Saturday 31 May 2014

Sizzlin’ Summer Reads; Suspense and Romance at Its Best!

My favorite story is one where there is not only action, suspense and thrills, but an underlying plot of two people from opposite spectrums coming together through trials and tribulations.

These aspects of a story are important in romance. It adds depth to the characters, adds to the action and the motives behind the character’s actions to make a story believable and exciting.
Cassandra and Colton come from opposing backgrounds, and yet they feel a mutual attraction that shouldn’t exist on the surface. It’s through Cassandra’s longing to escape what society expects from her that fights with her sense of adventure. Instead of 1775, she would have been completely at home with being a modern woman in a life that proved her equal to any challenge that came her way, far ahead of her time; hungry for such challenges that were discouraged and believed women were incapable.

Colton Rolfe, ancestor of John Rolfe who married Pocahontas, was a man who believed most women should be kept in their place, incapable of intelligence equal to a man’s nor handling the job he gave to Cassandra, normally a man’s domain. In fact, he was counting on her defeat and exile back to her home in England. Bitter from his father’s and neighboring plantation owners’ treatment of him because he inherited his great, great grandmother’s Native American appearance, he found it hard to trust anyone but Jackson Lee, a childhood friend.

How could Cassandra break through a lifetime of taunting and racism to get as close to this man?

Through the outbreak of war with England, battle, treachery and distrust, their mutual attraction and admiration gradually grew, until the final scene at the hot springs in Virginia, where they each knew if they loved each other, they had to accept each other as they were. Cassandra, hungry for adventure, intelligent, capable of deep, abiding love, loyal and capable of fighting for what she wanted, and Colton, a man longing to be loved while distrusting that love, needing to be whole and complete. He was the only man who gave her all that she craved, who fulfilled the needs she never realized she had.

He sought her forgiveness and her hand in the only way he knew how, and in a manner that would terrorize or infuriate any woman, except Cassandra, who realized life with Colton meant a lifetime of excitement and uncertainty. They both knew they would challenge each other to the limit, only to come out the other side of conflict stronger and more deeply connected.

“No Gentleman Is He” is the proverbial story of self-discovery, the underlying theme of this exciting, suspenseful and action packed story of The American Revolution. 
Go to to find buy links

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Colonial Christmas Traditions Part 2

Good bread and good drink, a good fire in the hall
Brawn, pudding and souse, and good mustard withall:
Beef, mutton and pork, shred pies of the best:
Pig, veal, goose and capon and turkey well drest:
Cheese, apples and nuts, jolly carols to hear,
As then in the country is counted good cheer.”
Thomas Tusser (c. 1520-1580)

“Christmas is come, hang on the pot,
Let spits turn round, and ovens be hot;
Beef, pork, and poultry, now provide
To feast thy neighbors at this tide; 
Then wash all down with good wine and beer, 
And so with mirth conclude the Year.”
Virginia Almanac (Royle) 1765

These two poems were written far apart in years and distance, but it shows that many of the traditions you enjoy today were brought over by your former country-ruling patrons, the English. Many of these traditions in revelry, manners, dress and society kept true for about 200 years, especially in Virginia. Even despite the conflict that erupted in 1775 could not erase these memories of “home”, the mother land, England, with dancing and feasting the central part of the holidays.

Captain John Smith, whose life was saved by the young girl who loved him, Pocahontas (though she ended up marrying John Rolfe of Virginia), wrote in 1609 that he kept “Christmas amongst the Savages: where wee were never more merrie, nor fedde on more plentie of good oysters, fish, flesh, wild fowle, and good bread, nor better fires in England then in the drie warme smokie houses of Kecoughtan.” (Kecoughtan is now part of Hampton, by the way.)

Seventy years later, in December of 1680, twenty-one visitors entered William Fitzhugh’s home. A Frenchman was among them, who later wrote, “There was good wine and all kinds of beverages, so there was a great deal of carousing.” Fitzhugh provided for entertainment “three fiddlers, a jester, a tight-rope walker, and an acrobat who tumbled around.”

Here are two recipes you can try out this season, if you’re feeling adventurous. First, in the spirit of Captain John Smith who spent the winter with the native American people, I give you a recipe for wild rice that I have used myself. Wild rice was considered “a great gift” for the aboriginal people and it was treasured for its versatility, taste and nutritional value.

