Saturday, September 16, 2017

Books by Nancy M. Bell

Just click on the cover for all buy links.


Laurel's Quest

A trip to England sounds like a grand adventure, but Laurel Rowan can’t escape from her true reality. Her mother is terminally ill, and her father needs her to go so he can spend his time at the hospital. On a train to Penzance, Laurel meets a new friend, Coll. On the property of her host, she stumbles upon a magical spring. There she meets the White Lady, who offers her a chance at gaining her heart’s true desire if only she can solve a riddle.

Pursuing her quest amidst the magic of the Cornish countryside, she is aided by Coll and her new friends Gort and Aisling. They are also helped by creatures of legend and myth, Vear Du, the Selkie, Gwin Scawen, the Cornish Piskie, Belerion the fire salamander, Morgawr the flying sea serpent who does Vear Du a favour, and Cormoran, the last giant of Cornwall. The friends must battle the odds in the form of bullies and confusing clues. Will they emerge victorious? Will Laurel have the courage to solve the riddle and fulfill her quest? 

Storm's Refuge

All Michelle wants for Christmas is peace of mind. The only thing bigger than the storm in her heart is the blizzard raging across the Alberta prairie outside her window. Finding an injured stray dog is the last thing she needs. Add to the mix the handsome new vet who is taking over her beloved Doc’s practice and peace of mind is not in the picture. 

Cale Benjamin is too nice to be for real. Michelle is still smarting from being jilted by her high school sweetheart fiancĂ© and not in the mood to trust any man, let alone one as drop dead gorgeous as Dr. Cale Benjamin DVM. The injured stray, Storm, keeps putting Michelle in Cale’s path whether she likes it or not

She is distressed to find that the handsome young vet is sliding past her carefully erected defenses and into her heart. A few well-placed nudges from Doc’s match maker wife, Mary, help the young doctor’s cause, but will it be enough to make the lady rancher allow him into her life?

The answer lies in the pages of Christmas Storm, find out for yourself.

The Selkie's Song

Arabella Angarrick wants nothing more than to leave Penzance behind and study nursing in London. Her Da has other plans for her though. Arabella would rather throw herself off the cliffs of Lamorna Cove than marry Daniel Treliving.

On one of her rambles across the moors on her pony, Arabella meets a dark and handsome young man who captures her fancy. There is something strange about him, but that only makes him more intriguing. Headstrong and stubborn, Arabella sets out to chart her own course in life, but things take an unexpected turn. 

Vear Du rescues her from danger, but can he protect her from himself? 

Visit Nancy at her author page at Books We Love:

Reach her at her website:
Twitter:  @emilypikkasso

Friday, September 15, 2017

Please welcome author Nancy M. Bell

I am very pleased to introduce author Nancy M. Bell to you this month. Nancy, a fellow Books We Love author, is also a proud Albertan and Canadian and lives near Balzac, Alberta, with her husband and a bunch of four-legged friends. 

Nancy has a long list of achievements and writing credits under her belt. The most recent, and one I enjoyed very much, was at the Didsbury Municipal Library's Artwrite event. 

The authors and artists were randomly paired, the author providing a poem or short story inspired by the artists work, and the artist producing a piece inspired by the author's work. 
The results will be published in a hardcover, coffee-table type book.

So without further ado, let's get to knowing more about Nancy M. Bell.

1.     When and why did you start writing? What is it about writing that satisfies you the most?
I have been writing as long as I can remember. In fact, I still have some really awful stuff I wrote in grade school. There is one, though, that I might work on as an MG book. About a horse, a pine tree and an old cowboy. I don’t know if ‘satisfy’ is the correct word. I just can’t NOT write. Stories are always running through my head and lines of poems pop up at the weirdest time. Just a few days ago I was walking the dog and this came home with me:
Sometimes I go sorrowing down the wind
For the days that used to be
For the days that might have been
My voice raised with the Wild Hunt
Crying down the skies of yesterday and never
Scarlet ribbons across the moon amid scattered tears of star light

2.     Have you had a defining moment in your writing life that changed everything for you?
I guess the first time my short story appeared in the local newspaper. I was in Grade 9, so 13 at the time. And then when I signed my first contract with a publishing house.

3.     How did you feel when you held your first book in your hands?
It was an amazing feeling. A real ‘aha’ moment.

4.     If you weren’t a writer, what would you be and why?
I have been a lot of things in my life, but always a writer. Writing is a constant ribbon through my life so I don’t think I could ever be anything else but a writer. Every other experience has been grist for my mill.

