Friday, April 30, 2021

Fearless travel advice

Today's post comes to us from Doug Rose, and is an excerpt from his book:
Fearless Puppy On American Road. Doug approved my use of this excerpt, a valuable aide to those interested in travelling by backpack. Check out Doug's links when you get a chance and he welcomes you to reach out to him directly ;)


There is a process to hitchhiking. Much of what holds true for the hitchhiking process often holds true for other parts of life as well.

First, you’ve got to decide that you want to get somewhere other than where you are. Then you have to raise the energy and determination to actually leave your present location. All trips start with a determination that’s serious enough to get you off your butt and moving. You might have a very specific destination in mind or it could just be a direction. Regardless of the destination, you will probably have to overcome some stagnation, lethargy, patterned behavior, and also risk some stability, in order to get anywhere.

“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”  

~ Frank Zappa

After that, you have to pack what you’ll need. It’s always best to reach a balance in packing. Obvious essentials such as flashlight, towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, emergency food and water need to be included. But you may have to walk miles in rough weather from a place you get stuck in. The difference between a thirty-pound pack and an eighty-pound pack could end up being the difference between comfort or exhaustion/heat stroke/frostbite and even death. But then again, so could a half-pound sweater that you thought unnecessary and left behind. Pack wisely.

You’ll also want a map. Other folks have been to the places you want to get to and have traveled in the directions you want to go. Maps exist for nearly every piece of road in the world. They all use universal symbols. No matter where you are from or what language you speak, everyone knows that a bigger dot means a bigger city and that a thicker line connotes a major highway. You can journey uninformed in unfamiliar territory, if you like. You can even make your own trail or road through wilderness. Folks used to do it all the time in the olden days. Folks used to suffer much greater hardships and die younger back then too. Luckily, many of those people made maps of the roads they built or discovered. Reading those maps can save us modern folk a lot of time, energy, and disaster. A map can help you to live longer and more comfortably than people did in the olden days.

It is best to start a long hitchhiking trip from the on-ramp of a highway. Don’t stand right out on the highway itself. There are good reasons why this is illegal. It is not only dangerous for the hitchhiker, but also for the highway traffic. The chance of getting crushed into eternity by a seventy mile per hour vehicle paying strict attention to its own process is a lot greater on the highway itself than on the entrance ramp. Any driver entering a ramp at twenty-five miles per hour is going to be immediately aware that you are on the shoulder looking for a ride. That driver will have a greater ability to pull over without killing you, his or her own passengers, or the folks in other vehicles than a seventy mile per hour highway car would.

Get to the highway or main road as quickly and easily as possible. Standing on a barely traveled road in a rural area where the drivers are unfamiliar with you might last long enough for you to become vulture food. Hitching on a main city street is usually unproductive and can be dangerous as well. The highway or main road is probably close enough to where you wake up so that you can get a ride from a friend, take a local bus, or even walk to it.

Once you are wisely packed and on an entrance ramp to a main road, you’re going to need patience. You can be properly packed and intelligently discriminating about which cars you get into. That’s brilliant. But it does not change the fact that on some days you will get passed by hundreds of cars and have to wait several hours before anyone stops to pick you up. And it doesn’t change the fact that a driver who initially seems like fun may turn into a downer, or danger, after a half hour’s acquaintance.

Most of the time good luck will favor you. It will most often be a good person that will bother to pull their car over to help a stranger. You still have to be vigilant, discriminating, and patient—full time. That way you’re prepared for anything.

Prepared does not mean paranoid or even afraid. It means aware. Have fun! Traveling should be a joyful process. If you think every car pulling over for you will have an axe-murderer driving it, you should take the bus. (Unfortunately, your odds of meeting that axe-murderer won’t drop much on the bus.)

If you live through many years of hitchhiking, you will eventually get what is called “a feel for the road.” You’ll have better instincts for the best times to be on which roads, what sort of equipment to carry, whose car to not get into, and so on. Rides will seem to come more easily. This is still no time to let your humbly positive attitude or awareness fall asleep.

