#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – Author #KassandraLamb

Woohoo! Time for another fun #TenThings list! This time, our guest is Cozy Mystery author Kassandra Lamb, and I know you’re going to get a kick out of some of the things Kass is sharing today. With that in mind, let’s get going! Kass, the floor is all yours!

10 Things You May Not Know About Kassandra Lamb

Wow, it feels really good to be back here guest posting! I’ve been away too long, busy pumping out books. But I couldn’t resist Marcia’s call to participate in her 10 Things You May Not Know series.

So here are my 10 things:

  1. I just turned 70!! Yeah, I’m still getting used to that idea.

A friend of mine once quipped, on the occasion of her fiftieth birthday, “How did my 25-year-old mind get caught in a 50-year-old body?” Well, I think my mind has probably matured to about age 40, but now it’s trapped in a 70-year-old body. Yikes! How did that happen?

  1. I have very few wrinkles. Oily skin finally pays off.

However, I’m discovering there is a downside to looking younger than you are, at my age. People expect me to be able to do things my body can’t handle anymore. So…

  1. I let my hair grow out during the pandemic lockdown and…

I discovered some lovely silver tresses had been hiding under the hair dye. I decided to let them stay, adding just a few auburn highlights to ease the transition.

  1. I have had 4 significant careers in my life.

One, admin assistant in Human Resources (only we called it Personnel and admin assistants were not synonymous with secretaries back then—less typing and more organizing). Two, psychotherapist and three, college professor in psychology. And now number four, mystery writer.

I’ve loved all of them. I think writing will probably be the last one, but you never know.

  1. As you may have noticed, sales were not involved in any of those. I’m a lousy sales person.

I learned this, at age 16, when I was an “Avon lady” for five months. And ended up still owing money for my samples case when I finally gave up.

  1. I have visited 7 countries and 21 states (not counting those I have only driven through) in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. But I’ve only ever lived in 2 states, Maryland and Florida.

I don’t intend to live anywhere else. I do love to travel though, and hope to add more countries and states to my “visited” list.

  1. In Maryland, we owned a small horse farm for 12 years.

Normally, when we’ve moved to a new home, I’ve been more than ready to go (see below). But I loved that farm so much. Only palm trees and a warmer climate in Florida could lure me away from it. It’s the only time I’ve ever cried on moving day.

  1. Because I actually like moving! I know, totally weird, right?

To me, it’s a big adventure. I love the packing and the actual move day. And the unpacking is fun too, deciding just where each item should go in a new place.

I even vicariously enjoy other people’s moves and volunteer regularly to help friends pack and/or move. I really get on their nerves though, on moving day, when I’m all happy and smiley and they’re all stressed out and grumpy. 😀 vs. 😦

  1. I love DIY projects.

Although I can’t do really big ones anymore. I don’t have the physical stamina. About 8 years ago, I painted the entire exterior of my house (with some help from my brother). It took the better part of 3 months, painting one section at a time, doing the trim work, etc. in my spare time.

Lately, my biggest project was building a little patio for my fire pit. I plan to read out there this winter (or what passes for winter in northern Florida), with the fire keeping my toes toasty. Because… 

  1. I love being outside. I get high on fresh air!

My screened porch is my favorite “room” in the house. And one of the glorious things about living in northern Florida is that we have long beautiful springs and autumns. I have every window in the house open most days, from March to May and again from October to December.

Hope you found my 10 things interesting! And thanks, Marcia, for having me over to your cyberhome for a visit.

It was a pleasure to have you, Kass, and I hope you’ll visit more often. But now, let’s take a look at some of your books, including your latest!

You can buy To Bark or Not To Bark HERE
(GENRE: Cozy Mystery, Book 12 of the Series)


Service dog trainer Marcia Banks tackles a locked room mystery in a haunted house, while training the recipient of her latest dog.

The border collie, Dolly has been trained to clear rooms for an agoraphobic Marine who was ambushed in a bombed-out building. But the phantom attackers in his psyche become the least of his troubles when Marcia finds his ex-wife’s corpse in his master bedroom, with the door bolted from the inside.

Was it suicide or murder? Marcia can’t see her client as a killer, but the local sheriff can.

Then the Marine reports hearing his ex calling for him to join her on the other side of the grave. Is his house really haunted, or is he hallucinating?

Bottom line: Marcia has lost a client to suicide before. She’s not going to lose another!

Author Kassandra Lamb

In her youth, Kassandra Lamb had two great passions—psychology and writing. Advised that writers need day jobs—and being partial to eating—she studied psychology. Her career as a psychotherapist and college professor taught her much about the dark side of human nature, but also much about resilience, perseverance, and the healing power of laughter. Now retired, she spends most of her time in an alternate universe populated by her fictional characters. The portal to this universe (aka her computer) is located in North Central Florida where her husband and dog catch occasional glimpses of her.


 Kassandra’s first series, set in her native Maryland, stars psychotherapist and amateur sleuth, Kate Huntington. In her newer cozy mystery series set in Florida, Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha) Banks trains service dogs for combat veterans and solves mysteries in her spare time, with the assistance of her Black Labrador sidekick, Buddy.

Book 1 of the Kate Huntington Mystery Series

Book 1 of the Marcia Banks and Buddy Series

Kassandra is now contemplating another series, a police procedural, with a spinoff character from the Kate Huntington mysteries, police lieutenant Judith Anderson.

You Can Buy To Bark or Not To Bark Here:


You Can Reach Kassandra Lamb on Social Media Here:


#GuestDayTuesday – #Writer’sTravelogueSeries – #KeepingAJournalPart2 – #JackieLambert

It’s #GuestDayTuesday again, folks, and our caravanning friend, Jackie Lambert, is back with Part 2 of her #Writer’sTravelogueSeries post on keeping a travel journal. (Part 1 can be found HERE.) Jackie has written a wonderfully comprehensive and helpful post for us, so let’s get going. Jackie, you’re on! 

Thanks, Marcia, and Hello Everybody!