5.     Do you work with critique partners? If so, what do you most like about the process? If not, is this an avenue you would consider in the future and if not, why not?
I don’t as a rule. For me anyway, it seemed like it was more about the critiquer’s ego than my work. But maybe I’m just touchy, or I haven’t found a good critique group or partner? I’ve always been a solitary person, and not a joiner so that’s probably part of the problem. More my problem than the critique group perhaps.

6.     Have you ever judged any writing competitions? If you have, what about the process surprised you the most?
I have done evaluations for the Writers Union of Canada Danuta Gleed Literary Award as a second round evaluator. It is always interesting to read other writers work and see how they approach a subject. As a rule, the writing has been quite good.


1.     What have you always wanted? Did you ever get it?
I longed for a horse when I was a kid. Poured over the Sears catalogue when they still sold saddles, bridles and grooming equipment. I got my first horse when I was 17. Best day of my life.

2.     What is the best or most memorable compliment you ever received?
I did a Blue Pencil with Jack Whyte at Surrey International Writers Conference in 2011 and he said he liked my work and couldn't find anything to criticize except he changed the phrase “like a disjointed puppet” to “like a disarticulated puppet”. I had just had King Arthur run King March through with his sword during a fight. 

3.     What keys on a keyboard do you not use?
All the weird ones in pale green. No idea how to access them. LOL 

4.     If you were marooned on a desert island and could only have one book, which book would that be and why?
The Little Country by Charles de Lint

SPEED QUESTIONS: Straight YES/NO answers, unless you want to add a few words to qualify the answer. Have you ever:

1.     Lied about your age?   No
2.     Danced naked in the rain?  Yes
3.     Called in sick to work when you weren’t sick?  Sadly, yes
4.     Won a contest?  Yes
5.     Eaten ice cream straight from the carton?  Yes
6.     Locked yourself out of your house? No
7.     Ridden a motorcycle?  No
8.     Taken an enormous risk?  Not sure
9.     Gotten lost in a strange city? Yup
10.  Eaten a whole packet of cookies?  No
11.  Watched the stars at night?  Yes

12.  Worn odd socks?  No

Thank you for answering my questions, Nancy. I hope you will all join me again tomorrow for information on a few of Nancy's titles. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Here we are with our August Round Robin Topic. This month the question is: when you are stumped on moving a plot line forward, what do you do to reinvigorate your imagination and get your characters moving?  

One of the first things I learned on this subject was to have something happen to your character(s). Preferably something bad! As an introductory creative writing tutor explained it, “Shoot the sheriff on the first page”.

Since those early days of introductory creative writing classes, I’ve learned that if you do hypothetically shoot the sheriff on the first page, you need to have a lot more to backup that action all the way through the book – especially if you want to avoid the dreaded sagging middle.

Writers who plot may be ahead of the game on this issue. They may have all their scenes in place and know what is going to happen to their characters. Maybe not so much for a writer who is a pantser – writing more organically and from the ideas in their head rather than bullet points on a page or sticky notes on a white board.

I tend to be a bit of both. I know my characters, I have an idea of where the story is going so flesh out my plot points before I start but I can still get caught out. Initially, I may just put the writing aside so the ideas can flow and gel into some sort of cohesion. I’ll revisit my characters’ motivations. Who wants what the most? What will they do to get it? What are they afraid of if they don’t achieve their goals? Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, and Conflict is one of my go-to craft books when I need a nudge.

Is this a place where I can reveal something about my characters? Maybe something good/bad from the past that neither knows about the other. It better be juicy because it could affect the relationship (not necessarily a romantic one) between my characters, for better or worse. Deep, dark secrets surfacing could hurt your character, or maybe explain why a character acted the way they did. Does your character need protecting from this secret? If so, why?

Using your setting to propel your plot line could also work. An environmental threat like a blizzard or a hurricane could prompt your characters into doing something extraordinary. I think we’ve all heard of someone suddenly displaying superhuman strength to move an object in order to save someone else. But please, if your character cannot swim, don’t have him/her dive into a raging torrent to save someone from drowning. The actions have to be plausible and in keeping with your character’s character.

Sometimes I’ll simply take the section I’m stuck on, start a new document with a lot of ‘what ifs’ and play with it. What if my heroine is trapped in a burning building? What if my hero has a broken collar bone and can’t get to her? What else might he be able to do? Who else might be involved in this scene?

I have generally found that if I do this, the plot picks itself up and off I go again. Like life, you never know when the curveballs are going to come your way, or how you are going to deal with them until they happen. Keeping an open and curious mind can lead to endless possibilities. It’s why I love writing.

Take a look at these other fine authors and see how they deal with their plot lines.