Friday, November 29, 2013

5 Secrets (What No one Knows About My Book)

I'm trying something new today. I thought it might be a fun post and people might be interested in a few tidbits about a book. Things no one else knows, until now. Behind every book there are stories that never get told. How did the writer find the plot; why that setting; back story on some of our heros; are the characters based on someone they know - and why. 

So I'm going to bring you a new author each week, who is going to share five secrets about their book that no one else knows. Check back every Thursday to read about a new author and their unknown stories about their book. I'll also be sharing information about the actual book.

Today, I'm using myself as the guinea pig. I'm starting off with 5 secrets about my book, HUNTED. You will not know these things even if you buy the book and read it.

1. HUNTED became an idea many years ago, in Victoria, BC. I was staying at the Empress Hotel. It is over a hundred years old and a beautiful building. I love the hotel. I was standing in the elegant lobby, on it's grey marble floor and looked up at the mezzanine. I wondered if anyone would ever hide up there, behind the marble railing, with it's wide columns, and watch the lobyy to see someone come into the hotel. The idea intrigued me and I started to write a scene.

2. I decide to have Maggie in the Witness Protection Plan. It made sense to me, and to the plot. I was told no way would anyone in Witness protection would ever be crooked. I debated changing that part, but I thought - we have crooked law enforcement officers in every profession, why not in Witness Protection. Then I read a story where Witness Protection people were charging people to get into the program and selling their locations to the highest bidder. So, yes, it was fiction, but I wasn't totally out to lunch.

3. A year ago I was going through my written novels, not all are finished, and realized I had set four of them in small towns in Montana. I decided to make them all into a series and sat down and wrote sketches for Duster and set them all there. Then I made the heros all brothers. It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. HUNTED became the first in that series.

4. HUNTED was not the original title. When I started writing it, and it was a secret baby type story, I called it My Life, Your Baby. I could never come up with a good title, no matter how hard I tried. My Life, Your Baby never felt right and it didn't give any feeling abut the actual story. Eveyone said I needed to change it - but to what? When I was planning the series it came to me, and HUNTED felt right.

5. I love animals. I love I try to add a dog to my stories. I have two Shiba Inu's. Their pictures are on my site. They ar my inspiration for animals. For HUNTED I added a merle, Australian cattle dog. You'll also find dogs in my other stories, too.

And if you read HUNTED you now have some background you wouldn't have known before.


Staying alive wasn't Maggie McGonagall's first concern. Her first concern was to convince the man she hadn't planned on ever seeing again, to accept and protect a son he didn't know about. And she had to do it quickly before the hit men found her and her son again. They'd already attempted to kill her three times. She was running out of time. Once Matt was safe, hopefully she'd figure out how to keep herself from getting killed.

Cody Hawkins came runnig when the woman he wanted to forget called him for help. He'd never quit loving her, but could he help her and walk away?

When he found out the trouble she was in and someone was trying to kill, he decided to kidnap her and her son. He took them back to Duster, Montana where he felt he and his family could protect them. Witness Protection hadn't been doing a good job, so far. But could he keep her alive and convince her he still loved her?

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I'd love to hear from you and your thoughts about this post, (after you finish your Black Friday shopping, of course.) Did you find it interesting? Is it something you'd be interested in by other authors about their books?
Let me know.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hanukkah for dummies

Okay, don't get upset with my title. I was told by a friend that Hanukkah was on the same day as Thanksgiving this year.
I've blogged about Thanksgiving when I did Canadian Thanksgiving earlier. I don't think there's a lot of difference.
So I thought, let's talk about Hanukkah. Now, I know very little about Hanukkah, actually I know nothing. So this is a learning experience for me. I immediately went to Wikipedia and then checked a few other resources. If my information is inaccurate, or you can add more information, please let us know.

 Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication and is an eight day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev. Since the Jewish calendar is lunar based, every year the first day of Hanukkah falls on a different day - usually sometime between late November and late December. Because many Jews live in predominately Christian societies, over time Hanukkah has become much more festive and Christmas-like. Jewish children receive gifts for Hanukkah - often one gift for each of the eight nights of the holiday. Many parents hope that by making Hanukkah extra special their children won't feel left out of all the Christmas festivities going on around them.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukkah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for practical use, as using the Hanukkah lights themselves for the purposes of other than publicizing and meditating on the Hanukkah is forbidden. The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in165 B.C.E.

