Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Newest Brides novel is now available from your favorite etailer or order from your bookstore

BWL Publishing is thrilled to announce the release of the latest novel in our Canadian Historical Brides Collection, Book #10, The Left Behind Bride, Nova Scotia, by author Mahrie Reid is now available.   


Maggie Conrad lost a fiancé in the first war and a second suitor in Nova Scotia’s August Gale. Turning thirty, and on her own, it's time for her to make a life for herself and her younger brother, Ivan. ​​Against her wishes, Ivan goes to work for the rum runners and runs a surf boat bringing shipments ashore. When war-veteran and Prohibition Preventative agent, John Murdock, arrives undercover in the area and is referred to Maggie for room and board. With a rum runner brother and a man she suspects is a policeman living under her roof, Maggie must juggle law and order, family loyalties and her growing attraction to John as she decides whether marriage might be in the cards for her after all.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

My Writing Companions by A.M.Westerling

I don’t have any live, furry writing companions although sometimes I think I’d like to have a cat to curl up on my lap, or a dog to lay by my feet. We’ve had cats in the past but our son developed asthma so we had to give away our last cat. Then it seemed as if our life style didn’t really include pets so we never got another one. Maybe one day in the future when we’re not traveling as much. In the meantime, I visit my grand dogs Tilly (left) and Arlow if I need a puppy fix. 

I do have a menagerie of stuffed animals that cheer me on. Haha, I know, that's rather lame but most of them are gifts from my family and the little black bear is a lovely reminder from a vacation in the Napa Valley. The hotel had placed it on the bed and of course I had to buy it. 


I have a reading gargoyle, also a gift and you'll actually find him in various pictures on my website. He's my mascot. 

Finally, I have a little Zen garden, given to me by my very dear friend and fellow BWL Publishing author Victoria Chatham. Victoria wrote Brides of Banff Springs, Book 1 of the Canadian Historical Brides Collection.

Friday, March 23, 2018

One Cat Short of...

Well, Michelle, our intrepid cover artist, suggested "writing companions" for our March blog topic--so here goes, from a writer who is (and has been) as you shall see, just one cat short of crazy.

The first, the calico girl admiring the fishies, was taken almost twenty-five years ago. It's Stanzi Marie Pussycat, who was a retiring lady, as torties often are. When I got her from the Humane Society, the gal at the desk replied wearily --I'd asked if Stanzi was pregnant--"They're all pregnant." Fortunately for us, she wasn't.  I gave her Mozart's Wife's sweet nickname, the same bestowed by her "Little Husband."  She spent a lot of time rolling around on the floor next to me while I wrote, chirruping: "Please get down and pet me, Mom!" while I was concentrating--or attempting to.   

"Mrs. Washington has a mottled orange tomcat, who she calls, in a complimentary way, Hamilton..." (Such an elegant diss for the rebel general's favorite aide de camp from the Tory newspapers!) This Hammie usually slept on my head, but like the original Hamilton, he was a charming, gay (tho secretly tender-hearted) fellow. He arrived via a free paper ad, where a young woman simply posted: "Help me. I have thirty-eight cats." 

Hammie was the one who climbed into my lap when I sat on the ground to admire the furry gang gathering around. I patted him, and he purred. Then he bit me, really hard, in the arm, and ran away--just a few feet--to anxiously study me. The rescuer observed, "He doesn't mean it."  I knew he didn't, so I took him home. He performed his keyboard blocking, head butting, standing on the keyboard, drinking out of my water glass cat duties for Mozart's Wife, A Master Passion, Angel's Flight and Genesee.  

Here is another Revolutionary War period cat, Major General Schuyler, or "Sky-Sky." A scrawny fellow, he reached out to my husband and me through the bars, meowing "take me home!" His tail had been broken in multiple places, so that it felt, when you ran your fingers over it, "like fifteen miles o' bad road" as a friend's truck driver husband so aptly put it. He had a fondness for doughnuts, which, as you can see, eventually caught up with him. It was a taste he'd probably picked up on the streets of a nearby dead steel town, his place of origin.  Some kind person, knowing he was a good boy, had brought him into the shelter, hoping he'd find a home. You can tell from his name that my string of American Revolutionary War novels was still in progress. He was a good "Dutchman," fastidious about his appearance; his white fur always shone.

