Monday, June 29, 2020

Happy Canada Day

In Canada we celebrate Canada Day, also known as Fête du Canada, on July 1st. It was previously known as Dominion Day and celebrates the anniversary of the Constitution Act, July 1st, It is a federal statutory holiday  which united three  colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick , into a wider British federation of four provinces (the colony of Canada being divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec upon Confederation). Canada became a "kingdom in its own right" within the British Empire commonly known as the Dominion of Canada. Although still a British colony, Canada gained an increased level of political control and governance over its own affairs, the British parliament and maintaining political control over certain areas, such as foreign affairs, national defense, and constitutional changes. Canada gradually gained increasing independence over the years, notably with the passage of the Statue of Westminster in 1931, until finally becoming completely independent with the passing of the Constitution Act of, 1982 which served to fully patriate the Canadian constitution.    
Under the federal Holidays Act, Canada Day is observed on July 1, unless that date falls on a Sunday, in which case July 2 is the statutory holiday. Celebratory events usually include parades, barbecues, concerts, carnivals, fairs, picnics and of course fireworks, will generally still take place on July 1, even though it is not the legal holiday. If it falls on a weekend, businesses normally closed that day usually dedicate the following Monday as a day off.
This year because of the corona virus the group activities and celebrations in Canada have been canceled. Even fireworks are canceled in our area to prevent crowds from assembling. A drive through pancake breakfast and small family BBQ’s will be the extent of celebrations.
Have a safe holiday, avoid crowds, social distance 2 metres apart and wear masks.
Happy Canada Day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Meet Patricia McAlexander and Her Latest Book

Patricia McAlexander is from upstate New York, the setting of Stranger in the Storm, but she’s also lived in Colorado, Texas, and Wisconsin. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New York at Albany, a master’s from Columbia University, and a doctorate from The University of Wisconsin, Madison, all in English. Patricia now lives in Athens, Georgia, with her Southerner husband, whom she met when they were graduate students in Wisconsin.  After retiring from teaching at the University of Georgia, she’s had had more time to garden and travel while renewing her interests in photography, history, and, most of all, writing fiction.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Patricia: I like to write romance. Why? Because love is something most of us need and hope for in our lives—look at the themes of songs, movies, literature.  Also, romance can involve personal growth, something I’m interested in as a teacher. In my fiction, I portray individuals further developing their own values and identities as they discover love. But genres can be hybrids. Stranger in the Storm, my first published novel (actually a novella), combines romance with the thriller genre. There is often romance in historical fiction, which I also write. Research on my nineteenth-century immigrant ancestors brought their times, their courage, and their loves to life for me. I want to tell their story.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Patricia: I think being a writer was in my genes, but family, friends, and teachers all influenced me. My father let me type on his typewriter when I was five years old. He never got it back. My sister and I co-authored stories as children, and she has always eagerly read and critiqued what I’ve written. My high school friends discussed my stories as they were in progress; I sometimes asked them to vote on alternate endings. When I was an English major at SUNY Albany, my creative writing teacher Shields McIlwaine suggested I “send off” stories, and I still remember a friend coming into my dorm room and saying, “Your story made me cry.” I had no time to write fiction during my academic career, but when I retired from teaching, these people and these memories were important in my decision to turn back to fiction.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Patricia: I wish I knew—I wish I could turn those juices on like a faucet. For me, inspiration is magic. It just comes—from reading a novel, watching an ancient magnolia being taken down, finding an old story that I wrote decades ago, looking at family photo albums.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Patricia: I’d have to say Walt Disney’s Cinderella in the film of that name. As a child, I loved that story of a fairy godmother and Prince Charming rescuing a beautiful young girl from her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. I guess that reveals my life-long love of romance.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Patricia: After doing research on my ancestors, I would love to meet Rosa Jackle, the mysterious woman who came to America in 1850 with my great-great-grandfather, a widower, and his seven children. Census records show he married her, and they settled on a farm near Boonville, New York, where she raised his children and together they had three more. She fascinates me, and I’d love to learn the romance behind their marriage and how the real Rosa corresponds with my imagined version.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day, what would you do with it?
Patricia: Since I’m now a retiree “sheltering in place,” every day is in a sense free. So I’ll answer by imagining a day where I could be magically transported to my sister’s lake house in Pennsylvania and spend a day with her swimming, kayaking, and hiking—and talking about books.  Her lake house is our adult version of the cottage my parents had on Great Sacandaga Lake in upstate New York—the setting of my novel Stranger in the Storm.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Patricia: I’ve almost completed another contemporary romance, this one set in Athens, Georgia. As you may have guessed, I’m also hoping to publish a novel based on my great-great-grandfather and his second wife, Rosa. I have visited the graveyard in Boonville where they are buried. It was quite an experience to see their gravestones, his at least amazingly well-preserved. Now there was an inspiration for writing!

