Thursday, July 29, 2021

For Kathy




Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble


Booktopia / Australia

This weekend is the Memorial Service for fellow author, Kathy Fischer-Brown. Every evening, as twilight falls and the July fireflies rise from the grass, I realize that her phone number will never again appear on the caller I.D. 

It's important for some writers, many of whom are, by nature, rather solitary creatures, to have another confidant in the same odd line of work to talk to. I'd never had a friend like this before Kathy, so had not realized that I'd like one until I met her. In fact, Jude Pittman, our publisher, got us together, as she'd noted our similar late 18th Century interests. 

It turned out we shared a great deal more than just research and a common interest in the American Revolutionary & Colonial Period, something we only gradually realized.  She was younger than me, and had more of academia than I did, therefore our childhoods and twenties did not occur at exactly the same time or contain the same experiences. It turned out not to matter much, in the end.

I was not able to attend the Memorial Service, so I wrote this for her, kind of drawing a line under the loss, I guess. It's the kind of thing that you experience more and more of as you get "to a certain age," and it seems to me that poetry is as good as any other way to cope.   

 For Kathy

Fireflies rise, cool sparks 

Glow against the black tree silhouettes.

With a glass of Malbec at hand and a phone,

We're off again, sharing visions of the Revolutionary War,

Whether those characters should wear coats of red or blue or green,

Criminals, heroes & villains alike 

Standing on the backs of strong women 

And slaves—

Wild, Wild East of history, both genuine and fake,

Where, beneath trees older than Genesis, 

The First People still told of Thunderbird and the Three Sisters, legends of

Earth Turtle and Beaver, of Brave Muskrat and Trickster Crow.

After a summer supper, calling from the porch,

“How ya Doin’?” she jokes and I laugh at her puns,

Baseball mutters in the background, and

She shares today's vision of a fox, how it paused and

Stared from the green slope of the lawn, down toward the on-again-off again creek.

We discuss fireflies and how,

When we were children,

So much was different; 

We mourn a natural world lost, a place with Monarchs and tadpoles. 

Sometimes she shares memories: 

Our 60's: hers of Baez, Civil Rights, of plays and performances,

Of academia, of camping at Woodstock--her friends had never expected THAT--

And her Mom and baby days, birth stories and death stories, so poignant.

I learned about her research and dreams,

Her quest for recognition a.k.a., The Same Old Writer’s Blues, 

Of Revelations at reenactment nighttime campfires, under a country night sky,

Full of stars dancing,

About working for her father, of jumping into the 'Net in the 90's, and of 

Friends and treasure troves of history found in virtual space-- 

As well as how to cook a duck and create a holy Passover supper. 

Together we nodded, two gray women, agreeing about

The complex knots that tie families everywhere.

Tonight I watch fireflies rise in hazy twilight,

And once more I’ll miss your rambles through Past and Present,

My Dear Friend, 

Your husky voice in my ear, your laughter and sophistication, your wit, 

A delight for all too brief a time.

~~Juliet Waldron 


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Like All Good Cajun Fairy Tales, It Began Harmlessly Enough..." By Connie Vines #BWLAuthor #MFRWAAuthor #Gumbo Ya Ya #Rodeo Romance Series

New Orleans city offers beautiful architecture, great food, great seafood, and it can even titillate the minds of those who love a scary story or two. NOLA, The Big Easy, the birthplace of jazz, N'Awlins. New Orleans can go by so many names but one thing is for sure, the city is more than just partying in the streets.

New Orleans is more than a city; it is the fragrance of chicory coffee, a breeze off Lake Ponchatrain, the sound of jazz music in the French Quarter on a warm and humid night. Pirate Tales, Haunted Cemeteries, Trolley Rides, Magnolia Trees, and Food.  Oh, my goodness. Food is everywhere you look!  

This is why I wrote my Cajun Anthology:  Gumbo Ya Ya.  

Some adventures must be shared!

Cajun House in a Bayou (Swamp)

Listen to Cajun Music Cajun Music

What's The Difference Between Creole And Cajun Cooking?

Cajun and Creole food are both native to Louisiana.  One of the simplest differences between the two cuisine types is that Creole food typically uses tomatoes and tomato-based sauces while traditional Cajun food does not.

