Saturday, February 25, 2017

Randall Sawka, the Continuing Journey

Our journey, which turned out literally to be around the world, enters the home stretch. The six months living (we basically lived with the locals and avoided tourist spots) in England was amazing. Mostly amazingly dry. We arrived in late September and depart in late February and have had five to six days of rain. This was not at all what we expected. We love Weymouth on the south coast. Plenty of hikes.

Check out Randall's Books We Love author page for more on  his books.

The city also boasts many great coffee shops. We grew close to Coffee 1 as my main writing spot, it is a chain that makes Nancy's favourite, pumpkin spice lattes and an interesting thing called Cornish lemonade for me. They lack WiFi, so I get far more writing done without distraction. Except the charm of my lovely wife, of course. Another excellent place was on the Oceanside about a two hour walk from our apartment. He I scribbled down some words and celebrated with cake, a favourite in the UK. The one that looks like it has cherries on top is actually cherry cake. Our first time for that flavour.

This coming weekend is our last one here, but will be spent in Salisbury, a short train ride away. During my local promotion of my novels a country western club invited us to a dance Saturday night. Yee Haa.

My latest novel is coming along nicely. It is the first time I've written a book out of sequence. It is an. Interesting experience. I'll soon be busy sorting out the section and blending the ideas. The nice thing about doing the book this way is that I can dive in to the ideas as they pop in to my head rather than search for the next bit as needed. The ideas have been slow materializing or appear in wave-after-wave.

We will be back in Canada March 29th, jet lagged I'm sure, but happy we took this year to travel.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

What meet an alien?

What meet an alien? Thought provoking question, right?

Hi everyone. I’m DK Davis, author of Secret: In Wolf Lake, a YA sci-fi, fantasy adventure starring Samantha Parks. Her experience brings to light my own thoughts of ‘aliens walk among us’…and what if I met one? LOL Seriously, though, I did think about this, a lot when I was younger…and honestly, I’m not sure all of those thoughts have left the building. *grins*

I had an imaginative childhood. Yea, I had a few good friends, and three sisters that kept me fairly busy (me being the oldest and the responsible one), but I also had a wild imagination. Besides the inner search of my “soul belief,” (I was pretty young when I realized there was more to me than a mere physical body) I also believed that there has to be more than humans in all the galaxies of the universe.

Didn’t you back then?  How about now?

Science Fiction fed me for most of my life, so did the Sci-fi shows and movies…and then fantasy and the paranormal…and supernatural. I loved / love all of it. Like an addiction or craving, I can never get enough.

Imagination is at the core of creative story ideas…like the “what if”—I meet an alien?
How would it appear? Like a human, like a scary entity covered with wart-like oozing growths or tentacles that look like rat tails, or how about like a supernatural being…as in vampire, werewolf, any kind of shifter? Eyes glow, face blaze red, veins are dark blue when angered…and what would anger it?

My alien would appear human, at least for part of the time, because it would have the ability to “glamor” itself (change its appearance to look like anything or anyone). It would also have empathy for the human race and all the beings that share our planet. (It is my imagination at work here, after all) *grins*

It would want to right all the wrongs we as humans are doing to our planet. Most likely it would be some kind of advocate for all the right things to do for our planet to make it healthy. Naturally it would come from another galaxy and know exactly the steps required for Earth and all its beings.

We (the alien and I) would be drawn together by instinct – it would have the ability to read my mind…and perhaps I would share that same ability. Together, we’d right the wrongs. (I love being the hero – or at least one of the heroes; )

But, of course, we’d have to get past the naysayers – those afraid of the “unknown.” And, how will we do that?

And if we don’t get past those negative, close-minded beings, there’d be certain apocalyptic events, so a good dollop of building tension…will we succeed?

Well, just great, now we’re talking end of the world because of people fearing my alien friend. There definitely will NOT be a total annihilation of our Earth. Those darn naysayers will have to take a backseat and roll their windows up. I won’t hear any more of it. Geesh!

It is my story after all (another reminder)…about my alien and me.
Have you ever thought about aliens living among us? Come on…be honest, you’ve never thought about it?

Tell me something. Use that wild imagination of yours. It’s fun to play, you can call it brainstorming if that makes you feel better.

