Spring has finally arrived here in the Great White North, and my mind has turned to gardening. Now, this may shock some of you, but I’ve never liked to garden. Don’t get me wrong – I love trees, great open spaces and wildflowers, but grass and straight lines of flowers do nothing for me. There’s also the fact that I find grass to be a pain in the butt. It needs watering, weeding, fertilizing and is the gardening version of a high maintenance drama queen. Plus, I don’t understand why we need a lawn that looks like it belongs on a golf course. No one plays golf at my house.
So, I did nothing with my garden until I came across the Bring Back the Bees campaign run by Honey Nut Cheerios Canada. They have an emotional TV ad. Imploring us to do what we can to save the bees. You can also sign up at their website to receive a packet of wildflowers. They are giving away these flowers in an attempt to help bee populations across Canada.
I was touched by the fact that a company like General Mills would devote time and money to an environmental program that brings awareness to such an important subject. And who doesn't want to help the bees, especially when you consider one third of our food comes from bee pollination.
I did some research and discovered that grass does very little to help the environment. In fact in areas where herbicides are used it actually causes harm. I also learned that before the 1950s, when herbicides became common, all grass seed was mixed with clover to prevent weeds. And then I discovered there are several municipalities in Canada that actively encourage their residents to grow clover lawns.
Apparently, clover lawns discourage the growth of weeds such as dandelions without resorting to the use of environmentally harmful weed killers, and are beneficial to urban wildlife such as bees, butterflies, and rabbits.
I decided to introduce clover to my lawn and hopefully it will eventually takeover the grass.
If you’re interested in a low maintenance environmental way to have a green garden that will still hold up to foot traffic check out these sites
Do you do anything to help the bees? If so I'd love to hear about it.
Late in November 2016 I experienced one of the worst events of my life. I blacked out while driving and crashed the car. Luckily, I didn’t kill anyone.
Now, I’ve fainted at the wheel before, but this was different. When you faint you feel it coming on. In my experience a vice tightens around my chest and is coupled with light-headedness and darkening vision. This is warning enough to pull the car over to the side of the road.
But this was an instance of missing time. One moment I was at the beginning of a long dark road. I checked my speed, changed the song, and the next thing I knew I was sailing through a stop sign. I had no idea how I got there, just missing time.
There are some of you who will say I drove on autopilot. We all do at times—drive without paying attention to our surroundings. But in those cases your mind is somewhere else, you’re thinking of other things. In my case there’s nothing. I wasn’t distracted, I didn’t faint, I didn’t fall asleep, and I wasn’t on autopilot—there was nothing. One minute I was at the beginning of the road the next I was crashing the car.
Crazy people might say aliens abducted me. I can’t say for certain this didn’t happen because I have no idea what actually happened, but until a little green man confesses that he stole me from the car I’m going to stick with the logical, earthly explanations.
So either I had a seizure or had some other heart / brain stopping event.
The day after my accident I went to see my doctor who sent me for a CT scan and referred me to a neurologist. The scan was clear and the neurologist was great. He took the time to talk to me and listen to all my concerns. But he did tell me not to drive for the next six months. I’m good with that. I agree—I shouldn’t be driving. I’m lucky I didn’t kill anyone the first time. How would I live with myself if I ignored the warning and killed someone?
To cut a long story short and not bore you with all the irrelevant details, I’ve spent the last few months adapting to my new reality. This has been harder than I thought it would be.
I live in a small town in Northern Alberta. We don’t have a large enough population to support public transport so I walk everywhere. And winter is not the best time to adapt to life without a car. I can honestly tell you walking to the supermarket in minus twenty degree Celsius is not my favorite thing to do, but I have snow gear and dress for the weather.
This week I turned a corner. I’m finally adapting to life without driving. On weekdays I get up early, do my workout, get the kids off to school and then sit down and write. I’m determined to use this experience to focus on my work.
I try and get out of the house everyday and am fortunate enough that I can walk to meet friends for coffee, and the grocery store is a mere fifteen minutes away. I’m finally adapting to life without driving, and am not sure I will ever get behind the wheel again.
