Saturday, April 17, 2021

Off With The Old and On With the New - Janet Lane Walters #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Haunted Dreams #Incal #Books


Off With The Old – On With The New



Was going to paste the new cover for Haunted Dreams Book 7 of the MoonChild series but I have no clue as to how to do this? Some day before I grow too old to learn new things I’ll master the challenge.


I am into the final typing and adding all the things I forgot to put in during the other drafts. This can be a slow process but I’m half finished. Another week or two and the book will be ready to be send off to the editor. So, it’s off with the old and on to the new.


I write all my drafts by hand but I have what I call writing drafts and reading drafts. The reading drafts look at several things, settings, characters, plot lines and finally language. I end up after each go through with more written comments on the printed pages than typed words. That is an exaggeration but there are always a lot. The final read through may have me making notes to re-write scenes for flow but I enjoy doing this.Then comes the final type. I don’t go in and make the changes in the printed copy but carefully type each word. When I try just adding them in without this retyping process, often they interrupt the flow of the story. This is where I am with Haunted Dreams scheduled for June and I will have it to the editor well before that date.


Now it’s on to the new. Since I’m in typing mode, now, I’ve just finished the planning for Incal, Book 4 of the Moon Rising series. For a month, I’ve been carrying the characters for this quest kind of story when I go to sleep and the pattern of the book has come into being. I am ready to begin the rough draft. I’m rather an odd duct when writing since I have writing drafts done with pen and paper, typing drafts when I type these in and print the pages and reading drafts when I read and put in notes for revisions and re-writing. These drafts are alternated until I finish the book.


Perhaps this is slow but that’s the way I work. I do love the rough drafts but I also enjoy doing the other drafts and hopefully by the time I’ve finished I’ll have tied up all the loose ends and made the story sing.

My Places



Buy Mark


Friday, April 16, 2021

Dragons and guard dogs, by J.C. Kavanagh


The Twisted Climb  

Book 1 of the award-winning Twisted Climb series

I love kickboxing. I've been a student at the local dojo, TNT School of Martial Arts, since 2013. About five years ago, I joined the advanced class so I could pass an annual exam and earn a 'belt' for each level. I'm working on my Purple belt (just Brown and Black belt remain) and though the Dojo has been closed throughout each Covid lockdown, I've tried to attend via Zoom classes. That is, until last summer when my shoulder turned into a crybaby.

That's when I met the dragons and the guard dogs.

I didn't know I had them in my body, these dragons and guard dogs. They were in my right shoulder, to be precise. At the time, I only knew that this shoulder was the location of the crybaby: muscles that cried like a baby. You see, it's been months since I've been able to fully raise my right arm above my head and even longer since I've been able to hook on a brassiere with hands behind my back. Oh no. Bra has to be hooked in advance, then stepped into from the ankles like I'm pulling up a girdle type of boob-gitch. 

What to do? 

I have to do something. Spring is here and that heralds sailing season, which hails spring-fitting, which entails plenty of cleaning, waxing, polishing, etc. on our 36' Catalina sailboat. Which means lots and lots of elbow grease. And we all know the elbow is part of the arm which is connected to the shoulder. And in my case, connected to the crybaby shoulder.

So what do I do? I can't ignore the crybaby anymore... well, I contacted my local chiropractor, Dr. Beverly, and put my shoulder in her hands. She is the one who told me I have dragons breathing pain in my shoulder, and guard dogs protecting the muscles. (Don't you just love a chiropractor who speaks in metaphors?) But the dragons stay fired up inside the wall of muscle and ligaments that the guard dogs are protecting, all while the crybaby rotator cuff whines and whimpers.

Acupuncture needles minus the jumper cables

We started with acupuncture therapy. This includes attaching tiny jumper cables to the wee acupuncture needles. Well, I call them jumper cables since they're just like the jumpers you use for your car battery, only much smaller. Dr. Beverly laughs but explains they're 'stimulators,' or 'stims' for short. They're attached to a battery which pulses energy every second. Imagine sticking your tongue in an electric socket every second. Yes, that's a good charge. But these jumper cables stimulate the muscle which encourages blood flow, which encourages healing.

