Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Chapter One of Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame @marewulf #GoodReads #Romance

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
–Richard Feynman
There are many theories that attempt to explain why humans cry in response to heightened emotions. One states that weeping serves as a signaling function, letting other humans know the emotional condition being experienced with the hopes of contriving an altruistic response in the viewer. Another theory is that crying serves a biochemical function, releasing toxins from the body and reducing stress. Some scientists have found that tears may contain a chemosignal, and when men sniff women’s tears, they display reduced levels of testosterone and sexual arousal.
None of these theories explain why I, a twenty-year-old female, experience extreme anxiety and a desperate desire to get as far away as possible when people cry in my general vicinity.
“Are you even listening to me?”
Today’s client is Freya Morgan, a sophomore at the university, who recently dissolved a relationship. She’s pre-law, and her file indicates a fairly high GPA. I have hopes she will be more logical than emotional. She hasn’t cried yet, but I’m 83% certain she will. Studies have shown that women cry thirty to sixty-four times per year. That’s approximately once every twelve days, on the low side.
“Yes.” I glance at my notes. “You engaged in coitus with your partner and then he stopped communicating with you.”
She sits up slightly from the position she threw herself into when she entered the room, lying across the small sofa, and offers me a frown that puts a wrinkle in her forehead. She’s shorter than me, small enough to lie down on the couch that’s only about five feet long.
“Does that mean he went down on me? Because that’s not what we did. I mean, we did that, too, but that’s not what I said.”
“Coitus is sexual intercourse. I believe what you are referring to is cunnilingus.”
“Right.” She nods after a small hesitation and then lies back down with a gusty sigh. “Where was I?”
“He stopped communicating with you.”
“Yes!” She punctuates the word with a finger thrust in my direction although her gaze remains fixed on the ceiling above her. “But that’s not all. When he wouldn’t answer my texts, I went to his dorm and guess who was in there?”
I tilt my head, wondering, is that a rhetorical question?
It must be, because she’s speaking again quickly. “Liz. Liz was in there and she was moaning and screaming like she was giving birth to a goat. One with horns.”
“That’s an interesting metaphor. Perhaps his advances were unwanted?”
She snorts a laugh. “She’s been trying to bag him for months!” Her voice softens. “But I thought he was better than that. I thought I was better than that.”
I’m amazed at how quickly she goes from indignant to depressed. I jot that down in my notes. Bipolar?
“Liz is a friend?” I ask.
“Hell, no, Liz is a total skank. She sleeps with anyone who has a pulse, guys, girls, whatever.”
Whatever? I wonder what that encapsulates, but think it’s best to stick to the topic at hand. “Okay. What about the gentleman in question, Cameron?” I clarify the name she stated earlier.
“Did you confront him regarding his behavior?”
Another heavy sigh. “Yes.”
“And he’s a douchebag. He tried to deny it, but then I showed him the video.”
“You obtained video of his transgression?”
“Yeah.” She inspects her fingernails. “On my phone. They were so loud they didn’t hear me open the door. I got the key from the RA.”
“How did you…” I’m interested in how she accomplished such a feat, but it’s not as important as why she’s here in the first place. I have to stay on track. This exact topic was discussed with me previously by Duncan, the head of the psychology department and the person overseeing the progress on my experiment. Or lack thereof.
I didn’t necessarily want to work in the peer counseling clinic, but one of the stipulations of the grant required that I put in the same number of hours as the graduate students. I was assured that my doctorate in immunology and pathogens more than made me suitable for the position, but since I started, I’ve been counseled on my own behavior nearly every day. I was told to use this as an opportunity to examine emotions and understand the underlying impetus of the passions people experience, since that is the basis of the grant: emotion as a pathogen, how emotion is transmitted from one person to another.
So far, it’s not working.

