Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Putting the bits together by Priscilla Brown


Struggling with a tricky assignment on an island inhabited only by her employer
and a hundred sheep, journalist Jasmine's almost literal lifeline is the sexy ferry deckhand.

This contemporary romance set in the Scottish Hebridean islands is available from
Smashwords until 20 April 2020, at US$1.60 
As well as writing contemporary romantic fiction, my creative interests include working with textiles  (knitting, hand and machine sewing, embroidery, felting). Recently I participated in a workshop creating new cloth by intermingling scraps of any colour, design and texture of fabrics, and adding embellishments such as buttons, ribbons and braids. We worked small on a background fabric of our choice, choosing fragments from a stash we had each brought and from that generously offered by the tutor. We cut and tore, fiddled with shapes and colours and designs, overlapped our pieces or covered a join with a ribbon. When we were satisfied, we carefully removed the bits so we could paste them back. Pasting is not firm enough to last, so we secured our work by embellishing with stitching and embroidery.
For me, writing a novel is rather like putting the bits together. These are a few of the "bits" collected in my notebook which eventually found their way into the above story...reversing a car onto a tiny ferry (I had to do this, somewhat daunting especially as it was a rental car, and this became the germ of the story idea)...a smuggler's tunnel (the eighteenth century one I saw was wide enough to roll a barrel through but a smuggler would have to be skinny to use it as a escape route)...an ancient curse (liking the idea of this, I made one up)...a ruined castle...someone dishing the dirt... a shared partiality for fruit and nut chocolate (this came from observing a couple on a train, he feeding her squares of chocolate from the wrapper which I could see).

And then there's the practicalities of building the story. I don't have a complete plot before I start  novel, making much of it up as I go, and I like to check the technological "bits" on the way.
Choosing words: is this the most effective word for this situation? Does it convey the appropriate tone and the precise meaning? Is  the spellchecker telling lies about my spelling?

Assembling words into sentences: are the grammar and punctuation correct? Do the words fit with their neighbour words? Does the word order carry an unambiguous message? Any extraneous or repetitious words lurking? Is there a rhythm to the sentence which makes it easy to read?

Combining sentences into paragraphs: sometimes one or only a few sentences are effective in a paragraph, to build tension, or emphasise a plot point, or introduce an important situation. Otherwise, are the sentences relevant to each other, and to the current circumstances? Does the paragraph move the story on?

Placing the paragraphs into chapters:  each needs an attention-grabbing beginning and a cliffhanger ending.

Oh the satisfaction when the "bits" appear to have fitted together, reaching THE END! But of course they haven't all been cooperative. On checking the manuscript, it's likely to find some which don't fit--they may be redundant, at the wrong place in the story, out of character, failing to convey the  overall tone of the writing, simply incorrect...and more. So the revision process begins, manipulating those "bits" until the writing is reader-friendly and the story can be finally wrapped up.  (As I did with the fabric scraps, creating a pretty bangle.)

Stay safe, Priscilla

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Crazy & Yoga

My grandmother lived through the Spanish Flu. Long ago, when I was a youngster, she told me the scary story of how she'd sat in an upstairs window with her school friends in NYC, all of them watching in fear as body after body was carried from neighboring buildings. 

Bad old days, was her unspoken message: 
Don't worry little granddaughter. Things like that can't happen in these marvelous modern times.

Right as Grandma was about many things, she has proved wrong there. Now my husband and I are isolating; we are hoping and praying for deliverance for our friends and families. We also send our prayers for health and continued strength to our needlessly endangered and overworked health care community. We pray too for the rest  of the world. Each country now shows its true colors in the way it treats its poorest citizens--and many wealthy nations like ours are failing the test.

It would be ironic to drop dead of a heart attack -- instead of the  virus -- over political events an elder recipient of social security can do nothing about. I'll stop venting now and talk yoga instead. 

I've written about Yoga before on this blog. I have tinkered with Yoga since the 1960's. As powerful as Yoga is--this exercise which joins breath with precise movement--I've never been a consistent practitioner.  Of course, that fact alone means that I am exactly the kind of person Yoga was meant for.*  Discipline is as important in yoga as it is in any other exercise--and as it is in writing. That means you have to work out as near to daily as possible. I've been writing daily for years, but best case for me with Yoga has been attending a class twice a week. 

