closest planets long before they make contact with us. What will we do when they make contact? How shall we communicate? Do we have a plan? 

In the movie ARRIVAL, a linguist is tasked to decipher the language of aliens attempting to communicate with us. Since language is intrinsically linked to a culture (believe me, as a French person living in the US, and writing in English, I find it to be the truth) understanding an alien race would mean learning about, and understanding their culture… to determine their intents. 

Why did they come? What do they want? Are they friendly and want to study us, like the adorable alien in E.T. or have they come to eat us and plunder our resources, like in INDEPENDENCE DAY? 

How will the Military react? What if they have a different notion of time? What if they want us to get to their level and offer new knowledge and advanced technology? What if they are our creators through DNA manipulation, and are checking on our progress? Will we pass the test or will they destroy us with a great flood or a plague? Are we evolved enough to understand their motives?

In a speech to the U.N. in 1987, President Ronald Reagan said, “I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.“ Carl Sagan, Winston Churchill, Stephen Hawking, all considered the likelihood of our first contact. 

But how can negotiations happen between galactic cultures, without a world government able to represent the entire planet? It’s impossible when so many factions are at odds, when they wage political and religious wars against each other, and the world leaders have a selfish appetite for power. 

Some leaked reports say the governments of several countries are already working with different groups of aliens and replicating their technologies. Others say there are many alien factions as well, and they are at odds with each other. 

UFOs buzzed the White House in 1952

There is even a documented instance when Aliens attempted to make peaceful contact with the White House over half a century ago, but the powers of the time were not ready to make peace with the rest of the world or publicly acknowledge the presence of aliens. 

If World Peace is a condition for our admission in the Galactic Confederation of Planets, I will visualize World Peace, and hope I’m still around to witness this momentous event that will forever unite the Human Race and give us a new direction. 

In the meantime, I write Sci-fi where Humans have already sprung into space and rub shoulders with alien races and cultures. Don’t miss my AZURA series (a planet inhabited by winged beings with astonishing powers) and my BYZANTIUM series (set on a space station at the fringe of conquered space). Of course, you can expect strong heroines, brave heroes, and a few smart felines.

Happy Reading!

Sci-fi action romance
Byzantium series

From your favorite retailer HERE

When bounty hunter Akira Karyudo accepted her assignment, something didn't add up. Why would the Galactic Trade Alliance want a young kidnapped orphan dead or alive?

She will get to the truth once she finds the boy, and the no-good SOB who snatched him from a psychiatric hospital. With her cheetah, Freckles, a genetically enhanced feline retriever, Akira sets out to flush them out of the bowels of the Byzantium space station. But when she finds her fugitives, the kidnapper is not what she expects.

Kazmo, a decorated Resistance fighter, stole his nephew from the authorities, who performed painful experiments on the boy. Stuck on Byzantium, he protects the child, but how can he shield him from the horribly dangerous conditions in the lawless sublevels of the space station?

Akira faces the worst moral dilemma of her career. Law or justice, duty or love. She can't have it both ways.

Sci-fi action romance
Azura Chronicles series

Get it from your favorite retailer HERE

Something’s rotten on the angel planet. When Avenging Angels turn up dead, Urielle, their Legion Commander, suspects the handsome intruder brought unspeakable evil to Azura.

Maksou never met a woman he couldn’t seduce. He came to the forbidden planet to rescue his friends and get rich in the process, but the jungle crawls with lethal life forms… including a gorgeous warrior angel, who saves his life but keeps him prisoner and challenges his irresistible charm.

Urielle, sworn to protect Azura at all costs, has no use for a maverick who ignores the rules and endangers the planet… no matter how attractive. Especially when the Galactic Trade Alliance (GTA) wages a secret war to get their greedy hands on the priceless crystal at Azura’s core.

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo FB

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Why I love research—Tricia McGill

A week or so ago I went by ferry along the Yarra River from Docklands in
Melbourne to Williamstown just down the coast a bit. The ferry chugged along at roughly the speed I would imagine was taken by the early settlers. I love my city despite its ever-growing concrete and glass towers. The story goes that John Batman wrote in his journal on 8th  June 1835 two days after sailing up the Yarra River, "So the boat went up the large river, and I am glad to state about six miles up found the river had all good water and very deep. This will be the place for a village."