Lucy London puts the word genius to shame. Having obtained her PhD in microbiology by the age of twenty, she’s amassed a wealth of knowledge, but one subject still eludes her—people. The pendulum of passions experienced by those around her both confuses and intrigues her, so when she’s offered a grant to study emotion as a pathogen, she jumps on the opportunity.
When her attempts to come up with an actual experiment quickly drop from lackluster to nonexistent, she’s given a choice: figure out how to conduct a groundbreaking study on passion, or lose both the grant and her position at the university. Put on leave until she can crack the perfect proposal, she finds there’s only one way she can study emotions: by experiencing them herself.
Enter Jensen Walker, Lucy’s neighbor and the one person on the planet she finds strangely and maddeningly appealing. Jensen’s life is the stuff of campus legend, messy, emotional, complicated—in short, the perfect starting point for Lucy’s study. When her tenaciousness wears him down and he consents to help her, sparks fly. To her surprise, Lucy finds herself battling with her own emotions, as foreign as they are intense. With the clock ticking on her deadline, Lucy must decide what’s more important: analyzing her passions…or giving in to them?
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Genre - Romantic Comedy
Rating – PG-13
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Sandy James Dissects Secondary Characters @sandyjamesbooks #AmReading #Romance

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I tend to fall in love with my secondary characters. Not that I don’t love my heroes and heroines. I do. But my secondaries?
They’re in a class by themselves.
Part of the reason they’re so important to me is that I often model them after people I know, usually students. It’s not a way of saying a student is one of my favorites. They’re all my favorites. I love teaching. Yet a distinct personality or even a name will call to me on a level I can’t explain. Maybe it’s a “writer thing.”
Or I’m simply insane. That’s what my husband has been saying for years…
While I can use humor with a hero or heroine, I can let a secondary go to an extreme. Eccentricity becomes the rules of the day. The peculiar way she dresses. His odd mannerisms. Her unusual way of speaking. Being able to write about all those things and more is turning an author loose on a literary playground. At least for me…
My favorite secondary characters have to be Sheila and Bruiser from the second of my Damaged Heroes stories, Free Falling. Picture a small, demure legal secretary who dresses in Dockers, angora sweaters, and understated jewelry. All of about five-foot tall, she is often mistaken for being a high-schooler. That’s Sheila. Add the personality of an Army drill sergeant, and she becomes the character with the best one-liners I’ve ever written.
Her boyfriend is the stereotype of a Hell’s Angel. All leather and attitude and height that towers over most people. But he looks at Sheila through the eyes of love, and together they make the most mismatched and devoted couple I’ve ever created. Since Bruiser is a private investigator, I’ve decided I might owe him and Sheila their own book one day. A nice cozy mystery perhaps.
That’s the last great thing about secondary characters. You don’t always have to tell them goodbye. Oftentimes, they can reappear to vex or assist other heroes and heroines. Or they can even be elevated to a starring role.
The cool thing about the Ladies Who Lunch series is that all four of my Ladies will be that each Lady is the heroine, but for the other three books, she’s a secondary. Which pleases me more than you can ever know!

For the fans of Jennifer Probst, Ruth Cardello and Jill Shalvis, comes a series about love, friendship, and lunch!
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Juliana Kelley tells the Ladies Who Lunch that her life needs an overhaul . . . and gets a whole lot more than she wished for.
Juliana has spent thirteen years in the same teaching job. She’s ready to dive into a new career with both feet . . . when a run-in with the hottest man she’s ever seen knocks her head over heels. But with her failed marriage to a fellow teacher fresh on her mind, Jules can’t afford to lose herself in a relationship-no matter how perfect it may seem.
Connor Wilson has hit rock bottom when he loses his career as a top-notch Realtor because of a large gambling debt. Now, in a small town he finds a fresh start-and a gorgeous redhead who sparks new life into him. Together they start a successful real estate company, but when pleasure sneaks into the business, they’ll have to decide what they can let go . . . and what they can’t live without.
Word count: 75,000-85,000
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Genre - Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG-13
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@JimRada Shares 10 Things You Didn’t Know About LOCK READY #AmReading #HistFic #TBR

