Friday, September 22, 2017

High Tea and Higher Spirits

High Tea and Higher Spirits

I'd thought I'd write about ghosts, with the most spookiest time of the year approaching. Since I'm writing a new book series that starts in Victoria. You know Victoria, BC, more English than the English. And more haunted than your average graveyard on All Hallow's Eve. Don't believe me. Well listen to these tales and I'll have more next month.
The Fairmont Empress has several ghosts frequenting the building. As early as last year two contractors quit during the new renovations when they heard noises in a empty suite next to them. Both swore they saw a figure hanging from a rope. The figure was a man that hung himself, in that room several decades ago. 
There's reports of a woman that knocks on doors, and is seen trying to get into rooms. Apparently a former cleaning maid, still making the rounds after she passed away. Her name is Lizzie and she fell to her death near the front entrance from the sixth floor. During the early years of the hotel when another tower was being added the staircases were temporarily taken out. She hadn't noticed and was found dead. Sometimes she's also seen laying content on the ground holding her prayer beads.
Then we have Margaret from Calgary, who lived in the hotel back in the fifties, when the hotel was nearly empty in the winter. So she stayed there for months on end. Did everything on a set precise schedule and time. When she didn't show up for tea at her set time, someone went up to her room and found her passed away in her bed. It soon became to be known as the unrentable room, with people claiming the TV channels would switch on their own, lights would turn off and on. And some swore the sheets would pull down by themselves. It was soon converted into a storage area and all was quiet. Until the hotel decided to add a new elevator several years later to go to a higher set of floors. Quickly the reports of lights dimming, knocks on doors and a elderly lady asking for directions began afresh. 
Then there's the builder of the hotel himself, Francis Rattenbury. Who also built the legislative buildings, the Lake Louise Hotel in Banff, among other great buildings. He received little or no recognition for his grand structures and after leaving his wife for a much younger lady, he was found bludgeoned to death by her younger lover. Sir Francis was buried in a unmarked grave and his ghost is often seen near his picture by the front entrance.
 I guess while the guests often return, so do the departed for another cup of the fine tea and great scones. 

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Meet Julia-Rae, successful business woman and photographer. Only she runs into a man that wows her to the marrow. Only a slight problem. He wants to take over her company and she isn't the woman he thought. So does love win out, or does the grizzly get the girl in the end. OH, the griz, did I forget to mention it?????
My Romance 'Shuttered Seduction' is on a promotional special through Smashwords. Get it for $2.00.

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If I've grabbed your interest, try my authors page on facebook. 

or my short story page.

People have asked who the heck is Frank Talaber and what’s his writing style?
I usually respond with; mix Dan Millman with Charles De Lint and throw in a mad scattering of Tom Robbins. 
PS. He’s better looking than Stephan King and his romantic stuff will have you sobbing and gasping quicker than Robert James Waller.

His novels transcend the boundaries of urban fantasy, science fiction, crime, mystery, thriller, spirituality and comedy. He also writes in the genre of romance, mystery romance, thriller romance and sexy erotic romance. 
With a knack of bringing the BC west coast to life he was born on the wild Canadian prairies but immigrated to the cedar forests of coastal BC. Mated to a mad English woman, from gypsy ancestry, him not the wife. In the early hours of morning, when only cats stir and raccoons fear to tread he is writing, creating or making coffee. Stranger ways exist in the backwoods of Borneo, Australia or the American Bayou. But not here in the country of Bigfoot, Timmy’s and hockey. 
Or as he also often says; you don’t have to be mad to be a writer. But it helps. A lot.

"After being stranded twenty kilometers from the nearest road at the tip of Rose Spit, Haida Gwaii, and having to push his spanking new SUV a few kilometers along the beach before the tide came in and we ran out of booze, my first reaction on being asked to write a back cover blurb was, “over my dead body." Some people will do anything to get an endorsement.” 
Susan Musgrave 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fields of Gold Beneath Prairie Skies, Canadian Historical Brides, Book 6 (Saskatchewan)


Newly released and available at your online and brick and mortar bookstores, be sure to add this one to your collection.  Author Suzanne deMontigny has done an amazing job of telling the story of this couple struggling against huge odds to build a life on the Saskatchewan Prairie following WWI.

French-Canadian soldier, Napoleon, proposes to Lea during WWI, promising golden fields of wheat as far as the eye can see. After the armistice, he sends money for her passage, and she journeys far from her family and the conveniences of a modern country to join him on a homestead in Saskatchewan.

There, she works hard to build their dream of a prospering farm, clearing fields alongside her husband through several pregnancies and even after suffering a terrible loss.

When the stock market crashes in ’29, the prairies are stricken by a long and abysmal drought. Thrown into poverty, she struggles to survive in a world where work is scarce, death is abundant, and hope dwindles. Will she and her family survive the Great Depression?

Available from a Bookstore near you.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fall Camping with J.Q. Rose

Hello and welcome to the Books We Love Insiders Blog! 
You can get to know more about your favorite authors, meet new authors 
and discover great reads right here.
Dangerous Sanctuary by J.Q. Rose
Pastor Christine Hobbs never imagined she would be caring 
for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.
My dear hubby, Gardener Ted, and I just returned this week from a camping trip to Ludington, Michigan. We camped in the city's Cartier Campground and explored the area known for their beautiful sandy beaches on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan shoreline
Photo by J.Q. Rose
Are you a camper? I'm a camper, but I'm not a hardy camper. I like to camp with AC, microwave, and an electric blanket in our 25' fifth wheel trailer. We tried tent camping when we were younger, much younger, and I didn't like it. But with all the amenities available now with the new, roomy campers and motorhomes, it's more like living in a condo on wheels. My kind of style.
Our camper
Photo by J.Q. Rose
The autumn season is the best time to camp. People are geeked up to go camping when spring comes, especially after a cold, dark winter of staying indoors. While every season has its own benefits, I am a fan of fall camping, especially if you can go in the middle of the week like we did

Here's a list of reasons why I enjoy fall camping Up North:

1. No crowds. Because school has started, families can only camp on weekends, and yet, many are busy with a full schedule of sports, clubs, and family activities to keep them from camping.
2. Mild temperatures. Great sleeping weather with temps in 40's-50's and bright sunny 60-70 degree days. (Cool temps in the morning and evenings make a campfire even cozier.)

Warm campfire
Photo by J.Q. Rose

3.  No bugs. Mosquitoes are too cold to fly!
4.  The fall colors. Breathtaking panoramas of color in the woods. I never tire of seeing Mother Nature dress up for autumn. 
Colorful fall trees
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
5. Apples. Mmm. Crispy, crunchy treats that are actually good for you. The roadside markets and farmers markets are teeming with fruits and vegetables of the season.

Are you a fall camper? What do you like best about the fall season? 
Please leave a comment below.

J.Q. Rose catching the sun
on the beach in Ludington, Michigan

Click here to connect online with the J.Q. Rose blog.

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:
*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!


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:

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.