Thursday, November 16, 2023

The dog has it, by J.C. Kavanagh


Book 1 of the Award-winning series, The Twisted Climb

When your dog groomer asks permission to 'get creative' with your Airedale Terrier's unruly fur, do you say yes, or no?

My daughter's family dog, Zeus, is a lovable, three-year-old gentle giant. He has lots of curly, non-shedding fur that grows like yeast in heat. So when the groomer asked permission to be creative with Zeus' 'trim,' and also that the end-result photo be included in an international dog groomers' competition, my daughter said yes.

Here's Zeus, pre-trim.

Hours and many treats later, here he is, groomer-trimmed, in glorious cowboy fashion. 

And yes, the groomer received the highest international grooming honour in more than 20 years of business!

While there's no mention of a dog in my Twisted Climb trilogy, the storyline in the final book, A Bright Darkness, includes a mythical underwater monster (Mishibeshu - controls the Un-World), a spirit eagle (Thunderbird - controls the upper world), a beaver, and a muskrat. What do they have in common? Well, you'll have to check it out for yourself, and discover why A Bright Darkness has 5-Star ratings. 

Stay safe everyone!

J.C. Kavanagh, author of
The Twisted Climb - A Bright Darkness (Book 3), finalist in the 2022 Critters Readers' Poll,
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
Voted Best Local Author, Simcoe County, Ontario, 2021
Novels for teens, young adults and adults young at heart
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)
Instagram @authorjckavanagh

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Last Day to Enter our BWL Contest




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Sunday, November 12, 2023

California Dreamin'


                                             Please click this link for book and author information

Calgary's first snowfall of the season has got me dreaming about my holiday in California this September. The main purpose for the trip was to attend Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in San Diego. My husband Will (an avid mystery reader) and I spent four interesting days attending panels and events like Speed Dating for Writers and Readers and the New Author Breakfast. Both were more fun than I'd expected and popular enough to fill the large rooms by 7:00 am. When we weren't occupied with the convention, we enjoyed the views from our hotel in the San Diego Marina. 

At night we watched airplanes fly over the farther buildings to land at the airport 

After the convention, we stayed an extra day in San Diego to see a little more of the city. We walked along the boardwalk and took the short ferry ride to Coronado Island, an upscale vacation beach community. The highlight was a concert in the park featuring a great cover band. Hundreds of people gathered. Since we didn't have chairs, we stood at the front and danced to songs like "Witchy Woman" and "One of These Nights" made famous by the Eagles.     

Marina boardwalk "Kissing Statue" designed from the iconic Life Magazine 1945 photograph

From San Diego, we drove to Julian, a "hippie" town located in the apple-growing hills east of the city. In addition to exploring the quirky, historic former gold mining town, we gorged on apple pie - arguably the best I've ever had. A half dozen bakeries produce pies for tourists, many of them day-trippers from San Diego. 

Picnic lunch near Julian


Julian main street

       We included a drive to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, but it was way too hot for a long hike. 

We wrapped up our California holiday with four nights in Oceanside for beach time, a coastal hike, and watching surfers. On the way we stopped at a winery with sweeping views. 

    Sunshine, warmth, ocean, books, wine, apple pie -- pretty much a perfect trip!  


Friday, November 10, 2023

Random Acts of Kindness - Barbara Baker


It happened while I was camping at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Alberta. Tucked away in Kananaskis Country, the park’s wilderness area only has cellphone reception at the secluded Park’s Visitor Centre. To log into their WiFi when the office is closed, you need to stand at the entrance door, stick your tongue out the side of your mouth and hold your phone in the air. Chances of a strong signal are better when few people are around.


I know, I’m in the wilderness - why do I need reception? Well, with an elderly dad, I check in every evening to make sure he’s okay.

Before supper, I drive down to the visitor centre. The parking lot is empty. Great. I’ll be able to send and receive the text and get back to the campsite in record time.