In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods.
Jewish resistance began in the village of Modin, near Jerusalem. Greek soldiers forcibly gathered Jewish villagers and told them to bow down to the idol. Then eat the flesh of a pig - both practices that are forbidden to Jews. A Greek officer ordered Mattathias, a High Priest, to acquiesce to their demands, but Mattathias refused. When another villager stepped forward and offered to cooperate on Mattathias' behalf, the High Priest became outraged. He drew his sword and killed the villager, then turned on the Greek officer and killed him too. His five sons and other villagers then attacked the remaining soldiers, killing all of them.
Mattathias and his family went into hiding in the mountains, where other Jews wishing to fight against the Greeks joined them.  Eventually they succeeded in retaking their land from the Greeks. These rebels became known as the Maccabees, or Hasmoneans.
Once the Maccabees had regained control they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem. By this time it had been spiritually defiled by being used for the worship of foreign gods and also by practices such as sacrificing swine. Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple menorah for eight days. But to their dismay they discovered that there was only one day's worth of oil left in the Temple. They lit the menorah anyway and to their surprise the small amount of oil lasted the full eight days.
In a rare alignment of calendars, Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah both fall on Nov. 28 this year. And Americans planning to celebrate this double holiday have dubbed it Thanksgivukkah. At first glance, the festivals might seem completely different. One is dreidels. One is pumpkins. One is kosher. One is pigskins.
But here are five things the holidays have in common. Both are:
- a great excuse to stuff yourself silly.
- rooted in religion.
- started by groups who found refuge in America.
- all about being thankful.
- a reason to go home.
If you have anything to add to this, please do. I'm very interested in learning more about this holiday.




Friday, November 22, 2013

Were you in shock - did you cry, wail, hug?

Our group was given the topic of "Mass emotion" for this month.
We've been asked to tell about an incident you've experience where a large
crowd of people shared the same strong emotion.
I'm sure most people will immediate think of JFK and his assassination in Dallas.
That was my first thought.
I do remember where I was when his death was announced. I was a student nurse working on 6E in the Calgary General Hospital. (which is no longer there)

My second thought was 9/11. I think that affected so many people world wide.
I remember exactly where I was when the first Tower was hit.
I live on the west coast of Canada. That morning my alarm had just gone off. I have it set to the radio so I can hear the weather report and traffic when I wake up, before I get ready for work.
A few minutes after it went off, about 6:45 am my time, I heard that a plane had hit the first Tower.
There was a lot of confusion.
I felt shock ripple through my body. I have friends in New York. Were they all right?
After thinking about them, I thought, this can't be an accident. It didn't make sense.
I got up and started to get ready for work and then the second plane hit.
I felt tears trickling down my face, thinking of all the people in those towers, and my friend who worked in the financial district, so close to the Towers. I knew it wasn't an accident, but I had no idea who, or why.
I prayed for those who were in the buildings. How could this have happened? Who was responsible?
All morning as I got ready for work the radio carried updates.
At work it was all anyone could talk about. People had radios on at their desk and quietly shared any information they heard. All the loops I belonged to on the internet were posting about it and asking about friends they had in New York who would have been at work in that area. All the television stations and all the radios carried the story and continued to update it throughout the day.
I'm sure, across the world, people prayed for the safety for the safety of everyone, including the firefighters, the first responders and then the dogs.

It affected me, friends and acquaintances, all Americans and people around the world.
Do you remember where you were that day? How did you feel?

That's my story on "Mass Emotions".
To check the others stories go to

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's on Your Christmas List?

Christmas decorations and Christmas cards have been out since before Halloween. Christmas music is playing in many stores.
From my last post on Christmas music it was nice to see I wasn't totally off base when it came to when to start playing Christmas music. The consensus was music after Thanksgiving. Black Friday worked. Christmas music after December 1st came in second. A few said October, after the Canadian Halloween, and a few said "Bah humbug -- never."

There were also several  comments about the earliness of all the Christmas stuff in stores and the commercialism of Christmas. So I thought I'd see what people thought about it.
What's on your Christmas list this year?
Have you started your, serious heavy duty shopping? (not that cute little note pad you picked up for  your sister when you saw it, because she loves sea shells).
Are you reading the ads and planning what to buy all those people on your list?
How much are you spending this year? More than last year? (Because the stores certainly want you to).
Do you make your own gifts?
Remember when people knit socks, made jars of preserves or jelly, or special potpourri's. It was the personal touch. Not bought at a box store where they could return it for something else.