And the healing has begun. I can now raise my arm above my head and stretch it out to the side. And - huge improvement - I can hook up my own brassiere from behind my back. Woo hoo!

However, there are painful moments when the good doctor is manipulating my shoulder, or pressing into the supraspinatus (see diagram below) or pushing up into the teres minor, and oh dear, that's when my super-power-kickboxing-footkick wants to literally kick-in. Oh, if the good doctor only knew how close she was to a wee kick to the head... breathe J.C. Control. 

Who let the dragons and guard dogs out?

Breathe... control... no kick

I stay in control trusting the good doctor because I know I'm in excellent hands. But there is one character who is out of control. That would be Patty, Jayden's alcoholic mother from The Twisted Climb award-winning series. How does Patty impact the horrific dream world that the main characters keep getting drawn into? Check it out for yourself...

For a limited time, my e-books are 50% off at Smashwords. Yah baby!

Stay safe everyone! 

J.C. Kavanagh, author of 
The Twisted Climb - Darkness Descends (Book 2)
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2018, Critters Readers Poll and Best YA Book FINALIST at The Word Guild, Canada
The Twisted Climb,
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers Poll
Novels for teens, young adults and adults young at heart
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)
Instagram @AuthorJCKavanagh

Thursday, April 15, 2021

What I Miss About Libraries



Ah! The feeling of a hardbound book in my hands! The rows upon rows of texts, stacked five high! The quiet, studious atmosphere!

If you’re like me, you are surely missing your local library. With the pandemic, my library has been closed for months. It seems like an eternity. In these days of Zoom meetings and digital readers, here are a few things I miss about libraries:

 1)      Librarians: Yes, Google helps me track down reference materials, but search engines are only as smart as I. Many an instance, librarians have taken my searches in directions I didn’t imagine and found surprising answers to my questions. And I can have a conversation with a librarian; the computer remains mute.

2)      A place to concentrate: I write at home. But, like most writers, I need to get out regularly for the creative juices to flow. At home, distractions abound: the television, family members and even the dog. At the library, it is just me and my thoughts, and ideas flow so much more easily.

3)      Conversations. This might contradict the previous point, but one of the things I enjoy about libraries are the random conversations with interesting persons. Yes, they can be distractions if overdone, but are refreshing and energizing if done intelligently.

         4)      Cozy corners and enchanting places: This is especially true with old libraries, with their long wooden tables and reading chairs hidden in unexpected places. These places transport me into a mood where, unsurprisingly, I become easily absorbed in my reading.

        5)      Heading home with a stack of books: Somehow, there is a special feeling of contentment and fulfilment in spending a couple of hours in the library, wandering through the stacks, exploring dozens of texts, choosing the appropriate ones, checking them out and planning which one to read first.

             Hopefully these dreadful pandemic restrictions will end soon, and we can all get back to our normal lives. And with any luck, my local library will open soon!


            Mohan Ashtakala ( is the author of "The Yoga Zapper," a fantasy, and "Karma Nation" a literary romance. He is published by Books We Love (

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Importance of Sheila Claydon

Click here for my BWL page

I'm not a great planner when I start writing a new book. I just have a sketchy overview of what I want to achieve, and an ending. I trust the characters to take care of themselves as far as the rest of it is concerned because I've learned that, for me at least, too much planning kills the story. So I allow my hero and heroine  to lead and I just follow them.

Such a laissez-faire attitude can only get me so far though, so before I start I have to have a very clear view of who my characters are. This means a mind's eye view of how they look and dress. An understanding of their temperament and their ambitions. And most importantly, how they feel about themselves and about those around them. Although very little of this will be described in the book it shows in their actions and speech. 

With this in mind (and a new book incubating) I've been thinking about my heroes and heroines this week and have decided that the one attribute they all have is kindness. Like everyone, my main characters can be temperamental, short-tempered, judgemental, miserable, the list goes on, but none of them is ever deliberately unkind. On occasion, some of the secondary characters are, of course, because conflict makes a story, but even they mostly have redeeming features.

