Saturday, November 28, 2015

Perfect Time, Perfect Place, Perfect Setting by Connie Vines

Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood,CA
Corner of Hollywood Blvd & Orange Dr.
When I am writing a novel, character and plot for the “who” and “what” of a story are, in my opinion, are two of the most important factors.  However, setting, the “where” and “when”, comes a very close third.

A powerful setting is almost like a character in its own right. 

The setting is a ‘presence’ in the story.  The setting can become an ‘influence’ on events. 

Without an intimate knowledge and feeling for place, I do not believe a writer can bring the story alive in the reader’s imagination.

Setting is more than just streets, buildings and landscape.  Setting is local history, customs, nature, weather, and legends.  Setting is food, accents, music, fashion, and people going about daily business.
Everyone has a place that inspires him or her. Or, creates a sense of belonging, excitement, or a desire to escape.

My settings are as diverse as my interests are.  In my Rodeo Romance Series, my settings are the western United States.  My heroes hail from a rugged untamed area: Texas, New Mexico, and Wyoming.   Since I have traveled through and vacationed at my chosen settings, I use my firsthand experience and reactions to enrich my stories for my readers.

Montana is cold, very cold (I do not like being even a little bit cold).  One minute it’s storming, the next it’s sunny, and then the sun goes down and it’s freezing.  Since my heroine (Rachel) has lived most of her life in Montana, the cold is not a big deal for her.  When I begin my story, I scrawled a note to self: do not harp on the temperature, or have said heroine run around in circles shouting, “It’s a snow storm—the T-rex of all snow storms!  We are all going to die!”  (However, this may appear in one of my YA novels—be forewarned.)

Montana is Big Sky Country—a nickname Montana has totally earned.  In Montana, the elk, deer and antelope populations outnumber the humans. Cowboy boots and hats re formal wear.  Montana Pro Rodeo Circuits are some of the best in the country. Most importantly, the whole state is just one big small town.

An excerpt from “Lynx”, Rodeo Romance, Book 1.

Rachel melted against the back or her chair, as Lynx’s fingertip brushed a strand of hair from her face. Her body shivered all the way to her toes. Fidgeting with a silver bracelet on her wrist, Rachel didn’t know how to deal with this type of covert seduction. “You’ll have a good time during Cheyenne Frontier Days,” she said addressing her comment to both men.

“Everyone has a good time,” Lynx clarified.

Dan chuckled. “Everyone who’s able, anyway.”

Rachel reached for her glass, glancing at Dan. “I don’t understand.”

Dan pushed his Stetson further back on his head, revealing a bright crop of red hair.  “I landed in front of the angry end of a bull last year and broke my arm. Lynx had a hell of a good time, though.”

Excerpts from “Brede”, Rodeo Romance, Book 2.

Brede waited for her to seat herself before sitting down.

For some reason he’d thought she was kidding when she said she didn’t know how to cook.  It appeared she was telling the truth after all.  The green beans had an almost-scorched smell that even he’d never mastered. . .

The saucepan slipped from her fingertips and clattered to the floor.
She’d tried to tell herself that it was only the storm and the lights would come back on in a matter of minutes. Still, terror that was icy cold and merciless grabbed her by the throat and crushed what little courage she possessed when the cloudy, moonless night turned the room to inky black.
It was happening all over again!

She was alone.

Alone in the darkness. .

Not all of my stories aren’t set in the great-outdoors, or set thousands of miles away from my backyard.  I also use ‘local’ settings for inspiration.  My Sassy and Fun Fantasy Series is set here in SoCal (southern California and up the coastline).  Meredith is patron of the arts and a local celeb.  She lives in LA and vacations in a cabin in Forest Falls. 

 “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow”.

El Mexicano was the best (and only) restaurant in town. . . Climbing the steps to the porch entrance, Meredith was glad to see little had changed from their last visit. Cozy and rustic, the outside was on the tacky side of eclectic, but the inside was familiar and welcoming.  The host seated them near the wood burning stove. . .Careful to keep her gaze locked on the contents of her mug, Meredith felt cluttered with a million bittersweet memories of happier times.

Look around in your own back yard (or within driving distance) for inspiration.  You may discover the model for your fictional town, a make-believe stellar world, or an unexpected setting for your historical romance.
Medieval Times, Buena Park, CA

Post pictures on your office wall.  Listen to music.  Explore with you senses.

Remember, only you—the writer, can bring the setting alive for your reader.