That last sentence later became famous as the "founding charter" of Melbourne.
Batman signed a so-called treaty with 8 Wurundjeri Aborigine elders to gain 600,000 acres of land around Port Philip, or Melbourne as it would become, and another 100,000 acres around what is now Geelong on the other side of Port Philip Bay. For some time Batman's Treaty, as it came to be called, was assumed by some historians to be a forgery.
By 1838, just 2½ years after John Batman’s announcement that “This will be the Place for a Village“, Melbourne’s population and infrastructure had already grown. By then Melbourne had 3 churches, 13 hotels, 28 business places, and 64 dwelling houses.   On October 27, 1839, the ship David Clark arrived from Scotland in what was then called Hobson’s Bay with 166 adults and 63 children—a voyage of more than four months. The new arrivals were taken ashore in the ship’s boats at the beach opposite Williamstown, and walked overland two miles to the banks of the Yarra River, where 50 tents were pitched in three parallel lines, each numbered to avoid confusion. The newcomers could only reach Melbourne via a punt on the Yarra. What began as a collection of tents and huts on the banks of the Yarra River that was used for bathing and drinking water, by 1850 become so polluted it was the cause of an epidemic of typhoid fever resulting in many deaths.
So as you can guess my imagination worked overtime that February 2020 day as the small ferry chugged peacefully along the Yarra River, where towering buildings now reach skywards in splendour, as I try to picture what it must have been like for those early settlers working their way in their vessels along the river where it is likely kangaroos, or emus sat and stared at the intruders. Or possibly natives who were conned by Batman out of the land that had been solely theirs for thousands of years.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Vikings in Cornwall by A.M.Westerling

 Find A Heart Enslaved at your favourite online store HERE.

I thought if I wanted to highlight my Viking romance while promoting Sophie’s Choice, Book One of my Regency series, The Ladies of Harrington House set in Cornwall, England, I had better find a link between the two. And sure enough I found it.

Although we tend to think of Cornwall as being in the far west, 1000 years ago Vikings traveling down the Irish Sea considered Cornwall a central gathering point. From here ships sailed to the south of England or across the English Channel to Frankia. They raided often for example attacking the monastery at Padstow in 980 and in 997 sailing up the Tamar river to attack the abbey at Tavistock. 

Photo of the Tamar River By Tony Atkin, CC BY-SA 2.0,

However, they also traded as actively in the area as they did in the Loire and the Seine valleys. The Orkney sagas indicate that the Vikings used the Isles of Scilly just off the Cornish coast as a base. Lundy, the island in the Bristol Channel, is an Old Norse word for Puffin Island which also proves the Viking route.

There’s not a lot of archaeological evidence of the Vikings in Cornwall – a few sculptures with Scandinavian art motifs such as the cross at Cardinham in East Cornwall on the edge of Bodmin Moor which is similar to works from the Viking age in northern England. Common in Cornwall are “hogback” stone sculptures thought to be grave markers. They’re not found in Scandinavia and are believed to have been invented by Viking settlers in England. They have a pronounced ridge and look like a small stone long house like Lanivet near Bodmin. They may have been the work of itinerant sculptors and it’s a strong possibility the patrons may have been Scandinavian settlers. (Below is a cast of a 10th C hogback stone from Govan Old Parish Church in the Kelvin Grove Art Gallery and Museum in Glascow.)

However, people searching in the West Country over the past few years are discovering increasing numbers of metal objects from the period such as Viking dress-fittings, lead weights, coins and silver ingots. Also all manner of gear for horses which strikes me as odd because I mostly associate Vikings with long ships!

Later during Viking times Cornwall was allowed to continue as an independent nation as long as they paid danegeld to the Kings of Denmark. If you're interested in learning more about the Vikings in Cornwall, you might like to check out the following websites:uth-wst were not immune from the atD,


If you've been following my blog posts on the 25th of every month, you know I've been including excerpts from Sophie's Choice, coming in April. Here's the next one!

 “Oh, I assure you, Lady Sophie, I find none of your skills lacking. You ride admirably well, your voice is lovely and it’s obvious you’re not one to kowtow to society’s rules.” The scamp. Again he referred to their unexpected meeting earlier today.

“By your comments, you demonstrate you are not one to follow proper etiquette,” she sniffed.

He chuckled and poured himself another glass of wine. “What is proper etiquette far from the madding crowd? We comport ourselves as we see fit for the occasion, do we not?”

“Far from the madding crowd? Do you favour the works of Thomas Gray?” She cocked her head and dared look at him full on. So much for being the coquette. Why should that comment surprise her? As a barrister, he would be a man of letters.

He blinked, whether from surprise at her question or her bold stare she didn’t know. “You’re familiar with his poem, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard?””

