Monday, December 25, 2017

If I Could Change Anything, What Would It Be? by A.M.Westerling

I have to honestly say - nothing. I wouldn't change a thing in my life. The challenges I've faced and the decisions I've made over the years have shaped who I am and I'm happy with the face that stares back at me in the mirror every morning. Crows feet, wrinkles, odd ball freckles and all. I would add grey hair but ahem, my hair dresser takes care of that. *wink*

Some of the decisions I've made? In university I opted to take engineering rather than music. I'd played piano for years and even taught but in the end I decided I didn't want to be a piano teacher the rest of my life. Luckily enough, I had the marks and the aptitude to become a chemical engineer, along the way acquiring my husband, also an engineer. After working a number of years, we decided to open our own engineering firm and although my husband wanted me to keep working for the company I was with at the time (something about a steady income and paying bills) I insisted on joining him. Initially we had some scary times financially as we had our boys  at the same time (maybe planning wasn't our forte) but over the years we became so successful that a larger firm bought us. We joke quite often how we went from two jobs no kids, to two kids, no jobs. :)

Anyway, it allowed me to retire at an early age and that's when I became serious about writing. Not just any writing, but historical romance because after all, who doesn't love a Happily Ever After? Especially because I feel as if I'm living a romance novel with my own Happily Ever After!

My day of the month to post on the Canadian Historical Brides Blog is the 25th and of course today is Christmas Day. I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year! May the joy and wonder of this season stay with you throughout the upcoming year and may all your dreams come true. 

Speaking of historical romance, Barkerville Beginnings is available at your favorite online retailer: or order print copies at your local book store.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

What Would I Change in Fly Away Snow Goose?

This is a dangerous question to ask a depressive. Most of us, upon hearing it, freeze.  We know that if anything goes wrong within five miles of where we are standing, it will—somehow—be our fault. "What's wrong with my book???" You start with a small hours bout of 20-20 hindsight and go on from there 

So, I shall attack the assignment from another angle.  

I’m a ruminator, a.k.a. a s-l-o-w writer, which is not a good thing when you are supposed to be “creating content.” So the slowness leads me to: “My only regret about Fly away Snow Goose is that John and I didn’t have more time to learn and ponder.

Fish drying in the customary low humidity of NWT

We were writers on a deadline and sometimes one or the other of us would throw up our hands in despair. However, our deadline was nothing when compared with the deadline our characters faced.  Those four kids either had to find their tribe before winter comes or die. The responsibility for success or failure lies squarely upon the eldest, a pair of youngsters, who, after their escape from the residential school, face a peril-filled initiation into adulthood. 

Sometimes we, the writers, were scrambling; sometimes our characters were scrambling, but I can assure you they scrambled a lot harder than we did. Their journey takes them up rivers, through, across and around bogs, muskeg, pothole lakes, and into dark forests. They are always on the look out for dangerous animals--the primary one being white men who could turn them over to the authorities.

In the end, there’s not much I’d change about this now completed project. I got to know-- if only a little--the earth-wise Tlicho.  It has been a humbling experience for me to peek over the top of my cultural box and discover another persuasive world view. I’ve learned about the Prophet Erǝ́ya , also called Louis Ayah, of Great Bear Lake, and read his teachings. I’ve read about families named Tailbones, Crooked Hands, Simpson, Zoe, Chocolate, Norwegian and Lynx. I learned about Chief Jimmy Bruneau and about the far-sighted, strong willed Tlicho leader Monfwi. I've learned what this land means to the Athabascan people, how everything from rock and river to moose and man is connected to everything else, in a web which can never be undone.  I hope that this other "way of seeing" is brought to life in our story, and I'm truly glad that John has been along to make sure my feet stay on the Red Road.

It’s been inspiring —thanks to a free internet –to see images from the NWT taken by all kinds of people, some who live there and others who are gob-smacked visitors.  From these amazing pictures, it was a short head hop to standing upon their astounding dèè and looking up into the whispering glory of Aurora Borealis.  

Don’t know if I’ll ever get there, but the NWT is now definitely on my bucket list.

