Saturday, April 9, 2016


New Releases


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Bonfire of the Business Casual by Gail Roughton

I've never been a clothes horse. I don't even like to shop. I mean, how many blouses or dresses can you flip through on the racks before they all run together and look alike? And slacks? Don't get me started. Maybe all black pants aren't created equal but after flipping through five or six of them, let alone ten, they sure seem to be. At least to me. Consequently, I frequently leave a store empty-handed after spending hours of careful consideration on what goes with what and what would work with what's already in my closet. Bleh. 

But praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, that's not something I'll have to worry about too much in the future 'cause I'm no longer a working woman. At least, not in the get up and go to the office sense of the word.  I'm retired.  I know everybody's getting tired of hearing that and I apologize but it's something I worked and waited for for so long I just can't stop myself. And one of the greatest fringe benefits of that is not getting up and sorting through the dreaded business casuals of my closet so as to walk out the door looking both semi-professional and feeling comfortable. 'Cause I tell you what, pants suits and business suits in general, not to mention dresses, let alone heels and I parted company a long time ago.  Nowadays, because spring has sprung down South,  it's jeans and tee shirts and Nikes. Soon to be shorts and tees and sandals, 'cause full summer's peaking its head over the horizon. When fall and winter approach, it'll be jeans and sweatpants, flannel shirts and sweatshirts. 

I actually considered burning the business casuals that I've worn ad nauseum for the past several years. And a couple of pieces probably need it, 'cause they've been worn to death.  Still, the practical side of me spoke up and reminded that occasionally I'd probably still need to dress "appropriately", so I restrained myself from building an actual bonfire and settled for an imaginary bonfire.  Good thing, too, because yesterday I ventured out of the country and drove myself into the big city to meet "my" girls for lunch.  (I think that's maybe the third time I've actually driven in the last three weeks and the other two times were just up the road and still inside the city limits of little ol' J'ville.) Even then, I didn't go full-blown business casual, I paired white jeans with a nice top and "real" shoes. And you know what? I actually enjoyed being semi-dressed up again. It's really nice every now and then, even if it's something I'll never miss on an everyday basis.  That thought made me more sympathetic toward one of my heroines, Tess Ames of Vanished. Talk about a culture shock. I mean, there she was, an up and coming career business woman on the fast track, all decked out in her power suits. A dense fog in the Bermuda Triangle, a plane crash, a different world. Literally. Talk about a bonfire of the business casual...

Find all Gail Roughton titles at

You can also visit at her Blog and on Facebook

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sugar Detox...part one by Jamie Hill

The Blame Game Boxed Set at Amazon

I've been cooking for one for the past four months. And by cooking I mean mostly driving through fast food restaurants, because my late husband was the chief cook and grocery shopper at my house. (Notice I didn't say bottle washer-- that was always me!) He LOVED to wander the supermarket aisles and then come home and try all kinds of new recipes. Personally, I would rather have a root canal. 

I've managed to keep myself alive, but just barely. It's not that I don't know how to cook. I ran a daycare for twenty-one years and did my share of cooking. I just don't LIKE it. (Did I tell you he LOVED it?) I've gone in spurts. One week I'd plan, shop, and stick to my meal plan for a couple solid days until my fast food craving kicked in and I'd have to swing through McDonald's. (Please don't judge. Like the tagline for my favorite new show, Bloodline, says, "I'm not a bad person, I just did a bad thing.") Some weeks I'd only eat out. The price tag on that approach got hefty.

Now that my work clothes are getting tight and spring is in the air, I've made the decision to turn this ship around. (Anyone else calls my rear end ship and I'll deck them.) I found a twelve week challenge online which is actually part of a widow's group I've been following. The kicker is they are all about CLEAN eating. My idea of clean eating is not dripping ice cream on my chest. Apparently it means a whole lot more than that.

Come to find out, it really means eating whole foods, not processed, with no extra sugar. In fact, I'm supposed to be detoxing from sugar for the first three weeks. Mind you, I read that little factoid while I was finishing off a bag of Bob's Sweet Stripes soft peppermint balls. The bag said they were Kosher certified so I took that as healthy. (Just kidding!)

My new lifestyle program consists of lean protein, complex carbs, fruits and veggies. And exercise. Somebody put me out of my misery now.

The thing I am excited about is the community of members and the support I'll be getting. There was a fee to join the challenge so hopefully that will motivate me to keep at it. When the month is over, I hope I won't have spent as much on the program and clean food as I did the way I was eating. But time will tell. I'll report back next month.

Find my novels including The Blame Game boxed set pictured above on my Books We Love page:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Books We Love's Tantalizing Talent ~ Author Nancy M. Bell

Nancy Marie Bell is a proud Albertan and Canadian. She lives near Balzac, Alberta with her husband and various critters. She is an animal rights advocate and works with and fosters rescue animals. This is why there are always an assortment of animal characters in her work. Storm the dog from the Longview stories, and the horses in The Cornwall Adventures for example. 
She loves the mystery and myths that abound in Celtic legends and can often be found reading ancient manuscripts on the Sacred Texts website. This interest is reflected in her urban fantasy series The Cornwall Adventures and the new Arabella’s Secret series. Nancy is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta. She has publishing credits in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.

