Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bad Day in a Banana Hammock by Stuart R. West

For a Listing of Stuart R. West's Books and Purchase Links, Click Here for Stuart R. West's Books We Love Author's Page!  
About Stuart R. West
Author Stuart R. West, just like his smarty-pants books, thinks he's funny. Yet over the years, his family, teachers, bosses, and wife have told him it's just not so. You be the judge.

 Zach wakes up with no memory, no phone, and no clothes except his stripper g-string. And oh yeah! There’s that pesky naked dead guy in bed next to him. Problem is Zach's not gay. Or a murderer. At least, he doesn't think so.

Only one person can help him, his sister, Zora. Of course Zora's got problems of her own—she has three kids at home and is eight month's pregnant with the fourth. So she’s a bit cranky. But that’s not going to stop her from helping her brother.

With kids in tow, the siblings set how to find the true killer, clear Zach's name, and reassure Zach he's not gay.

Reviewers who DO find Stuart R. West's books funny! 
“An hilarious murder mystery romp. Ride along with Zach and Zora on this most entertaining of mysteries.”
-Heather Brainerd, author of the Jose Picada, P.I. mystery series.

“Bad Day in a Banana Hammock will have you wiping up tears of hysterical laughter.”
-Suzanne de Montigney, author of the Shadow of the Unicorn series.

Book #2 in the Zach and Zora Comic Mystery series!

And coming in October! The third book in the Zach and Zora Comic Mystery series: Nightmare of Nannies.

*Stuart R. West's Books We Love Author's Page: http://bookswelove.net/authors/west-stuart-r/
*Stuart R. West's (totally inconsequential) blog: Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley
*And the rest (like on Gilligan's Island): Facebook, Twitter


I'm SUCH a Little Girl! by Stuart R. West

Click here for The Book that has Stuart R. West in gender crisis!
After my wife read my latest book Peculiar County, she said to me, "I can't believe you were able to capture the mindset of a teenage girl so well."

Talk about a backward compliment! I mean, should I be worried? Should I hand in my Manly Man Membership card?

Maybe I'll start having sleepovers, invite all the neighborhood teen girls over. We can stay up all night, do each other's hair, talk about cute boys and boy bands. Pillow fight!

Except, well...no.

Not only do I not have any hair to braid, I don't think the neighbors would look too kindly on an old bald guy hosting a teenage sleepover.

So. Foregoing sleepovers, what are my other options?

I mean, I'm getting this kinda talk about my writing from a teen girl's perspective everywhere. Take for instance, "The Cellophane Queen," a notoriously hard-nosed book critic. Here's a snippet of her review of Peculiar County:

"The first person approach to Dibby, the 15-year-old female lead, is a highly dangerous task for a 50-something old guy, but he just dug in and channeled a perfect Dibby from 1965. This was a brilliant choice. Trying to emulate a 21st Century 15-year-old would be doomed to failure, but the 1965 version of a polite lil gal from Kansas with plenty of issues like a runaway mom and the high-school drama queen hellbent on making her life hell? Brilliant."--The Cellophane Queen review

See what I mean? Did the critic really have to bring up my *ahem* "50-something old" status? And make a big deal outta my writing from the viewpoint of a 15-year-old female?

Honestly, I just sorta wrote the lead character from an outsider's viewpoint, not too far removed from my own awful high school years. Changed things up a bit. And, frankly, anyone who's read any of my books knows the female characters are always the smarter, stronger ones.

Still, I'm scared. I've never liked sports, just kinda find them a waste of time. Bachelor parties? Feh. Who wants to go to parties without any women? And if I'm being absolutely honest right now (and I always am with you guys), I've owned a few pink shirts.

Fine. The critics have spoken. From now on, I'm only going to write books about serial-drinking, barrel-chested, bone-crunching, double-fisted, chain-smoking, hard-loving, window-smashing, refrigerator-lifting, terrible-smelling, neanderthal men! HooYAH! 

Right after I finish my planned epic series of books about Sweet Pollyanna Pourtney's New Red Velvet Shoes.

Stuart R. West's Books We Love Author's Page: http://bookswelove.net/authors/west-stuart-r/

Monday, September 18, 2017

Like the March Hare, by Nancy M Bell

Laurel's Quest Book 1 in The Cornwall Adventures. For more info click here.

