Kindle Unlimited Books #Mothman

Happy Monday, friends! Please pardon my absence of the last few days. I came down with a wretched sinus infection and earache the end of last week, and basically spent my days sleeping or lounging around the house and doing nothing. Because several of my symptoms mimicked COVID-19, I had to have the test done—not a pleasant experience, but thankfully, it doesn’t take long.

I also didn’t have to wait in a string of cars. There was only one ahead of me, so I breezed through pretty quickly. My test was negative, and I’m now feeling much better. I’ve been on antibiotics which have taken care of the sinus infection and earache, but during those down days, I missed a number of your blog posts. I hope to be back in my normal routine with this week.

For those of you who are on Kindle Unlimited, I wanted to share the news that A Cold Tomorrow, and A Desolate Hour, Books 2 and 3 of my Point Pleasant series will be available on KU until November 14. Each of the books can be read as stand alone, and each delves into the urban legend of the Mothman and the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Of all the books I’ve written, A Cold Tomorrow remains a personal favorite. I even had the cover made into a canvas wall print for my den. Blurbs for both books are below.

eerie farm road late at night below a green skyA Cold Tomorrow
Book 2 Point Pleasant

Where secrets make their home…

Book cover for A COLD TOMORROW by author, Mae Clair shows a deserted country lane at night beneath a sky of green cloudsStopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn’t be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son’s sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it’s as if he’s under someone else’s control. Not only is he half-crazed, he’s intent on murder….

As a sergeant in the sheriff’s office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events.   But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan’s own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive….

AMAZON KINDLE UNLIMITED LINK

Header image for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair showing a man standing in a dark mysterious forest with bloody lake in foreground

A Desolate Hour
Book 3 Point Pleasant

Sins of the past could destroy all of their futures . . .

Book cover for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair shows a small town overlooking a river at night, full moon overhead, cover in wash of green red and black with white letteringFor generations, Quentin Marsh’s family has seen its share of tragedy, though he remains skeptical that their misfortunes are tied to a centuries-old curse. But to placate his pregnant sister, Quentin makes the pilgrimage to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to learn more about the brutal murder of a Shawnee chief in the 1700s. Did one of the Marsh ancestors have a hand in killing Chief Cornstalk—the man who cursed the town with his dying breath?

While historian Sarah Sherman doesn’t believe in curses either, she’s compelled to use her knowledge of Point Pleasant to uncover the long-buried truth. The river town has had its own share of catastrophes, many tied to the legendary Mothman, the winged creature said to haunt the woods. But Quentin’s arrival soon reveals that she may have more of a stake than she realized. It seems that she and Quentin possess eerily similar family heirlooms. And the deeper the two of them dig into the past, the more their search enrages the ancient mystical forces surrounding Point Pleasant. As chaos and destruction start to befall residents, can they beat the clock to break the curse before the Mothman takes his ultimate revenge? . . .

AMAZON KINDLE UNLIMITED LINK


If you’ve been considering this series, and you’re a KU subscriber, now is a great time to take advantage. This is the first time my publisher has placed any of my books in the KU program. I’m eager to see how it goes.

Happy reading. And, as we near autumn in the northern hemisphere, and the start of cold and flu season, stay safe out there!

Murder They Wrote and a Blog Visit

Hi, Friends! If you live in the U.S., or Canada, I hope you had a long and enjoyable Labor Day weekend. I’m forgoing my usual Book Review Tuesday post today to share the news I’m once again out and about with Murder They Wrote, the mystery anthology in which I have a short story. Today, I’m visiting my friend and Story Empire colleague, Joan Hall.

If you get a chance, please drop over and say hello. And if you’re not already familiar with Joan, I recommend following her blog. She and I are kindred spirits in that we both love legends and folklore. Joan is working on a new legend-based series, but until book one is ready to roll, she has several other compelling mysteries you can explore.

Murder They Wrote Takes to the Road

tote bag surrounded by iphone, mouse, wallet, pencil, with book, Murder They Wrote on top of tote

I’m off visiting today, sharing details about the anthology, Murder They Wrote, in which I have a short story. Should you be out and about, please hop over to visit me at Mark Bierman’s blog.