Blurb for Stranger in the Storm:

After she discovers the abusive side of his personality, Janet Mitchell leaves the professor who has swept her off her feet. Is she about to discover the same darkness in Wes, the handsome young man who rescues her during a hurricane?
        Wes Corbett has vowed not to get romantically involved again, fearing anyone close to him might be harmed by his brother, now an escaped felon. But when he finds himself riding out the hurricane with Janet and their mutual attraction becomes clear, will he be able to keep that vow?

Short Excerpt for Stranger in the Storm:

Wes was patted down, then handcuffed with his hands behind his back. The covering deputy lowered his gun and walked to the truck. Reaching in, he turned off the ignition and took out the keys. He picked up Wes’s wallet and phone and returned to the sheriff.
Janet jumped out of her car and ran up to her side of the fallen tree. “Stop!” she cried out. “There must be some mistake!”
“No mistake, miss,” the sheriff said, sounding grim. “You’d best get away from here. This is one of the escaped convicts.”

Buy links for Stranger in the Storm:

Social Media for Patricia:

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Death Southern Style - Ads

As I said in my previous post, Death Southern Style is finally finished and available for pre-order. It took longer than I had expected or hoped but last year was a challenging year.
It’s been edited and re-edited, formatted, and I have a cover I love. Now what?  I guess it’s promotion. I just took a workshop on Amazon ads. Apparently, it’s not enough to put your book out there, you need to advertise it.  Advertising is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity.  So now I need to review my notes and see if I can figure out how put an ad together.  

And I also took a workshop on Facebook ads which apparently are also very important if you want to sell your book and make a living at writing. The main point of the Facebook ads is to develop a mailing list. In this day and age, a mailing list is the most powerful tool about publishing your book. The mailing list enables you to launch your book successfully and enables you to get reviews. Part of figuring out the Facebook ads is figuring out the cost and the cost per subscriber. 

So, you figure out how much to pay for the ad and then how many names you get for your mailing list.   You should also review your ad frequently to see how effective it is and revise it if necessary.
And then you need to tweet about the ads.
 We didn’t go into exactly what you needed to
 tweet or how often. I don’t know about you,
but I could probably write several new chapters
of a new book in the time it would take to
do all this.

 I’d love to hear your thoughts on advertising, the  amount of time involved and the cost and how you deal with it.

And if you'd like to pre-order Death Southern Style here's the link

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Death Southern Style

I finally finished Death Southern Style. For some reason this book took ages and I really like it.

It’s been edited and is now being formatted. It’s also up for pre-order at 

Here’s the blurb.
When Perrine Dupré dies under suspicious circumstances her daughter, Julie Ann Dupré, returns to New Orleans to find the truth about her mother’s death. She uncovers a family secret, hidden for years. Now someone is trying to kill her. Will the little dog who appears after her mother’s death help her? Is the sexy detective out to help her, or is he part of police corruption?
Detective Connor O’Reilly, a native of New Orleans, comes from a family of police. He’s an honest cop but realizes there is corruption in the division. His father may have died as part of that corruption. He meets Julie Ann, checks out her mother’s death and finds it was badly handled. Julie Ann deserves the truth and he wants to find it for her.
Julie Ann and Connor work together to unravel the real reason behind Perrine Dupré’s murder, Julie Ann’s mysterious past, and why people want her dead, while developing their challenging relationship. Can they both survive? And can their relationship survive?
I’d love to have you check it out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Meet Jana Richards and her New Book