“Why does that astonish you?” She finally let go of the table and reached for the wine.

“May I?” He leaned past her and snagged a glass for her. He pointed towards the red wine and at her nod, poured.

She caught the fruity aroma as he handed her the wine and her head spun. Since when did the fragrance wine affect her? When Lord Bryce Langdon handed it to her, that’s when.

“You haven’t answered me,” he said. “About the poem.”

“I do enjoy reading a well written poem,” she began. “Because I enjoy time well spent in my father’s library with a good book of poetry. Shakespeare for one, although that may not be considered pure poetry. Lord Byron. Percy Shelley.”

“Since when do you enjoy poetry?” Leah interrupted. She’d made her way over to stand on the other side of Bryce at the table. “You never comment favorably on what I write.” Her sister flicked open her fan and gazed at him above the lacy edge.

Sophie ground her teeth at the blatant adoration in her sister’s eyes. “I dare say there’s a fair discrepancy between what Gray and Byron write and what you consider poetry.”

“We shall let Lord Langdon be the judge, then, shall we not? It’s almost time for me to read aloud my work and we shall ask.” She fluttered her eye lashes at Bryce, who appeared not to notice.

If Leah batted her eye lashes one more time, Sophie thought, she would bat her sister right out of the room. She’d not stoop to arguing with her in front of Bryce Langdon, though. Instead, she fixed her gaze on her sister and glared. Her sister had the grace to blush; she looked away. Good. Maybe the minx finally realized her behaviour was totally beyond the pale.

“Which I most assuredly look forward to,” said Langdon. A smile hovered over his lips and he clamped his mouth as if to ward it off. “If you ladies shall excuse me, I’ll return to my seat.” He bowed and walked away.

“Really, Leah, must you be so forward? Mama will be having fits over your actions tonight.” Sophie shook her head.

“You’re jealous because he favours me. Did you see the look on his face when I mentioned I wrote poetry? Nothing but admiration.” Leah flounced off.

Lady Harrington stood and raised a hand. “Attention all, shall we continue with our program?” At the murmurs of assent, she waved Leah over to the music stand by the pianoforte, who flipped through the sheaf of papers on the stand.

“My poem is not here,” she said. “I left it here earlier.” She glowered at Sophie. “What have you done with it?”

“Oh my, you must search again. It was there when I finished my piece,” Sophie insisted.

“Lord Langdon, perhaps you could help me search?” Leah cast a beseeching look towards him.

Bryce frowned and he rubbed his hand along his jaw, uncomfortable with the request.

“Come Leah, there’s no need to bother our guest,” said Lady Harrington. “Sophie, perhaps you misplaced it.”

I did not. Leah is playing another one of her tricks. “Let me look.” Someone snickered. Bryce, perhaps? Sophie hoped not. She could smack Leah for her antics this evening, how childish he must find the two of them. At least Catherine had retired to a chair by the window and kept out of it. She watched the proceedings with an innocent look on her face, no doubt enjoying the spectacle being put on by Leah.

Sophie made her way to the stand. “It’s here, you ninnywit,” she whispered to Leah, pulling the sheets of poetry from beneath the music. Sophie raised her voice. “No harm, it’s here. Leah must have missed it in her fluster to read for our company.”

She turned to find a seat; Bryce gestured to the chair beside him, the one on which Leah had sat. Turnabout is fair play, she thought. She glanced at Leah. Her sister’s eyes popped from her head and she looked about to have a fit. Watch me, thought Sophie, watch how a lady comports herself for a gentleman. Although earlier today, he’d implied otherwise and perhaps he had a point seeing as how he had found her bare foot and bare headed. Nonetheless, this evening she would conduct herself beyond reproach and worthy of mention in the pages of WHAT. Bryce rose and offered his hand. She lowered her gaze, placed one hand in his, collected her skirts with the other and sat down.

“Have I mentioned how delightful you look this evening?” When she shot him a glance, he quirked a dark eyebrow.

“I thought you preferred my attire of this afternoon.”

He chuckled at her sharp rejoinder. “Ah, but there’s nothing more lovely than a lady in her evening dress. But yes, you looked delightful earlier. I daresay there’s not a moment you don’t look utterly delightful.”

She flushed at the compliment and looked away. “You are too kind.” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw his hands on his thighs. Firm hands, manicured, a bit tanned. He didn’t spend all his time inside ensconced with his books then. She flapped open her fan and peeked at him from behind the safety of the printed silk. She sat up straight, folded her fan, and put her hands in her lap. This is how a proper lady sat.