Next up, Elizabeth (Miss Betsy Schuyler--naturally!). She was dropped off in a pet shop, whose owner was a friend. Deb called me to say--through tears--that the women who'd left her behind had said, magisterially, "Here! You take her! Cats smother babies!" Then she'd walked out the door, leaving Lizzie behind, bewildered atop the counter. As you can see, Elizabeth was always super helpful when I was creating.  I soon learned to type while balancing her 8 lbs. atop my forearms...

Here's the Sainted Tycho, who came from our local PAWS. I had been cleaning cages at the Petsmart every Friday night for a year when I met him, one among an entire litter of black kittens who'd been rescued at a gun club. When I opened the cage door and allowed the babies to come tumbling out to romp in the narrow space we were allotted, this little boy, instead of chasing his playful siblings, climbed onto my shoulder, leaned against my head and began a heartfelt purr--it was love at first sight. He didn't live long, but for a few precious years, he was a fragment of the Divine, briefly embodied in a black cat. His companionship helped me to survive a crash and burn health crisis.    

This is cat is not one of mine. I met him at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, where he was greeting visitors to Major General Schuyler's stylish Georgian Home, making fellow 18th Century/Rev War author Kathy Fischer-Brown and I feel welcome as we approached the lovely old place.  He's another dapper iteration of the Hamiltonian orange tom cat gene. Delightful serendipity! 

B0B--the heartache of losing this big handsome tiger, just last November, is still fresh. He was a boy from the 'hood, tough and swaggering, a whole Tom when he introduced himself to us, yet always gentle. He loved to be petted. ("So happy I could just drool" became a saying around here.) I cannot number the dead critters he deposited on our door step during the decade our home was privileged to be his designated crash pad. (Never let it be said that B0B didn't know how to say "thanks" to his faithful posse!)  I still miss being awoken at 2 a.m. every night by his yells of "Lemme in!" from the porch roof below my bedroom window. Ever your servant, Lord B0B! I would stagger downstairs and wait while he climbed down the tree and sauntered to the open door. Fly Away Snow Goose was created under his sway, because it's hard to get back to sleep when you are awoken in the middle of the night. Besides, I knew thatLemme in was often followed, around 4:30, by Lemme Out!

 "TES" or "Translucent Ear Syndrome" (Bon mot courtesy of author K.A .Corlett.)

Soft kitties, warm kitties...

Kimi-wah only recently decided she didn't have to hide all day. I can't credit her with a lot of writing face time, our PTSD pud! She does have a late afternoon trick of rubbing on my legs while I work, which is pleasant, and a whiny plaintive meow, not so much. The meow summons me to get down on the floor for some concerted attention. (She obviously thinks I need a break.) My husband and I are both relieved that after a mere 8 years of TLC, she's decided we're trustworthy. 

Same couch, different year, Caturday. (I was skinnier, too!) 

And last, here's Willeford, the Waldrons' most recent rescue. He's a semi-disabled elder, and our latest fur friend, named by the shelter. The name's now morphing into "Sweet William,"or "Will-Yum. He just finished biting me up and down one arm and swatting me for good measure a bunch of times because he was cross that I would not let him lie on the keyboard while I was typing this.  Clearly, Will-Yum will be another capable writing "assistant." Maybe he'll help me finish Green Magic, or Moonshine's Bride...  

~~Juliet Waldron

(Believe it or not--that's not all the cats we've loved.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My Friends by Katherine Pym


London Bridge. My companions told me all about it so that I visualized it well.

When I write, my mind sails away to another time and place. Tagging along with me are my companions, ghosts from the past, ghosts in the present who seemed to have lived during the era in which I write. They advise me, tell me what is historically correct, or cry: “No, no. Listen to me.” I trust them and type their visuals into the computer. 

King Charles  II Spy Master. Did I work with him?

Then, with a small tune of regret to my companions, I go to the historical texts to make certain what they said is truly correct. Imagination can be a very strong tool. I make an effort to delineate between it and the whispered word. Like automatic writing, do I jot down images from my imagination or had I lived during that time and remembered as I write the passage? 

More often than not, the detail I entered into the manuscript is correct, yet I don’t tell many of this. Instead, a bibliographical list is added at the end of the story. This is much more believable than “I remember when…” 

As a result, readers exclaim they feel they are there, walking the lanes when reading my stories. They smell the not so nice odors. Their eyes sting from the coal smoke and they trip over an uneven paving stone, the heels of their hands embed with pebbles as they fall in the dirt. 

