Saturday, August 15, 2015

BWL Red Carpet - Casting Your Characters: Actresses

This month's behind the Cover Artist's Curtain is a special edition.  Today we will be Casting Characters.

This morning, the gentlemen had their turn down the red carpet - now it is the ladies who we will be meeting with.

The first one heading towards us now is Sarah Collins.

Character Name: Sarah Collins
Book(s) Featuring the Character: Sarah's Heart and Sarah's Passion
Author: Ginger Simpson

About Sarah: Sarah is brave, passionate, but she detests people who judge others.  She's a beauty, but doesn't flaunt it, and she loves Wolf like she's loved no other even though he's a half-breed.

Ginger's Casting Pick: "I pick Nicole Kidman because she looks the part and I've seen her in many roles and she so adaptive.  I think she'd make a wonderful Sarah."

Book Blurb:  Sarah Collins set her sights for California and a new beginning, but never imagines a war party's attack on the wagon train she joins. A sole survivor, Sarah must find her way back to civilization, and a man of half-blood happens along at just the right time and becomes her hero...or is the whole scenario only a dream driven by all the romance novels she reads as an editor?

Sarah wakes, her cheeks damp with tears. Like a dust devil in a dying windstorm, all traces of her handsome rescuer vanish with a farewell kiss and the annoying blast of an alarm clock...until he appears at her door as a new neighbor. Will Sarah find a way to win the love she tried so hard to capture in her dream without being declared insane, or will the sexy woman living an apartment away beat Sarah at her own game? 
A Shining Moment for Sarah:  

Stopping at the table where Sarah stood, the woman fingered an array of ribbons.
Sarah smiled at her. “Good morning. I couldn’t help but overhear your mention of an
upcoming social….”

The matron peered down her angular nose. “Yes, it’s a yearly affair, but…” Her cold,
gaze raked over Sarah’s attire. “Surely you aren’t inquiring for yourself. It’s usually only
attended by those able to dress for the occasion.”

Sarah gasped at the woman’s rudeness, but wasn’t about to let it pass. Cocking her head,
hands on her hips, Sarah drew up to her full height. “Oh, then there’s no worry. My mother
taught me to dress myself when I was quite young. She also taught me not to be rude to my
elders, so I’ll overlook the fact that you’re a snobbish old biddy.” Surprised by her own outburst,
Sarah stared at the woman with wide eyes, waiting for a response. None came.

With mouth agape, the older woman huffed out of the store. Sarah went back to perusing
the dresses and heard Clarence chuckling behind the counter. She giggled, too, pleased that she’d
stood up for herself. People who judged others by their appearance deserved the same disrespect.

Next is Emmeline Deveraux.

Character Name: Emmeline Deveraux
Book(s) Featuring the Character: His Dark Enchantress
Author Name: Victoria Chatham

About Emmeline: An intelligent, independent, adventurous young Regency lady who has survived intrigue in the Peninsular Wars. Dislikes the restrictions placed on women by the dictates of the period, especially when it comes to marriage.   

Victoria's Casting Pick: "Rachel Weisz as she most closely resembles my image of Emmaline. She also has starred in some action type roles as in The Mummy and The Bourne Legacy."

BLURB: A London season is the last thing bright, beautiful Emmaline Devereux wants. But her grandfather knows he is dying and insists that she find herself a husband and secure her future. But Emmaline has a past that, if revealed, will undoubtedly bring disgrace on her and those with whom she associates.   
Lucius, Earl of Avondale, has sworn to not marry until he is forty, but fate brings Emmaline to his door. Intrigued by her, Lucius swears to unravel her mystery even if it does mean a marriage of convenience with her to appease her grandfather. But then Emmaline’s past catches up with her and she is abducted. Will Lucius want to find her and will the truth tear them apart or strengthen their love?

