Hooray – It’s Victoria Day!

Here in Canada, today is a public holiday celebrated in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. The long weekend is traditionally when Canadians plant their gardens and open up their summer cottages.

Queen-Victoria-History

Why do we celebrate Queen Victoria? She has a special place in Canadian history. When Victoria became queen of Great Britain in 1837, Canada wasn’t yet a country. It was made up of a few separate British territories known collectively as British North America. Victoria gave royal assent to the 1840 Act of Union, uniting Upper Canada (now Ontario) and Lower Canada (now Quebec). She then signed the 1867 British North America Act, by which the provinces Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Canada were united as the Dominion of Canada (the rest of the provinces joined later). She also selected Ottawa to be the capital of Canada, as it was sheltered from potential American invasions and stood on the border between English and French Canada.

Victoria reigned for over 63 years and her legacy can be seen everywhere. Her reign brought in an era of artistic, social, religious and political change. Here in Canada, three Canadian cities are named after her: Victoria, Regina (“Queen City”) and Victoriaville. In fact, all over the world, lakes, mountains and cities have been given her name.

And did you know it was Victoria who popularized white wedding gowns and Christmas trees?

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Where’s the Romance?

I walked into one of Milwaukee’s last independent bookstores this week. It’s a lovely place filled with “Indie Books” published by offshoots of traditional publishers. It has a section for books by local authors, and books about Wisconsin and Milwaukee.

thThe “Thriller Section” is small – I own, or have read, roughly 90% of the thrillers displayed. The “Essay Section” was the exact opposite. If I recognized 5% of the titles, that would have been generous.

They had a “Children’s Section” (enormous), and a “YA Section” (impressive). Also well represented were: Philosophy, Criticism, Cooking, and self-help.

What they didn’t have – not a single title – was Romance. NO ROMANCE! REALLY?Perhaps this lack of display, and quite frankly respect, for one of the most widely-read genre’s, is indicative of a space reserved for “Higher Thinking”.th (3)

Perhaps it’s short-sighted, willful stupidity.

Whatever could be the impetus behind this glaring lack? It is a lack. A lack of heart. A lack of sheer escapist joy. A lack of critical thinking.

th (2)The store even had three shelves dedicated to Tarot. I’ve got a full shelf in one of my bookshelves dedicated to Tarot – I’m certainly no Tarot snob. Still, more people love and devour romance novels than will ever crack open a book on Tarot.

On the upside, however, they did have one copy of my favorite book for giving, “Anam Cara”.

I also picked up “How to Stop Time”, by Matt Haig, for ten bucks. At its core, it is a book about love.

I’m not quite sure where to go with this. NO ROMANCE SECTION! What I am sure about is, reading great love stories, or even just good ones, can turn an otherwise dismal day into one worth living.

So, buy and read more romance. Any one of mine will make you smile. You can find them here: https://www.amazon.com/Leigh-Morgan/e/B004F9AT9Y?ref=dbs_p_pbk_r00_abau_000000

Happy reading – Happy May -May love find you no matter how hard you may hide or how lacking your community bookstore.

Leigh

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Where Do You Get Ideas For Your Novel?

This is the most common questions people ask writers. I typically reply, LIFE. Strange things happen, and when they do, I call them novel fodder. I collect novel fodder. I also like to people watch, eavesdrop, and take note. (Be careful what you say and do when you’re around writers.) I also like to watch documentaries, movies, and read books–of course.

I got the idea for my Witching Well series while watching a documentary on the Salem Witch trials. There was a theory that tainted water in New England caused hysteria and delusions. So, why not time travel as well? (Sure, it’s a leap, but leaping is what fiction is made for.)

The first book in my Witching Well series, The Highwayman Incident, is free today. You can get your copy here.

Highwayman

If only the hands of time could be turned in our favor…
Celia Quinn’s business lies in ruins at the hands of Jason West, the latest in a long line of scoundrels. As she seeks to restore her family’s livelihood, Celia stumbles upon lore about the local Witching Well, whose water is said to cause hysteria and psychosis. When a mysterious stranger slips Celia water from the well into her drink, she’s transported to Regency England. Her timeless adventure spans miles and centuries from modern-day New England to Merlin’s Cave in Cornwall, England. Only Jason West can save her.
But Celia and Jason must tread carefully, as what happens in the past can reverberate through the ages. Their lives, hearts, and futures are caught in time’s slippery hands.
The Highwayman Incident is the first book in USA Today bestselling author Kristy Tate’s Witching Well series. Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander who love time travel and yet enjoy clean and wholesome romance will love the Witching Well series.
If you’re looking to be swept away in a Regency romance, buy The Highwayman Incident today. But don’t accept water from a stranger, especially when traveling in New England.