Stories transport one to another plane. More realistic to the time, the better the visuals. That’s my goal as I write novels of the 17th century, or phantasmatical stories of other planets, or spiritual adventures that take you to the unreal. 

I became woozy riding in this.

This is what writing is all about, to transport one to another world, another time. My ghosties do this with me. 

Many thanks to Wikicommons, Public Domain for historical pictures. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

An eclectic group of writing companions

The first time I tried to collaborate on a novel, a friend of mine and I decided to write a quick Harlequin-type historical romance to get our foot in the door of being a published author. I wrote the first and second scene and sent it to her. I said make any changes you like. Silence.
When I saw her at our next critique meeting, I asked what she thought, etc. She said, "I don't like heroine's who cry." (The girl was at her father's funeral.)
That was it. She didn't submit her view of the scene, or write a scene of her own-though I encouraged that. The collaboration crumbled to dust before it even started. I know she liked my writing, so that wasn't the issue. I just let it go. We're still friends.

Years passed. I found a publisher for my first novel. They overpriced their books. Then I was invited to join my current publisher, a wise move.

I have two fantastic critique groups that I run my chapters through on-line, so that's a bit like having partners.
Some will Beta read for me, too.

Last year I was asked to write a novel in the Canadian Historical Brides Series. Very exciting. Author Nancy M. Bell would be my collaborator. I hadn't cyber-met Nancy before, so I wasn't certain how this would pan out. Thankfully, Nancy was wonderful to work with. I couldn't have asked for a better partner.
Nancy M. Bell

I had researched the eighteenth century (mostly England) extensively. But now I needed to search Canadian 18th. c. history, to find an inciting incident. What better than the Loyalists who fled the American Revolution, but seen from the view of the French settlers in a land that was once New France, and an Englishwoman just arrived to marry a soldier, thrown into the mix.
Nancy found rare research documents, contacted the museum in Saint John, New Brunswick for info. And I ran each chapter through her for vetting. She was always there for support in the story. Not to mention, a very nice lady.

In conclusion, my dog, Fritzie, thinks he's my major partner, since he was a pup. Now he's fifteen. Don't tell him but he is more a lap warmer than a contributor to my writing; however, writers need comforting and he supplies that.

Recently released, my collaboration with Nancy- On a Stormy Primeval Shore

In 1784, Englishwoman 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?

Ebook and paperback is available at Amazon and All Markets

Visit my website:

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

Sunday, March 11, 2018

My Writing Companions Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

I first began my writing career with a short story about an injured hawk my son and I found beside the highway. We took him home to our acreage and named him Highway. We nursed him for a few days then set him free. He decided he liked us and moved into the bushes around our acreage.

       This story lead to the publication of historical and travel articles and finally seven travel books. To research these books over the years I travelled and camped throughout British Columbia, Alberta, and the Yukon and Alaska. My travelling companion was a cockapoo dog named Chevy. He inspected attractions with me, hikes trails with me, and waited patiently in my vehicle when I had to go into a building. We would be on the road for a month or more at a time taking pictures, learning history, and meeting people.

       At the end of each trip I’d be glad to get home and begin to unload my vehicle. Chevy would jump out and check the house and yard. I thought he was happy to be home also until I would go into my vehicle and find him lying in his place on the seat. I’d tell him we were home to stay and put him on the ground. I’d gather up more stuff to carry into the house and when I came out for my next load he was once again on the seat. I guess he wasn’t taking a chance that I would leave him. That little guy lived to be seventeen and was a great companion.

       I have had as many as five cats at a time over the years—I’m now down to three. When I am writing, one’s favourite spot is on my lap, another likes to sit on the desk between me and my computer screen, and the third one sits on the floor and talks to me trying to distract my thoughts. But I don’t mind. They are a joy to have.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Author Companions by Anita Davison

I don't have any furry companions, other than the squirrels who chase around the trees outside my window. However I do have virtual ones. I am a member of an online Historical Fiction Critique Group who critique my chapters and give me feedback on whether or not they think my characters are engaging and the story line is credible or not.

