Of Mice and Men…

Image by Wilfried Pohnke from Pixabay

Jaye

The best-laid plans and all that, always seem to backfire when it’s me who makes them.

Doesn’t matter what it is, something will always get in the way. My best days are those when I don’t plan anything, almost as though I must keep it a secret from myself.

I have lost track of how many good writing days just happened.

This works for everything. If I plan to cut the grass, the heavens will open, and it will rain all day. Some of my unplanned days turn out to be amazing, far beyond my expectations.

As you can imagine, this state of affairs plays havoc with my progress, something I have trouble accepting. I mean, who is in charge around here?

I love it when it happens with writing. I can be in the middle of the daily chores, and emails when I get this overwhelming desire to pick up a pen and write something that has popped into my head.

I welcome these moments, even when they happen first thing in the morning when I only have one eye open. I suppose this could be what happens to rebels when they get old, if it is, it’s the only part of growing old I approve of!

I often wonder if I need more discipline, although saying the word puts my teeth on edge.

It would increase my book production though…

Another reminder of Bookfunnel’s latest promotion!


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Technology is ganging up on me…

Image by Joachim Schnürle from Pixabay

Technology is ganging up on me…

It’s official, I hate computers. The laptop is one of those touch screen ones, and apparently, I have the wrong kind of finger. And it’s not just the one, I have tried them all. The slightest touch has things flying about all over the place, and then there are those times when I can stab at the screen like a maniac and absolutely nothing happens.

The demon that inhabited the main computer that has now gone to the PC heaven in the sky seems to have moved into the laptop, doing all kinds of things that are out of my control. If anything finally kills my dream of being reasonably successful, it will be a computer. My ageing brain seems no longer capable of the kind of mindless patience (or insane tolerance) that is needed to use them.

I am convinced they are here to drive us all insane, starting with me. And as for using it in the garden, which was the plan, no such luck!

I thought this would be such a brilliant idea, combining two of the things I love most in this world, writing, and gardening, but when I tried, the screen faded so badly, I couldn’t see a thing!

Just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse…

It has occurred to me that it is quite possible, or more than probable, that the weird things my PC has been doing of late, might mean something is dying inside that metal box. And if I am right, this could mean it will give up the ghost when most inconvenient. With this thought firmly lodged in my (by now worrying itself into a coma) brain, I toddled off to Amazon to see how much a replacement would cost. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I can get a refurbished laptop for literally peanuts.

Panic over, I could handle it, whenever ‘it’ decided to reveal itself.

Now if I could just get my head around all these new improvements that are taking place at the sites I use, there might be a danger of progress being made around here…

Once more with feeling…

For some reason, the muse has wandered off again. I haven’t added to the word count on WIP or written anything new for a while. I get these blank moments that I’m trying not to equate to old age. It crossed my mind that whatever is wrong with the PC might just be contagious, as I also get periods of quiet in my head, a bit like being becalmed at sea in a boat.

Not that I mind any of this weirdness, as it sure makes a change from depression…

Now for some really good news!


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Loads of FREE books in General Fiction, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy, including my own mystery thriller, CrossFire…

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There are a lot of interesting thrillers just waiting to be read, click on the link and fill up your kindles!

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She Who Returns ~ Audrey Driscoll ~ #Travel Adventure Fiction ~ #Sequel ~#Review

Every decision has consequences, and logic gets you every time.

France Leighton is studying Egyptology at Miskatonic University, hoping to return to Egypt via a field school offered by that institution. But France has a talent for rash decisions, and things are complicated by the arrival of her twin half-brothers from England. Edward and Peter are contrasts—one a rational scientist, the other a dabbler in the occult—but they are equally capable of persuading France to help them with dubious schemes.

France does return to Egypt, if not quite the way she intended. She encounters old friends and new enemies, and challenges rooted in her previous adventures and her family’s complicated history. Accusations of antiquities theft drive France and her companions into hiding in the Theban Hills west of Luxor. An attack from the unknown turns an adventure into a desperate predicament. On the brink of yet another failure, France must make hard choices that may demand the ultimate sacrifice.

Our Review

I loved the Egyptian theme of this book, interesting right from the first sentence, the perfect sequel to She Who Comes Forth. Despite being slightly longer than I am used to, I enjoyed the story very much. This story was perfectly plotted, with no plot holes or thin parts, believable, and with a strong cinematic quality.