As this is the season of peace on earth and goodwill to ALL men I want to ask a question that has been on my mind for a few months – why do people think it’s okay to hate?
It seems that hate is on the rise and spreading. According to an article published by the BBC news on 4th September 2016:
“Freedom of Information figures suggest hate crimes increased by 20% last year, to more than 60,000”
And here’s a quote from a USA Today story published November 14th 2016.
“What may seem like a dramatic rise in the number of hate harassment and hate incidents happening across the country in the wake of Tuesday's general election is not in anyone's imagination, experts say.
There indeed has been a spike in the number of reports of such incidents, say representatives for two organizations that track such occurrences. A representative for one group, in fact, said the rise appears to be even worse that what was took place immediately after the terror attacks in 2001.”
Even in my adopted country, Canada, hate is on the rise. Recently a man in Edmonton, Alberta’s capital, threatened two young women at a transit station. According to the CBC news.
“The man approached two young women wearing hijabs at the University of Alberta station at 8:20 p.m. on Nov. 8, police say.
The man, believed to be in his 60s, pulled a rope from his pocket, tied a noose and said: "This is for you."
At this point I should share a little about my background, I was born to Irish parents living in England, and was a teen when the IRA initiated a spate of bombings in the mid-seventies.
Let me clarify this point. Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi are my heroes. I don’t believe in violent confrontation for political change neither did my parents. Unfortunately we were Irish and that was all it took to convict us in the mind of public opinion.
According to the group Civil Rights in the UK. “It was not uncommon to see signs in Britain during the 1960s proclaiming, “No blacks, no Irish, no dogs”.
In the seventies we were subjected to verbal and physical abuse and I experienced first hand discrimination in the work place.
The Runnymede Trust, a think tank working for equality among Britons, notes in an article.
“Evidence about abuses arising out of the operation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (1974) have been documented in detail by Paddy Hillyard (1993) in his study Suspect Community. He enumerated 7052 detentions up to 1993, 86% involving no further action, Negative stereotyping of Irish people is widely recognised. However the extension of verbal abuse into physical threats and violence is very rarely recorded and occasions surprise and disbelief when documented. The CRE report (1997) found evidence of police and neighbour harassment which included violence and intimidation."
My father was one of those detained, and denied legal representation. He was held for over a week questioned for days. Whether he suffered torture or not he never said, but he did tell me they wanted him to confess to something he didn’t do. There were no charges, how could there be? He was innocent, but his experience was not isolated as the report shows. And according to the International Business Times there were still anti-Irish protests taking place in Liverpool, England in 2012.
This is the world I grew up in, one where I was a designated second-class citizen because of an accident of birth. Please don’t think I’m complaining. I know there are many people in the world who are far worse off, whose experiences at the hands of bigots are traumatizing and horrific. I only point out my past because I believe it gives me, a middle-aged white woman, greater insight into what it is to be hated for no good reason.
If you’re wondering how to judge people so you can tell the good from the bad then this is how I explained race, bigotry and choosing friends to my children.
Imagine your house is on fire. You’re curled up on your bedroom floor. It’s hot and the smoke makes it hard to breathe. You’re scared. A fireman with all his gear comes to save you. His fire retardant mask is covering his face so you don’t know what he looks like. You don’t care about the color of his skin, what he believes, or who he sleeps with. He’s there to save you, and you are grateful.
Now, you’re standing on the sidewalk, you’re safe, but you’re watching your home burn and you learn that an arsonist set fire to your house. For no good reason, this person destroyed your home and everything you owned. You don’t know what he looks like. You don’t know the color of his skin, what he believes, whom he sleeps with, and you don’t care. The arsonist has endangered your family and destroyed your world.
We tend to define ourselves, and others, using words that tell us nothing about the people we really are. We use words that describe the color of our skin, our sexual preference, and our religious beliefs. But what we really need to know is would this person be a friend and save me, or are they hateful and will they destroy me.
In life we will meet good people who will save us. They will be there for us when we are at our lowest point. We will meet nasty people who will think nothing of destroying us. The only way to know one from the other is to ignore color, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexual preference, and really get to know them.
