Showing posts from January, 2017

Fi50 (Fiction in 50--words, that is)

After watching Jemima Pett do it for a year or two, I decided it's time for me to jump on the bandwagon with The Bookshelf Gargoyle's Fiction in 50 challenge . That's a complete story, in exactly 50 words, written to a prompt he provides for each month. Posting is the last week of the month, and I'm targeting Mondays of the last week. This is my first attempt, so go easy on me--it's harder than it looks! Moving with the Times Innovation can be hard on the tradition-bound. I’m really trying, though, to get used to reading the new way. My son says anyone can do it. It’s easy, he says. But it’s not easy, rapping him over the knuckles with one of the new-fangled books. My old scrolls are better. ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Flashback Friday!

It's Flashback Friday, and time to pull something out of the archives that I think could stand a little more exposure. I found this one which also fits the Wendig Challenge, more or less, and only got a couple of comments when it first aired in 2015. The funny thing is that it goes the opposite way of the story I wrote (about hope) for this week's challenge (which I'll share next week). So here we have... Helplessly Hoping When everything has already gone wrong and there’s nothing more to do, they say that all you have left is hope. At that point, “hope” is a four-letter word. I had always thought hope meant you had guts. You didn’t give up, even though things looked bad. Turns out there’s a world of difference between looking bad and being hopeless. I knew that now. When you are helpless and there is no one to come save your ass, hope is for cowards. I wasn’t going to die helplessly hoping. I’d die with my eyes wide open, grinning right back at Death. *** Today start

Book Blast: The Blessed Event by Frankie Bow

I don't often do these, because I don't like to advertise a book on here unless I've read it and know at least some of my readers may enjoy it! But I read and reviewed the preceding book in the series, The Black Thumb , and since I enjoyed it and plan to follow the series, I'll share this great deal with you all! Amazon has priced The Blessed Event by Frankie Bow at just 99⊄ for the month of January!  (Free on Kindle Unlimited) The Blessed Event (The Professor Molly Mysteries) Publisher: Hawaiian Heritage Press (June 10, 2016) Paperback: 344 pages ISBN-13: 978-1943476251 Kindle ASIN: B01GW5WUAE Synopsis "You may wonder what my least-favorite student was doing in my living room. In a twist of fate that might seem hilarious if it happened to someone else, he was now my stepson." Professor Molly Barda is looking forward to a quiet summer in Mahina, Hawaii working on her research and adjusting to married life. But when a visit from her new husband's rela

Mystery Monday: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd

Title: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd Author: Alan Bradley; read by Jayne Entwistle Publisher: Books on Tape, 2016. Original by Delacourt Press, 331 pages Source: Library digital services Publisher's Summary: In spite of being ejected from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Canada, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is excited to be sailing home to England. But instead of a joyous homecoming, she is greeted on the docks with unfortunate news: Her father has fallen ill, and a hospital visit will have to wait while he rests. But with Flavia’s blasted sisters and insufferable cousin underfoot, Buckshaw now seems both too empty—and not empty enough. Only too eager to run an errand for the vicar’s wife, Flavia hops on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, to deliver a message to a reclusive wood-carver. Finding the front door ajar, Flavia enters and stumbles upon the poor man’s body hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door. The only living creature in the house is a feline

Friday Flash Fiction: Nightmare

Chuck Wendig's clearly feeling a bit down. After last week's apocalypse challenge, this week we were to write our greatest fear. I've already done that once , so I put my tongue in my cheek for 998 words of the greatest terror of my kids' generation. Nightmare Our nightmare began at 7:52 p.m. I know that because the time kept blinking from my useless phone, a vicious reminder of what had been lost between one minute and the next. At 7:51 we were all safe and content in our own worlds, chatting with friends in distant cities, reading newspapers from around the world. Watching cat videos. And at 7:52 it was all gone as though it had never been. Our Internet service had crashed. When we recovered from our initial shock, we slunk into the kitchen, avoiding each others’ eyes as we fumbled with unfamiliar foods, unable to look up cooking instructions on line. Dinner was an awkward meal with each person staring fixedly at a screen, willing it to come back to life. Josh finally

Mystery Review: Time Out

  We're posting today as part of another Great Escapes Free Book Tour! Title: Time Out (Dodie O'Dell Mysteries #2) Author: Suzanne Trauth Publisher: Lyrical Underground, 2017. 240 pages. Source: Free electronic ARC as part of the blog tour. Publisher's Blurb:   The amateur actors at the Etonville Little Theatre may be known for chewing the scenery, but restaurant manager Dodie O’Dell has something more appetizing for them to sink their teeth into. She’s been taking bows in her small New Jersey town for her theme menus, designed to complement the local productions. This fall, the community theatre is staging Arsenic and Old Lace, set in 1940s Brooklyn, so Dodie is serving up hot dogs, Italian ices, egg creams, and knishes at the weekend food festival. All is going well until Antonio Digenza, the ex-Off-Off-Broadway director of the show, dies dramatically while noshing on a knish. As rumors of food poisoning quickly spread, Dodie scrambles to rescue the Windjammer

