How to Make a Book Cover on Picmonkey.com My Way…

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The idea for this post came about after the amazing launch of my mystery thriller book, Silent PayBack. So many people admired the cover, and Colleen Chesebro wondered if I could write a post describing how I did it.

I have tried to make it as user friendly as I could and really hope it inspires you to make great covers too.

Picmonkey.com is an amazing site and has a free option, so you can play around and get used to all the lovely effects they have. It is possible to make covers and posters with the free option, but for a very reasonable £7 a month, you get a lot more choice of techniques.

It took me an age to decide what the cover for SPB should look like, and even longer to make it. I’m not that clever with technology, and if a process is too complicated, I tend to run for the hills! I have tried several other sites in my search for one I could learn to use, but always return to Picmonkey.com

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First, open Picmonkey.com. Once you log in, you are presented with the work area.

Choose a blank template: Up on the left, by the Picmonkey symbol, I clicked on CREATE NEW and chose a blank template 1000 x 1600 (kindle size)

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Also on the left, just beneath CREATE NEW, I selected Add an image. Added my background image and stretched it to fit the blank template.

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I clicked on Add an image again and added the first man’s face to the background image. I chose erase from the box on the right and removed everything from the right side of his face.

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Then I added the heroes face using the same method and removed the material from the side of his face too. You will have noticed by now that I am working in layers, all of which can be selected in the box on the right if I need to go back and change anything.

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When I was happy with each layer, I started to add the text. Title, subtitle and author name, all added individually as layers. Finally, I downloaded the finished cover image to my pc.

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All the image layers can be faded individually if necessary. The ability to create these layers on Picmonkey.com enables you to make some great effects.

There is so much more on offer too, so many great ideas and effects, and the best part is, its so easy to use with all the many step by step tutorials.

I should also mention that all the images I use come from Pixabay.com.


 

There is an alternative (easier) method of removing unwanted background, something that comes in very handy for all manner of ideas.

CREATE NEW < size < choose translucent background < Add an image < erase unwanted bits< save

This saves to your hub to used later.

Creating book covers and promotional posters has never been this much fun!

 

©jayemarie

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog Review for Examining Kitchen Cupboards by Stevie Turner @StevieTurner6

 

 

Jill Hayes discovers that not all is as it seems in her new post as a college examinations administrator. When she turns whistle-blower and tries to report her findings to the authorities, she is horrified to discover that some people will stop at nothing to ensure her silence.

 

Our Review

Starting a new job is always fraught with tension, you worry whether you will be liked, and more importantly, are you able to convince them of your competence?

Jill Hayes is met with total disdain from her new superior, so when she questions something that doesn’t seem right, she is met with hostility on many levels.

If you discover something is wrong, could you be a whistle-blower, or would you hope that someone else would do it instead?

This story has it all, corruption and greed, and an interesting cast of fascinating and true to life characters. Although Examining Kitchen Cupboards is a work of fiction at its finest, you could be forgiven for thinking it seems far too real to be comfortable, and I’m sure some of it must be based on fact, which of course, makes it all the more chilling…

 

About the Author

Stevie Turner is a British author of suspense, paranormal, women’s fiction family dramas, and darkly humorous novels. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017. Some of Stevie’s books have been translated into German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk
On her website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk you can find a free suspense novella to read so that you can check out her writing style. You can also find her blog at the following link: http://www.steviet3.wordpress.com and you can sign up to her mailing list at http://eepurl.com/dvNklL

 

 

 

This week on Streets Ahead ~ Wisp by Adele Marie Park

This week on Streets Ahead we’re promoting Adele Park’s fantasy novel ‘Wisp:

Edra; a world where magic flourishes and where dark secrets are concealed by those who rule. Secrets which can get the innocent killed without a thought.

When the body of an elf is discovered in a treacherous area of the city, Wisp a young Law Enforcer is assigned the case. He soon realises the case is far from simple. As soon as he finds one thread another one leads him to unravel a tapestry woven from lies, secrets, corruption and evil. When friendship turns to love, Wisp`s life, as he knew it will completely change.

What started out as a murder case ends in a grisly battle which Wisp and his companions seem to have no chance of winning.

 

A wonderful Review on Amazon

Meet Wisp, a law enforcer in the land of Edra, where magic is encouraged to flourish and is often needed for sheer survival. A mages council rules Edra compared to the neighboring area of Finah, who prefers humans to control their resources. After a bloody civil war, many years ago, the two lands exist beside each other in a fragile peace.