My main challenge was to write about a place I have never visited. Without an image of Prince Edward Island in my head, I had to manufacture one from photographs and personal accounts of those who lived there at the time. My Canadian counterpart,  Vicki Chatham, whom I regard as a companion, has offered some good plot revision thus far. I imagine I shall be calling on her again in the near future too.

My heroine and her story were the easy part, but fitting Grace Aitken MacKinnon into a community with unfamiliar architecture, geography, weather and social attitudes was more difficult. Some of the most interesting details I unearthed included the fact that in 1905, PEI once had a railway system, which no longer exists. There was also prohibition on the island. No one could buy alcohol, unless you had a doctor’s certificate, this exception being that rum and whisky had medicinal properties! There were a total of three motor vehicles in that year, which the locals hated as they scared the horses, leading three years after my story is set to an actual ban.

From being initially overwhelmed – I immersed myself in as much local colour as I could find, on the web, in libraries and bookshops, tourist literature and hundreds of photographs available of PEI in the early 1900’s – I soon became fascinated. I can also call on my virtual companions for help with language, customs etc, and as the story progresses I feel sure I will need their local knowledge.

Although I doubt the UK would ever entertain prohibition, in some ways PEI reminded me of Cornwall, with its fishing communities, strong ties to the sea and its ghosts and legends. I also discovered the traditions of the Miq’Mac Indians and their annual St Anne’s Day celebrations on Lennox Island which I found fascinating. I hope I can give a flavour of the island in my story, and one day my ambition is to visit Prince Edward Island, a place which has certainly captured my imagination.

Anita's Contacts
FACEBOOK:     TWITTER: @AnitaSDavison

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Scarlet Pimpernel - Fiction and Fact - by Rosemary Morris

The Scarlet Pimpernel
Fiction and Fact

                             “They seek him here, they seek him there,
                             Those French men seek him everywhere.
                             Is he in Heaven? – Is he in hell?
                             That damned annoying Pimpernel.”

