Saturday, April 22, 2017

Never, Never, Ever Play Poker With Raccoons

Never, Never, Ever Play Poker With Raccoons

This is my after Easter blog post. Hey, everyone posts on Easter, thought more people would read it after. Especially the harassed Easter Bunny.
Which begs me to ask the question, how is it possible that a bunny lays colored eggs? But that’s just me, I often ask What if? Questions.
Like what if Santa flew on a sled pulled by reindeer? I’ve often wondered just how thick those long-johns of his are, mighty chilly up there all night long. You think he’d never make it over China or Russia without being shot down? I recon the underneath of his sled and the reindeer's hooves are coated in the same radar reflective Stealth Technology as the US Air Force uses. PS, since he’s been around a lot longer, I think he’s got the patents to it all and is basking in his royalty cheques in the off season (like the other 364 days). Man, now that’s a job I’d like to have.
 Back to today’s topic. I played poker the other day with two raccoons, Rocky and Ricky. They were twins I think, looked the same, but then they say that about us as well. “Humans, since they walk upright we can’t tell them apart as raccoons traditionally have bad eyesight and we can’t get glasses.”
I managed to lose by betting my outdoor statue, Stumpy on the outcome. See the video below and you’ll know what I mean.


I’m also in the process of starting my first Author’s Newsletter page. Go to my Facebook published author’s page, and on the left side you’ll see email signup.

And sign up. You could win some nifty free swag, like ah, I don’t know, let me look around the room. Oh, pencils, I’ve got some cool pencils. And dust, lots of dust. I can give away all of my dust. Man, why didn’t I think of this earlier.
As for the raccoons, they won, only to find out Stumpy is too big for them to take away. Raccoons don’t do take away, they eat everything on the spot.
So they rioted and pushed Stumpy over and tore up all of my tulips. Man, I wish they’d learn to use a lawnmower. I wouldn’t mind it if they cut my grass instead. But that’s a tale for another day.
And if you enjoy that, maybe my newest video promoting myself and my writing will bring a chuckle to you as well.

Purchase at Amazon
My HollyWood Blurb for Raven's Lament: When Harry Met Sally, slammed into Canada's Karate Kid, set in a Harry Potter backdrop and populated by Native Mythical Beings
Purchase at Amazon at 

Thunderbird's Wake, The Hollywood Blurb: Green Mile set on the west coast, screenplay by Agatha Christie, Directed by Quentin Tarantino. 

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.

Writer by soul. Karma the seed. Words born within.
Paper the medium. Pen the muse. Novels the fire.

My websites

Twitter: @FrankTalaber

Purchase at Amazon at

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What's a Cozy Mystery? by J.Q. Rose

Cozy mystery author J.Q. Rose
Dangerous Sanctuary available at the Books We Love bookstore

What's a Cozy Mystery? by J.Q. Rose

When my romantic suspense novel, Dangerous Sanctuary, was first released, I received this review from Susan B. "It was a delightful cozy, with some romance, some religion, and lots of mystery. This novel has an interesting cast of characters, humorous situations, and was filled with surprises."

As I read the review, I wondered how many readers had heard of a cozy mystery. How many writers? For sure, when I began writing Dangerous Sanctuary, formerly published as Coda to Murder, I wasn't thinking "cozy mystery." I just wanted to write what I like to read. 

I like stories with 
▶ a mystery and some humor, 
▶ a strong female protagonist, 
▶ not a lot of blood and gore, 
▶ and some sweet romance. 

I had to research police procedures for my novel, Dangerous Sanctuary.
I didn't choose a main character who was in law enforcement mainly because I have no experience with police methods.  Because there was a crime committed in my story, I had to research a few procedures. Thank goodness my neighbor was a policeman and a valuable resource.

Until I received Susan's review I never even considered I had written a cozy mystery! I definitely began looking into the elements needed to fit the qualifications for a cozy mystery and discovered my novel did fit into the cozy mystery genre. Most authors and readers agree on the following points:
1. The investigator is not a professional in law enforcement In Dangerous Sanctuary the female pastor is the sleuth.
2. The main character's vocation is different and interesting. I thought a female minister fit the vocation requirement very well
3. The crime is usually murder, but not a lot of gory description
4. Quite often the story takes place in a small town.or a place where the investigator has contact with many people e.g. the church members. 
5.  Romance, but no explicit sex.

Abraham the pig has become quite a star in the cozy mystery, Dangerous Sanctuary.
Do you read cozy mysteries? What do you like about this genre? Please leave a comment below. If you have other elements to define a cozy mystery, please add them in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks.