YA Fantasy
Laurel’s Quest   Book 1 The Cornwall Adventures
A Step Beyond  Book 2 The Cornwall Adventures
Go Gently  Book 3 The Cornwall Adventures
Romance Fantasy
The Selkie’s Song  Book 1 Arabella’s Secret

Contemporary Western Romance
Storm’s Refuge  A Longview Romance
Come Hell or High Water  A Longview Romance
A Longview Christmas  A Longview Romance Novella

Historical Fiction
No Absolution   writing as N.M. Bell

The Selkie’s Song
Arabella Angarrick wants nothing more than to leave Penzance behind and study nursing in London. Her Da has other plans for her though. Arabella would rather throw herself off the cliffs of Lamorna Cove than marry Daniel Treliving. On one of her rambles across the moors on her pony, Arabella meets a dark and handsome young man who captures her fancy. There is something strange about him, but that only makes him more intriguing. Headstrong and stubborn, Arabella sets out to chart her own course in life, but things take an unexpected turn. Vear Du rescues her from danger, but can he protect her from himself?

Come Hell or High Water
Michelle Wilson has the world by the tail. Cale loves her and she loves him. Storm is happy and healthy. To top it off, Michelle has qualified for the Calgary Stampede. She can’t wait to barrel race for a chance at $100,000 on Showdown Sunday. All her dreams are coming true; nothing could possibly spoil her happiness. Could it? Shelly, her brother’s new girlfriend seems a tad too interested in her old friend Cale Benjamin. And what’s with Michelle’s ex-fiancé Rob who keeps popping up in the most unexpected places. Why can’t his brand new wife Kayla keep a tighter rein on that cowboy?

No Absolution

Jake Winncott has a troubled past and living in the cesspool of London’s East End in the Victorian era isn’t helping to ease his mind any. Bedeviled by his dead father’s evangelistic shade, Jake sets out do his bidding and cleanse the tainted women of Whitechapel in their own heart’s blood. This is Jack the Ripper as he has never been portrayed. The author takes the reader deep into the tormented heart of the man he might have been and explores a fictional past that might explain his savagery. While the text is gritty at times, and roughly follows the historical timeline of the facts, Jake Wincott is purely a figment of the author’s imagination. N. M. Bell gives the infamous mad man a human face.

Find Nancy at Books We Love

Strange and Unholy Doings by Katherine Pym

London Bridge on Southwark side

Once upon a time, the London Bridge was made of wood. During this time, ferries were popular. These ferries would ply up and down the Thames, taking goods, livestock and people from one side of the river to the other.

John Overs was a ferryman. His route was where the Bridge would eventually be designed & built. He suffered from parsimony and eventually became a wealthy man. He garnered many servants, trained several apprentices and allowed his only daughter, Mary, to be educated (in an inexpensive way).

It is said John Overs’ wealth rivaled the richest Alderman in London but his house, his clothes compared with the poorest inhabitant of the city.

As Mary grew into a lovely woman, men began to hound John Overs. They wanted to marry his daughter, but John reckoned they only wanted his money. He never let these eager swains near or to see Mary. He shut her in and guarded the door. Eventually, John allowed one fellow to meet his daughter, which went very well indeed. The young man and Mary agreed to marry.

But John didn’t want to put out the money for a dower. He procrastinated. Quite some time passed, and John’s miserliness grew. He watched what his servants ate, what they wore, how they abused his good nature.

More ferries
During this time, when a master died, the household was plunged into 24 hours of fasting, prayer and the gnashing of teeth. John Overs decided to pretend he was dead. He would save money by not having to feed his household for a full day. He would also see how much his household loved him.

Mary Overs did not approve, but as a pious, honorable woman, she obeyed her father. She wrapped him in winding sheets. He lay on the bed as a dead man, one burning candle at his head and one at his feet. Soon, the household knew their master was dead.

As John lay in the bed, he was astonished to find the household burst into joy. They broke into all the stores, tuned their instruments and feasted. They danced around his body and drank all his beer and wine.

John Overs was outraged. He could not believe what was happening and struggled with the winding sheets. To the servants, the devil had entered the chamber. He would rise in John Overs’ likeness and take possession of the household, the servants and apprentices. The devil would drive them to the depths of hell rather than a merry flight to heaven.

As John continued to wrench free of the cloths, a brave fellow took hold of a stout object and felled him with a heavy blow, breaking John Overs’ skull and ‘struck out his brains’.

As for John Overs’ daughter, she wrote to her fiancé telling him of her father’s demise. The young man was in the country, and so eager was he to gain the daughter and now her inheritance, leapt onto his mount. He drove his horse down the highway at breakneck speed. His horse tumbled, throwing the young man into the dirt of the road where he broke his neck and died.

Poor Mary Overs. Crushed by what had happened, she went into the nunnery and gave all her money to the church. Almost on the site of the ferry landing in Southwark, a convent was built. Later, it evolved into St Mary Overie’s Church, now Southwark Cathedral.

Archeologists and historians have tried to dispute this story, stating a convent had been on this site since the 7th century, but I prefer to believe the story true. When something like this makes the rounds for a long time, there must be a seed of truth. Going a little bit further, I also believe myths and folklore are based on truth.

And there you have it. I will stick to this until someone waves a sheaf of papers filled with proof in my face.

Many thanks to:
Abbott, Geoffrey. The Gruesome History of Old London Bridge, Eric Dobby Publishing, Ltd, Kent, UK, 2008
Wikicommons, Public Domain

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...