While you’re there, poke around Mark’s corner of the blogosphere if you’re not already familiar with it. Mark is a skilled author and a great guy with a fun sense of humor. His posts cover a variety of topics, and are always engaging. See you there!

Book Review Tuesday: The Stones by D. L. Cross #Aliens #AstralConspiracySeries

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHappy Tuesday! I’ve missed a week or two of book reviews, but it’s not because I haven’t been reading. I’ve been immersed in the Harry Dresden series and haven’t been posting reviews of those books since there are so many. Recently, I came up for air to branch into something different and–OH MY FREAKING WORD!–what a diversion it turned out to be. I can’t praise The Stones enough. It ticked all my reading boxes, but I’ll let the review speak for  itself…


The StonesBook cover for The Stones by D.L. Cross shows two monolith stone slabs with space ships in background
D.L. Cross

If you’re looking for a fast paced, adrenaline fueled novel with stellar writing, breathless adventure, and a highly diverse cast of characters, look no further. In The Stones, book two of the Astral Conspiracy Series, aliens have arrived on Earth and they’re far from friendly. Nor do they resemble little green men. Creepy, bizarre, vividly imagined, these are beings you DO NOT want to cross. I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoilers, only that the titans freaked me out as much as, or more than, the reptars.

Professor Landon Thorne, once ridiculed for his theories about alien life, comes into possession of two “firestones” that may be tied to Atlantis and the aliens, but before he can discover more about their properties, he loses possession of both. With various factions vying for the firestones, aliens roaming the planet, an underground resistance movement, government agents, crosses and double crosses, D. L. Cross sets a breathless pace for readers. There are characters to love, characters to DESPISE, and plenty of nail-biting action. The chapters are energy fueled, most ending on jaw-dropping hooks, making it all but impossible to put this book down. With its complex plot, I could easily see The Stones/ Astral Conspiracy a Netflix series or a blockbuster movie. One of my favorite reads of 2020.

5 Honking Big Luminous stars!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Alien Invasion Science Fiction > First Contact Science Fiction


Ready to embark on a phenomenal reading adventure? Then hop onboard. I highly recommend getting lost in the Astral Conspiracy Series. Once engaged, you won’t want to leave.

As for The Stones, I have one word: Titans.

Let’s just say I’m equally enthralled and freaked out by them! You’ll have to read the book to learn more 🙂

“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #11 NEW Image Prompt. @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

Happy Wednesday! I am back again and participating in the Flash Fiction challenge Suzanne Burke has shared on her blog. This is my third week in a row, and I’m having a blast enjoying these prompts. Below is the photo for this week and my take on it!

Waterfall spilling into verdant valley, stark, barren, leafless tree in foregroundMrs. Conway

Jarrod Hamilton was not a rich man but considered himself a talented one. For the last eight years he’d made a living teaching the upper crust ladies of Victorian London the finer arts of painting with oils. During that time, he’d often had to bite his tongue rather than offer advice­. On other occasions, he fawned over inferior work all the while cringing at the substandard quality his students produced. But catering to delicate egos paid the bills and helped him maintain his lifestyle, mediocre as it was.

Perhaps that was why Mrs. Conway so surprised him. Unlike the other ladies who breezed in each Wednesday, chattering like magpies, Millicent Conway arrived early and alone. A quiet woman widowed for over a year—if gossip was to be believed—she rarely engaged with others. Of the near dozen students in his class, she was the only one with a dram of talent. He’d observed the growth of her painting for weeks, maintaining his silence on her progress. Now, with the final brushstrokes applied, he could no longer contain his thoughts.

“Very striking, Mrs. Conway.” Jarrod stood with his hands behind his back as he looked over her shoulder. “The assignment was to paint a representation of self. I’m curious why you chose a waterfall.”

Millicent set her brush aside with a graceful movement, as dainty and refined as a delicate bird. “Your praise is most kind, sir.” She seemed reluctant to say more.

