Honoring Stephen Hawking

A visionary and one of the most influential scientists in history, Stephen Hawking died early this morning. He was also an astronomer, cosmologist, mathematician, and author of numerous articles and books, among them A Brief History of Time, which has sold more than 10 million copies.

His theories have changed how we understand black holes and relativity. But it was how he communicated science in spite of a debilitating disease that impressed and inspired all of us. Diagnosed with Amyotrphic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) shortly after his 21st birthday in 1963, Stephen Hawking defied all the odds and persevered for fifty-five years, well beyond the original prediction of two years.

PRINCETON, NJ – OCTOBER 10: Cosmologist Stephen Hawking on October 10, 1979 in Princeton, New Jersey. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)

My favorite quotations from Stephen Hawking…

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.

My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.

Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.

People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.

We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.

Not only does God play dice, but… he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.

Keeping an active mind has been vital to my survival, as has been maintaining a sense of humor.


10 Amazing Life Lessons from Albert Einstein

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Born on March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein is considered one of the most influential physicists of the 20th century. The German mathematician and physicist developed the special and general theories of relativity and went on to win the Nobel Prize for physics in 1921. His work had a major impact on the development of atomic energy.

In 1999, Canadian scientists studied his brain and discovered that his inferior parietal lobe, the area that processes spatial relationships, 3D-visualization and mathematical thought, was 15 percent wider than in people with normal intelligence. It is not surprising that he had a passion for inquiry.

Here are 10 of his life lessons…

10 Interesting Facts About Diana Rennie

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Cat Dubie to the Power of 10 series. Today, Cat shares ten interesting facts about Diana Rennie, the protagonist of her latest release, The Queen of Paradise Valley.

Here’s Cat!

Diana Rennie is the flawed heroine of my Historical Western Romance, The Queen of Paradise Valley. Her story is loosely derived from the old Western TV series The Big Valley. What if, I mused, the lovely daughter was the complete opposite of compliant, easy-going, sweet? What if she’s stubborn, argumentative, not afraid to cuss when necessary? What happens when she meets her match? [Hint: sparks, flames, explosions…]

The Big Valley Cast

I’ve read many romances where the tortured hero is saved by the love of a woman. This book attempts the opposite, with a strong hero battling his own flaws. Can these two save each other?

10 interesting facts about my protagonist:

1. Diana started piano lessons when she was six years old, after her mother brought her to a concert featuring the music of Chopin and Liszt. She loved playing and practiced for several hours a day. Music helped her cope, with loneliness, with her self-absorbed mother, with the knowledge that, after he had the son he wanted, her father sent her to live with her mother in New York.

2. She received her first pet when she was nine, a small terrier she named Ludwig [after Beethoven, of course]. How she loved that pup! But she wasn’t allowed to keep him long because her mother complained he yipped, he smelled, he made her sneeze [though she was rarely home.] Heartbroken, Diana gave Ludwig to the family of one of the servants.

3. When she was 15, Diana began a four year program at the Bennington Music Academy. At the urging of her piano teacher, she planned to continue her studies in New York, her goal and dream to become a concert pianist playing in the great music halls of Europe.

4. By the time Diana was 19, her mother was flitting from lover to lover, from wine to morphine pills. Her addictions soon caught up with her, and she died from mistakenly taking too much belladonna. Stunned, hurt, lost for a time, Diana became determined to live as she had planned. Angry at the strictures “society” imposed on her, she defied convention by attending concerts with her mother’s last lover, a handsome Spanish count. The scandalous behavior had tongues wagging, telegraph messages flying. A few days later, Diana received a letter from her father’s solicitor with a firm request to appear at his Colorado ranch.

5. Diana inherited her father’s flaxen hair, blue eyes, stubbornness, pride, sometimes volatile temper, and a propensity for holding anxieties and worries inside. [She had already learned to conceal her insecurities and fears]

6. She did not inherit her mother’s buxom figure or flighty behavior; if she inherited anything from her mother it was a latent tendency to rely on medicine [drugs] to alleviate her internal and external pains, a tendency that would nearly cost her everything.