Whether you are novice or adept at all this, neither human driver nor divine force owes you a ride—nor are either under your control. Be pleasant and grateful to the person that finally does stop for you. It is not your benevolent host’s fault if you have been standing in freezing rain for two hours.

At its best, hitchhiking is a joint venture where you and your hosts benefit each other. In such instances, taking the ride can be a joy. If you’re not grateful, if you are arrogant, or if you are not aware of each situation you get into—any ride can certainly be otherwise.

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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Announcing a new series of Posts for Writers !

 Announcing a new series of Posts for Writers !

I'm a part of numerous online writer's groups and each seems to have its own unique focus. I do enjoy the interesting conversations there and also being able to pay-it-forward. 

Way back in 1998, when I was new to professional writing, I had a ton of questions and I recall all the advice and help I received when I was new to the world of writing. Watching the conversations started by new writers got me thinking that perhaps I could do more to help.

As such I was inspired to try a 2 yr  experiment ... sharing recommended resources for writers on a monthly basis. This will be a series of posts that will in fact share links to articles and interviews with hundreds of other authors and tons of resources. If you've seen our Recommended Resource series on this blog, you'll have a general idea as to the format I intend to use. 

So today I am announcing the series. It will be published once per month, around the middle of the month. i.e. next will be May 15th then June 20th, July 23 etc. 

This is my way of giving back to anyone involved in the world of writing. I hope it brings them solutions to their problems, helps them avoid pitfalls in the industry and perhaps be entertained as well :)

So... watch for this new series Just For Writers ! published once per month 

...and if you like what it offers, let others know about it ! :) While this series is geared to launch on May 15th, here is a little something to start us off:  

Do a search on Facebook to find a wide array of genre specific and also generic writer's groups. Be sure to use these groups in a very special way. Pay attention to the rules first of all. Each group will have its own set of rules to follow. Then think about how you can start conversations. One introduction post, just to let them know who you are. Thereafter it should be about conversations, not advertisements. Exceptions are things like interview announcements, sharing resources and links, offering networking opportunities etc. They do benefit you and could be considered marketing but you are offering something... not selling. There's a difference. Let's start with a few on Facebook that I know of, but do a search using your own genre and see what comes up for you. 

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021



Occasionally I will do a name search online just to see how our relevancy had grown, or not,  over a specific time period. I was especially curious since we had done a lot of promotions for the new book and new blog released earlier this year. The result was pleasing, that is for sure. 

However during these searches I'll often find online publications, blogs or websites that have picked up our articles and used them as content (via article distribution services). 

Here are two that came up that I did not already know about! Thanks to the owners of these sites for picking up our articles :) ! 

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Quote of the Day

-- Quote of the Day -- 

... a little bit of fun today :)



"It's only Tuesday ... and I'm already 95% done with this week."

 ~  an Internet meme

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Saving money and reduce energy consumption

Today's increasing energy costs, shrinking budgets and stagnant wages are a growing concern. For those of us living in the more extreme climates that require extra heating in the winter months or relief from the blazing summer heat, there are tricks we can do to increase our comfort while lowering the bills. 

Walk around your home and take a mental note of all the electrical outlets and light switches, computer and TV outlets and any vents or pipes along each exterior wall. You’ll likely find some on the outside of your house too, so be sure to walk around out there and along the deck, taking notes of where they are, and how many of each. Purchase caulking or foam and fill around any piping, cords and vents you noticed that breach the exterior walls. Look for cracks and gaps or holes anywhere on the exterior and be sure to fill them too.

Get a few packages of insulation kits and plugs designed for outlets and light switches. It is easy to do, just take the cover off with a flat screwdriver, pop the pre-cut foam in place and put the cover back on. Insert the plastic covers over any plug you are not using.

To learn more simple changes that can have a big impact on your budget and the health of the planet check out our Trash Talk book series

Find all of our books (print or ebook) via  our website:

or purchase from Amazon

Saturday, April 24, 2021

recommended resources

 Recommended Resources

Greater Victoria Animal Crusaders Rescue - 100% volunteer run, founded in 1973, dedicated to the rescue and care of companion animals.

