Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG: The Bowl and the Stone



It’s time for another group posting of the IWSG: Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month and encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

IWSG is the brainchild of our noble Ninja Captain and leader Alex J. Cavanaugh

Our hashtag is @IWSG

The awesome co-hosts today are:

Beverly Stowe McClure, Megan Morgan, Viola Fury, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Angela Wooldridge, and Susan Gourley!

Please visit their blogs and thank them for volunteering their time.

Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open – fantasy/hero lost is the genre/theme. We have changed the word count! It’s now 3000-6000 words. See the site for full details.

Because IWSG is about supporting other writers, today I'd like to do something a little different. I'm spreading the news about Bish Denham's new novel, The Bowl and the Stone.  Because, as many of you know, Bish is always supporting and cheering on her fellow authors. It seems fitting to shine a light on her newest accomplishment.

Please give a big cheer for:



Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.

It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them? 

As carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

Available now at:



St. John in 1962

What was is like growing up in the Virgin Islands in the 1950s and 1960s? My story, The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, takes place on St. John in 1962. Things were quite different then, than they are now.
Cruz Bay, St. John, 1970s


Following old, Danish trails, roads were bulldozed through around 1950, and the first Willys Jeep arrived in 1952. In 1956, after buying about two-thirds of the island, Laurance Rockefeller donated the land to the National Park. 24-hour electricity from St. Thomas, sent through an underwater cable, was made available to people in Cruz Bay by 1958. However, for most of the island, people used kerosene lamps and were without indoor running water. By 1960 a telephone line arrived, but only places like the police station, the clinic, and a few businesses had them. It wasn’t until 1962-63, that fiber optics made it easier to have a phone, but not everyone wanted or could afford one.

Television came to St. Thomas in 1961. Before that time, a good external antenna could pick up a station out of Puerto Rico and you could watch American shows dubbed in Spanish. As it was, very few people had TVs. There were two movie theatres on St. Thomas, but nothing on St. John. The main source for information, entertainment, and communication was through the one radio station out of St. Thomas, and the mail.

By 1962 many of the roads remained unpaved and required a 4-wheel drive vehicle to traverse, and lots of people still got from one place to another on donkey, horseback, or by foot.

With a total population of around a thousand, everyone knew everyone. It was safe for children to explore the island on their own; they knew if they did anything wrong, word would reach their parents long before they got back home.

Life was simple, uncomplicated, and filled with magic and wonder. Twelve-year-olds Sam and her best friend Nick, couldn’t have a better setting in which play imaginary games, explore 250 year-old sugar plantation ruins, and swim pristine white-sand beaches. But when a ghost begins to haunt them, their carefree summer games turn into a whole new reality.


Cruz Bay, 2004.





About the Author

Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly.

She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”

The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at Amazon.com.

To learn more about Bish, you can visit her blog, Random Thoughts, at www.http:/bish-randomthoughts.blogspot.com.
She can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BishDenham/Author
Twitter @BishDenham
And Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6439315.Bish_Denham


November's Question: What is your favourite aspect of being a writer?
*Add this question and your answer to your November IWSG post.

76 comments :

  1. Thanks for hosting me, Joylene!

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    1. It is my pleasure, Bish. Congratulations on the new book!

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  2. I am truly enjoying learning more about the places I read about in Bish's story. :)

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    1. Great to hear that, Chrys. Thanks for visiting.

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    2. Thanks, Chrys. You've confirmed my hope and intention. :)

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  3. Congrats to Bish and thanks for shouting out, Joylene. I think I'm going to have to start saving and visit this wonderful place! Wishing you much success, Bish.

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    1. That's wonderful to hear, Nicola. Thank you!

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    2. If you do want to visit, Nicola, I can tell the best times of the year!

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  4. Oh, Bish! The book sounds so fabulous! I love St. Thomas. We cruise that way regularly.

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    1. I was nearby in St. Ann. Yes, it's heaven. Thanks, Crystal!

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    2. I didn't know you visit regularly. Each of the islands has its own special atmosphere.

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  5. My favorite aspect? Not sure I have just one as I am passionate about every stage of getting a book finished and published. And best wishes to Bish and The Bowl and the Stone!

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  6. Sounds like a great setting for this adventure. I've never been to the Virgin Islands, I don't even know much about it, so it was great to get a little history.
    PS - Hope you don't mind me pointing out, it seems the book title is listed as Bowel instead of Bowl twice above.
    Have a great day and thanks for stopping over to my place. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for catching that, Jeffrey! My mistake. Too rushed this morning. Have a great day.

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    2. Oh my, that's a good one! :D Thanks for catching that, Jeffrey!

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  7. Moving there would almost be like stepping back in time.

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    1. I think so, too. Fun place to visit.