Still, not even that would have been possible for me before the new, sophisticated senior classes, because I'm a skeletal wreck. I don't mean I'm thin. What I mean is that inside I'm badly joined. Tendons are sub-par, misaligned; I have Scoliosis. Maybe I didn't come like that, but that's the way my torso's been since my teens. I have never -- even on my best 110 lb. day--been able to touch my toes. 

As a result, I've had to wait for Yoga's full revelation to arrive in my 70's with the advent of Silver & Fit. The hidden truth is so simple that for years my befuddled Western head wasn't been able to comprehend, but the light has begun to dawn at last. Since the gym closed, I've found I'm able to carry on my practice a bit at home, probably for the first time ever in my life.  

Recently, yoga has been helpful in keeping (what's left of) my sanity, so I'm going to share one of what are called "foundational" poses. It's a simple -- and on the surface, easy -- exercise, but poses are still complicated to explain. Whatever, I'm about to try.

The door opener for me was Mountain Pose, so that's the one I'll use here. It's a great place to start, or even if you never get an inch farther, I think this pose is magnificently powerful in a time when we truly need to BE HERE NOW.* There may not be a future, after all.

The illustration above shows the proper posture. However, the way in which the posture is acquired -- where you actually begin -- is important. So is the breath, but I'll explain that as I go. 

You begin with the feet. My instructor told us to stand hip-width apart, not "together" as above, so I'll add that caveat here. Therefore, your feet are aligned beneath your hips, leaving the natural gap between them. Next, turn your toes ever so slightly outward, just a small bit of angle. Hands are against your sides--as much as your structure allows--with the palm open and facing forward, the thumbs turned out.

After you've got your feet placed, straighten up slowly--perform every move with attention -- and then slowly push your heels together. This push activates your calves, next engages your knees, thighs and then your belly, all of which are all now involved. Once you've engaged the core muscles in the gut, you pause to check that your tailbone is pointed down. 

Naturally, as the tension ascends your body, you will pull your shoulder blades--very gently, please -- together. The breastbone pushes out, and you can help this with a deep breath. For most of us elders, the shoulders won't want to move much, but do what you can. Remember to keep the shoulders down. 

(Digression: Yoga is not about force, which is the very Western notion that your will can overcome muscular deficiency, and that you are not a Jock worthy of the name if you can't push yourself through any pain to perfection in less than a week. This attitude will inevitably end in OW! DAMN! You'll yank something deep inside, have to take a lot of Advil(c) and then just sour grapes quit.) 

Back to Mountain Pose instruction. 

Now take another deep, conscious breath and be certain that you are still looking straight ahead and that all those muscles are still contracted. Don't tilt your head up or down. Keep the thumbs of the hands aimed back. At this point, you can feel your "meat suit" self line up and balance. Imagine your head on a string, the crown gently pulled upward.

Here is where you remain, breathing deeply and slowly, in and out, in and out, for at least eight breaths. You can, if you like, imagine that you are a mountain, plugged into the great energetic being that is our beautiful Planet Earth. Don't forget that you are giving back as well as taking and you'll feel yourself become part of the cycle. Hold Mountain Pose until you find your mind wandering, then stop if you must or continue on to other postures you have a hankering for. 

I hope you will find Mountain Pose as restoring as I do. I return to the endless cleaning of surfaces, newly acquired groceries, etc. feeling refreshed and ready not only for the tasks ahead, but with spirits raised--despite the news. I'm not worrying about a future I cannot control and may not even see. The breathing and the posture re-adjustment helps me keep sane in times which are, frankly, terrifying. Somehow, in the middle of this disaster, we need to remember to keep our humanity and our compassion--both for ourselves and for others. Personally, for me, I've been finding even a little bit of this ancient practice smooths the way. 

~~Juliet Waldron                                     https://bookswelove.net/waldron-juliet/

Smashwords has all BWL at 60% off; many books are free!

*Everybody  IMHO
*Ram Dass

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Read, Keep Calm, and Forget the Baked Beans by Connie Vines @connievines_author

This month's blog post, I felt, needed to be timely. . .but I believe we will all get through this--together.