7. Diana’s father gave her a graceful black Half-Arabian colt named Paladin. She loved him fiercely, almost as much as she loved her newfound father and the glorious Paradise Valley ranch. A new ambition took root — to learn everything she could about the ranch, the people who worked there, and the father who had only sent her away because her mother had to insisted a ranch was no place to raise a girl.

8. A mere four months after Diana was reunited with her father, a tragic riding accident ended his life. She was devastated, inconsolable for months. Then she pulled herself together, determined to run the ranch in the same manner her father did, and keep it successful as a continuing tribute to him. There would be no room in her life for a man, any man. Ever.

9. Diana adopted a black pup from a litter drop by one of the ranch dogs. At the same time she took delivery of a beautiful white Steinway grand piano, ordered by her father as a gift. She vowed to keep it pristine and never play it. Ever.

10. Due to an unfortunate incident when she was a young witness to a gory carriage accident in New York, she developed a severe phobia at the sight of human blood.


Diana Rennie, daughter of a wealthy rancher, attempts to persuade mystery man Del Russell to leave his grievances behind and forgive her father for past mistakes. Her careful plan goes awry and results in a shotgun wedding and a prison sentence for Del.

Four years later, Del is back in her life with a vengeance—back for his rightful share of Diana’s ranch, back to prove he isn’t the criminal she thought he was, back to finish what the two of them started years ago in a passionate daze. And he isn’t going anywhere, no matter what beautiful, treacherous Diana does or says to try to get rid of him.

Buy Links

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press | Barnes & Noble | Chapters/Indigo


Cat Dubie has traveled the world in books. She has traveled back in time and into the future in books. Her keen interest in history determined the nature of her books, and the first Historical romance novel she read, settled the genre.

After working for various levels of government, she retired and now lives in the beautiful province of British Columbia, where she indulges in her need for creating stories about romance, adventure, passion, mystery, love …

Where to find Cat…

Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Spreading Love Will Change The World

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Kathryn Jane to the Power of 10 series. Today, Kathryn shares an inspiring and timely post about a much-needed shift in our world.

Here’s Kathryn!

In light of the horrible event in a high school last week, I am here to talk about how each and every one of us can have an impact on the change we need in our world.

My Power of Ten, is all about love.

Many years ago, when I was taking a creative writing class in university, my instructor remarked on one of my submissions… “Another good piece, but why do all your stories end up about love?” This was meant as a criticism. She wanted to see more angst and suffering in my stories, more fantasy-like qualities, wanted them to be grittier, without happy endings.

Fast forward thirty-plus years to when I started writing novels after decades of not writing anything.

I sat down to write a mystery, and a love story happened on the page. I wrote a second novel, and again, in the swirl of suspense and mystery, two people found each other and fell in love.

And now I believe.

I believe that love is the strongest and most powerful emotion/entity in life. Yes I say entity because to me it is one.

Back to the Power of Ten. Here’s my list of ten simple ways you can manifest more love in your life, spread it to others, and change the world, one person at a time.

1. Gratitude – before you go to bed at night, think of just one thing you’re grateful for—it can be a simple as a pretty blue flower you saw on a roadside, or the fantastic burger you had for lunch, or the co-worker who had your back when you had to take an important phone call.

2. Kindness to others – can be a simple as holding a door for someone, or reaching something down from a high shelf for another shopper at the grocery store.

3. Kindness to self – cut yourself some slack, because perfection is highly overrated—maybe today you don’t have to do all the chores on the list, or maybe you could take a walk instead of answering all your emails, or you could just sit and stare out the window, listening to the purring cat in your lap.

4. Compassion – compassion for others (or lack thereof) is how we connect with the world outside of ourselves. When you see someone at the big box store who is wearing something you think is appalling, consider why they are doing that which you think is outrageous. Is it just them expressing their individuality? Bravo! Is it them trying to put one foot in front of the other and buy groceries for their family with almost no money in their pocket, or is this how they look after they’ve heard devastating news, or lost their job, or…. We don’t know what another person could be going through and NO ONE has a right to judge another. At any time, for any reason. Period.

5. Concern – be concerned about other’s situations. If you notice someone who seems unhappy, or in a dangerous/dubious/uncomfortable situation, reach out a hand or call help for them.