Leaning against the locked door, I see three bars on my phone. Perfect. I send my text, wait a few minutes, receive the message … all is well. I tuck my phone in my pocket and walk back to my car. Just as I reach the edge of the sidewalk a noisy, rusty car screeches to a stop in front of me. I glance around. Where the heck did they come from? And why so fast?

The front passenger window rolls down and a gal with piercings in her lip and nostril shouts, “Get in the car.”

I check around. No one. Anywhere. I bend down to talk to her but keep my distance from the open window. The driver (maybe the mom) waves a cigarette in one hand while the other hand wrestles to grab the collar of a barking, giant mutt who’s trying to jump into the front seats.

“Seriously, get in the car,” the gal with the piercings shouts again.

I shake my head slowly. I’m not rude but I’m also not the kind of person to jump into a stranger's car just because they tell me to. The driver yells at the dog to sit. The dog sits but continues to bark.

“There’s a bear.” The gal points towards my car. “He’s big.”


My eyes follow her pointing finger. Sure enough, a bear walks by my car and towards us. To hell with caution, I grab the back passenger door handle and ask, “Will he bite?”

“Of course not.” Her arm pushes the dog over.

I get into the backseat, close the door and press against it. The dog stops barking and stares at me. Would being chased by a bear be less intimidating? The dog leans over. And licks my cheek. Okay, that is better than dealing with a bear. 

The driver points out the window and says, “Is that your car?”

“Yup.” It sure didn’t seem that far away when I parked it.

Their car moves towards mine while we watch the bear watch us. As we get closer it saunters towards the edge of the pavement. The driver parks so my exit door is beside my driver door. I pull out my fob, unlock the door and glance at the bear.

“Thank you so much.” I pat their shoulders and give the dog a good scratch. “You saved my ass.”

“Okay. He’s moving away,” the driver says. “Go.”

I open the door, careful not to scratch my car, and take a big breath. One. Two. Three. I shut their door (a bit too hard), take the two steps to mine, jump in and slam my door (equally hard). The bear looks up and tips his head side to side.

The gal with the piercings rolls down her window, smiles and waves. I wave back and they drive away.

I look up through my car’s sunroof and whisper, “Thank you.”

You can contact me at:

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

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


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Coffee or Tea? I Drink Disappointment and Nanowrimo by Vanessa C. Hawkins



 Vanessa Hawkins Author Page


Picture this: a group of passionate writers, fueled by caffeine and a slightly concerning amount of determination, gathered in a room like a coven of literary wizards.

I can't...

Okay... well, that's fair. It's Nanowrimo month after all, but let me tell you, there's a lot more magic involved in writing than you might think. Our wands are laptops! Our potions are bottomless mugs of coffee!

But can we talk about muses for a second? You know, those elusive creatures writers chase like Pokémon, hoping for a spark of divine inspiration. Some days, your muse is a relentless chatterbox, bombarding you with ideas at 3 AM when you're halfway between dreamland and your pillow, and other times its a silent fart, stagnating and dreadful and stanky. No one knows you're stewing in lack of ideas, but they can smell it all the same.

Luckily that hasn't been me. October was filled with plenty of workshops (some that I conducted for cold hard CASH!) radio interviews, book fairs and markets. I've chosen to ignore Nanowrimo this year, only because I really just don't want to do it. If you don't know what Nano is (us pros call it nano because we can't be effed to say all the letters despite the fact we are scribes) It's a monthly writer thing in November where you're supposed to write 50k words.

If you do it, good for you! It's hard. If you don't... well, I don't blame you. Most of the time I go in strong, but end up sitting in a lack of smelly and silent inspiration by the end of it. It is good for getting words out on paper though, and some people thrive on deadlines. I, however, like to procrastinate...

What about you? Do you do nano? Do you know what nano is? What's your choice of beverage when working? Coffee? Tea? ... ... ...Water?

Does anyone still drink water these days? When its not mixed with beans... sugar and cream? If so well then good for you! I bet you probably think you're better than me, huh?

100 percent.

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