Keep Calm.  Listen to music.  Allow yourself time to relax and read.  I know may of you are home-schooling your children.  Even with the joys of SKYPE, online access to materials, and exercise outings/live-streaming, your day is certainly a hectic one.

Take time to recharge and relax.

The schools are closed, and like most in the education field, we are working via computer from home. I am very fortunate.  I applaud those on the front-line: medical field, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, truck drivers, restaurant workers, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, police, firemen, pet stores/humane societies, banks, manufactures, and everyone whose job is part of an essential business to keep our cities/countries operating. I applaud their dedication, and I pray for them and their families, each and every day.
My Journal

Take care of yourself.

Having a difficult day?  A challenging moment?  I bundle up and go out side for a while, or spend a few minutes writing in my journal.  I talk to the dog, exercise: Chair Yoga (floor Yoga becomes dog Yoga), etc.

Need a few ideas to feed yourself, and your family?

Take stock of your pantry. Grape seed, canola, olive oil, or (here in southern California) avocado oil — in addition to butter or a butter substitute. For more flavor: balsamic vinegar or white wine. Other staples include: eggs, milk or a non-dairy substitute, flour, onions, garlic, and seasoning like chili.
Take inventory of the ingredients. Once you have the basics you should start to make a list of the ingredients in your cupboard. You should be especially on the lookout for proteins like frozen meat (or a plant-based substitute), fish, vegetables like spinach and broccoli that are high in protein, and any kind of nut-like butter.

If you can’t find what you want in a grocery store, try calling local restaurants, and seeing if they have extra ingredients or stock on hand.  Here in the United States we have a delivery service, Instacart (and numerous others), shoppers shop the items and deliver them to a customer’s door-step.  Items/meals are purchased at grocery stores and restaurants.  Often these restaurants have bread, eggs, milk, fresh fruit available when the markets are waiting for the next shipment.

In terms of vegetables, canned tomatoes are a must-have, especially if tomato sauce is out of stock. Carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, and beets all of which can be used to make a rice bowl. I chop fresh bell peppers and onions and freeze them for use in dishes. Aged cheeses hold up well (can be frozen, too), and can be used in a variety of dishes form salads to pasta.

Go-to dishes include: plant-based tacos or meat tacos using corn tortillas, peanut butter protein shakes, egg and spinach sandwiches, curries, and pasta dishes.

Call your neighbors. We all seem to have a fruit tree in our back yards and willing to share.  I have an Avocado tree; 2 neighbors have lemon trees.  So, now we have our vitamin C needs covered.

I cook double what I need and freeze half for a future meal.  Tonight, I prepared North Indian Chicken Curry.  I had to substitute Vanilla Yogurt for Plain Yogurt but no one was the wiser.
North Indian Curry
Yes, I do have dried beans in my pantry.  However, I add the beans to soups, salads, or as New Orleans’ style Red Beans and Rice, or Chili.

How are you making use of the items in your pantry?  I’m utilizing my crock-pot, oven, and stove top.  It’s too cold (for me) to grill outside.

Do you have a go-to-recipe you’d like to share?

A way to cope with stress?
I add shelf liner to my fridge

BWL books on sale at 60% off at Smashwords.  BWL is also offering free reads to give-back-to-our-readers during this time we are to stay safe at home.

I also have many recipes posted on my Pinterest site (visit my website for the link) Connie Vines Website

BWL Site


Stay Safe, Stay Strong!  We will get through this together 💕

Friday, March 27, 2020

Escaping the stress and keeping your sanity - by Vijaya Schartz

AKIRA's Choice, my last sci-fi romance release, set on a space station with a telepathic cat and a Samurai heroine - Find it HERE at your favorite online store.

Stuck at home? Listening to the news with growing anxiety? Dealing with confinement and social distancing, while worrying about your income or losing your 401K, can push our stress to intolerable levels. Here are a few of my stress relieving secrets to do at home. If it helps me keep my sanity, it might work for you as well.
It's me, front right, with the white shirt. You can do this at home.
Tai-Chi – an exercise you can do alone, at home. It doesn’t require any space and it doesn’t matter if you do it well or not, as long as you keep moving in a slow and constant flow. There are a number of free videos on U-tube. Just follow along as best you can. Apply yourself and you’ll get better as you go. It’s a practice that can help you deal with stress all year long and has a side effect of improving your general health. I practice Tai-Chi Essentials, which is derived from the 37 form, and developed exclusively for health purposes. (Harvard Medical school guide to Tai-Chi) 

Cat videos – When stressed, I find myself watching more and more cute cat videos on Facebook. Join a group like “I love cats” or a group with puppies if you are a dog person, and indulge in soft furry cuteness to free your mind of stressful thoughts and concerns. A good laugh, a chuckle, a few awwwws and your spirit can soar again. 