6. Interest – Show interest in the people you are with. Put away the phone and talk to people, interact. Ask about their day, their family, where they got the cute shoes…

7. Listen – Listen to what others are actually saying, not what you think they are saying. Hear their words, don’t just try to get your answer ready.

8. Support – offer support. Ask the question “What can I help you with right now.” “What can I do to help you get through this?”

9. Empathy – is not sympathy. Here’s a fun way to learn the difference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

10. Help – In helping others, you help yourself. It’s true! Try it.

My latest book, Into The Sunrise, is about a woman who could have been broken by the events in her life, but she found her way through, found a way to spread love and help others thrive, and found far more than just the love of her life.


Dusty thought love was simple, and all about good sex…until she found the real thing and discovered the universe wasn’t ready to give her fairy dust or a happy ending. At least not yet.

Soul destroying questions and equally stunning answers have Dusty digging deeper than she ever thought possible, and when she discovers her Self, in an entirely foreign landscape, she begins anew, more determined than ever to achieve her lifelong dream.

If you love stories about women who pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and get on with living no matter what life tosses in their path, this book is for you.

Buy Links

Print | Kindle


Author Kathryn Jane writes the kind of stories she loves to read. The fast-paced kind filled with love, life and adventure along with a smattering of special abilities. She dearly wants to be the perfect combination of Nora Roberts, and Kay Hooper when she grows up!

Kat fills her non-writing time with rescuing cats, painting rocks, and walking on the beach not far from her Pacific Northwest home. She’s blessed to have a charming prince who bakes bread from scratch, and knows to not interrupt while characters are being created. He and his beloved mutt are also adept at staying out of the way of the feline diva who guards the writing cave.

Where to find Kathryn…

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King


Today is Martin Luther King Day, an American federal holiday that marks the birthday of an inspirational clergyman, activist, and leader who is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights in the United States.

My favorite quotations from Dr. Martin Luther King…

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

The time is always right to do what is right.


10 Interesting Facts About Calamity (Callie) Barnstable

I’m happy to welcome Canadian author Judy Penz Sheluk to the Power of 10 series. Today, Judy shares ten interesting facts about the protagonist of her Marketville series. I enjoyed reading and highly recommend Book 1, Skeletons in the Attic, and look forward to future installments.

Here’s Judy!

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable is the protagonist in SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC, the first book in Judy Penz Sheluk’s Marketville Mystery series. PAST AND PRESENT, the second book in the series, is scheduled for publication in early 2019.

1) Calamity (Callie) is named after Calamity Jane, a Wild West frontierswoman of questionable repute, although her mother actually named her after the considerably softened Calamity portrayed by Doris Day in a 1950s movie of the same name.

2) Callie is the only child of two only children, whose parents disowned them, and by association, their only grandchild, when Callie’s mother got pregnant at the age of 17.

3) Callie worked in the fraud unit of a bank call center in Toronto until she inherited a house in Marketville from her father, who died in an “unfortunate occupational accident.”

4) Callie has also inherited her father’s black-rimmed hazel eyes, unruly brown hair, and stubborn streak.

5) When it comes to love, Callie believes she is a victim of the “Barnstable family curse.” Her last boyfriend dumped her on Valentine’s Day, when Callie was expecting an engagement ring. Enough said.

6) Callie’s favorite take-out comfort food is cheese pizza with extra sauce and hot peppers, though she does make a great homemade lasagna and mac and cheese. Maybe cheese is the not-so-secret ingredient here.

7) Callie’s favorite alcoholic beverage is Australian chardonnay. Her favorite tea is Vanilla Rooibos.

8) Callie is a runner who runs in temperatures from -30 to +30 (that’s Celsius for you Fahrenheit folks…translation -22 to 86+)

9) Callie is “addicted” to cocoa butter lip balm and has tubes of it stashed everywhere.

10) Callie is both fascinated and doubtful about tarot and all things psychic.


What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.

Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?


Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries (THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE), and The Marketville Mysteries (SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC). Sequels to both series are scheduled for 2018. Judy’s short crime fiction appears is several collections.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. She is also on the Crime Writers of Canada Board of Directors as the Regional Representative for Toronto/Southern Ontario (2017-2018).