~~Juliet Waldron

The best link to find my historical novels at many popular online sites:

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Would I Change Anything? by Katherine Pym


I’d change a few things but they are too sad. Instead, I’ll tell you a story.

My Mom
When I was a child we lived in Wisconsin where the kids ran wild. No one feared falling off a bike and breaking your head. We were told never to talk to strangers. Our parents expected us to obey this dictate and allowed us to run and play in the fields or explore the woods on the hill above our house.

During winter, it took mom a long time to gear us up in snowsuits, scarves, mittens and boots. We put socks over our shoes inside the boots, hoping to keep our feet warm. We ate snow until I ingested something yellow. We sucked on icicles that had fallen into the snow. I worried about sitting against the house, though, with icicles hanging off eaves. One of those careening toward your head wouldn’t be good. 
Gramma Brunn? Similar but not.

I was in transition when it came to Santa Claus. I was the eldest child in our family and I ran with the older kids in the neighborhood. Connie lived next door. She did not believe in Santa but Christmas was coming and I wasn’t sure. I told her I’d wait and see what the season brought.

My maternal grandmother died when my mom was nine. She had been shuttled from one relative to another during her formative years and pretty much raised herself. When I was still very young, an old lady and her son moved across the street. Her name was Laura Brunn. Rudy was a big man and a bachelor. He did not smoke cigarettes or a pipe, but he wheezed.

Gramma Brunn became the mother my mom never had. She taught her to bake wonderful German cakes and pies, cook dishes my mother would never have known, pickle almost everything left on the plate. Gramma Brunn babysat and we children loved her.

Back to Christmas and Santa Claus.
I was getting up there in age, about 6 or so, a big girl and should understand big things. Connie said there was no Santa Claus but mom and dad said there was. Would my parents lie? Connie shook her head and very seriously whispered, ‘There is no Santa.’

Rudy as Father Christmas
On Christmas day a big old Santa came to our house. He carried a bag over his shoulder. I wore pretty pink bib-overalls with lace along the shoulder straps. I felt special and grown up but I did not like the Santa Claus. He wheezed like Rudy who had never been very nice to us kids. He did not like it when we covered his sidewalk with chalk pictures or chased a dog through his yard. He was not like Gramma Brunn.

He wheezed his way through the bag, giving everyone a gift. Gramma Brunn sat on a chair watching with a cup of coffee in her hand, her white hair like a halo in the morning sun. Mom stood near her with a smile on her face.

Once Santa left, we played with our new toys. Afterward, Connie asked me if I believed in Santa. Even though Santa sounded like Rudy, I said, ‘I just don’t know.’

Many thanks to Wikicommons, Public Domain

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What I Would Change was Beyond My Control, by Diane Scott Lewis

When I was a little girl, more decades ago than I care to count, I was skinny as a string bean. If I were a child in school today they'd probably worry I was Anorexic. But I ate like a field-hand, as my mother would say. I loved all sorts of foods, exotic and otherwise, salads, tempura shrimp, desserts, pizza, anything.

The boys teased me relentlessly, one calling me Bird Legs every time he saw me on the recess yard. (maybe he had a crush on me...?) Back then girls had to wear dresses to school, so my stick legs were always on display. I grew up in California, where fifty degrees meant winter, so no hiding my limbs under thick tights and tons of sweaters.

Then if that wasn't enough, at age twelve I had a huge growth spurt. Not out, as I wished for, but up. Other girl's were developing into shapely teens, I was becoming a narrow tower. "How's the weather up there?" I'd hear.