Whoever you are and wherever you’re from I wish you a wonderful, safe and happy holiday season
Available in ebook
New York City, early 1990s: a young, rich, and well-educated Central American man on the run from the police and Colombian drug dealers. He is accused of crimes he didn’t commit. Ready to do what it takes to survive, Pablo ironically embraces the very drug trade that threatened his life in the first place. Who is he?
What is he really capable of? The question of identity is at the heart of On The Run. More than a
contemporary story of survival, it’s a journey of self-discovery.
Pablo’s voice is funny, sometimes mean and merciless. He moves with nightmarish ease from recounting his adventures to recollecting his early life. Not always politically correct, On The Run gives you an insightful, twisted, humorous, and often disturbing view of conflicting worlds and beliefs: North and Latin America; black, brown, and white; rich and poor; rational and esoteric—and shows how they mix, match, and clash.
Everything went smoothly. Yes, the whole plan was sound, and the weeks of preparations paid off. There I went, from office to office, from delivery to delivery, in and out in forty-five minutes. I could pass receptionists and secretaries without problems. No questions, no suspicions.
“Larry is waiting for you....” “Mr. Silverstein will see you soon....” “Please take a seat. Mr. Roberts is on a phone call right now, could take a few minutes....” “Jim is finishing a meeting, said you should wait in his office....”
The clients were all nice. No wonder. I was like Santa Claus bringing them Christmas presents. More than half bought two packages; one even bought three; a lot of unexpected extra revenue. I sold forty-five packages of cocaine that week. Adding the three packages that I had sold to Joe and Peter, the total for December was forty-eight. My income was twelve thousand dollars. It really felt like Christmas.
After one of my deliveries, right after the secretary and I had made the next appointment and I was about to leave, she told me, “You must be very good at your work. Bill sounded so different on the phone right now!
Before you came, he was very anxious and bitchy. Now he sounded like another guy. He hasn’t been this happy and relaxed in days. What did you do to him?”
I couldn’t say that her boss had no more cocaine left when I came, and that was why he was in such a bad mood. He had done a line in front of me. When I left, he was high and happy.
I winked and said, “Coaching works! Happy Christmas!”
“Make me think, make me laugh, make my day!”
That’s why Izai Amorim reads and writes books. He has great interest in the interplay of media, information, and politics in a globalized world and the quest for identity and borders in a worldwide cultural melting pot.
Izai was born and raised in Brazil but spent most of his adult life abroad, briefly in the USA, mostly in
Germany. He was trained as an architect and worked many years in this profession. But his real passion is story telling. At some point in his life he decided to mix storytelling with architecture, changed professions, and became a branding consultant, something that he loves and has been doing to this day.
His first novel, The Games (2013), is a humorous but dark, even mean, political thriller. This mother of all conspiracies shows how information is processed to create and spread the stories needed to establish power structures not accountable to anyone.
My personal site: http://www.izaiamorim.com/
Book site: http://www.izaiamorim.com/ontherun.html
Book on NetGalley: https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/90218
If you are self-published or published through a small press then you are considered an independent author. So you might be interested to know that Alli, The Alliance of Independent Authors, is holding a very exciting FREE online conference today. Successful authors and industry professionals provide the workshops.
Their agenda includes sessions on business advice, promotion, and even legal advice.
If you’re interested in attending just click on the link below:
The great thing about this conference is that the workshops will continue to be available once the event has ended. I’ve been reading a few of last year’s sessions while I wait for the current sessions to become available in my time zone.
I hope you enjoy this access to free information as much as I do.
Ethan Cooke Security and their bodyguard team return to action in Deceiving Bella – book eleven in Cate Beauman’s Bodyguards of L.A. County series.
With over 7700 reviews and a 4.4 rating for the entire series, see why the Bodyguards of L.A. County is a multi-award winning series.
New to the series? No problem! Each book in the “Bodyguards” series is a stand-alone title. Although reading the books in order is preferred, it is not necessary. Each title features brand new primary characters and limited overlapping secondary characters. Don’t hesitate to jump right in.