Where to find Judy…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

Find Judy’s books at all the usual suspects, including Audible and the publisher Barking Rain Press.


10 Interesting Facts About Jason Davey

I’m happy to welcome Canadian author Winona Kent to the Power of 10 series. Today, Winona shares ten interesting facts about the protagonist of her latest release, Disturbing the Peace.

Here’s Winona!

I first wrote about Jason five years ago in my novel Cold Play, which took place on board an aging cruise ship sailing from Vancouver to Alaska. Jason was one of the ship’s entertainers; he spent his evenings in the TopDeck Lounge singing, playing his guitar and observing his audience, several of whom ended up having rather more to do with Jason than merely sharing his voyage north.

Jason left the sea after Cold Play and after some adventures in Australia and Hong Kong, ended up back in London gigging at The Blue Devil, a jazz club in Soho.

In my new novella, Disturbing the Peace, Jason discovers he has some excellent investigative skills, and ends up in northern Canada attempting to find out what happened to a legendary musician who’s been missing for four years.

When I wrote Disturbing the Peace, I wanted to make sure I could actually handle a true mystery. I’ve been writing gentle time travel stories for the past couple of years, and I felt a complete change would be good for my creative soul. I ended up falling in love with Jason all over again. The result: I’m going to give him more adventures, full-length novels that fall squarely within the mystery genre. The next one is tentatively titled A Diminished Seventh, although I’m toying with renaming it Notes on a Missing G-String. I hope to have it finished by the end of 2018.

Here, then, are ten things you might not know about Jason Davey…

1. His real name is Jason David Figgis. His parents, Mandy Green and Tony Figgis, formed the folk-pop group Figgis Green in the early 1960s. Although he could trade on his parents’ fame, he doesn’t. He hates nepotism and would rather be recognized as a musician in his own right. In fact, very few people in the business in London know about Jason’s musical pedigree, and he wants to keep it that way. As a result, he sometimes finds himself struggling for recognition.

2. Jason’s a smoker. He gave it up for a few years after his wife, Emma, died, but picked it up again after he left the sea. He also gave up drinking – and that’s lasted. His favourite non-alcoholic concoction aboard the Star Sapphire was a hand-made melon-juice concoction supplied by Samuel, the bartender in the TopDeck Lounge. His favourite non-alcoholic drink now is a spicy tomato juice he creates himself from tinned crushed tomatoes, vinegar, sea salt, stevia, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, minced onions and horseradish. The drink doesn’t show up in Disturbing the Peace but I’m going to introduce it in the next story. It’s my favourite drink too – I make it in bulk every couple of days and keep it in a jug in the fridge.

3. Jason has four guitars, which he keeps in a locked room at The Blue Devil: two solid body Fenders (a Tele and a Strat), a handsome black Phoenix hollow-body similar to the one Brian Setzer plays, and a Gibson ES-175, an archtop that’s a favourite of traditionalists, although he finds it uncomfortable because of an injury he sustained on board the Sapphire. He had six different guitars when he was gigging at sea, including an original Fender Strat that once belonged to his dad. You’ll have to read Cold Play to find out what happened to them.

4. Jason believes in ghosts and guardian angels, and intuitive and psychic powers. He had a guardian angel named Jilly in Cold Play, although he spent much of the novel assuming she was just one of his Twitter followers. She ending up proving she was much, much more than that. I suspect Jilly may put in a return appearance in future stories. She could definitely have helped him out in Disturbing the Peace.

5. Jason was married to a makeup artist named Emma. He has a son, Dominic, who’s now at university studying film production. Emma died in a fire which Jason believed he caused and the guilt he felt was what originally drove him to run away to sea. In Cold Play he met and fell in love with a travel agent named Katey Shawcross. Some years have passed, but he’s still on very friendly terms with Katey – and, indeed, we meet her again in Disturbing the Peace, where she proves to be very useful.

6. Jason’s favourite restaurant is Rules, in Covent Garden. He’s well-known there. His favourite dish is the Steak and Kidney Pie, although he has been known to order Wild Boar Pie, much to Katey’s disgust.