My best friend's mother, who stood maybe four-foot ten said I needed to stop growing and she was going to have my mother tie a brick to my head. (if only that worked)
When I entered high school I was five-foot-nine, (3/4 inches was yet to add itself on), and still skinny as a needle. I longed to be 'willowy' but 'gangly' applied. I wasn't the tallest girl in school, but all the others had meat on their bones. Where were my hips and other womanly shapes? I resembled my dad who was six-foot-four. Two bricks please! I still gobbled down plenty of food, but to no avail.
I planned to join the navy at nineteen, I loved to travel, but I didn't weigh enough for their height/weight ratio. For weeks I had to stuff myself and barely slid by.
I met my husband when I was stationed in Greece, and while most of my friends went through unhappy marriages and divorces--and ours wasn't always a piece of cake (yum, did anyone say cake?)--we've been together for over forty years, and that's one thing I wouldn't change.
We have two sons and two beautiful granddaughters.
I came to terms with my gangly body and in my mature years accept things far better than I used to. I've shrunk a half inch, and I finally got the fat I wanted. Unfortunately, it's only around my middle.
My experiences made me stronger and resilient. I rarely back down (but I do wish I could go back in time and have a long "talk" with Robbie-who labeled me Bird Legs).
I also love writing, starting in kindergarten. My pens and pencils never cared how boney I was. Well, those implements are long and skinny, too. The way I prefer historicals, I should be using a quill pen.
My latest novel, On a Stormy Primeval Shore, part of the Canadian Historical Brides Series, is available for pre-order, (link below) release date: January 1, 2018.
Blurb: In 1784, Amelia sails to New Brunswick, a land overrun by Loyalists escaping the American Revolution, to marry a soldier whom she rejects. Acadian Gilbert fights to preserve his heritage and property—will they find love when events seek to destroy them?

Pre-order HERE
Diane Scott Lewis grew up in California, traveled the word with the navy, edited for magazines and an on-line publisher. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Would I Change Anything?

In thinking about this month’s topic, I find myself in a quandary about what to write. After a chaotic and frightening few weeks following Thanksgiving here in the U.S., I’m just thankful to be alive…at least for the immediate future. But nothing is ever guaranteed, and nothing in life really unfolds as we’d like it to. We can plan all we want, but can never count on the stars aligning in the right pattern, or that cosmic monkey wrench out of the blue dashing our dreams. Or those moments of real joy when the impossible is achieved and knowing that nothing will ever take them away.

Like everyone, I’ve made my share of mistakes, and rash choices. I’ve learned to live with them and find my footing on the new trajectory that unfolds, occasionally pausing to look back and ponder how different life would have been…if only. But what purpose does that serve?  I can’t change any of it and dwelling on it is not only stupid, it’s self-defeating.

I am who I am based on all I’ve done…mistakes and all. I do what I do—now, this moment—based on the choices I’ve made and road blocks I’ve faced, the battles I’ve fought, lost and won. I’ve arrived at this point in life because of the whole mishmash that has been the cumulative effect of every day, every moment I’ve lived.

I can’t say I would change a thing. To do so would make me someone else. I’m not sure I’d respect that person or be able to call her “me.”
Coming July 2018

Monday, December 11, 2017

Would I Redo by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

When I was in school, I wanted to travel and my dream job was to be a stewardess as they were called back then. I studied French, German, and Russian so that I would know some other languages for when I landed and maybe stayed over in another country. In my last year a job show was held at my high school and I went to talk with the representatives from an airline. She was dressed in her uniform and was very nice.
     I explained that I wanted to be a stewardess and asked for information. She told me that I had to be a certain height and weight, which I was. She said that all stewardesses had to wear a girdle even though their figures might be perfect. I was okay with that. Then she told me that anyone who wore glasses could not be a stewardess. I was devastated, since I needed prescription glasses but seldom wore them. I went to an optometrist to get contact lenses. This was when they were still made of hard material and my eyes could not adjust to them.
     So I gave up my dream of being a stewardess. However, I married, had wonderful children who have given me wonderful grandchildren and went on to become a writer. I travelled extensively through British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon and Alaska, when writing my non-fiction backroads series.
     I belong to a dragon boat team and I have taken part in international festivals in Caloundra Queensland Australia (spent four week visiting the sites of Queensland and New South Wales then a week in Fiji) Sarasota Florida USA, (my husband and I travelled through two provinces and nineteen states on our way there and back home) and will be going to Florence Italy in 2018. While there I hope to visit many other European countries. I’ve also been to Japan and China. So not being a stewardess has not stopped me from doing the travelling that I wanted to do when I was younger.
     Just a note: my sister owned the Canadian Tourism College in Vancouver for many years. One of my granddaughters took her course and is now a flight attendant. She doesn’t need to wear a girdle and, while she doesn’t wear glasses, today it wouldn’t matter if she did.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

What I Would Change by Anita Davison

One thing I would change which might have altered how things went in my life, is that I would have listened to those voices of my childhood that said I could, and should write. It wasn't a crowd of enthusiastic teachers and mentors, but the one or two spontaneous remarks I could sense were genuine. [My schoolteachers barely knew I existed – when I achieved top marks in an English Language exam, my teacher said, ‘Well that was a surprise’]

I should have asked those early voices why they thought so, or even how I could go about becoming a writer –  but I was brought up in an atmosphere of blending in, never drawing attention to yourself and where the words ‘not for the likes of us.’ still ring down the years.

