Showing posts from March, 2017

Flashback Friday:

It's Flashback Friday, and time to pull something out of the archives that I think could stand a little more exposure. If you'd like to join the fun, clink on the image above to visit Michael d'Agonstino's A Life Examined blog and see how! I found this lovely number from January 2014. It runs about 1170 words. Millions of Cats Things never work out according to plan when there are cats involved.  I knew that, and I should have known better than to take the job.  But Keelan made it all sound so easy: we just had to pick up the consignment from Alpha-Centauri 4 and take them to Exilion 17.  Four days, max, and two of them in hyperspace. “What could go wrong?”  I should really have run when Keelan said that, because I know darned well that anytime those words are uttered a disaster is sure to follow. Unfortunately, we needed cash, and the cat people had it.  So we went and picked up the load of cats. That was where the trouble began.  They were supposed to be crated, se

Cozy Mystery Review: Smugglers and Scones, by Morgan C. Talbot


 Title: Smugglers and Scones (Moorehaven Mysteries Book 1) Author: Morgan C. Talbot Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, 2016 Source: I was given an electronic review copy by the author in exchange for my honest review. 
 Publisher's Blurb: Pippa Winterbourne runs Moorehaven, the Oregon Coast’s quirkiest bed-and-breakfast and former home of world-famous mystery writer A. Raymond Moore. Guests come there to write their own crime novels. When a real-life murder takes a local’s life and washes a handsome boat pilot into her arms, Pippa is yanked into a deadly plot of her own. A tangle of secrets crashes past into present, and Pippa must uncover clues dating back to Seacrest’s Prohibition days, including a secret Moore himself hid from the world. 
 Juggling her book-writing guests, small-town intrigues, secret club agendas, and a possibly fatal attraction, Pippa must sort fact from fiction to know who to trust before a desperate killer claims a final revenge nearly a century in the mak

#Fi50: Lucky Charms

This month's prompt is: Lucky Charms Somewhere out there, someone is celebrating their ill-gotten gains. Finding an unlocked bike must have looked like a bit of luck. I wonder if they’ll think so in a day or two. That’s when the charms will wear off and the demon returns. I hope they have asbestos bike shorts.  ### Sadly, this one's inspired by someone stealing my bike this morning.* Just a bit of a revenge fantasy, that's all. Nothing to worry about. *That is, Saturday morning, as I wrote this Saturday night. Here's a memorial photo. RIP, Swift Ripe Banana. For over 24,000 miles my backside was welded to that bike. I wonder how many thousands of feet we climbed together?

Middle Grade Fiction: Gangsta Granny

  Title: Gangsta Granny Author: David Walliams Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books, 2011. 297 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Blurb: Another hilarious and moving novel from David Walliams, number one bestseller and fastest growing children’s author in the country. A story of prejudice and acceptance, funny lists and silly words, this new book has all the hallmarks of David’s previous bestsellers. Our hero Ben is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma’s house. She’s the boringest grandma ever: all she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn’t know about his grandma. 1) She was once an international jewel thief. 2) All her life, she has been plotting to steal the Crown Jewels, and now she needs Ben’s help…   My Review:  I got this book thanks to our March 2017 Goodreads GMGR group read. It was a bit different this time: we were all supposed to pick books we thought had a particularly region

Flash Fiction Friday:

Last week the Wendigos invented new monsters . This week, we got to make up some new gods or goddesses. I figured there isn't a lot of demand for new gods, but I found a need. Welcome to Valhalla “Welcome to Valhalla. Is this your first visit to the Halls of the Gods?” “Ah, yes. I’m new.” “Name?” The Welcome Entity consulted a list written on what appeared to be parchment.” “Don’t you have a computer?” “It’s nothing to exclaim over. Just tell me your name.” The Welcoming Entity sounded cross now. “Bob Finklestein.” “No God is named Bob Finklestein. It isn’t done.” The newcomer turned red. “I forgot. Like I said, I’m new. My name is Ai. A-I. I was just an ordinary chap until I was made a god.” The Welcoming Entity made a note. A short one, of the god-name. “We haven’t needed a new god for eons. What makes you so special?” “I never said I was special. Just new.” The W.E. shrugged that off. “Like I said, there’s been no one new since the naked mole rats got organized and demanded a g

Audio-Book Review: The Japanese Lover

Title: The Japanese Lover Author: Isabel Allende; read by Joanna Gleason. Translated by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson Publisher: Audio: Simon and Schuster Audio, 2015. Hardback 2015, Atria Books. Originally published in 2015 in Spain by Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, S.A.U. Source: Library digital sesrvices Publisher's Blurb: In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family—like thousands of other Japanese Americans—are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Through

Middle Grade Review: The Silent Boy

  Title: The Silent Boy Author: Lois Lowry Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2003. 178 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Blurb:   Katy Thatcher was the bright and curious daughter of the town doctor. She was fascinated by her father's work, and even as a child she knew that she too wanted to be a doctor. She wanted to know about people. Perhaps it was this, her insatiable curiosity, or simply the charm of Jacob's gentle intimacy with animals large and small, that fueled their friendship. Although Jacob never spoke to her or even looked at her directly, Katy grew to understand him from the moments they spent together quietly singing to the horses. She knew there was meaning in the sounds he made and purpose behind his movements. So when events took an unexpected and tragic turn, it was Katy alone who could unravel the mystery of what had occurred, and why. A two-time recipient of the prestigious Newbery Medal, acclaimed author Lois Lowry presents a sensiti