Thursday, July 24, 2014

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Lock Ready
I was asked to give you a little insight on me by telling you 10 things that you might not realize about my newest historical novel, Lock Ready.
  1. While Lock Ready is the last book in the Canawlers trilogy, I also wrote a short novella using the same characters. The novella was written as a promotional item for Canalfest in 2003. The story is called The Race and is set 10 years after Lock Ready. While the hard copy version is out of print, you can still purchase an e-book version.
  2. It has been 13 years since the first book in the trilogy was published. Canawlers came out in 2001 and the second book, Between Rail and River, was published in 2003.
  3. Lock Ready is the first historical novel that I’ve written since 2007. After October Mourning was published that year, I wound up working on a number of non-fiction history projects and my fiction writing kept being put on the back burner.
  4. The Canawlers trilogy was inspired by a bike ride. I biked the C&O Canal towpath with my wife in 2000. During that 5-day trip, I realized that a lot of history had happened along the C&O Canal. Being a writer, I started trying to figure out a story that I could build around it. Once I realized that the most-interesting period along the canal was probably during the Civil War, I started thinking about how the canal and war collided and came up withCanawlers.
  5. Hugh Fitzgerald, who was killed in the first book of the trilogy, Canawlers, was supposed to live. I hit a snag during my first draft of the book and couldn’t move it forward. When I started examining the structure of the story and character arcs, I realized that Hugh needed to be written out of the story. Doing so put an obstacle between David and Alice, was the catalyst for George joining the army and forced Alice to stand on her own.
  6. Writing the Canawlers trilogy led to my interest in history. Once Canawlers was written, my editor at theCumberland Times-News where I was working started giving me assignments that were history oriented. One of these assignments led to me writing my second historical novel, but more importantly, it led to me realizing that history was filled with lots of interesting stories.
  7. I had planned at one point to write a Canawlers novel set in 1924. I imagined that the story would be told by an elderly Tony Fitzgerald as the canal was preparing to close. I originally put the story off because it was such a large gap in time between Lock Ready and the novel. I realized that if I was going to write that story, it would either have to stand alone or I would have to write a couple books that bridged that gap between Lock Ready and the 1924 book.
  8. I have a small collection of C&O Canal memorabilia. This includes nails from canal books, old books, bank notes and maps. I had started gathering the items originally to help with my research, but it evolved into adding some of the ephemera. It probably isn’t worth too much, but it’s a nice collection.
  9. The final version of Lock Ready is far different than the original drafts. One of the reasons that it took me so long to write Lock Ready is that I kept changing the story. I had always known how I wanted the story to end, but just about everything else changed at one time or another. Certain story lines just didn’t work out. I kept bits and pieces, researched more and developed new story lines. Once things finally clicked, writing the entire story worked out pretty easily.
  10. One of the fun research trips I did for the Canawlers trilogy was to ride on a canal boat. Though the canal is no longer in service, there are stretches that the National Park Service keeps operational and where you can ride a canal boat through a lock. I like the Great Falls Visitors Center. It is set back in the woods and the NPS personnel dress in period costume. You feel like you are stepping back in time. Riding the boat through the lock is very fun, but even in the short ride, you can see how laid back life was generally on the canal.

The Civil War split the United States and now it has split the Fitzgerald Family. Although George Fitzgerald has returned from the war, his sister Elizabeth Fitzgerald has chosen to remain in Washington to volunteer as a nurse. 

The ex-Confederate spy, David Windover, has given up on his dream of being with Alice Fitzgerald and is trying to move on with his life in Cumberland, Md. Alice and her sons continue to haul coal along the 184.5-mile-long C&O Canal. It is dangerous work, though, during war time because the canal runs along the Potomac River and between the North and South. 

Having had to endured death and loss already, Alice wonders whether remaining on the canal is worth the cost. She wants her family reunited and safe, but she can’t reconcile her feelings between David and her dead husband. Her adopted son, Tony, has his own questions that he is trying to answer. He wants to know who he is and if his birth mother ever loved him. 