On TV – Last weekend, Animal Planet held a “Too Cute” marathon, featuring kittens and puppies and ducklings, and other furbabies. It was a big success, and they will probably do it again soon. Another advantage, it will also keep the kids, or grandkids also stuck at home, occupied and happy. 

Watching romantic movies and Christmas movies – Just like romance novels, romantic movies and Christmas movies are the perfect escape. You know in advance all will be okay at the end, so you feel safe sharing the obstacles the characters have to surmount to find their happily ever after. From your DVR, or Netflix or your favorite movie source. Some channels, like Hallmark and Hallmark Mysteries have also started to replay Christmas movies. I love them. 

Sit coms – my favorites are The Big Bang, Two and a half men, The Golden Girls. I always watch an episode or two late at night, before going to bed. It clears my mind for a good night sleep. 

I also like to cuddle with my cat, solve Crossword puzzles, and cook special meals for myself. I live alone, so I cook a batch then freeze individual portions to eat later. 

But the best relaxation device is a good novel or a favorite series. I prefer popular fiction, action, adventure, romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction. Any story that can get you out of your worries and into a new, exciting world will buy you many hours of pure escape. 

The Curse of the Lost Isle - Celtic Legends series, is available in ebook and paperback HERE

I hope this helps you cope with these stressing times. If you want to check out my other books, visit my website or my page on amazon, B&N or your favorite online bookstore. Here are my latest releases (all are standalone stories with different sets of characters. The series indicates that they are set in the same universe). 

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

Azura Chronicles, Book 2
award-winning sci-fi romance

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.

"This is a TERRIFIC story with angels, people doing questionable things for the right or good reasons and women who are more than strong. They are leaders and can kick butt as well as the men. It even brings in AI's and gives them (at least one) a chance to redeem their programming. Action packed from start to finish, it will keep you on the edge of your seat. What's next for the people of this planet?LOVED IT!" 5 stars on amazon

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Why I love research—Part 2—Tricia McGill

Find links to all my books on my BWL author page

I think I may have mentioned it before, but I am an avid Dr Who follower. Some complained when, after his last regeneration, he became female for the first time in the series’ history. I like Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, and think she does a remarkable job. She brings just the right amount of humour to the role. As is usual practice on social media, rumours have been swirling that she is about to give up the role—which apparently has proven to be just unfounded rumours.

A week or so ago the episode that sent me off on my random
research journey was the one titled “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror”. The Doctor and her sidekicks met up with Tesla in 1903 New York. For those who have no idea what or who the Time Lord Dr Who is, and surely there are not that many, he/she travels through time and space in the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space). How I wish I had thought up the brilliant idea of using an old-fashioned police call box as a time machine. I do tend to wonder why at times people don’t seem that surprised when it suddenly appears nearby.

Tesla’s archenemy Thomas Edison was there too, annoying Tesla as apparently he did in life. A mysterious being is about to shut down Tesla’s generator plant at Niagara Falls, and to add to that Tesla has intercepted a message from Mars. Scarier, is that these huge metallic creatures interfere with the whole procedure. (I often get a bit confused with the monsters in the series, but they frequently appear in differing shapes and sizes). Obviously they come from somewhere far out in space to put a spanner in the works.
Anyway, it sparked my interest and influenced my search for more information on the renowned genius. Nikola Tesla was born in modern day Croatia (Serbia) in 1856. Doctor Who portrayed the man as a hero who did not fully receive the recognition he deserved. Among Tesla’s scientific achievements was his research findings that led to the Tesla coil, and his contribution to the alternating current electricity Supply system.

Unfortunately, there was a dark side to his personality, which is mostly underplayed. He was a firm believer in the study of arranging reproduction with the human population so as to increase the occurrence of heritable characteristics thought of as desirable. He was a believer in eugenics. In 1935 his beliefs were published and these reports were uncovered by The Smithsonian a few years back.