Flash Fiction Friday: Create Your Own Monster

Today's Flash Fiction is in response to a challenge to create an all-new monster. Chuck Wendig posed the challenge, so you follow the link to see all the other responses, if you're in the mood for fear and loathing! Or just read on. Chuck gave us 1500 words; I used 1239 of them. The End of All Delight Archibald D. Jones, to the Royal Geographic Society, July 16, ---- Sirs: The Delighter, named not for giving light, but for removing it, appears to be a unique monster, not part of a species or clan of delighters. For this blessing we should all be grateful. I have examined the victims of this creature, and the effect gave me great sorrow, despite my years in the field and my necessary anthropologist’s distance. That my eyes watered during this time was no doubt due to the incense being used in an attempt to cure the victims. One witness to an attack, who was himself spared, claimed that I wept because of the residual effects of the attack, but this is ridiculous, as I am not sub

Review: Heart Mountain

Title: Heart Mountain Author: Gretel Ehrlich Publisher: ebook: Open Road Media, 2017, 382 pages. Original hardback Viking, 1988. Source: Free review copy from the publisher Publisher's Blurb: This is the story of Kai, a graduate student reunited with his old-fashioned parents in the most painful way possible; Mariko, a gifted artist; Mariko’s husband, a political dissident; and her aging grandfather, a Noh mask carver from Kyoto. It is also the story of McKay, who runs his family farm outside the nearby town; Pinkey, an alcoholic cowboy; and Madeleine, whose soldier husband is missing in the Pacific. Most of all, Heart Mountain is about what happens when these two groups collide. Politics, loyalty, history, love—soon the bedrocks of society will seem as transient and fleeting as life itself. Set at the real-life Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, this powerful novel paints “a sweeping, yet finely shaded portrait of a real West unfolding in historical time” (Th

Middle Grade Review: Raymie Nightingale

Title: Raymie Nightingale Author: Kate DeCamillo; read by Jenna Lamia Publisher: Listening Library, 2016. Originally by Candlewick Press, 2016.  272 pages. Source: Library digital services Publisher's Blurb: Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue i

Friday Flash Fiction: On the Road to Hell

This week, Chuck Wendig gave us two themes: 1. Doing a good thing sometimes means being evil. 2. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. We were supposed to pick one. I picked the second, and I think I found that they are really the same thing. Or maybe I didn't pick what I thought I did. Anyway, the protagonist of this one has unleashed more than was bargained for. The Road to Hell All I ever wanted was to save the world. I mean that quite literally. I wasn’t out cleaning up beaches or trying to prevent the last melting of the polar ice sheets. I was trying to prevent the total destruction of the biosphere. All of which is to say: I had never been a tree-hugger, or any other kind of do-gooder. That might have been part of the problem. In any case, I’d never given the environment a great deal of thought until fate rubbed my nose in it. It started with what I took to be a side-effect of too much time spent playing a computer game. Anyway, at the time, I was sure it was a gam

Fiction audio book review: The Summer Before the War

Title: The Summer Before the War   Author: Helen Simonson; read by Fiona Hardingham Publisher: Random House Audio, 2016 (original hardback by Random House, 2016, 496 pages). Source: Library digital services Publisher's Blurb: East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha’s husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent saber rattling over the Balkans won’t come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master. When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking—and attractive—than anyone believes

Middle Grade Review: The Camelot Kids, Book One

Title: The Camelot Kids, Book One Author: Ben Zackheim Publisher: Ben Zackheim, 2014. 503 pages Source: I won a paperback copy in a giveaway. Publisher's Summary: Here it is! The complete collection of The Camelot Kids Parts 1-4, with new illustrations and extra story. The Camelot Kids is a series that tells the story of Simon Sharp, a 14-year-old orphan. Simon isn’t a normal teenager. He’s a kid on a mission. He's determined to find a place to belong. If you ask him how his parents died, he'll tell you King Arthur killed them. They died looking for proof that Camelot is real. An estranged uncle flies Simon to Scotland for room and board. The fourteen year old soon discovers someone wants him dead. But who cares about some outcast teenager from America? When a grumpy, 3276 year old Merlin shows up to protect him, Simon finds that the answer is an epic adventure away. Packed with surprises, The Camelot Kids is a fresh take on the beloved myth. My Review: First things

Friday Flash: The World in the Palm of Her Hand

Chuck's challenge this week was to pick a random image from Flickr and let it inspire a story. After a long trip down the rabbit hole, I stopped looking at pretty pictures and selected one. The photo is by Truus. Since I'm not sure if it's okay to post, the picture is here . And when I went to find that link, I found a photo that is even better for the story . Check them both out! The World In the Palm of Her Hand All Lissa knew was that she was supposed to save the world. In point of fact, she didn’t really know even that: she’d had a message from some mysterious old man who refused to show his face, exactly according to regulations. The message read, “She has the world in the palm of her hand. Don’t let her drop it.” In theory that left the field so impossibly wide open that there was little hope of finding the right woman, but Lissa had a bit more to go on than the message suggested. For one thing, since she got the memo, she could assume that the woman


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! March IWSG Day Question:  Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out? Late, as usual. Sigh. Since I'm still in the throes of rewriting Pismawallops PTA 3, I thought I'd go with the prompt for this month. (The editing