1½ c. Wild Rice
½ lb. cornbread, day old & cubed
1 c. Onions, (wild onions or chives if you want to be strict about tradition) chopped
1 c. root vegetables like lily roots and wild carrots, chopped, (or regular carrots and add celery)
½ c. animal fat (or butter if that grosses you out), melted
1½ c. partridge or wild turkey stock (or chicken), hot
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. wild Sage (Or domestic if you can’t find it

1. Prepare wild rice according to package directions.
2. Sauté root vegetables until tender in animal fat or butter.
3. Combine  with cooked wild rice and cornbread cubes.
4. Toss lightly with melted butter, seasonings and stock to moisten ingredients well.
5. Bake in uncovered pan at 350º F for 1 hour.
6. Use as a stuffing in pork chops, acorn squash or partridge bird (I have used cornish hens, not able to "hunt down" any partridge).

And here is a traditional drink carried over by those Colonialists who actually celebrated the holidays and to this day is still enjoyed by many, This is an ancient recipe dating from 12th Century England.

1 Gallon heated apple cider
1/2 ounce brandy
1/2 ounce rum flavoring OR (even better) 1/2 quart light rum
3 sticks cinnamon
3 to 6 whole oranges
small bag of whole cloves
Simmer mixture with 3 sticks whole cinnamon to melt--DO NOT COOK. 
Allow to cool, pour into punch bowl.
Separately stick whole cloves around entire surface of 3 to 6 whole oranges. 
Place oranges into baking pan with 1/2 inch of water, and bake at 350°  for 45 minutes. 
Place oranges into punch bowl
Serves 40
Serve with pound cake, nut cake, or cheese and crackers.


Saturday 7 December 2013

Colonial Christmas Traditions: Part 1

“At Christmas play and make cheer
For Christmas comes but once a year”

I’m starting the baking. Now when it comes to food, I should have been living in Colonial America. I hate store bought items, and try to use what we gardened or gathered as much as possible. We use apples we “borrowed” from our next door neighbor for pies, along with saskatoons and blueberries we gathered from the bush. Our vegetables are from the garden. We get our turkey from a friend who has a farm (whom we graciously and generously allow to kill and clean the thing, too, before bringing it home). One year I had the unmitigated gall to use store bought pie crust because I was running out of time and had the whole family coming! Oh, the shame of it, according to my sons. It was ten years ago, and my oldest still asks me “Is it YOUR pie?” I have to listen to a tirade of how awful store bought crust is almost every year, so I won't be making that mistake again.

When I think how we celebrate Christmas here in Canada, while we write Book 2 of our Sons of Liberty series, I go back to how they celebrated the holidays in Revolutionary America. In the process of researching for our novel for Book 1, "No Gentleman Is He", which is set in spring and summer of 1775 when hostilities broke out between colonialists and Crown, I found a few interesting facts about how Christmas was celebrated, or more accurately, how it was not.

In fact, many colonial celebrations were banned, including Christmas, claiming it was a pagan tradition based on Old English religions. In New England, the Puritans passed a law, particularly in Massachusetts, that punished anyone who observed the holiday. The Quakers merely ignored it. The other denominations went to church services, and that was the extent of their celebrations.  

It was the Roman Catholics and Anglicans, mostly in the southern areas of America, who started the observance of Twelfth Day, which started on December 25 and usually ended January 6. As the traditions slowly migrated north through the late 1600’s and early 1700’s, it was a perfect excuse for the adults to get out of their homes and socialize, attending balls and parties and any other festivals that were an excuse to escape the harsh weather in the northern most climate of America. The children were relegated to the home fires in the care of elder siblings or servants, having very little consideration at Christmas. There was no Christmas magic for them,and no Santa Claus.

Some of the traditions we have today originated with the colonialists. Holly, laurel, and garland because of the availability of the materials. They also look good during the winter, providing greenery in the dull of the short winter days. Mistletoe was hung, according to the pagan belief of couples courting and spooning underneath it. In that, the Puritans had it right.

The wealthier plantations were elaborately decorated with large feasts readied for everyone, even the slaves. The food was similar in many ways to modern Christmas's, including ham, turkey or roasts, along with root vegetables which kept well all winter. Honey, nuts and apples were used to sweeten the pastries. It was a source of pride to put on as expansive a feast as money would allow, for that was how each plantation’s hospitality and prestige was measured.

Of course, Christmas trees were not part of a colonial Christmas, since it was a Germanic tradition that did not come to popularity until Queen Victoria adapted it from her German husband, Albert. He brought it from his homeland. Soon, all of England and most of Canada adapted the tree as part of their Christmas. It was quickly embraced by America in the late 1800’s. 