Isabella Colby has always yearned for normalcy. Now that she’s settled in LA, she finally has it. Good friends, a pretty home, and her thriving career as the Palisades’ top skincare specialist are a dream come true. Bella is content until she meets her hunky new neighbor, but her attraction to the blue-eyed cutie is the least of her worries when contacting her long-lost father threatens to destroy her happy life.
Reed McKinley is more than ready to forget the past. His seven-year stint as an NYPD detective nearly got him killed. His wounds have healed and he’s starting over as Ethan Cooke Security’s latest recruit. With sixty-hour workweeks and little time to himself, the last thing on his mind is a relationship. Then he bumps into the gorgeous woman next door.
Reed and Bella become fast friends. Before long, Reed discovers that Bella is keeping dangerous secrets. Bella may have the answers to decades-old questions he’s been searching for. Reed will risk it all to uncover the truth, but he soon realizes that the deeper he digs, the direr the consequences.
The Inspiration Behind Deceiving Bella:
It’s no secret that I’m a crime television junky. I love watching anything that might bring about an idea for another story. Several months ago, I found a series on Netflix about La Cosa Nostra—or the five mafia families of New York. I was immediately drawn to the information I was observing. Within minutes, I knew I wanted to weave together an adventure that would bring Isabella Colby and Reed McKinley face to face with organized crime. I hope you’ll enjoy reading Deceiving Bella as much as I loved writing it.
Read an excerpt from Deceiving Bella:
Should we get started?” Bella gestured to the kitchen.
She walked in front of Reed, hurrying to the table to pull out a chair. “Does this work?”
“Yeah, it’s fine.” He sat down.
She immediately draped him with the black cover, wanting to get to his hair while it was still wet. “So, what are we doing here, exactly?”
“Just a cleanup, especially on my neck.”
“Sure.” She grabbed the sheers and took her place by his side, sliding her fingers though his short hair and stopped. “Oops.”
His shoulders tensed. “What?”
“Just kidding. A little haircutting humor.”
He tilted his head up, meeting her eyes. “A comedian.”
She laughed as he smiled. “I haven’t even started cutting yet.” She gave him a bump. “Try to relax. I promise you’re in good hands.”
“Thanks.” She combed her fingers through his hair once more, using small snips to freshen up his look. Silent seconds ticked by as she breathed in the masculine scent that was Reed. He didn’t seem to wear cologne or use any fancy shampoos, but he smelled good just the same. “So, how was your day?”
“Not too shabby.”
She worked her way around his head, finding his cut a breeze to clean up. He easily could have gone another week without any problems. “What did you do?”
“Worked a little. Boxed.”
“I could make up something about stopping a bank robbery in progress or rescuing a cat from a tree.”
She smiled. “The truth is fine, thanks.”
“What about you?”
“It was pretty much a normal day at the office—a second-session tattoo removal, a microdermabrasion, two stretch mark reductions, the usual stuff.”
“What’s the tattoo of? The one you’re taking off?”
“A woman’s name. Genevieve. The relationship didn’t work out.”
He winced. “Ouch.”
“Triple ouch. Tattoo removal is not a pain-free procedure, nor is it cheap—and he went pretty ornate with Genevieve. Hopefully next time he’ll pick a woman with a shorter name or abstain from getting himself tatted up altogether.”
She grinned, loving that sound. Did he have any idea how gorgeous he was when he smiled like that? She picked up the clippers off the table and let her knees rest against his as she leaned in and gently lifted his chin, evening out his sideburns. She swallowed, feeling his breath on her skin and his eyes studying her face. Licking her lips, she met his gaze. “You better hope I get this part right, or you’ll have to tilt your head for the next four days.”
He sent her another one of his pulse-pounding smiles. “You’ll have to help me decide if I should lean more to the left or right.”
Oh, this cutie had the potential to be trouble. Her eyes darted to his mouth mere inches from hers as his five o’clock shadow tormented her sensitized fingers. She took a step back and a steadying breath. It was a good thing they were just friends—currently the only relationship status she was interested in.