His belief was that eugenics would be universally established by 2100, aimed primarily at weeding out the less desirable strains of humanity. Rings a bell does it not with another power hungry maniac. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the fact that he had an amazing mind. He designed and tested his inventions using just the power of concentration. He never made a sketch, yet could build precise models of his inventions. Sadly, his intelligence was sharpened by this intense power of concentration, which tortured him from childhood. There is little doubt he suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

In late life, he claimed that he contacted superior intelligent beings from Venus. There is no getting away from the fact that Tesla’s inventive mind improved the lives of billions of humans around the world.

Perhaps to be a genius one also has to be tagged a mad scientist.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

More Tidbits on Cornwall by A.M.Westerling

A fugitive young mother, a desperate Viscount and a rough and tumble gold rush town. What could possibly go wrong? Find Barkerville Beginnings at your favourite online store HERE.

As a writer of historical romance, it’s my job to provide enough details of the setting to make my readers feel as if they are living in that particular time period. The romance is the main plot but events of the era I’m writing in give me secondary story lines. For example, I discovered smuggling was rampant in Cornwall during the 18th and 19th centuries so that became the background of the soon to be released Sophie's Choice, the story of Lady Sophie Harrington and Lord Bryce Langdon, set in Cornwall in 1805.

Research plays a part in anything I write which I absolutely love because I always discover interesting facts. Here are a few things I didn’t incorporate into the book:

- Not only tin and copper were mined. In the mid 1700s, China clay was discovered and the scars of long ago mines can be seen from space. The clay is used in the manufacture of paper and porcelain and unlike copper and tin, this industry is still a going concern today.

- I only mentioned fishing in passing but fishing was also a mainstay of the Cornish economy particularly pilchards which are a variety of small oily fish related to herrings. ‘Huers’ standing on cliff tops would direct fishing boats to giant shoals of pilchards. Many boats would hold onto a large net, creating a circle which closed to capture the fish. They were sold abroad to countries such as Italy and Spain and these exports were such an important part of the local economy, a ditty was sung about them: “Here’s to the health of the Pope and may he repent and lengthen six months the term of his Lent. It’s always declared betwixt the two poles, there’s nothing like pilchards for saving of souls.”

- The Cornish climate is warmer than much of the rest of the British Isles so agriculture also played an important part with crops such as corn, wheat, barley and oats. Also the raising of livestock such as cattle, milk cows, pigs, chickens and geese.

So concludes my study of Cornwall. For now. 😊

Stay tuned for Leah’s Surrender, the story of the middle Harrington daughter.

For more information on Cornwall's history, check out: www.cornwalls.co.uk/history/industrial



And here you have it, the final excerpt before my April release date. A gentle reminder, I’ve been posted excerpts of Sophie’s Choice here on the 25th of every month. Happy reading!

Sunbeams streamed into the morning room when Sophie entered. The pleasant, cheery space always brought a smile to her face, what with the starched white eyelet curtains, yellow and white checked table-cloth and painted blue ladderback chairs.

She helped herself to scrambled eggs, bread and ham before sitting down. Mama poured her tea and Sophie added cream and sugar, stirring until the liquid frothed.

Leah was already seated and flashed a sour look at Sophie. She returned the look with an innocent look of her own. Had Leah noticed Bryce’s glances towards Sophie last night while dining? Was that the reason for her sister’s foul mood?

Sophie raised her brows. “I swear you got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning,” she whispered.

Leah scowled but remained silent. She stabbed a piece of ham with her fork with such force her curls jostled.

“Leah,” warned Mama. “After our conversation this morning, I expect better conduct from you.”

“Yes Mama.”

Pointedly Leah ignored her sister which brought a small grin to Sophie’s lips. Leah needed a comeuppance every now and again and it appeared as if Mama had delivered. Her sister’s expression was, if not exactly chastened, peeved. It had nothing to do with Bryce’s glances at supper last evening. No one had noticed and Sophie hugged that thought to herself. That and the remembrance of dark eyes warm and admiring on her. Now she and Lord Langdon had two secrets to share – their stolen glances last night and their accidental meeting earlier in the day. Her hands trembled as she lifted the cup to her lips. When could she see him again?