10 Tips For Keeping A Travel Journal
(Without it Taking Over Your Trip!)

What’s wrong with this?

“Breakfast was horrible! I had cereal with a coffee but the others had tea instead! I fed the dogs, then we all went for a walk. It was beautiful! After lunch, we went shopping, then had dinner by the beach with a beautiful sunset. We’re having a great time!!!!”

If you think it’s fine, you don’t need this post. 

If it makes you ask the following questions, read on;

  1. Is it interesting?
  2. What does it tell you about the place?
  3. Will you want to read it in a few years?
  4. Will it bring back vibrant memories about what you did, what you were feeling, or what you saw?
  5. Did it focus on the right things?

Here are ten tips on how to give your travel journal a bit more pizzazz;

 1. Don’t Forget to Make a Note of Your Location & Who
You Were With

I know. Obvious isn’t it.

Except that I have forgotten this so many times and found myself trawling through the internet to see if we left a review, so I could work out where we stayed. And where was that ‘must see’ place that – ooh, what was their name again? – recommended? You need to write all that down.

  2. Be Selective – Choose A Few Highlights
Each Day 

Just because it happened, you don’t need to include it. The example journal entry that I gave at the beginning is not very interesting because it’s about mundane things that you would do every day, anyway. I once read a blog that began with the author brushing her teeth. I didn’t want to read it and I am sure that in her frail dotage, the author would probably not want to read it either, never mind regale her grandchildren with fascinating tales of her dental hygiene routine while abroad.

I’m not saying you should never include these things, though. On my trip to Zimbabwe in 1994, I cleaned my teeth on a beach next to the Zambezi River after a night under the stars, using river water we had to collect in pairs, because one person had to watch out for crocodiles. That dental hygiene story might make the journal cut!

A blow-by-blow account of your day is unnecessary. Otherwise, you will write “Today, I sat down and wrote my journal all day…”

Select one or two interesting highlights. Here are some ideas to help you spot journal-worthy snippets. Was it;

  • Funny
  • Unusual
  • Interesting
  • Who did you meet? People and conversations are often fascinating
  • Quote of the day
  • What went right or wrong?

Being selective will make your journal more interesting and it will give you more time to do what you’re there to do; enjoy your travel experience. In addition – and here’s the biggie – it will help you keep up-to-date with your journal entries.

3. Be Descriptive – Write With Five Senses

In the piece at the start, I described both the walk and the sunset as ‘beautiful’ and added a couple of exclamation marks. What sort of image does that conjure up in your mind?

Did you say “Nothing”? Get creative with your descriptions. Why were the walk and the sunset beautiful? I plan to explore this in more detail in my next post, but in brief, the point here is don’t just write about what you see. Include what you:

  • Hear
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Touch or feel

What if I had started the piece at the top like this instead?

“Breakfast was horrible. My cereal was like flaked cardboard filled with over-sweet faux chocolate chips. And you know the smell of mothballs at the back of your grandma’s wardrobe – they’ve made that into coffee. No wonder Fiona and Mike brought their own tea bags.”

It’s not Bruce Chatwin, but it records a considerably more detail than the paragraph at the top.

On our walk, what if we heard the high-pitched whistles of tree frogs and monkeys screeching in the treetops, smelled musty, damp soil, tasted tiny, sweet bananas straight off the tree, and were cooled from the stifling humidity by heavy droplets of water dripping off waterlogged leaves and trickling down our necks?

When we went shopping, what if the clamour of street vendors, grumbling camels and an asteroid field of humanity assaulted our ears? What if the air was thick with incense and exotic spices, and a stallholder tempted us with a thick glass of bitter black tea sweetened with cane sugar, while we ran our hands over handcrafted rugs with the texture of velvet?

Over dinner, what if we heard a steel band playing, and the warm wind rustling through the palm fronds carried the smoky scent of a barbeque? We might have taken a jug of rum punch filled with succulent slices of pineapple to the shoreline to watch the sunset, and found the fine white sand felt cool beneath our bare feet. and had the texture of flour.

These descriptions aren’t much longer than the original, but what images does this collection of sensations conjure up? In three paragraphs, I have crossed three continents!

4. Be Honest – Tell It As It Is

You’re on holiday. You’re writing a travel journal. Who’s it for?

  • Hint – it’s for you!

It is your account of your travels and probably the only people who will see it are you and possibly trusted members of your family. So be honest. Record the warts and all. Write down your innermost feelings. Make a note of the bad and the good – the things that don’t quite go to plan often make the most interesting anecdotes. The story I tell most often about my honeymoon is not the beautiful mahogany cabin set in orange groves overlooking a sensational river canyon, but our accidental sojourn in a mangrove swamp with snakes, crocodiles and insects the size of Tonka trucks, in a place we later discovered was called Mosquito Beach!

5. Write Quickly

You might be Bill Bryson, but you’re not Bill Bryson writing his next bestseller, so don’t get hung up on grammar, punctuation or form. You’re writing a first-hand account of your travels as they unfold. Just get it written down quickly, while it’s fresh in your mind. I even carry a notebook, take photos, or make notes on my phone so that I can record interesting snippets as they happen, before I forget them.

Just sit down and spend 10 minutes writing whatever comes into your head without worrying about what or how it is written. Don’t stop. Don’t think. Just write.

Here are some tips and inspiration;

  • Pledge to spend 10 minutes every day on your journal
  • Just sit and write whatever comes into your head
  • Imagine that you’re sending a postcard to yourself every day
  • Pick out a photo from your day and write about that
  • Describe a person or conversation that you had
  • Note down a funny thing your child did or said – or their reaction to something

I’ve picked out a photo of Steely, the horse man on Magnetic Island. He was tanned, leathery & looked quite scary, but he was the kindest, loveliest man. He adored his horses; so much that he constantly sneaked treats to them & looked sheepish if you caught him doing it. He had an idiosyncratic way of pronouncing Curlew; “Curl. Ooo”

If you’re selective about which events you record, ten minutes should be enough. Spend more time if you like, but;

6. Don’t Let Your Journal Get In The Way Your Trip

The trip is why you’re there. Whatever you do, don’t let your journal interfere or become such a chore that you don’t even bother to fill it in!

