Friday, August 7, 2015

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night by Tia Dani

                                                          Call Down the Darkness

"Hey, Tia. We need to get back on track. We missed our July blog at Inside Book We Love."
"Oh, dear." Tia frowned. "I remember writing something about our dads."
Dani nodded: "Yes, that was for Father's Day."
"Oh-oh." Tia glanced at her blank monitor. "I think we're really behind."
"Ya, think?" Dani said in her usual snarky tone that generally sent Tia off into a peal of laughter.
(Laughter echoed around Tia's office for several minutes.)
"Seriously, Dani. We really need to come up with a blog topic."
"Definitely. Okay, let's do it. And here's a vow we can take." Dani held up her hand. "We, Tia Dani, are committed to blog faithfully, whether it be raining, sleeting, snowing—"

"Wait! Wait..." Tia turned to look at her. "We live in Arizona and its August. I doubt we'll have to deal with sleet or snow. Actually, I'd love some rain, but really, when have we had to battle with the elements instead of writing?"

Dani let out a long sigh. "I don't care then. What do you want our vow to be?"
"Hmm...Okay. How about this? We commit faithfully to blog regularly whether there are persnickety Internet problems—"

"Persnickety?" Dani laughed. "Now that's a word one doesn't hear every day."

"Hush, now. I'm thinking." Tia drummed her fingers next to her keyboard. "Besides, I like has character. So, don't interrupt me. I've got more to add to this vow."

Dani waved her hand. "Add away, dear Tia."

Tia began to type furiously. "Whether there be persnickety Internet problems, cranky computers and—"

Brrrring, brringgg

Dani jumped up. "Hold that thought. Gotta answer my phone. Hello?"

Oh, great. Tia thought. This will take a while. Every time I get a great idea, her phone has to ring. "I'm going to the bathroom."

(Ten minutes later Tia is rummaging through her cupboard for something to snack on.)
Entering the kitchen, Dani shoved the phone into her back pocket. "So, what were we saying?"

"I forgot. Here, you want some potato chips?" Tia tossed a freshly opened bag onto the kitchen counter. "I'm hungry."

"Of course. You have to ask?" Dani dipped her hand into the bag and pulled a handful of chips. "You know...I had an idea for a story last night. You want to hear about it?"
"Sure." Tia scooted out one of the bar stools and hopped onto it.
Dani grabbed the other stool. "It's another paranormal. But nothing like we normally write?"
"Really?" Tia looked at her with eyebrows raised. "Since when have we ever done anything normal?"

"That's true. Every story we come up with has a tendency to take on its own life." Dani reached for another round of chips. "Anyway, here's the idea. Three women own a book store and the hero comes in as an author, who's researching werewolf stories."

"Why?" Tia munched several chips at once.

"Why what?"

"Why three women? Which one of them is going to be the heroine?"

"I don't care." Dani brushed potato chip crumbs from the front of her black T-shirt. "Besides, what does it matter who's to be the heroine? I'm just telling you my idea for a story. We can iron out the fine details later."

Tia shook her head. "I don't know. What about the hero? Why did he come to that particular book store? You know the rule. In romantic fiction, coincidences aren't supposed to just happen."

"Tia!" Another long drawn out sigh followed Dani's exclamation. "Turn off that analytical brain of yours and just listen to me. I'm telling you my idea, not the whole bloody story."

"bloody…oooh…that's right. How awesome. A bloody werewolf story. I like that.…there's three women and one man, right?"

"Right. We start out with this spooky prologue. Up at the lake. A dark night."

"Which lake?" Tia stopped munching and looked at Dani curiously. "Where's the story supposed to take place?"

"Who cares, right now? Anyway, there's a full moon—"

"I hate to say this, but if there's a full moon, it won't be a dark night."

"Fine. Then it was a dark and stormy night."

(Both break out laughing.)

"I like the full moon idea, Dani. We'll stick with that."

Dani shifted on the bar stool. "Are you ready to listen now? It's a really great idea."

"Fire away."

"Here goes. Back to wherever we were."

"It was a dark and—"

"Forget that. We're back at the lake and the moon was full."

Tia suddenly laughed and potato chips flew everywhere. "Sounds like a song. Stagger Lee, right?"

"Right...but I believe the moon was yellow."

In typical fashion, Tia cleared her throat and started singing. "The night was clear, and the moon was yellow..."

Together they finished the last line. "And the leaves came tumblin' down..."

(This time they both broke out in hysterical laughter.)

Tia fanned her face and took a deep breath. "I almost inhaled a chip after that one."

(Five minute break here while they drink iced tea and talk about nothing in particular.)

Dani suddenly remembers why she was there for the day. "Let's return to my story."

"Right. So what else happens?"

"It's a werewolf story, but comes with a catch."

"Oooooookay?" Tia gave her friend a doubtful look, thinking there were all kinds of "catches", but knew she had to hear Dani out. In other words...KEEP HER MOUTH SHUT!

"And, here's the deal. Our werewolf is really a–"

Woof. Whine…woof...whimper.