So, what would the alien you meet look like? And would he/she have any superpowers? Curious minds want to know; )

DK Davis writes YA sci-fi, supernatural, and fantasy with a good dollop of all the relationships woven in between. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, spending time with grandchildren or her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.
You can find her at these links:

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

February is the Month for Love by Victoria Chatham

February is not only the shortest month of the year but also the month in which St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated, the day when lovers traditionally declare their love and give each other gifts. However, history is hazy as to whom, exactly, Valentine was but there’s a strong possibility that any one of seven priests known as Valentine could be a contender. The two most likely candidates are St. Valentine, a bishop of Rome and St. Valentine, the first bishop of Interamna in Terni, a town in Umbria.
Our first St. Valentine lived during the reign of Claudius II who had something of a problem with his army. After engaging in several unpopular campaigns, married men simply refused to join up. Claudius understood this, so he banned engagements and marriages thinking that a single man had less incentive to stay at home. But St. Valentine, bishop of Rome, continued to marry couples in secret after Claudius had banned the ceremony. For this, and then refusing to renounce Christianity, Valentine was clubbed, stoned and beheaded on February 14th in Ad 269 or 270.
The second Valentine who might have been a contender for the title came to an equally unpleasant end. For the crime of marrying a pagan man to a Christian woman, he was scourged, imprisoned and beheaded on February 14th during the same period.
This for the Romans was the time of Festivals of Purification and Fertility, which took place from February 13th to 18th, and were dedicated to peace, love and household goods. But, on February 14th, the Romans celebrated Lupercalia – likely dedicated to Juno-Lupa, the She-Wolf. If you remember the story, Rome was reputed to have been founded by the twins, Romulus and Remus. They were raised by a she-wolf in a cave in the Palatine Hills and it was close to that cave that the festival took place.
In AD 496 Pope Gelasius declared February 14th to be the Feast Day of St. Valentine, patron saint of lovers and engaged couples. During this time young Roman men took to courting the young women they admired with handwritten greetings of undying love and affection. If this mutual admiration resulted in marriage then, to prove to the father of the bride that his new son-in-law had his bride’s best intentions at heart, the groom gave the bride a ring. This is believed to be the earliest time for a ring to be incorporated into the marriage ceremony.
During the medieval era, this tradition carried on when couples would put their own names in a box and then be drawn in pairs. Each couple would exchange gifts and the girl would be the man’s sweetheart for a year. He was duty bound during that year to protect her and wore her ribbon on his sleeve. The end of the year usually culminated in a wedding. These were the origins of what was called courtly love.
In 1382 Geoffrey Chaucer in his Parliament of Foules wrote ‘For this was St. Valentine’s Day when every bird cometh there to choose his mate’, and in 1537 Henry VIII, he of the six wives, declared by Royal charter that England would celebrate February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day, the traditional date for exchanging love messages and simple gifts. It was during the 1500’s that paper valentines began to appear and were known as poetical or amorous addresses.
Then there were the romantic poets and playwrights down through the ages from Shakespeare (When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew), to Christopher Marlow (Come live with me and be my love), John Donne (I wonder by my troth, what thou and I did before we loved?) and on through Lord Byron, Shelley, Keats and numerous other poets.
During the early 1700’s Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art known as the Language of Flowers to Europe. This attributed flowers with certain symbolic meanings, something the
Victorians took to heart as a means for a love-stricken swain to send clandestine messages to his intended. Chocolates came into the market in the mid-1800’s when Richard Cadbury invented a way to mix chocolate and cocoa butter to make sweeter, more edible chocolate. The resulting sweet treats were sold in fancy boxes and the Victorians snapped them up.
British artist Kate Greenway, 1846-1901, was well known for her Valentine cards and Esther Howland, 1828 – 1904, started making handmade cards but demand outstripped her capabilities and she began mass production of them in the US and the UK. These penned romantic verses continue in modern Valentine cards with a mind-boggling 190 million cards being sent last year in the US alone.
More latterly diamonds, the so-called King of Gems, have been become a popular Valentine’s gift whether in the form of earrings, necklaces or bracelets. The ancient source of diamonds was India but today the top five diamond-producing countries in the world are Russia, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, and Canada. South Africa, once a major producer of diamonds, is now at the bottom of that list. Diamonds are found in primary and secondary deposits of alluvial gravel, sand or clay. The rarest of all diamonds, the red diamond, is still only found in India. At the time of its sale in 1987, the Hancock Red was the most expensive per-carat gemstone ever sold at auction. Scientists are still not one hundred percent sure what gives a red diamond its colour. In 1475 Ludwig von Berquen, a Dutch lapidary, invented a way of cutting flat surfaces on gemstones, thereby increasing their brilliance. The best-known shapes are Princess, Pear, Marquise, and Emerald but for a breath-taking sparkling diamond ring, choose a round brilliant cut diamond.
However, whatever the real origins of St. Valentine’s Day, whatever the gift, the best tradition of February 14th is always the declaration of true love.