A Moment Where Emmeline Shines:

Juliana started, her face as white as her sibling’s for she had now seen what Lucius must have seen. A curricle on the road ahead of them approached at a spanking trot. Her fingers plucked nervously at her brother’s sleeve.
“Lucius, you cannot! This is madness,” she cried.
“I said spring ‘em,” repeated Lucius.
Emmaline could not believe Lucius’ command. Had he gone mad? From her seat on the box she mentally measured the distance between her team and the curricle and swiftly assessed the likely gap between the two vehicles. 
Her decision made, she shouted back at him. 
“You may cripple your cattle if you wish, my Lord. While they are in my charge, I will not.”

And now, we have our next actress - Courtney Cox.

Character Name: Christine Scott
Book(s) Featuring: Pieces of the Past, Time To Kill
Author Name: Jamie Hill

About Christine: Christine is the mom of two whose husband embezzled money and was caught. She and her children are thrust into the Witness Security program and spirited away from Chicago to Topeka, Kansas. Her number one concern is her children, but the US Marshal who is sent to protect them captivates her interest, too.

Jamie's Casting Pick: "Courtney Cox Arquette has the look and personality of Christine. Pretty, sassy, smart."

BLURB: Pieces of the Past, Witness Security, Book 1

The past is closing in on Christine Scott. Uprooted from her pleasant life in Chicago, she and her two children are thrust into the Witness Security Program when the mistakes of her husband catch up with him. He lands in prison, while she and the kids are transplanted to a quiet Kansas town. Christine does her best to keep life normal for her active ten-year-old son and persistently moody seventeen-year old daughter. But when they start receiving gifts from an anonymous sender, reminders of their old life, it becomes obvious that someone has found them.

Doug Jackson’s been in service with the US Marshal’s office for fifteen years. He hasn’t lost a witness yet, and doesn’t intend to start with Christine or her family. If he can get them to cooperate, his job might be easier. Unfortunately, no one seems concerned about making Doug’s life easy. Not the man in the white sedan who eludes him, nor the pretty Christine, thoughts of whom he can’t seem to shake. Their lives depend on Doug keeping his head in the game, and he’s determined to do just that.

“Ms. Hill is one of my favorite authors and I’m reminded of that each time I read one of her books. She has a talent for taking the reader on a journey with unforgettable characters while developing a plot line that is highly entertaining.” ~ Val, You Gotta Read Reviews

“Jamie Hill tells a wonderful story that sucks you in from the very first page.” ~ Alisha, Two Lips Reviews

A Moment When Christine Shines:

Doug asked, "So what did little Christine White want to be when she grew up? Somebody’s wife and mother? Or did you have grander plans?”

“Well, being a mother is about as grand as it gets. But I started college to be an accountant. That’s where I met Larry. I got pregnant and dropped out, while he went on to get certified. So I guess I had grander plans, but they got sidetracked. And I decided I liked the whole ‘wife and mother’ business. Is that so wrong?”

“It’s not wrong at all. I’m sorry you got sidetracked, though.”

She looked at him. “I’m not. It brought me to where I am today.”

Doug chuckled. “In a safe house, on the run from a Columbian drug cartel?”

Swatting his chest, she shook her head. “I wasn’t thinking of the big picture. I was thinking more along the lines of sitting here on the sofa with you.”

“Hold that thought.” Doug rose and killed all but the dimmest of lights. He listened in the hallway, then crept back over to the sofa.

“All quiet?”

“Seems to be. Ben’s crushing candy on that stupid game. Whatever, as long as he’s occupied.” He returned to his spot and drew her into his arms. “Now, where were we?”

“We were discussing grand plans.”

“No, I think we were getting ready to do this.” He touched her chin and drew her face forward for a kiss.

Christine melted into him. Each time he kissed her she fell a little more in love. She wrapped her arms around his neck and instead of climbing on his lap, she pulled him down on top of her until they were prone.