Wisp is a marsh fairy (YES! Can you believe it?) with raven hair and pointy ears pierced with silver earrings. Marsh fairies are rare and possess special powers. Wisp keeps his real identity under wraps, known only to his superiors. Abandoned as a child, the “Senior” Law enforcement officer raised him ensuring his survival.

In a desolate area filled with putrefying rubbish, Wisp comes across the body of a High Elf, a member of the Thorns, who was a high-ranking council member found murdered in the circle. The elf’s throat had been brutally cut. Wisp sets out to solve the murder not realizing he is to play an integral part in solving the mystery.

Wisp meets Finn Redhaven, the lover of the murdered elf, Sammiel Thorn, and feels an immediate attraction to him. Wisp and Finn fall in love and discover a wealth of magical abilities enabled by their relationship. And, they are going to need all the help they can get to battle the evil that has descended on Edra.

As fantasy novels go, Wisp stands out to me in its originality and political intrigue. Ms. Park creates a world where love is considered to be one of the greatest powers of all. I enjoyed that the two main characters were male and embraced their love and desire for each other, which was a refreshing approach to solving a mystery in a magical land. The reader discovers along with Wisp the extent of his abilities which I anticipate will increase over time.

I’ve added Wisp to my list of favorite fantasy novels. I loved the story and the characters. The ending is a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait for the next volume to find out what happens to Wisp and Finn. Hopefully, Ms. Park won’t keep us in suspense for long.

( I could have sworn I had read this amazing story, something I shall put right forthwith!)

 

Shattered Figurines… (Det. Jo Naylor Series Book 1) Our 5* review for Allan Hudson’s brilliant new #Adventure Story @hudson_allan

 

 

Detective Josephine Naylor receives an email telling her where to find the last body. The messenger tells her “only you can stop this madness”. Discovering a shattered figurine on the corpse, she’s overwhelmed by the possibility it might be the one she sold in a yard sale. If so, she knows who the killer could be. She prays that she’s wrong…

Our Review

The opening chapter presents the detective, Jo Naylor, with a very important question. One she didn’t really want to answer but knows she must.

The next chapter, one year later, hits you square in the face with full on complicated and violent action as we discover what this story is all about.

Shattered Figurines is a surprisingly unusual detective story in that it doesn’t follow the usual plotline for this genre and the characters aren’t run of the mill either. The author has captured a very real element in both the story and the characters and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I love a good detective mystery story and Shattered Figurines is one of the best I have read this year. I shall be first in the queue when the author writes another one in this series.

Smashing Smashwords!

Feeling mighty proud of myself today, as I have beaten the dreaded meatgrinder!

For those who don’t know, this is the complicated system that all books must go through to be included on Smashwords.com and Silent PayBack made it on the second attempt!

The first time, the cover image was too small and that was easily fixed.

Now, you don’t have to buy a copy, just read a bit and say what you think. Pretty please?

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https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/992834

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More Reviews Wanted: Serang by Craig Boyack #Adventure & Action @coldhandboyack

We are running this post again to try and encourage some more reviews for Craig’s wonderful adventure story. We loved it and know a lot of you did too, so if you have been meaning to write a review, just a few words will do, please show Serang some love?

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Monastic life is all about duty, service, harmony. For Serang, a young girl abandoned at the temple by her mother after the death of her father, that life becomes all she knows. The monks give her purpose and become her new family.

When political upheaval causes chaos throughout the land, Serang again loses everything and everyone she loves. Alone, she struggles to survive. She convinces a wandering monk to take her under his wing and complete her training. Thus, begin her adventures through strange lands and her trials to become a confident, capable, independent adult.

This is a coming of age story set in a fantasy world. It’s filled with monsters and martial arts, difficulties and dangers. The serious situations preclude the story from the levity of its predecessor, Voyage of the Lanternfish, but it provides a compelling look at the origin of one of the saga’s most fascinating characters.


 

Today, we are delighted to host Craig Boyack, the author of so many of our favourite books, many of which have been reviewed here on our website.

Serang, the main character in this new book, was first introduced in The Voyage of the Lanternfish, the very popular and amazing adventure story.

While Craig is here today, I am sure you are dying to know how he came up with such an unusual idea!

Over to you, Craig!