Greater Victoria Dog Obedience Training Club relies on members and volunteers providing dog obedience and training sessions for over 60 years.

Green Here: Community reforestation and greening initiatives throughout Toronto are the focus for this non-profit.

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Everyone has a story to tell

Today we are joined by Elise Brooke, who tells us: "My parents moved to NZ from England and South Africa. I now live in the beautiful east coast Gisborne.  I have written and published two autobiographies in my book series "The New Zealand Dream,” by Sheila - my pen name. I wrote these books to inspire and give hope to others. I use my pen name Sheila for my autobiography series".  Elise has been in the world of writing for more than 2 decades and continues to hone a true passion for writing: "Writing is a very powerful healing tool, sharing your story can give help others and help yourself on your healing journey.  I am a writing mentor who can help people write their own story and with any writing project they are creating.  I have mentored students working for Wellington polytechnic." Her blog offers an opportunity for other authors to submit guest posts and query for author interviews. She can be found on most of the common social media sites and her main website is:

Everyone has a story to tell.
What is yours?

I started writing at a very young age, I kept journals of my thoughts and feelings from aged 7 to 22, this was more helpful to me than a counsellor. I used imaginative writing exercises in primary school to escape the world. The teacher would put a piece of music on the record player and ask the students to write a story the piece of music brought to mind.  An excellent visualization technique I still use today, music and writing to me are as important as the air I breath. 

As I grew older writing has been a form of therapy, I chose poetry to release my emotions, fears, worries and joys. I continued to use writing in my adult years, facing all life threw my way together. Writing is like my best friend, always there for me, never judging me or leaving my side. I have faced many battles, abuse, violence, health, and pains. And I have celebrated love, joy and praise with writing. Something about writing it down on paper has given me release and my power back leading me into healing.

I have turned my tragedies, sufferings, past experiences, tears and loss into hope and inspiration for myself and others by writing and sharing my story. I have written and published my life so far, my books are called The New Zealand Dream, The Seeds Are Sown and Growth and Destruction. I am publishing the last book in this series this year, The Healing. I know how alone one can feel on their life journey, I hope to remind you, you are not alone and you are not the only one, through sharing my story.

I now use writing to help others to find their healing and share their own story. I guide and mentor people in my writing mentor programmes I offer, the first hour totally free. Please visit my website

Not one person on this earth has somehow made a change without having a story to share and why they do what they do.  I want you to be confident in writing your story so you can be successful in however you are going to create change.

Writing has set me free, it can set you free too.

Below are 2 poems I wrote as my outlet to heal. The first one I wrote when I was only 20 and the second is more recent.

Love Is

Love is something you give freely without 

expecting anything in return

Love is unconditional, forgiving, 

accepting and understanding

Love is patient and kind an assurance 

that a back will never be turned 

or a door slammed shut


If I could have just one wish

It would be this for my future child

Instead of harsh words, open arms

Open heart and mind

Less scars to heal.

The True You

I want you to become the truest expression of you, that you know how to be

I want to assist you in doing so, by being a reflection of you

A radiator of my own truest self to the best of my present ability

I will not hold you responsible for how I feel, instead I will use you as a reflection

Reminding me to strengthen my direct experience of the bliss 

that is my eternal connection to my own soul

This way we will amplify each other and accelerate each other’s journey

When time has come to say goodbye, because we recognise 

that there is greater alignment to be gained 

in another direction in life or state

It does not have to get ugly or painful

We will both have come to recognize the true connection 

of our souls physical circumstances

We have come to realise that out happiness 

depends not on our relationship to other selves

But directly and solely on the degree of alignment 

we have cultivated to our very own source

Thank you for helping me get closer to my source.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Why write your story?