He kissed her hungrily and their bodies shifted, his leg pressing between her thighs. She felt the firm ridge of his erection and bucked against it to feel more.

Groaning, he rested his forehead against hers. “Damn it, Christi. I want you in the worst way.”
“I’m right here.”

He chuckled. “You know who else is right here? Two US Marshals with guns, your parents and your kids.”

She grinned. “Which of those pairs worries you the most?”

And finally here is Rose.

Character Name:  Rose 
Book(s) Featuring:  ROAN ROSE
Author Name: Juliet Waldron

About Rose: Raised by a healer on the Yorkshire Dales, Rose is impulsively taken by the Countess of Warwick to serve her daughter Anne. Rose is glad to escape from her violent father, but misses the calm strength of her mother. Anne and her new servant bond; Rose will faithfully serve Anne until the latter’s death—and beyond. This places her at the center of a War of Roses story, where she is servant and confidante.  She is also childhood companion to the crippled lord, Richard of Gloucester. Rose is a strong woman who makes up her own mind about things. She hates cruelty and duplicity, but she’s surrounded by it. Though she loves her mistress deeply, she’s also fatefully drawn to Richard, a prince far above her station. Rose values loyalty above all else; whether her masters actually do, proves to be another matter.

Juliet's Casting Pick: Tatiana Maslany. If she can play 10 clones believably in Orphan Black, and in every role come across as a strong, smart woman, she'd be my perfect Rose.

BLURB: Loyalty Binds Her.  Poppet, playmate, servant, lover—Rose Whitby gave her heart and a lifetime of service to Lady Anne Neville and to the House of York.
A Moment Where Rose Shines

"I thought you would never keep pigs," Hugh teased, proudly leaning on his tall bow. "I thought you said they were dirty."
"They are and I did, but I have thought again."
"Changed your mind?  You?"
"Yes, Fletcher, I have."
"Humph. And it's a good idea now that you're that one that’s thought it?"
"No," I replied, annoyed by his eternal teasing, but determined for once not to show it. "Raising pigs was always a good idea, even when I didn't think so."
He played to his friends, rolling his eyes. Women!

Obligingly, the men around us chuckled. I shrugged. He must do what he must do after such a wonderful feat of arms, but I would have my sow, now that I understood the matter.

So what do you think?  Which of these lovely ladies deserve the best actress award?  Which character deserves her own award?  

BWL Red Carpet - Casting Your Characters: Actors

This month's behind the Cover Artist's Curtain is a special edition.  Today we will be Casting Characters.

First up on the Red Carpet - we have Tyler Bishop.

Character Name:  Tyler Bishop  
Book:  Ellie's Legacy

About Tyler: Handsome and rugged, Tyler is totally bamboozled by Ellie.  One minute she's a flirt, the next minute she acts like she's angry with him.  Although he wants to please her father and show he can be the best foreman ever, Ty's being there seems to be a burr under Ellie's saddle and he's really attracted to her...just not sure if the feelings are mutual.  He tries looking out for her best interest, but that just makes her think he's bossy.  No matter what he does, he's damned.

Ginger's Casting Pick: "I pick handsome country western singer, Blake Shelton to play the role.  He's definitely a good ol' boy with the looks, charm, and definitely the witt to try to do battle with Ellie."

Tyler's Shining Moment: 

It appeared as though Ellie had turned into a full-grown woman overnight, kind of like the newborn foals in the spring. One minute they were awkward and gangly and the next they had filled out and turned into something spirited and beautiful.

Oh, Ellie wasn’t a horse, but she did have spirit, and she certainly was a beauty. The thought of all those curves in the right places and the memory of her luscious lips awakened a distinct part of his body. He tugged at the crotch of his trousers and moved back to the mirror to put on his tie.
If luck was on his side, in a few hours he’d be holding her in his arms, and maybe on the way home, he’d steal another kiss or two.

