May 2023 be the year with the most blessings. Love, Mary &Mike
Archive | December 2022
A Moment in Time: A Romantic Suspense Novel
From Amazon: He’s an ex-con; she’s his teacher. Will their secret pasts destroy them, or be the key to their redemption?
Lily Macarthur teaches psychology at an adult ed. school by day, and runs from her past every chance she gets. When she attends course registration the last week of summer break, she never imagines she’ll meet a student with a past as mysterious as her own. Chad Anderson is instantly attracted to Lily, but he’s been in prison for so long, he knows better than to expect such an intelligent woman to fall for a guy like him. He takes a risk and signs up for her class, hoping to get to know her better, and to start over. A chance encounter one fall night throws the unlikely pair together for survival, friendship, and perhaps something more. But forces beyond their control threaten to destroy more than just their reputations. In a world full of bystanders, will someone take a stand against evil? Everything can change in A Moment in Time. Based on a true beginning, this romantic-suspense novel contains a psychological twist that will leave you questioning everything. Reviews appreciated. Recommended for 18+ for some steamy scenes & strong language.
My Review: This novel is one ginormous intriguing romance. Why? Elements that seem impossible happen. I love the happily ever after books but this novel has darkness involved, almost a murder by a crazy ex and the mind games are horrible. Love prevails and anyone can get past trials and tribulations, alone or with help. Resources are available. NOTE: If the use of the f bomb bothers you, then don’t read this book. If abuses, especially sexual, bothers or triggers you, don’t read this book. If neither of those bother you, then do read this book and try to figure out the psychological events.
Teenager en Provence: A relocation memoir
From Amazon: Anne’s father announces his plans to move to the South of France during her school summer holidays, where she will finish her education in an International College. His relocation dream come true. Her worst nightmare. Just 15, she discovers a new world in Cannes that she learns to love, mixing with teenagers from all over the world. Suddenly the move doesn’t seem so bad. A year later, exams over, she finds herself in a caravan in the middle of a vineyard in the valley of Bargemon in the Var mountains, with only her parents and brother for company. Nothing but two years in a French secretarial college of a nearby town to look forward to. The nightmare has returned. This amusing travel memoir recounts the ups and downs of family life as they adapt to their new world, building a home out of an old sheep shed. A relocation story with a twist. Sink or swim?
My Review: This book covers a three year period in which a young girl and her family move from Jersy to Provence. The degree of change is felt by the protagonist and largely anger this girl, yet over enough time, enjoyable things and having new friends helped in making the three year change work in a never ending monolog for the most part.
Merry Christmas! Stay safe and warm. Enjoy!
The Narrative of Benjamin White
From Amazon: Footprints leading away from a dead body, that’s all that remained of Benjamin White after the battle of Tel El Kebir. A sand storm ended the search to follow the tracks further. Twenty years later, a man looks for answers, among desert rumors, that lead him to an oasis among the dunes and the true story of Benjamin’s fate. Get your copy today to find out the answers in this, well received, Historical Fiction.
My Review: Brinker has written a touching short story of bygone times, war, tragedies, loss, love, and friendship. The psyche of losing your best friend and the self blame can be completely immersive and deadly.
Code Name: Iron Spear 1941
Welcome Allan Hudson to my blog. Hello Alan! Shall we have a chat?
Contact Allan via his website: http://www.southbranchscribbler.com
- Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.
Thank you for having me as a guest, Mary.
I live on the east coast of Canada with my wife, Gloria. In the city of Dieppe, not far from the Atlantic. Recently retired, I’ve been fortunate to have more time to write my stories and a cooperative partner who knows I’m not ignoring her. I have a wonderful supportive family and I’m so grateful for my readers.
- Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book? (If you are here as an invite to promo your small business, then please write your own questions and provide relevant photos and links, thank you.)
I’ve always been an avid reader and had an itch to write something. I took some creative writing classes and dabbled in short stories but I started writing later in life. One of my favourite authors started in his fifties and I was inspired by his success. I was the same age so why not? I made a rough simple outline and started writing.
- How difficult was it writing your first book?
There were some true learning curves. There was quite a bit of the early writing that ended in Delete. Reading, seeking advice, referring to my old course notes, the story started slow but eventually took shape. I’m thankful for other authors who were generous with their own experience.
- Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
There was once. I received a bad review from an author. It wasn’t the bad part that bothered me but it was vicious in it’s delivery, the remarks cutting and hurtful. I quit. I shut down my blog, cancelled all my SM, vowed I would never write again. But I didn’t give up. You’ll find out why in the next question.
- Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
My terrific partner has always been there. Sharing ideas, opinions, listening to me reading, suggestions. During the low period, she pointed out all the good things people were saying, even strangers, about the story, built my confidence back up.
- Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
The most important thing I want to say is a huge thank you. Thanks for reading my stories, for the nice reviews and comments and your support.
- What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
One of the comments made by best-selling author, Michael Connelly, was to write every day, even if only for fifteen minutes. It’s been my mantra when I don’t feel like writing but need to get words on paper.
- What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
My favourite genre has always been thriller, action & adventure and most of my stories fall into this category. I have a series of vigilantes, taking the law in their own hands and another of a cop who discovers crimes too close to home. I also enjoy historical fiction, especially during World War II in which my newest release takes place in 1941.
- Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
The cover for Iron Spear was designed by Donna Dean out of Vancouver and she did a wonderful job in providing the mysterious image on the cover. We shared ideas and felt this one fit best.
- What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?
I am working on Vol. 2 of the Alexanders. 1921 – 1930. The first Volume was highly successful and my readers have been asking for more. I expect to complete it by Spring, ’23.
Holding a cup of coffee in his hand, he gazes at his reflection in the window. Even though people back home in Scotland told him he has his father’s eyes, his narrow face, firm chin and straight hair remind him of his mother. It also reminds him of the woman he spied briefly at the pier in Halifax several weeks ago when he saw his sister, Lilly, and her husband, Ivan, off on their trip back to Scotland to visit their family. He only saw the lady’s profile before she turned away. For the few moments he watched her, she reminded him of his mother. The stylish hat was pulled down low over her brow. The woman had a familiar gait he could’ve sworn he’d seen before, the way her hips swayed, the lopsided walk similar to his mother’s from when she broke her ankle as a teenager. But it was impossible to be her. Or was it?
Dominic’s mother disappeared eight years ago. Left her family behind and moved away with a stranger he has yet to figure out who he was. So much grief had passed in the years after her husband died in a boating accident and left her with seven children and no money. She had to leave the five oldest children with other relatives and it broke her heart. Dominic went to stay with his bachelor uncle, Duff.
- Any last words before we wrap things up?
Only another thank you, Mary, for your continuous and generous support.
Rowena is a recently published first time author. Shall we have a chat?
1. Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.
Outside of my writing, I am married with a little girl and live in Durham working for the NHS. I was born and raised in Wakefield in the county of Yorkshire, by my parents. I have two lovely my sisters and a wonderful Niece. I am very family orientated and am often travelling to be with them. My hobbies include walking and swimming. I am also quite crafty and enjoy sowing.
2. Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?
Writing has always been a part of my life since I was a child. I have always been making up stories mostly for fun. I had the idea for my first book when I was sixteen and completed it while I was still a teenager. It was flawed and still is despite a complete rewrite but I have not given up. I still reread it from time to time to try and make it a book I am proud of. In the meantime, I had another idea for a collection of books based in fantasy land. I began writing the first book in 2019 and now four years later I am a published author.
3. How difficult was it writing your first book?
As I am dyslexic for me the struggle was not to write the very first draft but to try to improve my writing in each edit. I had my mum, who runs an educational publishing company alongside my dad, proofread my book which was a huge help. But editing my drafts was still done for me. It was and is a big challenge for me and I still feel like a have more to learn in that area. However despite this struggle but it was also an incredible feeling to succeed in writing not only one book but a collection. The next three books in the collection are still works in progress but I love knowing I still have more books to come and this is only the beginning of my journey.
4. Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
Yes. When I first completed the Survivor I apply to over 40 agents and publishers trying to get published by more traditional means. It was a difficult year for me. The constant rejections letter were very demoralizing. The companies were encouraging and polite but at a certain point, I had to say enough and stop sending out my manuscript or risking losing faith in what I had written. We have to be our own biggest supporters and at times that can be difficult so I chose to try self-publishing rather than giving up entirely. I know independent authors who have had good success through self-publishing and my research into the process made me feel hopeful about being an author again so I moved forward.
5. Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
I would honestly say, my parents. I have already mentioned that my mum is also my editor. I have literally lost count of the number of times my mum has read and checked my books for me. She does this all in her free time and is always positive and supportive. I could not have been published without her. My dad has always been there for me too. Ever since I decided I want to be published someday he and I have sort of running joke that when I am a successful author, I will buy him a fancy sports car. While it is not a promise he would ever hold me to, he occasionally sends me photos of the latest models that he is into as his way of showing me he believes in me and my dream.
6. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I suppose I would ask them to remember that I am just starting out. I am a first-time dyslexic author who is still learning very much as I go. I don’t mind feedback or even people spotting mistakes, all I ask is that be polite and understanding. If given a chance I will fix any mistakes and improve as I go because one thing, I can promise my readers is that there are more books to come.
7. What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
Shortly before I was published my dad sent me a tweet of an author he follows. The tweet outlined that becoming self-published is not a consolation prize for failing to become published by more traditional means. It is an equally hard challenge just with different hurdles to face. I found this advice very informative and honest while still being encouraging and it helped to see that I was on the right path.
8. What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
To be honest, marketing is not my strongest suit which is a confession that terrifies me since I am the only one marketing my book. However, as I said previously I do really believe in my book and my writing so am working hard to improve this. In my opinion, my target audience age is 16-25 and my book probably appeals more to women than men but I don’t like categories. I feel that reading is incredibly subjective and labelling a book as anyone one thing can put is an appeal in an unhelpful box. Ultimately reading is as much of a creative expression as writing and we should all remain open to reading anything that grabs us. We might be surprised in finding something new and amazing we never thought we would like.
9. Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
I worked with a great independent artist to create both the cover art and the illustrations inside the book. The cover art was very much a collaboration of both of us but while I completely credit my illustrator for her amazing talent. The insistence on adding artwork to the book was all mine. I strongly believe art and fantasy go hand in hand and it was a big part of my dream of being published.
10. What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?
I am currently working on the next books in the Kingdoms of Parvery collection. I am focusing on editing the second book with the view to releasing that as soon as I can. I can’t say too much about it now but I have included a short draft blurb so readers can see what is next to come. I am also working on editing the third book and writing further books for the collection.
11. Any last words before we wrap things up?
I have always found the community of writers and readers an incredibly supportive and friendly group of people. At its heart, I believe the community is about enjoyment, exploration and supporting the creative expressive arts. This doesn’t mean we can’t choose to give feedback but only in a way that lifts us and helps others to improve. I personally have only had positive interactions since publishing and I am sure it will continue.
Book one blurb
A village with seemingly no enemies is reduced to a ghost town with no warning after all the inhabitants are killed bar one. Myrbeth the daughter of a murdered family seeks answers whilst she contemplates her future as the adopted daughter of King Trevard. She knows there can be no hope of future with Prince Frederick the king’s son but she cannot help loving him. The king himself has never been satisfied with answers on the attack and must now strike out on his own in search of a culprit. However, with the return of the Black Knights he might discover more than he had wished to. As events unfold Mercy a member of the Black Knights present at that long ago massacre, ponders on but one thought as he weighs up whether he truly belongs with them.
“What difference could one survivor make”
Parvery is a land divided into nine kingdoms each with its own royal family, culture and industry that defines it. Whether their wealth is in fishing, mining, trees or silks the people of each prize their local resources. The land is a peaceful place of trade and mutual respect between the kingdoms as they are all governed by the doctrine of kings. This doctrine decides the territories of each kingdom, the laws of the land and the understanding between each kingdom to live in peace with one another. All the kingdoms are tied together by the process of matching where royal princes and princes from different kingdoms intermarry. While this process is governed by choice all royals have a duty to make a noble match.
For over 600 hundred years this land and these traditions have been undisturbed until tragedy strikes. A group of mercenaries visit Parvery a massacre an entire village for an unknown purpose. The shock waves of this unprecedented event are felt for years to come. One survivor; a young girl is left alive and taken to Hollthen castle where the King and Queen adopt her. This girl is neither commoner nor a princess is where the story begins as she struggles to find her place and happiness. The first book in the collection also explains the start of the king’s quest to discover why that awful attack took place in Parvery.
Book two blurb
Time has moved on and Parvery is struggling. Mysterious deaths, thefts and bandits’ attacks are all happening in the shadows making king Trevard deeply interested in finding the traitor in their midst.
This second instalment of Kingdoms of Parvery begins with Edmund’s very first royal visit to Pidar. As we learn more about this new and different kingdom will Edmund learn to love the beautiful Princess Theolotta or is their secret betrothal not destined to thrive? Edmund splits his time between the two kingdoms as he grows up but he begins to feel divided. Frederick and Myrbeth worry about the king as they build their growing family.