Universal Studio, Hollywood, Red Carpet,
"Fast & Furious, 5" Movie Premier

Laguna Beach, California
Where "Beaches" was filmed.

Me in 100 + degrees heat, Hard Rock Cafe,
Hollywood, CA

Friday, November 27, 2015

CAUGHT IN THE STORM - by Vijaya Schartz

I live in Arizona, near Phoenix, where storms have become more violent over the years. I never used to fear the storm, not in all my years... not even when a micro-burst half destroyed my house over a decade ago. Of course, I was at work at the time, not inside it. But last summer, I was driving on 59th Avenue on a sunny Saturday afternoon, when one of those sudden monsoon storms hit. Within minutes the sky darkened, like twilight in the middle of the day, strong winds, dust, zero visibility, then rain.

Thick walls of water like gray sails waved beyond the windshield, gusty side winds carried large objects across the road and knocked them against hard surfaces with loud bangs. Through the water curtain, I could see car lights in front and in back of me. The wind whooshed like a turbine. The electric poles along the street shook wildly. Lightning hit, close by. Light exploded all around, and thunder cracked and boomed, echoing inside the car, inside my body like a deep drum roll.

That’s when fear set in. My heart beat faster than after running a 10K. Still, I couldn’t panic. I had to think... and fast.

Although the cars had slowed, stopping on the main road with traffic would be suicide. Driving in this chaos would also be suicide as the electric poles swayed dangerously, waving their array of thick power lines overhead. The street was flooding fast. What to do?

Eyes riveted to the right curb that quickly disappeared under the rising tide, I spotted a faint driveway to the side, and remembered it must lead to the DMV parking lot. Following the curb, I managed to get my car off the road and into the wide open space... anywhere. I couldn’t see the white lines on the pavement anyway. Other cars followed my tail lights and parked in a line next to me, as if taking comfort in company. I felt their presence somewhat reassuring.

Were we safe? Not really. There was no safe place to hide from the storm. The flagpole overhead shook dangerously under the gusty winds flapping the flag, and the ropes snapped against it with loud metallic knocks. Garbage cans, branches, and large pieces of debris flew and swept across the open area with unprecedented force. I feared at any moment the wind might lift my little car and throw it against a concrete building.

Then, as fast as it had come, although it seemed to last for hours, the storm moved away, leaving me relieved and shaken at the sight of the destruction. In the last spattering of rain, I could see fallen poles across the flooded street, downed power lines sparking in flood water, traffic lights strewn in the middle of the intersection, and fallen trees.

A few hundred yards south of the DMV parking lot, on 59th Avenue, where I would have been had I not turned, several electric poles had fallen. One had crushed a car, trapping the driver inside, in the middle of a small lake. No way to get to the car to see if the person inside was dead or alive. It was a woman, I learned later on the news. Rescued by the fire department, she was not seriously hurt, but I felt guilty and glad at the same time. It could have been me.

In the aftermath of the storm, all the streets in the area were flooded or blocked by debris, trees, branches, pieces of roofs. People stood on their front porch, staring at their destroyed property, eyes wide, as if wondering how so much destruction could happen in so little time. Emergency vehicles blared their sirens. After many detours and turnarounds, in dangerously flooded streets and bumper to bumper traffic, it was dark, hours later, when I finally reached my small apartment ten blocks away. I was never so glad to hug my cat.

No matter how strong or fearless we are, there is always something or someone stronger than us, and Mother Nature is teaching us lessons at every turn. The memories of this storm will stay with me forever, and I bet they will end up in a book someday.

In the meantime, you can read my latest contemporary romance with a hint of suspense, set in Scottsdale, Arizona, and available in all eBook formats everywhere.

Buy it in all formats here

When Talia runs over billionaire Kyle Dormant with her bicycle in the dog park, she considers their meeting a happy accident. He believes it is destiny, but her physician's mind rebels at such notions. Their budding romance comes to a grinding halt when Kyle won’t wake up from deep sleep... with no medical explanation. Baffled and deeply concerned, Talia digs into his recent past for a plausible cause. Instead, she uncovers dark family secrets. Convinced Kyle's condition was induced, and someone wants him dead, she is anxious to save him, but the closer she gets to the sordid truth… and a possible cure, the greater the risk to both their lives.
Vijaya Schartz
Romance with a Kick

Thursday, November 26, 2015

When is the right time? Tricia McGill


It’s always best to know when it is time to leave, or when it is the right time to let go of the past. Some people can never make the right decision and there is nothing more pathetic than hanging on to a love that has obviously shriveled and gone, or a treasured possession that simply has been around too long.