It might sound like a cop out to say, ‘no one showed me how to do it’ but that’s how it was to feel something is achievable for others but not for me. I didn’t have much of a sense of self-worth, so I didn’t reach for the stars, only the nearest thing. The thought of ‘what if’ was always there, but I had no idea how to turn a spark of ambition that never quite grew into a flame, into a reality.

This was, of course, in the pre-internet days when libraries were sanctums of yellow-paged hardbacks and indexed file cards guarded by stern matrons who believed silence must be maintained at all costs, especially against questions from schoolgirls – so where to start? No, I didn't live in medieval times but compared to today it might seem like it.

So I floundered, toyed, and touched the surface ever so lightly, but never jumped in.

I began writing late and purely to please myself and slowly learned during a process of criticism, editing and reading, that writing is a craft which begins with some talent, but can be acquired and needs to be honed by practice, reading, editing and more practice.

The more I write, the more I realise there is so much more I don’t know about writing – or even what good writing actually is. It's  also not how technically perfect you can turn out a piece of prose; it’s about how you communicate feelings and experiences in a unique voice with which readers can connect.

Photographs of youthful, bright eyed young women bringing out chart-topping novels are everywhere, and although thrilled for them – and I truly am - I cannot help a stir of envy of the many years they have ahead of them to write, inspire and be inspired as their careers and reputations grow.

Or maybe it was meant to take this long to find out these things, that I’m simply a [very] late developer? In which case – regret is pointless.

Anita's Contacts
FACEBOOK:     TWITTER: @AnitaSDavison

Sunday, December 3, 2017

One Thing I Would Change by Victoria Chatham

 Each time I’ve started to write this blog, I’ve had to stop and think. What would I change, if I could? I’ve virtually run my life before my eyes and considered many milestones but have come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t change anything. Not. A. Thing.

Do I wish some things could have been different? Yes, for sure. I would have loved to have grown up in one place, instead of moving every year because of my dad’s military service. I would have loved to have had more contact with my cousins instead of the annual visit to my grandmother’s house. I would have loved to have had more opportunities to be with horses.

Not having had those things made me come out of myself and look at what I did have. New homes and schools meant learning about new places and their environs, most of them in South Wales, the most exciting being Pembroke with its castle and the Sunderland flying boats based at Pembroke Dock. 

Spending those summers with my cousins made me appreciate them the more and I got quite inventive about finding people with horses and then helping out where I could – including on the baker’s cart drawn by a chestnut mare called Lizzie. I did the rounds with him on Saturdays and even got a free loaf of bread to take home with me at the end of the day. Although my parents could never understand from where my interest in horses originated, that loaf of bread was always appreciated.

As an adult, I would have preferred to not have two divorces in my personal history, particularly the first one for the effect it had on my children. But what I learned from both of those relationships set me up for a third marriage which, although that husband passed away sixteen years ago, continues to sustain me with so many happy memories. I would also have preferred to not have had breast cancer twice. But because I did, I met many wonderful people and benefitted from them in so many ways. I really cannot imagine what my life would have looked like if I had changed anything along the way. All my life’s experiences have molded me into the person I am today, someone who is healthy, happy, and looking forward to whatever tomorrow brings.

Not long after I came to Canada I heard the author Gail Bowen being interviewed on CBC radio. She commented in the interview that people who lived a varied and exotic life often make the best writers as they had so much material to draw on. I’m not sure if I could say my life has been exotic, but it has certainly been varied so, if Ms Bowen’s comment holds water, then I guess I’ll be writing for a long, long time.