Monday, September 12, 2022

Back to Work

Yesterday I flew home from a trip to Minneapolis. On November 12th I leave for a three-week holiday in Mexico. This gives me a two-month window to write draft # 3 of my novel-in-progress. I have to complete this work to make the deadline for the novel's scheduled release in September 2023. 

It's a challenge for me to think of my writing as work, since I don't come close to making a living from it. But I have to do this in order to finish a long project like a novel. Otherwise I'll let other activities completely consume my time. I wrapped up the first draft of this novel in late May and have given the book little thought since then. A break of almost four months should be good for returning to the story with fresh eyes. I don't regret my travels to Ireland and Ontario and warm summer days spent hiking, biking and hanging out with family and friends, when I could have been writing.        
Lake Erie beach with family and friends

While it's hard to drag myself back to the computer, I know from numerous past experiences that once I start I'll soon be into the writing groove again. This helps me avoid procrastination and plunge in, as I would into cold water. Once I'm swimming in the story, I'll need to avoid distractions and limit them to important matters like family, friends, exercise, and volunteer work. Turning off my instant email notification will be essential. I've taken on a commitment to co-chair Calgary's committee to host the Bouchercon mystery convention in 2026. It will be tempting to get sidetracked into concrete organizing tasks that can feel easier than pulling characters out of the air and resolving plot glitches.  

I did use my summer time for some research relevant to the novel. The first draft unexpectedly veered into areas outside my knowledge zone. One of these was the opioid crisis. Drug dealer killings appear frequently in current mystery novels, but I'd thought the subject wouldn't interest me. I prefer to write about ordinary people who kill for personal, social, or psychological reasons; people who might be me or a friend driven by a particular situation. But people like this are the drug dealers in my novel-in-progress. They operate a low-key business out of a bicycle store. During the summer, I read two excellent books on Canada's opioid crisis and now feel capable of handling the topic in a novel.
Shopping for e-bikes inspired my novel's storyline

This new book also gets more into police work than the first three novels in my Paula Savard Mystery Series because I made two police officers point of view narrators. This fall I hope to fit in a research visit to Calgary police headquarters and will look for a beta reader or consultant knowledgeable in police work, without letting this research distract me from writing. 

For my last two novels, I discovered a useful trick - those mornings that I wake up early, rather than lie in bed drifting in and out of consciousness, I force myself up, make coffee, turn on my computer, and write while the sun rises outside my window. I'm amazed by how much I can accomplish before the day's usual activities get started.   

In short, I find the key to writing novels is to treat them like work. Don't wait for mood and inspiration. Grab your time at your writing desk, sit down, and do it.  
Me not working this summer



Saturday, September 10, 2022

NEW RELEASE - What About Me? / by Barbara Baker


What About Me is a sequel to Summer of Lies and follows Jillian as she starts grade 10 in Banff a month after the semester begins. Being the new kid is always hard. Being the new kid in a small town, at a small school where everyone knows her business is the worst.

She loves her Opa but moving from Toronto to help Aunt Steph take care of him was not Jillian’s idea. As she navigates unfamiliar hallways and attempts to fit into her new surroundings, Jillian makes choices which impact her relationships and a potential boyfriend. Will the last choice she makes be the right one?


If you’re familiar with Banff, you may recognize the sites Jillian sees. If you’ve hiked in the area, you may have walked the trails she takes. And, if you went to high school there, the formaldehyde smell will lead you right to the biology room.

Whether or not you’ve been to Banff, enjoy the landscapes through Jillian’s eyes.


Banff attracts tourists from all over the world. They browse through the shops, take selfies with the dramatic Rocky Mountain backdrop or simply stroll the streets and take in the sites.

Since COVID, only pedestrian traffic is allowed on Banff Avenue during the summer holiday season. People amble about without dodging cars.

If crowds and shopping are not your thing, go a few streets west and access the wide walking trail which parallels the Bow River. Stroll out to Vermillion Lakes for post card views of Mt. Rundle.

Or go in the opposite direction and view the Bow Falls.

Elk, deer, or coyotes  may keep you company along the way but do not approach them. They’re wild animals. Attempting to get a selfie with an elk could be detrimental. To the elk. If it charges or hurts you, the elk will pay the price. It will be removed. Not you. Admire them from a distance.

If you want a great x-country bike ride, head past the Banff Springs Hotel and follow the Spray Lakes trail – the same road Jillian mountain biked. 