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and in honor of the day I decided to look over and review some children's books on his life. I won't claim that these are the best, or even very carefully selected. I did what most kids or parents would do: went to the children's biographies section of the library and picked out the most promising-looking books of what was there (I'm sure there are others that were checked out). I got three rather different books. Here are my thoughts, in brief, on each.   Title: Free At Last: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. Author: Angela Bull Publisher: DK Publishing, 2009. 47 pages. This is a fairly conventional biography, at about a 3rd grade (8-year-old) reading level. It has sidebars with information about things mentioned in the main text, from slavery to the invention of television, and ample illustrations to engage less-adept readers. The biography is well-written, and includes the more challenging parts, like Martin's inability

Flash Fiction Friday: When Worlds End

Chuck Wendig is finally back on the job with our weekly challenges, and for reasons that don't take a lot of parsing, our challenge this week was to write an apocalypse. We weren't supposed to do the usual apocalypse, though, but instead to come up with a whole new sort, which I didn't really do. Instead, I picked up on something he said about writing "your uniquely-you" apocalypse, and that got me to thinking about how one person's world can end while everyone else's goes on. I was also thinking about the book I just finished about "Wicked Women" of the frontier , and got some ideas going in my head. So you don't really get a story about an apocalypse, just one human's personal end of the world, in right about 1000 words. When Worlds End I read the book of Revelation when I was a little girl, and found there a story of how the end of the world that turned out to be rubbish. Well, I don't actually know that. It’s just that we don’t ge

Non-fiction review: Wicked Women: Notorious, Mischievous, and Wayward Ladies from the Old West

  Title: Wicked Women: Notorious, Mischievous, and Wayward Ladies from the Old West Author: Chris Enss Publisher: TwoDot (Rowman & Littlefield), 2015. 209 pages. Source:  I purchased this book at the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest, CA. Publisher's Blurb: This collection of short, action-filled stories of the Old West's most egregiously badly behaved female outlaws, gamblers, soiled doves, and other wicked women by award-winning Western history author Chris Enss offers a glimpse into Western Women's experience that's less sunbonnets and more six-shooters. During the late nineteenth century, while men were settling the new frontier and rushing off to the latest boom towns, women of easy virtue found wicked lives west of the Mississippi when they followed fortune hunters seeking gold and land in an unsettled territory. Prostitutes and female gamblers hoped to capitalize on the vices of the intrepid pioneers. Pulling together stories of ladies caught in the

Middle Grade Monday: Withering-by-Sea, by Judith Rossell

Title: Withering-by-Sea Author: Judith Rossell Publisher: ABC Books, 2014. US edition by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016. 261 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Blurb: High on a cliff above the gloomy coastal town of Withering-by-Sea stands the Hotel Majestic. Inside the walls of the damp, dull hotel, eleven-year-old orphan Stella Montgomery leads a miserable life with her three dreadful Aunts. But one night, Stella sees something she shouldn't have... Something that will set in motion and adventure more terrifying and more wonderful than she could ever have hoped for...   My Review: I believe I picked up this one on a recommendation from the Goodreads Great Middle Grade Reads group. I'm glad I did. The book is a sort of semi-humorous gothic mystery for kids. Which might not sound super appealing, but the book is both funny and scary (mostly in the "oh no! She's in trouble again" way), and certainly grabbed me and pulled me right along. Stella i

Flash Fiction Friday

I was a little late getting started on this, being still in mental vacation mode. But thanks to Jemima Pett, who has created a new writing prompts page, I pulled out a title and found a story. At just under 850 words, it's a quick Friday Distraction. The Wrong Bird It should have been an eagle, of course. Every kingdom put an eagle on their war-banners, unless they used a lion. But this was definitely a bird, so it had to be an eagle. It just didn’t look much like one. The royal banner-maker wasn’t very good at birds. The result was an error the kingdom had to live with, the king declared. He didn’t want to spend the money to have a new banner designed. “But what is it?” asked the prince, who was still too young to be polite and evasive. “We can’t have a bird on our banners and not even know what it is! It would be rude!” King Kerwin exchanged glances with his royal advisors. “Does it matter?” he began to ask, and the chancellor of the exchequer nodded sagely. The head of the army

IWSG--Welcome to 2017.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group (click on the badge above for the list) and connect with your fellow writers - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! End of the year  Round-up! I vowed to finish drafting Gorg's book before the end of the year, and I'm pleased to announce that I knocked out the final chapter on New Year's Eve, finishing with nearly 2 hours to spare, though of course I know very

Mystery Review: A Pinch of Poison, by Alyssa Maxwell

  Title: A Pinch of Poison (A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery, #2) Author: Alyssa Maxwell Publisher: Kensington, expected release Jan. 2017. 304 pages Source: Electronic ARC from publisher in exchange for my honest review   Publisher's Blurb: In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, encounter an uncharitable killer at a charity luncheon sponsored by a posh school for girls . . . Good deeds build good character, and good character is what the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies is all about. Lady Phoebe—with the tireless assistance of Eva—has organized a luncheon at the school to benefit wounded veterans of the Great War, encouraging the students to participate in the cooking and the baking. But too many cooks do more than spoil the broth—they add up to a recipe for disaster when the school’s headmistress, Miss Finch, is poisoned. The girls at Haverleigh all come from highly respected families, none of whom will countenance t

Happy New Year

Let the sun rise on 2017.  Here's to a better year, and to writing despite (thanks to Chuck Wendig for the NSFW pep talk).