 For more about Victoria go to:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Shaman A Day Keeps the Woos-woos Away

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A Shaman A Day Keeps the Woos-woos Away

People often ask me after reading one of my Stillwaters Run Deep books involving the Haida Ska-ga or shaman, Charlie Stillwaters, have I ever done anything woo-woo in my life.
Well I’ve done a lot of crazy things including: white water rafting on the Grand Canyon, bungee-jumping (in a tuxedo), firewalking over a bed of hot coals, and got married four times. Sorry, the last one was merely a joke. Hope the ladies don’t send their woo-woo stuff after me after that remark or their lawyers.
Actually if you ask my current wife, Jenny, she would definitely tell you I’ve got woo-wooness running in my bones. She gets mad, because I’ll often say something and she responds with “How did you know I was just thinking that?” Her nickname for me is Spooky Mulder (after what’s his name from the X-files.
I have pretty good intuition, well except for picking winning lottery numbers. I did many Self Improvement courses, (the Context series), amazing learnings, if anyone is interested. One time we had to perform a major incomplete before the course ended. The idea being to free up space in our lives by finishing any incompletes which would be draining energy from us.
At that time I had missed going to my friend Eric’s funeral. He was a dragster fan and I had this vision of always putting the Snake and the Mongoose (two top professional NHRA dragsters) on his gravestone. I had the Mattel Hot Wheels models he’d given me.
So one day at work I had this woo-woo feeling that today was the day. I phoned about four cemeteries and no one had records of him being buried there. I gave up, but my guts said today is the day and I knew I had to do this. So I remember opening the Yellow Pages (remember those) and saying to myself if I had to make one more call which one to make. This one number in the book drew my attention and I made the call.
She asked, “how did you know this man?”
I told her the story.
“He’s my brother in law,” she replied.  “I’m here on temporary relief for two weeks, don’t usually have to answer the phone, but the call person is on a lunch break. He is also buried under his mother’s Maiden name and if you don’t know that you’ll never find him.” She was correct, because I had called that cemetery and they said no one by that name is buried there.
I thanked her and told her the real reason for my calling. I think she was as amazed as I was and later in the summer I went to his grave and left the two race cars on his tombstone.
I have lots of other wild stories, but I like that one. So if someone asks, I guess it just feels natural for me to write about Shamans and those unexplainable bizarre events that make you go, “hmm.” Perhaps the gypsy blood inside.

Oh, and if you’re wondering yes, I’m still currently married to my English mad wife, Jenny. Who swears she has to wear a tinfoil hat every time we play any kind of games, because I read her mind all the time. Now, if I can just get those lottery numbers.

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Thunderbird's Wake Endorsements

Just when I was beginning to wonder where the next great Canadian story teller would emerge from, Frank Talaber has written a modern crime mystery with a twist. In “Thunderbird’s Wake” Talaber weaves the richness of Canada’s west coast aboriginal spirituality into the science of modern forensics. CSI comes to Haida Gwaii as the shaman and the detective conduct an investigation that will take them and the reader on a journey to a place where murder, redemption and ancient mysticism intersect.
Michael G de Jong, QC
Minister of Finance, Government House Leader,
Province of British Columbia

There are many aspects true to First Nation’s beliefs. For example the transformation of animals and anomalies within our realm. Frank Talaber’s writing is clear and concise, leaving no grey areas. But his true talent as a writer is not only a sense of time, history and capturing First Nation’s humor, but going from the real to the surreal and the supernatural. A gift he plies very well.
Tom Patterson
Nuu-Cha-Nulth Artist and Master Carver 

Back Cover Blurb
Agatha Christie, roll over in your grave, new sleuths on the prowl.  Haida shaman Charlie Stillwaters convinces Carol Ainsworth, a Vancouver detective, to join him as he breaks his way into a high security prison. The duo are determined to find out who killed the previous native elder before all lightning and thunder breaks loose. They encounter deranged inmates, mystical beings, ancient serpents, wood sprites and someone who should have been dead long ago.
Not your usual crime/mystery!
Not your usual criminal investigators!
You thought Jack Nicholson was mad in The Shining
Wait until you meet Charlie Stillwaters in the Sweat lodge.

Frank Talaber’s Writing Style? He usually responds with: Mix Dan Millman (Way of The Peaceful Warrior) with Charles De Lint (Moonheart) and throw in a mad scattering of Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get The Blues). 
PS: He’s better looking than Stephen King (Carrie, The Stand, It, The Shining) and his romantic stuff will have you gasping quicker than Robert James Waller (Bridges Of Madison County).
Or as is often said: You don’t have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps.

Website Links:
Main website:

Twitter: @FrankTalaber

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Awesome New Releases from Books We Love

 New releases from Books We Love


 Find more new releases here

Monday, February 20, 2017

What's in a Name? by J.Q. Rose

For more information about BWL books by J.Q. Rose , 
and to purchase, please visit J.Q.'s 
The month of February is known for cupids, hearts, romance and love. It’s the perfect time of year to remember Shakespeare’s famous love story, Romeo and Juliet. This is my favorite passage from the play.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
Juliet-"What's in a name?"
By any other name would smell as sweet."