Within minutes, you’ll leave the busyness of town behind. The trail follows the Spray River and winds through the forest valley, flanked by mountain ranges on both sides. But DON’T forget your pepper spray in case you encounter a bear. The canister won’t do any good if you leave it in the car. Jillian is reminded often to be sure she has hers with her.

A couple days after the release of What About Me? I got a picture and text from a reader who went to one of the spots Jillian visits. 

Then another picture came. It makes my day to see people enjoying my story. Thanks to all you readers out there. You’re the reason I keep on writing.

I hope you enjoy What About Me? and if you’re thinking of visiting Banff and want suggestions, follow me on Facebook  Barbara Wackerle Baker | Facebook, Instagram Barbara Wackerle Baker (@bbaker.write) or send me a note

What About Me?: Sequel to Summer of Lies : Baker, Barbara: Books

Summer of Lies: Baker, Barbara:9780228615774: Books -

Summer of Lies | Universal Book Links Help You Find Books at Your Favorite Store! (

Friday, September 9, 2022

Brace Yourself, Sweater Weather--and a New Book-- is Coming by Vanessa C. Hawkins


 Vanessa Hawkins Author Page

      September! It is offically spooky season! The stores are already stuffed full of Halloween goodies, and I just can't wait to jam them in all corners of my house until it resembles something haunted and is a possible candidate for Hoarders: Horror Edition. Whoot! I always get excited for this time of year, because not only are witches and warlocks about, it's also sweater and leggings season and MAN can I rock a good sweater/legging combo! 

For real tho! Pants are way overrated. I don't need that kinda stress in my life, especially with the holidays fast approaching. And as much as I love summer, I hate being so super hot that I can't go outside without slathering cream all over my face to prevent it from turning into some kind of fruit/veg hybrid! 

So leggings and sweaters! Cozy, yet fashionable enough that when someone comes for a surprise visit, you aren't hiding in the next room hoping they go away because you've been sweltering in your underwear all day. Also support. Leggings are like... the new bra. Especially for us folks who've had a baby or two or like to indulge in an extra slice of ice cream cake every now and then.

But despite sweater weather fast approaching, I can't get over the fact that Christmas decorations are already starting to show up on shelves. Is it just me? Is anyone else out there nauseated by the fact that December is like four months away and already the holly jolly face of Santa Clause is trying to pervert our thoughts with this overwhelming beast of a holiday? FOUR MONTHS! That's a third of the year that our stores are infested with this festive parasite!

It drives me nuts. I mean, I like Christmas, but I like Christmas in December! Leave September, October and November alone, Kris Kringle, we aren't ready for you yet! 

Saying that, I am excited to announce that my co author and I are about to release the second book in the Ballroom Riot series. If you didn't notice that sparkly new book cover up top, go and check it out! It would definitely make a great Christmas gift....

Bunker Blitz is set to release in October. Not sure of the exact date yet, but I can promise that it'll be out before Winds of Winter. That thing is just a lost cause by now. I mean... I really want to go watch House of Dragon but I just can't bring myself to do it until he finishes the Song of Fire and Ice series. So I guess I'll never see it... unless by some miracle he pens the book... or he dies and his publisher gets someone else to do it...

Which mean's he's basically immortal now *shrug*

 But in the meantime! Bunker Blitz! Ya know, in case you were too lazy to scroll up ;)

Resentment is brewing in the streets of Comero. Although local dragon Shad O’Rahin thought his enemies were finally eliminated, the return of an old rival threatens to shake his grip on the city’s illegal liquor trade. While he takes steps to eliminate the danger to his enterprise, Shad’s wife, Scarlet Fortune is caught in the crossfire. 

Scarlet is the last vampire left in the Comero Police Department. When blackmail begins to jeopardize her career, she launches an investigation to take care of the situation on her own. But with their first child on the way and an unexpected visit from reptilian in-laws throwing their peaceful homelife into turmoil, the situation may prove too tough to tackle alone. Especially when a pretty gold dragon starts making eyes at her husband!

Their difficulties only escalate, leading them both into danger as they peek at the rotten underbelly of Comero’s vampire blood trade. With other dragons in town vying to drive a wedge between them, can Scarlet and Shad find a way to face the threat together?

…all while picking out baby names?

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Fictional Towns, Lakes, and Rivers by J. S. Marlo

Wounded Hearts
"Love & Sacrifice #2"
is now available  
click here 



One of my friends asked why I like to set my stories in Canada? First, I'm Canadian and I've lived in most provinces, so it's familiar territory. Second, the landscape and weather are as diverse as the country is vast. We experience four seasons and extreme temperatures at both ends of the thermometer. Whatever storyline I have in mind, I can find a place (and the right season) in Canada where to set it.