Crawfish Boil

Cajun food is robust, rustic food, found along the bayous of Louisiana, a combination of French and Southern cuisines. It was brought to Louisiana by the French who migrated to the state from Nova Scotia 250 years ago and used foods, right from the land. Think of meals with lots of smoked meats as well as meat-heavy, one-pot dishes like jambalaya or the rice-filled, spicy pork sausage known as boudin. The backyard crawfish boil is also another byproduct of Cajun culture. Though delicious Cajun food can certainly be found in New Orleans, the true heart of Cajun country lies northwest of the city in areas like Breaux Bridge and Lafayette.

The Historical French Quarter


Creole food is cosmopolitan food, created in New Orleans with European, African, and Native American roots. The French influence is strongest, but vestiges of Italian, Spanish, German, and the even Caribbean can be found in some dishes. The essence of Creole is found in rich sauces, local herbs, red ripe tomatoes, and the prominent use of seafood, caught in local waters. It is associated with the old-line kitchens of New Orleans, where generations of traditions are carried on today. Think of rich, roux-based gumbo, shrimp creole, grits and grillades, redfish court-bouillon, and more


Both cuisines make liberal use of what New Orleanians call the "holy trinity" of cooking: chopped green peppers, onions, and celery. The most common misconception is that both foods are spicy, fiery hot. Both Creole and Cajun cuisines have a depth of flavor, borne of a loving blend of local herbs and (quite often) roux and may or may not be spicy. But one thing is definitely true - you’ll never go wrong adding a few shakes of Louisiana hot sauce to either. In New Orleans, Creole and Cajun dishes can be found at many of our 1,400 restaurants at any time. Explore more of the differences.

Hummingbird Cake

I've added a host of recipes to my anthology.  Some classic dishes, some rustic, a few are my own, and others are family recipes passed down in my husband's family.

 And speaking of Gumbo Ya Ya: an Anthology for women who like romance Cajun style:

Here are teasers:

Marrying off Murphy: A match-making columnist promises to turn a stuffy professor into a charming prince. So, why does this confirmed bachelorette, suddenly wish she was dressed for the ball?

Love Potion no. 9: What happens when you mix a traditional Creole woman with a fun-loving Cajun Man? Throw in a little Voodoo love potion and stand back!  The Louisiana Bayou an't never gonna be the same.

A Slice of Scandal: A producer finds herself embroiled in a mystery as hot as her Cooking Show. When a Bayou cop turned chef dishes up more heat than a bottle of Louisana chopped peppers. Can she prove her innocence before the killer kills her? Or will she become the main course in a murder trial?

1-800-FORTUNE: Garlic hangs from the rafters but this Cajun werewolf isn't looking for trouble or a cure for what ails him. That is until a determined Gypsy woman shows up with mischief on her mind!

Smashwords :  Big, Big Sale! 

Remember all of my books are available via your favorite online book/ebook seller.

Link To my BWL author page:

Thank you for stopping by :-),


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Warrior women on TV, in the movies, and in comic books still have to be sexy - by Vijaya Schartz

September Release. Find more titles at BWL HERE

In the male-dominated society of our ancestors, few women emerged as rulers or generals, or even warriors, although some did find a place in history. Nowadays, women are welcome into the military, and a recent decree subjects them to the draft. We’ve definitely come a long way in terms of equality.

But the entertainment world still resists the change. Superheroes are overwhelmingly male. In the Hollywood movies of the 1930s, all women wore dresses. Then during WWII, we saw a few women working in factories wearing pants.

The movements of the sixties brought us Barbarella but the first sci-fi or warrior women on the screen were more of an excuse for men to leer over semi-naked female bodies in action… and their fighting prowess seemed improbable at best.

Every beautiful actress wanted to be a Bond Girl.

In the 80s and 90s, came Charlie’s Angels - Xena Warrior Princess, and although still exploiting the female form, they portrayed strong, independent women, sometime in position of power, and they could fight for themselves, for others, and for justice.

Also of note, the ALIEN series with a kick-butt heroine, acted by Sigourney Weaver, and GI Jane (1997) with Demi Moore.

With this century came the rebirth of Battlestar Galactica with a female Starbuck. It was criticized at first, but I thoroughly enjoyed the switch. One of my favorite sci-fi series.

Then came a blue heroine in Avatar. A hunter and a warrior. More than capable, powerful, and also wise.

The most recent Star Wars movies have a strong female fighter in Rey. Star Trek, unfortunately, wasn't as kind to women. 

In Black Panther, the female warriors of Wakanda play an important role.

Also welcome to the big screen from comic books, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel. They manage to remain sexy as they definitely kick butts.

Not to forget, Mulan from Walt Disney studios.