Praise for The Highwayman Incident:

An interesting blend of mystery, romance, and sci-fi with a magic Witching Well
and time travel. Celia has lost her family’s business and blames Jason for taking
in away. Someone slips something in her drink at a wedding and suddenly she is
back in the past with someone who looks like Jason and herself, but Jason himself
is there with her!!! What is going on and how can they get home? Must read.
Look for the sequel – The Cowboy Encounter.

I enjoy a good time travel read and this fit the bill! This was a great quick read that more than holds your attention.
The two main characters, Celia and Jason move through time to solve a very important incident involving both of their current lives. Don’t want to be a spoiler so just enjoy the book!
I am ordering the next in the series😊

This story sounded like something you could actually almost believe. Romance without the smut. Finding out you care about someone because they have a good heart is so much more sexy than what’s under their clothes. Thank you.

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Hiatus or Not!!

First, I love writing. Years ago when I started, I would write all-year long. Summer, holidays, vacations, didn’t matter. I wrote. Words, glorious words.

I have a writer friend who doesn’t write in the summer, she is an outdoor gal. Running, biking, hiking, camping. So not me. I’m an indoors, binge-watch a series kind of girl. My friend doesn’t write during the holidays. She has a large family and she is now the matriarch in charge of the occasion.

Before, I’ve always written during the Christmas holidays and grumbled because I didn’t write every day and I didn’t get how much done I wanted to do. I would be a group and think “I should be writing.”

So, Christmas 2018 I decided to take a hiatus for the first time. Not worry about writing. Not think about writing. Enjoy the holidays. I would get back to it after New Year’s.

Bad idea. Really bad idea!!

January came and went. No writing. It was okay. I could start again in a couple of weeks.

February came and went. No writing. I thought that’s okay, it’s a short month.

March came and went. Now I’m panicking. Don’t know where to start. I should have at least one story done by now.

April came. Okay, this is getting stupid. Just put some words on the screen!!! Finally, the end of April I forced myself to sit at the computer and work on my book for the Authors of Main Street. Come on, Jill!! You don’t have a title or characters or plot, but just write. Funny, not funny. The words are in my head but they aren’t coming out like before. Each sentence is a struggle. I’m deleting as much as I’m writing.

I’m not where I wanted to be when I pictured this year at the end of last year, but I’m writing again. (fingers crossed, knocking on wood)

Hiatus? Never again!!!


Jill James, romance author (which means I must write)

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Cat-astrophes and new beginnings

“Would you look after our cats until we move into the new apartment?” asked daughter 3. She thought living with us and our two cats for a few weeks might be less challenging than a cattery, especially for the elderly fellow, the ginger tom Wibbles, whose health was already frail.

We said yes, though we might have hesitated had we known what was in store.

They spent the first week in our garage. We left the car outside, moved our own cats to overnight in the laundry, provided them with food, water, and comfortable places to sit, and visited several times a day.

From the moment we opened the cat carriers, they faded away into the corners of cupboards, behind boxes, or under shelves. After a few days, Minnie, the cheerful black and white with the loud meow, would emerge to greet us, demanding a cuddle by weaving between our legs. We always had to hunt for Wibbles, who was fifteen years of age and who had been unwell for a while. He’d blink up at us from whichever refuge he’d squeezed himself into, and not come out unless we physically lifted him.

After the first week, we introduced our own cats, removing them each morning. Minnie was friendly. Ruby and Tiger less so. Wibbles slept. That second week, too, we brought the two guests into the house. Minnie slunk through the rooms, belly to the carpet, sniffing at everything. Wibbles hid under the coffee table, and slept.

In the third week, we left the garage door open for a few minutes, then an hour, then a whole afternoon. Minnie went exploring and came back. Wibbles hid and slept.

Then came the day we hunted high and low for Wibbles and couldn’t find him. We moved every box, looked under every shelf and inside every cupboard. No Wibbles. We walked the section, calling, though what we thought that might do I’m not sure. He’d not come to us at any point in the whole sorry saga.

“He has gone away to die,” said daughter 3, philosophically.

She was less philosophical three days later when Minnie disappeared. Again, the search, inside and out. We put a notice up at the supermarket, dropped leaflets in all the local letterboxes. We approached every black and white cat we saw making kissy noises and saying “Minnie, Minnie, Minnie,” in a high pitched voice. My beloved thought he saw Ruby chasing off a black and white cat, and I suspect he was probably right. Ruby has always been our timid cat, but she has suddenly developed a swagger.