"Dang it." Tia hopped off the bar stool. "Why does this always happen when we start to roll on something? Now, the double D's have to go outside." (The double D's are Tia's two Dachshund pups. Diva and Darcy.)

"No problem. I'll tell you the rest of the story while we're outdoors with them."

Fifteen minutes later—after both puppies who "really" had to go, and then greet their favorite mailman with a thousand doggie licks, Tia and Dani are back in the office in front of the computer.

"You know, Dani. Your idea has a great premise. I think we should run with it. I'm going to put the major plot points down." She looked at her computer screen. "Omigosh! I forgot we were doing this earlier."

Dani groaned. "Oh shoot! That's right. We were going to come up with something for a blog."

Tia flexed her fingers over her keyboard and grinned. "Don't worry. I think I have just the title for it."

And, this is really a glimpse at how we work together. You don't have to worry, we won't write a story with the title, It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. However, we do have a new book just released from Books We Love. Call Down the Darkness   It has Apache legends, past life regressions, a evil shape-shifter, and some passionate romance.
To find out more about the writing team Tia Dani and our books visit us at:

Tia Dani is the writing team made up of good friends, Christine Eaton Jones and Beverly Petrone. Together they create endearing and realistic characters, humorous dialogue, and unusual settings.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I am SO over this Jamie Hill

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 Where I live, the heartland of the USA, we see all four seasons. Autumn, or as we generally call it, Fall, is my favorite. One hundred-degree Fahrenheit temps of the summer begin to cool off and welcome fifty-degree evenings bring sweaters and football season. The flowers that I watered all summer, trying to keep them alive, finally flourish with cooler air until they eventually freeze and die off. Pastels and 'welcome' gnomes are replaced by pumpkins that will see us through to December.

Winter is a wonderful time of year with the holidays and crisp, cold air. Snow is beautiful as long as I don't have to drive in it, and even better now that we've hired some nice young men to come and clear it away for us. We also get our share of ice, and a few years ago purchased a whole house generator so we won't be left without power. The kicker--a generator will run everything except computers, which don't like 'dirty power'. Oh, the horror. Hope I never have to put that trial to the test.

Just when I think I can't stand one more day of freezing cold temps, spring arrives. The thermometer soars to the mid-fifties and people everywhere change into shorts and tank tops. (The same weather that brought out the sweatshirts in the fall.) But spring is welcome and winter coats stored away for another season.

Before the calendar even sees June, the heat begins. There's usually a solid week between turning off the furnace and turning on the air conditioner. Especially this year, when I turned on my attic fan for the first (and only) time and a bat flew into my bedroom. I was shocked and he was even more so. Fortunately, he was either stunned or just slow, because I was able to catch him in a big butter tub and release him outside, probably just to return to my attic that night. By the way, we're still looking for a handyman to fix the mesh in our attic which apparently let the bat get in. (I'm sure there was just the one.)

That was the beginning of my summer fun. Then there was the fall my husband took outside, resulting in a torn rotator cuff and an arm he hasn't been able to use all summer. (Surgery forthcoming, when he is cleared for it.)

So we're battening down the hatches, closing down the deck and other summer details in anticipation of his being in a sling for twelve weeks. I'm actually cool with it, It's easier to hunker down in front of my computer when I'm not feeling guilty that there are things I should be doing outside. 

I am SO over this summer, ready for cooler weather and football season. And Netflix with the window open.

Find all my titles at Books We Love:

and find the links and blurbs and other good stuff here:  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Stuff Like Toilet Tissue by Katherine Pym


As a writer of historical fiction, I come across moments of, ‘When was this invented?’ And ‘Can I use this?’ There are certain things we take for granted, and while writing, it’s hard not to incorporate a few things we use every day.

Safety Pin

How hard would it be for an enterprising individual to come up with a safety pin? After all, since the days of early mankind, people secured their fabric or skin clothing with a tool of some sort.  In Egypt, pins were made of bronze with decorative heads, but they could still prick you. Fibulas and brooches date back to the Mycenaean era, which were closer to the safety pin, but close doesn’t mean you win the Kewpie Doll. Needles were also used from the dawn of time, and in London the Worshipful Company of Needlemakers had the power to seize your needles if they did not have their stamp of approval.

Apparently, the safety pin was a brain twister, for the first one came late in man’s existence, in the year 1825. The inventor was Walter Hunt (USA).
Toilet Tissue
The 19th century seemed to have been an awakening of sorts, for along with the safety pin, several items were invented during that time frame we take for granted. In 1857 toilet tissue was invented by Joseph Gayetty. He used hemp paper as a prevention of the ‘piles’, and charged 50¢ for a packet of 500 sheets.

But when reading a novel, one doesn’t often come across the hero or heroine going to the bathroom and using, what? on the backside. I have read of a protagonist in a time slip novel, though, going into the past where there isn’t much to keep the teeth clean. Authors of these tomes don’t often mention a gentleman and his lady kissing / clanking their fuzzy teeth. 

