Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Snake Oil by Jay Lang



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This suspense novel was challenging as if assembling a large puzzle with the pieces all one color, delving into themes of drugs, abuse, and the loss of innocence.

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But it was also a labor of love as the lead character, a university student, struggled to find her strength, (I love it when the protagonist is faced with adversity and instead of curling up in the fetal position, they choose to stand and fight.) A lot of the rhetoric in this book is displayed in a colloquial way, making the characters more relatable. I love to read a well written book, but if the dialogue is too uniform, too perfect, I have a tough time connecting with the characters.

While writing this novel, I was a university student and had access to all of the on campus sites that are mentioned in my story, adding an authenticity to my claims. I think the hardest part I encountered while writing was the drug parts. I’ve never done drugs so research was necessary. Thankfully, I was able to sus out credible resources online to educate myself. The local police department, a resource I use for info from time to time, were also very useful and provided interesting details about current drugs on the street. It’s amazing how informed one becomes after writing a lot of books. From speaking with law enforcement, forensics, fire investigators, coroners, and psychiatrists, I’ve learned so much on my writing journey.

As for the title, Snake Oil, I’ve always been partial to that name. In fact, I liked it so much that while I was designing clothes for rock musicians, I studded the words in antique studs down the leg of a pair of jeans. In this book, Snake Oil is the name of a designer drug. If you get a chance, pick up a copy of this book and please leave a review, I’d love to know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Dammit. I’m a suspect. by donalee Moulton


I've recently been doing a lot of book readings from Hung Out to Die, my first mystery book, which BWL published a year ago. I thought I'd share the scene where the main character, Riel Brava, finds a dead body -- and finds himself a suspect.


I’m reaching for the hallway switch when I notice a light three doors down. That’s Norm Bedwell’s office. And that’s unusual. Our comptroller is typically among the last to arrive. Only a fresh honey cruller from Tim Hortons has ever changed his timeline.

I’m running to Norm’s office now, tirade at the ready. The only thing that can prevent the outside security system from working, aside from someone hacking into our server, is if the door doesn’t latch firmly behind the entering employee. A loud audible click lets you know the system is armed, and then you can move forward. Employees are trained to wait for the click; if they don’t, an alarm will sound for two minutes, albeit relatively soft as alarms go. But at this time of day, no one is around to hear it.

It must be Norm’s fault, which may mean the system has only been down for minutes if he just arrived. It’s a question I’m tossing at our comptroller even before I’ve stepped inside his office.

Norm doesn’t answer.

He can’t because he’s swinging from a rope tossed over an open beam (the designer’s brilliant idea), a noose tight around his neck. He’s blue, but not as blue as I believe a dead man should look. This poses a dilemma. I need a few moments to assess my options and identify the safest and most effective course of action. However, I am aware I don’t have the luxury of time. I’ve seen enough Law and Order episodes to know if you don’t call the cops immediately, the delay in time will get noticed, and you’re more likely to find yourself on the suspect list.

Dammit. I’m a suspect.

This realization hits at the same time I’m dialing 911. The perky young woman on the other end asks how she can help.

“I’m in the administrative office of the Canadian Cannabis Corp., and my comptroller appears to have hanged himself. He is dangling from a noose and turning blue.”

“Sir, I have radioed for police; they are on their way,” she says, inhaling to continue with her script.

I cut her off. “Look, I know I shouldn’t disturb anything, but Norm may be alive. I’m going to grab his legs, so the noose doesn’t cut into his windpipe.”

Great, now she knows I understand how hanging kills someone.

It doesn’t matter. I’m going to reduce the pressure around Norm’s neck. His feet are tucked into the crease in my left arm, his testicles on par with my bottom lip. I’m not a small man, 6’2”, and I work out regularly, so I can maintain this, albeit a distasteful posture, for quite some time.

I hear sirens, and it hits me. The police won’t gain access to the building without destroying expensive technology. I explain this to the 911 operator. She is not that interested in the cost of our tech.

“I’m going to get someone to open the gate for the police,” I tell her. “That means I’ll have to hang up. I’m on the third floor of the admin building, inside the only office with a light on. My name is Riel Brava. I’m the CEO.”