Undaunted, he peered closer. “A more cynical man than I might guess the waterfall is not the subject of your painting.”

She blinked, wide-eyed and curious. “Pardon?”

“I suspect the true focus is the tree in the foreground. Desolate and barren while the waterfall feeds a valley rich with life.” He eyed her sharply, prying beneath the buttoned-up layers of her personality. “The tree is Isolated and alone.”

Her spine stiffened. She fingered her collar. “How observant of you. Sometimes people are much the same.”

“Only by choice.”

She looked away.

“Do you know what I see, Mrs. Conway? Despite the fact the tree doesn’t embrace the vibrance of the valley, its roots are deep. Steadfast. A strong force in the face of adversity.”

She relaxed, her smile wan. “Ah, but you don’t see beneath the surface, Mr. Hamilton. Sometimes there is a reason for that distance. The exterior is gilt and flash, while the inside has been poisoned with disease.”

His gut clenched. The chatter of his other students created a buzz like the constant drone of honeybees in the background. He wanted to swat them away. “Disease?”

She wiped her hands on a rag. “It destroys from the inside out. You can’t see the damage until it is too late, and there is nothing to be done.”

“Like a cancer?”

“Precisely.”

Bile burned the back of his throat. “Then there is no hope?”

She squeezed his hand, her fingers cold. “There is always hope. Especially when those who suffer have made peace and no longer feel the need to be part of the valley. They have their own verdant dell waiting, guarded by loved ones who have passed.” Warmth touched her eyes. “The tree must bend. Break at last.”

His throat grew tight. He nodded toward the painting. “What will become of this?”

“It matters not to me.”

“May I have it?”

She appeared surprised. “Of course, but I fail to understand why you would want it.”

How could he tell her? Finally, after years of teaching petticoats, dowagers, and debutantes, someone in his class had spoken clearly through canvas and oil. It may not have mattered to her, but even as disease shortened her life, she’d found a way to instill meaning in his work.

It made him believe he could find his own waterfall and valley.

At the very least, she’d taught him how to be a tree.


I hope you enjoyed my short fic. If you’d like to try your hand, visit Soooz’s blog each Friday for a new prompt. You have until Thursday of the following week to post something. Lots of time to get creative! 🙂

 

Book Release: The Memory by Judith Barrow #familylifefiction

I have a new guest on my blog today. I “met” Judith Barrow through Story Empire, then invited her to share her latest release The Memory. Please make her feel welcome as she gives us a behind the scenes look at what inspired her to write the book.


Thank you so much, Mae Clair, for hosting this guest post and promotion for my new book, The Memory.

Introduction
Many people have asked what was the inspiration for The Memory and my answer is always – memories: memories of being a carer for two of my aunts who lived with us, memories of losing a friend in my childhood; a friend who, although at the time I didn’t realise, was a Downs’ Syndrome child. But why I started to write the story; a story so different from my other four books, I can’t remember. Because it was something I’d begun years ago and was based around the journal I’d kept during that decade of looking after my relatives.

But what did begin to evolve when I settled down to writing The Memory was the realisation of why I’d been so reluctant to delve too far into the manuscript. The isolation, the loneliness, that Irene Hargreaves, the protagonist, endures; despite being married to Sam, her loving husband, dragged up my own feelings of being alone so much as a child. That awareness of always being on the outside; looking in on other families, relationships and friendships had followed me; had hidden deep inside my subconscious. And now, as a contented wife and mother, with steady enduring friendships, it unsettled me. Many people, and as a creative writing tutor I’m one, say that writing is cathartic. Working through Irene’s memories; especially that one memory that has ruled her life, made me acknowledge my own. And that’s fine. I always say to my students, if you don’t feel the emotions as you write, then neither will your reader. In The Memory I’m hoping the reader will sense the poignant, sad times with Irene, but will also rejoice with her in the happier memories

Book cover for The Memory by Judith Barrrow shows woman's legs crossed, woman sitting on stone wall, visible from waist downBlurb
Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.

Rose was Irene’s little sister, born a chromosome short, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw.

Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal, and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.