As he tries to find out more about his birth mother and father, he stumbles onto a plan by Confederate sympathizers to sabotage the canal and burn dozens of canal boats. He enlists David’s help to try and disrupt the plot before it endangers his new family, but first they will have find out who is behind the plot.

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Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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#Excerpt from Party of Gifts by D. Aliesh #AmReading #SciFi

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My family had this really weird connection. If there was ever anything wrong with any of us, our phones would call each other, and the person that owns the phone would not even show it in the call history. So when we called the person back, and they were completely lost, we knew that there was more to the story. Most of the time it was just that someone needed to talk or had something on their mind that they couldn’t quite put together. Either way, the phones always knew exactly who to call. I picked it up, knowing that she would just call again. “What are you doing up this time of night, Ma?” I asked instead of the usual greeting.
“Why are you calling me at this ungodly hour? Oh wait; it’s one of those calls isn’t it?”
Indeed it was. “Yes Ma, I guess it is; any advice?”
She sighed heavily into the phone. “I guess you’re active again. So all I have to tell you is to follow your heart and stay safe. But why now after so long; I thought you were giving it… a rest?”
She made it sound like I had broken a vow of celibacy.

The modern day heroes assembled in this journey get to go to places most people will never see. With the gifts of the spirit and some other talents added to the bunch, they restore faith, hope in order into the world, while shaking it up in themselves. If you are a sci-fi extraordinaire looking for a good read, or if you need an escape from worldly limitations…join the cast of Party of Gifts.
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Genre - Sci-Fi
Rating – PG
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@LeskoLori's #WriteTip for Writing Without Giving Too Much Away - #AmWriting #Thriller

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to write without giving too much away

One of the main tricks to writing is to know when to reveal things and when to keep them hidden. Otherwise, all books would be about two pages. Masking and unveiling is an art form in of itself. A character's background can be hidden while the action of the story takes place or vice versa. On the other hand, there may be certain little clues for you to follow left by the author, but you have to be paying attention to the foreshadowing. It's a literary device by which an author explains certain plot developments that may come later in the story. Also, you must not forget we writers like to lead you off course as well. All of the above is what I attempted to do with my novel COPYRIGHT. Whether I was successful or not, will be determined in April.

Character: I never like knowing everything about a character right away in a book. I want to see the way they move into the story first. I want them to slowly reveal themselves as the story progresses. For me personally, I don't even need to like the character. I've never stopped reading a book because I didn't like the character, case in point Gone Girl. Many people didn't like it because the characters were not likable, or they didn't like the ending of the story. That wasn't the case for me. I loved how blatantly unlovable they were. Why? Because, it went right along with the story.

Story: The job of a writer is to build tension. How? We do this by keeping things hidden to the very last excruciating moment. Think of it as a 'reader's need to know basis'. When you're about to reveal something important, consider does the reader really need to know it right then and there? Or can they wait until later? If the answer is No, they don't need to know it, then hold off.  Remember the TV show LOST?  They were geniuses at doing this, almost to the point of driving their fans nuts. Waiting, anticipating, trying to guess what's going to happen next-that's my favorite part of reading. It doesn't matter the genre. Always leave a little misty fog until the very end, your readers will thank you for it.


Amber Tyler is living every author’s dream: her books are all best sellers and she writes full time. She has worked hard and is well-accomplished in her career, and she has the support and love of her beautiful children and girlfriend. 

But the dream soon turns into a terrible nightmare when her latest manuscript is stolen. She decides to fight for what is rightfully hers, only to find that the harder she tries, the easier it all slips through her fingers, putting her career, her family, and her life in jeopardy.