The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy’s most famous character, is Percy, the gallant daredevil, Sir Percival Blakeney Bart.  He is the hero of her novels and short stories set in The French Revolution, so aptly nick-named The Reign of Terror.   
Orczy was a royalist with no sympathy for the merciless Jacobins who spared no efforts to achieve their political ambitions.  Historical accounts prove everyone in France was at risk of being arrested and sent to the guillotine.  Orczy’s works of fiction about the Scarlet Pimpernel display her detailed knowledge about revolutionary France and capture the miserable atmosphere which prevailed.
When writing about her novel The Laughing Cavalier, Percy’s ancestor, Orczy described Percival’s “sunny disposition, irresistible laughter, a careless insouciance and adventurous spirit”.
As I mentioned in my February Insider Blog about Baroness Orczy, Percy revealed himself to Orczy while she was waiting for a train at an underground station. She saw his apparition dressed in exquisite clothes that marked him as a late eighteenth century gentleman, noted the monocle he held up in his slender hand and heard both his lazy drawl and quaint laugh.  Inspired she wrote The Scarlet Pimpernel in five weeks.
On the second of August 1792, Percy founded his gallant League of Gentlemen composed of nine members.  When ten more members enrolled in January 1793 there was “one to command and nineteen to obey.” Percy and his league saved innocents from the French Revolutionary Government’s tool, Madame Guillotine.
London society speculated about the identity of The Scarlet Pimpernel but, with the possible exception of the Prince Regent, only the members of Percy’s league knew his true identity.
  Percy, a man of wealth and influence well-acquainted with the Prince Regent, heir to the throne, married Marguerite St. Just, a French actress.  Until Percy discovered Marguerite was responsible for an aristocratic family’s death he was an adoring husband. Percy kept his alias, The Scarlet Pimpernel, secret from Marguerite for fear she would betray him.  Still loving Marguerite in spite of her crime, he feigned indifference, treated her coldly, shunned her company and acted the part of a fool so successfully that he bored her. However, Marguerite discovered the truth about Percy and saved his life.  After the romantic couple’s reconciliation, Marguerite is mentioned as a member of the league in Mam’zelle Guillotine.
At the beginning of each of Orczy’s novels about The Scarlet Pimpernel and his league, the current events of the French Revolution are summarised.  Thus, Orczy weaves fiction and fact by not only featuring English and French historical figures such as Robespierre, d’Herbois, The Prince of Wales, and Sir William Pitt, the younger, but by making use of historical events.  For example, in Eldorado Orczy describes the Dauphin in the care of the brutal shoemaker, Simon, who teaches the prince to curse God and his parents. 
In the midst of horror, Orczy uses romance and heroism to defeat evil, as she did as a child when playing the part of a fearless prince while her sister acted the part of a damsel in distress.
Orczy spent 1900 in Paris that, in her ears, echoed with the horrors of the French Revolution.  Surely, she had found the setting for her magnificent hero, The Scarlet Pimpernel, who would champion the victims of The Terror.   But why did she choose such an insignificant flower for Percy’s alias?   It is not unreasonable to suppose a Parisian royalist organisation’s triangular cards, which were hand painted with roses that resemble scarlet pimpernels, fuelled Orczy’s imagination. 
Further fuel might have been added by a man called Louis Bayard, a young man with similarities to the real life Scarlet Pimpernel, although he might not have been motivated by Percy’s idealism
William Wickham, the first British spymaster, engaged the nineteen-year old Louis Bayard. Louis proved himself to be as elusive as Percy. Like Percy, Louis had many aliases. Not only did Orczy’s fictional hero and Louis fall in love with actresses, they appeared and disappeared without causing comment. Real life Louis’s and fictional Percy’s lives depended on being masters of disguise. 
In disguise, Percy fools his archenemy, Citizen Chauvelin, who Orczy gives the role of official French Ambassador to England. It is an interesting example of her distortion of historical personalities and incidents for them to feature in her works of fiction.  In fact, it is doubtful that Bernard-Francois, marquis de Chauvelin ever assumed a false identity as he did in Orczy’s novel, The Scarlet Pimpernel, about Percy and his League of Gentlemen, among whom are such fictional but memorable characters such as Armand St Just, Marguerite’s brother, Sir Andrew Ffoulkes, Lord Hastings and Lord Antony Dewhurst.
Another example of Orczy weaving fact and fiction is Louis-Antoine St Just, a fanatical revolutionary, who she describes as Marguerite’s cousin.  Louis-Antoine St Just, a young lawyer, was Maximillian Robespierre’s follower. He supported the punishment of traitors as well as that of anyone who was a ‘luke-warm’ revolutionary.  In The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel Marguerite’s brother, the fictional, Armand St Just, meets with Robespierre and other Jacobins.  Orczy portrays him as young, fervent and articulate as the real-life Louis-Antoine St Just.

Throughout the history of publishing countless authors, who became famous and whose work is still enjoyed as books, films, plays and television adaptations, found it difficult to place their work.  Orczy’s most famous novel was no exception.  Percy took the leading role in her play called The Scarlet Pimpernel and captured the audience’s hearts. Subsequently the novel was published, and Percy became famous.  His fame increased with each sequel about his daring exploits.
Orczy did not write her novels featuring Percy and his brave companions in historical sequence, but for readers who might prefer to read them in that order instead of the order in which she wrote them, they are as follows.

              Title        Chronology                                          Published                                             

*The Laughing Cavalier     January 1623                                                                1913
*The First Sir Percy                      March 1624                                                     1920
**The Scarlet Pimpernel                September – October 1792                              1905
Sir Percy Leads the Band                          January 1793                                        1936
I Will Repay                                                          August-September 1793                       1906
The Elusive Pimpernel                                            September–October 1793                    1908
Lord Tony’s Wife                                      November-December 1793                  1917
The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel              late 1793                                                          1933
Eldorado                                                               January1794                                         1913
Mam’zelle Guillotine                                              January 1974                                        1940
Sir Percy Hits Back                                               May – June 1794                                             1927
A Child of the Revolution                           July 1794                                                         1932
The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel                                                                                 1922
***Pimpernel and Rosemary                                 1917-1924                                                       1924

*   About Sir Percy’s ancestor.
** Play 1903.
***    About Sir Percy’s descendant.

Short Stories

The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel          July 1793                                                         1919
Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel           Possibly 1794                                       1929

Of Further Interest.

Links in the Chain of Life.  Baroness Orczy’s biography.

A Gay Adventurer.  A biography of Sir Percy Blakeney, Bart (1935) written by ‘John Blakeney’ pseudonym of Baroness Orczy’s son John Montagu Baroness Orczy Barstow.