Lady Harrington spoke then. “I am visiting Lord Langdon this afternoon. I had thought to bring Sophie.”

“Me?” Sophie swung about to look at her mother. She couldn’t believe her ears. No sooner had she wished for another encounter with Langdon and the fates delivered. She kept her expression neutral. No point in raising suspicion in her mother who already had her hands full with one daughter being altogether too familiar with the man. Her mother would surely swoon if she learned of the meeting at the beach yesterday.

“Yes, Sophie, you. The head mistress was most complimentary about your assistance in the school’s library so I suspect you have a very good idea of what needs to be done to organize Lord Langdon’s library.”

“Mama, please may I come? I’ve naught to do today,” said Leah.

Sophie raised her brows again and looked at her sister with a grudging admiration. She had to admit Leah had impudence. Or no sense whatsoever, to tread in forbidden territory so soon after her mother’s admonition. But then again, Leah desperately wanted to find a husband and apparently Lord Bryce Langdon was her target.

Evelyn’s lips tightened. “No, you may not. I’ll have no repeat of your embarrassing actions of last night. Your task for the day is to oversee the maids in the bedrooms. The mattresses are to be turned and the carpets taken outside to be pounded.”

“Yes, Mama,” Leah said, her voice small. Her shoulders slumped and she looked, for the moment anyway, defeated.

The act didn’t fool Sophie one bit. Leah, desperate for a suitor, would not give up that easily. Eligible bachelors did not come along all that often here in Cornwall, far from the London scene. Which suited Sophie eminently and brought her back to her mother’s conversation yesterday about the upcoming London season. Bryce’s words last evening of him being a prize had put her to thinking. Had he mentioned that as an indication of his interest in her? The thought brought a lightness to her chest, that a man and a handsome one at that, found her attractive. Perhaps she should set her sights on him thereby solving two problems with one solution – pleasing her mother by marrying without the drudgery of London’s social scene. Surely a barrister would be a suitable match and would satisfy her parents.

But would it put her at direct odds with her sister? Despite the odd argument and despite Leah’s unfortunate behaviour last night, the sisters got along well and Sophie was loathe to disturb that harmony. No, she decided. Leah was only eighteen and Papa had made it clear none of the girls were to marry young. So yes, perchance it was not totally outlandish for Sophie to consider Lord Bryce Langdon as a potential husband.

A shiver whisked down her spine at the thought of seeing him this afternoon. Would he be pleased to see her again?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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


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.


Pierre Berton was born on July 20 in Whitehorse, Yukon. His family moved to Dawson in 1921 and then to Victoria, British Columbia, in 1932. He attended the University of B.C. and during the summers returned to work in the Klondike mining camps to earn money. He became a journalist in Vancouver and at the age of twenty-one he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily newspaper.
     Berton moved to Toronto in 1947 and went on to write for, and was an editor at, Maclean’s magazine. He appeared on many television shows including the long-running Front Page Challenge (1957-1995) for thirty-nine years. His first book The Royal Family was published in 1953 and his second, a young reader novel, The Golden Trail: The Story of the Klondike Rush, came out in 1954. Between then and 1993 he wrote more than fifty fiction and non-fiction books about Canadian history and popular culture, including coffee table books, children’s books, and historical novels for young adults. He received over thirty literary awards one of which was the Governor-General’s Award for Creative Non-fiction. In 1994, Canada’s National History Society established the Pierre Berton award to be given to an author who has written about Canadian history in an absorbing and charming way. Berton was the first recipient.
     Pierre Berton’s childhood home in Dawson has been restored and is now called the Berton House. It opened as a writers’ retreat in August of 1996. Four writers a year are chosen to reside in the house for three months each. During that time they can work on their newest manuscript while giving writing workshops and readings in Yukon communities.
     Pierre Berton passed away in Toronto on November 30, 2004.