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Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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#SummerOfGreed - John W. Mefford Shares an #Excerpt from FATAL GREED #Thriller #Giveaway

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Condensation dripped down the side of the shapely glass. He removed the purple umbrella, twirled the tiny sword-like handle, and puffed air into the rippled top, creating a fluttering noise. Taking hold of the green straw, he sucked in the last of the Mango Margarita as his toes curled under the cool white sand. The hollow slurping sound briefly reminded him of his last root canal when the dentist used a suction tube to remove blood from his infected mouth.
He winced, then a thin smile crossed his lips. This last extraction had been far less painful—for everyone other than his longtime friend and lawyer, Oliver Shapiro.
Harmless waves lapped against the pristine shoreline and kids frolicked in the knee-deep, turquoise water. He’d been amazed by the remarkable clarity of the beautiful Caribbean Sea, providing endless transparency into a domain of colorful fish, turtles—and who could forget Stingray City at the sandbar just off the coast. The distinct contrast of southern stingrays was simply fascinating. Shaped like a flat diamond with a mud-brown or gray top and a white underbelly, their movement was graceful and effortless, gliding along the sandy sea bottom. Yet, despite the beauty and grace, the thin, snake-like serrated tail slithering behind the sea creature was a reminder of its deadly potential. Like every other living creature on the planet, the stingrays were equipped with the necessary tools to survive.
“Sir, would you like another frozen drink?” The curvaceous waitress wearing an orange bikini top and a royal blue and white sarong tied at her waist, diverted Chuck Hagard’s attention from his mental excursion.
“Thank you. I’ll take another. I’m not driving home.”
“I’ll be right back.” He loved the purity of her British tone, especially when compared to his improper southern slop of an accent.
Chuck adjusted the rim of his visor, then pulled out one of his three remaining cigars and chewed on the end while turning his gaze back to the heavenly water. He’d been living on the largest of the Cayman Islands for nearly two months. As expected, he’d blended in with the rest of the European and American tourists. He was just another shell, a slightly different shape and color, but a shell nonetheless.
For the first couple of weeks, he wondered if he’d ever truly relax, stop looking over his shoulder, release his mind from the twenty-five-year mental treadmill. He inhaled the humid, salty air and thought about the long road traveled. Even before he got the CEO job at Omaha Gas, somehow Chuck knew the day would come when he could no longer exist in his previous life. Too many half-truths or bold-faced lies to get where he was predestined to be—at the top, holding all the cards, an expert at manipulating the puppets around him until their usefulness had expired.

Behind the fa├žade of every corporate takeover executives pull levers this way and that, squeezing the last profitable nickel out of the deal. But no one knows the true intent of every so-called merger. 

No one knows the secret bonds that exist. 

An Indian technology giant swallows up another private company that has deep roots in North Texas. For one unassuming man the thought of layoffs, of losing his own job to a bunch of arrogant assholes feels like a kick to the jewels. 

Until the day Michael’s life changes forever.   

Perverse alliances. An affair of the heart. A grisly murder. A spiraling string of events thrusts Michael into a life-or-death fight to save a tortured soul and hunt down a brutal killer…one who lurks closer than he ever imagined. 

Greed knows no boundaries.
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Genre – Suspense, Thriller
Rating – R
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Model of Productivity: Brian White’s Average Day #Mystery #Crime #AmReading

