Saturday, July 22, 2017

Stillwaters Run Deep, Book One: Raven's Lament

Stillwater's Run Deep 
Book One
Raven's Lament

Frank Talaber, The Writer:
Mad muse inside keeps my pencil writing. Yes, I still actually use a pencil to write down story ideas first before using the laptop. Currently living in Chilliwack, BC. I usually write urban fantasy, crime, mystery, science fiction and romance (the really hot stuff, see my novel Shuttered Seduction). but enough of me, on to the novel.

Raven's Lament, The Novel:
A Canadian tale of When Harry Met Sally mashed into the West Coasts version of the Karate Kid.
Dumped by his fiancée because he wasn’t man enough for her, Brook Grant goes off to the ends of Canada’s west coast to investigate the strange story of a rare golden spruce tree cut down in protest of logging.
            Seeking solace and understanding for his torn heart he instead finds a centuries old native legend come to life. Along with a god that shouldn’t exist, except in totems and old myths.
            Ever read about damning Shakespearean love, the kind that with one glance tears your breath away and turns your soul inside out, knowing you’ve found your one? Well to experience it is another matter. Being an educated journalist and reporter Brook struggles with his belief systems after he meets Chelen Davidshaw.
            Only to have her taken away by said native god, Raven, yes the shape-shifting, always hungry Raven. A being that reportedly has the power to change the world back to the way it once was and has lost the one thing that keeps him from aging, his immortal stone. A stone that Brook has found.
            So now Brook has to not only believe in himself, but to challenge everything he has been taught to be the truth and rescue Chelen.
            Fortunately he does have Chelen’s uncle to help him. A partly psycho Shaman, Charlie Stillwaters, who talks to Sasquatch, spirits and little animals like we converse with our in laws.

            It’s kinda like taking six boy scouts to lead the assault on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Oh yeah, this is going to go well. 

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Newest Titles Coming from Books We Love

These pre-orders include several sequels and series updates to your favorites, including Book 6, in teh Canadian Historical Brides series (Saskatchewan) Field of Gold Beneath Prairie Skies.
 Pre-Order Now
         July 30, 2017      August 15, 2017      August 15, 2017   
   September 12, 2017  September 19, 2017  September 19, 2017    

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Camping Trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan

Dangerous Sanctuary by J.Q. Rose
Pastor Christine Hobbs never imagined she would be caring 
for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.
Hello and welcome to the Books We Love Insiders Blog!

The middle of summer and the prime time for travel is here. Today I'm taking you on a Road Trip to my most favorite place in the world--Mackinac Island, Michigan. Once the center of fur trade and now a top tourist destination due to the natural beauty and unique atmosphere of the area.
The small red star at the top of the map of the USA marks the place where Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes. (Can you name all five lakes?) Answer is below.

Our entire family spent a few days in upper Michigan. We camped at the Tee Pee Campground in Mackinaw City, Michigan. (I loved the name of the bath house--WeeWee TeePee) Weather was perfect, but then again, I have visited Mackinac Island several times and the weather has always been perfect.
You probably noticed the two spellings of the city and the island are different, but both are pronounced Mackin AW--the ac is a French spelling I believe.

 We boarded the ferry filled with tourists to cross the Straits to the island in about thirteen minutes on the catamaran beauty. We took the early morning Star Line cruise because they make a detour to sail visitors under the Mackinac bridge, a five mile long bridge connecting the lower peninsula of Michigan to the upper peninsula.
 The  bridge was constructed in 1954 and completed in 1957. It has certainly changed the economics of the area for the good.
The underside of the bridge is a work of art as well as of engineering.  How strong this must be to hold all the traffic going along it. On windy days, the bridge will close to traffic. I'm glad we camped on the south side so we didn't have to drive our camper across this monstrosity.

The first glimpse of the elegant Grand Hotel from the ferry always makes my heart quicken with the excitement of knowing we are close to this magical place. If you saw the movie, Somewhere in Time, you saw this famous landmark. The movie was filmed here with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour as the main characters. So romantic.