In my book Loving Ellen, the story only works because Millie, the heroine, is kind. It's not a soppy sort of kindness though. She isn't afraid of confrontation or disagreement. Underpinning her every action is an inbuilt kindness that it transformational, however, and for this I genuinely like and admire her.

I like all the heroes and heroines in my other books too. Some more than others, but they are all people I would enjoy meeting in real life.

Thinking about them has made me think about kindness too. And about how we all treat one another nowadays, especially on social media. What is it that makes some people empathetic and kind, and others spiteful and vindictive, or just outspoken and uncaring? Is it their upbringing, an inbuilt part of their character, or is it because they can hide behind the safety of an anonymous name online? Whatever it is, it is sad, and it overshadows the acts and words of the many who still believe in kindness. 

We don't have to agree on anything to still be kind to one another.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


My first memory as a reader was of my mother reading a wonderfully illustrated copy of The Wizard of Oz when I was suffering with the mumps. I was so enthralled that I forgot all about my achy body. Ah, the power of story!

I dedicated my first published novel to my mom, because the best thing the novel taught me was how much I loved her ... as much as the heroine loved her mother. Ah, the power of storytelling!

I lost my mom this month. She died peacefully just shy of her 102nd birthday.  

Conceived during the last world pandemic, she grew up in the Devil's Kitchen of New York City in an apartment full of love but very little money. She married my dad at 17 and became a professional mother of 10, grandmother of 29, and great grandmother of 20. The youngest is our little Desmond and they are 100 years apart. 

My mom's name was Kitty. She had many adventures. Her life is full of story.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Spring Break


                               Please click this link for author, book and purchase information

During this past winter of staying home, I looked forward to a spring getaway with my husband Will and our son Matt. With travel outside of Canada and our province of Alberta restricted this month, we booked a four-night stay in Canmore, an hour a half drive from our Calgary home and just outside the entrance to Banff National Park. 

Easter Monday, we drove directly to Banff and ate our turkey sandwiches on a bench by the Bow River. Despite the sunshine, a breeze made the 3 degrees Celsius (37.4 F) temperature cool for sitting out. We soon warmed up on our hike up Tunnel Mountain. Sections of mud and ice typical of early spring made us glad we'd brought our cleats. At the top, we rested on Muskoka chairs half buried in snow and enjoyed the panoramic views of Banff. 

Day two of our trip was sunny and warmer. Will and Matt went skiing at Lake Louise, while I spent a summer-like day in Canmore. In the morning, I checked out the local stores and bought a salad and bread for our lasagna dinner. My afternoon walk followed part of the town's extensive trail network. The rest of the day I read on our balcony, looking out at the Three Sisters and HaLing mountain peaks. Will and Matt had a perfect ski day -- sunny, warm, uncrowded, fresh snow from a weekend snowfall. I didn't envy them, since I'd preferred my lazy time.   

                                              Balcony view from our AirBnb apartment

Lake Louise ski hill

The weather turned cooler on our third day and cloud mingled with sun. We stayed close to Canmore and hiked up to Grassi Lakes, an icy trail we couldn't have managed without cleats. At the top, we were surprised and pleased to find the ice on the lakes had melted to reveal their clear, green colour. After lunch, we walked the riverside portion of the trail I'd done the previous day and continued farther. We talked about returning later this spring with our bikes to explore the whole Canmore pathway network.  

                                                                        Grassi Lake

              Former railway bridge on Canmore path - Will didn't hold the camera straight

Rain blew in that evening and we woke up to a snow-draped town. Matt's weather app forecast a relatively nice day at Lake Louise with only 17 percent chance of snow. We drove west. As we approached the village of Lake Louise, we hit steady snow and low cloud that made the mountains almost invisible. Hoping the sky would clear later, we opted for a morning hike through a wooded area. The snow continued, but we drove up to the famous lake anyway. Everything was so white, we could hardly tell where the lake ended and the mountains began. We gave up on a viewpoint hike and walked along the lakeshore. When we returned, blue sky started to appear and we left the lake in sunshine. 