7. Don’t Edit Too Much

Editing comes later. Much later. And only if you want to embellish, publish, or share your writing.

When speed writing, don’t allow your ‘Inner Editor’ to take over. I.E. will impede your flow of ideas and start nagging you about your punctuation or choice of words. I.E. might even start feeding you horrible untruths like “You can’t write!” and “You’ll never be Bill Bryson!” You must tell I.E. to get lost. You’re busy. You have a journal to write. You enjoy writing your journal and he’s spoiling your fun.

8. Record Your Thoughts

I was not selective about what I wrote, so today I sat down
and wrote my journal all day.

Travel frequently takes you out of your comfort zone. You might try something new on holiday, or visit a different country with an unfamiliar language and culture. This will add interest and depth to your journals – and will be fun to look back on, since it is a snapshot in time and a glimpse into your mind.

  • What were you thinking?
  • How did you feel?
  • What were you afraid of?
  • What surprised you?
  • What challenges did you overcome?
  • Anything else? 

9. Write Before & After as Well As
During Your Trip


  • Why did you want to go there?
  • How did you plan your trip?
  • What do you imagine it will be like?
  • What do you want to do or see?
  • What is your itinerary?

On your trip:

  • Write daily, when things are fresh in your mind
  • Read this blog for tips and inspiration on what to record!


  • Was it how you imagined?
  • Did it live up to expectations?
  • What did you learn?
  • What surprised or disappointed you?
  • What would you change?
  • Where next?!

10. Personalise Your Journal

It’s your journal. You can do it how you want. Adding mementos adds colour, interest or a memory jog. Things like;

  • Doodles / Maps
  • Photographs
  • Postcards or Flyers
  • Tickets
  • Menus
  • Business cards from people, hotels, restaurants, etc
  • Brass Rubbings – or rubbings of shells, leaves etc
  • Wine / Beer Bottle Labels
  • Anything else – it’s all part of the memory

Take a glue stick or some sticky tape and fasten them all in!

In Conclusion:

I hope that this gives you some inspiration to get started. Really, the only limits are your own creativity. You don’t even need to be chronological; what about grouping your entries in terms of historic sights, seafood restaurants, train rides, windsurfing sessions, or anything else…?

And – don’t forget to get the kids journaling too. It teaches them all kinds of skills; writing, observation, articulation – and in the future, they will thank you for it.

As I said last time, keep a diary and one day, if it doesn’t keep you, it will certainly keep you entertained!


10 Tips on Keeping A Travel Journal (Without it Taking Over Your Trip!)

  1. Where Were You & Who You Were With?
  2. Select A Few Highlights Each Day
  3. Write With Five Senses
  4. Be Honest
  5. Write Quickly – Commit To 10 mins/day
  6. Don’t Let Your Journal Become A Chore
  7. Banish Your Inner Editor
  8. Record Your Thoughts & Feelings
  9. Write Before, After & During Your Trip
  10. Personalise Your Journal With Mementos

    Author Jackie Lambert

Fans of Jacqueline (Jackie) Lambert’s doggie/travel blog, www.WorldWideWalkies.com said, “You should write a book!” So, she did. In fact, she’s written five…

If you’ve ever considered giving up work to head off into the sunset with surfboards on the roof–or you just like dogs, travel and humour, her Adventure Caravanning With Dogs books are for you.

The first, Fur Babies in France, was described by one reviewer as, “Laugh out funny and a great travel guide”. It tells how she and husband Mark gave up work, accidentally bought their first ever caravan, then decided to rent out the house, sell most of their possessions, and tour Europe full-time with four dogs in tow.

Dog on the Rhine; “An inspirational travelogue” follows this intrepid couple as they get more adventurous, and head into Germany, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. But just to prove that Living the Dream is not all sunshine and rainbows, they return home to a huge Fidose of reality…

Dogs ‘n’ Dracula; “Armchair travel delight” gives the full low down on how Jackie and Mark set off for Spain and Portugal, but decided to turn left…

Pups on Piste is a “Fun and interesting book” about the trials and tribulations of their first ski season in Italy, during which a ski instructor tells them, “Don’t miss the turn, or you’ll go over a cliff.”

In her latest memoir, It Never Rains But It Paws, released on 6th May 2022, Jackie and Mark race against time to leave the UK before Britain leaves the EU. Brexit could mean their four precious pups would be unable to travel. Then, a few months into their trip, the pandemic leaves them trapped in the epicentre of Europe’s No. 1 coronavirus hotspot…

She is currently working on her sixth book, To Hel In A Hound Cart – A Road Trip Through Poland In A Pandemic, which will be published later in 2022.

In her first year as a published author, Jacqueline was delighted to receive multiple five-star reviews, a letter from Prince Charles, an invitation to Bucharest to collect an award for Dogs ‘n’ Dracula, and Amazon No. 1 Bestseller status in the German Travel category for Dog on the Rhine. Some of her travel tales BC (Before Canines) have been featured in travel anthologies, alongside other bestselling and award-winning authors.

You can check out all of Jackie’s books on her Amazon Author Page HERE.

Or grab them one at a time here:

Year 1 – Fur Babies in France
Dog on the Rhine
Dogs n Dracula
It Never Rains but It Paws

And you can reach Jackie on social media here:

Blog: WorldWideWalkies.com
Email: jackielambert07@gmail.com

#GuestDayTuesday – #DWallacePeach – #TheNecromancer’sDaughter

It’s #GuestDayTuesday again, folks, and today we have author D. Wallace Peach visiting us with news about her latest release, The Necromancer’s Daughter. Don’t know about you guys, but I’ve never read a book by Diana I didn’t LOVE, and  I’m dying to read this one! (SOOOON, My Precious!)

Thank you, Diana, for joining us today, and now … you have the floor, my friend! Take it away!