Extract from The Memory
There’s a chink of light from the streetlamp coming through the vertical blinds. It spreads across the duvet on my mother’s bed and onto the pillow next to her head. I reach up and pull the curtains closer together. The faint line of light is still there, but blurred around the edges.

Which is how I feel. Blurred around the edges. Except, for me, there is no light.

I move around the bed, straightening the corners, making the inner softness of the duvet match the shape of the outer material, trying to make the cover lie flat but of course I can’t. The small round lump in the middle is my mother. However heavily her head lies on the pillow, however precisely her arms are down by her sides, her feet are never still. The cover twitches until centimetre by centimetre it slides to one side towards the floor like the pink, satin eiderdown used to do on my bed as a child.

In the end I yank her feet up and tuck the duvet underneath. Tonight I want her to look tidy. I want everything to be right.

She doesn’t like that and opens her eyes, giving up the pretence of being asleep. Lying face upwards, the skin falling back on her cheekbones, her flesh is extraordinarily smooth, pale. Translucent almost. Her eyes are vague under the thick lines of white brows drawn together.

I ignore her; I’m bone weary.

I wait by the bed. I move into her line of vision and it’s as if we’re watching one another, my mother and me: two women – trapped.

‘I can’t go on, Mum.’ I lift my arms from my side, let them drop; my hands too substantial, too solid to hold up. They’re strong – dependable, Sam, my husband, always says. I just think they’re like shovels and I’ve always been resentful that I didn’t inherit my mother’s slender fingers. After all I got her fat arse and thick thighs, why not the nice bits?

I’ve been awake for over a day. I glance at the clock with the extra large numbers, bought when she could still tell the time. Now it’s just something else for her to stare at, to puzzle over. It’s actually twenty-seven hours since I slept, and for a lot of them I’ve been on my feet. Not that this is out of the ordinary. This has been going on for the last year: long days, longer nights.

‘Just another phase she’s going through,’ the Irish doctor says, patting me on the shoulder as she leaves. ‘You’re doing a grand job.’ While all the time I know she’s wondering why –why I didn’t give up the first time she suggested that I should; why, by now, I’ve not admitted it’s all too much and ‘Please, please take her away, just for a week, a day, a night. An hour.’

But I don’t. Because I have no choice. Mum told me years ago she’d sorted it out with her solicitor. There was no way she’d agree to our selling this house; as a joint owner with Sam and me, she would block any attempt we made. There’s no way we could afford to put her into care either; over the years, we’ve ploughed most of Sam’s earnings into the renovation and upkeep of the place. So here I am. Here we are.


Author Judith Barrow holding her book, The Memory

Author Bio
I was born and brought up in a small village on the edge of the Pennine moors in Yorkshire, but, for the last forty-three years I’ve lived with my husband and family near the coast in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, UK, a gloriously beautiful place.

I’ve written all my life and have had short stories, poems, plays, reviews, and articles published throughout the British Isles. But only started to seriously write novels after I’d had breast cancer twenty years ago.  Four novels safely stashed away, never to see the light of day again, I had the first of my trilogy, Pattern of Shadows, published in 2010 by Honno , the longest-standing independent women’s press in the UK. They then published, the sequel, Changing Patterns, in 2013 and the last, Living in the Shadows in 2015. The prequel, A Hundred Tiny Threads was published in August 2017.

The Memory was published in March 2020, and my next book, The Heart Stone, is due to be out in February 2021.

At the moment I’m working on two books; a story set in the 1950s of three women who work in a cotton factory during the declining years of the industry. It’s told from the three points of view; each have disparate and difficult home lives. As friends, they come together in their place of work to share the troubles within their families; problems that will be worsened by the crisis within the cotton trade and their inevitable unemployment.

My other WIP is a more contemporary book again and is the story of two sisters who grow up sharing a lie, and the subsequent consequences that brings.

I have an MA in Creative Writing, B.A. (Hons.) in Literature, and a Diploma in Drama and Script Writing.  I am also a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council’s Lifelong Learning Programme and give talks and run workshops on all genres.