Arch rock is another famous landmark about a mile's ride from the commercial area. Oh yes, I forgot to mention there are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island (except emergency vehicles like a fire truck.) So we rode our bikes around the eight mile perimeter of the lovely island. Enjoyed taking our time to see amazing views of water and skies and wild flowers.

These draft horses are huge! They have to be strong to haul 24 passengers in their specially built Jayco carriages (drays?) Yes, Jayco is a well-known name in the camper industry. When you set foot on the island, there is no gasoline smell from motorized vehicles, but a distinct odor of horses. 

The front entrance to the Grand Hotel.  I wish we had more time to tour the hotel, but with young boys and a five year old granddaughter, it's probably best not to get too close to the elegant surroundings.
Dollhouse looking homes and B n B's in the Victorian style add to the charm of the island.
We visited the old fort on the hill. 
These costumed folks explained about the way of life and the history of this beloved area.
And of course, they fired canons and rifles to the delight of the crowd.

I wish my photos could do justice to the landscapes and sea surrounding the island. Breathtaking. We are standing in the old fort looking out over Father Marquette park. 
Sunset over Lake Huron

Hope you enjoyed the tour. If you ever get a chance to go to Mackinac Island, do it! And take me with you to my most favorite place on earth.

Click here for more information about Mackinac Island.

What is your favorite place to visit? Please leave a comment below.

Can you name the five Great Lakes?
Answer--Remember the names of the five Great Lakes by spelling H.O.M.E.S.--Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sizzling Sofa Stories by Stuart R. West's Sofa

Click here for the first book created on my fine upholstery.
I am Stuart's sofa.

I'm the couch hub of the Midwest, the loveseat heart of suburban Kansas. An upholstery covered melting pot suitable for every race, color, creed, and religious bottom of humanity. There are eight million stories to be told from my cushions and this is one of them. For you see...

Wait. Hold on a minute. It's a lie. All of it!

My life is boring. I get to service Stuart's rear-end only. Day in and day out, he sits on me, writing. Sure, some times his wife parks on me, but as far as variety? Forget about it.

Frankly, watching someone write is really, really boring.

On occasion, though, I'm privy to the insights of the writing process. For instance, Stuart's frequently asked "where do you get your ideas?" Usually--as is his lame and lazy approach--he responds "I don't know." (See what I mean? BORING.)
This hammock thinks it has it bad? Try being me, Stuart's suffering sofa!
But last week, something interesting finally happened. While wearing me down (and would it hurt Stuart to sit on my other side on occasion?), Stuart received a text on his phone.

It read: Hey! It's Theresa! I'm using Tim's phone because I lost mine! See you in a bit! DON'T text back on this phone!

This set Stuart to thinking, never a good idea. He didn't know a Tim or Theresa. He couldn't very well text back, either, tell Theresa she had a wrong number. After all, she'd strictly forbidden him to do so.

Weened on thrillers and mysteries, Stuart started pulling pieces together. Clearly, Theresa was cheating on Tim. The heart emojis sealed the deal. Should Stuart warn Tim? Write back anyway and let Theresa know she had the wrong number?

What did Stuart, the man of inaction, the writer do? Nothing. Altogether now: BORING.

Several hours later, Theresa texted back: Thinking bout you. Had a great time.

Again, Stuart didn't respond. Through-out the day, Theresa kept texting, her anxiety ramping up with each missive: Helloooo? What's wrong? Why aren't you responding? Dammit, talk to me!

Finally, Theresa's final message: That's it. I'm talking to Tim. Even more troublesome? Theresa attached a photo of a baby in a car seat.

Like a Hitchcockian protagonist from days of old, Stuart had unwittingly become an unwilling, silent partner in an affair, the fourth member of a sordid situation that would undoubtedly end in murrrderrrr.

Yes sir, it was the most excitement I'd had since I was a wee settee at the sofa factory.