I may send a character shopping or catching a plane in Halifax or Calgary, but the small town where the story takes place is usually fictional. That way I can build the town to suit the needs of the story, but how do I come up with the names of these fictional towns, and lakes, or rivers?

In Seasoned Hearts, my female protagonist lives in Sparrowsnest, a small southern Alberta town. There isn't any Sparrowsnest anywhere in Alberta, but there's a town named Crowsnest. Crows are birds, so I chose of different bird (in this case, a sparrow), then I ran a search to make sure there isn't an obscure town name after Sparrowsnest.

In Rebelled Hearts (to be released winter 2023), the story takes place in Mooseland, Newfoundland. I named it Mooseland because there are lots of moose. Interestingly enough, there's no deer on the island of Newfoundland, but there's a town name Deer Lake.

I try to give my fictional places believable names, though I discovered there are 90,000 anonymous lakes in Canada. That's lots of lakes with no name. So, what about these names?

- Stoner, British Columbia

- Youbou, British Columbia

- Salmon Arm, British Columbia

- Dead Man's Flats, Alberta

- Vulcan, Alberta

- Mirror, Alberta

- Milk River, Alberta

- Happyland, Saskatchewan

- Drinkwater, Saskatchewan

- Love, Saskatchewan

- Climax, Saskatchewan

- Fertile, Saskatchewan

- Forget, Saskatchewan

- Eyebrow, Saskatchewan

- Finger Lake, Manitoba

- Flin Flon, Manitoba

- Crotch Lake, Ontario

- Punkeydoodle's Corners, Ontario

- Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Qu├ębec

- Peekaboo Corner, New Brunswick

- Lobster's Claw, New Brunswick

- Sober Island, Nova Scotia

- Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia

- Happy Adventure, Newfoundland

- Come By Chance, Newfoundland

- Toogood Arm, Newfoundland

- Nameless Cove, Newfoundland

- Witless Bay, Newfoundland

- Dildo, Newfoundland

- Heart's Desire, Newfoundland

- Heart's Content, Newfoundland

- Heart's Delight, Newfoundland

- Snafu Lake, Yukon 

- Cuddle, Northwest Territories

- Igloolik, Nunavut

All these places exist in Canada, with the exception of two. Would you like to guess which two I made up?

The answer will be in the comment section tomorrow. 

Happy Reading & Stay Safe!




Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Importance of Book Reviews


As any authors can tell you, book reviews are extremely important. That's why so many of us include a call to action for a book review at the end of our novels. The more reviews we get, the better our sales.  I can't stress enough how important it is for authors to get reviews,whether it's on Amazon, Smashwords, or where ever you purchase your books. This is especially true for authors who are not huge household names like Stephen King or James Patterson. They don't have to worry about it, but the rest of us do.

However, I think some folks are intimidated by the thought of writing a review. I get that. But it's not as hard as you might think. You do not have to be a professional reviewer. No one expects that. It's actually very easy. All you have to do is click on the number of stars you want to give the book, then type something like: "I liked this book because..." or "My favorite part of this book was..." (just don't give away any spoilers). It doesn't have to be long. Even a sentence or two is fine. If you want to get more creative, by all means, go right ahead. It may also help to read some of the other reviews and see how they were written. The important thing is that you write something - anything!

The only other thing to know is that most sites will require you to give your review a title. All that needs to be is one line from your review or something as simple as "Great Book!"

I hope that quells any fears about leaving a public book review. Believe me, authors are extremely grateful. In fact, I want to take this moment to give a huge THANK YOU! to everyone who has left a review for either of Kelegeen or Erin's Children. You are the best!

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Characters who struggle to break Unhealthy patterns by Jay Lang


Click link to purchase book

      In this first chapter, I wanted to show how trusting people who don’t value us can put us in compromising positions, and how hard it can be to break free from these unhealthy patterns.

