Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Life's Total Twist, by Diane Scott Lewis

To purchase my latest novel, and more, click HERE

May 12 would have been my 49th anniversary. So long! I can't believe it. I must have been eight when I got married (wink).

I hope you like my trip down memory lane.

When I was nineteen I joined the navy because I wanted to travel the world. On my first assignment, in Nea Makri, Greece, I watched a guy ride onto the base on a motorcycle. Being a California gal, I always loved riding on motorcycles.

This is a recent pic of the neglected base, but I was standing on that far left corner
when we met.

The guy got off the bike and took off his helmet. He had dark brown hair and dark eyes, sort of my "perfect" visage for a man.

My sponsor said immediately, "That's George Parkinson, he's trouble. Stay away from him."

Well, sad to admit, this intrigued me more. We eventually started dating, took a fantastic bike trip through southern Greece (I need to scan those old pictures), and a year later got married. But it wasn't an easy process. He was married, but legally separated. Everyone kept warning me, he's married

His mother found him a divorce lawyer, and though it took a year, he got his divorce. By that time I was pregnant with our first child, so a quick wedding was in order before I left the navy and flew back to California, waiting for George to join me.

We had two sons, and lived in Puerto Rico, California, and Guam, before settling in Washington DC until he retired.

He worked for the Navy as a civil servant and I started writing novels, a passion of mine since I was a child.

We had our ups and downs in our marriage, but held on. Now we have two beautiful granddaughters.

Five years ago we returned to Greece for a reunion. The base was derelict but the people friendly and welcoming.

In his early seventies, George started coughing, and lung cancer was detected. He did chemo and radiation. But on April 2nd he passed away. 

I want to celebrate a good man and a life well-lived. Not perfect but decent, and an adventure. Loved to the last.

I'm still getting used to not having my closest friend beside me.

Cherish your loved ones. I had fifty years and I hold on to that.

Diane lives in Western Pennsylvania with one naughty dachshund.

Monday, May 20, 2024

The Past is a Different Place...by Sheila Claydon

Find my books here

Many a Moon, the final book in my Mapleby Memories trilogy came about because of a thirteenth century mill.

On holiday a number of years ago, I took an early morning woodland walk and discovered it. Roofless, its water wheel missing, and only a muddy ditch where there would have once been a fast flowing river, it sat close to the edge if a golf course. Surrounded by trees and ferns it was both forlorn and intriguing, and when the holiday ended the image of the mill stayed with me.  So did the village where I stayed, and, over several years, the first two books Mapleby books were written. Remembering Rose and Loving Ellen.

Although I always intended to write about the mill, I knew it would require a lot of research as there was nobody in the area who knew anything about it. I only had one piece of information, gleaned from a blue plaque. It stated that in 1250 it had been a working grain mill but, beyond that, nothing, and nobody knew who had put up the plaque!!

A story was waiting, but because it was the third book in the series, I had to tie it in with the characters in the previous two books. As Mapleby was already a village with a time warp this worked out just fine, however, and I really enjoyed introducing my earlier characters to their new friends. 

Why am I telling you this? Well I've just been back to the place where I created Mapleby after a gap of seven years.  I didn't expect to meet my characters (although wouldn't that have been great) but I did expect the old mill to be the same. What a disappointment! It is now so completely overgrown that the blue plaque is hidden, and it is easy to walk past it without even seeing it. The river is back though. Not fast, and nowhere near as wide and fast flowing as it must once have been, but it was back! And the woodland was glorious. Full of wild garlic, bluebells and fresh green leaves. 

Always intrigued by the past and by how quickly nature, people, construction and development obliterate the smaller moments of history, I felt sad that something that had once ground the corn for the inhabitants of a busy port, was now a hidden mound of crumbling stone in the middle of a wood. Then I remembered that the port had dwindled too, into what was now a small tourist village, and I accepted that times move on. And after so many centuries there is no known history to gainsay my story and my characters, so I will continue to believe in both the modern day ones who live in my village, and the thirteenth century ones who used the mill. 

Then, just before the holiday was over, I fell into a wonderful moment of serendipity. Anyone who has read Many a Moon will also know that several monks and a monastery, long since gone, also featured largely in the book. A monastery that I knew once existed but whose history has also been obliterated by the shadows of time. So imagine my delight and surprise when I discovered this.