Stuart deliberated, didn't have a clue as to what to do. In his typically inert fashion, he decided to fashion the incident into a thriller to be written at a later date. The seed of an idea had been planted and his mind began to water it.

So...that's where one of Stuart's book ideas came from.

Wait! Here he comes! Gotta' run. I'll talk to--Oooff!
Another comedic thriller I helped birth, yet never get any credit for!

Stuart R. West's Books We Love Author's Page:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Happy Summer Everyone! by Nancy M Bell

Laurel's Quest, Book 1 in The Cornwall Adventures click here for more details.

A trip to England sounds like a grand adventure, but Laurel Rowan can’t escape from her true reality. Her mother is terminally ill, and her father needs her to go so he can spend his time at the hospital. On a train to Penzance, Laurel meets a new friend, Coll. On the property of her host, she stumbles upon a magical spring. There she meets the White Lady, who offers her a chance at gaining her heart’s true desire, if only she can solve a riddle.
Pursuing her quest amidst the magic of the Cornish countryside, she is aided by Coll and her new friends Gort and Aisling. They are also helped by creatures of legend and myth, Vear Du, the Selkie, Gwin Scawen, the Cornish Piskie, Belerion the fire salamander, Morgawr the flying sea serpent who does Vear Du a favour, and Cormoran, the last giant of Cornwall. The friends must battle the odds in the form of bullies and confusing clues. Will they emerge victorious? Will Laurel have the courage to solve the riddle and fulfill her quest?

This is the first novel of mine that was accepted for publication and such holds a special place in my heart. Laurel's Quest is perfect for lying on the beach or in a shady hammock and enjoying her adventures.

I can't believe July is almost over. The summer has gone so fast already. The lilacs are long past, the peonies (they bloom way later here in Alberta than they do in the East) are dropping the last of their petals and the delphiniums are starting to bloom. Another July event I truly enjoy is the poetry day at Stephansson House near Markerville, Alberta. Stephan G Stephansson was an Icelandic immigrant who came to live near the farming community of Markerville. It had, and still does, have strong Icelandic population. He worked hard and did most of his writing at night after a long day in the fields and on the farm. His love of the beauty of nature comes through strongly in his words even when translated into English. I'm sure they are far more beautiful in when read in his native language.

While visiting his home and sharing my poetry with other very accomplished poets,I could almost feel Stephan's presence as the wind whispered through the tall spruce trees. The location is well maintained and the inside of the house is a treasure.

Stephansson House

Although the temperature right now is 26 Celcius, the summer solstice has passed and the days are gradually shrinking back on themselves. In my mind, the solstice or June 21st is not the first day of summer but mid-summer's eve. A time of magic and joy. Also the time when the Holly King of winter begins to win the battles he lost leading up to winter solstice when the Oak King became ascendant. The mighty battle of light and dark on which all our hero tales are based are balanced by the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.

Even though it is hard to imagine it on a hot sunny day such as today. Before we know it the bright flags of autumn will be flying, geese will be on the wing, and the cool breath of winter blowing on our cheek.

There is beauty in every season and I can never decide which is my favourite. Usually I lean toward whichever season I happen to be experiencing. Although I must say I do like the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn in particular. I think it's the change, the feeling of a foot in two seasons at once, partly winter and partly summer.

Till next month, stay well, stay happy, and keep reading.

You can see what I'm up to at my website.

I can also be found on the first of every month at the Canadian Historical Brides Blog. Please come by and say hi.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Series and How They Began

Murder and Mint Tea (Mrs. Miller Mysteries)

Murder and Mint Tea started the mystery series featuring Katherine Miller, retired nurse and retired church organist. Though she doesn't wait a third career, bodies seem to find her. This began as a short story that was rejected with this comment "This sounds like the synopsis for a novel." I then had to learn how to write novels. For a number of years the short story and the letter sat in my file cabinet gathering dust. Then I found the story and soon had the story broken down to an outline for a book. The book sold well, even had a version on tape. Because of this, I set out to write a second and a third. I'm now working on the sixth to be released when it's done. Murder and Sweet Tea.