France Leighton makes an impressive leading lady, considering the unusual life she leads. Obsessed with Egypt and its mysteries but without the necessary knowledge, France manages to find work at an archaeological dig site, sorting stones. A menial job, but she loves every minute.

She Who Returns is an easy read yet complicated tale, full of mysterious goings-on and delightful magical touches. Once I figured out exactly what shabtis were, I thought this element was one of the best parts of this story. Intrigue made real and plausible.

I found the ending a little sad, but I have the feeling there might be more in the pipeline, as I would love to read more about France and her Egyptian forays.

Audrey Driscoll

Audrey Driscoll grew up reading books and became interested in making stories. As a child, she made her friends act out little dramas based on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, her favourite at the time.

After establishing a career as a librarian – first at the University of Saskatchewan and then at the Greater Victoria Public Library in British Columbia – a meaningful encounter with H.P. Lovecraft’s character Herbert West turned Audrey into a writer.

The result was The Friendship of Mortals and three more novels, which became the Herbert West Series. Two other novels followed, as well as a collection of short stories.

When she isn’t juggling words, Audrey Driscoll negotiates with plants in her garden, which is located in Victoria, British Columbia.

I loved reading Audrey Driscoll’s She Who Returns! I have always been fascinated by all things Egyptian, and thoroughly enjoyed following France Leighton as she explored that fabulous country.

Turned out to be one of the best and most interesting history lessons!

Jaye Marie

The Wreck of the Lanternfish ~ #Review ~#Fiction ~ #HistoricalFantasy ~ @Virgilante

James Cuttler created a peaceful spot for he and his wife to settle down. Far from the war that ravages their homeland, far from the reputation he earned as the notorious Captain Bloodwater, and far from responsibility.

A royal Prelonian houseguest is a constant reminder of what’s at stake half a world away, of the friends he put ashore to fight the war. He lives in a dream world that’s temporary, at best. It’s only a matter of time before his guest is identified and the black assassins come for her.

He mortgages his precious vineyard to pay for repairs to his ship. If nothing else, Lanternfish will be one of the most powerful ships in the war. He’ll need to avoid those on his own side who would hang him for piracy.

Serang is half a world away, leading her army of mercenary swordsmen toward the Fulminites. Mistrusted by both sides of the war, she appears as a third combatant on the battlefield. She may eliminate the mysterious order, only to succumb to the demons of her own tragic past.

Strap on your swords and hoist the colors one more time as the thrilling Lanternfish Trilogy comes to an end.

Our Review

I was looking forward to seeing all my favourite characters in this series’s third and final book. I wasn’t sure how this story would pan out, though, with a war raging and the Lanternfish in dry dock and out of commission.

We find our captain, James Cutler, cooling his heels with Bonnie, his wife. But is this where he needs or wants to be?

It isn’t long before James comes up with a plan to end the war, but first, he needs to find a way to repair the Lanternfish.

This story has many exciting battle scenes, keeping me on the edge of my chair! The author is to be applauded for such ingenious plotting throughout this trilogy.

James Cutler has been a wonderful character in this trilogy, covering several vocations, along with the rest of the amazing cast. All of which brought out the best of him and added to the exciting finale.

I am sorry to have reached the end of his journey, but this Captain has more than earned a rest.

Craig Boyack is well known for creating fabulous characters and intriguing storylines. The Wreck of the Lanternfish is one of the best…

C. S. Boyack

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

Jaye’s Weekly Thoughts…

or What the Hell do the Fates have in store this week?

When this week began, I was determined to do something, anything to make me feel as though I was still on the right page. Any page, mind you, so I left it up to fate to point me in the right direction.

This was before I realised I had a dental appointment. It has been cancelled so many times, I was beginning to think it would never happen, despite having had toothache for months. Not a terrific way to start the week, I thought, secretly hoping they would cancel again as I walked through town.

It was too nice a day for pain and/or discomfort, something that usually happens the minute I sit in the chair, and I wasn’t expecting anything less, as the plan was to remove an incredibly old crown and investigate the reason for the toothache.

I knew this would include the dreaded needle that always made my eyes water. Unavoidable, but after being stabbed like a pin cushion, I didn’t care what they got up to, as I wouldn’t feel a thing!

Turns out, the infection was extensive, YUCKY according to the dentist, so today’s visit was a good thing. Could this have been the reason for my dizziness and earache? Time will tell, but I really hope it was.

Back at home with a temporary cap on the now pristine stump, I tried to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of the week. The WIP, or overdue promotion? I had a list, of course, but reading it didn’t help at all.