Winter conditions at Lake Louise, summer on our Canmore balcony, in-between temperatures the rest of the time. That's spring in Alberta.


                                                             Lake Louise village trail

Will and Matt on our Canmore balcony

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Are The Things We Can't Say or Write Getting Out of Control? By Karla Stover

Visit Karla's BWL Author page for details and purchase information on her books

Near the turn of the last century, the swastika was a hugely-popular lucky charm and one much-loved by the Russian royal family. It graced the family's limousine, was stitched on the czarina's last diary, and Alexandra, herself, had drawn it on the window frame of their final prison. In 1920, the Völkischer Beobachter became the official newspaper of the Nazi party and had an "explosive story about the Czarina's swastika." 

Other symbols are gone but words and expressions linger and are often worse. For example, in today's paper, I learned that calling someone a "Karen" is bad. Apparently, it's "a term used by some to insult and stereotype white women." I sent the clipping to my cousin Karen suggesting she go by her middle name. Nor should anyone ever be called a "basket case." The term came out of World War I and was used to describe quadriplegics because they'd lost all their limbs and had to be carried in a basket.

"No Can Do" insults the Chinese; "Eskimo" insults the Inuits. "Long Time No See" is offensive to Native Americans, as is "Off the Reservation. When I was a kid, "Indian giver" was a common insult. Not anymore, no can we refer to a "Mexican stand-off."

"Spinster" and "Hysteria" go after women, and "Cat Got Your Tongue" is rude because the English Navy disciplined using a whip called the "Cat-o'-nine-tails and the pain was so bad, the victims couldn't speak.

A lot of expressions insult black people: "fuzzy wuzzy", for example. In the 1800s, British colonial soldiers referred to the people of a specific East African nomadic tribe as "fuzzy wuzzies" due to their dark skin and curly hair. "Mumbo jumbo" comes from Maamajomboo, a west African god. Tribal men, dressed like the god and tried to solve domestic disputes which included spousal abuse. "Tipping point" is supposed to mean when too many black people have moved into a white neighborhood. And no one refers to a black man as "boy" anymore.

One of the big no-nos is "Sambo." 

It started with the word, “zambo,” which the Spanish and Portuguese used during their Empire periods to describe a person who appeared more black than white, although there are also claims that it meant bow-legged or knock-kneed. In the 1852 book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, "the character of Sambo was one of the slave overseers" who worked for the cruel slave owner, Simon Legree. Then, Helen Bannerman, daughter of a Scottish minister who married a physician / officer in the Indian Medical Service and lived in India for thirty years, started writing stories for her children about "an Indian child navigating an Indian landscape" and called him Little Black Sambo. Sadly, her "text placed a narrative born out of Britain’s imperialist presence in India firmly within the landscape of U.S. civil rights activism and racial politics," and the rest is history.

"Honky" may be "a variant of hunky which came from Bohunk, a slur for various Slavic and Hungarian immigrants, but it could have come from a West African language known as Wolof where it means "red-eared person," or from a coal mining area in West Virginia where white miners lived on Hunk Hill, or from Honky -tonk music.

Most of these I never say or use in my writing, however, "basket case?" I have to plead guilty. 

But I think we're all trying. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Fusing Ideas

            Over the years, I have dabbled in many different art forms. At one time, I made candles and wove baskets and macramĂ© plant hangers. I learned how to quilt and to make pottery on a wheel. I tried my hand at watercolor and quilling, both of which were quickly set aside for lack of ability…and patience. For more years than I can count, I’ve had the pleasure of working with artist Kymm Hughes to learn the art of fused glass. The process of layering glass and combining colors and designs gives me a sense of accomplishment, much like when I finish writing a book.

Fused glass is different from stained glass. The temperament of the glass is different, and whereas stained glass is seamed together with foil and solder, fused glass is basically melted together in a kiln. In a nutshell, I start with a flat piece of base glass, then cut and lay out my design, gluing the pieces in place and then it is fired in a kiln. At this point it is still flat. Once cooled, it is set on a mold for slumping, which is the process of again heating it in a kiln until the glass “slumps” into the design of the mold, sometimes making a deep bowl and sometimes a dish with simple curved up corners.