The second series I'll talk about is a four book YA written under J. L. Walters. This was a bit different for the start. I tell myself stories as I'm falling asleep. The written plan for the book came to over 100 pages so I knew I had to write what I thought was a trilogy, except it turned into four books. The story followed the coming of age of two sets of twins from the destruction of their home to the ending of the villain.
Product Details

I do have other series but they're not complete. There is the Moon Child series based on six women who have July birthdays and how they meet the men of their lives. The second is Opposites where the opposite signs of the Zodiac women meet the men of their dreams. There is the Seduction series that is complete.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bears and more bears at Killbear by J.C. Kavanagh

The Twisted Climb - BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers' Poll
Camping is always an adventure. At least it is when I camp. Reserving at a campground called 'Killbear' should be the first indicator of what might be in store during your camping vacation. Not killing bears, of course (though I don't know why they would call it Killbear) - but dealing with bears. Big, medium and small. Bears during the day. And bears bears bears at night.

Don't be spooked. They usually just pass through, unless of course, you have foolishly abandoned your site, leaving a feast-fit-for-a-bear on the table.

And you have ignored this sign:

Notice the white sign with red lettering? Active bear in campground. That means a pesky, stubborn, uncooperative bear is lurking in the bush, just waiting for the novice camper to leave food and coolers unattended. Beware. Bears know how to open coolers. They're smart, you know. And they have hands. Or paws/feet, whatever. They can open things.
The black bears found at Killbear Provincial Park, near Parry Sound, Ontario (Canada), are typically shy and only forage at night when you're sleeping. I don't like to think about the fact that a micro-thin piece of nylon tent separates me from the wandering bear(s).
Bear trap - baited with stale Tim-Bit donuts!
A few years ago at Killbear, we were enjoying some beverages around the campfire when we heard the sound of dishes and cutlery and pots clattering together, as if the large Rubbermaid container they were stored in had tipped over.
Sure enough, the tip-over was genuine as was the large, hulking bear with his snout in the bin. I quickly stood up, careful not to spill my wine, and shouted, "GIT!" (I think "GIT" was hill-billy-speak for "Go on now, get going." The word "GIT" could also be attributed to alcohol consumption as one syllable is much easier to pronounce.)
And so with several glasses of 'brave' under my belt, I continued to scold the bear and walked toward it with my glass of wine held high in the air, as if that was my weapon of choice. The bear turned and scrambled away. Oh, but I was not finished. Taking a big gulp, I charged forward, berating the creature at regular intervals: GIT, GIT, GIT!
Oh, I was bold. The hefty black bear scampered ahead of me, much like a child caught with its hand in the cookie jar and refusing to make eye contact. After stalking it for about 50 metres, I stopped. It was dark and I didn't bring my flashlight. A few glasses of brave will only give you so much brave.
I turned and walked back to the glow of the campfire, curious as to what the bear found so irresistible in the bin.
Family members stood around the bin, each with a flashlight in hand. Items were sorted and there it was. The irresistible culprit. A vanilla-scented candle. Seems the son-in-law thought the candle would be a deterrent for mosquitos. He forgot that vanilla scent is an attraction for bears. And family being family, we've never let him forget it.
I'll be camping at Killbear again this year. In fact, as you're reading this, I'll be bear-proofing my site and wishing I had the walls of a sleek, thick-walled trailer.
But not to worry, I shall have my glass (or two) of brave.

Enjoy life!

J.C. Kavanagh
The Twisted Climb
BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers' Poll
A novel for teens, young adults and adults young at heart
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)

Stillwaters Run Deep, Book One: Raven's Lament

Stillwater's Run Deep  Book One Raven's Lament Frank Talaber, The Writer: Mad muse inside keeps my pencil writing...