Let me explain why I have been contemplating this subject. The other day I sold two gold rings. Not such a great decision you might think. To start at the beginning, I had to meet someone in another suburb where I knew they had one of these stores where you can either borrow money or sell objects—such as gold and anything else of value, so I thought it a good opportunity to take these rings and some other articles to see what I could get for them. Let me explain this store. It is basically what would, in the old days, have been a pawn shop. You know, where they had three balls hanging outside and an old miser inside behind the counter rubbing his hands together at the money he was about to make out of some poor soul who had hit hard times.

Times haven’t changed so much. Believe me, I was astounded and heartsick when I saw the people in there who were trying to get as much as they could (probably to pay debts). One young fellow had two electric guitars and was being told they weren’t worth much. Not sure how much he eventually received. A woman was selling (or pawning) a necklace and a brooch, and looked shocked at the amount she could get for them. But what was worse was the list on the wall explaining what the repayments would be on a paltry loan. One other young man had a pile of payment receipts in his hand and paid a balance so that he could collect his guitar. It was apparently the day for guitarists to retrieve, or sell their treasured instruments.

I digress, as usual. Back to my two rings. One was the signet ring I gave my husband on his 21st birthday many moons ago, and the other my wedding ring. Now, you might think it callous of me to even consider selling off these treasures. But it wasn’t by any means. My husband was an inveterate bargainer and liked nothing better than haggling over a price of something. Just ask anyone who knew him what it was like to buy a new car or even a washing machine! He would drag me all over the city to get the right price, and I know he would be pleased for me that I got a good price for a ring he barely wore. He wasn’t a jewellery type of person. And the other ring-mine, wasn’t the cheap little one he placed on my finger in that freezing cold church well over 50 years ago. No, this one was my second ring that he brought back from England as a gift after one of his numerous trips home. It was time to part with both.

I’ve been blessed, as I have never had the awful decision to make of letting a lover go when the love had fizzled out. But I made the decision to let my husband go when the time was right. He passed away in November and it wasn’t until the following March that I knew it was time. I woke up that morning and knew exactly where he was going, so rang my sister to tell her I was going to scatter my husband’s ashes. She and a friend came along with me and I took him to a beautiful spot near where he loved playing golf. I chose this place as it reminded us of Cornwall where we both loved to spend holidays. As I scattered his ashes from a clifftop I told him he could stay around or go home to his beloved England. Soon after that he came to me in a dream. The strange part was, he was wearing a bow tie and dinner suit. Now, he was more comfortable in a track suit and I was lucky to get him to wear a tie once a year, if that. He had obviously dressed up for the occasion to let me know he was going and this was goodbye. I am sure he took my advice and went home to London where he came from. He knew it was time to go and I knew it was time to let him go.

As writers we often like to cling on to our characters. It’s a good thing to know when the time is right to let them go their separate ways. Ask any writer and they will probably tell you they had one favorite they just hated saying goodbye to. For me, when I finished Mystic Mountains I just knew I had to continue on to let readers know how the future mapped out for Tiger and Bella. The intention was to continue on with their eldest son’s story, but Remy intervened and decided he had a better story to tell. Same for Travis, I simply couldn’t let his story end after The Laird, so Travis got his chance to tell how his life went. But then I had to let them go too.

I’ve always believed that life is made up of a series of pathways. We come to a crossroads or fork in the road where we have to make the decision which direction to head off in. I thank the Lord that I have been fortunate enough to choose which path to take (or Fate has helped me) and it has always been the right time for me.
Find all my Books We Love titles here

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Trip (literally) back in time-a Cornish Village in Wisconsin, by Diane Scott Lewis

Years ago someone, after I told him my novels were set in Cornwall, England, suggested I visit this village called Pendarvis in Wisconsin, so off we went in the spring of 2015.
Pendarvis was built by the hundreds of Cornish immigrants who poured into southern Wisconsin in the 1830’s to work in the lead mines. They were homesick, so designed small timber and limestone cottages that reminded them of what they’d left behind. There’s even a Kiddleywink (a common word used for the working class and poorer people’s drinking houses) Pub.
Author in front of Pendarvis

But the mining faded away as the mines were exhausted. People went west for the California Gold Rush.