Monday, July 1, 2024

New Releases for BWL Publishing Inc. July 2024

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New Releases July 2024



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BWL Publishing Inc. new releases July 2024


Ranger Grace Watanabe discovers fellow Ranger Erik (Red) Petersen’s dead body tangled in the barbed wire at the Manzanar National Historic Site entrance. The local sheriff’s department quickly decides the death is related to a Mexican cartel who use the nearby highway to smuggle drugs.

Park Service Investigators Doug and Jill Fletcher look for a more obscure motive by focusing on other groups who might be unhappy with the Manzanar site. Finding no obvious suspects or motives, they step back and realize the victim was targeted for an entirely different reason.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

The setting for Sunrise Interrupted by Eden Monroe


Sunrise Interrupted

In the romantic suspense novel, Sunrise Interrupted, the film set for the fictional movie Retribution, co-starring Alexandra Martel (the female lead), is located on Belleisle Bay, New Brunswick, Canada. That’s also where the story’s male lead, Dr. Beau Remington, has his veterinary clinic, at Hatfield Point, also on the Bay.

I chose this setting for the book because of its natural beauty, along with the fact that most of New Brunswick’s Queens County area holds many fond childhood memories for me. Belleisle Bay, a fjord like arm of the Saint John River, is about as pretty as they come.

Now about the river that created the bay. At 673 kilometres, the Saint John River is the largest river in Eastern Canada, and it’s not like it’s is all ours either. It began life in two separate streams, one in the State of Maine, USA, the other in the Canadian province of Quebec, and joined forces to form the eighty-mile international border between the US and Canada (at that point). It’s also the boundary line between the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick, but the latter province is where it really comes to life.

The Saint John River was originally known as Wolastoq meaning “the beautiful and bountiful river”, aptly named by the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) First Nation – the original inhabitants of the Dawnland area, along with the Peskotomuhkati Native American/First Nation, prior to European colonization. It’s still a cultural centre of the Wabanaki Confederacy. “The Wabanaki people are a group of five First Nations that are geographically located in the Eastern North America.” ( However, on June 24, 1604 French explorers Pierre Du Gua, sieur de Monts and Samuel de Champlain found themselves in the area and upon seeing the river, mistakenly assumed they had to give it a name. Since it was the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, they decided it would be fitting to call it Riviere Saint-John or Saint John River. A request was actually filed in 2021 by the Wolastoqiyik to have the traditional name of Wolastoq recognized.

Often called the Rhine of North America, the river is indeed a bountiful waterway in many respects. The Saint John River Valley is lush and fertile, its gently rolling hills home to countless farms and agricultural interests, as well offering some of the most beautiful scenery in the province. Those breathtaking landscapes are certainly befitting Canada’s “Picture Province.”

The river and the people who look to it for an abundant way of life, take time from their labours every year to enjoy seasonal celebrations. There are any number of popular festivals, including, but not limited to: River Jam Fredericton, National French Fry Day, Diner en Blanc (Dinner dressed in white), Rendez-vous des artistes, and the Larlee Creek Hullabaloo.

People on the river know how to have a good time.

But while the locals like to make merry on occasion, the river itself is for the most part pretty laidback, although it does kick up its heels from time to time. Just such an occasion is the surging cataracts at Grand Falls, the largest waterfall east of Niagara Falls with a drop of seventy-five feet. As the river thunders headlong through this deep sheer-faced gorge it provides a prime source of hydroelectric power, the mighty roar of white water properly harnessed for our benefit. (There are three hydropower dams on the river with Mactaquac being the largest hydroelectric generating station in the Maritimes.) And then, somewhat spent it seems from its uncharacteristic show of vigour, the Saint John River relaxes into tranquility once again as it continues eastward, widening as it meanders along.

It’s during this journey to the Atlantic Ocean that it gives us Belleisle Bay. Still with a trick or two up its sleeve, at this point it acts like a glacial valley lake cradled by the St. Croix Highlands of the Appalachian Range that serves as its backdrop. Recreational fishers love this little bay where a days angling could offer up a whole host of goodies -- everything from pumpkin seed sunfish to southern channel catfish, the latter being “a very rare catch in Canada.”



A small portion of Belleisle Bay at Hatfield Point


Stately riverboats once plied these sparkling waters, and the last of the old riverboat hotels is still in operation a little further along at the village of Evandale on Belleisle Bay, known today as the Evandale Resort & Marina.