With that in mind, Ty went outside, stopping at the flowerbed next to the porch. It was only fitting he give his lady something special, but only a few late bloomers remained. Luckily one stood out among the wilted. Carefully, Ty plucked a pale pink rose to give to Ellie in celebration of the occasion.

BLURB:  Tomboy, Ellie Fountain is determined to stop the conniving neighbors from their plot to take her father’s land. She’s an only child, Fountainhead is her legacy. The handsome ranch foreman, Tyler Bishop, is a burr under her saddle and a barrier to her future. Her pa treats him like the son he never had, and Ellie is jealous. She’s out to prove she’s as good as any man at ranching… but her biggest threat may not be the polecats that are killing the cattle and taking potshots at her….it might be her heart. 

And now here comes Stuart Montgomery.

Character Name: Stuart Montgomery
Book(s) Featuring the Character:  Cold Gold (Book 1 The Buxton Chronicles), On Borrowed Time (Book 2 The Buxton Chronicles)

About Stuart: Intelligent, moral, loyal, career oriented. Would like a woman in his life but realizes he is too single minded to be a good husband. His chosen profession is his life. 

Victoria's Casting Pick: "William Baldwin because he is capable of playing two sides of the same coin as shown by his roles in playing a killer in The Preppie Murder and a firefighter in Backdraft.  He has that lean, dark look that I imagine Stuart Montgomery to have."

Stuart's Shining Moment: 

They boarded the steamer berthed at the end of the pier without incident. The purser directed them to the lounge and reminded them of their departure time. Randolph thanked him and chose a table with a fine view across the Bay. Serena fiddled with the buttons on her jacket but smiled when Randolph took her hand.

She looked at the backs of hands, still hairless but pink with healthy new skin. His singed hair had been cropped back almost to the scalp but already grown back into its normal thick brown thatch. His face still bore signs of the damage done in the fire, but Dr. Miller was sure he would sustain no lasting signs of his ordeal. The only reservation he held was for the strength of Randolph’s lungs and strongly advised him to see his own physician once they were back in England.
“Here he is,” Randolph said quietly and rose to greet Montgomery.

Serena steeled herself to look at him and was shocked at what she saw. Montgomery, so similar to Randolph in height and build, had lost some weight and his face looked raw and gaunt. In spite of her misgivings at seeing him again, her heart went out to him. He had, after all, risked his own life by racing after Randolph into a burning building.

BLURB: Lord Randolph and Lady Serena Buxton’s orderly lives are upset by Pinkerton Agent Stuart Montgomery’s unexpected arrival at their estate in England. And this is no ordinary social call!

Montgomery is investigating four suspicious deaths at an American aviation company, and of the two remaining partners one is the old friend of Lady Serena’s. Can Montgomery convince his friends to return to America with him in hopes of finding the missing piece to the puzzle that will help him close the case?

Serena has her doubts. Her concern for her friend, Sir Hilary, is overlaid by her fear that Randolph may once again find his life in danger from an old adversary who once left him for dead. Does Montgomery really want their assistance? Or is his case just an excuse to renew a potentially scandalous association with her?  Time is running out as events escalate revealing more secrets than ever suspected.   

Coming down the carpet now is Alexander Hamilton.
That's right - the US President.

Character Name: Alexander Hamilton
Book(s) Featuring: A MASTER PASSION: Love and Liberty, A MASTER PASSION: Glory Passes
About Alexander: Born illegitimate in the West Indies, orphaned early, grows up in poverty, Hamilton is determined to change his life. He’s energetic, passionate, intelligent, idealistic, utterly driven to recast himself as a gentleman/knight-in-shining-armor. He’s sensitive, sensual and has a temper, which  sometimes gets him into trouble.
Juliet's Casting Pick: "Ryan Gosling has the look, but he's also got some range as an actor."
Alexander's Shining Moment: 