A hundred years later, most of these cottages had vanished. Two men, Neal and Hellum, teamed up to preserve the ones that remained. In 1935 they started reconstructing the buildings, and, in the Cornish tradition, named each cottage: Pendarvis, Polperro, Trelawny.

My husband, George, and I had been to Cornwall, England and toured local cottages. We even stayed in one built as a barn in the 1600’s, then converted to a home in 1750.

We walked through the refurbished Wisconsin version of Cornwall, quite impressed. Furniture from that 19th century time period filled the majority of the dwellings. I fell in love with one cottage and had to be dragged out.

Then the visit turned into a Comedy of Errors. My husband, who is tall by 19th century standards, walked into a low door lintel, knocked himself backwards and scraped his arm on a table. Due to a heart irregularity, George is on blood thinners. By the time we got outside, on our way to the next cottage, blood was dripping down his arm.

He told me to wait and he’d rush to the car for a bandage. Being stubborn, I started up the stone steps toward the next dwelling. In the shade, unbeknownst to me, the step was covered in slippery moss. Not the most graceful of people, I of course, slipped and tumbled into the low shrubs next to the walkway. The shrubs broke my fall nicely. But George had hurried back to pull me out, blood still dripping down his arm. As he danced around, trying not to smear me with blood, and I struggled to rise, we made an amusing sight. Thank goodness we were the only ones there.

If you’d like to learn more about old Cornwall, visit my website, or check out my novel, The Apothecary’s Widow, set in Truro, England in the 18th century. The Historical Novel Society called it “entertaining.”

Click HERE to order.


Diane Scott Lewis writes historical fiction with romantic elements.
Visit her website:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Remember the Recipe by Victoria Chatham

I had it all. Characters. Setting. Plot.

I worked on it all summer, jotting down names, incidents, and snatches of dialogue. I volunteered time with a Riding For the Disabled Group, learning what made a good RDA horse or pony, how it was trained, how riding benefited both mentally and physically challenged children and adults. I shared in the simple pleasures the riders derived from their lessons, and learnt a whole new language from the young man with Touretts Syndrome. Thrilled with successfully negotiating his first jump he let rip with such a stream of invective that even his horse laid its ears flat to its head as if to shut it out.

At the time the details of this book were circulating in my mind, I was working in a bookstore where I was a Jill of all trades. Occasionally I worked in the store but mostly I invoiced books to go to any one of my two hundred (or thereabout) school accounts. The best part though was unpacking new stock. And, in that new stock that fall, was my story. I held the book in my hands and looked at the cover in disbelief. The illustration was one I could have drawn myself. The characters and plot could have been pulled out of my mind. I flicked through it, barely cognizant of my boss asking me what was wrong.

“This is my story,” I wailed, tossing the book onto the unpacking counter. I continued to rant and rave, mostly that I was going to give up writing because what was the point if another author beat me to the punch line, so to speak. My boss wisely said nothing until I’d finished venting. Then he smiled and simply said, “Remember the recipe”.

Recipe? What recipe? What was he talking about? And then it hit me. My own personal ‘Aha’ moment. I had a Victoria sponge cake recipe that never failed. My friend made the best dinner rolls. We swapped recipes but she could never get her cake to rise like mine while my dinner rolls were a disaster. Same recipe, same ingredients, but in another person's hands the recipe had totally different results.

My boss’s analogy was an apt one and was something I shared when I taught Introductory Creative Writing. One of the first questions my students asked of me was how could they make their writing different. In the first class we brainstormed a character, the popular vote decided whether it was male or female; they chose hair and eye color, physical attributes, the character’s strengths and weaknesses, what was their deepest, darkest secret? What did they fear the most and why? What was the character’s family background? What was their biggest ambition? By the end of the first class, we had the character with which they worked for the ensuing weeks. At the end of the course it was always a thrill for me to listen to my students read their first stories, all starting out with the same character, but each and every story being so very, very different.

When I read books today that might sound a little like mine, I look deeper into my own writing to see what I can change to really make it my own. As my boss so wisely said all those years ago, ‘Remember the recipe’.  