Last week, we heading over to Wellington to see the new apartment (a five-bedroom penthouse much in need of renovation, but it’s going to be fabulous). We were part way over the hills (other countries might call them mountains) that separate us from the city to the south when my mobile phone rang. “I think I’ve seen your cat.” The description was right. Beloved turned the car and back we went, but to no avail. No Minnie to be seen. “I’ll keep an eye out for her, the neighbour promised, and we left again. We made the hour’s trip to Wellington, admired the apartment, had lunch with daughter and granddaughter, and drove home again.

As we came down out of the hills into our own town, the neighbour called again, bless him. “She was at my next door neighbour’s ten minutes ago.” It was Minnie, all right, and she was still there. Yes, and pleased to see us and come home.

You can be sure that the next morning I drove back to Wellington to deliver Minnie to her new home. Phew. I’m broken-hearted that we couldn’t find Wibbles, but so relieved that we managed to take Minnie back to her family.

If anyone would like us to provide a refuge for our cats, we probably can’t. We have a 50/50 success record, and we’re not going to be home that week.

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My Silent Journey

I wrote SILENT JOURNEY because that story wrote itself in my head. Those characters wanted to have their own book. Alex was the perfect hero, intelligent, good-looking, outgoing, independent, confident, wealthy, protective of the females in his life, and an all-around good guy.

Savannah was the opposite. She was studious and quiet. Her parents were hard workers. Her mom did childcare in her home and her dad worked in a factory. Like many young women, Savannah had a best friend in college who was there for her. Money was something she never had.

So great characters, except Alex was deaf. (And before I go further so you don’t think I’m crazy, there is Deaf as a culture and deaf as in not physically hearing.) He was Deaf of Deaf, meaning his ancestry is deaf – he’s naturally carrying a dominant deaf gene. He’s considered to have have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth when it comes being deaf. It was a chance I took to allow a character to be deaf. People don’t like characters that aren’t perfect, especially a hero. Too bad. Alex is perfect!

Now to defend my stance, I went to a silent dinner in my area with a single friend the other night. She’s taking American Sign Language (ASL) in college and she’s doing really well with it. (Me? I can count to 100 in ASL!) This guy comes over, introduces himself, and joins us while we’re eating. He was so much like my character Alex, not in looks, although this guy was extremely good-looking, but in personality and the way he fingerspelled to us. He was very sweet and ever so kind.

Sitting with the community makes me even more aware of the differences between people. The number of couples who are mixed as in hearing and deaf is amazing. One young woman was there with a boyfriend who is Deaf. The funny thing was, I thought he had his hearing and they were both there as students from the local college. My mistake. He’s Deaf. You really can’t look at someone and decide if they are deaf. They don’t have neon signs on them.

But what happens when we discover that someone is deaf? The normal reaction is to steer clear. I’m not certain why but people frequently are rude to a deaf person. Does someone think that the Deaf will grow fangs and bite, that deafness is contagious, or do they assume that because someone is deaf, they are stupid? I’m not certain, but I’m prone to think that people consider the Deaf to be less intelligent.

The truth is they are no different than anyone else, except they don’t hear, and they have their own language. (That language is actually older than English and has a fascinating history.) The Deaf can be neurosurgeons or rocket scientists, or they can repair your tire when it picks up a nail. They might have built your house, or put braces on your children. Or maybe they saved your best friend’s life when he fell in that pool when he was eight. The newspaper that comes to your door…chances are someone deaf worked in the printing room or was the editor. Maybe a deaf butcher cut that meat for you, or ground your hamburger, drove the truck to the market, or worked in the warehouse. I can now go to a favorite Starbucks and be served by a Deaf barista. The Deaf are people just like you and me. Completely normal people. They fall in love, they have children, they catch colds, and they can break an arm or chip a tooth just like everyone else. No one needs to pin a sign on them. If you encounter someone deaf, just smile. I promise they won’t bite, and you can’t catch deafness.

They are very used to dealing with the hearing world that often doesn’t treat them very well. Give them a break. Some do speak, and it often sounds flat to our ears or maybe as though they have a lisp. They cannot hear what they are saying. I think it’s amazing that they can even learn to speak. They will make themselves understood. But we need to be better at “hearing” them. Many resort to paper and pen. I’m one of those because my ASL is almost non-existent. I know enough to often understand them…sometimes. That doesn’t make them stupid, that makes me the fool for not knowing more ASL. With cell phones, they can type their message.