"Thompson," Alexander asked the sergeant who was wading through the crusted snow beside him, "have you got any idea how much farther?"
    "No, Captain." The provincial's half-expected reply. "Never been west of the Hudson 'til the run we just took ‘cross Jersey."
    "I hope we get there soon." Hamilton muttered inside his frozen, sodden muffler. He was giddy with misery, suffering a terrible catarrh. His head and chest ached. His hands, feet and face stung and burned. He tried to rouse himself by focusing upon the upcoming battle.
    One again we'll fight the British. Fight them -- by God -- after all this running!
    Nevertheless, the pumping thrill of anticipation he'd felt as they'd met the enemy in summer was nearly impossible to muster, a dead horse incapable of being flogged to life. It was as if his mind was as frozen as his feet.
    We will fight -- eventually. We will be killed, or not be killed --eventually. I shall never give up...
            In the meantime, they were on an endless march in an icy hell, putting one aching numb foot in front of the other...

Book Blurb: Betsy's passion is Hamilton, but while he adores his wife and children, there are times when he loves America more.

And here is Jack Dunlevy walking towards us now.

Character Name: Jack Dunlevy
Book(s) Featuring: Family Secrets, Family Ties and Family Honor
Author: Jamie Hill

About Jack: Jack Dunlevy is a handsome, burnt out cop who smokes too much and drinks too much. He has a penchant for pretty women and little kids, and rescuing them makes him feel worthwhile again. 

Jamie's Casting Pick: "Adrian Pasdar has the look that I believe Jack has, dark, scruffy handsome, masculine with deep, soulful eyes."

Jack's Shining Moment: 

Inside Jack’s room, Crystal looked through his closet for another sweatshirt. “I need to do some laundry. Things are getting desperate here.” She found a shirt and pulled it over her head, and then watched him grab the hamper and shove his wet clothes in it.

“Let’s gather it all up and we’ll do it now.”

She gave him a small smile. “Yeah?” She had never met a man willing to help with the laundry. Sure, Jack had done it once, but that was before. Crystal generally found relationships changed after ‘the deed’ was done.

He looked at her and shrugged. “What? It’s just laundry.”

She shrugged back and tossed her towel into the hamper. She glanced out to where the boys were and then back at him quickly. “So you really think I have what they need?”

He smiled slowly at her and replied, “I know you have what they need. You just have to convince yourself of that fact.” He carried the hamper out the door in front of her and added in an offhand tone, “I also know you have what I need. I guess it’s up to me to convince you of that.”

Crystal followed him, not really aware she was smiling until she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror in the boys’ room as she picked up their laundry. “Hell’s bells,” she muttered to herself, and wondered why she felt so happy.
BLURB: Family Secrets A Cop in the Family, Book 1

As if stumbling over a dead body isn’t enough, Crystal Cartwright finds herself playing surrogate mother to two small boys when their father–her neighbor–doesn’t come home. The kids aren’t much trouble, but the thieves, drug dealers and kidnappers they’re about to encounter are.

Detective Jack Dunlevy, a cop down on his luck, draws the cases no one else wants. A simple investigation involving a dead homeless man quickly changes as Crystal enlists Jack’s help with the children. Drawn into a mystery that none of them could have anticipated, they’re faced with a situation that will change their lives forever.

“Ms. Hill is a genius! The plot line was AMAZING. It was action packed and kept me on the edge of my seat almost the entire time. Ms. Hill has become a favorite author of mine and I consider her to be an automatic add to my “to be read list”. If you are a serious suspense loving reader who loves to form bonds with the characters, this is definitely the book for you! I loved it and can’t wait to read more of Ms. Hill’s books, she has the gift of knowing what the reader wants and then hitting you with an ending you certainly don’t expect. Two thumbs up!” ~ Val, You Gotta Read Reviews, 5 Stars

So what do you think?  Which of these handsome men deserve the best actor award?  Which character deserves his own award?  