Chapter One

An angry dark sky invades the bay and forces the rusty orange sunset to disappear into the horizon. Now that night has set in, I don't have much time. I grab anything I can to defend myself, a dull bread knife from the kitchen drawer, the heavy metal poker from the fireplace and a small wooden handled spade from the pantry. Setting everything down but the knife, I hurry through the cabin shutting lights off in every room. When I get to the kitchen, I start to `walk across the floor when I hear a creaking sound coming from the old wooden balcony. Instantly, a wave of terror creeps over me. They're here, I can feel them. I force a shallow breath into my lungs and slowly move toward the balcony. With each step, I try to silence the sound of my feet on the floor. Straining to see through the glass, but the darkness outside has turned the windows into mirrors and all I see is my reflection. My hand shakes as I grasp the wooden handle of the knife. The closer I get to the glass, the more I feel them watching, waiting.

* * *

After days of no sleep, I’m finally drifting off when a hard rap on the door jerks me back to consciousness. I lie motionless in hopes that the pest goes away. No such luck. A sequence of raps repeats followed by the sound of paper being slid under the door. No doubt it’s the landlord gifting me with a final eviction notice. A few seconds later, I hear footsteps walking away. I lie for a few minutes before succumbing to the growing worries in my head, where will I go? How will I feed myself? My job was a shitty one at best, working the night shift at a gas station, but it was a job and considering I have minimal education, I was grateful to have it. About a month ago, Johnny Savage, my brother, or the closest thing I have to one, decided to get hopped up on a cocktail of booze and drugs before stumbling into my work. I left him to watch the front while I quickly ran to the bathroom. Unbeknownst to me, he swiped cash from the till and filled his pockets with cigarettes and anything else 4 he could get his hands on. After viewing the surveillance tape, my boss said nothing, he just pointed at me and then to the front door. My anxiety gains momentum and I concede to the fact that I’ll be adding another evening to my sleep deprivation. Defeated, I get up and walk to the kitchen to make coffee. Just as I’m filling the machine with water, my cell rings. It’s Johnny. I know if I don’t answer, he’ll inundate me with calls and seeing as I’ve been applying for jobs all over Calgary, I can’t afford to turn the phone off. “I’m still pissed at you, Johnny.” “Freedom, I need to see you. It’s urgent.” His breathing is shallow and erratic. “Urgent? Like paying rent or buying food?” “I know, I know. I’m sorry about all that. But I have cash for you. You just have to come and meet me. I’m in big shit, sis and I need you.” Oh great, another rescue mission where I have to drop everything and run to him. Nine times out of ten, by the time I get there, he’s either passed out or he’s forgotten why he called me in the first place. This emergency, I fear, will result with the same outcome and right now, I’m not in the mood. “Johnny, I love you, but I can’t do this anymore. Just go to bed and sleep it off. As for the cash you said you’d give me for rent, I’m tired of waiting.” “Freedom, please. I’m dead serious. I swear I’m on the up and up. Please come,” he pleads with desperation. 

Here, Freedom has come to a fork in the road. She can succumb to Johnny’s plea’s and keep the vortex of co-dependency going, or she can make a stand and break free from his emotional blackmail.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Thoughts About Writing A Novel ~ Theme by Rosemary Morris

To learn more about Rosemary and her work please click on the image above.

Thoughts about Writing a Novel - Theme


The theme of a novel is different to the plot. It is the subject. The plot is action, it shows the reader what happens and answers the questions, Who, What, When, Where and How. The theme is often abstract and drives the plot forward. It might focus on the cause of conflict or a main character’s goals. An effective theme should not overpower the plot. It should be used as a background - the characters’ experience, the author’s individual style and word pictures which tie theme and plot together. The beginning of the novel should indicate the theme.

Some themes can be applied to any time and at any place e.g., conflict between family members, others are specific such as an event that could only take place in a country during a particular time, for example, the London Blitz in the 2nd World War or an issue such as women’s suffrage. Religious intolerance or another form of intolerance also provide strong themes.

Emotion is a thread which can run through a novel and be employed as a theme that creates conflict, for example, any one of the following, fear, greed, hatred, jealousy, loneliness, love, revenge.

Explicit sex is also a theme but, although my novels are sensual, it is not one of my chosen ones.



Rosemary Morris published by BooksWeLove



Friday, September 2, 2022

Big News in the Sugarwood Mysteries Series by Diane Bator


Sugarwood Mysteries has 


Audra Clemmings loves Halloween. At least until she sees the display of voodoo dolls in the shop next door that resembles nearly everyone in Sugarwood, Ontario--including her.

Then there's the matter of the dead cowboy on the bench in front of her shop Stitch'n'Time...