When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at

Character Interview with Blair Greyson, heroine from TO HEAL A HEART

Beverley: What’s your name?
Blair: I’m Blair Greyson. Yeah, I know. Blair’s a funny name for a girl. My mother was trying to earn brownie points with her rich mother-in-law whose maiden name was Blair. I’m pretty sure it didn’t work.
Beverley: Where did you grow up?
Blair: Mostly in St. Paul, Minnesota, but my happiest memories growing up are the summers that my brothers and I spent with our grandparents on their farm just outside of Masonville, North Dakota.
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?
Blair: Right here, right now.
Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?
Blair: Personally, I think I’m dull as dirt. But maybe others could take some solace from my story. I had an unhappy childhood, and things happened to me in my adolescence that were…traumatic. But I’ve overcome those things, mostly. Working with animals as a veterinary technician and rescuing horses has been my salvation. I know now that I can do worthwhile things with my life, things that make a difference. I know there are good people in the world, though sometimes I have a hard time seeing that. I want to believe I’m more than the screw-up, more than the tramp my mother has always told me I am.
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?
Blair: Moving to my grandfather’s farm gives me the opportunity to take my two rescue horses out of the stable where I was boarding them and give them a real home. I want to rescue more horses and give them a chance at life. But I moved to North Dakota mainly to look after my Granddad. He has a bad heart and I know he doesn’t eat properly unless someone makes him. Since my grandmother died a few months ago he’s been lonely. And to be honest, I’ve been lonely, too.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Blair: I had a run-in with Garrett Saunders soon after I moved here. I mistakenly believed he was abusing his horse. When I found out I was wrong, I had to apologize. Embarrassing but necessary. Before I knew it, Garrett and I had come to an agreement; I’ll board his horse Harry in exchange for him helping with repairs around the farm. The problem is, the more time I spend with him, the more I wish for forevers. But I know there can never be anything lasting between us. He can do so much better than me.
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Blair: Not really. I can’t look that far ahead. My only plan is to continue enjoy being with Garrett until he moves on.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Blair: I’d like people to know that even though I’ve made mistakes in the past, I’m really trying to be a good person. My Granddad keeps telling me I’m special. Maybe someday I’ll believe it.

Blurb for To Heal a Heart:
Garrett Saunders' world changed two years ago on a road in Afghanistan. Back home, he feels like a stranger. As he struggles to find his place in the world, he meets a horse destined for the slaughterhouse and a woman bent on rescuing the strays of the world, including him.
Blair Greyson moves to Masonville to look after her ailing grandfather and give her rescue horses a home. Right away she butts heads with a surly former Marine. Despite a rocky start, they come to an agreement: Blair will board Garrett's rescue horse and he'll help with repairs around her farm.
Garrett finds purpose working with Blair—and falls in love with her. But she's hiding a secret. Can she forgive herself and accept Garrett's love, or will she let guilt and regret continue to rule her life?

Excerpt for To Heal a Heart:
He pushed himself to his feet, disconcerted by his unsteadiness. He made a few halting steps toward the gate as Blair ran into the yard.
“I forgot my sweater,” she said, grabbing the garment from the back of a chair and slipping it on. “It’s cooler than I thought. Are you sure you don’t want to watch the fireworks with us?”
“No, I—”
His words were cut off by a loud explosion, and his only thought was that he had to protect Blair. He grabbed her and threw her to the ground, covering her body with his. He was under attack. Why was Blair in Afghanistan? How could he keep her safe?
Through the chaos and noise he heard her muffled voice beneath him. “Garrett, you’re crushing me.”
He shifted his weight slightly. “Shh. I’m sorry. You have to stay down and quiet. I can’t let them hurt you.”
She stopped struggling. “Who’s going to hurt me?”
“Can’t you hear the mortar fire? I have to protect you.”
Her hand rubbed his back in gentle circles. “It’s all right, Garrett. It’s only fireworks. It can’t hurt us. We’re safe here.”
He lifted his head and looked around. He was in Cole and Lauren’s back yard in Masonville. There were no bombs, no shelling, no Taliban. He looked down into Blair’s face, into the pity in her eyes. He rolled off her, disgusted with himself.
Disgusted and scared. He was losing his mind.

Buy Links for To Heal a Heart: (Pre-order until June 12, 2020)

Social Media Links for Jana Richards
Amazon UK Author Page:
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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Writing Telephone Calls

I just finished reading an article by Deena Nataf on writing conversations on the phone. The book I finished writing has some phone conversations in it and I have challenges writing them.

A phone conversation, like any other writing is a writing technique. It should be there to share information with the reader about the goal, the characters, moving the story forward. How do I do this? Do I write both sides of the conversation or just one side?  And if it’s only one side how do I share the information that other side of the conversation?

Some of the tips I read say you need to make the conversation as close to a real phone conversation as possible. You need to know both sides of the conversation. Maybe write it out so you can see it. Then focus on fitting in the questions and comments from the person on the other end. The reader needs to be able to figure out what the person on the other end is asking and/or responding from what the person you’re listening to says.