Stay tuned for the next episode of Casting Your Characters when the ladies get their turn down the red carpet.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The books I've stopped reading by Sheila Claydon

Although I love to read I'm becoming more and more picky with age. I no longer read books where too many words get in the way of the story. Ditto books where the author shares every detail of every bit of research ever done. Recently I read a book that listed all the tools a thatcher uses together with a 'how to' guide, while another one described an autopsy in such detail over several pages that it read like a medical text book. Although I'm never going to thatch a roof or become a pathologist it doesn't mean I'm not interested. What I don't want to do, however, is waste time reading pages of badly disseminated research that add nothing to the story.

I didn't need to know about shearing hooks, legatts, crooks and pins and nor did the police sergeant in the story, who was told apropos of absolutely nothing. The detail, which took up 3 pages, was not only entirely irrelevant, it came out of nowhere. At first I thought the conversation held a hidden clue  but no, the victim was shot, not sliced open with a shearing hook.

I have another bugbear. If, after a paragraph or two, I find myself editing some of the author's convoluted and wordy sentences in my head, I know the book is not for me.

Facts are fine, so is descriptive prose if it adds to the story, but I'm of the Stephen King persuasion. Write the book. Put everything in it and then take out half when you first edit it, and more again the second time around.

Then there's the plot. A good plot keeps me guessing almost to the final page while a bad plot bores me to death. This happened last week and halfway through the book I did something I've never done before, I turned to the end. It was a crime novel by a well known author who has had work translated into a very successful TV series, so my expectation was high. The only downside as far as I could see was that it comprised 650 close typed pages, a bit long for a 'Whodunnit'. Sadly the author let me down. I worked out the entire plot as well the outcomes of quite a few of the side stories within the first half dozen chapters. When I also found myself continually re-writing some of the sentences in my head I gave up, turned to the end, confirmed what I already knew, and then chose another, very much more enjoyable and well written book about the young Australian war brides who were transported to Britain at the end of WW2.

That TV series thing gets to me too. Although I've read some good ones I've also read a number of poorly written books by different authors that have been turned into very successful TV series.  Is the success of the TV version down to a very talented script writer and director or have I missed something? I'd love to know how producers choose their stories. Do they actually prefer a book they can tinker with,  look for characters who need to become more rounded, a plot that needs tightening up? I wish I knew.

My attitude is a personal one of course. Some readers enjoy lengthy prose and I have one friend who can't abide modern literature and just re-reads all the old classics. There's certainly a place for those in our literary lexicon but fashions change, and some of the old stories I once enjoyed now seem wordy and contrived, although others have stood the test of time to an admiral degree, so yes, I'm picky about the classics too.

Am I like this because I'm becoming more selective as I grow older, or is it because I'm a writer? It's probably a bit of both, but what I do know is that life is far to short to waste time reading a book I'm not enjoying. What about you?

For a great many very readable books go to

For my own (I hope) readable books, go to or

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Some Alberta History by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

I began my writing career as a travel writer and I drove and camped through all of British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon and Alaska, writing about what there is to see and do in those provinces, the territory and the state. I learned a lot of history, saw a lot of beautiful scenery, and met a lot of wonderful people.

The following is about Fort Macleod, along the Crowsnest Highway, from my travel book the Backroads of Southern Alberta. Fort Macleod, coincidently, is the setting for the novel, Illegally Dead, the first book of my Travelling Detective Series boxed set.

After the Hudson's Bay Company sold Rupert's Land to the Canadian Government in 1869, fur traders from Fort Benton in Montana travelled north into present day Alberta and set up illegally trading posts called Whiskey Forts. They brought wagon loads of whiskey and guns to trade for furs with the natives. The watered down whiskey, laced with any or all of Tabasco, red pepper, tobacco, ginger, molasses, tea, sulphuric acid and ink, drove the natives wild and they brutalized and killed their own tribesmen, other bands, and some whitemen. Sir John A Macdonald, prime minister of Canada at the time, declared that the area should be safe for settlers moving west and he formed the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) in 1873. The next year they marched west and established Fort Macleod, which is southern Alberta's oldest settlement.