Christmas carols were sung and were mostly religious in word. “Joy to the World” was extremely popular in America, based on many historical records and letters found during this time. Gift giving was also traditional for those who celebrated, but not as we give them today. Gifts were given to dependents, such as servants, apprentices and slaves, and in prosperous households, the children. It does seem the children were often afterthoughts, doesn’t it? And the dependents never gave gifts in return, nor was it an elaborate procedure. They would receive one special gift which were treasured and valued much more than they are today.

As more and more immigrants came to America, their traditions were often adopted and integrated into their own household celebrations.

The research I’ve done has inspired my interest in Colonial Christmas holiday traditions. I am especially interested in recipes and food traditions. Do you have any traditions that hark back to your heritage?
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Tuesday 25 June 2013

Modern Dickens with "Jack Dawkins"

Review of “Jack Dawkins” by Charlton Daines

Five Stars


Jack Dawkins, once known as the Artful Dodger in the streets of London, was sent to Australia on a prison ship when he was little more than a boy. Now he has returned to find that London has changed while the boy has turned into a man.

With few prospects provided by his criminal past and having developed mannerisms that allow him to move amongst a higher strata of society, Jack turns his back on the streets that would have primed him as a successor to the murderer, Bill Sykes, and quickly remodels himself as a gentleman thief. 

New acquaintances and a series of chance encounters, including one with his old friend Oliver, create complications as remnants of his past come back to plague him. Jack is forced to struggle for a balance between his new life and memories that haunt him with visions of the derelict tavern where Nancy used to sing.

My Review:

I want to preface this review by saying I read it from the viewpoint of someone who has never read Charles Dickens. I have, but it was years ago. I wanted to do this so I could find out if it could stand alone as a novel in its own right, and not dependent on former knowledge.

Jack Dawkins, The Artful Dodger, returns to England from ten years in the Australian convict outback, having escaped from there. His return is illegal, not having served his full sentence of life, but for this clever child thief, that was not a hindrance. He endeavors to find anyone connected with his former circle of child thieves, especially Oliver Brownlow, a young man he had helped kidnap years ago, and who was ultimately rescued from a life on the streets with the accidental help of Jack. Now Jack is back in London and determined to look up Oliver and regain that connection. 

What follows is an in-depth and insightful exploration of one man’s searching for his place in a society that didn’t care about him as a child, and cares even less now he’s a young man. Forced to find his own way, he finds that his former skills come in handy, affording his living but fighting his own conscious and re-discovering his morality. In this process, he reluctantly makes connections with even less desirable characters than he was associated with in his childhood, and gets himself into situations that prove more than troublesome. 

The plot was engrossing and believable, and it did indeed stand alone as a novel in its own right, with no dependence on former knowledge of the book or the stage play. I was prepared to be bored and was pleasantly surprised to find myself immediately engrossed in the story. It flowed naturally and the characters were well developed and easy to remember. They were certainly not what I call “cookie cutter characters”. You could easily envision their pasts and how they grew up, and what made them do what they did. 

I especially enjoyed the play on morality, the theme I took being “nurture VS nature”. Despite his upbringing on the streets, being taught to steal to make a living and the warped morals that were instilled in him from a very young age, he finds he still has feelings and a conscious that, I think, surprises even him. There are things he just won’t consider, showing he is innately a good man, despite his dubious livelihood, knowing no other way.

The atmosphere and descriptions of the location during that era is striking, allowing the reader to “see” the difference in the areas around the city. 

I did find the brief love story concerning Jack and Lilly, the modest flower girl, a bit unrealistic, only based on brief glimpses and even briefer meetings, but that could be because my background is in romance writing. I tried hard to find flaws in this novel and this was the best I could come up with. 

All in all, a great read, and I would highly recommend it, both to those familiar with the work it was based on, and for those unfamiliar with Dickens work. I enthusiastically rate this as a five star read.

Lynette Willows
Author of “No Gentleman Is He”, first in the epic Sons of Liberty series

Original review can be viewed here:

Monday 10 June 2013

Blog Tour Special Announcement

Win a pair of specially designed earrings by a talented artisan, Lorri Schlamp of Polished Presence Design. She is so talented that she is garnering attention from notable artists in the music industry clamoring for her jewelry. I was fortunate indeed that she was willing to afford me the opportunity to offer my readers a specially designed pair of earrings made of crafted from Venetian lace, sterling silver and Pyrite gemstones.. They are one of a kind and the design will NOT be repeated, and it’s made in the true spirit of Colonial America.