A friend of mine is butcher and he has a few Deaf patrons who will ask for something. They usually hand him a note. He smiles and gets it. He’s used to dealing with a variety of people including those from other lands. He’s also the kind of guy who smiles to everyone and everyone loves him.

The Deaf will  tell you they are deaf by touching their ear and then their mouth. We can sign that we speak by holding our finger across our lips and circling our finger in front. But really, they know we speak. And if we know ASL, we can sign that! Most Deaf will forgive our lack of knowledge of ASL, as long as we treat them with respect.

And just for the record, most of them do not consider their deafness as a disability. If you take our hearing away from us, we are disabled. If you awaken tomorrow morning and discovered you couldn’t hear a thing, what would you do? I’d panic! Really, I would. I’d miss music. I’d miss hearing Neil Diamond’s songs and a dozens of others musicians. What if I couldn’t hear the smoke alarm? The microwave beeping, the dryer, the alarm clock, the trains that roll down the tracks, even the church bells in town that plays at noon, these are the sounds I’d miss. My silent world would be lacking. My friends whose voices I’d never hear again, the purr of my cat, or the bark of my dog warning me of the dangerous mailman who deposits mail in my box. Or the police siren because he wants me to know my brake light is out. (Yes, he very kindly told me it was out and I thanked him because who sees brake lights on your own car? Yes, I fixed it immediately! The auto parts store is down the street.) Omigosh! I’d be in trouble if I lost hearing!

Really we live by sound and the deaf don’t. We rely on our hearing and we rely on our sight. I have friend who is blind and he visited me several years ago. He couldn’t understand why I couldn’t walk into my dark house without turning on a light. His comment back was that he’d been there for 24 hours and knew his way around my house and I didn’t? Um, no. I need to turn on the light.

SILENT JOURNEY is about two young people who meet in college. Just like other couples that fall in love, they usually have problems to overcome. She’s got a language barrier. Her mother thinks her daughter going to throw her life away by marrying some handicapped guy, except love doesn’t seem to pay attention to little things like hearing. Cupid’s arrows hit solid when it came to Alex and Savannah, but life will never be easy. It’s a story of growth, compassion, and love.

Here’s a little snippet where Alex and Savannah go to visit Alex’s sister and her a newborn child who is also deaf.

Alex took Savannah to Gwen’s house. Dustin was there waiting on Gwen as though she were an invalid, and she was making it known that she could stand and walk around without any help.

Alex laughed at them, but he couldn’t wait for the baby to wake up so that he could hold the tiny bundle. And when the baby began to stir, he looked at his sister, who nodded. Scooping the newborn into one arm, he gently caressed the baby with a delicate touch. Beautiful little boy. He signed to the newborn, “Wake up, sleepyhead.”

Gwen came to Alex and peered at her son. Then she began to sign to the newborn. “Meet your Uncle Alex.”

“I think he’s still too sleepy to pay attention.” Alex watched the baby put his little fists to his mouth. Alex held the baby’s fist and put it to the tiny lips. Like this.

The baby squinted his eyes and opened his mouth.

Gwen removed the baby from her brother’s arm. She sat in a large overly stuffed chair and pulled the blanket over her shoulder.

Alex turned to Savannah. “Sorry, I was going to give him to you, but I think he was protesting.”

Savannah grinned and signed, “We say he has good lungs. That was one loud protest.” Her smile dissolved into a perplexed look. “But why are you signing to the baby? The baby certainly can’t understand sign language.”

Alex shook his head. “Think about that. If this baby had hearing, would you use your words?”

“Of course.”

“Do you think newborns understand those words or do they learn them?”

Savannah wrinkled her brow. “I guess they learn them. The words in the beginning are nothing more than comforting sounds.”

“And deaf babies will find comfort in our words.”

Savannah nodded. “And if Little Dustin had hearing, you would still sign to him.”

Alex nodded. “He would need to learn both languages. But little Dustin needs to learn both anyway. He will learn to read your lips.”

Alex went to where Savannah was and sat beside her. “He is Deaf. He will grow up bilingual. Do hearing children grow up bilingual?”

Savannah wrinkled her brow. “Some do. When the parents speak more than one language. Or they grow up with whatever language their parents use in the home, and they learn English once they are old enough to play with other children.”

“Our children are the same. They learn our touch and our words. They see our expression.”

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking along those lines.”

“He will complain, smile, and do everything a hearing child does except hear. He doesn’t need to hear. He only needs to be loved.”