Why write your story? (*Part 2)

* Today's article was written by one of our writing friends, Elise Brooke. She is the author of two books and runs a blog that is growing in popularity every day. Some of you may recall our announcement re: an interview she did with us on her My New Zealand Dream blog. Elise has over 24 years of experience in the world of writing and holds a Creative Writing Diploma. Visit her at: Today she explains what compelled her to write so honestly about her past. 


Some of you may have read my books or know a little about what I have been through in life. I am sure you all have seen my posts on Facebook about The New Zealand Dream series. ...Please follow this link if you have not seen me already there:

Maybe people wonder why? "Why did she write her life story for everyone to read and judge? "

Others may think, “I want to write my story too, but I don’t know how.” 

I’d like to share with you my : why I write, why I shared my story, and how it has set me free, healed me and changed my life.

Along my path in life, I have met many people from all corners of the globe and different walks of life. I have met people who are hurting, people who are trapped in a place they do not want to be in, broken, and desperate people.

As I started to talk to people about my life, my challenges, and healing they told me that by sharing my story with them they realized they were not alone or the only one. This started their own healing journey and has even saved lives.

How would this make you feel if you were to do the same thing?

Please follow this link to read Part 1 of  Why write your story

I am not well known or famous; I am an ordinary person. My story is unique, raw, and based on real events. I speak from my heart and do not candy coat. My writing and life may shock the faint-hearted as I am very candid in tone. I survived the odds and came through to now thrive, living my best life.

Writing my stories was like diving into the dark abyss, turning on-the-spot light, grabbing my demons around the throat, and diminishing any power or hold they had over me once and for all.

What would that be worth to you? - 
To be free, healed from your hurts and strongholds, no longer living in fear.

Everyone has a story to tell, writing your story can be very healing and rewarding. Even if you only ever write for yourself and do not publish. 

Writing and sharing my story has given others hope and inspiration, and proof they are not alone. I have been able to turn what was meant to kill me into what has made me stronger.

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Monday, April 19, 2021

Of Squash


One of our favourite harvests is winter squash with its many varieties of colours, flavours, shapes and sizes.  It is hard to get tired of using them for making some really good food recipes. 

When choosing any winter squash from a farmer's stand, test the skin with your thumbnail. It should feel hard, solid and nearly impenetrable. The vine end should be dry and shrivelled; the small bit of vine will often fall off as the squash ripens more in storage. The base end, likewise, should feel very dry. Choosing squash that have been fully ripened and properly cured ensures your squash will keep well into the winter. 

When you are in the possession of an unripe winter squash, you can still use it in the kitchen and turn it into another delicious, super easy dish. 

Simply cut in half (or quarters) and scoop out the seeds (don’t bother saving unripe seeds for snacks, there’s no meat in them). Then cut it into 1.5 " thick slices. 

In a small bowl, mix a little garlic (mashed or dry powder), salt and oil together. Brush this mixture, coating both sides of each slice. Place on a baking sheet and grill for 3-8 minutes per side, or until the flesh is tender. This makes a great side dish for virtually any meal you are serving.

There are many ways to utilize an abundant harvest of squash. Our cookbook, From One Small Garden, has numerous recipes to use ripe winter squash and their seeds.

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Recommended Resources

 Recommended Resources

Grand Valley Trails Association: a non-profit working to build and maintain hiking trails and promote low-impact hiking within this Ontario-based park.

Grand Trees Climate Solutions: identifies and works with some of the best tree planting organizations, focusing in the greater Toronto area.

Grasslands Conservations Council of British Columbia a network of groups, volunteers and organizations building networks that strengthen grassland ecosystems.

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Friday, April 16, 2021


== Announcement ==

Dave and I partnered in this book, Rhythm & Rhyme, his poetry and mine fill the pages offering different styles and topics but all ranging in the realm of observations of life, music, nature and grief. This book was recently featured on the Discount Book Man website and we wanted to celebrate that with you here today : 

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

World of Writing Interview

World of Writing - Author Interview

New York Times bestselling author Margaret Brownley has penned more than fifty novels and novellas. She's a two-time Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap. She is also a recipient of the Romantic Times Pioneer Award.
Margaret loves hearing from people and invites our readers to visit her at: 

Q: Margaret, it is so nice to have an accomplished writer like yourself drop in to talk about your experiences. I'm interested in how you developed your craft - did you take any writing classes? 