                                                                                                                                    What is so much fun is creating the design for a piece. Sometimes the

glass needs to be cut very specifically to fit a space or a pattern. Other times, like the fish, I used only scraps I found in the bins to design the picture I wanted. Even the smallest pieces a glass are kept in different color tubs to be used at some later point.

            Since this is a writing blog, you know where this is going, right? It’s easy to see how similar creating a fused glass piece is to creating a story. Both start with a blank slate – paper, computer screen or piece of glass. Many times I start writing with no more than a basic idea for my story. Will it be straight romance like the bowl of flowers? Should I make it with overlapping colors and layers for a mystery? Are the characters intensely detailed and multifaceted like a mosaic? If you look at the multicolored abstract photo and the blue/sunflower picture, notice they both are made with rectangles but the overall finished pieces are so very different. I see that in my writing as well. I might write two contemporaries but the colorful characters, the difference in settings and the arrangement of scenes makes each story unique.



            Once in a while it’s fun to try something new and totally different. I wondered if I could put a small sand dollar in-between pieces of glass – basically adding something foreign to the mix. We didn’t know what the sand dollar would do – would it hold its shape while being fired or would it explode? In writing, that something different for me is writing time travel; a combination of present and past with a twist. Will the change in some basic element in the story create a new and different pattern, or will the whole thing explode on my computer screen and leave me with a gaping hole in my plot? There’s really no way to know until I try. That’s what I love about my time travels--all are totally unique in design and format.

            If you enjoy trying new things, I encourage you to search for a fused glass studio in your area. Sometimes classes are taught through colleges; sometimes by individual artists.  If you like reading something different, I invite you to try a time travel from my Books We Love library:

            Prospecting for Love

            Spinning Through Time

            Loving Charlie Forever

            Hold on to the Past


Here’s to trying something new.


Barb Baldwin



Friday, April 9, 2021

Covering Up!

So as the title and the picture suggests, I have received my new cover image for my upcoming novel Ballroom Riot! Isn't it pretty? Don't you just want to hold it in your hands and admire all art deco involved? 
Assuredly not... But one can dream

Don't you? DON'T YOU?!


Our cover designer Michelle does an amazing job in working with the authors of Books We Love Publishing to ensure our literary vision is presented with the best cover art imaginable... and believe me, we're writers! We imagine up some pretty strange stuff sometimes...

Believe me folks, get a cover designer.
Not even Stephen King could sell
a book with a cover page as terrible
as this....

In fact, this isn't even the first image she's done for me. She also did the design work on The Curious Case of Simon Todd, another book I wrote and published with Books We Love back in 2018.

In the grand scheme of things, book covers are pretty important. We've all heard the old adage of don't judge a book by its cover, but sticks and stones break bones and names hurt too, dammit! So not every maxim is true 100% of the time. 

This is why every good book needs an amazing image to covey the general theme of the plot or main characters within. I mean, unless you're a big wig author like George R. R. Martin or Dean Koontz... then you're name's probably enough... Right?

When's Winds of Winter coming out
George? Huh?! WHEN, GEORGE!?

But assuming you aren't famous yet, and if you are, Hey! How about an endorsement? Then your name broadcasted in the middle of the page isn't likely going to cut it. Unless you're name's Isa Goodread or something. 

This means research is needed. What makes a good cover? In my humble opinion less is usually more. I tend to focus on a few key elements that encompass the story. Take Ballroom Riot for example. There is a girl, a dragon and some stylistic elements that hearkens back to... say the 1920's? 

A reader should know by a glance the general themes they will encounter in the story. If it's too busy, or there are too many images, the point can become lost. Remember, you're competing for attention out there. You don't want your amazing story overshadowed by sexy Fabio with his shirt off, do you? 

Honestly... this image is 
still too busy for my taste.
Well maybe you do, but unless you can go back in time and contract young Fabio to pose for your amazingly written romance, readers will be drawn to the main elements you authors seek to showcase. 

Give them an interesting focal point. If they are into naked men, and your story is about naked men, give them a half naked man! But don't surround him with a myriad of other stuff we don't care about! 