Model of Productivity: Brian White’s Average Day
Writing is one of those jobs that makes people wonder what authors do when they’re not writing. In my case a typical day usually involves feeling guilty for not writing when I happen to be doing something else. Like eating. Or working at my day job (paramedic). This is especially true when I’m in the middle of a longer project. Here’s an example of what most of my days were like when I was working on my new book, Nightfall.
Set alarm for 5:00am. Vow to get straight out of bed and write for three hours straight before taking a short break for a glass of water, then continue writing for another three hours.
Shriek like a girl as alarm clock rips me from sleep. Hurl phone across room to silence alarm and go back to sleep.
Wake up to hungry cat licking my fingers and purring. Ignore cat and roll over to get more sleep.
Wake up to cat curling up so that her butt is approximately one nanometer from my mouth. She’s purring louder.
Fling cat out of bedroom and latch the door.
(Note: I didn’t really fling her. It was more of a gentle, loving nudge . . . by which I mean it was a fling.)
Wake up, again. Cat is now scratching at bedroom door and yowling. Wonder why the gods have cursed me with such malicious cuddly ball of cute that requires such annoyances as regular feedings.
Open bag of cat food and leave it open on the floor where she can get to it. Feel satisfied that feeding problem is taken care of for at least two more days.
Sit down at computer and bring up the story I’ve been working on. Time to get some serious writing done.
Sit down at computer with coffee and look at what I’ve got so far. Time to get some serious writing done.
Finish counting individual pixels on computer screen. Time to get some serious writing done.
Put down the book in which I’m currently engrossed that I’ve been reading for the last three hours instead of working on my own stuff. I know it’s going to be a hot ticket in about a month, and I’m feeling smug because I know that I was into it before everyone else – also, my understanding of the characters is far deeper than anyone else’s. Time to get some serious writing done.
Put down book again, finished. Contemplate mixed feelings about what was, essentially a good yarn, but with an ending I’m not sure the author spent enough time on. Time to get some serious writing done.
Finish argument on Internet forum regarding the book I’ve just read. Some people just don’t get it. Philistines. Oh well, time to get some serious writing done.
Realize that laziness has prevented me from achieving anything meaningful in life, and out of sheer guilt sit down at the computer and write stream of consciousness into manuscript for the next two hours. Feel a little better about self and life choices.
Ensure door is latched to keep out cat. Set alarm for 05:00am. Assure myself that tomorrow I will leap out of bed, land at the computer and start writing for three. Whole. Hours. I’m going to get some serious writing done.

A beautiful young escort is strangled to death, her corpse discarded in a back alley dumpster. The killer’s identity is a mystery, and the homicide has gone almost unnoticed. Welcome to Middleton, where these things happen every night and the police are too busy or too jaded to notice.
Ezzy Morgan once roamed these blue collar streets as a paramedic. Here she was weaned from innocence and taught the cold-blooded nature of the human heart. Now she works as a private detective and has shut the door on shootings, stabbings, and the constant specter of death. But her life is about to be shattered when the dead woman’s only surviving friend seeks her out, looking for justice.
Clues are sparse and the trail seems to be a dead end before it has even begun. But the mystery takes a macabre turn after another death is dropped at Ezzy’s feet, and she’s hit with an ultimatum from the world of organized crime: find the killer in the next twenty-four hours . . . or die.
This murder mystery turned terrifying struggle between life and death will expose a cover-up spanning two generations involving a sadistic psychopath, a burned-out cop with a cocaine habit, and a powerful man willing to commit murder just to ensure a secret stays buried.
With the noose tightening and the clock winding down to her own demise, Ezzy must come to terms with a darkness she thought she’d left behind years ago. Nightfall has come to Middleton, and she might not live to see the dawn.
Brian White has crafted a captivating tale in the new noir. Nightfall, with its crisp prose and razor-sharp dialogue, is a thrilling tale of crime and suspense that grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the end.
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Genre - Crime, Noir, Mystery
Rating – R
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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ICE by @TheobaldSprague #Climate #Adventure #Memoir