Good morning, Marcia. I’m delighted to get a slot on your blog for #GuestDayTuesday. I started my book tour about three weeks ago for my new stand-alone novel The Necromancer’s Daughter, and I thought I’d share a little about the inspiration/theme of the story.

As you know, I write fantasy novels, but there are only so many plots to go around, and we all have to share them regardless of the genre we write. So, with billions of books out there, how do we ever make our stories original? It’s all in the details, my friend, and the way we put our unique spin on them with our unique voices.

As much as fantasy is about imaginary worlds and magical beings, there are few of us who have the talent to tell an un-human story. We want to grab our readers and make them care. To do that, we need to create characters they can relate to and then put them in situations that make sense. You, my friend, are a master at doing just that.

In writing fantasy, for my themes, I draw quite a bit on the quandaries and challenges of modern life, knowing full well that the hurdles we face have been around for thousands of years in one form or another.

The theme of The Necromancer’s Daughter is the biases and assumptions we make about others without really getting at the truth of who they are as people. Does that sound familiar in our politically divided country? Or in the prejudices around race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and a host of other ways that we differ from each other? It’s a tale as old as time.

In The Necromancer’s Daughter, the division is between those who practice necromancy (the raising of the dead) and those who believe it’s demonic and against the wishes of their goddess.

One of my main characters, Joreh, is stuck in the middle with the hard task of facing his ingrained biases and really seeing people for who they are. That’s no easy task, and he has a lot on the line, including his life.

And, of course, the pages are brimming with action, escapes, barbarians, and dragons. There’s also a touch of romance and tons and tons of snow!

Thanks so much for having me over today, my friend. It was fun getting a chance to chat a little about the book! And many thanks to your blog friends for stopping by. Happy Reading.

You Can Buy The Necromancer’s Daughter HERE


A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.

Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only heir, and for his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade.

While Barus hides from the Order’s soldiers, Aster leads their masters beyond the wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a land of dragons and barbarian tribes. She seeks her mother’s people, the powerful rulers of Blackrock, uncertain whether she will find sanctuary or face a gallows’ noose.

Unprepared for a world rife with danger, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

A healer with the talent to unravel death, a child reborn, a father lusting for vengeance, and a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.


(NOTE: I got my wish,  devoured this book, and here’s my review.)

I’m a huge fan of author D. Wallace Peach, and have loved every book of hers I’ve read to date.  Fantasy has become my favorite genre in recent years, so I was eagerly awaiting release day for this one, and crossing my fingers that I hadn’t built up unrealistic expectations. What a joke! It was even better than I hoped. I can honestly say I loved this book even more than Peach’s others, and that’s high praise, believe me.

As always, Diana’s world-building is fantastic, from the beliefs held by each country, to the descriptions of every battle … and every DRAGON! Yes, there are dragons, and they add a wonderful sense of magic that becomes totally believable as the story grows. But even better than the world or its fabulous dragons are the characters! Each is fully fleshed out in a way that made them totally real to me, complete with faults and frailties, generosities and kindnesses, strengths and weaknesses, and all the other components that go into being human. (Or slightly more than. We are talking necromancers here, so it’s a given that this world is touched by magic, even in cultures where it’s forbidden, and practicing it is punishable by death.)

I enjoyed this book with its elegant cover so much that I want to display it in my library, and am ordering a print copy for that purpose alone. Just looking at it sitting on my favorite bookshelf will make me smile every morning.

If you enjoy fantasy, interesting worlds graced with magic, and beautifully rendered characters who will live on in your heart long after you finish the last page, grab your copy right now. You won’t be sorry!

Author D. Wallace Peach

A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life when years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books. She was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

You Can Buy The Necromancer’s Daughter Here:

You Can Reach Diana on Social Media HERE:

Amazon Author’s Page

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – #JacquiMurray

Happy Wodin’s Day, Everyone! It’s time to share another fun #TenThings post with you guys, and today’s very special guest is author Jacqui Murray. I know you are going to enjoy learning more about Jacqui, so without further ado, let’s get started. Jacqui, take it away!

Thanks, Marcia!

I don’t often talk about myself, but I thought this would be a good way to celebrate the launch of my latest prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Book 3 of the trilogy Dawn of Humanity. I haven’t lived around the world or completed any amazing feats, but my life has been full and interesting. Here are some of the unusual tidbits you may not be aware of:

  1. spoke Russian well enough to travel comfortably throughout the Soviet Union for a summer. Before returning to the US, I bought a lot of Russian language books to get an understanding of their version of history.
  2. owned a Fred Astaire Dance Studio and danced professionally. I loved it, but the lifestyle didn’t fit me well so I eventually moved on.
  3. I installed cell phone antennas on skyscrapers, church steeples, and water tanks. What a view from those heights!
  4. I loved programming in DOS (Disk Operating System–the precursor to Windows). I did a lot of crazy tricks that annoyed my husband. For example, once, I programmed his computer to play Christmas music before it booted up. I still miss it.
  5. I read California’s entire Uniform Building Code (defining the State’s construction regulations) as part of my job to design/build employer-based child care centers. I also read America’s 1200+ page Affordable Care Act (before it exploded in size) because news channels contradicted each other. I also studied America’s Common Core Standards for K-12 education to guide my teaching. Do you see a trend?
  6. worked in the recycling industry for years. I collected used cardboard and paper, exported it around the world to places like Japan who don’t have enough trees. What an interesting job.
  7. Because of my background in recycling, I know corrugated is the right name for ‘cardboard’. Because of my background in building, I know people often say ‘cement’ when they mean ‘concrete’.
  8. Both my children are in the military. Their choice–I never was. They both love it. One’s a Naval officer, the other in the Army Signal Corps. Guess which is the boy.
  9. I play(ed) Blue Grass on my mandolin after college, jammed with a group. That was about as much fun as a girl can have. I still have the mandolin, but arthritis prevents me from playing.
  10. I think my dog is sentient. He’s Homo canineafter all!

Truth, I have always had trouble settling down to one endeavor, which explains in part my current obsession with both teaching and writing. How about you?


Survival requires change but can Lucy do that? 