 

Thanks for inviting me over today to talk about my newest book. Serang is a supporting story for Voyage of the Lanternfish, which is destined to become a trilogy.

Lanternfish, and therefore Serang, is set in a fantasy world, but that isn’t descriptive enough. This isn’t one of those medieval fantasy tales like you might be used to. Lanternfish is a pirate adventure, so there are tall ships, sea monsters, and magic. I’ve heard the term “flintlock fantasy” before, and that’s a bit more accurate.

I touched upon Di Guo Qishi in Lanternfish. This is the country Serang was born in. The area intrigued me as I wrote it, and I wanted to explore more of it myself. This bodes well for Serang, because it’s an interesting place. I’m not even trying to hide the fact that it’s based upon China. China is huge and covers many different climates and ecological zones. In Serang we get to explore some of those, from Bamboo forests to mountainous areas, to frozen deserts.

Wildlife is part of a setting like this, too. There are some creatures you might expect, like monkeys. There are some that I twisted a bit, like the night parrots. I don’t really delve deeply into many of these things, but they enhance the setting greatly. I used a few real creatures that live in Asia today. There are some strange creatures that didn’t need a lot of manipulation, like the saiga antelope or the goonch catfish. I ramped up some creatures, like camel spiders. In this story they’re deadly poisonous. This isn’t to say a couple of fantasy creatures don’t play larger roles. The child of the dragon came across quite well, I think. I also came up with some unique creatures like saltwater moles who live along the beaches, and the bearcoon. Then there are the Fu Dogs.

The political climate in Di Guo Qishi is that of war. A new emperor ascended the throne, and he’s hell bent on westernizing. This means the introduction of firearms to a culture that never had them before. He is waging war on the Island Prefectures, and it isn’t going well. He’s pressing men into military service, impounding things like food for his armies, and making life pretty miserable. I’m not hiding the concept that the Island Prefectures are based upon Japan. We don’t get to visit them, but I may do that in the Lanternfish trilogy.

The other part of this request was for supporting characters. Young Serang is raised in a monastery by some militaristic monks. She learns to read, write, and perfect her martial arts skills. In this segment of the story, she has a couple of masters, and a few youthful friends.

When she leaves the monastery, she is fleeing for her life. She runs across a wandering monk named Yong. He is a grouchy older fellow who has no desire to take on a student. He soon comes to the conclusion that Serang has no other options and takes her under his wing. His methods are brutal, but efficient. Yong has a certain charm about him, and I think readers will enjoy him.

There are other characters involved, but they come and go from the story. There is a doctor and her daughter who help our wandering monks at the edge of the frozen desert. This was fun, because I got to explore some ancient medical techniques, like using honey as an antibiotic.

They join a camel caravan along the Silk Road, and it’s led by the brother of a man who appeared in Lanternfish. There is no requirement to read Lanternfish first, and Carlos Velasco carries his own weight without meeting Don Velasco first.

There is also an elderly monk who is from the Island Prefectures. She plays a pivotal role in Sarang’s journey.

Serang is a coming of age story involving one of the more interesting characters from Voyage of the Lanternfish. I hope your readers will give it a chance.

 

Wow, that was some introduction, Craig!

Thank you so much for coming along to tell us all about Serang. I am sure everyone will want to read about her!

 

Purchase Link http://mybook.to/Serang

Social Media:

Blog My Novels  Twitter Goodreads Facebook Pinterest BookBub


 

Our Review

I first encountered Serang in Craig Boyack’s thoroughly enjoyable adventure story of pirates and monsters, The Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Serang was one of the crew and although she was a fascinating albeit enigmatic character, I jumped at the chance to get to know her better.

The daughter of a fisherman, her life changes dramatically after he is lost at sea.

She ends up in the care of an elderly monk called Yong, to learn the ways of the monastery. When the monastery is destroyed, to escape persecution, they begin one of the strangest of adventures.

Outspoken and a nimble footed ninja, Serang is fiercely loyal, but also addicted to something called Huangjiu, which I suspect is Saki, or something equally lethal. Her escapades while under the influence are hilarious!

 

This review fails miserably to convey the brilliance of this adventure, and it deserves to be made into a film, for the fight scenes are some of the best I have ever read.

 

Our 5* Review for The Snow Killer by Ross Greenwood #hard-boiled mystery @greenwoodross

 

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‘Fear the north wind. Because no one will hear you scream…’

A family is gunned down in the snow but one of the children survives. Three years on, that child takes revenge and the Snow Killer is born. But then, nothing – no further crimes are committed, and the case goes cold.