Friday, July 4, 2014

One of the main objectives for the trip and documentary was to come away with a fairly precise understanding as to the state of environmental affairs. I’m sorry to say that in this I failed. But I have an excuse. The heft of Mother Nature’s intentions was introduced to us far sooner and to a much larger degree than ever anticipated and became a very large part of our daily lives. By the time we got to The Passage, the scope and aim of the trip was simply to finish in one piece. The time planned for interviews and casual observations had turned into a race against the seasonal clock and we had to be satisfied with the few interviews that we got. Quickly the story of the trip changed focus from overview and observation to not getting hampered by the elements.
To have missed some planned interviews and time spent among the various communities in exchange for surviving the ordeal was fine with me. There’s a saying that in the 1800s, those hearty souls who took a stagecoach journey across the United States started off with great excitement and anticipation of all that they would see and encounter. By the end, they were just happy to reach their destinations alive. Never was it as true as with our trip to and through the Northwest Passage that summer.
The second area I wanted to investigate and learn from was the potential of commercial shipping through The Passage. What I learned from those I interviewed was more focused and defined compared to their beliefs on global warming. While some small commercial shipping does currently exist and some more will certainly start up, all of whom I spoke with felt that the large-scale supertanker-type of shipping would never happen.
I was told that when the area is frozen, perhaps more than three-quarters of the year, it provides not only migratory routes but ice roads as well. To one extent or another, all of the communities from the smallest fishing camps to larger ones like Cambridge Bay depend on these ice roads in and out of their area. Any interest in larger commercial shipping would meet great resistance.
The Northwest Passage is, for the most part, an uncharted area. When we were able to take soundings in some locations, the bottom would be ten- feet deep, then drop to perhaps a hundred feet, then come back up again to ten feet, all in the stretch of perhaps a quarter-mile.
It’s my feeling—as well as that of many of those who live in the Nunavut Territories—that if commercial concerns want to use this shortcut between the two major oceans, there would have to be extensive surveying and dredging to accommodate their needs, perhaps negating some of the immediate profits to be found. In dealing with the ice, shipping will find it to be completely unpredictable and each year it would present its own grave challenges.
Without the promises of immediate profits, I don’t see these concerns to have a large concentration span. Again, these are just my thoughts based on observations by the few who live up there and are by no means steeped in feasibility studies and corporate research.
One area that doesn’t seem to grab the headlines as much as global warming or potential shipping, but to me holds a far more frightening potential for disaster, is that of the natural resources to be found in and around The Passage.
The exploration of lucrative natural resources just under the surface is something that I feel could destroy one of the most delicate and pristine ecosystems on our planet. There are five Arctic powers vying for dominance: Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, and the United States. Unlike Antarctica, there is very little paperwork in place delineating which nation has what claim to which area. Far too complex to try to break down in this writing, suffice it to say it’s a bit like the Old West, all trying to stake a claim via interpreting antiquated laws and rulings to their benefit.

TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL HD TEASER FOR “The Other Side of The Ice” [book and documentary] PLEASE GO TO: VIMEO.COM/45526226) 
A sailor and his family’s harrowing and inspiring story of their attempt to sail the treacherous Northwest Passage.
Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage–the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific–the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died trying. From his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, through the Passage and around Alaska to Seattle, it would be an 8,500-mile trek filled with constant danger from ice, polar bears, and severe weather.
What Theobald couldn’t have known was just how life-changing his journey through the Passage would be. Reuniting his children and stepchildren after a bad divorce more than fifteen years earlier, the family embarks with unanswered questions, untold hurts, and unspoken mistrusts hanging over their heads. Unrelenting cold, hungry polar bears, and a haunting landscape littered with sobering artifacts from the tragic Franklin Expedition of 1845, as well as personality clashes that threaten to tear the crew apart, make The Other Side of the Ice a harrowing story of survival, adventure, and, ultimately, redemption.

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Genre – Memoir, Adventure, Family, Climate
Rating – PG
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A LIFE LESS ORDINARY #Excerpt by Victoria Bernadine @VicBernadine #ChickLit #Fiction