A couple, but the one that proved to be a turning point for me was the class taught by D.C. Fontana, the creator of Mr. Spock on Star Trek. She explained the elements of story in a clear and precise way that really made sense to me. She also said that each paragraph must have something for the reader to “see”. After taking her class, I reworked my manuscript, and the book launched my career.

Q:What are some of the tools you use for marketing? 

I do the Facebook, Twitter thing, and am a resident blogger with other writers on Petticoats and Pistols, which gets a lot of traffic.

However, the tool that sells the most books for me is my newsletter. But there’s a trick to writing newsletters. You have to give readers a reason to read it. It can’t just be about your books. I include recipes, fun facts and a giveaway.

Contests have been a great help in getting people to sign up for my newsletter and follow me on Amazon. Amazon sends followers relevant updates, such as the release of a new book. That’s a big help and takes no effort on my part.

I also find talking to local groups a good way to sell books. Almost every organization is looking for speakers. If you speak to one group, chances are that someone in the audience will ask you to speak to another. If the audience likes you and what you have to say, they will buy books. I keep the talks fun and upbeat.

Q: How much time do you devote to marketing your book? 

It depends where I am in the publishing cycle. I spend more time marketing prior and during a book release. I usually write in the morning and handle the business of writing in the afternoon. You have to be careful. You can waste a lot of time on the wrong type of marketing. Depending solely on social media could be a mistake because of the algorithms. I have, however, had moderate success with Facebook ads.

The important think is to track sales so you don’t waste time on promotion that offers little or no return.

The Outlaw's Daughter by Margaret Brownley
Q: In all your experiences over the years in this industry, are there any special memories that you would like to share? 

When my first book was published, I spotted it in a local drug store. It was the first time I’d seen a book of mine in a store and it was a real thrill. I decided to sign the copies on the rack. Someone saw me doing it and called the police. They thought I was defacing books. I told the policeman that I was the author and handed him my I.D. Unfortunately, the book was written under a pen name, which did not match the name on my driver license. Boy did I have some explaining to do. 😊

Q: What is the most difficult part of marketing for you? 

All of it. I’d much rather write.

Q: Do you use any set formula when writing a book? 

All I need to start a new book is a general idea and an opening sentence. I’ve tried outlines, but they don’t work for me. If I write an outline, I feel like I’ve told my story and have no desire to write the book. It’s not knowing what’s going to happen next that keeps me glued to my desk.

Q: You've written numerous books, are these a series? 

Most are. Publishers like series because they keep readers coming back. My books stand alone, so even series books can be read in any order.

Q: Did you find writing more difficult for the first or for the latest book? 

Contrary to what some people might think, I find the writing becomes more difficult with each book. That’s because I’m always striving to improve, and I don’t want to repeat myself. I write romance novels, and there’s only so many ways that a couple can, for example, kiss. So that’s the difficult part, especially when you write sweet romances as I do. Despite the challenges, however, writing is fun, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

quote of the day

-- Quote of the Day -- 



"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. 

Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. 

The winds will blow their own freshness into you, 

and the storms their energy, 

while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. 

As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, 

but Nature's sources never fail. "

~ John Muir

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021


== Announcement == 

How nice it was to find that we were featured over at the Book Readers Magazine via this interview where we talked about where our fascination with the world of writing began, our favourite types of books to read and more. 

Please check it out when you have time and do feel free to share it :) 

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Monday, April 12, 2021

controlling carrot and celery flies

Control Carrot and Celery Fly 

* Today's article was written by Richard Haigh; he writes regularly at  and invites you to read more of his articles about organic gardening there.

That little pest that really annoys me is the Carrot fly: A creature that is a member of the Psilidae family, also called " Rust Flies ". Apart from eating carrots, they can also be found on: celery, parsnips and parsley. I seems me that they are out to get my crop, what ever I do.