When I’m not writing or teaching, I’m researching for my books, walking the Pembrokeshire coastline or reading and reviewing books for Rosie Amber’s Review Team #RBRT, along with some other brilliant authors and bloggers.

Again, my thanks, Mae Clair, for hosting this guest post and promotion for my new book, The Memory. It’s been great fun and I appreciate your generosity.


Learn more about Judith at the following haunts:
Hono | Amazon | Website | Facebook Author Page  | Twitter


It was my pleasure to host Judith today. Thank you for visiting and making her feel welcome. Please don’t forget to use the sharing buttons to help spread the news about The Memory! 🙂

Book Review Tuesday: I Wouldn’t Be Surprised @dlfinnauthor

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageGood morning, friends! Happy last Tuesday of July. I only have one book review for you today, but it is a wonderful short read that I highly recommend. I give five fantastic stars to I Wouldn’t Be Surprised by D.L. Finn

Book cover for I Would Be Surprised by D. L. Finn shows title text over flames on black backgroundI Wouldn’t Be Surprised: A Short Story
by D. L. Finn

This is a short, quick read, that delivers creepiness and suspense. Janice and her husband Dale live in an isolated location, surrounded by woods. One night over dinner, Janice makes jokes about things that wouldn’t surprise her (Bigfoot, UFOs, etc. ) if they suddenly showed up. The next morning, her husband finds something unexpected outside–a possible “gift” from an unknown “someone.”

After that, the oddities multiply. It’s hard to say much without giving away the plot, but I found all the strange things that kept happening, and the sense of steadily mounting danger to be very well done.

When Janice finds herself alone in the house, circumstances go from eerie to outright menacing. Elements of the supernatural combine with an old mystery for a satisfying conclusion. I could also see this becoming a ongoing series. I read this over a lunch break and was sad when it ended. Well-written and suspenseful!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: 45-Minute Literature & Fiction Short Reads


As always, I wish you happy reading, and adding to your TBR! 🙂

The Sacrifice of One by Emily Fortney #YA #Fantasy #FreeBook

Hi, everyone! I have a brand new guest on my blog today. Emily Fortney and I were members of the same local writing group, so I’m excited to have her visit with her YA fantasy release. I hope you’ll make her feel welcome. And, hey—she’s got the deets on how to grab her book for free!  Sound good?

Take it away, Emily . . .


I’m so excited for this opportunity to pop in on Mae’s blog and share about my book with you fine readers. Mae is a writer friend of mine. Fun fact, we used to attend the same writer’s group! When I told her that I’d be re-launching one of my books in June, she offered to help. I want to thank her so much for letting me chat with all of you today. 

The Sacrifice of One centers around my main character, Camilla Crim. She’ll turn into a feisty, defiant heroine by the end of the book, but she’s not there just yet. When you first open the book, she’s just a 17-year-old girl that’s been branded as a slave and forced to labor at The Supreme Ruler’s national farm for a pitiful payout.

She lives in a town where nearly everyone is impoverished, and nearly everyone makes the sad walk to work at the farm every day. It’s the only way to survive in Bear Gap. What little bit of money Camilla does make, just gets passed off to her drunkard father.

Camilla’s days are bleak. The only good thing in her life is best friend and big brother, Tuor. One day after work, Camilla finds out that Tuor is in trouble. He’s being accused of a heinous murder. He’s being hunted down by the governor, who wants Tuor’s head on a pike for his crime. The problem is, Tuor is innocent, or at least Camilla thinks he is.

Book cover for The Sacrifice of One by Emily Fortney, a young adult fantasy novel, showacs attractive young woman with long hair

By the time she figures out who’s behind this plot, it might be too late for Tuor, and he’ll have to face the execution block. Camilla has to face the truth. Will Tuor have to be sacrificed for the good of many?

Like many authors, I drew my inspiration for The Sacrifice of One from my surroundings. Many of the names come from things I saw growing up. For instance, Camilla lives in a territory called Bear Gap. I got this name from a town north of me in Pennsylvania. There’s a big billboard with that name on it that I used to pass by when I was driving in that area. For some reason it stuck with me and I used it in my book!