In this famous scene Juliet asks what’s in a name. She answers by telling Romeo Montague that a name is meaningless. She loves the person who is called "Montague," not the Montague name and not the Montague family. 

Alas, Juliet is wrong about a name being meaningless as far as writers and readers are concerned.

As a writer, I've discovered a name helps to convey to the reader a character's personality. If writing a story set in Victorian times, an author would not choose Jayden or Madison, the popular names in 2010. Names also help to establish the setting of the novel. Arapaho Valley conjures up a setting in the West, not in an Eastern city. Do you agree?

A strong, powerfully built hero would probably not be named Herbert. How about that gorgeous sexy blonde character at the bar? A name like Edith just does not evoke the matching image in the reader’s mind. (But it would be a fun twist to name her Edith anyway.)

When penning my romantic suspense novel, Dangerous Sanctuary,I tried several contemporary names for my main character who is a female minister. In a moment of creative energy, the name Christine swirled through my brain. I knew that was exactly the name I had been searching for. Later I discovered the meaning of the name is "follower of Christ." 

Think about the name of your favorite character in a book you've read. I love Mark Twain’s Huck Finn. There just is no other name that would fit that adventurous kid. In Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, what better name than Lula for that wild and crazy lady of the night and Morelli for the sexy rogue policeman?

When it comes to naming characters, what’s in a name? Everything!


Books We Love and author J.Q. Rose are celebrating this month of love by offering the romantic suspense, Dangerous Sanctuary FREE today, February 20. 

About J.Q.
After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction. Her published mysteries are Deadly Undertaking  and Dangerous Sanctuary released by 
Author J.Q. Rose
Books We Love Publishing. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She spends winters in Florida and summers up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Old-Fashioned Thrills & Chills by Stuart R. West

Click here to find out about Stuart R. Wests books.

As a thriller writer in the 21st century, several things gum me up. Like a bug caught in a fly-strip, though, I keep struggling, fluttering my wings over the keyboard.

Technology has stomped on good ol’-fashioned thrills and chills. Edge of the seat, run for your life suspense sequences have morphed into guys looking at computer screens. Bah. If I desired that as entertainment, I would’ve never left the corporate sector. (There is one minor plus, though: in books, you don’t smell the “cubicle odor.”)

I liked the old thrillers when finding a phone booth and a quarter qualified as a life-saver. Nowadays, characters stop at Starbucks, get their java on, plug in, and cybernetically—magically!—find whatever they want. Computers and the “geeks” who wizard over them pull off a seemingly endless stream of deus ex machina. There’s always a guy who can “hack” into any database.  Always. In nanoseconds! Like on all of those TV police procedurals where the stereotypical “goth” girl pulls up information on anybody with hi-tech equipment dreamed up in some writer’s head.

Having said that, I, too, have used “that guy” in my suspense series, Killers Incorporated. These days, it’s hard to ignore technology. But I generally strive to take the road less traveled, working hard to earn my thrills the old school route. Lots of chases, brawls, explosions, double-crosses, unsavory characters, etc. And yes, there’s still “that guy” when I get stumped on a plot point.

I try not to use “that guy” too much. As a writer, he makes me lazy. Predictable. Ultimately boring.
Sigh. But nowadays “that guy” is an unfortunate necessary evil.
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Another change I’ve noticed in thrillers is a heavy reliance on psychology. Back in the day, thriller writers never offered reasons why jerks threw wheelchair-bound old ladies downstairs. They just did it. Gleefully so. No reader really lost sleep over the reason behind it either. The villain just epitomized evil and that was good enough for an earlier, starkly good-or-evil (innocent in a way) era.
These days, readers want “motivation.” Background. Why are the villains evil? 

I dunno, ask my high school bullies. They never offered any reasons for their behavior. But it was always painfully clear who to run from.

Is it pure coincidence that the first four letters of “analysis” are “anal?” I think not. Freud, I’m looking at you. Regardless, nowadays more sophisticated thriller readers demand reasons behind villains’ psychotic behavior. Back stories involving horrible bed-wetting, whatever. Fine, I’ll cop to supplying background motivation to most of my serial killers in the Killers Incorporated trilogy. Except it takes out some of the mystique, the fun of their villainy. That’s why I never delve into “The Man with the Shoebox’s” past. Some things are better off left unstated and he’s one of my favorite characters for it (Just what is in his shoebox anyway?).

Today’s thriller readers like the world of high-tech espionage, populated with rooms full of spies punching buttons and breaking into covert databases. Me? I still prefer heroes who punch faces and physically break into evil corporations’ headquarters. That’s the Killers Incorporated trilogy, an ode to good ol’ fashioned thrills and chills, topped with a dose of sardonic black humor.
One click away from finding out how the action-packed saga concludes!

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...