Friday, October 30, 2020

Priscilla Brown goes walking

 We  know walking is excellent exercise, and I find it so not only for the body but for my contemporary romance writer's mind. I've found the senses come alive during a walk: sight, small, touch, hearing, taste, offer inspiration and suggest ideas. Several years ago when I lived by the sea in New South Wales, I loved strolling along the beach. Underfoot there's the tactile sensation of sand hard and damp where the tide has just receded, and soft close to the dunes where the water seldom reaches. The breeze carries the aroma of the ocean - lick lips and taste salt. Since this is a bay, there's no surf and the waves are not usually high. Paddling on the edge, cool wavelets wash over feet. During my excursions on the beach, I started to write in my head the novel which became Where the Heart Is. However, the final story is set not in temperate Australia but on an exquisite sub-tropical Caribbean island.


Moving inland to a rural area, I became an alpaca owner, and as I walked around the farm my senses received whole different influences: the scents of grass and
of warm animals, handling their smooth fleece, the dog barking to get them to move to another paddock, the breeze rustling through the windbreak eucalypt trees.Enjoying the curiosity and intelligence of these handsome friendly creatures meant that I had to put them in a novel, and Sealing the Deal took shape.


In my current semi-urban area, the senses are still present during my exercise walking around the tree-lined streets close to a railway line.There's the light wind hissing thought the foliage of the huge trees bordering the rail line, and the rattle of trains and hooting as they approach the station. The area has mostly quiet road traffic, and a lot of cockatoos screaming at each other. Right now in late spring blossom trees are shedding their white and pink flowers, and the scent of wattle pervades the air. My local walking has not yet brought forth a complete new story, but bits and pieces of characters, description, setting are gradually coming together. I have been known to sit on someone's garden wall to jot down in my ever-present notebook a particularly interesting and potentially important idea or thought or observation.

Enjoy your walking and your reading, best wishes, Priscilla 


Featured Author Rita Karnopp


 I am a proud author of 19 books for BWL Publishing Inc. and I've been writing for most of my life.  As a young girl I created stories in my head . . . and they played out like a movie in my mind.  It was the perfect way to escape the hard farmhand work on my aunt and uncle’s farm.  Many years later I had an epiphany – maybe I could write a novel.  With two young children, I often made up stories for them on our way to the grocery store or even on the 3 hour drive to grandma's house.  So I did lots of research and started writing my first children's story.  After finishing my second story, the realization that the children's market was saturated became apparent from publisher comments.  A dear friend and New York best-selling author, Kat Martin, gave me the best advice I’ve ever received; “Write what you love to read.”  The next evening I started writing my Indian historical Whispering Sun.

The story line for Whispering Sun had been bouncing around inside my head for years.  After putting our daughter and son down to sleep, I sat at my kitchen table in front of my Select IBM typewriter (yep – typewriter) and started typing Whispering Sun, which still remains my best seller to-date.

To me there is nothing more exciting than watching my character’s story unfold on the page (screen) as I type as fast as I can to capture their world, words and actions.  These characters don’t always do or say what I think they should – but I never force them to change.  The pleasure of typing ‘The End’ leaves me with a sense of accomplishment and fills me with the revelation I created a book I’d enjoy reading.  Seeing the cover of my first book with my name on it was a dream come true.  I still get that immense rush each time a new book releases with my name on it.

It wasn’t easy.  I’d say that first book was the hardest book I ever wrote.  Why?  Because I didn’t know about pacing, protagonists and antagonists, nor about standard formatting and it goes on and on.  Characters had to develop and had to have reasons for their actions.  I had to be careful of wayward body parts, and I had to make sure the dialog flowed and sounded natural.  Then comes those nasty red-herrings and of course does every character have solutions to their problem?  I learned so much . . . maybe 80 percent of ‘how to write a novel’. . . that it was daunting.  I read an article where Dean Koontz said, “You’re only as good as your next novel.” I knew at that moment the learning to write better and better would always be my goal.

Can you imagine being deaf in 1863?  I felt Sarah Bryson’s anguish and fight for survival as she confronted wild animals, a massacre, ruthless mountain men, treacherous mountain storms, and even Crow Indians bent on revenge.

Whispering Sun captures a time when the Blackfeet are forced to see their way of life disappear. It's a story where it's possible for a white woman to decide she belongs with a loving people and a Blackfeet warrior. It's a story that shows how a half-breed can choose an alliance and find his place in a colliding world.

