Sunday, May 31, 2020

Every dog has its day by Priscilla Brown

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.  
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. 
(Groucho Marx)



The mayor's farm and her town are strapped for cash. 
Is this sexy television producer financial salvation or major trouble?

For information and purchase details on this and the stories mentioned below, 


I have never owned a dog. In our childhood home, the only pet was a much-loved ginger cat who thought he ruled his people ('dogs have masters, cats have slaves'). His reincarnation appeared in my contemporary romance Finding Billie as a feisty feline who purrs with most humans but spits at those who are not nice to Billie. My sister and I would have loved to have a dog, but -- "you have a cat, you can't have another animal" and "who would walk it"  and "we don't have room", and other reasons/excuses. We had a temporary enthusiasm for an aquarium, though goldfish can hardly be termed pets; ours led short and probably wretched lives.

As an adult, for various reasons it has not been possible to own a dog. Maybe as unconscious compensation, in several of my contemporary romance novels I have enjoyed including a dog with a part to play in the plot. Researching is one of my favourite aspects of writing fiction, and I spent considerable time on deciding which breed of dog would be appropriate for the character whose lifestyle and/or job needs a canine companion and/or a working dog.

In Sealing the Deal, Anna lives alone on an isolated alpaca stud, and needs a dog as a companion and as a guard animal, and one whose breeding indicates he can get on with other animals and therefore can learn to check the alpacas. I gave her a Great Dane, and named him Hooli short for Hooligan. She
hopes that alongside his normal friendly attitude  he will display some hooligan behaviour if she, her animals or property are threatened. The sheer appearance of a Great Dane can at first be alarming; a visitor describes Hooli as the size of a small pony when the dog won't let him get out of his car until Anna arrives and assures her guardian this visitor is harmless.



Callum in Hot Ticket, now living in the city after a childhood on a cattle station, misses animals. From Animal Rescue he chose a puppy cattle dog because of his breed and that he looked sad. JD (= Juvenile Delinquent because clearly he had never been trained) becomes an important secondary character in the developing romance between Callum and Olivia.

A sheepdog is a necessity in  Dancing the Reel, a story involving sheep farming on two Scottish Hebridean islands. Deefer, as in D for Dog, is the border collie so named by Hamish because after owning many dogs in his long shepherding life he had no more names. This intelligent young dog is undoubtedly the boss of the hundreds of sheep, and off duty is a loyal and caring companion for Hamish.


At the start of my dog research, I discovered there are over 400 breeds worldwide. Intending to check exclusively for the canines who became Hooli, JD and Deefer, I found out far more than I needed to know for the story purposes, and became somewhat sidetracked into a few other breeds. I have a dog in mind for the current work-in-progress...

Happy reading, Priscilla

https://bwlpublishing.ca

https://priscillabrownauthor.com











Saturday, May 30, 2020

Featured Author - Yvonne Rediger




BWL Publishing Inc. author Yvonne Rediger,  https://bookswelove.net/rediger-yvonne/

I am Yvonne Rediger, the author of the Musgrave Landing Mysteries series for BWL Publishing LLC. If you like a good mystery, give us a try. You can find the links to my books from my author page:  http://www.bookswelove.com/rediger-yvonne/

While there really is such a place as Musgrave Landing on the west side of Salt Spring Island, my version of the village is much larger, older, and has a higher population count. And the inhabitants in real life don’t end up deceased under questionable circumstances.

My version of this village in British Columbia is a colourful place full of interesting characters. The choice to use a village as the setting came about because of the ferry. The aspect of bringing people onto the island meant I have the option to bring all sorts of people to the village who have many types of motivations and histories. This appeals to me, and allows me to do all kinds of 'what if' scenarios.

Another thing which stimulates my imagination is the fact there are core characters who live in the village and interact with the visiting characters. While these villagers were centre stage in Death and Cupcakes, they step back a bit in Fun With Funerals, but are necessary for Alicia, the main character, to interact with. They view her mother, Olivia Frost Highmere from a much different perspective.

In the next and third book in the series, Condo Crazy, Arlie Birch is back and so are Jane, Ann, and Jack along with my favourite K9, Vimy.

Gladys Wyatt, a villager mentioned in book one, has a much larger role in book three and we find out her life and what she and Arlie get up to that tweaks Ann Westcott's nose, who is now the mayor.

In Condo Crazy, Gladys is a widow who sold her tiny house and bought one of the spacious condos in a brand new building across from the marina. She likes the large open kitchen which works well for her cottage bread baking business. There are eight condos, each with an interesting character in residence.