My favorite, personally, is to donate to charities in some one's name. Most people I know have enough "stuff" and like it when I donate to a charity they like - animal charity, children's charity, breast cancer, whatever.

I've been talking mostly about giving, but do you have a wish for Santa? What's on it?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the commercialism of Christmas. How you cope with it. Do you go along with it? Let me know.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Christmas Music - Really?

I haven't posted lately. Sorry about that. I travelled to Los Angeles to spend a week with a couple of wonderful girlfriends  and managed to spend over 7 hours in the Vancouver airport going down. :(
We went to Newport Beach and it was wonderful. Then I flew home and two days later I'm back in the United States heading south to keep warm for the winter.

When I was in the LA area and again just over the border, there were stores playing Christmas music.
Okay, I love Christmas and particularly the music, but I never play any before December 1st.
Now I've accepted that the Christmas stuff comes out  before Halloween and that everyone already has their Christmas lights up (although- again I'm a December 1st person).
But music before the middle of November - really?

What do you think about it?
Are you playing your music yet?
Do you believe Christmas starts the day after Halloween?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.  And if you're a Christmas after Halloween person - convince me it makes sense.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Poppy Day

I’m writing about another Canadian holiday. I’m writing this early because I’m going to be traveling to California. So I’ll be spending our Canadian Remembrance Day or Armistice Day in California.

In Canada, and other Commonwealth countries, on November 11th, we have Remembrance Day. In the US, I believe it’s Veterans’ day. It’s a day to remember all those who have gone to war to fight for our country. It recalls the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month."

In Canada we wear poppies to remember the day. The poppies go on sale several weeks ahead of the actual day. The veteran’s from one of the wars usually have them for sale for a donation. And almost every Canadian wears a poppy. I have mine and will be wearing on my flight to California and until Tuesday.

The red poppy became the emblem because of the poem, 'In Flanders Fields.' During World War I , these poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields. Their blood red color a symbol of the blood lost during that war. 

November 11th is a holiday and we have ceremonies to lay wreaths at veteran’s memorials. At eleven am there is a two minute silence across the country to remember those who fell to save our country.

In school we had to memorize the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
I still remember the poem. I find it’s one of those poems hat actually speaks to me.  I love the poem and  remember it every Remembrance Day. For those of you who may not know it, here is the poem.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with our foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

I'm also going to through in a plug here. An anthology, of which I am part, was just release. 
A Christmas Anthology, published through Exquisite Quill and Smashwords, is available free. Check it out at




Saturday, November 2, 2013


I am updating my website this weekend - hopefully. Under Health Tips I wrote a short article on Gluten.
As I was writing it, from my own experience in the last few months, I thought, wait - I should post this on my blog and maybe get a conversation going.
I'm sure that some of you out there are having problems tolerating gluten or maybe you haven't realized that was what might be causing some of your problems.
Or if you are having a challenge with Gluten, how are you coping? What do you eat that works for you?

This is a bit of the repeat from my website. Up until a month or two ago I didn’t worry about gluten. I've had very few allergies or food challenges in my life. I had cut back on bread because of the carbs and I didn’t eat a lot of wheat products normally. Then I had one of those urges and I pigged out and had three slices of multigrain bread. I got severe abdominal pains, like sharp knives stabbing my abdomen. I felt ill, worse than any fly. The pain eased slightly day by day, but the episode last for ten days.

I decided I must have a gluten allergy. I also read an article that said we were exposed to more and more wheat/gluten in our diet. It’s added as filler in soups, sauces, tomato sauce and I don’t remember what else, but they are hidden. We don’t even know about them. They aren’t actually listed on the ingredients section. So we are being exposed to more and more of it, which is probably why we have more people developing problems with digesting gluten.

So I am now trying to avoid wheat and gluten, apparently this includes barley and rye, and avoid any repeat of my previous episode.

I am staying away from anything with wheat. I am avoiding canned foods because they sneak in all sorts of stuff. I am reading labels and eating more rice products. So far it’s working. With GMO, and hidden ingredients, eating is becoming more difficult, especially as you get older. I think your body has a harder time coping with over exposures of some foods.

I got gluten free bread for when I get a real craving for bread. I get a few tummy rumbles if I eat things with gluten but nothing like that one episode.

I'm posting a recipe for gluten free pancakes I got from Livestrong on my website when it's updated. .
I'd love to here from any of you that have had any experience with this. I'm interested in learning more about it. Please share your information.