Fifty years later, has the urge to kill been reawakened? As murder follows murder, the detective team tasked with solving the crimes struggle with the lack of leads. It’s a race against time and the weather – each time it snows another person dies.

As an exhausted and grizzled DI Barton and his team scrabble to put the pieces of the puzzle together, the killer is hiding in plain sight. Meanwhile, the murders continue…

The first in a new series, Ross Greenwood has written a cracking, crackling crime story with a twist in its tale which will surprise even the most hardened thriller readers. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.

Praise for The Snow Killer:

Move over Rebus and Morse; a new entry has joined the list of great crime investigators in the form of Detective Inspector John Barton. A rich cast of characters and an explosive plot kept me turning the pages until the final dramatic twist.’ author Richard Burke

‘With The Snow Killer, master of the psychological thriller genre Ross Greenwood once again proves his talent for creating engrossing and gritty novels that draw you right in and won’t let go until you’ve reached the shocking ending.’ Caroline Vincent at Bitsaboutbooks blog

‘Ross Greenwood doesn’t write clichés. What he has written here is a fast-paced, action-filled puzzle with believable characters that’s spiced with a lot of humour.’ author Kath Middleton


 

Our Review

Detective John Barton is overworked and overweight, but one of the most likeable characters I have met in a long while. We discover that he is a happily married family man, most unusual in his line of work. His relationship with his family and colleagues is a delight to read about and a lovely contrast to the job he does.

The opening chapters are set fifty years ago in a snowstorm and sets a serious tone for the story, as a child watches in silent horror as his family is brutally slaughtered. Fifty years later, people begin to die every time it snows. But who is the Snow Killer?

The Snow Killer is a brilliantly written detective story with perfect pace and just the right amount of tension. Although, saying that, the end of the story will have you gasping for breath as the drama goes through the roof with such a twisting finale that I really didn’t see coming!

This is a story that will chill you to the bone and not just because the drama intensifies every time it snows.

I will be eagerly watching for next story in the DI Barton series…

 

Tallis Steelyard, Bringing The Joys Of Civilisation #BlogTour

Yesterday was our turn to present Tallis Steelyard’s last story in this book tour, Getting to the bottom of it all, but due to unforeseen confusion on someone’s part, it was posted very late in the day. So, in an effort to finish this amazing blog tour in style, we are posting it again!

These wonderful stories are a lovely way to introduce three new novellas from Jim Webster, the man responsible for most of Tallis’ adventures…

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Getting to the bottom of it all.

I now had a task to perform. I had to arrange a pie eating contest in which Flobbard Wangil could participate. My problem was that I hadn’t the funds just to buy the pies and organise one, so I needed a patron to support it.
Unfortunately my patrons are not the sort of people who normally run that sort of contest. Indeed to be fair, many would look askance if I introduced Flobbard into their house.
Then I had a stroke of luck, Flobbard’s sister, Malinflua, whom I’d not seen since we arrived back in Port Naain, got in touch with me. She had very recently purchased a rather large house, number eighteen, on Grettan Walk. This is a pleasant street in the Merchant quarter. She wanted a word with me about possibly working together.
I walked up to the house I glanced at the abandoned building site that was number sixteen. Out of curiosity I peered between the boards that screened the location from view. Somebody had obviously started work again. I could see large piles of fresh spoil. Perhaps they were already working on new foundations? Here in Port Naain, given the soil is largely the clay of the estuary, we take foundations very seriously. I continued on to Malinflua’s house and discovered that she had already had her ground floor converted into a restaurant. It was open for business and there were quite a few diners. She showed me round with genuine pride in what she had created, and then we went into her office and she poured us both coffee.

I had been doing some thinking. Malinflua had spent a lot of money.
Now nobody ever recovered the three gemstones that had disappeared from Slipshade keep, and I did wonder about them. Now I knew I hadn’t taken them. I was now pretty certain that Flobbard hadn’t taken them, so really that only left Malinflua, who had suddenly come into funds. So as I stirred my coffee I asked the obvious question. “So I assume you got the three stones out of Slipshade?”
“Oh yes, it was easy enough.”
I raised both hands in front of me, palms up, to show my bafflement.”
“So how did you do it?”
“As I joined you, I dropped them into your jacket pocket. Then after they searched me and before they searched you, I took them back again and kept them in a pocket in my skirt.”
All I can say is that I’m just glad I didn’t know at the time. Still I think she was pleased by my expression.
“Anyway the reason I called you here Tallis, is that I’ve an idea to do something new. If I just run a restaurant then I’ll do reasonably well. Yes, I’ll struggle to keep a good cook, and I’ll have to join in the game of stealing a cook off somebody to replace the cook somebody just stole off me. Well I want to break out of that.”
It seemed entirely reasonable to me.