On the second floor of the building is Lara Finkle, who lives in the luxurious number eight. Not all the money that went missing from the village coffers in book one was found. Lara May have have used the missing money to buy her own unit. It’s possible Lara just might get the comeuppance some people think she has coming.

In life, as in the fiction I write, everything is connected. In a village, much like in the condo building, everyone knows everyone else. The smaller the area however, the more detailed that knowledge can be, whether we want it or not. As building manager, Enid Lindquist knows a lot about all the condo owners. Probably more than any of them can guess. Easy to do when your apartment is beside the elevator and you can track everyone's comings and goings.

Even Linda Leekie, also on the second floor or Leaky Linda as Dwayne Davis calls her, knows things about her neighbours. Much more than she would ever let on.

Then there's Dwayne, the condo board president. He too not only knows things, but he acts on that knowledge. Dwayne needs to careful. Some of his action might get him killed.

I love puzzles of all types. Crafting a mystery is like building an intricate puzzle. Each character, location, clue, and red herring are pieces of the puzzle. So too is the timeline, the weather, conflict between the characters, their motivations, all with a touch of humour.

Fun With Funerals Excerpt:

With every passing second, the ferrys throbbing diesel engines drew Alicia Highmere closer to her childhood home, Highmere House. Possibly, for the last time.
In the gathering twilight, she caught only meagre glimpses of the three-story sandstone monstrosity among the trees. As the vessel traveled down the coastline, the slate roof, darkened to black by the misty rain, was only partially visible.
The ten-acre property had grown even more wild and uncontrolled over the past weeks. Logically, something should be done about the over-growth, but her mother never allowed it. Was it Olivia Frost-Highmeres intention to obliterate their old home from current memory? The thought wasnt a shock if it were true.
Alicia wasnt exactly sure how she felt about going back, especially now. There would always be a thread that tied her to the old place, no matter what happened in the next few days. Past images of her life in the house surfaced. Some were not pleasant and those she pushed aside.
Alicia, are you cold?” Bryces words pierced the steady noise of the boat engines and the churning water.
He woke her out of the light trance shed fallen into while staring across the open expanse of Sansum Narrows, the body of water that separated Salt Spring Island from Vancouver Island.
She blinked, and only then did Alicia feel the slice of the November wind against her cheeks. She turned to face her driver. Yes, a bit,” she said and opened stiff fingers to let go of the metal railing. It didn't matter her hands were encased in soft leather gloves. The cold was generated from within, not by the elements.


 

 

 




Friday, May 29, 2020

Bras, Basics and Blues

                          A-Master-Passion, The Story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler


Amelia Bloomer (1818-1894) "When you find a burden in belief or apparel, cast it off!"

If only I could! I begin with a digression.

Amelia Bloomer! How I hate to leave her behind, this strong woman, born in 1818, (while Napoleon was still kicking) who didn't leave off her earthly crusades for temperance, comfortable underwear, and equality for women, until 1894, just a few years short of the death of Queen Victoria. She advocated not only sensible clothing for women, but for Equal Rights for Women. Consider: She was a woman whose ideas were so far "ahead of  her time" that "her time" hasn't yet arrived.

Bras have been around for a long time. We can see them in Minoan paintings and Roman Mosaics. Minoan women appear to have worn a boned garment rather like the much later stays, however they left the breasts bare--perhaps this was only for priestesses or aristocratic women. Sadly, we can't ask them who dressed this way--was it a status thing, or was it garb for priestesses?  



Minoan Lady and entourage

Later, there are Roman mosaics of female athletes in bandeau, fabric strips tied to secure the breasts during strenuous activity.


Let us not forget the medieval "breast bags," which is the laugh line among all these varieties of bosom management.  One of the two medieval sources for the "breast bags" huffily claims such items of clothing were "indecent."  I'd like to see that fella deal with a pair of 46DDs and see how well he got along without some means of protection and support.

The stays and jumps were the body-shapers of the 16th-18th Century, the ideal to make an inverted cone of the upper body. The stays were boned and tailored to cinch the waist and lift the bosom. 

Margaret Wells in stays & Will, husband and security for her bawdy house.
Hulu's Harlots 

Stays were what decent women wore, and are probably the original of "straight laced." Women who had health problems, who were lounging at home, or those termed "loose," wore jumps, which were laced, but were not heavily boned. Jumps were made of a sturdy quilted material and were widely worn by servants who required more freedom of motion and by pregnant women as bellies grew.

Jumps* pictured at 


And on and on I could go--and I will--but would just like to stop here for a moment to say that the jumps are an item of underclothing I'd love to try. After years of enduring various iterations of of the modern brassiere, I've become convinced that this is my dream solution. My most recent attempts to shop for bras during the pandemic--where I cannot visit the fitting room--inspired this article.