Nothing is more rewarding or inspires me more to continue writing than to receive a review from a reader - sharing they loved my book.  I was so pleased and touched by the below review for Whispering Sun.

Review: Rita Karnopp has composed both a creative and enduring tale of trials and tribulations that are, oh, too real, and leave an overwhelming impact on the reader. From betrayal, to finding love, she has written a masterpiece that is hard to put down. Cherokee, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance

My books can be viewed and purchased by visiting my author page on my publisher's website


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

My Burford Ghost Story



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As a kid, I was traveling with Mom in UK, and staying in one of her favorite places, Burford, Oxfordshire. This is, BTW, 1961. She always stayed in black and white Tudor hotels if at all possible. We hadn't been in England for many days when we entered the interior courtyard of just such a place, driving in our green Morris wagon through the narrow made-for-carriages entryway. 

There was no double room available. After a bit of discussion, they put me upstairs on the 3rd floor which was right under the eaves of this venerable building. A steep stairway went up, and on the way the porter said they only put the young and spry up here.  

Then as now, I was history mad, so I scouted around, really enjoying the feel of the place, the dark beams, the crooked walls, the off-kilter floors, the heavy dark antiques which filled the hallways and public rooms. All this carved, blackened antiquity was new and delightful, the stuff of travel books, and now--I was actually here! After supper, I went up to bed to read, leaving Mom in the salon bar downstairs talking to other guests. 

 The toilet (a.k.a. “loo”) was down the hall, so I'd made a final trip before settling in for the night. There wasn't much light up there, just enough to see the stairwell opening. I knew there were only two other guests staying up on the floor besides me.  

The roof, with beams bare, slanted down over the bed, which was a formidable four poster with carved posts and broad box feet. It, my mother had said was "probably Jacobean." Even if it wasn't, it was making a credible effort to look even older. I remember the smell, too, of polish, of damp and of the ages since the house had been built. Clearly, this room wasn't used often. I finally fell asleep listening to footsteps below coming and going and a blurry mumbling sometimes interrupted by laughter seeping up from the floor below.

 I awoke in the night—and to my distress, I had to go to the toilet, which meant a walk across the hall. I groped around for the light and found my door key. With the key clutched tight, I descended from the high bed. It was very quiet now, just after midnight by the watch I'd set on the nightstand. 

I didn't have the suitcase which contained my bathrobe with me. Dressed only in a flannel nightgown, I didn't want anyone to see me, but when I opened the door, it was now entirely dark in the hallway. That pitiful dim light, I thought, must have gone out.

 Then, just as I finished locking the door behind me, I turned and saw the ghost. I knew enough English History to know this was a cavalier, a fine one, too, with long locks and a trimmed beard which came to a nice Charles I point.  He had high leather gloves and a hat with a red plume. His collar was of lace, and he had on a long waist coat, but no outer jacket. 

 Now, FYI, the English Civil War was not my preferred time period. No, at fifteen, I was an obsessive Ricardian, devouring Paul Murray Kendall's Richard III, and Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time and historical novels set in the appropriate time period. The doings of the members of the House of York were as familiar to me as were those of my schoolmates. 

Since we'd begun to travel in the UK, if a thing wasn't medieval, well, it was barely worth looking at. In fact, I had been anticipating the next day, when Mom and I were to drive to see what remained of the home of Lord Lovell, who'd been King Richard’s dearest friend. His home was now a ruin beside the nearby River Windrush.


The ghost put one hand on his hip. His lips moved and I understood what he said, although there was no actual auditory sensation involved. He said he was an ancestor of mine, who had come here to raise a company to fight for the King, and that he had been waiting for me for a very long time. The oddest thing about him was that he appeared to be almost up to his knees in the floor, no boots were visible.

 At this point, I got scared. Suddenly, I was cold, freezing! I wanted to run but I couldn't move, to shout, but the sound stuck in my throat. 

Then, it changed again. Although I was still standing in the hallway, standing in my nightgown, with that low-wattage electric light illuminating drab yellowish walls, not a single creature, living or dead, was there with me.

 The next morning over breakfast, I told the entire story to Mom, including the fact that the ghost had “stopped at the knees.” My mother got very excited, for she never sees things like that, and has always wanted to. She was terribly interested in what the ghost had said, because she said she had always had such a longing to have a cavalier in the family. I remember saying something annoyingly teenage like "if only he had been a medieval ghost."