She continued, “So what I am going to do is to put on shows as well. I will walk amongst the diners doing magic tricks, pulling coins out of their ears or whatever, but I don’t want to
have to do that all the time. So I’ll have musicians and singers, and various other performers.”
I shook my head. “Make damned sure they’re house musicians, paid on a regular basis and reliant upon you, or you’ll find yourself dealing with crisis after crisis as they get drunk, fight, seduce your customers, or whatever.”
“And that’s why I invited you here, Tallis. You’ve a lot of experience in the field and I wondered if you would organise things, at least until we get properly up and running.”
It was then I had my idea. “And of course you’ll need a pie eating contest.”
She looked at me as if I had suggested she open as a bordello serving the cheaper end of the market. “Are you serious?”
“Yes.”
“What sort of establishment do you think this is.”
“Exactly. You’re aiming to be the best. So you’ve got to do things others don’t. So you put on the finest pie eating contest. The very best pies. A waiter on hand to top up your glass as you eat. Another waiter serving you pies, whilst a third ensures you have the appropriate condiments. The
contest would be on a long table down the centre of the dining room whilst your other guests could eat at tables spread around the periphery. They could then eat, watch, and bet; all at the same time. Not only that but it’ll keep both me and your brother out of jail.”
That did it.

Malinflua was genuinely fond of her brother. I believe that when they were both children, he used to regularly get beaten up protecting her. All he achieved was to give her a head start and time to find somewhere to hide, but I don’t think she’d ever forgotten his actions.
Now I had to set about organising the event. I needed a small group of performers, but they had to be carefully chosen. I contacted Old Jerky and asked him to fetch three reliable musicians and a competent singer. Unlike my usual patrons, Malinflua was not going to be daunted by Old Jerky’s battered appearance. She knew him and valued him. Similarly I could rely on his ability to pick players who could be relied upon to remain sober.
Then I needed somebody else. It chanced that as I sat in the Misanthropes, Illus Wheelburn was holding forth about his time in Prae Ducis. His tale was amusing, self-deprecating and he interspersed it with a few short verses that were both thought provoking and droll. I had a discussion with him after he’d finished and asked him if he could work his tale up into a fifteen minute performance. He was certain he could, and I booked him.
Then there was the pie eating competition. The pies I discussed with Malinflua’s cook. Out of a sense of duty towards Flobbard, I suggested the pies be large enough to be held easily in two hands thus allowing for perhaps four or five good bites, and not too heavily spiced. Also the meat would be well chopped up with no bits of bone. The cook could see no problem with this and ordered in plenty of well hung horrocks. This she intended to marinate in ale for at least a full day.
When it came to getting competitors, I allowed word to circulate amongst the gentlemen who attended upon my patrons. Whilst they would never admit to it in polite company, I suspected several of them fancied themselves to be redoubtable trenchermen. A number of them discreetly let me know that they would compete. Indeed I think they were glad of a chance, after all a well-bred individual rarely gets the opportunity to take part in such things. I also suggested to Flobbard that he find a couple of competitors as well. I stressed to him that I wanted people who were neat in their person and delicate in their eating habits. I stressed we didn’t want any of those competitors who claim to have eaten a pie but actually have left at least half of it spread in a thin layer over the table, their shirt front, and their neighbours.
Less than a week later, everything was prepared. I helped Malinflua’s kitchen staff rearrange the dining room. We had a long table for the competitors down the middle. The other tables around the edge and a small stage for performers at one end. As the guests (tickets only and sold out) arrived, we had the musicians play. Once people were gathered, I had Illus tell his tale and give his verses. It helped create an atmosphere and allowed people to order drinks to their tables and get comfortable. Then I announced the pie eating competition.
This is where I hit the first snag. Old Gaffer Alfen, one of the spectators, asked about rules. I confess this had never occurred to me. I rather assumed people just knew what to do. As it was, Gaffer admitted that he wasn’t taking part, even though in his youth he’d been an occasional competitor, but it struck him that the rules ought to be set out plain and simple for everyone. I turned to Flobbard who suggested that the entire pie must be eaten, that there must be no physical contact with other competitors, and anybody feeling nauseous must move at once from the table. This seemed entirely reasonable and they were agreed by all the competitors.
Old Gaffer, rather diffidently, then asked about the counting of the pies. He explained that when he had been in competition, everybody ate their first pie, then their second, but at the same time. So if you had finished your fourth, you waited for the others to finish their fourth before you started your fifth.