The toothbrush was invented a bit earlier than the 19th century by a fellow in Newgate prison with not much to do during the day. He must have been fairly cash fluid though when he asked a prison guard to procure some items for him. This was in 1770. William Addis (UK) found cleaning his teeth with an old rag unpleasant and not very thorough. He bored little holes in a discarded meat bone, “tied them [hard bristles] into tufts, put glue on the ends, and wedged them into the holes...” Upon his release from prison, Mr Addis manufactured his invention and became an overnight success.

If I wrote in this era, I’d have to find out when Mr Addis started his venture, and when did the toothbrushes go on sale. One simply mustn’t write of something like this prior to the time it actually happened. Tsk tsk.

Back to the 19th century of ingenious people.

On the near subject of toothbrushes, in 1892 another person from the USA invented the toothpaste tube, thinking to stick your toothbrush into a jar of tooth cream that everyone under your roof used was unhygienic. Dr Sheffield was a dentist. My source does not say if the collapsible tube was made of lead or not.

Whitcomb Judson
One item I’ve always wanted to know about was the zipper. Now, the trouser fly (buttons) was incorporated quite a bit earlier by someone in Asia Minor so that he could gain entry quicker. To replace buttons with the zipper would make the entry gain quite speedy. Another intrepid American, Mr Whitcomb Judson, invented this in 1893 when shoes and boots were fastened with buttons.

Here you are in a hurry and you can’t find the button hooker-fastener thing. Then, when you do find it, minutes tick by as you fasten one tiny button after the other all the way up to the top of your shoe or boot.

Mr Judson invented “2 thin metal chains that could be fastened together by pulling a slider up between them. He patented this clasp locker or unlocker for shoes”. Judson was also the founder of the “Automatic Hook and Eye Company”. Along with his partner, they wanted to do away with all things fastened by buttons. Of course, these new zippers were primitive. It took a few more years to make them what we see today in men’s trousers and women’s skirts, along with shoes and purses, you name it, if it can be fastened by a zipper it is.

Quill & Inkpot
Other items an author of historical novels must be careful about are the writing implements your hero or heroine use. Prior to 1662 Pencils comprised of a graphite stick, wrapped with string to keep your fingers clean. After this date, pencils were mass produced in Nuremberg Germany. Quills were used almost exclusively for quite literally years and years.

The 19th century had a lot of ups and downs with writing utensils. After several failed attempts by other gentlemen, the metal nib did not grasp the populace until somewhere in the first half of the 19th century (John Mitchell in the UK). The fountain pen was invented about the same time as the metal nib, but this didn’t take hold until 1884 by an American named Lewis Waterman.  By 1885, Waterman had produced 200 man-made pens. 
Fountain Pen

Then, and finally, the pencil with an eraser. In 1858 this was invented by Hyman Lipman (USA). Until Mr Lipman’s invention, you had to carry an eraser along with your pencil (cumbersome!). He merely glued a bit of eraser to the top of the pencil, and voila, a new invention was born.

Many thanks to:
The People’s Almanac by David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace, Doubleday & Co., Inc., New York 1975
All pictures come from Wikicommons, Public Domain

         Jasper's Lament

Sunday, August 2, 2015


I write historical romance, so this experience was very relevant for me.

My husband and I have just returned from a short stay at a place called Halls Gap in the Grampians, which is a climber’s paradise. Steep rocky cliffs overhanging thickly treed valleys. Mile upon mile of brooding bushland, silent except for the occasional bird call. One could easily get lost here, and perhaps, as happened in the pioneering days, you would never be seen again. It still looks like an untamed wilderness even now, except for a couple of small hamlets. I could almost visualise the pioneers hacking their way through the heavily treed countryside. The terrain was steep and unforgiving. In some places a fall meant death.

I have to confess, we stayed in a cabin, which you could barely discern from the road, it blended into the background so well. It had all the modern conveniences EXCEPT the heating was an enormous open fire. Hubby and I looked at each other, who was going to light the fire? Thank goodness there was a basket of kindling and a pile of neatly stacked logs. Wielding an axe was beyond us, our pioneering blood was just too diluted.

I am very proud of the fact that I lit the fire at my first attempt. I wondered if I might not have been a boy scout in a previous life, or perhaps my pioneering blood wasn’t quite as diluted as I had thought.

It was truly an amazing feeling toasting our toes in front of this roaring fire, watching the logs burn, and smelling the wood smoke. It brought back a lot of childhood memories of staying with my grandmother and various aunts in the country. They not only had open fires for warmth but they also had wood stoves for cooking. And boy, could these women ever cook.

I actually felt quite close to my heroines while I stared into the orange flames, most of them had to conquer the wilderness with the hero.

In my novel, Fiery Possession, published by Books We Love, my heroine, Josephine (Jo) Saunders was an American who braved the wilderness to help her brother, and immediately clashes with the hero. It is selling for 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and in most places that sell e-books.

American Wild West versus Australian Frontier.
Hate, lust and murder. How can Jo and Luke overcome these obstacles and allow love to flourish?

Margaret Tanner writes action packed romances set in frontier Australia.





Brides of Banff Springs by Victoria Chatham

AVAILABLE HERE   VICTORIA CHATHAM is a young-at-heart senior who has written short stories, newspaper and magazine articles on a...