In this final book of the trilogy, Lucy and her tribe leave their good home to rescue captured tribemembers who are in grave danger. Lucy’s Group includes an eclectic mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium kit, and different iterations of early man. Each brings unique skills to the task. More will join and some will die but that is the nature of prehistoric life, when survival depends on a mix of man’s developing intellect and untiring will to live. Based on true events from 1.8 million years ago.

Natural Selection is Available in digital (print soon) at:
Amazon Canada

 Amazon Australia
Amazon India

Author Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, prehistoric fiction, and Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance tech ed journalist.

Dawn of Humanity (Books 1 & 2)

The Crossroads Trilogy

You can reach Jacqui on Social Media here:

Amazon Author Page    

Contact Jacqui via Social Media or Email: askatechteacher@gmail.com




#GuestDayTuesday – #JackieLambert – #Writer’sTravelogueSeries – #KeepingAJournal

So happy to have Jackie Lambert visiting us again today, and I know you’ll be happy to welcome her, too. (With any luck, we can coax Jackie into visiting us often to share tales of her adventures on her World Wide Walkies!) As with her last visit, Jackie has some fun and interesting stuff to share with you today, so let’s get right to it! You’re on, Jackie!

How Keeping A Travel Journal Led Me To Publish Five Books!

Keep a diary, and someday, it will keep you.”

(Note from Jackie: When I looked, I found this popular quote attributed to Mae West, Margot Asquith, Lily Langtry & Anonymous!)

Making a living from writing is difficult, but not impossible, although writing books and making money was certainly not the reason I started keeping diaries about my travels.

My memory is terrible, so when people used to ask me things like, “What did you do on your trip-of-a-lifetime to Zimbabwe?” I would say things like, “Er. Nothing much…”

My Zimbabwe trip was in 1994. Thankfully, I kept a journal – as I did for all my other trips since, which have taken me across six of the seven continents. This shabby collection of mismatched notebooks is now one of my most treasured possessions.

My 1994 journal describes six days rafting 60 km down the crocodile-infested Zambezi River, from Victoria Falls to the Kariba Dam, on some of the biggest white water in the world. Then, it takes me on safari, where I walked through the bush with wild elephants, buffalo, hyena and some rather large pussycats, protected solely by Jane, the only female white hunter in ‘Zim’, as the locals call their home country. After that, I flew over Victoria Falls in a microlight before launching myself 111 metres into freefall from the Victoria Falls Bridge in Zambia; the highest bungee jump in the world at the time.

No-one would embark on a ‘trip of a lifetime’ without their camera – and if I ever forget to pack a notebook and pen, I come home with sheaves of hotel stationery, paper bags, or Post-it notes covered in scribbles.

More than a quarter of a century on, my journal not only brings back the sights, but the sound of churning white water, the scent of campfires and African dust, and the range of feelings – from sheer  exhilaration to pure terror – that my trip to Africa invoked. I love the way it helps me to recall and re-live the experience in a way that photographs can’t – and I wouldn’t part with it for the world.


My husband, Mark and I were made redundant in 2016 and accidentally bought our first caravan (RV trailer). Some way down the second bottle of celebratory champagne, we had a wild idea,

“We could sell up, rent out the house, and tour Europe in her full time!”

Of course, when we sobered up, we decided this was a brilliant idea. So, in May 2016, we set off with our four dogs, Cavapoos (Cavalier/Poodle cross) Kai, Rosie, Ruby and Lani, and Caravan Kismet – meaning ‘Fate’ – in tow. We planned a three-year trip to out-of-the-way places, and our aim was ‘To Boldly Go Where No Van Has Gone Before’.

Naturally, I kept a journal. During our first year on the road, people asked about our travels and encouraged me to start a blog. That was easy – after all, I had all the notes in my journal. The blog attracted readers from all over the world, who seemed to enjoy my scribblings. One of them even encouraged me to write a book…

Mark and I are now into our sixth year of our three-year trip and do not intend to stop touring any time soon. I have now published five books about our travels and number six is at the editing/revision stage. Several travel anthologies and travel publications have even invited me to contribute.

Without my travel journals, which I treasure and thoroughly enjoy creating for their own sake, I would never have started my blog, and without the blog, I would not have written the books.

Also, without my journals, if someone asked, “What have you been doing since 1994?”

I would still reply, “Nothing much.”

I can’t promise that one day, your diary will keep you, although I can absolutely GUARANTEE this;

Keep a diary and someday, it will keep you entertained!

Author & World Traveler Jackie Lambert

Fans of Jacqueline (Jackie) Lambert’s doggie/travel blog, www.WorldWideWalkies.com said, “You should write a book!” So, she did. In fact, she’s written five…

If you’ve ever considered giving up work to head off into the sunset with surfboards on the roof–or you just like dogs, travel and humour, her Adventure Caravanning With Dogs books are for you.

The first, Fur Babies in France, was described by one reviewer as, “Laugh out funny and a great travel guide”. It tells how she and husband Mark gave up work, accidentally bought their first ever caravan, then decided to rent out the house, sell most of their possessions, and tour Europe full-time with four dogs in tow.

Dog on the Rhine; “An inspirational travelogue” follows this intrepid couple as they get more adventurous, and head into Germany, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. But just to prove that Living the Dream is not all sunshine and rainbows, they return home to a huge Fidose of reality…

Dogs ‘n’ Dracula; “Armchair travel delight” gives the full low down on how Jackie and Mark set off for Spain and Portugal, but decided to turn left…

Pups on Piste is a “Fun and interesting book” about the trials and tribulations of their first ski season in Italy, during which a ski instructor tells them, “Don’t miss the turn, or you’ll go over a cliff.”

In her latest memoir, It Never Rains But It Paws, released on 6th May 2022, Jackie and Mark race against time to leave the UK before Britain leaves the EU. Brexit could mean their four precious pups would be unable to travel. Then, a few months into their trip, the pandemic leaves them trapped in the epicentre of Europe’s No. 1 coronavirus hotspot…

She is currently working on her sixth book, To Hel In A Hound Cart – A Road Trip Through Poland In A Pandemic, which will be published later in 2022.

In her first year as a published author, Jacqueline was delighted to receive multiple five-star reviews, a letter from Prince Charles, an invitation to Bucharest to collect an award for Dogs ‘n’ Dracula, and Amazon No. 1 Bestseller status in the German Travel category for Dog on the Rhine. Some of her travel tales BC (Before Canines) have been featured in travel anthologies, alongside other bestselling and award-winning authors.

You can check out all of Jackie’s books on her Amazon Author Page HERE.

Or grab them one at a time here:

Year 1 – Fur Babies in France
Dog on the Rhine
Dogs n Dracula
It Never Rains but It Paws

And you can reach Jackie on social media here:

Blog: WorldWideWalkies.com
Email: jackielambert07@gmail.com

#WIP – #AmWriting (I hope!) – #ColeCole&Dupree

Oh, I SO know how he feels! I’ve been dragging around in Subpar Mode for so long, it’s ridiculous. (And to think that at my age, I consider every minute of wasted time to be a cardinal sin!) But the good (or at least better) news is, I am going to fix this problem, one way or the other! 

Yes, yes, Snape! I should be writing and I’m GOING to be writing, because after all, Cole, Cole & Dupree cannot finish itself, now can it? But I wanted to share my earthshattering improved health news here on TWS first. Plus I thought maybe sharing here might get me even more in the mood to move on with this story. I mean, it’s got a lot going for it, I think. From a very strange mystery for CC&D to solve, to Rabbit’s astonishing find of a Fairy Cross (staurolite) on a wooded trail, to the fun (I hope) relationship between Rabbit and his adopted family, including his sort-of adopted big brother, Austin Dupree. 

Oh, fairy crosses, you ask? Well, they look like this, and are a completely natural and totally REAL (though very rare) rock formation, wherein a natural “twinning process” produces these amazing stones in every size. See:

And here’s one more: a precious little miniature one sent to me from my friend in Wales, Trish, alias Alex Craigie. (Thank you again, Trish!)

But putting all that aside, the main reason to post about what I hope will be my return to Cole, Cole, & Dupree is that it gives me an excuse to share an excerpt with you good folks, and perhaps find out if this prologue would make you want to turn the page for the rest of the story.  So without further ado, here you go:

Just Past Midnight in a Frosty Winter Pasture
Sunday, January 11, 2015

“THOUGHT YOU NEEDED to see this, boss. Called as soon as I found ‘em.”

“You were right to call, Kip. Any idea what the hell happened here?”

“Not a one. Never seen anything like it.”

Alvy Ballard moved his flashlight in a slow arc across the scene in front of him, as he struggled to make sense of all the darkened forms humped along the ground. With a look of dread in his eyes, he turned back to his foreman. “Big Red?”

“Big Red, too, boss. He’s over by the east fence.”

“Show me.”

The two men walked around the fence line, stopping to check each bloody body along the way. Alvy gave a slow, stunned shake of his head. “All dead. Every single one of them dead. What could have done something like this, Kip?”

“I got no idea. Every throat torn out. All ten horses, gone. It ain’t natural.”

When they neared the middle of the east fence line, Kip stopped and laid his hand on Alvy’s arm. “You sure you want to look at him?”

Alvy nodded. “I need to see for myself.”

Kip watched as his boss continued along the fence to where the body of his prize stallion lay. For a moment the big man stood staring in shock, then he dropped to his knees. Draping himself across his horse, Alvy Ballard wept like a child, shoulders shaking with loud, heartbroken sobs.

Kip knew his boss well enough to understand his need for privacy, so he remained where he was until Alvy stood, wiped his eyes, and returned.

“I still don’t understand what happened to them,” Alvy said, his voice husky with emotion.

“Me, neither, boss. For sure, it wasn’t no animal I’ve ever seen. Animals don’t kill ‘less they’re hungry. All them horses are dead, all right, but not a single one’s been eaten on.”

Well, there you have it. I hope you are intrigued and ready to find out what the heck happened in Alvy Ballard’s pasture. And you can rest assured, when the good sheriff Raleigh Wardell shows up to consult with them, Cole, Cole, &  Dupree will be ready to take on this case!

Thanks for reading this morning,
and here’s to a GREAT start to your week!

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – #D.G.Kaye

I’m sure today’s author needs no introduction for most of you, but just in case there are some new folks reading along, I’m delighted to say that author D. G. Kaye is with us today. Debby is widely known in the blogging/writing world as a memoirist and a writer who generously spreads humor wherever she goes. Please help me give Debby a big welcome this morning. Debby? You’re on!

Thank you so much Marcia, for inviting me to share some of myself here today in your wonderful series – #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe.

In high school, I always managed to maintain an over 80 average – despite my one year failing art and gym! Yes, art and gym! How do you fail art and gym? Well, I did. I was the girl in the Janis Ian song – At Seventeen – when choosing sides of basketball, I’d be last pick. I was nowhere near athletic, nor was I interested in sports. My only saving grace was dance segment and health classes which helped bring up my saggy average in that class. I remember getting booted for a class or two when I was caught cutting across the track field instead of running the length of it, hoping I wouldn’t be discovered doing so, to no avail. And don’t even get me started with those ugly blue rompers, sack-like outfits we had to wear. Art was a whole ‘nother thing. I still cannot color in the lines! Even when it comes to my book covers, I have the vision of what I want, but cannot express with drawing anything with my own hands – okay, maybe stick people.

Ambidextrous, I am, sort of. A weird mixture of one who writes with her right hand yet does most other things with the left. I also sucked at baseball because I have to wear a glove on my left hand for catching, and must take it off to throw the ball back with my same left, leaving a runner too much time before I could throw back the ball. I have no sports coordination with my right hand. When I attempted in my younger years, to play guitar, that was also strumming with the left hand. It’s complicated.

Before I met my husband, I was in an abusive relationship with someone for seven years. I realized it after the first year of living together, but by then I was trapped. I have written much on the subject, but to this day am still petrified of publishing anything about those years, for fears of being sued by my vindictive stalker and abuser.

I had many jobs and careers in my younger years. I was never fired, always left on my own volition. My earlier days were working in the fashion industry – selling clothes and doing the buying for some of those stores. I did a lot of temp secretarial in between jobs, and I was an executive secretary to the general manager of one of our downtown hotels for a few years. Before that, I worked for a photography company doing company sales for family portraits. My job took me all over the province of Ontario – with me as the driver. Those were my fearless days. I also became a certified travel agent, not because I wanted to work in an agency, but I’d struck a deal with an agency owner, I’d bring him clients on the side so I could keep my regular job and get my travel perks, commissions and benefits from the agency. I became office manager for an architectural firm, and later for a construction company, and then a real estate company. In my 30s, I went to ‘dealer’ school and became a certified casino dealer for blackjack and poker, then ultimately, became a pit boss. After a few years doing that, I got scouted out to work for a private company doing private parties. I only worked two or three nights a week and made more money (in tips) than I did all week working in a casino. I ultimately met my husband who was a guest of someone I knew at one of those parties. Once my husband moved in with me, he didn’t want me to work anymore. I must admit, it felt weird not working when I’d worked since a teenager.

I am an empath and very spiritual and sense when spirits are around me. As of yet, I have not directly sensed my own husband directly around me, but, I have definitely received many signs. I am an empath who can sense spirit by smell and touch and an inner knowing, this makes me clairsentient, clairalient, and claircognizant. I also read souls through looking into eyes, sort of like a human lie and empathy detector. This has never failed to be an alert system for me. Except when I was younger and dismissed what I thought I saw. I rely on my instincts to guide me. My father and my dear aunt come to visit me sometimes. I know when they are around, my body starts to shiver, and I can smell my aunt’s perfume or my father’s cigarette smoke when they appear.

Some sensitives are greatly familiar with astral planing. I know I must have gone to other realms while sleeping, many times over, but my only recollection of physically leaving my body, then plunking back into it, was about six months after my father died when I went to visit him in heaven. I still remember standing on the threshold between heaven and earth. I remember it so vividly to this day 32 years later.

I’m like a mixed genre book. I don’t fit into any one type of box. I’m a Gemini, always troubled making up my two minds. I am soft, I am loud. I’m an extrovert, yet an introvert in other ways. When I was in my dating years, men told me I was an enigma. I liked that. My unpredictability kept them on their toes. My husband was a man of action and liked action. I was a great challenge for him, and certainly different than the doormats and looser women he was used to in his post first marriage playboy days. The spark never left us, and I attribute the ‘keeping him on his toes’ with me, a good part of why we had such a loving and dynamic marriage.

I love to travel and have many places to travel to still, on my bucket list. I always follow my instincts. If I get an inner warning, or obstacles that keep appearing to stop me from something I’m wanting to do, I pay attention. For example, for years I haven’t been back to Europe because my husband had no interest in leaving North America, and I had no interest in leaving him behind. Since I lost him spring of 2021, I had hoped to run for refuge to one of my two best friend’s house in the U.K. later in the year. Sadly, Covid travel restrictions wouldn’t be lifted until late October, and by then, my girlfriend came here to visit me. She stayed for a month, which was almost till late November, and by then, it was getting too close to the new year, when I was geared up to travel down south to Mexico for a few months escape. Now in 2022, my friend is in midst of building a new house, living in a small rental, and Covid is picking up again. the AIRLINES here and there are a godawful mess, and our dollar is crap. So, it’s quite likely I won’t be getting to the other side of the pond this year either. In fact, I’ll be lucky to get back to Mexico next winter.

I have zero tolerance of social injustice, bullying, inequality, and violations of people’s personal rights, and I will always stand up for the underdog. I also try to keep myself out of getting caught in those situations, because it is difficult for me to stay silent. And, in this day and age we are living in, calling out those who are wrong doers, can have serious repercussions. But I won’t hesitate to write about something unjust I come across. Sometimes, the pen is indeed, mightier than the sword.

About my husband. I lost the love of my life last year. I have lost quite a few loved ones in my life and grieved them all, but there is no grief like losing the other half of ourselves. I blame Covid for the system not getting him into hospital, despite my daily efforts and rapports with doctors, for almost a year! By then, it was too late. It’s bad enough grieving a loss, but especially during Covid when I couldn’t have real people contact when I needed it, not to mention, the huge funeral my husband got ripped off of. I spent a lot of time searching for (useless) online grief groups, and reading many books, hoping to self-medicate. And I learned from reading many of those books, unfulfilled from what I was searching for, that there is a market for kinship and real talk on the subject. So, I decided to, and have been writing episodes to start a podcast to talk about the things that don’t get mentioned enough of on the subject of grief. Naturally, I’m titling it – Grief – The Real Talk. Stay tuned!

You Can Buy D. G.’s Books HERE

Author D. G. Kaye

D.G. Kaye is a Canadian nonfiction/ memoir writer who writes about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. She writes to inspire others by sharing her stories about events she’s encountered, and the lessons that came along with them. D.G. loves to laugh and self-medicate with a daily dose of humor. When not writing intimate memoirs, you’ll find D.G. writing with humor in some of her other works and blog posts, ranting about injustice, dabbling in poetry, and sharing a book review Sundays on her blog.

Check out All of D. G.’s work on her Author Page, here:
Author Page

You can reach D. G. on Social Media here:

#Let’sTalk – #MarketingIdeas – #WhatWorksAndWhatDoesn’t

Am I the only one who thinks that marketing is the most difficult, frustrating, and downright annoying part of writing that could possibly exist? (Somehow I doubt I am.) But whether that’s really true or not, marketing still needs to be done, and I’ve sworn for YEARS I was going to get better at it. *sigh* I haven’t. In fact, I’m so awful at it that I woke up today inspired to start a new series of posts where we can all share our thoughts on marketing and lots of other subjects from time to time. I’ve found this writing /blogging community to be among the most generous, supportive, and helpful group of folks I’ve ever met, so I’m hoping many of you will be willing to weigh in on all sorts of topics coming up in the weeks ahead.

With that in mind, here’s what I’m wondering today:

What is your favorite way to market your books?
Which paid forms of marketing have you had the most success with?
Are there any types of marketing writers should be avoiding?

I’ll start by saying I’ve never marketed my books anywhere other than  through blogging, and local sales. For several years, I sold quite a few books at every wildlife talk I gave and really enjoyed signing them after the talks. Trouble is, many in my audiences now have all of my books, so that market has been “saturated.” I need to branch out. (And to have this brain fog lift enough to enable me to finish my WIP, because I understand new books are a great way to sell OLD ones.)

NOTE: Jan Sikes has been running a series of very detailed posts on Story Empire, going into the pros and cons of various types of marketing.  It’s an excellent series, and you can check out the first post HERE. Thanks for reminding me of this series, Jan! LOTS of great info!

Now I’m going to turn the discussion over to you guys. Please feel free to share any marketing or promotional questions, ideas, and worries you might have. And we’d especially love to hear about some things that have worked … or NOT worked … for you. 

Thanks for joining the conversation!


#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout #ValerieOrmond

Today, let’s welcome author Valerie Ormond to The Write Stuff. Valerie has some fun and interesting things to share with you, and I know you’ll enjoy her #TenThings list, so let’s get started! Valerie, take it away!

Thanks, Marcia!

#1: I’ve been caught in quicksand! I only thought that was in the movies. Fortunately, I was riding a sane and strong horse, so when I kicked him ahead while he sunk to his belly, he listened and pulled us out with his front legs first followed by a hop from behind.

#2: In 1990, when I visited East Germany, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia shortly after the Berlin Wall came down, I saw a window into a world I had never known. Those sights renewed my commitment to a career in the military which I continued for a total of 25 years.

#3: I drove a Good Humor ice cream truck when I was 17-years-old and learned entrepreneurial skills such as reliability, self-motivation, consistency, and reaching target audiences. It was a “cool” summer job that taught me valuable life lessons.

#4: The most famous person I’ve known is the current U.S. President, Joe Biden. I accompanied him on a trip to Bogota and Cartagena, Colombia, when he was the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was friendly and nice, and I’m happy to report we had no international incidents.

#5: The one and only time I’ve ziplined was at the longest zipline course in Central and South America. Twenty-five ziplines through a Costa Rican rain forest, and I lived to tell.

#6: When I joined the Navy, the recruiting slogan was, “It’s not just a job; it’s an adventure.” Those adventures included launching off and landing on aircraft carriers, living on ships, riding in helicopters, deploying to places unknown, moving 19 times, deploying and living overseas, serving with people of many nationalities, and learning how to get along with people whether I agreed with them or not. The slogan was right!

Valerie Ormond ready to fly off the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72),in the ES-3A , Indian Ocean, 1995

#7: My college entrance application asked with whom I would most like to meet in history, and I answered William Shakespeare. I think I was born to be an English major.

#8: I grew up in a theatrical family. My father was a playwright, actor, director, and producer. My mother was an actor, director, and drama teacher. My brother was an actor, director, producer, and has written award-winning plays and continues to teach theater arts to children to today.

#9: I’ve traveled to 48 U.S. states (49 in September!) and 40 countries. The country I was closest to visit, but did not, was North Korea. I used to escort press to the North/South border regularly but was warned if I crossed the line to North Korea, it was at my own risk.

#10: My husband and I are avid cyclists and have completed numerous one-day 50-mile and 62-mile events. We love rail trails, and in the past few years have biked multi-day trips including the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal, the Great Allegheny Passage, and the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. We have more planned for the future!

Buy Believing in Horses Out West HERE


Sadie Navarro rescued a mare from an auction accomplishing what she thought was the most important mission of her young life.

Now, that mare is headed to a ranch in Montana and a home Sadie knows nothing about.

She wants to make sure the horse is in good hands, but Montana is far away and a different world from Maryland.

Will fourteen-year-old Sadie need to stand up to rugged cowboys to protect her special rescue horse?

Valerie’s latest novel, Believing In Horses Out West, takes young Sadie Navarro on an adventure to a Montana ranch to check on a horse she rescued. New York Times Bestselling Author of Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse, Robin Hutton, described the book as, “A thrilling coming-of-age story filled with love, lessons, and finding one’s purpose in life…”

The author based the novel on experiences visiting ranches in both the U.S. and overseas which she wanted to share with readers in a fictional story.

In just nine months since the book’s release, it won first place in the National Federation of Press Women’s national Communications Contest; second place in The BookFest® Awards. The international Wishing Shelf Book Awards named Believing In Horses Out West a finalist, and it is currently a finalist in the Military Writers Society Of America book awards to earn a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal in August.

Valerie’s first two books, Believing In Horses and Believing In Horses, Too, tell stories of a strong-willed young girl overcoming challenges based on her love of horses. Both books won gold medals and first place awards in eight national and international book competitions.

Believing In Horses Out West book trailer
Believing In Horses book trailer


Author Valerie Ormond

Valerie Ormond retired after a 25-year career as a naval intelligence officer and launched her second career as a writer. She is the author of three award-winning young adult fiction books in the Believing In Horses series – Believing In Horses, Believing In Horses, Too, and Believing In Horses Out West. Her books have been called inspirational and motivational and share stories of today’s youth making a difference when focused on their passions. Valerie’s fiction and non-fiction stories, articles, and poetry appear in books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs worldwide. She owns and manages Veteran Writing Services, LLC, working primarily for defense contractors. She lives happily in Maryland with her husband and their three horses and two dogs.

You can buy Valerie’s Books here:

Believing In Horses Out West Amazon 
Believing In Horses 
Believing In Horses, Too
Buy Books – Believing In Horses (Author website for personally inscribed copies)
Amazon Author Page 

You can reach Valerie on Social Media here:

Email: valerie@believinginhorses.com