She hoped he noticed.

So conscious of his presence was she, she heard none of Leah’s poetry. Not that it mattered, she’d heard those three particular poems many times before. Leah tried but her poetry tended to be quite insipid.

Instead, she could only hear the man beside her – the sough of his breath, slow and steady. The occasional creak of his chair as he shifted position. The tap of his boot on the parquet floor. He leaned down to brush something off his pantaloon and she lifted her nose to catch his scent, a whiff of leather and citrus. So crisp, so masculine, so – enticing.

Leah finished her recitation and Lady Harrington stood, waiting for the applause to die down before saying anything. “Thank you, Leah, that was utterly charming. Now, if all of you could follow me, supper is served. Leah, you and Catherine shall pair.”

“Oh,” Leah pouted. “I had thought to ask Lord Langdon his opinion on my poetry.” She threw a pleading look towards Bryce that made Sophie want to vomit.

“That is quite enough, Leah,” said Lady Harrington. She looked at Bryce. “I must apologize for my daughter’s outspoken ways.”

“If I may, I found the reading most agreeable,” said their guest, oozing politeness. “Lady Leah is indeed a young lady of talent.” Leah preened herself at Bryce’s words and darted a victorious glance in Sophie’s direction. She made a move towards Langdon but one glance from her mother convinced her otherwise and with a shake of the head, she linked her arm with Catherine’s.

Despite Leah’s best attempts and to Sophie’s delight, she found herself paired with Bryce.

“Do you enjoy yourself?” Sophie managed to whisper as they made their way to the dining room. “You must find us bumpkins.”

“Not at all,” he murmured. “I am flattered to find myself considered a prize worth pursuing.” This time a smile spread fully across his lips, brightening his eyes. Her heart skipped a beat.

So, he had noticed Leah’s behaviour because Leah evidently considered him worth pursuing. However, had he noticed Sophie sitting beside him? Had he been as aware of her as she had been of him?

“I would think many have thought of you as a prize?” A prying question, to be sure and she astonished herself with her boldness. “I must ask, what game do you think we play, sir, that you are the end reward?”

“A game of your choosing.” He inclined his head. “As far as the spoils going to the victor, I suppose some may think me a good catch but it seems to me the attraction must go both ways for any union to be successful. Do you agree?”

Oh my, now who asked the bold question? She looked up at him and his eyes were on her, intent on her answer.

“Why yes. One need only look to my parents to see the proof of that.”

He handed her off and maneuvered past the chairs to his place at the far end of the table. Just as well they didn’t sit together, she was sure she couldn’t eat a bite if he were beside or directly across from her.

But almost every time she looked up, his eyes were on her. And if they weren’t, within a second or two they were, as if he could feel her gaze.

Her stomach fluttered with nerves and excitement at his perusal. It didn’t help her appetite but it helped with her self confidence. He gazed at her.

Not Leah.


Monday, February 24, 2020

Canadian Authors Past and Present by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey--Ontario

Canadian Authors Past and Present
Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2017. To commemorate the occasion my publisher, Books We Love, Ltd (BWL) brought out the Canadian Historical Brides Series during 2017 and 2018. There are twelve books, one about each province, one about the Yukon, and one combining the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Each book was written by a BWL Canadian author or co-authored by a Canadian and an international BWL author.
Each province and territory of Canada has spawned many well-known authors and my series of posts this year will be about them-one or two from the past and one or two from the present, the present-day ones being the authors of the Brides book for the corresponding province or territory. The posts are in the order that the books were published.