 At this point, people at the next table were giving us looks. Then, the host, who’d been  saying good morning to other breakfasters, came by. He moved a chair over to our table and said, sotto voce, "Ah--don't-please--talk about that in the dining room. I'm terribly sorry your daughter was disturbed, but that—fellow--is quite a nuisance, you know. When he’s active we can barely use the third floor--especially that back guest room."

 We leaned heads together over the table and continued the conversation quietly. Our host went on to explain that he’d had a parapsychologist visit, an investigator who’d also, after staying upstairs for a few days, had had an encounter with the third floor ghost, though it hadn't spoken to him. Our host said that the investigator had explained that we only saw the ghost down to the knees because “he is standing on the old floor—the way it was before remodeling,” an event which had apparently taken place just after the last war.

 So that's one of my ghost stories, a thing which happened a long time ago. I have come to doubt this man truly was an ancestor, however. A branch of my mother's family had originally come from the Burford area, but they were probably weavers or something similar, not sword carrying gentlemen. Retelling this tonight, I wonder if this “ancestor” bit was the line the ghost used on all the history-struck teens he met.


Juliet Waldron

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Writing During Fire-Watch, Power-Outages and More! So, How's Your October? By Connie Vines

 I'm certain you've heard all about the terrible fires we are have in the states of  California, Oregon, Washington, and now in Colorado.

I reside in southern California and we have been on Fire-Watch for months.  While the current fire and suburban evacuation area is only 8 miles away, I don't foresee it reaching where I live.. The Santa Ana winds, with 80 mile wind gusts will, unfortunately, return again this weekend.

Power has been shutdown when the winds are gale force to ward off equipment failure which can, and has, led to a brush fires. I've been without electricity and and phone service for several days.  This is why my post blog post is going live at this odd hour of the day.

And here is my October Blog Post 

Even though I save my manuscripts in three different places on my computer, including the Cloud and Drive, when the power goes down not everything you've written is saved, slightly saved, or even recoverable.

After reality sets in. . .and the shock wears off, sort of. . .I devise a plan.  Not a particularly a good plan, I admit, but a plan, none-the-less.

1. Write a scene in cursive writing on a large note pad, college ruled.  

2. Skip lines so you can make adjustments, comments, etc.

3. Do not write on the back of the page because you will need to add additional notes.

4. Grab your sets of multi colored markers (and probably the taped crayons that belong to your grand children) to make stars or numbers and arrows that link all for your notes and additions together for easy (ha ha) reference.

5. Read each scene into your iPhone Note App.  Title your scene. 

6. Go on to the next scene. So on, and so forth, until you complete a chapter.

7. When the power resumes, run to the PC.  Set up a new doc in Word.  Type as quickly as possible while reading from you iPhone notes into this new document.  "For heaven sake woman, don't worry about spell check! Just type."

And so, this has been my October. Along with ash falling from the sky and landing on everything.

I know I am Blessed to be healthy and my home, and my family members homes, still intact. However, the air quality is horrendous. Opening a door or going outside means wearing goggles, heavy-duty face mask, a hat and clothing you will toss in the washer.  And care must be taken when walking outside.  Ash, leaves, tree branches, etc. are everywhere.

I always like to include a recipe for my readers.

Pumpkin Detox Smoothie

Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect our eyes and skin.

In a blender, combine 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup milk of your choice (mine: Organic 2% milk), 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 med. orange, peeled; 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice; and a handful of ice. Blend until smooth. Serves 1.

Left over pumpkin puree can be saved in a air-tight container for 3 days in the refrigerator.  Or measured and frozen in 1/2 cup measurements.

Perfect for a Halloween Read!

Link to BWL Website and purchase links! to my books :-)

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020


Find Vijaya's latest novels HERE
Nowadays, few pay attention to the cycles of the Moon, especially if they live in a city. But for others, including farmers and scientists, the Moon has always been a subject of wonder, and for good reason. The Moon affects our everyday lives in ways we do not always suspect. 

This year, Halloween falls on a full Moon, the Hunters Moon, which is also a blue Moon. It doesn’t mean the Moon will be blue, only that it's the second full Moon this month, a rare occurrence in itself. And according to the Farmer’s Almanac, we will next see a spectacular Halloween full Moon in the years 2039, 2058, 2077 and 2096. Mark your calendars. 