Edith Josie was born on December 8, 1921 in Eagle, Alaska, and moved to the small village of Old Crow, Yukon, when she was sixteen. Old Crow is 193 kilometres (120 miles) south of the Arctic Ocean and 129 kilometres (80 miles) north of the Arctic Circle and is occupied mainly by the Loucheaux Indians of the Vuntut Gwich’in peoples. The sun doesn’t set for two months in the summer and the temperature can reach as high as +35C. In winter it is total darkness for three weeks and the temperature can drop to -50C.
     Miss Josie was appointed Justice of the Peace for Old Crow in 1957 and served for seven years. She began her writing career as the Old Crow Correspondent for the Whitehorse Star late in 1962. Her column for the Star was called Here Are The News (sic) and Edith reported the events of the village in an unpretentious and informal way, much like she spoke English. Correct grammar and punctuation were not part of her writing, it was the story that was important. Her stories were published exactly the way she composed them.
     Edith wrote for the Star for thirty-eight years and during that time her column was syndicated to papers in Edmonton Alberta, Toronto Ontario, Fairbanks Alaska, and in California. In 1965 Life magazine did a feature on her, titled Everyone Sure Glad. The article brought her world-wide recognition and her stories were translated into German, Italian, Spanish, and Finnish. She received letters from fans in Texas, Florida, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
     Edith Josie received the Canadian Centennial Award in 1967, the Yukon Historical Museums Award in 1994, was awarded the Order of Canada in 1995, and was honored by the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards (now the Indspire Awards) in 2000. She died on January 31, 2010.
Here are some examples of her work as she wrote them: Even now the spring has come cause it is daylight around 11 o'clock p.m. Pretty soon we won't use light for night time. Everyone glad to see plane every day. Even the same plane come in one day, they all have to go down to see what is going on and what come in on plane.
John Joe Kay and his family and Dick Hukon and family came into town from their ratting camp. They reported no rats around there but they say too many mosquito. Too bad no prize on mosquito.
Since last week all the leaves are getting yellow. That mean autumn is coming. When the leaves grow green sure nice but at fall time it’s turn to yellow-more beautiful.
I go to McPherson on Friday and went back to Inuvik Sunday afternoon. When I was there I went to visit my Auntie Sarah Simon she was happy to see me and also myself too.
I write my big news. That’s how all of the people know where is Old Crow. Before the news go out nobody know where is Old Crow. Just when I send my news people know where is Old Crow.

Book 3 of the Canadian Historical Brides Series:  Romancing the Klondike (Yukon) - Joan Donaldson-Yarmey - May 2017
Joan Donaldson-Yarmey began her writing career with a short article, progressed to travel and historical articles, and then on to travel books. She called these travel books her Backroads series and the research for them had her camping throughout Alberta, B.C., the Yukon, and Alaska. While researching her Backroads of the Yukon and Alaska book, Joan and her husband hiked the Chilkoot Trail from Skagway, Alaska, to Lake Bennett, the Yukon. The year was 1997, one hundred years after the Klondike Gold Rush. They did it in the summer time with one 35lb backpack each as opposed to the Klondikers who are pictured hauling their 1200lbs of supplies in the winter. On the hike she passed many artifacts that were left by the men and women on their way to the gold fields.
     Joan switched to fiction and has written ten books: four mystery novels, Illegally Dead, The Only Shadow In The House, and Whistler's Murder in a series called the Travelling Detective Series and Gold Fever her stand-alone novel which combines mystery with a little romance; three Canadian historical, Romancing the Klondike, West to the Bay, and West to Grande Portage; two science fiction The Criminal Streak and Betrayed in her Cry of the Guilty-Silence of the Innocent series; and a holiday romance/comedy titled Twelve Dates of Christmas.
     Joan’s story, A Capital Offence, was published in Ascent Aspirations Magazine and won first place in their flash fiction contest.
     Joan was born in New Westminster, B.C. Canada, and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. She married soon after graduation and moved to a farm where she had two children. Over the years she worked as a bartender, hotel maid, cashier, bank teller, bookkeeper, printing press operator, meat wrapper, gold prospector, warehouse shipper, house renovator, and nursing attendant. During that time she raised her two children and helped raise her three step-children.
     Since she loves change, Joan has moved over thirty times in her life, living on acreages and farms and in small towns and cities throughout Alberta and B.C. She now lives on an acreage on Vancouver Island with her husband and two cats. When she is not writing she is picking fruit, walking on the boardwalk through the tall trees on her property, dragon boating, entering 5K and 10K walks and runs or playing with her two cats.

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