Thus because everybody had eaten the same number of pies, everybody knew the score. Finally if you could eat no more, you took off your napkin and folded it in front of you so the waiters knew. They would write your total on a piece of paper and give it to you. There was some discussion amongst the competitors about this as some felt that this might stop them getting into their routine. But others felt it meant that you did at least get time to belch before eating the next. So this too was agreed.
Finally Gaffer asked about the chant. We all looked a bit blank, so he explained that during the competition everybody would clap their hands to create a rhythm. It was slap, slap, slap, with the third slap being by far the loudest. So a lot of competitors would follow the beat with bite, bite, swallow. The competitors were intrigued by this idea and they agreed this as well. Gaffer was thanked for his wisdom and his contribution and I asked Old Jerky if he could do something with that sort of beat.
I gave the order to the waiters, Old Jerky picked up a drum, the first pies were served, (to diners as well as to competitors) and battle was commenced. To be fair to Gaffer, his system worked really well and I would recommend it to everybody running a pie eating contest. Those watching got caught up in it, clapping in time. The singer dredged something suitable from his repertoire and regaled us with what was probably a Partannese pirate shanty.

At the table, the competitors set to work with a will. One or two complimented the staff on the quality of the pies. Apparently, one normally tries not to taste them. After four or five, some of the competitors had to fold their napkins. They were largely the men who had last done this sort of thing two decades before or who had never done it. But they stayed at the table and joined in the clapping. Nobody had yet had to flee to the jakes. By the time we got to ten pies, there were only three competitors still in the game. Flobbard, the Partannese chap who won at Slipslade, and a sailor called Diggan. By now people were not merely clapping, they were standing up and stamping their feet. Even those who had folded their napkins were stamping in time, but from a seated position. The excitement was intense, and the three men reached for their twelfth pie. Even I was on my feet and was walking around the competitors’ table, encouraging them to greater efforts.
At this point I was certain I heard a creaking, but it was difficult to be sure over the hubbub. Then on the third great stamp, the floor started to fall away beneath me. I ran towards the side and jumped onto the main entrance where the stone doorstep showed no signs of moving. I clutched the door and looked behind me. The section of the floor under the competitors’ table had sagged about six feet, below me it had torn away completely and I was looking into a ragged hole. Four men, holding shovels and standing next to a wheelbarrow looked up at me. I hung over the lip of the hole to get a better look. Next to them was a battered table. On the table there was a lighted lantern illuminating what I recognised to be the map that Illus had drawn and that I had further annotated.
It was at this point that I became aware of the shouting and shrieking. Some of the diners were beginning to panic as they too started to slide down the hole. To be fair, it was unlikely they  were going to come to much harm, if only because when they hit one of the well upholstered pie-eaters, they would come to a safe, if somewhat inappropriate, halt.
Others were moving now, Malinflua was at the kitchen door shouting for a rope so they could pull people out and evacuate them through the scullery. The four men with shovels had fled, probably back along the tunnel they had dug from next door. Illus had slid down the slope and was examining his map in great detail. I noticed one or two of the Partannese were exchanging comments and were glaring at me in what I felt was a significant manner. It was obvious that any number of people were going to come to what I felt were unwarranted conclusions. I quietly left, closing the door behind me.
On mature consideration I decided not to go back to the barge but wrote a note for one of the street children to deliver to Shena explaining the situation. I decided against a season in Avitas or elsewhere in Partann. There were doubtless too many people on the roads of Partann who had no reason to remember me fondly. I decided to make my way to Oiphallarian, and managed to board one of the smaller steamers, even as the gangplank was being pulled aboard.
A somewhat offensive petty officer asked, in what I felt was a menacing fashion, if I intended to pay for my passage. I put my hand in my britches pocket and at that point remembered that Malinflua had already paid me. I took this as a sign that matters were not as bad as they could have been. I paid him for deck passage, with meals and a chance to root through the slop chest. Thus dressed in a manner befitting an ordinary seaman, I could preserve my good clothes for when I arrived in Oiphallarian. There I could seek out new patrons, renew my acquaintance with old ones, perform my work and wait for time to pass. In due course, Port Naain would grow forgetful and I would return home. In the meantime, it was surely my duty to bring the joys of civilisation to Oiphallarian.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

And now we’d better hear from Jim Webster.
So here I am again with another blog tour. Not one book but three.
The first is another of the Port Naain Intelligencer collection. These
stories are a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories. You can read them in any
order.