The first full Moon of October was the Harvest Moon on October 1st, the perfect time for a Harvest Festival. In the old days, for many centuries, and still in traditional farms following the Farmer’s Almanac, the Moon dictates the time of planting and Harvest. Using the natural cycles of dormancy, regeneration, blooming, ripening, etc. to their advantage. 

For many animals, particularly birds, the phases of the Moon are essential to navigate during migrations. Other species will time their reproduction to coincide with the lunar cycles. The corals time their spawning between October and December, right after a full Moon. The visual effect of this coordinated lunar timing is so dramatic that it can be seen from space. In Africa, Dung beetles navigate at night by the light of the Moon in a perfect straight line to their burrow. 

The Moon also regulates the ocean tides and influences women’s reproductive cycles. Women are more fecund (assuming a natural cycle) during the full Moon, and both men and women experience increased libido, which leads to fertility. Ancient Pagan festivals celebrated this fact during the full Moon. 

If you take the time, you’ll notice that important movable events (like some religious holidays) are scheduled on or as close to the full Moon as possible, when people have more energy. It’s not a coincidence. It’s also true of certain conventions and conferences who want to attract more people, and these auspicious dates are often booked far in advance.

My mother, who was a hairdresser, told me always to cut my hair a few days after the full Moon, because hair grows faster when the Moon is full, and if you wait, your haircut will look fresh longer. To this day, I still respect that rule. 

The Moon affects our circadian cycles as well. During the full Moon, people complain of not sleeping well and experience Increased energy. This wide-awake state is also responsible for full Moon madness in emergency rooms, and increased number of births in maternity wards – Even the babies want to come out and play. Ask any emergency doctor, maternity nurse, police officer, or EMT, and they will confirm this fact. 

So, this year, we are expecting an energy-filled Halloween night. As for the repercussions in our backyards, coyotes will howl, dogs will bark, and cats will roam longer than any other night. If you plan to take part in the fun, be safe and enjoy. 


But if you are looking forward to a good read with a cup of cocoa by the fire, here are a few suggestions:

Find it HERE
Chronicles of Kassouk
by Vijaya Schartz
Sci-fi romance
$1.49 in kindle now HERE

On the frozen plains of Kassouk, where a few aliens rule a medieval Human world, Tora, Human warrior trained by tigers, seeks her father’s murderer. But what she finds at the point of her sword confuses her. How dare Dragomir, the handsome Mutant, question her bloodline and her loyalties? And could a new enemy control the savage hordes of the fringe?

Dragomir offers to help, but Humans and Mutants are forbidden to fraternize under penalty of death... Should Tora trust her mind, her instincts, or her heart?

In the vortex of war, treason and intrigue, among blizzards, avalanches and ambushes, Tora sets out to solve the mystery of her father’s death. When she unveils the secret of her birth, she realizes Dragomir is the key, and together, they must save their planet from the invaders and fulfill their destiny... if they can survive dire persecutions from those they mean to protect.

" exceptional tale that belongs in a place of honor on keeper shelves everywhere." Coffee Time Romance - 5-cups

"...this is one futuristic that you do not want to miss!" Fallen Angels Reviews - 5 angels - Recommended Read

"...kept me enthralled from the first page...a thrilling science fiction romance" Paranormal Romance Reviews

"I'm adding this to my 'keeper' shelf and on the 'to be re-read' list." The Road to Romance

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

Monday, October 26, 2020

Summer is a coming in—Tricia McGill

Visit my author page for links to all my books


At least it is in my part of the world, being Victoria, Australia. Melbourne and South Victoria have the dubious reputation of often having four seasons in one day. This is no lie, for it can be teeming with rain in the early part of the day, brighten up around tennish, be beautiful until teatime and then the temperature can dive within half an hour and then often be followed by a storm. This can be annoying if you left washing drying on the line while you were out and just before you arrive home, it pours. I love these changes to be honest and could not live with the temperature, let’s say in Darwin up north, where it can be what I call uncomfortably high most of the year. 

Anyway, this is not about the changing of the seasons but more about our plant life. I inherited a nice, smallish garden when I moved here about 15 months ago—just enough to keep my doggies and me happy. I have no lawn, a bonus as therefore we do not need a gardener periodically invading our serenity with his smelly mower. The saddest part about leaving my previous home of 26 years was leaving my beautiful garden behind. I do hope the new owners are taking care of it. I brought along about 6 or 8 plant tubs with me and have since purchased a few more. I now have a dwarf nectarine tree

which last season produced about 6 fruit—I am hoping for more this year. I also have a miniature pear tree, and cannot wait to see if it bears fruit. I worried at first that no bees were visiting to pollinate, but since the sun began to shine brightly each day, they are there, and seem to favour my lavender bush. I curse the councils who have no concern for bees and merrily continue with their pesticide spraying.