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    2. Alex, although I recommend visiting, living there is quite a different matter which brings with a whole different set of problems statesiders are unfamiliar with.

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  8. Hey, Joylene, thanks for spreading the word about Bish's book. I enjoyed that walk down memory lane. Bish should write a book about the old days in the USVI.

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    1. Maybe she will. Glad you're doing well, Joy. Hope the weather improves.

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    2. Hmmm... another idea for another book! It's not like I don't have enough already. HA! Thanks for stopping by, Joy.

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  9. Congratulations to Bish. Both the book and her fascinating childhood sound very interesting. Best wishes on a successful launch.

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    1. It's was an interesting time to grow up in the islands. We were still pretty isolated, and yet had certain *conveniences* too.

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  10. Congrats to Bish. That would sure be an interesting place to visit indeed.

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  11. Bish grew up in one lovely spot! How lucky she was.

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    1. The best part, she's passing along the luck. Thanks, Lee.

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    2. I was lucky, Lee, and blessed!

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  12. Back when kids actually wanted to go play outdoors. I was a tomboy and would've loved it there.

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    1. Yup, nothing like having a whole island as your playground and parents who let you explore.

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  13. What a way to grow up. I can see how it would make for great stories. I wish kids could play so safely now.

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    1. So true, Susan. I don't remember worrying about my sons the way I worry about my grandchildren.

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    2. It's sad, Susan, that kids don't have the freedom they once did to explore and play outside.

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  14. I loved this story and highly recommend it. It must have been great fun growing up on an island.

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    1. Thanks, Tamara for your kind words! It WAS wonderful growing up there.

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    2. I love it when an author can take me back to those carefree days. Thanks, Tamara.

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  15. Go, Bish!!! Congratulations! Your story sounds awesome!

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  16. Congrats, Bish!! I truly love the setting for your story.

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    1. Lynda, I have to admit, the setting is one of the characters. :)

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  17. Looks like a fascinating read. I'll check it out. Thanks for hosting her virtual tour!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lynn. Joylene is an awesome host!

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  18. Hi, Joylene! I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Congratulations to Bish on her book! It sounds intriguing. I read about it in Alex's post. I also enjoyed her recollections of growing up in the VI. Thanks for supporting a fellow member!

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    1. Fundy Blue, I'm so happy you enjoyed both this post and the one on Alex's blog.

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    2. And thanks to you too, for all your support.

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  19. Hello Joylene, I’m busy following Bish around the net and very much enjoyed my stop over at your blog.
    It seems to me that St. John in the 60s and 70s was the perfect time and place to grow up and a wonderful setting for a story.

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    1. Barbara, it really was the perfect time. Small and isolated enough that kids and families were taken care of, with just the right amount of *conveniences* that weren't available in 1920s, 30s, and 40s.

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    2. Hi Barbara. Thanks so much for coming by.

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  20. Hi Joylene, Your lake is beautiful. I feel very calm and zenlike now I've visited your blog, thank you :)

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  21. Sounds like a great story in a beautiful setting. Best of luck, Bish. Thanks for sharing, Joylene.

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    1. Ronel, despite the growth, it is still quite beautiful!

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  22. What a wondrous place to grow up in! I bet you never appreciated it so much when you were a kid. Memories add color to our lives and I'm sure you have plenty to share in your new book. Congrats on the new release! Thanks for sharing this book and Bish's background, Joylene.
    JQ Rose

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  23. Congrats Bish! It sounds like a cozy place to live. :)

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    1. Can't you just imagine how wonderful it was? Thanks, Loni.

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  24. Congratulations Bish. Thanks for sharing Joylene and thanks for your encouraging comments on my post.

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  25. Congratulations to Bish! I love the idea of a simple, uncomplicated life where everyone felt safe. I wish we could get back to that. I visited the U.S. Virgin Islands once. Such a stunningly beautiful place. Thanks for sharing, Joylene!

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    1. Congratulations on your award, too, Lori. Enjoy the limelight. And thanks for visiting.

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  26. This story sounds like a lovely read, and growing up on St John in the sixties sounds idyllic.

    All the best, Bish!

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  27. Nice to see Bish here! Wishing her much success. Fun to learn more details about the book. Joylene, thanks for hosting another great guest. You are a treasure. :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Karen. Your support means a lot!

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  28. I love hearing stories from Bish. I can so clearly picture what it was like for her growing up. It sounds quite magical to me. Thanks for sharing and best of luck to Bish!
    ~Jess

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  29. Thanks for visiting me. Great post by Bish. Survive hurricane and moving, so doing good. Happy Writing and good luck with coming book tour.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come in and sit for while. We will talk about writing. We will share our dreams. Then I will serve tea and cookies. Home made and Gluten Free.