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Manny walked in her door, looking tired and feeling worn out. She wondered ruefully why the only thing not on a schedule was the time she could leave the office. She dropped her purse on the table and hung up her coat and keys. With a tired sigh, she walked into the living room and plopped into the armchair. She closed her eyes as Harvey walked out of the kitchen with a glass of white wine and began to rub her shoulders. He again looked impossibly handsome, this time wearing a sweater and jeans. She sighed in imagined bliss, and looked at him with sad eyes.
You have no idea how much I wish you were real.
In a blink, he was gone–and the phone was ringing. For a split second, Manny considered not answering it.
There’s your chance to talk to a real person, Harvey murmured.
Probably a telemarketer.
Probably Rebecca. Or Daisy. They’ll worry if you don’t answer.
All right, all right.
Manny heaved herself to her feet and walked to the phone.
Maybe I’m glad you’re imaginary after all.
She caught a glimpse of his grin as she answered the phone.
It was Rebecca, asking her to go out the next night.
“I don’t know…” Manny sighed.
“Oh, come on–you’ll have fun! And seriously–you haven’t gone out with us in months!”
“I’ve been tired…”
“You’ve been tired your whole life I think. You need to break out of this rut you’re in! Come out for a few drinks and dancing with me and Daisy. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet a good-looking guy and be swept off your feet into a red-hot love affair.”
Sounds like a plan to me.
Yeah, ’cause that’ll happen.
“I’d love to go dancing,” Manny said to Rebecca, “but the guy is just a figment of your imagination.”
“Only because you don’t put any effort into it. Seriously, it’s not healthy to do nothing but work and go home. That’s how people go crazy you know.”
“Huh. You mean next thing you know I’ll be talking to my imaginary friend?”
Harvey grinned wickedly and Manny abruptly turned her back to him.
“Exactly!” Rebecca said. “Come on–what do you say?”
“Okay, okay,” Manny sighed. “Tomorrow night–the usual place?”
“Yep–and sound like you’re actually looking forward to it, okay?”
“I’m sorry. I am looking forward to it–it’ll be fun.”

For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.
After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.
Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.
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Genre – Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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@MargaretWestlie on Shares Her #WriteTip for Overcoming Stage Fright #AmWriting #HistFic

I have been steeped in the stories about my ancestors since my birth.  They may have even seeped into me through the walls of the womb.  Anna’s Secret is a story I’ve heard many times from various people.  The latest version was from my Uncle Harold.  He said that one of our own people was suspected of the crime of murdering Anne Beaton with a turnip hoe.  It was said that she was no better than she should be and was doing a little marital wandering with someone in the community.  For a long time the smithy was suspected.  He was in custody for a period but was finally exonerated and left Prince Edward Island for good.  Ultimately the authorities decided that the crime was perpetrated by a woman and was in fact, a crime of passion.  This last was pronounced with great relish.  They never found the person responsible.  It seems that Anne had greatly riled a wronged wife, and probably several.
The story caught my imagination and I began to wonder: what if she wasn’t who they thought she was? What if the reason for her murder was entirely different?  What if the murderer was discovered?  Who would it be?  Her husband?  The wronged woman?  The man she was said to be involved with?  There was a lot to play with here.  In a technical sense, how close to reality could I be without offending descendents?  Not too close, I decided.  Anyway, it’s more fun to write what pops into my mind and see how it plays out.
As I wrote, the narrative opened like a flower as I examined the individuals who I decided were involved.  Who were they?  What relationship did they hold to Anna and to her family and to each other? How did Old Annie figure into it?  After all she was a daft old woman who had to be transported to gatherings in a wheelbarrow because she couldn’t be left alone.  Most of the time she didn’t know anyone and lived in her mind very far in the past with people she knew in her youth.  What did she have to do with Anna’s murder?  After all, she and Anna had been life-long friends.
And what did it do to the community?  Their sense of safety was shattered and people took to locking their doors, some even in the daytime.  This was in a community that never locked its doors even in my grandmother’s time.  I remember this from my childhood.  The only time the door was locked was if they were going to be away for an extended period because, what if someone needed something and they weren’t home to give it to them?  I remember my own mother telling me a story about an old man who peddled goods and trinkets door-to-door.  He was a little simple as they say here. They woke up one morning and discovered him asleep on the lounge with a blazing fire in the stove.  After the murder, people were afraid to walk out alone at night.
As the story progressed it took awhile for me to realize who the real perpetrator was and the denouement was almost as much a surprise to me as it will be to you.

Anna Gillis, the midwife and neighbour in Mattie’s Story, has been found killed. The close-knit community is deeply shaken by this eruption of violence, and neighbours come together to help one another and to discover the perpetrator. But the answer lies Anna’s secret, long guarded by Old Annie, the last of the original Selkirk Settlers, and the protagonist of An Irregular Marriage. Join the community! Read Anna’s Secret and other novels by Margaret A. Westlie.
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Genre – Fiction, mystery, historical
Rating – G
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