The downtown district, on 24th Street between Second and Third Avenues, was declared Alberta's first provincial historical site on May 14, 1984. There are many wood frame buildings that date back to 1890s and some brick and sandstone ones from the early 1900s.
The Empress Theatre opened in 1912 and was used for vaudeville acts, minstrel shows, silent films, political rallies and talking films. It has been renovated, but the original pressed metal ceiling, double seats in every second row, and the old radiators remain. The Empress Theatre Society presents movies or live performances during the summer.

The present-day Fort Macleod is a reproduction, but some of the log buildings inside the Fort Museum are original and house numerous historical native and North West Mounted Police-Royal Canadian Mounted Police artifacts. A Musical Ride is staged four times a day during July and August. Young men and women dressed in replica North West Mounted Police uniforms present an exhibition of horsemanship and precision, similar to the world famous Musical Ride.

Harry `Kanouse' Taylor, a former whiskey fort owner, set up a hotel in Fort Macleod after the arrival of the NWMP-the original name of the RCMP. Due to the changing times and transient population, there had to be certain rules in his hotel. They were:
1. Guests will be provided with breakfast and dinner,
but must rustle their own lunch.
2. Spiked boots and spurs must be removed at night
before retiring.
3. Dogs are not allowed in bunks, but may sleep
4. Towels are changed weekly; insect powder is for sale
at the bar.
5. Special rates for Gospel Grinders and the gambling
6. The bar will be open day and night. Every known fluid,
except water, for sale. No mixed drinks will be served
except in case of a death in the family. Only
registered guests allowed the privileges of sleeping
on the bar room floor.
7. No kicking regarding the food. Those who do not like
the provender will be put out. When guests find
themselves or their baggage thrown over the fence,
they may consider they have received notice to leave.
8. Baths furnished free down at the river, but bathers
must provide their own soap and towels.
9. Valuables will not be locked in the hotel safe, as
the hotel possesses no such ornament.
10. Guests are expected to rise at 6:00 a.m., as the
sheets are needed for tablecloths.
11. To attract the attention of waiters, shoot through
the door panel. Two shots for ice water, three for
a new deck of cards.
No Jawbone. In God We Trust; All Others Pay Cash.

The Criminal Streak


West To The Bay


 Gold Fever

The Travelling Detective Series boxed set:

Illegally Dead

The Only Shadow In The House

Whistler's Murder

Monday, August 10, 2015

Elegant Birthday Card by Cheryl Wright

Less is more.

This is a philosophy I've used in many areas of my life over the years. I do it with cooking, I do it with writing, and I also do it with my cardmaking.

A lot of crafters I know tend to add so many elements and embellishments that it overcrowds the card, and in the end make it look, well, crowded.

The following is a very simple card, while at the same time it's quite elegant.

This card took less than ten minutes to make, and would be great to make multiples of.  (For instance, I could make several of these for Combat Cards in a very short period of time.)

You could easily change up the greeting and it would work for several different celebrations. 

Products used:

Background:  Kaisercraft's new "Roses" embossing folder
Tag: Kaisercraft Tag Shapes Decorative Die set
Butterfly: Martha Stewart Monarch Butterfly
Greeting: Stampin' Up! Blooming with Kindness (now retired)

 I hope you've enjoyed this card. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time!


My website: 
BWL website:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rescuing Barbie by Killarney Sheffield


Rescuing Barbie

For those of you who may not know there is more to Killarney Sheffield, historical romance author, than meets the eye. For example did you know I am a former show rider, farrier, colt starter and riding coach? I no longer do any of that professionally, but I do still dabble in horses. In addition to breeding Appendix Quarter Horses, I often take in wild and/or abused horses to train and rehabilitate just for something to do. Today I would like to share with you the story of Barbie an abused mare I just rescued.