Find several talented cozy mystery authors at the BWL bookstore.

Connect online with JQ Rose
J.Q. Rose blog

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

From Bedroom to Book: Chili Run by Stuart R. West

From pillow to page...

Despite the rather enticing, come-hither title of this post (gotcha!), I'm not going to start writing erotica.

Rather, it's a round-about way to chat up my new comedy thriller, Chili Run.
Sorry, sorry, sorry, a kazillion times sorry!
Let's back up...

I have a vividly wild dream life, ranging from talking cat gangstas to bathrooms that eat people. After these strange dreams--during that oddly drifting, half-awake, half-asleep state of mind where the dreams still somewhat resemble logic--I think, "Hey! This would make a nifty book!"

Then, I wake up and think, "Man, what was I thinking?" No one wants to read an epic fantasy novel about a family of royal lions who fly 1930's fighter planes to save the kingdom. I shower, go about my day, the dreams drifting away like cottonwood in the wind.

This wasn't the case with Chili Run. This dream stuck with me, absurd though it was. I toyed with it, determined to find a way to make it work. I knew what the gist was; now I had the unenviable task of trying to make sense of it.

Well, here...the blurb says it best:

When Wendell Worthy decides to blow off laundry for the day, he has no idea he'll soon be running across downtown Kansas City in his tighty-whities. But a murderous, psychotic drug dealer has his brother and the ransom's a cup of chili that has to be delivered within two hours.  The catch? There are rules in place: no rides, no money, no help. And Wendell has to do it in his underwear. Regardless of the rules, he knows he can’t go it alone. The only person downtown who might help is Alicia. Too bad their one and only date ended in disaster. Wendell can run like the devil’s on his tail, and he’s gonna’ need to, because all sorts of hell’s about to break loose.

Okay, I know dream analysts are gonna have a field day with the subject matter. There's the requisite recurring nightmare of being caught out in public in your underwear (or nude). I pay it full tribute and absolutely own it.

Researching the book was a bear. To accurately describe downtown, Kansas City, my wife patiently drove me around so I could plot out Wendell's trajectory and, I hope, paint a unique, darkly comic, nightmare vista.

While there's a streak (ugh on the pun!) of humor running (again, ugh.) through the book, it's not as in-your-face, silly as my Zach and Zora comic mysteries, but it's a cousin of sorts. (There's even a quick connection for eagle-eyed readers to the aforementioned series, cementing it in the same universe). Here the stakes are higher and lives are hanging in the balance.

For me, the book's kind of an experiment. As Wendell runs through most of the book, I strove to keep the book moving along from one bizarre and dangerous adventure to the next. It's told in "real time," too, kinda' like the TV series 24 (while writing it, the soundtrack in my head consisted of that annoying "ka-ching, ka-chung" of 24's clock running down; plenty of aspirin were consumed).

What I thought was going to be an easy-peasy, cakewalk of a book turned into a huge struggle due to the above-mentioned reasons and more. I mean, honestly, how many different ways can you describe running?

Along the way, just like my protagonist's character, themes developed and grew, some understated, some not so much. It's about racism, writing, and above all--most surprising--it turned into a love story.

All in a little book about a guy running through public in his tighty-whities trying to save his dumb brother's life.

Chili Run: The perfect thriller for the reader on the go.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sailing , Sailing.... By Nancy M Bell

His Brother's Bride Book 2 in the Canadian Historical Brides series. Click here for more info on this title.

When you all read this I will be sailing the ocean blue. At least it better be blue and sunny and hot. It's time for a break after a long winter of writing and researching. My contribution to Books We Love Canadian Historical Brides series released March 1. I'm excited about it and it has garnered some very nice reviews.
But back to the break, May 7 will be our 40th anniversary so Doug and I are taking a Panama Canal Cruise aboard the Coral Princess. A bit early, but that's okay. We leave April 16 to fly to Fort Lauderdale via Toronto, then the next day we board the ship at Port Everglades. We arrive in Los Angeles on May 2 and then fly home. We've done this cruise before with a bit of a different itinerary. The first time we went west to east, ending up in Fort Lauderdale. While it was a wonderful trip, going west to east means you lose three hours as you pass though the different time zones. SO....This time we are going east to west which means three more hours of sleep for me!

We start in Fort Lauderdale, then we stop in Aruba, Cartagena Columbia, then through the canal (which takes a full day and the captain turns the ship over to the canal pilot for the day), after we reach the Pacific the next port is Puntarenus Costa Rica (which means Sandy Spit), then San Juan del Sur Nicaragua, Huatulco Mexico and Puerto Vallarta Mexico before docking in LA.