A trip to England sounds like a grand adventure, but Laurel Rowan can’t escape from her true reality. Her mother is terminally ill, and her father needs her to go so he can spend his time at the hospital. On a train to Penzance, Laurel meets a new friend, Coll. On the property of her host, she stumbles upon a magical spring. There she meets the White Lady, who offers her a chance at gaining her heart’s true desire, if only she can solve a riddle.
Pursuing her quest amidst the magic of the Cornish countryside, she is aided by Coll and her new friends Gort and Aisling. They are also helped by creatures of legend and myth, Vear Du, the Selkie, Gwin Scawen, the Cornish Piskie, Belerion the fire salamander, Morgawr the flying sea serpent who does Vear Du a favour, and Cormoran, the last giant of Cornwall. The friends must battle the odds in the form of bullies and confusing clues. Will they emerge victorious? Will Laurel have the courage to solve the riddle and fulfill her quest?

I feel like the March Hare today. I'm late, I'm late! Not enough hours in the day at this time of year. The gardens need to be put to bed and general tidying up outside in readiness for winter. I'm also getting ready to embark on a 20 library tour of northern Alberta starting October 2nd. I'm excited about it and nervous at the same time! Mostly, I worry about it snowing while I'm driving in unfamiliar territory, but I'm also sure it will all be fine. My last stop is on October 17th when I'll be visiting Plamondon and Lac la Biche. The next day I leave for the Surrey International Writers Conference in British Columbia. Rather than flying this year I'm catching a ride with my good friend Vicki. I haven't driven over the mountain passes in a long time so it will be a nice journey. Usually I fly into Abbotsford to avoid the craziness of Vancouver airport so only see the country side from above, and only then if there are no clouds. The mountains are magnificent no matter what the season.

September and October are some of my favourite months. I grew up in southern Ontario where October brings the flame of sugar maple trees massed on hill sides and lining roads with torches of orange, red and gold. The dark green of spruce and pine accentuate the brilliance of Jack Frost's artistry. Here in the west it is more the clear gold and yellow of larch, poplar and cottonwood. Summer's last gifts before the silver white blanket of late fall and winter comforts the sleeping seeds of next spring's growth.

For those of you who might be interested, I have new release coming out in November. Landmark Roses is the Manitoba offering in BWL Publishing's Canadian Historical Brides Collection. It tells the story of a typical Mennonite family in the 1940's farming just south of Winnipeg. I had the distinct pleasure of working with Margaret Kyle, she was kind enough to share her intimate knowledge of the Mennonite community she is a part of. Without her, the book would never have been written.

It's not available for pre-order yet, but should be soon. I love the cover.

See you in October! I'll have lots of tales to tell about my adventures touring the Northern Lights Library System's libraries.

Stay well, stay happy.

New Releases from Books We Love


Sunday, September 17, 2017

My First Short Story - Janet Lane Walters

Pursuing Doctor West


The short story here is the first one I’ve ever written and had published. I groaned when I re-typed it to put up on the blog and kept myself from making chnges. Showed many amateur mistakes and pointed out to me how far I’ve come. I can’t believe all the It was sentences. That’s a particular thing that bugs me.


A Small Smile by Janet Lane Walters


Mildred Long stood before the dresser in her bedroom and combed her brown hair. Her round face reflected pleasure in the change in her appearance. I almost look pretty, sue thought but then she looked down at the new white uniform that spanned her and knew she was over-weight and unattractive. She would really have to do something about it.

The changes she had made astonished her. She looked alive for the first time in years. A look of expectancy had replaced the usual dull expression in her brown eyes.

Mildred was returning to the hospital after two days off. She had missed talking to John Brent. He didn’t talk much. He usually listened but it gave her a warm feeling to know someone was interested in her. It had been almost seventeen years since she’d had a friend. John had completely filled the void.

Mildred picked up her coat and glanced around the apartment. It was dingy and she would have to brighten it up. She didn’t want any drabness since John had come into her life. New drapes and slipcovers would work wonders. It was funny that she had never noticed the drabness before. For seven years, she had only existed here. Now, she would have to learn to live.


* * *


As she walked toward the hospital, Mildred’s thoughts turned to her growing friendship with John Brent. He’d only been a patient for a month but her awareness of him was only two weeks old. A shrill blast of wind made her draw her coat closer.

Two weeks ago, she had been alone in the Nurses’ Station when the call board lit up. Mildred looked up to see who was bothering her. She liked to work nights because they were so quiet.