Since I last visited, someone had built a grotto using the one remaining piece of the monastery wall. There was nothing explaining it other than it was in memory of the monks who had once worked there. It was a lovely place and for one brief moment, Mapleby,
 my imagined monks and all my imaginary villagers seemed very real. 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

P is for People Watching by Helen Henderson

Windmaster Golem
Click the title for purchase information

As an introvert, I don't like to be in the center of things. I prefer to people watch. I don't usually go looking for a specific piece of data, the Internet is more suitable for that. However, by observing real life, you can pick up a name here or a snippitt of background there.

But what can people watching do for an author looking for inspiration?

Denim jacket, felt, brimmed hat,
farmer or author on an autumn day?

The first level is physical characteristics. Condition of clothing and hair style can be outward extensions of a character's personality. 

A level down is how they walk or particular expressions. These can be cues to to their background while scarred knuckles or a red neck can be transformed into indicators of the persons work and life. Another outward manifestation is what he calls his lunch. Terms of a sub (submarine,) hero, grinder, hoagie, or po'boy indicate a regional heritage. It an author uses one, they have to ensure that people outside the area can understand the context and what is being described.

Same person, decades earlier




Even a fantasy world can benefit from a little real-world viewing. The energy of small children racing around a yard while adults watch from a comfortable chair in the kitchen. Or, it could be the elderly woman stoically wiping away a tear as she explains she was alone again for her birthday. No phone calls, no drop-by visits, or even a note. "It is okay," she said. "Maybe next year. The great-grandchildren are still small and their parents have busy lives." Change birthday to naming day, and year to turn, and the story is transformed from this world to another.

If you didn't notice the theme, May is a special month in my family with one birthday and many (did I say many?) anniversaries. The month begins with several of the anniversaries on what is known as "Mothers' Day."

Wishing you the energy of the small children and the happiness that escaped the woman.

~Until next month, stay safe and read.   Helen

To purchase the Windmaster Novels: BWL

Helen Henderson lives in western Tennessee with her husband. While she doesn’t have any pets in residence at the moment, she often visits a husky who have adopted her as one the pack. Find out more about her and her novels on her BWL author page.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Changes ~ Old Dog New Trickls


To find out more about Nancy's work click on the cover above.

So changes. I have to say I don't particularly like changes. But right now I'm going through a huge one. The place I've lived in for 30 years has been sold and we're packing up lock stock and barrel and moving to small town Alberta. Castor Alberta to be exact. It will be a big change from living rural with my nearest neighbor being the local coyotes, badgers and gophers. Not to mention the ravens who nest across the road.

We took possession of the small house on April 30th of this year and have been painting and cleaning. It's an older  house, built in 1932, but then I like older  houses. The one I'm leaving is a 1920s vintage. The moving and packing has  put a dent in my writing time but I'll have to get back to it pretty quick once we finally get moved in. Movers are coming on the 14th of May to take the bigger stuff, like my beloved oak antique bookcase, up to the house.

Below are some memories from the house I'm leaving but also leaving behind a piece of my heart. Until next month, be well, be happy.





Friday, May 17, 2024

New Books and Complications by Janet Lane Walters #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Writing #complications

 My next book now has five hundred words completed Plus all the words from the directions. I keep hoping I'll follow all perfectly. But we all know there are no books that are perfect                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Horror Writer" Demise is a mystery. The heroine trips over the body and falls on the porch. As his identity is unknown. Talk about what you know.  The Horror Writer's demise has mystery after mystery and in discovery he finally becomes more complex.  The publisher has his social security number and The detectives wonder if the dead man is in Witness Protection. With luck, they find at least the SS no is but not the man. Finding out what happened becomes a real puzzle. The heroine using her researching skills and a program aides a hand. What will they fine when they reach the end?

Figuring how to follow the clues that aren't overt was a fun trip. Will the killer be unmasked? What trouble will Val and Kyle encounter? While this is a mystery series, there will also be a romance. During the stories left to tell, the hero and heroine will journey from attraction to love.

The heroine Valentina Hartley goes to the Writer's House to attend a seminar. With a name like hers, she should write a romance.

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