...or at least, don't care about as much as we care about naked men... 

Don't get me wrong. We don't want to entice the wrong audience. We don't want to mislead the reader. We want to pull them in at a glance and make them pick up the book
Gimme that cold, hard cash, baby!

Then they can read the blurb at the back, see if it's their cup of tea, and hand over that sweet, sweet money... 

Sure! There's a market for busy images. But unless your Waldo, or know somebody like him, I'd strongly recommend sitting down, having a think, and figuring out a few choice themes your book is about and how best to showcase them on the front cover.  

Don't forget about colors and fonts! Or your sexy little author name somewhere where we can all see it and be proud of you! Talk it over with a cover designer too. Again: having someone like Michelle is a Godsend. You definitely won't regret it.   

I'm proud of you and find your story a-peeling!



Thursday, April 8, 2021

What happens to your body after you get stabbed? by J. S. Marlo



The answer to  "What happens if you get stabbed?" is NOT necessarily "You die!"


Most stabbings aren’t fatal, and with proper care, over time your wounds will heal, but interesting things happen to your body after you get stabbed.


First of all, due to the inevitable blood loss, your circulatory system may struggle to work properly, resulting in a lack of oxygen to important organs like the heart and brain.


When you lose one-fifth or more of your body’s blood supply, you will experience a condition known as hypovolemic or hemorrhagic shock. This causes a whole bunch of unpleasant symptoms.


-- Your body stops circulation to the skin making it pale, cold, and clammy.

-- Your heart will speed up in an attempt to pull in blood and oxygen, which pulls it away from the stomach, making you feel thirsty or sick.

-- And as your brain continues to lack insufficient oxygen, you may begin to feel dizzy or confused.


Hypovolemic shock can lead to hypothermia, organ damage, heart attack, gangrene, and death. However, your outcome will vary largely depending on how much blood you lose, how fast you lose it, and where you were injured.


For example, a stab wound in a major artery or vein will cause you to lose blood very fast. In just 3 or 4 minutes, you could lose 40% of your blood volume. Losing any more than that is considered fatal.


Treatment of stab wounds begins with the application of pressure to the wound. This is to stop or lessen the amount of blood loss. Then call the emergency number in your country (911, 112...) and get to a hospital where a doctor will determine how severe your injury is and whether it requires surgery.


And this was another segment of "What happens to your body after an unpleasant event."

Happy Reading & Stay Safe





Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Miss You, Daddy!


April 25, 2021 will mark the 25th anniversary of my dad's passing. There are times when it seems like just yesterday and times when it seems like forever since he was here. He died of complications from colon cancer at age 66. There are so many things he missed - graduations, weddings, new homes, family reunions, the publication of my first and second novels. My dad was the kind who would tell everyone he met about the accomplishments of those he loved. Not in a bragging sort of way, but with definite love and pride. I can only imagine how his face would have looked if he'd been here to receive the news that my debut novel was to be published, what he would have said after reading it, and how he would have told neighbors, friends, and coworkers all about it. I like to think that somehow he does know and is pleased and proud. 

A dyed-in-the-wool Vermonter, a stoic Yankee, Dad didn't show a lot of emotion or talk much about his feelings. Nonetheless, it was obvious by his actions that his family was dear and of the utmost importance to him. Our joys and accomplishments were his delights, our sorrows, his wounds. How he would have rejoiced, how proud he would have been. The loss is mine, I realize. He is at peace. I am the one yearning to celebrate with him. Perhaps I still can. I can find a quiet spot and picture myself telling him the news of my first book's publication, handing him a copy. I can imagine his expression, his words to me and to others. I can allow myself to revel in his praise, his joy, his pride in me. The feeling can be as real for me as if he was truly here. 

I don't think I appreciated his enthusiasm, his trumpeting of our successes enough while he was still with us. It's true that we don't know what we have until we lose it. I now realize that my quiet, reserved, dad was probably my very best cheerleader. I miss you, Daddy!

Dad, our cat, Kiki, and me on vacation at Cape Cod in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

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