What I need is a visit from the muse, someone or something to choose something and insist I do it. I still feel determined, even though my guidance system seems to be out to lunch, despite my good intentions.

I will sign off now and continue to hope for the best. I will let you know what happens, if anything, next week…

Jaye

Dead of Winter ~ Journey 13 ~ The Harbour ~ #Review @teagangeneviene #Horror Fantasy

“Journey 13, The Harbor” is the penultimate installment of the epic fantasy series “Dead of Winter.” Action abounds as many threads are drawn together. Arawn has amassed overwhelming legions of the dead. Another unexpected but powerful foe comes into the battle. All of Emlyn’s companions and friends are in grave danger as they face insurmountable odds. Two goddesses could even the odds, but gods and goddesses are known to be unreliable. Will they help?
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Meanwhile the goal of the Society of Deae Matres is to re-create the Binding to again trap Arawn and any other nightwalkers in the Realm of the Dead. Yet, what about Boabhan and Lucetius? Boabhan is at least half nightwalker. Lucetius, her son, was conceived when Arawn violated her while attempting to turn her. Will they be trapped in a new Binding along with their worst enemy? This is revealed in Journey 13.

Our Review

The penultimate instalment… the story of the Dead of Winter is nearly complete!

This is where the threads of this story get rather complicated and intense…

So many elements are gathering for the final showdown

The odds seem uneven, what with Arawn drawing the Legions of the Dead to his bidding. Surely, he must win with such an army at his disposal?

Away from the battle, Emlyn seems safe. But as she is an integral part of winning or losing, maybe she isn’t safe at all.

I worry that the Goddess Deae Matres will prove unreliable.

Is the Goddess trying to steal power from Emlyn and Lucetius for her own purpose? Emlyn seems worried too and that cannot be a good sign, although I do trust her to see the truth.

The new face in this journey is the small but mighty Goddess Coventina. She has arrived to exact revenge on Arawn but her alliance is not clear.

Could she do more harm than good?

An enchanting, yet frustrating episode, despite the upcoming battle.

Will they be able to make The Binding hold this time, and keep Arawn and the Nightwalkers in the Realm of the Dead?

Such a cliff-hanger at the end of this chapter, priming us for the final episode?

#Throwback Thursday~ A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs #Review #Thriller @KathyReichs

Number One New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her nineteenth riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, who must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and the reason the dead man had her phone number.

It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.
 
An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.
 
To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue. With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.
 
But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes …

 

Our Review

Temperance Brennan is back, but not in the pink if you know what I mean.

In this story, she has all kinds of problems, most she doesn’t have a dog’s chance of overcoming.

But you just know she will find the way.

This is the first story by Kathy Reichs I have read, but I have long been a fan of the popular tv series based on these books. It has been a real eye-opener to meet the real character.

She may not be the person I thought I knew, but she is someone I recognise. The same attention to detail and overwhelming need to know the truth.

It took me a while to accustom myself to this totally different Bones compared to the one I have been watching for years, but my first impression was favourable. The Bones in this book is a sensible, technically minded, deep thinking woman, one with a shocking sense of humour and the ability to swear like a trooper. Definitely, my kind of role model!

In A Conspiracy of Bones, Temperance is exhausted and confused, trying to come to terms with losing her job and her recent life-threatening brain trauma. She becomes involved in a nasty and mysterious crime through anonymous images and messages sent to her phone.

Written in the first person, I could feel the alienation with her circumstances, and be inside her head to know how her brain works. Frustrated with being incapacitated and unemployed, she desperately wants to discredit the one person who conspired to steal her job. Trying to solve a case long-distance tries her weakened capabilities to their limit, but fascinating to watch.

I loved the scene where she finally managed to fall asleep while looking at a tiny statue of Ganesh. I wondered if she was praying for him to solve some of her problems…

Biography

Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead catapulted her to fame when it became a New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Her other Temperance Brennan novels include Death du Jour, Deadly Décisions, Fatal Voyage, Grave Secrets, Bare Bones, Monday Mourning, Cross Bones, Break No Bones, Bones to Ashes, Devil Bones, 206 Bones, Spider Bones, Flash and Bones, Bones Are Forever, Bones of the Lost, Bones Never Lie, Speaking in Bones and the Temperance Brennan short story collection, The Bone Collection. In addition, Kathy co-authors the Virals young adult series with her son, Brendan Reichs. The best-selling titles are: Virals, Seizure, Code, Exposure, and Terminal along with two Virals e-novellas, Shift and Swipe. These books follow the adventures of Temperance Brennan’s great niece, Tory Brennan. Dr. Reichs is also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.

From teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her Montreal lab, as a forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs has brought her own dramatic work experience to her mesmerizing forensic thrillers. For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec. Dr. Reichs has travelled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC (Formerly CILHI) she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Reichs also assisted with identifying remains found at ground zero of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Dr. Reichs is one of only 100 forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and is currently a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. She is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte, NC and Montreal, Québec.

 

Ghostly Interference by Jan Sikes #Review #HorrorFantasy @JanSikes3

The White Rune Series

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.
Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

Our Review

Rena Jett grew up inside the foster care system with her brother. I grew up in the same circumstances and identified with her every step of the way. I know how hostile and confusing her world must have been. It can confuse the way you see the world, a world you never knew existed while inside a system that meant well, but never felt like it did. The author has captured every confusing emotion and the way they interact with a person’s life, extremely well.

I especially loved Rena’s relationship with her brother, Sam. He tried so hard to be there for her and his constant caring and mysterious presence made this romantic and beautifully written love story lovely to read.

I have just heard that the second book in the White Rune series, Jagged Feathers is now available, and I cannot wait to read it!

#Throwback Thursday ~The Snow Killer by Ross Greenwood #Review #hard-boiled mystery @greenwoodross

‘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 scramble 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 are 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 the next story in the DI Barton series…

The Last Dragon in London by Widdershins ~ #Historical Fantasy ~ Review

In the second decade of the Twentieth Century, Mildred Norman, Mildy to her friends, not many of whom are left alive, is broken in body and spirit after a long hard war.
An old friend suggests that she might like, as a bit of a distraction, to spend some time doing a bit of a ‘grand tour’ of all the places named ‘London’ throughout the world.
What begins as a whim, ends with a discovery that challenges everything she believes is possible.
Arriving in the last ‘London’, on her list, a tiny village tucked away in a remote valley, she meets up with a few of the locals and shenanigans ensue.
With the help of a child hunting mythical beasts, the child’s grandmother, and a cast of quirky villagers, Mildy shows how dangerous a stout woman with a lethal arsenal in her pockets can be.
She uncovers a plot to alter the course of history, begun so long ago that no records of the conspirators remain, except for one place, the place she now calls home.
To protect those she has come to love from certain destruction at the hands of a cruel and loathsome cabal, she must battle threats both near and far, and confront the mysterious force guiding it all.
And then, of course, there’s the question of dragons …

About the Author

Widdershins

I was born in England on a crisp autumn eve in 1958, emigrated to Australia at the tender age of two, and moved to Canada in 2004 where I married the love of my life. I left school when I was fourteen, and thereafter continued my education via libraries, books, and whatever Life decided to throw my way.

I was born in England, grew up in Australia, moved to Canada in 2004 and married the love of my life the same year. I’m a lesbian, a writer of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fiction.

I’ve tried many things in my time on this little planet we call Earth, and I’m sure that before I leave this mortal coil I shall joust with many others.

I’ve ridden a bicycle down a hill so steep all I could do was hold on and scream with sheer exhilaration. (and terror) I’ve sweated under a burning sun to plant seedlings in dusty fields. I have a long-standing relationship with sewing machines, starting with an old Singer treadle machine when I was barely tall enough to reach the pedal. Once upon a time I went to university and studied Architecture … it didn’t take. I had a dream of athletic superstardom, but a motorcycle accident stopped that rather abruptly.

Above all, writing is my passion and my profession, novels specifically, short stories occasionally, and always with lesbian characters.

I adopted ‘Widdershins’ as a pseudonym in the early days of the interwebz, and it stuck … because I am, if nothing else, contrariwise.

Our Review

The minute I started reading The Last Dragon and realised I was travelling on a train with someone called Mildred Norman, or Mildy as she preferred to be called, I felt at home. I love trains almost as much as I love dragons, so had the feeling I was in good company.

For several precious hours, the world outside my door went away and for the first time in a very long time, I remembered dragons again. All in the company of some lovely and very real people.

This story gives a totally new and interesting way of thinking about dragons, but personally, I have always believed they exist, somehow, somewhere.

Romantic, exciting, magical and intriguing, this story will delight you, as you suspend any doubts you may have had about magic and dragons.