One of my favourite bushes is the hydrangea. I was not successful with them at the old place as the soil was not right for them, and to my delight I now have about 6 of them and since feeding them am hoping to get really nice blossoms before Christmas. One lovely bush that I have inherited is a Snowball bush (Viburnum). It currently has about 6 or 8 flowers but within a week or two will be covered in all its glory. Unfortunately, the blossoms do not last long and soon the ground below them looks just as if it has snowed recently (Something snow never does in this part of the world).

After moving in, a neighbour gave me small clusters of a ground covering plant called Grannie’s Bonnet. The ground where I planted this gets hard as rock in summer, but this hasn’t deterred this sturdy little plant as it flourishes.

I think I should say that in no way am I a gardener, more a potterer. I have a couple of plants that I have no idea what their names are, but they are currently flowering. The nearest guess I can take at this one is some sort of Myrtle. My roses of all colours are now budding. Whoever planted this garden originally must have loved roses and hydrangeas, bless them. A while back, I asked one of our village gardeners to get rid of an oleander for, as beautiful as they are, they are also toxic and I care more for my dogs than one colourful plant. I just realised that currently my plants all have white blossoms, but wait a few weeks until all my rose bushes are flowering and my garden will be a mass of colour.

Today as I write this it is 20c (68f) but within a few weeks the temperature will be rising drastically and can be anything up to 36c to 40c (100f) plus so for now I am relishing the lovely sunshine. My point is, no matter that in my part of the world we are still in lockdown, that I had to cancel my long awaited holiday in May, that I am forced to shop online or go without, Mother Nature still goes her merry way and brings pleasure into this strange world where we currently live.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Elegant Orchids by A.M. Westerling


My local grocery store just received a shipment of beautiful orchids. 

Most orchids are tropical plants. They symbolize fertility, elegance and love and because of this are often given to new parents as gifts. Also known as Orchidaceae, they are a beautiful flower with long lasting blooms in vibrant colours such as pink, magenta, white, yellow and purple.

I’ve had orchids over the years and every time they finished blooming, I would toss them as I had the impression they were difficult to grow. However, last Christmas I received one as a gift from a dear friend and decided to accept the challenge of keeping it. After it finished blooming, I put it in my office and other than giving it an ice cube once a week, pretty much ignored it.

The only thing I knew was that orchids are dormant for 6 to 9 months after flowering so at the end of August, I moved it to an east facing window and gave it some all purpose fertilizer. To my delight, it’s putting out a new leaf!


I’ve since done a bit of research to aid in my quest to bring my orchid to bloom and have discovered that orchids in fact are one of the easiest house plants to grow. Although some varieties grow in dirt ie lady slippers, which grow in the loamy jungle soil, most orchids in the wild grow on tree bark which explains why the growing medium is not soil. The orchid uses the tree for support but receives its nutrients from animal droppings that wash down or organic matter decaying in the crooks of branches. Orchids are epiphytes which means their roots have adapted to absorb water from the humid jungle air. Many types deal with times of abundant water and periods of dryness so their thick stems, called pseudobulbs, allow them to store water for the dry times.

A few basic tips for proper orchid care:

-     Don’t overwater! That’s one of the most common mistakes people make in growing these beautiful plants. A clear pot helps determine water requirements. If you see condensation, it doesn’t need to be watered. Healthy orchid roots are green. If you’re overwatering, they’re brown and mushy and if you’re underwatering, they are grey. Mine are looking pretty good. 😊


-     Feed weekly or monthly (depending on the variety). I’ve been using 20 20 20.

-   Place your orchid in an east or west facing window. 

-     Repot in fresh orchid mix (not soil!) when your orchid stops blooming.

-     After flowering prune the old flower stalk near the base of the stem.

-     They grow best at 16 to 24 C

-     Mist regularly if you live in a dry climate.

With proper care, they can live for years. I’ll see how I make out with this one!


Although you won't find orchids in this book, you may enjoy reading Sophie's Choice, a romance that Coffee Time Romance calls "an excellent Regency".  You can find it at your favourite online store HERE. Also available in print. 

Find all my books on the BWL Publishing website.


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