Did you enjoy the excerpt? You can read the first chapter on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or you can finish the whole book with the links below!
Amazon | Kobo | Nook | iBooks
The Unofficial Deceiving Bella Soundtrack
I love music! I can’t imagine a world without catchy tunes playing, especially when I’m writing. Music is inspiration. Melodies, beats, and the mood of each song help me portray emotions and feelings as I tell a story. It’s a rare day when I don’t have my headphones in place, bopping my head, while my fingers race across the keyboard. You can listen to the “soundtrack” for each book on my website www.catebeauman.com.
The soundtrack, of sorts, for Deceiving Bella:
About the author:
International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.
Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on her twelfth full length romantic suspense novel.
Amazon Author Page
DO YOU LIKE TO WIN FREE STUFF?
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For a limited time: new subscribers will receive a free copy of Morgan’s Hunter and Falling For Sarah, books one and two in the Bodyguards of L.A. County Series!
To celebrate the launch of Deceiving Bella, Cate is giving away an Amazon Echo to
1 lucky winner!
To celebrate my upcoming release, Married for His Convenience, I'm giving away (5) copies of my first book, No Conventional Miss. To enter to win, just join my newsletter list! Five subscribers will be chosen at random on November 1, 2016.
Amaryllis Gibson is an unlikely debutante. She favors fact over fashion, cares not for “proper” conversation and is haunted by ghostly visions which could land her in the madhouse! Marriage is definitely the last thing on Rilla’s mind…
But when she’s caught in a compromising position with Viscount Wyburn, suddenly she finds herself betrothed! And worse, his powerful presence only increases her visions. By shedding light on the viscount’s past, can Rilla gain his trust and win him round to her more…unconventional traits?
Enjoy an Excerpt From No Conventional Miss
“They came earlier. I directed them to change horses and proceed to London as we’re leaving tomorrow.’ Paul sipped his wine.
‘We are? But we were supposed to stay a week.’ Rilla laid down the massive fork with a clatter.
‘I altered our plans.’
‘Without talking to me?’
‘I do not make decisions about my household in committee.’
‘“In committee”? We are not in Parliament. I am your wife and you’re moving me around like so much baggage!’
Anger blossomed, although it was less about his autocracy and more about that tiny unacceptable frisson of relief.
‘I would not use that unflattering description,’ Paul said. ‘But, yes, I will make the travel arrangements for my household as I see fit.’
‘Perhaps I don’t want to go to London.’
‘I thought you’d be glad.’
‘Because…’ Her stomach lurched. The incident sprang huge between them.
‘I thought Wyburn not salubrious to your health.’
His admission made her angrier. She balled her hands to fists. Her jaw tightened. ‘My health is robust. Besides, my parents discussed—’ She stopped. Her parents spoke about everything—village doings, their children, their hopes and dreams.
But this was no such union.
‘We are not your parents.’ His voice, though soft, cut.
‘No,’ she said.
They continued eating in an uncomfortable silence, broken only by the clinking of knives and forks.
Irritation at him and at her own vulnerable relief tangled in Rilla’s mind. She wanted to leave this place. Yet his choice to do so perversely annoyed.
Edison refilled their glasses, cleared the plates and served a sweet, fluffy concoction for their pudding. Then he left and silence again enclosed them.
‘I think I will retire and leave you to your port,’ Rilla said at last, rising from her chair.
Paul stood, but made no effort to detain her. ‘Rest well. We leave after breakfast. I hope that is convenient.’
“She nodded. He offered her his arm and she placed her hand on his sleeve, conscious of taut muscles under the cloth and the smell his cologne.
They moved towards the door, stopping at its threshold and she was suddenly aware of their solitude, of the warmth of his breath and the height and strength of him.
He fastened his gaze on hers, placing his hand against her cheek. She tingled at this touch. Her anger dwindled, turning into something else.
She bit her lip. His breath quickened. With a quick, almost violent movement, he possessed her mouth with heat and power and need.
Stepping back abruptly, he allowed his hands to fall from her. ‘I apologise. That was not appropriate.’
‘And therefore must restrain ourselves in the dining room.’