Below are some photos from our last cruise through the canal...See you in May!

In the Canal headed east.

Costa Rica Mangrove Swamp

First two are Costa Rica, then Cartagena Columbia

Til next month, stay well stay happy!

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Writing Style - Janet Lane Walters - Panster or Plotter

Past Betrayals, Past Loves

Had some problem getting in this morning but problem solved.  I've noticed people have been writing about their way of writing.

I'm always asked this question. Are you a Plotter or a Panster? I answer, I'm neither or maybe both. This puzzles people but it's the way I work. Let's look at my way.

I tell myself a story when I'm going to sleep each night. Some idea has caught me that I would like to explore. I create a title. I can't tell my story unless I have a title The nightly story telling continues until I can see my characters. Then I must give them names. Until I have the names puzzled out, I can't write the book. Then I look at the title and see if the title still works. Then I set down the story I've told myself on paper.

The story I've told myself now takes form but there are no details just the bare bones. It's sort of like those Dick and Jane stories we read as children or a fairytale only the structure is there.  Then I sit down and write the story letting those ideas I've jotted down take form and towing me where I will go. But I know the ending I'm searching for, sometimes in full detail. This forms the rough draft which at times is a scrambled mess.  I once wrote this out in about 40,000 words in forty-eight hours.

Now the story is there and I go through looking for Plot holes, Character Flaws, Setting Needs, Dialogue and Language. Then the book is done.

Can you tell me if I'm a Plotter or a Panster? I believe I'm both.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Writing Game, by J.C. Kavanagh

Best Young Adult Book, P&E Readers' Award, The Twisted Climb

There are times when I sit in front of the computer impatiently waiting for the words to appear, my fingers hanging precariously over the keyboard. It's when the story and the characters get hung-up on, well - something - I guess it's - indecisiveness. Yes, it is. It's when the 'swings' in the playground of my mind move back and forth, back and forth, without rhythm and without harmony. Slowing..... stalling.

That's when I have to regroup and play 'The Writing Game.' Ever heard of it? Ever try it? My South Simcoe Writers' group plays it on a regular basis and this is how you play: Pick three things - a place, an action and a job title.

Then - write.

It's like lacing your fingers together and then cracking your knuckles before playing the piano. Except that you're bending the filaments of your imagination. Craaack.

Here's an example: hurricane; taxi; Private Detective.

My resulting story:

by J.C. Kavanagh
The air crackled around her, charged with the residue of the lingering storm. Streaks and ragged arrows of lightning flared in the sky, illuminating the 'Off Duty' sign on the roof of the taxi and giving the interior of the vehicle a ghostly glow.
This is going to be a long night, she thought, adjusting her position behind the wheel. Reaching upward, she angled the rear-view mirror and examined her face closely. The checkered cap was jauntily in place and the starched shirt collar completed the deception. Her pale face, devoid of makeup, was unremarkable. Even her mousey brown hair was bland.
I'm perfect.
She exhaled slowly, shifting the monster-lensed camera in her lap. Large droplets of rain fell on the windshield, heralding the onset of the Category 4 hurricane.
Her target should be arriving soon.
The trees surrounding the hotel began to bend in unison, as if bowing to the greater powers of the storm. The swinging neon sign hanging beside the front doors squealed in revolt and the "Welcome NASA" display blinked in a repetitive three-second pattern.
Nonetheless, the taxi driver kept her attention focused on the gaudy orange bus parked 50 metres ahead as it idled quietly in the rage of the storm, waiting for conference attendees to board. It seemed silently insolent, its painted orange glare a shiny bruise in front of the murderous blue storm clouds.
She raised the camera and focused the enormous telephoto lens on the door of the bus, preparing to shoot.
She jolted in surprise and quickly lowered the camera. The rear passenger door opened and a man slid in, holding a wet, folded newspaper above his head.
"This cab is out of service," she said curtly, glancing in the rear-view mirror.
"Not anymore," he replied.
She looked behind and gasped. It was him, her target.
He pulled a gun out from the fold of the newspaper and pointed it at her head.


A Kavanagh-clan castle, circa 1100 AD.

In last month's blog, I wrote a wee bit about my Irish ancestry - the Kings of Leinster. I'm still going through reams of information on this fascinating family that I call my own (without the crown of course. Or the castles.) More to come in future blogs.

Have a wonderful and peaceful Easter weekend!

J.C. Kavanagh
The Twisted Climb
BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers' Poll
A novel for teens, young adults and adults young at heart.
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)

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...