Answers phone – Hi, Mom. You know who they are talking to.
I’m making lunch. They asked what the person was doing?
No, I haven’t seen George lately. They asked if the person knew where George is

You get the idea. To improve your technique of writing phone calls, listen to people on the phone.
Hear how they answer and figure out what the questions or comments might have been.
When you finish writing the telephone dialogue, read it out loud. Ask yourself whether it sounds realistic. Like everything else you write, does it move the plot forward? Does it reveal any of your characters goals or contribute to the readers knowledge.

Hopefully this helps improve my phone dialogue. How do you write phone calls, if you have them in your writing?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Meet J. Arlene Culiner and Her Books

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.

Hi Beverley. Thank you for inviting me here for an author interview. Fire away!
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Arlene: Oops. Not a good question. I love writing romance, but I also enjoy writing mystery. That’s not all though: I’m quite passionate about researching and writing Eastern European history, or about the evolution in rural French life. Quite a mix. But each genre is quite wonderful. I also have a storytelling podcast (see below).
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Arlene: I suppose I can only say I influenced myself. I’ve always kept notes and diaries because I’m a contemporary artist and photographer, and that’s the sort of thing we artists do. Then, one day, I decided to try writing romance novels. After a few refusals (my main characters were in their sixties, and that was a no-no in the romance genre a few years ago) my book, Felicity’s Power was accepted by an Australian publisher who was looking for later life romances. A little while later, at one of my photography exhibitions I told the curator about my next project — Romanian immigration to Canada in 1899. She suggested I write about it instead. So I did, and my book, Finding Home in the Footseteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers, won a prize in Canadian history.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Arlene: Thinking of an atmosphere. The thought moves around in my head, shifts here and there before blossoming into a story.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Arlene: I don’t know much about cartoon characters. I’ve never owned a television. However I do like caricatures. Here’s one of my own:
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Arlene: I’ve recently completed a biography of a Jewish-Ukrainian poet, songster, and tippler who died in 1875. He spent his life wandering through Austrian Galicia, Romania, and the Ottoman Empire. I’d certainly like to tag along with him, drink some of the red wine he was so fond of, and see that vanished world. What an experience that would be!
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Arlene: I’d do what I do every day. I’d write, or play music (I play the oboe, English horn, flute, recorder, and tuba in several orchestras, bands, and chamber groups.) Or else I’d take one of the lovely ancient sunken green lanes that crisscross all of Europe, and just walk from village to village.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Arlene: I’m working on the third romance book in my Blake’s Folly series. In this, we begin in 1899 when Blake’s Folly is a silver boomtown, see it in 1927 when the mines have closed and people are leaving, in the 1950s as a Nevada divorce paradise, in the 1970s, and in 2020 when it has become a semi-ghost town, and is the setting for my two romances, All About Charming Alice, and Desert Rose.

Blurb for Desert Rose

Men love Rose Badger, and if the other inhabitants of dead-end Blake’s Folly, Nevada, don’t approve, she couldn’t care less. Isn’t life for fun? Doesn’t a stable relationship always mean predictability and boredom? Well… perhaps things might be different with Jonah Livingstone, but he’s entangled in a complicated past relationship and off limits for anything other than friendship. Besides, Rose has another secret life—one she’ll never give up for any man.

The last person geologist Jonah Livingstone expected to meet in a semi-ghost town is Rose Badger. She’s easy-going, delightfully spontaneous, and Jonah is certain their attraction is mutual. But Rose is always surrounded by a crowd of admirers and doesn’t seem inclined to choose a favorite. Besides, Jonah is leading his own very private life, and secrets are an excellent protection against love.

Blurb for All About Charming Alice

Alice Treemont has given up hope of meeting the right man and falling in love. Living in Blake’s Folly, a semi-ghost town of rusting cars, old trailers, clapboard shacks, and thirsty weeds, she spends her time cooking vegetarian meals, rescuing unwanted dogs, and protecting the most unloved creatures on earth: snakes. What man would share those interests?

Jace Constant is in Nevada, doing research for his new book, but he won’t be staying long. As far as he’s concerned, Blake’s Folly is hell on earth. He’s disgusted by desert dust on his fine Italian shoes, and dog hair on his cashmere sweaters. As for snakes, they terrify him. He can hardly wait to get back to Chicago’s elegant women, fine dining, and contemporary art exhibitions.