William Robertson Davies was born August 28, 1913 in Thamesville, Ontario (ON). He grew up surrounded by books and he participated in theatrical productions, developing a lifelong love of drama. He attended Upper Canada College then studied at Queen’s University at Kingston, ON. He moved to Oxford, England where he received a Bachelor Degree in Literature from Balliol College in 1938. His thesis, Shakespeare’s Boy Actors, was published in 1939 and he began acting in London.
     William married Brenda Mathews, an Australian who was working as a stage manager. They moved to Canada in 1940 and he began a career as literary editor at Saturday Night magazine. Their first child was born in December 1940. Two years later he accepted the position of editor of the Peterborough Examiner in Peterborough, ON. During this time he wrote humorous essays under the name Samuel Marchbanks and wrote and produced many stage plays.
     In 1947, several of his essays were published in The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, and The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks came out in 1949. Davies used his early upbringing to provide themes for his novels and his first novel Tempest Tost was published in 1951. His second, Leaven of Malice, came out in 1954. In 1955 he became publisher of the Peterborough Examiner and his third novel, A Mixture of Frailties was published in 1958.
     Besides novel and play writing, and being a newspaper publisher, Davies taught literature at Trinity College at the University of Toronto from 1960 until 1981. He left his post as publisher of the Peterborough Examiner in 1962 and became a Master of Massey College, the University of Toronto’s new graduate college, in 1963. Along with his father William Rupert Davies and his brother Arthur Davies, William bought the Kingston Whig-Standard newspaper, CHEX-AM and CKWS-AM radio stations, and CHEX-TV and CKWS-TV television stations. His third book of essays, Samuel Marchbanks’ Almanack was published in 1967.
     William Robertson Davies wrote a total of eighteen fiction and non-fiction books, plus fifteen plays. He won many awards for his writing including the Governor-General’s Literary Award and the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. He was named a Companion of the Order of Canada.
     William Robertson Davies died on December 2, 1995, in Orangeville ON.

Josiah Henson was born on June 15, 1789, into slavery in Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland. When his family was separated by each being sold to different plantations, his mother pleaded with her new owner, Isaac Riley, to buy her youngest son so she would have him with her. Riley agreed and Josiah came to work for him. Josiah was twenty-two years-of-age when he married. He also became a Methodist Minister and was made the supervisor of his master's farm.
     In 1825, Mr. Riley fell on hard times and was sued by a brother-in-law. Henson guided eighteen of Riley’s slaves to Riley’s brother’s plantation in Kentucky. When he returned and asked to buy his freedom from Riley for $450.00 (350.00 cash and $100.00 IOU), Riley added an extra zero to the IOU. Cheated of his money, Henson returned to Kentucky. In 1830, he learned that he might be sold again so he, his wife, and their four children escaped to Kent County, in Upper Canada (now Ontario), which had been a refuge for slaves since 1793. That was the year Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe passed: An Act to prevent the further introduction of Slaves, and limit the Term of Contracts for Servitude within this Province. While the legislation did not immediately end slavery, it did prevent the importation of slaves and so any United States slave who entered the province was automatically free.
     Josiah Henson worked on farms in Upper Canada before moving with friends to Colchester to set up a Black settlement on rented land. He eventually was able to buy 200 acres in Dawn Township and made the community self-sufficient. The settlement reached a population of 500 at its height, earning money by exporting black walnut lumber to the United States and Britain. Henson purchased an adjoining 200 acres for his family to live on.
     Henson served in the Canadian Army as a military officer. He led a black militia unit in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837-38. When slavery was abolished in the United States many residents of the Dawn Settlement returned to their original home. Josiah Henson and his wife had eight more children in Upper Canada and he remarried a widow from Boston when his first wife died. He continued to live in Dawn for the rest of his life and many of his descendants still live in the area.
     Henson wrote his autobiography The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as narrated by Himself. It was published in 1849 and many believe he inspired the main character in Harriet Beecher Stowes’ Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). Henson then expanded his memoir and published it as Truth Stranger Than Fiction. Father Henson’s Story of His Own Life which came out in 1858. Since people were still interested in his life, in 1876 his story was updated and published as Uncle Tom’s Story of His Life: An autobiography of the Rev. Josiah Henson.
     Josiah Henson died on May 5, 1883 at the age of ninety-four.

Book 2 of the Canadian Historical Brides Series:  His Brother's Bride (Ontario) - Nancy Bell - March 2017

Nancy M Bell calls herself a proud Albertan and Canadian. She lives near Balzac, Alberta, with her husband and various critters. Her fiction novels include three historical romances, three young adult, and twelve romances. Laurels Quest (2014) is the first of three young adult novels in The Cornwall Adventure Series. Another young adult series, Arabella’s Secret, has two novels.

     Nancy has also written numerous articles, short stories, and poems. Her first book of poetry Through This Door was published in 2010 and she has read her poetry at the annual Poetry at Stephan’s House, at the Stephansson House Provincial Historic Site in Markerville, Alberta. (Stephan G. Stephansson was born in Iceland. He and his family moved to Canada and settled in the Markerville area in 1889. He is considered to be Iceland’s greatest poet since the Middle Ages. His popular, Andvokur, or “Wakeful Nights,” is a 6-volume set of poetry. His historic house has been restored to its 1927 look and the annual poetry reading began in 2003.)

     Nancy is a presenter at various writers’ conferences and has won many awards. She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta. When she isn’t writing she works with, as well as, fosters rescued animals.

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