Mercy now stands as the leader of The Black Thirteen. Unrulily men bound by a common and difficult goal. They will not waste their time in Parvery but how are they to discover the benefactor’s identity? New and exciting characters await you as you continue on the journey exploring these nine kingdoms.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been making up stories in my head. As a small child, I made up tales for my barbies and beanie babies. It was only later that I began writing them down and even then, just for fun. Despite my dyslexia and difficulties translating the ideas in my head to the page, I continue to explore my passion for writing. I wrote my first full novel by the age of eighteen and knew that I wanted to take things to the next step. So, I chose to study creative writing at university to hone my craft. I graduated from Bolton University in 2014 with a 2:1 grade excited about the tools and techniques I had learned. After university, I began to apply these to my writing over the following years and now, I feel ready to be published. I am independently putting my writing on the open market, and I do hope you will be supportive.
White Heat #Hollywood
From Amazon: Hollywood called her White Heat because that’s the hottest kind. In 1955, screen siren, Daphne Marlowe, is known for being Hollywood’s White Heat. Her unparalleled beauty and smoldering sensual allure has cast her as a legend before her time. The jealousy and envy of women toward her has been matched by the lust and desire of men obsessed by their fantasies of possessing a silver-screen goddess. With Los Angeles being known as the city of angels, Hollywood has become a dark beacon for devils. A string of tragic deaths has plagued recent screen idols and celebrities. What’s all the more troubling is that Daphne finds herself linked to each of these untimely deaths. Coincidence…or perhaps a killer’s obsession toward her. As the darkness hidden so well behind the movie screens begins to shadow her world, the danger she faces edges closer and closer. Fans of Hollywood love a compelling murder mystery. Could Daphne be the next victim? READER ADVISORY: Dare to return to the glamorous days of the 1950s when blonde goddesses ruled Hollywood’s silver screens. PUBLISHER NOTE: 1950s Noir Romantic Suspense. 37,600 words. All characters depicted in this work of fiction are 18 years of age or older.
My Review: I loved this book as it is set during a golden age of theater and it is easy to fall into one of the characters yourself. Completely film noir and I felt for characters who were used. Jaded people are just that. No every new actress wants to be on the casting couch of a director or producer. Due to the undertones and themes, probably best for those age 16 and up.
All’s Fair in Loaf and War #murder #love
From Amazon: The much-anticipated sixth story in the Baker’s Rise Mysteries series brings more of the cosy humour and quaint village life which make Baker’s Rise such a special place to visit! Wedding preparations are well underway at The Rise, and there is a growing sense of excitement about the place. While Flora is feeling hot flushes, however, the flush of love seems to be eluding her. When the lady of the manor makes the choice to hire wedding caterers, Reggie isn’t the only one whose beak is out of joint! Will it be tiers or tears where the wedding cake is concerned? Frustrated at not being the centre of attention, the feisty little bird starts sticking his beak where it’s not wanted. As things start to go missing, could he really be the culprit? With ghosts from the past appearing and bringing with them their own heartache, will everything still be rosy on the big day? Packed with twists and turns, colourful characters and more than a sprinkle of romance, this new mystery will certainly leave you hungry for more! Note from the author: Since the same quirky cast of characters feature in each instalment of the Baker’s Rise Mysteries, the books are best enjoyed when read in order!
My Review: This novel is chock full of romances and only a few murders. Will they marry or not? Why are they “marked” as a hit from a gang leader? The Rise has much more than this going on and you will be able to make a iced loaf cake when you get to the end.
Where the Trail Ends #suicide
From Amazon: In December of 2016, Kenneth Louis Suttner shot himself with his father’s handgun after enduring relentless bullying. This memoir takes a look into his life, the circumstances surrounding his death, and the bullycide that made headlines across the nation. Written by his mother, Angela Suttner has now dedicated her life to spreading awareness on both suicide and bullying prevention as well as advocating for kindness and acceptance in the school and workplace. It is her hope that this book offers a glimpse into the fatal effects bullying can cause in addition to honoring Kenny’s life through prose.
My Review: This book hit home with me. I was bullied by other kids in the 60s and not one thing done. With the advent of social media, bullies are able to hide behind a screen and bully at will. Fake accounts contribute to even more bullying. The cruelty kids and adults inflict on others is nuts. Kenny was and is a beautiful soul. I wrote a picture book for early readers on bullies and have read that book in preschools and lower grades. My middle son was bullied by many, and I did all I could to stem the vile flow of words. My son is now 39. He lives. But his brothers do not. Shane was strangled on his cord before birth. Sammy died after a horrid cancer battle age five years. The age or cause of death matters not to a parent. The loss is the King of Loss.