Mr. Brent. What does he want, she thought. Doesn’t he realize that I can’t give him anything for pain until after twelve thirty? It’s not even midnight.

Stolidly, she rose from her chair at the desk and strode down the hall. Her heavy footsteps echoed loudly. It was her duty to see what Mr. Brent wanted and Mildred always did her duty.

When she reached the door to Mr. Brent’s room, she hesitated. She hated death and he was dying.

Finally, she plunged into the room and spoke in a curt voice. “What do you want? I can’t get you anything for pain yet.” She stood at the foot of his bed, half turned toward the door as if poised for flight.

Mr. Brent smiled and Mildred wondered what he had to smile about. She was healthy and she found no joy in life. Why should a dying man smile like that?

His smile almost made her forget he was dying. It even took away some of the dark emaciating caused by the disease consuming him. His smile was full of youth and eagerness.

“I know I can’t have anything for pain, yet,” Mr. Brent said. His voice was low and friendly. I thought if you weren’t busy, we might talk. It makes the time pass faster when I talk to someone.”

Mildred didn’t want to talk. She wanted to run from the room but she couldn’t think of a good reason to go. “I don’t know what to talk about.”

“Tell me about yourself. I’m interested in people.”

Mildred felt him studying her closely and her hands tightened on the foot of the bed. What for, she thought, you’re dying. She glanced nervously around the room.

“Mrs. Thompson is due on rounds soon,” she said after a glance at her watch. “I’ll bring you something for pain as soon as she leaves.” She turned and fled from the room.

When she reached the Nurses’ Station, Mrs. Thompson was waiting. “How are things tonight?” Mrs. Thompson asked.

“Quiet,” Mildred said. “except for Mr. Brent. He seems to behaving a lot of pain and is having difficulty sleeping.”

“I know,” Mrs. Thompson said. “I wish there was some way I could help him. I don’t know why but he helps me feel more useful than any other patient we have. He makes me feel like I’ve helped him just by visiting him.”

Mildred finished giving Mrs. Thompson a report and then, she moved to the medicine cupboard. As she prepared the hypodermic she could hear Mrs. Thompson’s footsteps fade.

A few minutes later, Mildred entered Mr. Brent’s room and saw that Mrs. Thompson was still there. With astonishment, she noticed the supervisor was holding Mr. Brent’s hand. How can she stand to touch him, Mildred thought. She shuddered. She waited until Mrs. Thompson left before she approached the bed and quickly give the injection. Then she stepped back from the bed like a startled rabbit.

Mr. Brent smiled and asked quietly, “What’s wrong, Miss Long? Are you afraid of me because I’m dying? You picked a strange profession if you are.”

Mildred was startled by his perception. “I didn’t pick nursing,” she blurted. “It was my only choice. I do my job.”

“Yes, you do,” John Brent said. “And very efficiently. But you don’t do anything else… You must be a very lonely person. I’d like to be your friend.”

Mildred looked at him closely. “I don’t know how,” she said and realized how true this was. Something had always held her back from people.

“It’s easy,” said Mr. Brent. “Just call me John and try a small smile.”

A puzzled look crossed Mildred’s plain face. What did he mean by that, she wondered.

John Brent smiled attain. “A smile means almost as much as medicine when you’re ill. It makes you feel as though the person behind the smile cares what happens to you.”

Mildred tried to smile but she found the effort was too much. “I have to go now, Mr. Brent.”

“John,” he said.

“John,” Mildred repeated and she smiled, a small, thin smile.


* * *


During the next few weeks, Mildred began to respond to John’s interest. She found herself telling him about the seven long years she had cared for her father and the plans she had sacrificed to be a dutiful daughter.

After her father’s death, nursing had seemed like the logical thing to do. She had always wanted to be a teacher but there wasn’t enough money left for a college education. Instead she had become a nurse.

With John’s encouragement, Mildred had begun to try and make friends. She talked to the other nurses and tried to seem interested in them. Their responses pleased her.

Mildred wasn’t sure of her feelings for John. They were stronger than friendship. Although she knew it was foolish, for the first time in years, she began to dream.


* * *


Another blast of cold air tore Mildred’s coat from her grasp. As she grabbed it and pulled it close, she realized she had reached the hospital. She entered and hurried to Men’s Surgical.

The hall lights were dimmed and Mildred could hear the patients breathing and an occasional snore. The brighter lights from the Nurses’ Station beckoned to her and she resisted the temptation to stop in John’s room. She was almost late.