Gwen brought the baby to Savannah and she willingly took him. Watching Savannah with the newborn told of her love for children. Total serenity crossed her face. She rocked the baby in her arms as she caressed him with her fingers.

Alex wasn’t certain what Savannah was saying to the baby, but she snuggled the newborn and spoke as if the baby could hear. Teach him, Savannah, as my mother taught me to read lips. Alex’s heart swelled with joy. One day you will hold our baby in your arms. Until then, we get to play with and spoil this one.

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New Series Breakdown and AUDIOBOOKS for Lizzi Tremayne!

Sometimes it seems a bit crazy, even living near only a small town, but I still seem to be able to avoid having to leave my farm.. for an awfully long time. Like… no more often than absolutely necessary. Being a writer, of course, lets me get away with this. Being a veterinarian—or an equine veterinarian, anyway—I do still have to leave my place once in awhile.

My current little town is called Waihi, in New Zealand, although I was raised in La Honda, California, which was a much smaller town than this one. My home town has all the benefits of a small town, while being near the big smoke of San Francisco and the SF Bay Area, as well as the beach, near my old High School, Pescadero High. It also had plenty of mountains in which to ride and get lost.

But I digress from where I was trying to go. As an indie (an independently published author), you might suspect there are there is a little more to do than just write. This week, for example, I’ve been working on new covers for my Once Upon a Vet School brand, the novellas of which, so far, have been written for my Authors of Main Street boxed sets. Going are the red covers and coming are the rural and small-town style ones. I’ll give you a sneak peek at one of the drafts… going to move the title to the top, but here’s a peek~

 

No one else’s seen it!

Please comment and let me know how you like the change!

 

Once Upon a Vet School Changes

I’ve been shuffling the Once Upon a Vet School series into six different genre-and age-appropriate novella sequences.

The Once Upon a Vet School Series

Drama and humor abound as Lena pursues her childhood dream of becoming an equine vet—and beyond—in this unique series of six, independent novella sequences:

 

They are…

 

~Junior Years~

After Lena hears she needs good grades to become a veterinarian, things start to get tricky. Even her pony doesn’t get out unscathed. (Middle Grade) 1972-1976

 

~High School Days ~

When your high school counsellor says vet school’s too hard for you and your HS sweetheart offers you a dream life of farming, writing, and babies, what do you do? Is vet school really the be-all, end-all? (Young Adult) 1976-1979

 

~College Nights

How can you have a life when you need an A in every class for four years to get into vet school… on top of 800 hours vet practice work? Something’s got to give. (Young Adult and up) 1980-1984

 

~Vet School 24/7~

Now they’re in, the pressure for grades is off and vet school social life is upon them… there’s only the tsunami of 200 years of veterinary knowledge to pack into their heads. Can Lena and her friends stay afloat? (Young Adult and up) 1984-1988

 

~Practice Time~

Finally graduated, prima ballerinas of the university, Lena and her vet school classmates disperse to far-flung practices… and real life. What could possibly go wrong? Late nights on-call, mud, blood, and finally, a light at the end of the tunnel… unfortunately, it’s only the penlight of a dictatorial vet technician in Lena’s eyes after she passed out on the floor. (Women’s Rural Fiction with Romantic Elements) 1988-2012

 

~Long in the Tooth~

When Lena suffers another catastrophic back injury, what’s she to do to feed her family and keep the farm? She can’t breathe around cats or birds and what good’s an equine vet who can’t hold up a horse’s leg? Time for Lena to go back to school. Again. (Women’s Rural Fiction with Romantic Elements)  2012- now

 

You’ll see their new covers very soon. I’ll post them on my website at https://lizzitremayne.com/books as soon as they’re ready!
My next most exciting, or rather terrifying, news is that I’ve begun the process of creating my own audiobooks!

 

AUDIOBOOK RECORDING

We’ve acquired the necessary equipment and it’s time for me to create my own character audio profiles and mark up my text. Very, very exciting.
Well, I best be off doing it, but it’s a frost outside and my bed is so very warm!
I hope you’re enjoying whichever season you have at hand and can find a nice warm place to snuggle up and read!
Let me know, would you prefer to read an e-book, a paperback book, a hardcover book, or listen to an audiobook? Are there times you would prefer an audiobook? I’m interested to know. I’ve found audiobooks to be indispensable when I’m driving long distances on my own, or even over the speakers with others in the car. They seems to help the miles just melt away. I understand from my city friends that it also makes traffic disappear as well!

Take care, remember to leave your comments!

xx

LizziTremayne

 

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