Barbie is an American Quarter Horse from Idaho USA. I was approached by her owner to take her after her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour, spent a year in treatment and was finally given just a few months left to live. When I heard Barbie’s story I sat in my truck and cried tears of sorrow for this little mare. It seems she was halter trained as a two year old and had a very promising show career ahead of her. One day she was being difficult to catch (she is a timid mare so she could have been spooked). The man chased her into a barn and because she was frightened she refused to let him halter her. In anger he roped her by the neck and snubbed her head tight to a pole in the ground. She could not move or breathe and in her panic she fought for her life, injuring her one front knee. The man waited until she choked out and then untied the rope and when she fell to the ground pounced on her to halter her. I am assuming he probably beat her as well. Poor Barbie was then tossed out in a field injured and scared for the next two years until I came from Canada to pick her up. I brought her home and put her in a stall in my barn across from a quiet old mare for company and have been working with her every day.

The first day Barbie stood up against the back wall and refused to eat or drink. When I stepped into the stall she would throw her head and pin her ears threatening to hurt me. I would talk softly to her and leave feed and water. The second day I took her a small bit of oats in a pail. She refused to eat until I set it down and left the stall. The third day I was moved to tears when I entered the barn and she nickered at me! I was so excited about her greeting it was hard not to jump for joy and scare her. I entered the stall with the pail of oats and she took a couple steps out of her corner and ate out of the pail in my hands! It was a great day. The fourth day not only did she greet me with a nicker, but she had eaten all her hay from the night before. I entered the stall with her oats and she came right to me to eat out of the pail, and I managed to stroke her cheek on the sly with my hand in the pail.

The fifth day she greeted me and came to eat her grain. However, when I offered her a treat from my palm she pinned her ears and charged at me. I stood my ground and issued a firm “no!” She stopped inches from me, calmed down and finished her grain. Was I scared at the sight of a 1,000lb mare charging? You bet I was! I knew by her soft eye she would not hurt me. She was merely saying in her horsey way that I had entered her personal space and she wasn’t comfortable with it. An abused animal is the same as an abused child, her only intent is to protect herself and she wouldn’t harm me unless I harmed her. Now a neighbour came by and said he would have thrown the pail at her because she’s mean. This is where I stopped him and explained if Barbie was mean she had had endless chances to hurt me and not taken them, and that if I had thrown the pail at her she would have associated me with pain and fear. This would have destroyed all the work I had done to convince her I am safe and will not hurt her.

On day six I entered her stall and was brought to tears when Barbie gently lipped a treat from the palm of my hand for the first time, without pinning her ears and threatening me when I held it out to her. We are making progress! It is slow and sometimes bitter sweet, but baby steps and lots of love are what’s needed to teach a frightened, abused mare to love again. 

If you would like to follow along with daily updates and pictures of Barbie’s journey to discover love, please feel free to follow me on Facebook at Killarney Sheffield. 

Killarney Sheffield, because love makes you believe.
A Courtesan's Desires- 2013 Epic Ebook award finalist. Inventing Love- 2012 P&E best Steampunk winner. Love's Magic- 2013 The Great Romance Contest finalist & 2015 RONE nominee.  
Current releases from Crimson Romance: Through Gypsy Eyes.
Current releases from BooksWeLove: The Cracksman's Kiss, Stand & Deliver Your Love, To Love A Horseguard, The Courtesan, Sprockets, Silks & Savages, Love's Lies, Marie's Second Chance, Rags To Romance and Tween/teen YA series The Cowboy Capers.
Coming soon: Singed (sweet erotic romance) and Two-Twenty-Three (post apocalyptic romance)
Books available online world wide and in Coles, Chapter & Indigo stores across Canada.
Follow me: on Twitter at @authorkillarney, Facebook at Killarney Sheffield, on the web at  

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...