After a brief period--Regency, Napoleonic--where young or slender women were released into wrapped corsets--the conservative reaction of the Victorian period came in. This would lead to ever more tailored full body corsets. Whale bone began to give way to metal wire in order to achieve shaping. In the most extreme fashionistas wearing these garments would lead to unhealthy, misshapen vital organs and what appears in fiction of the times as an epidemic of fainting. (And you would faint, too, if you were cinched in like that.) 



Bone, metal, cotton, 1830-35
Brooklyn Museum Collection @
Metropolitan Museum of Art

In 1889 Herminie Cadole of France changed the underwear game with the introduction of a two piece garment. Basically, she'd separated the one piece stay into girdle and brassiere, the later term coined by American Vogue, in 1911. Herminie called her invention a Corset Gorge-one item of underwear for the waist and belly and the other for bust shaping which was supported by the innovation of shoulder straps. 

Consider this:   like a lot of things in a woman's world, not much has changed in the land of underwear. The girdle is rarely worn anymore by girls, but it has made a bang up return lately as the older women of the western world steadily gain weight. Today girdles come in spandex, with "bones" of plastic. 

The Roman bandeau was reborn in the twenties. I remember my grandma telling me how she used to wrap herself up in medical bandages.  This fashion for flat-chested beauty was brief. GMA's story of the twenties was told before the travail of my going bra shopping with her and my Mother. I remember feeling that this event was some dreadful but hallowed middle-class woman's coming of age ritual, this teen age trip to the chilly fitting rooms of a city department store. 

Here my modesty was sacrificed under the eyes of -- not only my august progenitors, but those of a heavy, weary, white-haired sales woman wielding a tape measure. There were humiliations inside this Syracuse store for girls that  A Christmas Story's Ralphie could never know. 

I've had a war on with the brassiere for the last 35 years, a period which covers my transition from middle age to a "senior" body container. During this time, I frankly confess, I've been at least 30+ lbs overweight, much chub settling in my bosom.  

Step for a moment outside the box of culture and ponder all of the above. Why do we women believe we must shape our bodies to some exterior standard?  This belief has been part of human culture in hundreds of ways for thousands of years, this requirement that women must alter their bodies in certain ways, ways which constrain our movements, ways which weaken our muscles, especially the upper body. 

I'd like to "cast off" the burden of the bra, but unless I return to my youthful A cup self, this won't  happen. When cutting the hedge, mowing the lawn--or while playing Rosie the Riveter--a figure like mine needs support--containment--call it what you will. That's why I'm intrigued by those jumps. I suppose they'd be hot, but heck, they also wouldn't dig grooves in your shoulders.




~~Juliet Waldron

https://bookswelove.net/waldron-juliet/

Some sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_bras

http://thedreamstress.com/2013/08/terminology-whats-the-difference-between-stays-jumps-a-corsets/

https://www.amazon.com/Underneath-All-History-Womens-Underwear-ebook/dp/B077YFYWBV/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=underneath+it+all+books&qid=1590719300&sr=8-5


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Life Keeps Getting More Complicated--Why I don't Like Puzzles by Connie Vines



Where Did I Park My Barbie Jeep? - Memebase - Funny Memes
memebase.com



While we are all hunkered down during the Pandemic, everyone is discovering hidden strengths, honing new-skills, discovering new hobbies, or in my case--discovering tasks they really, really dislike.

Adulting is difficult and tiring, even in the best of times.
Now, we--well, me anyway, are entering a new dimension--frustration.

When I leave my home, masked, gloved, and careful to observe social distancing--I can't decide if I'm slightly agoraphobic, feral, or simply confused because I'm in the great out-doors.

Did I lock the door?

Did I turn off the oven?  Since I wasn't cooking this morning, odds are the answer is, yes.

I'm concerned about others during these uncertain times.  I worry about family, friends, and those with pre-existing medical conditions.  I also recall, in a time before vaccines were perfected for measles, whooping cough, mumps, and chickenpox.  My parents spoke of  families self-quarantined when a loved one contracted the deadly virus, polio.

Somehow, we are emerged from those difficult times and I trust we will again.

So, I'm blogging, writing, baking, and visiting with my youngest grandson, a second-grader, who is being home-schooled.

Of course, I wish to be supportive.  I listen as he pencils Mandarin characters and explains what he's learned.  At his age, I was fascinated with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs so we 'share' information.  He also loves puzzles.  I have no problem looking at puzzles online, finding the puzzles he wants--those with zillions and zillions of pieces.  Mount Rushmore--with 4-presidents faces carved in the granite, The San Francisco Bridge over the blue bay and fog-engulfed sky, and other challenges.  Which I happily give to him with a joyous heart.