Victoria Chatham

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Jed Clampett’s Texas Tea Party

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Jed Clampett’s Texas Tea Party

Good ol’ Jed Clampett went hunting to feed his family and ended up striking Texas Tea, more commonly called Black Gold and moved to Beverly Hills. Or so goes the story in the Beverly Hillbillies. Back then oil was oil and as long as it wasn’t black as tar everything was good. But technology advanced and vehicles engines began to run hotter, with higher compressions, stricter tolerances and then along came computers. All was good, Jed was a rich man and then green movement came along and slowly changed everything.
            This reminds me; what happened to the good old days when you knew the best stuff out there was a gold plated whatever? Now there’s platinum, titanium, and what next? Superdoopermanium? Wait until they start changing the Olympic medals and gold is the measly runner-up award.
            It was back in the sixties when we starting growing our hair, getting stoned and environmentally conscious that some scientists, as they sat out in their backyard talking to little animals, said, “Hey! They quit making dinosaurs a long time ago. This is a problem.”
            So they decided to start looking at alternatives, like synthetic oils. Much of this research began even further back in the thirties with a German scientist named Dr. Hermann Zorn (So of those out there reading this are wondering, I’m not making this up, that’s his name, if I invented this character I’d given him something like Zultrid Nifinager, a true scientist type name, couldn’t imagine a movie star or a pornstar with a name like that could you?) He searched for lubricants like natural oils but ones that didn’t gel or turn to gum under gasoline engine environments. His work led to the invention of over 3500 esters, including diesters, polyolesters and banana oil (chimpanzees and apes declined testing the banana oil synthetics, although baboons weren’t so smart. One look at their rear ends you’ll know what happened there). Not good, not good at all.
            Just a sidenote; this led to the testing by other Monkees in the sixties and this explains why they ran around so fast on their TV show always looking for washrooms. 
            Poor Dr. Zorn. Unfortunately he thought he was working for his company on a synthetic beer/bratwurst combination, which would have made him immensely rich, famous at Octoberfest and a national hero. “Beer and bratwurst in the same glass without any gaseous side effects.” Years later they found him wandering incoherently in Berlin’s skid-row muttering, “Deichsel und mit getriebenen unterscheiden vermoche nach dem sie darstellen staubwolken au wirhelten.”
            Which literally translated means, “I was robbed.”
            If you’re wondering, synthetic oils weren’t made by some mad scientist between Frankenstein’s monster, stem cell research and inventing a cure for cancer and PMS - much to his depressive haranguing wife’s disgust. Which of course made him wish he’d been single like Einstein yelling, “Eureka E=mc2.” Which wasn’t his original solution to the Theory of Relativity, but to the perfect milkshake recipe. The milkshake idea fizzled out after he took out his backyard and half of Detroit in 1948.
            Synthetic oils are ester-based substances, along with other additives, which far outclass any ordinary oils. Yes, I know, the first pantyhose were polyester-based and, oddly enough, the first polyester sweaters (the clue is in the name). Scientists soon realized that if you get pantyhose turning fast and hot enough (?), it turns into a rubbery mass called a fan belt. Hence was born the expression, “Get on yer bikes, girls.”
            This led eventually to SynLube in Vancouver in 1969. The only market at that time was selling their synthetic oils to the Lunokhod 1 Moon Rover and the US Moon Rovers. They soon realized that wasn’t a very profitable, or large, market. Okay they did sell four quarts to the Americans for $3,000,000,000 dollars US each, but after six trips to the moon the Apollo program was cancelled.
            A small note to history buffs here, they also sold two quarts to the Russians, who at the time didn’t make it to the moon and couldn’t afford to pay in rubles, but ended up paying with 2,000, bottles of Vodka. “It’ll be a delirious three months until we sober up and the Vodka runs out,” said one SynLube official. “Three months?” the Irish spokesman replied, “what do you take me for, a tee-totaler?”
            Although it does seems funny that with all those potatoes around the Irish never invented Vodka. 
                        Any disadvantages to using synthetic oils? Yes. This, believe it or not, is straight out of Wikipedia; Potential stress cracking of polyoxymethylene plastics when mixed with polyalphaolefin particles (just a word to the wise here, no matter how many times you spell this out, the red underlining is all over the place from Word’s SpellCheck, no wonder Bill Gates is going broke). And the rational thought to most of us intelligent, reality watching TV public is “WHAT THE BLEEP?” (that went over my head faster than a 747 at the national cheerleading competition). Actually, what that means is, don’t use synthetic oil as car wax, dishwashing liquid or as a shampoo, unless you want to look like Phyllis Diller, Kojak, or Ilea (from the first Star Trek Movie).