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On the Mud. The Port Naain Intelligencer
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mud-Port-Naain-Intelligencer-ebook/dp/B07ZKYD7TR
When mages and their suppliers fall out, people tend to die. This becomes a
problem when somebody dies before they manage to pass on the important
artefact they had stolen. Now a lot of dangerous, violent or merely amoral
people are searching, and Benor has got caught up in it all. There are times
when you discover that being forced to rely upon a poet for back-up isn’t as
reassuring as you might hope.

Then we have a Tallis Steelyard novella.
Tallis Steelyard and the Rustic Idyll
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZKYMG1G/
When he is asked to oversee the performance of the celebrated ‘Ten
Speeches’, Tallis Steelyard realises that his unique gifts as a poet have
finally been recognised. He may now truly call himself the leading poet of
his generation.
Then the past comes back to haunt him, and his immediate future involves too
much time in the saddle, being asked to die in a blue silk dress, blackmail
and the abuse of unregulated intoxicants. All this is set in delightful
countryside as he is invited to be poet in residence at a lichen festival.

And finally, for the first time in print we proudly present
Maljie, the episodic memoirs of a lady.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZKVXP24/

In his own well-chosen words, Tallis Steelyard reveals to us the life of
Maljie, a lady of his acquaintance. In no particular order we hear about her
bathing with clog dancers, her time as a usurer, pirate, and the
difficulties encountered when one tries to sell on a kidnapped orchestra. We
enter a world of fish, pet pigs, steam launches, theological disputation,
and the use of water under pressure to dispose of foul smelling birds. Oh
yes, and we learn how the donkey ended up on the roof.

All a mere 99p each

 

 

 

 

#Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 47

Jaye's Journal x12

 

I actually took the afternoon off yesterday.

My head was aching, so I switched off the PC, grabbed my gardening jacket and went out to our back garden. It wasn’t raining for a change, but the grass was much too wet to be cut. It was, however, very cold.

Every year about this time, I like to start putting the bonsai to bed. This involves removing all the fallen leaves and any weeds. Yes, even in those small pots we get weeds, usually brought by the wind. Sometimes, the local squirrels like to deposit peanuts and other seeds in them too, despite the thick growth of moss.

Once the trees are bare, I check for damaged or diseased branches. I also remove any branches that have appeared in the wrong place, so much easier to see at this time of year.

By this time my hands were freezing, so I cleared up the mess I made and rushed back indoors. I wasn’t outside long, but my head had cleared and I felt good. Nothing quite like fresh air for blowing the cobwebs away.

And although there is still more to do out there, I was glad to get something done.

Suitably refreshed, I spent the rest of the day working on the post I had promised for Colleen Chesebro about how I managed to create the well-received cover for SPB.

This involved several screenshots to show the process, for I find images far more helpful than words alone, so I am closer to being finished.

We recently sent out a newsletter to our subscribers, (which I feel could have been better, thanking everyone for their support for SPB and news of upcoming events.)

Any chance you could let us know what you thought of it?

We would really appreciate feedback, so future newsletters will be better and more interesting.

©jayemarie

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ CrossFire…with poem by Anita #MysteryThriller

CROSS X7.jpg

Excerpt from CrossFire

‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’

Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.

The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’

Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’

Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’

Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’

Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’

Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.

She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’

The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.

‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’

Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.

‘Did you do this, Ann?’

When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’

Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in.  ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’

The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.

Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect.  ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she was dead…’

‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it.  ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’

The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

CrossFire

Snow has a target on his back

A female finger on the bow.

He may not have long to go

This life a clock ticking fast.

Blood and sand made of paint.

Does Kate still factor in his fate?

Alas, she is taken by the wind

A new female wants her pound of flesh

With arrow poised, she lets it fly

Snow is hit, his trap undone

Ruth has fled, now on the run…

©anitadawes