‘Perhaps you are too ruled by restraint,’ she said softly.
‘Or you are too swayed by emotion.’
She flinched at the words. Was it always to be thus—this guarding of words and actions? This fear of sentiment?
‘Rather that than to be a statue,’ she retorted.
As she left, she glanced back. Paul stood by the fireplace. He gripped the mantel with both hands, his head bowed low, a solitary figure.
About Eleanor Webster
Eleanor Webster has a passion for many things, the most ardent likely being shoes.
But she’s also passionate about a story well told. With the help of some debutantes and viscounts and a twist of the unknown, Eleanor’s stories weave a tale of enchantment, hope, and most importantly, love.
When not writing, you’ll find Eleanor dreaming of being a world traveler, reading, running, reading, hiking in the wilds of British Columbia, where she makes her home with her husband and two daughters, and – did we mention reading?
Connect with Eleanor
More Giveaway Information
Enter to Win a Paperback Copy!
Eleanor is giving away 5 copies of No Conventional Miss to her lucky newsletter subscribers! Simply sign up for Eleanor’s e-News for your chance to win!
Five lucky winners will be chosen at random from Eleanor’s newsletter subscribers on November 1, 2016.
Sign up today: http://bit.ly/2cb0Rvx
As my children have grown we’ve moved away from the more traditional family holidays and instead have concentrated on short weekends away.
This summer as a special treat we decided to stay in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. No, we’re not rich, but as residents of Alberta we were given a special rate that made a three night stay within out grasp, and I have to say, it was worth every penny.
I’m getting ahead of myself here. We live in Northern Alberta near Edmonton and Banff is a mere five-hour drive from our home. No problem, we have a well-maintained car we should have made it without incident. About an hour away from our destination our Volvo started to shudder. We managed to make it to the town of Canmore before it broke down completely. We were twenty minutes from our destination.
What could we do? My husband being the smart man he is (That’s why I married him.) called us a cab. I swear, with no word of exaggeration, the cab arrived within a minute as if it were waiting in the wings for our call.
We had the car towed to a dealership in Calgary and we proceeded to Banff.
You would have thought that being stuck in a hotel without a car would have ruined our little holiday, but surprisingly the opposite happened. We walked everywhere and as we walked we chatted, joked, laughed and complained. In short, we connected. We didn’t do any of the things that we planned instead we took in the sights around Banff town and explored the Banff Springs Hotel otherwise known as The Castle.
Here’s a blurb from the hotel website:
“Few hotels in the world can rival the majesty, hospitality and scenery of the Fairmont Banff Springs. Its unique blend of opulence and seclusion has been a symbol of Rocky Mountain magnificence for more than a century. Styled after a Scottish baronial castle, the Fairmont Banff Springs offers stunning vistas, championship golf courses, unparalleled skiing, classic cuisine and Willow Stream, a world class European-style spa. Experience timeless beauty and luxurious comfort in a pristine wilderness.”
The hotel staff were helpful, courteous and amazing. Visitors are welcome to walk around and explore every inch of the castle. Not once were we told to leave a location.
Here are some of the amenities that I encountered:
Despite the inconvenience of a car breakdown and a hefty repair bill, the Fairmount Banff Springs Hotel provided us with an escape from reality. For a few short days we were surrounded by panoramic rocky mountain views, enjoyed the old world ambiance of the hotel and were treated like royalty. That is something I could get used to :)
Here are a few facts courtesy of www.banff.com
Congratulations to Rachel Freer from Wisconsin. She has won:
For everyone else I will continue to provide my newsletter subscribers with a free digital copy of Murder by Bear and Other Short Stories.
Today, I’m excited to announce my summer newsletter giveaway.
One lucky winner will win:
To enter all you have to do is subscribe to my newsletter.
Everyone who enters will receive a free digital copy of my latest book Murder by Bear and Other Short Stories valued at $2.99.
Open to all residents of the USA and Canada who are 18 or older.
Draw closes at midnight 29th July
Winner will be chosen using Excel’s RAND function
Grand Prize winner will be announced Saturday 30th July.