7. Jason’s a frustrated actor at heart. He loves situations where he can play at being someone he’s not. In Disturbing the Peace, he harnesses his acting skills to impersonate an accountant. Not the most exciting of roles – but it excites him, because it allows him access to information he might not otherwise have been privy to.

8. I love looking in peoples’ fridges to see what they keep there. Jason’s little fridge in his crew cabin on board the Sapphire contained the following: eleven G&B chocolate bars in assorted flavours, two jugs of fresh melon juice (see above), four bottles of Starbucks Mocha Frappucino, a four-day-old tray of take-out sushi from Ketchikan, a package of Brie, a package of Kerrygold Dubliner and a box of artisan whole leaf teabags (assorted varieties, many from obscure places in Africa). In Disturbing the Peace, Jason calls a tiny flat in a converted Georgian townhouse on Pentonville Road home. I didn’t have time to explore what was in his fridge there, but I promise in the next story, I’ll investigate! I suspect these days he’ll still have different cheeses and packets of pate from Waitrose. And a bread maker on his kitchen counter.

9. In Cold Play, Jason was a Twitter addict. His Twittername was @Cold_Fingers. I have yet to find out if he’s still driven by social networking. I suspect if he’s in touch with any of his old Twitterfriends, they’ve probably now all migrated over to Instagram or Facebook. Hopefully none of them include SaylerGurl, his Twitterstalker who had a fondness for sending him obsessive love notes featuring dreadful poetry.

10. Jason loves watching films on Netflix. His favourite is Mission: Impossible – he loves how they use their skills to solve problems. His favourite music these days is jazz, of course, but he’ll always have a fondness for Cliff Richard’s old backing group, The Shadows, and Hank Marvin particular. He absolutely loves Hank’s more recent Gypsy Jazz tunes.


Disturbing the Peace is a 22,000 word novella introducing professional musician and amateur sleuth Jason Davey, who first appeared as a cruise ship entertainer in Winona Kent’s 2012 novel Cold Play.

Jason’s last job was aboard the Star Sapphire as she sailed from Vancouver to Alaska. Now he’s back on shore, and he has a regular gig at The Blue Devil jazz club in London.

When Dominic, Jason’s film-student son, asks his dad to help track down a missing musician for a documentary he’s making, Jason leaps at the chance.

Ben Quigley played rhythm guitar in Jason’s parents’ pop-folk group Figgis Green in the late 1960s. And, after living a life that in many ways paralleled Gerry Rafferty’s, he dropped off the face of the earth four years ago.

Jason’s search ultimately takes him to Peace River, Alberta – 300 miles from Edmonton in Canada’s frozen north. And what he discovers there is both intriguing – and disturbing.

Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (U.S) | Amazon (U.K.) | Amazon (Germany)


Winona Kent was born in London, England. She immigrated to Canada with her parents at age 3, and grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, where she received her BA in English from the University of Regina. After settling in Vancouver, she graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. More recently, she received her diploma in Writing for Screen and TV from Vancouver Film School.

Winona has been a temporary secretary, a travel agent and the Managing Editor of a literary magazine. Her writing breakthrough came many years ago when she won First Prize in the Flare Magazine Fiction Contest with her short story about an all-night radio newsman, Tower of Power. More short stories followed, and then novels: Skywatcher, The Cilla Rose Affair, Cold Play, Persistence of Memory and In Loving Memory.

Winona’s sixth novel, Marianne’s Memory, will be published in 2018, along with a new Jason Davey mystery. tentatively titled A Diminished Seventh.

Winona currently lives in Vancouver and works as a Graduate Program Assistant at the University of British Columbia.

Please visit Winona’s website at http://www.winonakent.com for more information about her writing.

She’s also written a blog about the inspiration behind Disturbing the Peace: https://winonakent.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/disturbing-the-peace

When I heard that Ms. Kent was planning to explore another genre, I was curious to see if she could successfully transfer her well-honed writing skills. I needn’t have worried. In Disturbing the Peace, she demonstrates ample proof of her wonderful eye for detail and gift for creating a strong sense of place. Riveted from the start, I found myself immersed in Jason Davey’s journey as he traveled from London, England to Peace River, Alberta. I strongly recommend setting aside an afternoon or evening to read this well-plotted, character-driven novella.