When she reached the Nurses’ Station, the evening nurse looked up. “Am I ever glad to see you. This has been an evening. Mr. Brent got worse at ten and he’s been on vital signs every fifteen minutes since then. Mrs. Thompson’s sending Bailor up. One of you can special him. He’s unconscious now.”

Mildred grasped the edge of the desk and took a deep breath. She had known this would happen but it was a shock. Oh, John, she thought. What am I going to do now? I’ll be alone again.

Miss Bailor arrived and after report, the evening nurse left.

Mildred turned to Miss Bailor and said, “I’ll stay with Mr. Brent unless you want to.”

Miss Bailor shrugged her thin shoulders. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll be glad to stay here.” She lowered her voice. “I don’t like to sit in a room with a patient who’s going out. It’s so depressing.”

Mildred sat up and started slowly down the hall. Never before had the hall seemed so long and so dark. At the door to Mr. Brent’s room, she paused and swallowed back the tears she felt forming.

The sight of him lying so still, propped by pillows and in an oxygen tent brought back the tears. She let them fall. With shaking hands she opened the oxygen tent and took John’s pulse and blood pressure. Then she turned around to write them on the chart.

“Dear friend.”

Mildred wheeled and stared at John. Had she really heard him speak, or had she wished for this so much she had imagined it.

John’s eyelids fluttered open and a smile crossed his pain-lined face. Mildred took his hand and leaned closer to hear what he was saying.

John smiled again and said in a low whisper, “I waited for you. No tears, dear friend.” He closed his eyes.

Mildred felt a slight pressure on her hand and then nothing. The room was quiet except for the rasp of John’s breathing.

“Goodbye, John,” she said and her voice broke. Tears flowed down her face in a steady stream. She managed to smile through them as she pulled a straight chair to the bedside and sat down to begin her sorrowful vigil.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Prepare for punishment by J.C. Kavanagh

WINNER Best Young Adult Book 2016, The Twisted Climb
Summer is over - at least for school kids - so it's time for the punishment to begin: picture punishment. Let me clarify. Betty White, one of the funniest people on the planet, made a statement on a TV show many years ago that explained the purpose of sharing vacation pictures. It was PUNISHMENT, eye-rolling eyeball-agony, plain and simple. She basically said, "Who cares?" what you did or what you saw or what you were wearing and who gives a fat-rat's bottom anyway? Looking at someone's vacation pictures is just cruel.

Well, prepare for the onslaught.

I had a fantastic summer, thank-you-very-much, and I'll show you just how fantastic it was.
Brace yourself.

Deer everyday at our campsite, Killbear Provincial Park,
Parry Sound, Ontario
There were no bears this year at Killbear - surprise! But deer came to forage behind our site three times a day, bringing fawn and even 8-point daddy.

 Posing with my sister-in-law on her super-fast Hobie Cat.

Before and after the storm pics, Georgian Bay.

Gah - there are more pics - the visual punishment continues....
Below are pics from my sailing vacation throughout Georgian Bay and the North Channel (Ontario) - rated one of the best sailing destinations in the world. The waters are clean and Caribbean-clear. Stunning. Me and my partner, Ian, sail a beautiful Catalina 36 named Escape Route II.

Anchored off Hope Island, Georgian Bay.

Escape Route II, at anchor in
Covered Portage Cove near Killarney, Ontario
Delicious pike caught in Baie Fine, close to The Pool anchorage and Lake Topaz.

At anchor in The Pool. The quartz mountains around Killarney are the breathtaking backdrop.

Overlooking Baie Fine and McGregor Bay. At the top of this 500m climb are the ashes of Stuart Fraser Cork, one of the famous Group of Seven painters. This was one of his favourite painting perches.

Posing with the coolest blow-up duckie in Killarney :)

At the Benjamin Islands, North Channel. Note the 'crooked' trees. They grow that way, adjusting to the prevailing northwest winds. These trees are often part of the Group of Seven paintings.

The pain is almost over......

Me and my captain, Ian.

Well, that's it for my eyeball punishment to you. If you made it this far - thank you!

I'm getting ready for three book signings in October so if you're in the Greater Toronto Area - come see me!

Toronto Eaton Centre, Indigo: October 14
Oshawa Indigo: October 21
Barrie Chapters: October 28

J.C. Kavanagh
The Twisted Climb
A novel for teens, young adults and adults young at heart.
WINNER: Best Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers’ Award
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)