To understand them, the place to start is to know what they do. The fly lays their eggs at the base of the plant, they hatch and start eating the nearest food, which is, your crop. The fly is attacked to the seedlings by the odour of them
There are two ways of preventing this, both of them, try to make the crop distasteful to the fly.

One way of doing this is to soak sawdust in paraffin and spread this down between the rows.

Another idea is to spread wood ash over the whole seed-bed.

However, the carrot fly has one major disadvantage and that is that it cannot go higher than three feet of the ground. Using this disability is a much better way to grow a fine crop of carrots.

Once again there are two ways of doing this:

One is to make a barrier of three and a half feet right round the seed-bed with horticultural fleece or netting. I have tried this and find it is not so easy to maintain the barrier because of wind and rain which makes it collapse.

The way I use, is to sow my carrots in tubs or troughs and put them on a bench. A friend of mine puts his on the roof of his garage. We both have fine crops of carrots each year.

The celery fly is a very different creature to the carrot fly; they can fly and has green eyes. The larvae of this fly is 7mm long, where as the carrot fly's larvae is 9mm long, so if you do not see the two together in the larvae stage, it is difficult to know the difference.

Once again, the best way of dealing with this pest is to make the celery fly go away and feed somewhere else by making the foliage distasteful. This is best done by dusting the crop frequently with equal parts of lime and old soot. The lime should be finely powdered and the dustings should be done when the foliage is wet or damp with dew, so that the soot/lime mix sticks to the foliage.

It is really worth doing something about this pest because the females of this very destructive fly are most prolific in the laying of eggs. The grubs that hatch bore their way into the tissues of the celery foliage and absolutely kill the crop.

The celery fly also attack parsnips. the crop will display erratic lines on the leaves along with brown patches. You can save your crop by taking the leaves and burning them.

If, you wish, I am sure that you can buy some sort of chemical spray to deal with the ' fly problem', however I prefer to garden without chemicals.

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

recommended resources

 Recommended Resources

Georgia Strait Alliance: a marine-protection/preservation based organization from shore protection to marine clean up projects, they've always got something going on. 

Get Bear Smart Society: works to help communities use wise behaviour in bear country to avoid conflict. They also work with bear managers, looking for more humane methods of capture/release and health services for the wild critter. 

Gibsons Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is a non-profit caring for wild birds and small mammals in distress - helping injured and orphaned wildlife, and releasing back to the wild.

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Friday, April 9, 2021


== Announcement -= 

It was so nice to appear for an interview on the My New Zealand Dream blog recently run by Elise Brooke. I met Elise after reading her interview with author Eva Cagely and thought perhaps Elise and I would be able to network. As it turns out we'll be posting each others articles occasionally on each other's blogs. Our Interview was friendly and casual. We discussed  the publishing process for our books and how the marketing tasks for this book vary from our first book release and a little about the writing process itself. 

I hope you enjoy it :) 

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Short Stories to Brighten Your Day

Featuring Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Linda and I have been networking for many years, helping each other bring the books and services we offer to a larger audience. She's business like and prompt, clear and concise and a pleasure to work with. 

Linda grew up  in the Rocky Mountains of Southern Idaho and now lives in the red desert hills of southern Utah. She is the author of 30 books and works at the Family Search Center where she helps people find their ancestors so they can learn about their heritage.  Today, as a thank you to Linda, we would like to introduce our audience to two of her most recent publications.

Tales of Willow Valley and Holidays in Willow Valley are both collections of historical romance short stories that will uplift you. 

In Tales of Willow Valley, you will find five short stories. These short stories were inspired by Clarke’s own ancestors.  Filled with mystery, enticing adventures and set in a different time period, each story will take you away from it all. 

While Holidays in Willow Valley contains six short stories  based in the 1840's that are inspired by real life events, and each story offers a surprising ending. This book was just released by Audible Audiobooks.

Check out Linda's entertaining book trailer: 

Linda's Links:

Holidays in Willow Valley: 

Tales of Willow Valley: 

Historical Romance Blog: 

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