In order to win this pair of special earrings or a $100 Amazon gift certificate, all you have to do is comment on the featured blog of the day, featuring our first novel in the Sons of Liberty series, "No Gentleman Is He" all throughout the blog tour and the prize will be awarded at the end of the tour, sometime in late July.
Here are the earrings from Polished Presence Designs:
**not exactly as pictured, since they are one-of-a-kind, but it's close, made from Venetian Lace in the traditional manner of Colonial women**

Here is the list of blogs hosting Carley and I for our month long tour. Be sure to visit them all and join in the fun!

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

If you’re interested in seeing Polished Presence Design’s fantastic artwork, visit her here:

However, I also have a bonus offer for all our readers that is specific to my blog here; if you also comment on my blog at on the special announcement entry here, and answer a question concerning our book, “No Gentleman Is He”, I have an additional prize. From the same artisan, Polished Presence Designs, I have the matching necklace. However, because of the existing Canadian laws, I have to ask a “skill testing question” and decided to base it on our book, so that loyal readers gain this one of a kind wearable piece of art.

You will double your chances of winning if you add a “like” vote on our book page on Amazon.

Better yet, triple it with a review as well, on the Amazon book site for our novel here: .

Be sure to mention how many entries you want by fulfilling the terms, your name and email address, as well as the answer to the skill-testing question in comments, so I can add your name the appropriate amount of times to the draw jar. Remember to leave your email address so I can contact you if you’re a winner! This is essential; if you don’t do this, I can’t possibly contact you to send your prize, can I?

In short, let me review how you can win the unique, one-of-a-kind necklace, exclusive to this blog site only:
1 entry: commenting on my blog here and answering the question concerning “No Gentleman Is He”.
2 entries: “liking” our novel on Amazon.
3 entries: posting an honest review on Amazon.

We’d love it if you joined us on our fan page so you can keep updated on our progress on Book 2 of the Sons of Liberty series and any other special news we have to share. We’d love to hear from you!

Remember, your name could be entered up to three times, tripling your chances of winning. The draw will be at the end of the blog tour, sometime in late July, the same time as the earring draw. Keep tuned for the date of the draws here and on our fan page.

Interested in seeing what you’re playing for? The wonderful necklace:
**not exactly as pictured, since they are one-of-a-kind, but it's very close, made from Venetian Lace hand-wrapped with fresh water pearls, again in the traditional manner of the Colonial era**

And you can’t lose by reading our book, “No Gentleman Is He”, considering it is rated 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon 

And is #1 in Goodreads “Hot Reads for Summer” list.

**I also invite you to visit my co-author Carley’s blog, “From Carley’s Laptop” at

*Skill testing question for a chance to win the necklace, exclusive to this site: What is the name of Colton Rolfe's illiterate lead hand that Cassandra taught to read? Remember, you must include the answer to your comment to qualify for the prize. 

**Must have a minimum of three separate readers enter  before drawing for the prize of the necklace. Failure to meet minimum reader requirement will result in cancellation of the game/contest.**

Monday 29 April 2013

No.#1 Hot Summer Reads

I'm so happy!

No Gentleman Is He by Carley Bauer and Lynette Willows, published by Tirgearr Publishing, NUMBER ONE at Goodreads for Hot Reads for Summer!

Go check it out.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

"No Gentleman Is He" Sale! April 19th - 21st.

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19 April 1775 is one of the most important dates in American history . . . the official start date of the American Revolutionary War.

To commemorate the 238th anniversary of this war, join us from 19-21 April as we knock back the price of No Gentleman Is He by Carley Bauer and Lynette Willows to just $2.38!

-- As the threat of war comes ever closer, wills are tested through gunfire, treachery, danger, and kidnapping. Does Colton dare trust Cassandra with Sons of Liberty secrets? More importantly, can he trust her with his heart? --

Reviewers said:

"I felt as if I was there living in those exciting, yet hard times, when this country began its journey to independence. It really retells the american history. It had everything you want and more. A beautiful love story and an exciting book, you really feel for these people in those times." ~ Dana, 5 stars

"I just finished reading "No Gentleman Is He", it really is a must read. I was wary when my wife suggested I read it. I looked at the cover. Was it a love story or was it based in historical fact? She assured me the book had enough of both to please any reader. Let me say, I wasn't disappointed." ~ Cole34, 5 stars

"I haven't read a historical romance in a very long time but I am so glad that I read this. This book had me hooked from the very beginning. I normally only have time to read at night, but found myself looking for opportunities to squeeze in a few chapters during the day. The story was well written and the attention to history made me feel like I was living in that time period." ~Diane, 5 stars

"The best book I have read in a long time." ~Roin, 5 stars

"Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down. This is a great, historical romance." ~ barb0607, 5 stars

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Tirgearr Publishing: