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On the Homefront

This week saw us visiting friends for a barbecue, but what set this visit apart was the addition of the dogs! They got to meet another pair of hounds, something that led to Daisy howling in glee. They soon settled down and spent an enjoyable evening roaming about a huge back yard. We ended up staying till 8:30, and by the time we returned home, the dogs were completely exhausted. Even now, on Saturday morning, they’re still low on energy. I suppose socializing is as much work for them as actual running!

In other news, I managed to pinch a nerve in my hip last weekend. It slowed me down for quite a few days, but I seem to be back to normal now. On the plus side, it didn’t seem to affect my writing at all. I shall have to be more careful in the future as it’s not something I wish to repeat.

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Westinghouse: The Life and Times of An American Icon

I’ve been watching a few documentaries this week on Amazon Prime as I rest my hip. It all started with a show about Netflix, then another featuring Amazon. One of the things about Prime that I really like (which I wish Netflix still did) is that it shows you what other people have watched after the one you just saw. This led me to the rather interesting story all about George Westinghouse Jr.

As a pioneer in the development of alternating current, he worked with the more famous Nikola Tesla, but he was so much ahead of his time. At his height, in the late 1800s, he held a multitude of companies. But even more important from a modern perspective, he looked after his workers, going so far as to pioneer things that we now take for granted, such as health care and insurance. In a time when life was cheap and workers replaceable, he built a culture of looking after his people.

He was a contemporary of Thomas Edison, but whereas Edison adored the being in the limelight, Westinghouse kept very private. Towards the end of this documentary, it explains that Edison, throughout his life, filed more than a thousand patents. Westinghouse, on the other hand, had far fewer, but that fact fails to take into account one significant difference. Any technology patented by Edison’s company was in his name, whereas Westinghouse allowed his employees to own their own inventions. Taking this into account, Westinghouse and his companies may, in fact, have filed far more patents.

This is a documentary, and so some may find it a little dry at times, but if you like history or hearing about inventions, I think you should give this a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Temple Knight is coming Tuesday!

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Famous Canadian Inventions

We take a lot of things for granted in our modern world, but it wasn't so long ago that such luxuries were unavailable. That is until a Canadian invented it, so I thought I might write about some of my home country's contributions to the world.

These are not the typical items you might think of when you think of the world's most impressive inventions, but I bet you use quite of few of these yourself, so let's get started, shall we?

Prior to 1950, garbage was dumped into metal trash cans. Then, two men from Winnipeg, Harry Wasylyk and Larry Hansen, invented a green polyethylene bag that they sold to Union Carbide. That company, in turn, marketed the bags under the name Glad. Yes, I'm talking about garbage bags. Not only that, but a similar product was developed at the same time by another individual named Frank Plomp, a native of Toronto, and he is often credited as being a co-inventor. It seems ingenuity runs rampant in Canada.

Not impressed? How about the humble jar of peanut butter? It seems an odd thing, for something as exotic (at least for Canada) as peanuts being developed into something we now take for granted, but that's exactly what happened in 1884 when a Canadian pharmacist named Marcellus Gilmore Edson created the first batch.

Still not impressed? Okay, time for one more. Today, we take road safety very seriously, but in the early days of the automobile, there were no lanes to roads, leading to some severe collisions. The first road lines were painted on a stretch of highway between Ontario and Quebec way back in 1930. They were invented by a transport engineer that worked for the Ontario Department of Transport by the name of John D. Millar.

There are many more that I could mention, but this newsletter would soon grow too big to mail out. If you want to read more, head over the website below, you might find in interesting.

Congrats to  Michael for winning last week's eBook Giveaway! And thank you for the great suggestions for book names in the Heir to the Crown series! And a quick reminder to the past winners who have chosen Temple Knight: Your copy will be coming on Tuesday. Congrats!

Remember, all you need to do answer the question below, then you will automatically be entered into the Giveaway to win your choice of any of my ebooks, even the upcoming Temple Knight!



Keep an eye on this over the next few newsletters as we refresh the covers of the whole series!

Work in Progress Update

This week saw me beginning to write the first draft of Fury of the Crown. As the eighth book in the series, I am now able to draw upon a large stable of characters along with a well-established history. Fury recalls some of these past events, linking them into the storyline as it progresses.

I am finding this particular book a joy to write, mainly because I know the characters so well. Like the books in The Frozen Flame, I have come to understand these people, to the extent that I can tell exactly how they will react to a given set of circumstances. The Frozen Flame is about two lives that interact, but the Heir the Crown is an entire family of characters with complex relationships and beliefs.

This book is almost writing itself, and I’m pleased to say I managed to scribe 25,000 words this week.

Hopefully, my pace will continue in the coming weeks.

Until next time, enjoy a passage from Tempered Steel, prequel to the new Power Ascending series.

“Let’s find you a weapon first,” he said, leading her over to a small barrel. He fished through the collection, removing a wooden practice sword. “This will do nicely, I should think.”

Ludwig handed the weapon to Charlaine, who looked at it dubiously. The basics of holding a sword were simple enough, but how did she wield such a weapon?

“It’s all rather simple, really,” said Ludwig. “You can use the point to stab out, or the edge to slash if you prefer.”

“I’m fully aware of how a sword works,” said Charlaine. “I’ve been making them for some time. What I don’t know is the basic techniques.”

“I can help you with that,” offered Kurt. “It’s my job after all.” He moved in closer, trying to place an arm around her waist. She grabbed his wrist and twisted, driving him to the ground in agony.

Ludwig laughed at his companion's dilemma. “Where did you learn that manoeuvre?” he asked.

“My mother always insisted I should learn to look after myself,” she said.

“Stop,” begged Kurt. “You’re going to break my wrist.”

She released her grip, and Kurt rolled away to put some distance between them.

“Now,” said Ludwig, holding out a sword, “watch me and do what I do.”

He stepped forward, placing his right foot in front with his sword held before him at a slight angle. “This position,” he explained, “extends your reach and prepares you to react should your opponent attack. Now, you try.”

She did as he had demonstrated but found the stance quite uncomfortable.

“Move your leg back a bit, you’re overreaching. It’ll put you off balance.”

She corrected her stance. “Now what?”

“Now I'll show you some basic elements."

“Basic elements?”

“When you became a smith, did you start by forging a sword?”

“No, I had to master some basic skills first. I can still remember when I made my first nail.”

“There you have it,” said Ludwig with a smile. “Consider this to be your first nail.”

Author Spotlight

Check out these featured books that are free, discounted, or new releases.
These authors are returning the favour by sharing my books with their readers.

Eye of Obscurance: A rollicking adventure: Can a quick-witted thief assassinate an almighty wizard lord?

Power. The ambitious thirst for it. In a realm where wizards rule, those able to claim a throne are granted the power of a god. How can one defeat a god? 

A clever thief, a determined acrobat, and a troubled dwarf are joined by an old storyteller as they attempt the impossible: Assassinate a wizard lord. Their slim hope relies on an enchanted amulet, the Eye of Obscurance...  MORE

Kingdom of Wind &: Blood is magic. Magic is everything. Brianna grew up hiding her elemental magic, using it only in secret. If discovered, she risked being enslaved by the king’s army. Her twin brother, Brayden, wasn’t lucky enough to avoid that fate. Taken at a young age, his power was controlled by a SpiritSinger.

After fifteen years apart, Brayden escapes and accidentally makes it back to a home he doesn’t remember. No sooner has he reunited with his family when their mother is captured by the same enemy. The twins must make a choice to leave their mother and carry out her wishes or attempt... MORE

Arianna and the Spirits of the Storm: I was born an Elemental, with the power to control lightning. I was always forced to hide my magic, now I have to use it to save the kingdom. 

Magic is real, and it is terrifying. My kingdom used to live in peace and prosperity, but that all ended on the day I was born. The day the drought started. 
My father always believed they were connected: my powers, my mother's death, and the drought. He always believed he could bring an end to the drought through magic, but now he’s dead, and it's my turn to... MORE

Path of Ruin: Ancient sorcery has produced a glorious new world that hides a terrible secret... Henri left his career and fled to the frontier to protect his son. Out here he thought his greatest worry would be keeping the old forge hot enough to make piles of nails and horseshoes for the locals. He was wrong.

Goliath knight Mia does not belong. She's a loner who's never questioned where the power of her weapons came from or where her orders lead her. All of that is about to change... MORE

That Night: All Nadira Holden wants is to preserve the last of her soul and create a new life free of magic, demons, and war. Her involuntary bond with a succubus makes her desires impossible. The threat of this disgruntled demon possessing her urges Nadira to find the succubus's missing body.

Nadira's only hope of avoiding demonic possession lies with Derek, the only demon she can tolerate without slaying. Except, his hands are full trying to secure his recently-inherited title of prince. Desperate, Nadira agrees to help Derek secure his title by experimenting with the deadly magic they once generated in exchange for his aid in her investigation... MORE

Featured Book Deals & Giveaways

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