Onward the Saint John River flows on its way to the sea where it finally empties itself in the world-famous Bay of Fundy – that is unless it encounters a coastal high tide. Then you can literally watch the powerful Atlantic Ocean push this 673 kilometre river backwards to create the phenomenon called the Reversing Falls as it reverses against the prevailing current. Then, until slack tide six hours later, salt water flows upriver an amazing thirty-six kiilometres, under a covering of fresh water to Oak Point. There, having reached the limit of saltwater infiltration, the show is basically over and the river is … well, just a river again. Back down toward the coast, when the tide recedes, the river goes about its original business of outward flow into the ocean. Mission accomplished.

That’s a nutshell look at the Saint John River, and when the movie producers were scouting for a suitable location for Retribution, they chose well. Who better to play such a genial host than this celebrated river.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Journey to the Queen of the Fairies

A long-time Canadian friend is a shamanic practitioner. She lives with her husband in a tiny house way up the valley of the Ottawa and therefore uses zoom to expand her reach to interested folks. She is learned in the Irish Celtic traditions. The mythology of Ancient Ireland is foreign to me, but she is deep into the stories and characters, which are, about as far away from the European schoolroom- familiar Classical tradition as you can be. 

The Irish origin story was long thought to be little but another product of the famed Irish imagination. That is, until recently. DNA studies have suggested that the traditional tale of an epic journey to a far off island by a tribe of cattle herders is a true one. 

These cattle loving, builders of stone monuments arrived during the Neolithic. Later, the Romans were unable to colonize Ireland--they had enough on their hands with the British, Scots and Welsh!  After the Romans, the earliest Christian monks were sufficiently open-minded to commit some of this ancient oral tradition to manuscript, which is why we have some of these stories today. 

These tell of gods, goddesses, heroes and queens plus a truly outstanding array of monsters and supernatural beings. They have come down to us in a way that the gods of the various ancient Britannic people have not. Much of the Irish story is certainly lost and much is probably garbled by the monkish recorders, but it is fascinating to me how long what is basically a tribal history can be remembered, if it is not intentionally erased by some colonizing power.  

My friend is an expert hand drummer. She also teaches yoga and conducts trance journey sessions, one of which I attended on the night of the Summer Solstice. This is a liminal time, like the other moments of transition from one season to another. 

Long ago, these seasonal changes were marked by observations of the "circling sky," --the rising of certain stars, the moon's path and that of the sun--were of crucial importance, first to hunter/gatherers who followed animal, fish, and bird migrations. When agriculturalists came on the scene, they used the same observations for planting and harvests.

It was wonderful to feel that I was about to be part of a timeless ceremony. Although this one happened to be conducted via the internet, it felt authentic. Needs must! And the only thing that has really changed is human technology, for the human emotional brain remains the same. I was simply grateful to be able to join in.

Effective drumming, (like chanting or ritual dance), puts the listener into a non-ordinary state of mind. You enter a space where imagination leads the way. Learning and expectations naturally play a part, for everyone present had their own unique image of "fairies" and how the Queen of this Wild Court might show herself that night. 

We shared afterward, although this was not required. (Nothing is "required" of participants except participation--focus on the drum, and be present.)  When the drum went quiet, we shared. Everyone, it seemed, had gone by a different path to a very different place. Some of us saw "our" Queen of the Fairies; others got lost on the path. 

When we closed our spritual doors and went our separate ways, I walked outside, to watch the sun's setting. This meant, however, that I was facing east. There to greet me, through a hole in the neighbor's prosaic, overgrown arborvitae hedge, was the full moon, magnified because she was still very low on the horizon. 

I live in a tourist town and there is always noise, lots of traffic, street racers, trucks, lawn mowing and general two stroke engine racket. On this night, there was only a miraculous silence, a kind of ambient hum behind. Only the birds were speaking, twittering, as they settled down in twilight. Bumblebees still dangled from milkweed in my garden. To the west, the sun showed a final full disc of molten gold. Under the old apple tree, four bunnies played, jumping over one another surrounded by clouds of fireflies, sparkling as they floated up on every side.

~~Juliet Waldron 


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