So how is it possible that each time Alice and Jace meet, the air sizzles? That she’s as fascinated by him as he is by her. That they know their feelings go deeper than raw desire. Still, it looks like this relationship is doomed before it even starts.

Excerpt from All About Charming Alice:

Suddenly Jace rose to his feet and, in that languid way of his, crossed to the doorway where she stood. Alice was a tallish woman but, still, he towered over her. Casually, stretching out one arm, he rested his hand on the doorframe, just a hair’s breadth above her head. He was close, so close. His body was supple, strong and—yes, she had to admit it—warm, fragrant. The heat of him reached her over the few inches separating them and she ached to curve into it. Aura? This man was a flesh-and-blood heat wave.
The strange, tingling excitation was flowing through her again like thick port wine. She lowered her eyes, refusing to meet his gaze, although she knew he was, once again, examining her minutely.
“And I want to take the room.”
“Look, you don’t need my room,” she said, desperation evident in her tone. “There’s a perfectly reasonable motel the other side of the Winterback Mine, out in the direction of Logan. Actually, it’s far better equipped to take in tourists than anything you’d find here in Blake’s Folly.”
“I know. Rider Motel. Air conditioning, closed circuit television. Right across from the Dew Drop Inn.” His smile was wry. “That’s exactly where I’ve been staying for the last three nights. And over and over again during those three nights I remembered Blake’s Folly and the ‘room to let’ sign on your wall. And the more I thought about it, the more appealing it got. There’s nothing worse than an impersonal motel room when you have to stay in an area for a while.” He paused, let his eyes wander over the faded wooden framing, over the settee on the veranda. “Right here, it feels more like home.”
That wasn’t it, she knew. That wasn’t even part of the truth. He was back because something hot and wonderful shimmered between them. Did she fascinate him as much as he did her? Possibly. Although she hadn’t done anything to encourage him, not even once. It would have been hard to find anyone less friendly than she’d been.
Still, there was something about him that touched her, something that had nothing to do with raw desire. Was it the warmth in his eyes? A quirk to his lips that promised humor and understanding? Or was it just plain magic, the magic that happens when the right female meets the right male? Whatever it was, she’d been unsuccessful in putting him out of her head for days.
She knew she was softening.
He must have sensed that too, and he pushed his point further. “Everyone, or almost everyone, needs the feeling there’s home somewhere. I’m sure you understand that.”
She nodded slowly, reluctance fighting with sympathy. “What are you doing in the area?”
And immediately felt the flush crossing her cheeks. She didn’t want to be interested in him. She wanted to blot him out. She’d opened her mouth, intending to refuse him, but the question had popped out instead. And that had opened the door to conversation. He’d realized it too, and she could almost feel his body relax with relief.
        “I’m working on a book on the Old West, so I’ll be poking around the area for a while.”
Alice couldn’t help smiling. “Blake’s Folly's a great place for history. Lucy Warner’s pig gave birth to fifteen piglets once. That was back in thirty-two, I think.”
His eyes met hers evenly. “Nineteen thirty-three. The fifth of August. A hot month for hard work like that.” He gave a short laugh. “Nothing important gets past us serious researchers.”
Suddenly there was a loud thump followed by a wild scraping of claws. Seconds later, a huge black dog thrust itself past Alice and threw itself against Jace, almost knocking him backward.
        “Killer! Down!”
Killer wriggled like an eel, danced a doggie jig on the veranda floor and still managed to stare up at Jace with supplication. He was ecstatic.
Jace bent down and gingerly patted Killer’s head, then looked back up at Alice with slight embarrassment.
“Normally I never pat dogs. I never understood why anyone would want to.” He observed Killer again. “There’s pure adoration in his eyes. It gets to me, somehow.”
        Killer nestled in closer, wagging his long, seedy-looking tail wildly, and Jace patted him again, this time with more tenderness.
Alice felt herself relenting. She loved animals—any animal: dogs, cats, rabbits. And snakes.
And this man was touching her too much. Far too much. She had to bring her defenses back into play. “That isn’t the way a dog normally reacts when he meets a total stranger.”
Jace met her semblance of hostility with his limpid green gaze. “I’m not a total stranger. I fed him my packed lunch the other day, remember?” He looked down at Killer, grinned ruefully. “I still didn’t know why I stopped for him. Anyway, we’ve been through all this already. And, as I said, I’m here about the room.”

Buy Links for All About Charming Alice

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