A few great reviews:

"After reading the first book in the Sugarwood Mysteries, I became hooked on the characters, genre, and author. Ms. Bator penned a goodie in this murder mystery. Characters Audra Clemmings and Merilee Rutherford (best friends) hang in there together, always having each other’s backs through some terrorizing moments. Between the two of these women, figuring out the ‘who done it’ kept them guessing while wrapping the reader around their conjectures and info gathering. I enjoyed these women, completely enamored in their thought process. I adore cozy mysteries, and Ms. Bator just became one of my favorite authors of this genre." - Susan

"This is not your Wild West Cowboy story. No, this is contemporary and takes place in a small town. Yes, one of the shopkeepers in the charming downtown area is on the trail to find out whodunit. Lots of humor and speculation on who killed the cowboy and why, so I was not sure who the murderer was until the end of the book. Ms. Bator's description of the locations and the quirky fun characters engage readers in this well-written cozy mystery. Yes, I recommend the book to cozy mystery lovers." - Janet Glaser

"All the characters were well-crafted. One of my favorites is Miss Lavinia. She describes them so vividly it's as if you actually know them, great job.
Clemmings definitely has her hands full. However, in the end, she prevails. If you enjoy reading a really good cozy mystery then this is the book for you.
It has surprises, it's captivating, and keeps you wondering until the very end." Digiecard

BWL Publishing Website:


Christmas blooms in Sugarwood in the form of a brightly lit tree in town square, colourful ornaments, and a snowstorm. It’s just Audra Clemmings’ luck that she literally stumbles over the local butcher in Miss Lavinia’s shop. Then a witch doctor arrives in town. Can Audra solve the mystery before the killer turns their sights on her?

Here's a little snippet!

 As I grabbed my red parka from the closet, I smiled. The colour never failed to give me a lift, so I paired it with my favourite red hat and black gloves. I left Drake home to babysit Rex who, as predicted, fell asleep on the bed and still hadn’t returned to the couch. I was at the deli before I realized I could’ve taken the key and the car and then he’d be stuck there. Darn it! I was such a creature of habit.

At nine o’clock on the dot, I set a large black coffee on Officer Grant’s desk and asked, “Did you find out who owns that token?”

He scratched the stubble on his chin as he reached for the cup.

I moved it out of his reach. “Not so fast. I want answers.”

“And I want coffee,” he said, meeting my gaze. “If you think we’re at an impasse, keep in mind I’m the one with the gun and the handcuffs.”

“Good thing I’m not wearing my pajamas then.” The words sounded better in my head than they did aloud.

A nearby officer smirked.

“Get your mind out of the gutter, Jacobs,” Officer Grant snapped. “Last time I arrested her, she was wearing her pajamas out in public.”

Handing him the coffee before he bit anyone, I decided to consider it my good deed for the day. I sat across from him and asked, “So?”

He sipped the coffee. “Needs cream.”

“You’re welcome.” 

Dead Man's Doll Coming October 2022 

from BWL Publishing:

To request additional review copies or an interview with Diane Bator, please contact Mickey Mikkelson at Creative Edge Publicity: / 403.464.6925.    

We look forward to the coverage!

Meet our BWL Authors - Eileen O'Finlan and Victoria Chatham


Introducing Eileen O'Finlan

Eileen is a BWL Author from Massachusetts


I live in Holden, a town located in Central Massachusetts, very close to the city of Worcester.  I have lived here most of my life.  However, both of my parents are from Vermont and many of my relatives live there.  I dearly love Vermont and consider myself an “honorary Vermonter.”  I am 54, single, and the caretaker of my amazing 91 year old mom.  I also have two adorable cats (a Russian Blue named Smokey and a calico Maine Coon named Autumn Amelia.)   Books and cats are pretty much all I need to be happy!


I work full-time as an Administrative Assistant in the Tribunal Office for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester.  I also just started teaching online courses in theology for the University of Dayton, Ohio.  I have an undergraduate degree in history and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry.   



Visit Eileen's Author Page:


Introducing Victoria Chatham

Victoria is a BWL Author from Alberta 


Being born in Bristol, England, Victoria, Chatham grew up in an area rife with the elegance of Regency architecture. This, along with the novels of Georgette Heyer, engendered in her an abiding interest in the period with its style and manners and is one where she feels most at home.

Apart from her writing, Victoria is an avid reader of anything that catches her interest, but especially Regency romance. She also teaches introductory creative writing. Her love of horses gets her away from her computer to volunteer at Spruce Meadows, a world class equestrian centre near Calgary, Alberta, where she currently lives.   



Visit Victoria's author page

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