I hope many more warrior women appear on the big and small screens to inspire the generations to come.

In the meantime, check out the fierce heroines of Science Fiction in my novels.

amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

Happy Reading!

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

Monday, July 26, 2021

Here We Go Again--Tricia McGill

Find this and all my other books on my Books We Love author page

Just when we think life is getting back to some sort of normalcy, the gates on our life slam shut, and once more we are in lockdown here in Victoria as well as some other states, as the virus spreads its ugly wings. When I get down in the dumps, which is not very often, I think of the fantastic years when my husband and I would pack our caravan and head off to parts unseen. Thank heaven I kept a pictorial copy of all our journeys. Usually about July when the weather is at its cold and dullest here in Victoria, we would go north or west in search of the sunshine. I still dream of those carefree days, lolling about in some tropical haven, or walking miles along a beach that seemed to go on forever, where it seemed that no pair of feet had trodden before. Being close up to a dolphin at Monkey Mia WA, or face to face with a Cassowary in a Queensland rain forest are memories to cherish.

Most people have heard of Sydney Harbour and its bridge and the Opera House, and perhaps a few have seen the movie Red Dog, featuring the dog who roamed from one end of Western Australia (and that is a very long way) to the other end in search of his long lost master (or so the story goes). I have sat beneath the statue erected in his honour in Dampier WA. As you can see, our dogs always accompanied us on our travels.   

Many a time we took a wrong route after being advised which road to take, which often resulted in getting lost, but thus seeing some of the most remarkable places in the country. Once we were advised to be wary of the roadworks being carried out on a pass over a mountain in New South Wales. Halfway up we were faced with rocks the size of melons on a barely made pass. Often it was just a matter of keep right on, as there simply was no alternative because it would have been impossible to backtrack.

Often the locals had great fun advising travellers of the perils to be faced when on the road. Old-
time Aussies have a great (and at times weird) sense of humour. There really is a dunny tree not far from Broken Hill—just one of the many strange sights we encountered along the way. Mind you, the advice to keep our dogs well away from water frequented by crocodiles was well noted and obeyed.

I guess my love of this country is what inspired me to write my Settlers Series, for it is easy to imagine how hard it was for the early explorers and settlers when they set out on epic journeys without knowing what the road ahead held for them. Whether it was carving a road across the Blue Mountains, setting a trail across land from east to west that must have taken months, or tackling trails where the only means of transport was by horse, oxen and even camel, it sparks the imagination.
I have never fancied myself as a pioneer and always preferred the comfort my road home gave me, and admit there were times in our early travelling days when I became slightly panicky knowing my family were not within a day’s trip away. My husband would have been happy to spend our whole lives on the road (as many people did and still would if not for the restrictions of Covid) but much as I loved travelling, I was always happy to return to my home state and always will be.

Visit my web page for excerpts and reviews

Sunday, July 25, 2021

How About a Bird Bath by A.M. Westerling

If you’ve been following my posts, you know I’ve been blogging about the flowers we grow in our garden. This time, I thought I’d talk about another lovely feature – the small pond we have on our back patio that the birds really love. It’s positioned below a Mugo pine so it’s easy for them to hop onto the bar and dip their heads to reach the trickling water. 

The majority of our visitors are sparrows and once we had five of them lined up at the same time! We’ve had chickadees, robins, (both pictured below) and more exotics such as nuthatches and finches. 

The largest bird we’ve had was a magpie that bathed itself and left a heck of a mess behind. We’ve even had squirrels drink from it – the birds didn’t seem to mind sharing. They’re very polite too, waiting their turn in the Mugo. I’ve taken to putting out a smaller dish in early spring until it’s time to take out the larger one as the birds remember where the water is and they come looking for it.  

Our bird bath seems to attract as many birds as a feeder would and it’s a lot less messy! I of course add water every day and my husband will regularly replace the water or add a shock of chlorine to clean it. It’s important to keep the water clean as birds will poop in it. As they get heavier either by bathing or drinking, they instinctively get rid of any useless weight which makes them more efficient flyers.

 We’ve put rocks in it so the birds have a place to stand although they seem to like drinking directly from the fountain feature. As it turns out, birds love dripping water and find the sight and sound of moving irresistible. Also, it’s best to keep the bird bath out of direct sun so the water doesn’t get too hot or evaporate too quickly. Anything can work as a bird bath really, as long as it's not too deep. Or if it is, put lots of rocks in it as we have done. 