            Oh, and synthetic oils are not recommended in rotary engines. Here’s a little bit of trivia. Did anyone out there know that GM (Generally MadCorp) had built a four-cylinder rotary engine that was going to go into their Corvette advertised as “It sounded like a sewing machine, but out dragged a Mustang? (car, not the horse).” Then Mazda bombed with their first R100 car with the rotary (Wankel in some parts of the world, wanker in many others) engine and the Corvette dudes changed their minds.  
            So why buy synthetics for $9-$19 per bottle, you ask, when “I can get a great buy on a case of twelve jugs of oil at my local grocery store for $2.99”.
            Not likely, you get what you pay for. Ever look closely at a container of oil? They all seem to have this funny starburst type stamp on them. Oil is rated by weight and by compositions needed to meet operating standards in various years of vehicles. Multi-grade oils were originally called All-Season oils. When you look at the can and read 5W30, that means in the winter the oil will pour out at the thickness of a 5 weight rated oil and in the summer with the thickness of a 30 weight rated oil. For many decades we had a few specific rated oils, mainly 5W30, 10W30, 20W50. Lately, with engine tolerances getting tighter and emission standards being raised, we’ve seen the advent of oils as radical as 0W60. Next year they’ll be bringing out 000W120 which will pour out like water when sitting overnight on the surface of Pluto and glug out like maple syrup when orbiting the sun for a week (I guess they’re still trying to sell a quart of oil to NASA at $4 trillion. “Hey I just gotta sell them one bottle and I can retire like granddad”, said Ned Clampett).
            Compositions were first rated, and for decades later, by the API (American Petroleum Institute). Every once in awhile the people there get together to have one of their swanky week-long soirees. Now, being scientists, they do mad scientisty things like put lamp shades on their heads (still a gut buster with that crowd), and decide to establish new oil standards for cars and RVs (wow! Riveting stuff of legends in the cutting edge hydrocarbon field). The current standard is SN - good for cars from 2011. The last standard was SM established in 2004. The one before was SL, for vehicles from 2001. So, if that can you’re holding says something like SD, it’s good for pre-1971 vehicles. In other words, nearly pure oil and not much else. Yup, you definitely get what you pay for.
            But don’t get fooled by just the API ratings, there are others out there now. The newest ILSAC (International Standardization and Approval Committee) ratings are GF5 for 2010 vehicles and older. These are those scientists that weren’t invited to the API annual conventions and you’d think these folks with the wow-knock-their-socks-off name should pretty well have the market sewn up on oil ratings. Nope, here’s where it started to get crazy. Along comes the ACEA (European Automotive Manufacturers Association). Yeah? How does that make ACEA? I asked as well. The Europeans, still upset about the whole synthetic beer/bratwurst thing, and the Americans absconding with their scientists, decided to establish their own ratings.
            Then VW came along establishing their own ratings for their vehicles. The current benchmark is 504.00 for gasoline and 507.00 for diesels. Yes, they are really mad about the beer/bratwurst issue, don’t find lampshade jokes very funny and are trying to confuse the heck out of us.
            Mercedes-Benz then joined the fray with their own ratings MB 229.1 to MB 229.51. Way too confusing to explain in less than 4000 words as these are Very Sophisticated Scientists, who won’t even admit to being coolly upset by the beer/bratwurst issue. Last time I tried to talk about the hilarity of the lampshade stunt they hung up on me. And I’m not even going to mention JASO (Japanese Automotive Operating Standards Agency) or the other automobile companies joining the bandwagon en-masse. (PS no funny jokes about these guys at JASO, they know Karate! And keep ninjas around for party jokes).
            So if you own an RV, or towing any other vehicles with your RV, it would be wise to check with a certified shop to make sure the oil they use is meeting the various spec’s required by your vehicle. If you’re unsure, check your owner’s manual (that’s if you’ve still got it and not, like me, used it for toilet paper when stuck in the back country for four weeks). As for the supermarket oil that’s a steal at $2.99 for a twenty-litre pail? When you consider the cost of your average engine job - between $4,000 and $8,000 - that works out to about $20-$40 dollars for that cheap basically crude oil in a can. Not a bargain after all.

            And as for Jed Clampett, he went to California and bought forty acres in the middle of nowhere, decided to throw a big sign on the side of a hill after his adorable granddaughter Holly was born and the rest is history. Some people are born with horseshoes stuck to every part of their interiors. 

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Stillwaters Run Deep, Book One: Raven's Lament

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