Sweetie that he is, my grandson is worried that I'm sad, "Grammie, I don't have a puzzle".

Well, I didn't have the heart to tell him that I really, really don't like puzzles.  Oh, I understand the concept.  Find the corners, then fill in the boarders, separate by color then by 'what you think it is: nose, eye, snowman's hat'--whatever.

Perhaps, because I'm the eldest of five-siblings, I'm unfamiliar with the concept of 'personal space'.
My Barbie dream-house couch was stepped and broken by brother number 1, about two-seconds after I pulled it from the box.  My sister (at the age of 4), would systematically pull out every Oreo cookie from the package, eat the frosting and skillfully reassemble the cookie before placing it back in the package. Brother number 2 and brother number 3 would race to the door whenever the doorbell rang.

Please note: A trajectory is the path that an object with mass in motion follows through space as a function of time. Hence, a complete trajectory is defined by position and momentum, simultaneously.

Which means:  Connie, walking the the door to greet her date, was in the trajectory path.

Maybe because my job involves solving problems - Meme on ImgurAnd to add to the daily chaos: 

We had two dogs residing in the household.  My sister's well-behaved Lab/Shepard mix.

And my AKC champion purebred miniature poodle. Smart, trainable, loving, and master of Covert-Ops.


Jacques, ate marbles, crayons, and snagged biscuits to hide under couch cushions..



I hope I've brightened you day with my blog post :-).













I'm thrilled to share my "cover-reveal" for my next BWL release:
an anthology for women who like romance Cajun style


BWL LINK  Visit BWL site for my releases and much more!


my website and all social links


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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A brief history of the written word - Part One - by Vijaya Schartz

CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE CELTIC LEGENDS - "Edgy Medieval, Yay!" 5-stars Amazon - B&N - Smashwords

I was always fascinated by the multiplicity of languages, cultures, and different kinds of writing. My research about the origins of the written word only proved that not all the experts agree, but this is what I gathered. 


In every Asian country, there is a legend saying that writing was a science of the gods, and they taught it to man as a means to impart their knowledge. This explains why the most ancient writings are religious in nature and tell of the life and exploits of the ancient gods, as well as ancient teachings, like the knowledge of medicinal plants, acupuncture, etc.
 

In China, Cangjie, who, according to legend, brought writing to the court of the Yellow Emperor, was a very unique individual. He was described as having four eyes. Not your typical human being. 

A Chinese character is an entire word in itself, often a graphic representation, an image that evolved over time. The pictogram for rain, for example, represents a stylized window and the falling rain seen through that window, with a flat cloud above. The writing is read from top to bottom and from right to left, allowing continuous writing on long scrolls. 


Since Chinese is an agglutinant language, it doesn’t use prepositions or other small connecting words. The placement of the word inside the sentence clarifies the meaning (who is doing what to whom, how, why, where, whether it’s a noun, a verb, an adjective, etc.)
 

In the late 6th Century AD, a mass political exile saw large numbers of Chinese emigrating to Japan. They took with them the teachings of Confucius and their system of writing. Since the native islanders of the time (the ancient Ainu tribes) didn’t have writing, they used the Chinese ideograms to write their own language. Then different emigrants came to the islands and mixed with the Ainu and the Chinese to form the Japanese people. They wrote with Chinese characters, same meaning, different pronunciation, using the same brush strokes. 


However, the Japanese used a number of one-syllable connecting words to form sentences, and there were no phonetic syllables in Chinese. So, they added a number of small, simple connecting characters, called Hiragana, representing phonetic syllables, which are also used today to teach children to read and write, before they can memorize the thousands of complicated pictograms or ideograms (Kanji) necessary to read and write the main language.
 

Legends of India say that the Mahabharata, an ancient epic depicting the exploits of the gods during their time on Earth, was recited by the sage Vyasa from the oral tradition, while Lord Ganesha himself (the Elephant God) penned it down… implying that only the gods could write.
 

Other legends of India also portray the gods teaching writing to their people. Sanskrit is one of the oldest forms of sophisticated written language, used to write the Vedas. But it doesn’t use images, only letters linked together to form sounds and words. Sound is very important in India. Some sacred sounds are so powerful (like the mantras) that they are believed to manifest divinity.
 

In 3400 BC a cuneiform type of writing developed in Mesopotamia. Legend says it was given to the Sumerians by their Anunnaki gods, those who from the heavens came. The oldest tablets tell of the interactions of the Anunnaki with their human workers, stories of the flood, etc. The characters represented stylized Sumerian or Akkadian objects. Soon, these symbols were also used to represent specific sounds.
 

Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs seem to have derived from Sumerian cuneiform writing. Sometimes they represent an object, an animal, a river, a sacred symbol. However, a bird doesn’t necessarily mean a bird, but the phonetic sound of the bird’s name, which is used as a syllable in a longer word or name. To indicate that, the full name of a Pharaoh, for example, is enclosed into a cartouche. 


Since I want to keep this post brief, I will continue this history of the written word in parts 2 and 3, in the next two months.

In the meantime, you can read my CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE series, where history and Celtic legends collide. Years of research went into it, and the result is an edgy medieval fantasy saga. Find it at - Amazon - B&N - Smashwords and more.  
From history shrouded in myths, emerges a family of immortal Celtic Ladies, who roam the medieval world in search of salvation from a curse. For centuries, imbued with hereditary gifts, they hide their deadly secret, stirring passions in their wake as they fight the Viking hordes, send the first knights to the Holy Land, give birth to kings and emperors... but if the Church ever suspects what they really are, they will be hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake.


HAPPY READING!

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo FB 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

So we think we have it hard—Tricia McGill

Find all my books on my BWL author page

For my next book, I have been researching London during WW11, specifically around 1940. This got me thinking about how it compares to what we are experiencing around the world right now with restrictions placed on our normal routines. Rationing in London continued until 1958 and I can still recall my mother sitting in the chair with her ration books in front of her and a worried frown on her face. How she coped with feeding her large family I will never know. I do remember that one sister who worked in a factory would sometimes come home with sugar that she had purchased on the ‘black market’. As a child, I had little idea of the meaning of all this as, being the youngest and spoilt, I was well fed and at times even had butter on my bread and not margarine, but that was after the war had ended. Add to this our Mother’s worry over the three of her sons serving overseas in the armed forces. Thankfully, they all came home.

The government introduced rationing as a means of ensuring the fair distribution of food and commodities and began at the start of the war with petrol. By January 1940 bacon, butter and sugar were rationed, and by 1942 many other foodstuffs.

A typical weekly ration of food for an adult would consist of:
4 ounces of Bacon & Ham 
Other meat to the value of 1 shilling and 2 pence (equivalent to 2 chops)
2 ounces of Butter              
2 ounces of Cheese                  
4 ounces of Margarine 
4 ounces of Cooking fat   
3 pints of Milk     
8 ounces Sugar    
1 pound of preserves every 2 months. (I guess this was why my mother often asked the grocer for sugar instead of her jam ration)
2 ounces of Tea         
1 fresh Egg (plus allowance of dried egg)
12 ounces of Sweets every 4 weeks.


After the fiasco of people rushing out to purchase ridiculous amounts of toilet paper at the outset of the pandemic, (I am still trying to work out just why that idiot started the stampede) I got to thinking about how people coped during the war years in that department. One of the first things some of the older generation that I spoke to said in response to this was, “We had to manage with newspaper—how would they like that?” This was cut into squares, which would then hang on a hook in the little room. Some lucky people even managed to acquire tissue paper.

Two of my sisters were married in 1946 and even then they had to buy the fabric for their dresses using their allowance from their ration books. Fruit and some vegetables were in short supply and many people grew their own. If someone heard that a delivery of say oranges had arrived at the greengrocers then the women would rush to get on the mile long queue to wait for their share.

So you see, we may complain that we cannot get to hug our loved ones, but there is a light at the end of this current tunnel and soon you can welcome home your children and grandchildren. We have online shopping where we can still order to our hearts content and have it dropped off at our door. We have our trusty phones and can keep in touch with our family and friends and even chat face to face with them.


Funnies are flying back and forth each day. Here are some of my favourites:

I am starting to understand why pets try to run out of the house when the door opens.
Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands??
I’m so excited; it’s time to take the garbage out. I wonder what I should wear? 
You think it’s bad now? In 20 years our country will be run by people home schooled by day drinkers… 
Day 7 at home and the dog is looking at me like, “See? This is why I chew the furniture.” 
My Mom always told me I wouldn’t accomplish anything by laying in the bed all day, but look at me now! I’m saving the world...! 
I swear my fridge just said: “what the hell do you want now?” 
Coronavirus has turned us all into dogs. We roam the house all day looking for food.  
If anyone owes you money, go to their house now. They should be home... 

I’m giving up drinking for a month. Sorry, punctuation typo... 
I’m giving up. Drinking for a month.
Stay safe, and always look on the brighter side of life.

Visit my web page for more on all my books