Okay, this has nothing to do with bird baths but the trees in our yard attract a lot of other birds, including this peregrine falcon feeding on a robin on the lower branch of our blue spruce several years ago. We live close to downtown - sometimes they nest on the office buildings. Sorry for the picture quality, I took it with my phone as I didn’t want to run into the house to get the camera.


I really enjoy bird watching and you’ll find I mention birds of some sort or other in all my books


Find all my books on the BWL Publishing website HERE

My latest release is Leah's Surrender, Book 2 of The Ladies of Harrington House Regency romance series.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Dealing With Rejection Letters from Publishers by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

Rejection: the act of rejecting; the state of being rejected; a thing rejected.

Rejection slip: a note from a publisher rejecting the accompanying returned manuscript.

Like most writers I have received form rejection slips and form rejection emails telling me politely that the publishing house is unable to accept my manuscript. An example: Thank you for considering ECW. Unfortunately, Controling (sic) Her Death is not right for us. I wish you every success in finding a home for your book.

However, I have also received emails and letters giving me more details about the rejection and adding a few encouraging words about my manuscript.

Dear Joan,

Thanks for submitting Controlling Her Death: My Mother's Date With Suicide to Coach House Books. Our editors noted that there's both an immediacy and a poignancy to the prose that draws the reader in from the first page.

Sadly, however, we can't offer to take it on for Coach House. We can publish only a few novels each year, and we have a surfeit of exceptional manuscripts. This leaves us in the unfortunate position of being unable to house many of the fine manuscripts we receive. We’re sorry to say that we aren’t able to fit your work on our list. 

We wish you all the very best in finding a good home for it. 


Coach House Books

Dear Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

Thank you for submitting your manuscript The Nursery to Ronsdale Press for possible publication. Our readers have now made their reports, and I am sorry to inform you that they have recommended against publication.

After reading your excerpt our principal editor noted, "This is well written and has a great opening, but I find that it moves too slowly and that her memories-at least at the beginning-are the sort of thing that has been often written about. There is little sense of excitement or the strange. The Stone Angel does something similar, but with more verve.

We wish you well in finding a publisher for your manuscript.

Yours sincerely,

Publishing Assistant.

But a rejection, however nicely worded, is still a rejection and it is hard to accept. In the beginning of my writing career I went through a three day grieving process each time I received a rejection letter.

On the first day I would feel totally depressed. I would question why I was writing, who did I think I was trying to write a novel? I would decided that this would be the last day that I wrote anything. I would wallow in self-pity, shed a tear in frustration, and even kick a door.
Day two would bring anger. Anger at the publisher for rejecting my manuscript. Anger at the months it had taken me to write the seventy-five thousand words. Anger at myself for not having written a publishable novel. I would try to figure out how to change it to make it better.
Day three brought a realization that maybe a different publisher might like it. There is the saying: right idea, right publisher, right day. With a renewed enthusiasm I would send it out again and again. I would decide that no one could take away the fact that I had written a manuscript, that I had had the nerve to send it to a publisher.

We writers are supposed develop thick skins. We are supposed to detach ourselves from our work. We are supposed to realize that we are not being judged, that our intelligence, our sense of humour, our sex appeal, and our character are not on the line. What is being judged is just that one piece of writing we have done. But it is a piece of writing that we have written, that we have spent hours at producing. Sometimes, it is tough not to take a publisher's rejection personally.
But the point is to carry on. With multiple submissions being allowed if one publisher rejects my manuscript I have the two or three others to look forward to hearing from. Sometimes I can have two manuscripts and two or three short stories out in the 'please publish me' world at one time. And when I finish one novel, I start another so I am engrossed in it to spend much time worring about the previous one.
The difference between being a success or being a failure is quitting too soon. And we all know of famous writers whose works were rejected many times before being accepted and becoming best sellers. Here are a few of the rejections letters:

"We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell."
Stephen Kings first published novel, Carrie, was rejected so many times that King collected the letters on a spike in his bedroom. When finally published in 1974, 30,000 copies were printed. A year later the paperback version sold over a million copies in 12 months.

"You’re welcome to le CarrĂ© – he hasn’t got any future."

One publisher sent this to a colleague after turning down The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.

"For your own sake, do not publish this book."
A publisher wrote to DH Lawrence about his novel Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Maybe rejection letters make us better writers, maybe they make us better people, or maybe they just annoy us. Whatever our reaction we have to remember that, with publishers receiving thousands of manuscripts each year, being rejected is just one part of the whole writing process.


Blog Archive