Although this book is not the first book I ever wrote, it is the one dearest to my heart. The character of Camilla had been in my mind for years before I ever wrote her onto paper. I always pictured a confident, female warrior of sorts. This book is really about how Camilla grows into that persona. It’s truly a coming of age story.

I originally published The Sacrifice of One in 2016, but I decided to re-launch this book this month. I refreshed the manuscript and the cover and also widened the distribution by having it now available on Nook, Apple Books, and Kobo!

For a limited time, I’m offering the eBook for The Sacrifice of One for FREE to anyone who signs up for my email newsletter. I’m doing a rapid release of books 2 and 3 in this series this year so if you enjoy The Sacrifice of One, you’ll get to binge on the next couple of books in just a few months!

It has been truly an honor to guest post on Mae’s blog today and to share with all of you about my book and my favorite character to write. Thanks again to Mae for letting me stop in! Happy Reading!

 ~ Emily

Photo of author, Emily FortneyAuthor Bio:
Emily has come a long way from building forts in the woods behind her childhood home. She’s the author of the The Sacrifice of One, the first book in a thrilling, young adult fantasy series. Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, Emily currently resides with her husband and shelter cat, and is vigilant about keeping her house well stocked with dark chocolate.


Book Blurb:
The proof of 17-year-old Camilla’s slavery is on the inside of her arm. A mutilated scar has been branded into her skin, W for Warwick. Forced to labor at Warwick’s national farm for a pitiful payout, the only good thing in Camilla’s life is her best friend and big brother, Tuor.

When Camilla receives a mysterious note from a stranger, she has to face the truth about her brother: He’s on the run. He’s in grave danger. And he’s being accused of a hideous crime. Camilla would bet her life that someone has set him up, but who? If Camilla can’t prove Tuor’s innocence, he’ll have to face the executioner.

As Tuor’s demise draws near, will Camilla find relief in learning the truth surrounding her brother’s crime? Or will she accept that he must be sacrificed for the good of many?

Purchase Links:
AmazonBarnes and Noble | Apple Books | Kobo

Connect with Emily:
Website | Email Newsletter | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads |  Wattpad


There’s nothing like getting a free ebook to introduce you to a series. And isn’t that book cover gorgeous? I hope you’ll share some comment luv with Emily and let her know your thoughts. And don’t forget to use the sharing buttons to help spread the word about The Sacrifice of One. Thanks for visiting and reading today!

 

A WIP and A Short Story #amwriting

If you’re looking for a Book Review Tuesday post, it will be back next week. I have several book reviews to share, but I thought I’d do something different today. It’s been a while since I popped in to chat writing—so here I am. 🙂

I still haven’t cracked open my current WIP, but I’m starting to feel the siren call. Before I wade in, I need to restudy the story and characters. It’s been a while since the pages have graced my screen. Right now, I’m envisioning this work as a stand alone, but it has series potential if I decide to expand it. Like most of my books, the genre is mystery/suspense, but the folklore elements are rooted in an old legend rather than the supernatural.

I started walking and jogging during our shelter-in-place time, which has been great for thinking through plot entanglements. I also had a new character pop up during a stroll. He’s been waging a campaign for inclusion, and even though the details are vague, I think he’s going to win.

Desk with an open notebook with writing, old books stacked to the side

While the WIP is currently languishing, I did finish my short story submission for a murder mystery anthology. Once more, I’m doing something a little different. No supernatural threads. Surprised?

Instead, I drummed up a Medieval setting, a winter gala attended by multiple members suspects of the nobility, and a puzzling murder.

A Winter Reckoning is a rework of an unpublished novella I wrote in the mid 90s. The original word count came in just under 32K. The core of the story was a murder mystery, but there were also a lot of unrelated plot entanglements. I cut everything that didn’t tie to the murder plot and reduced the word count by half. What’s left is the guts of the story. My critique partners have provided feedback, I’ve tweaked a few things, and it’s ready to send. I did what I’d hoped was a final read through over the weekend, but I ended up doing more fine tuning. Mostly word choices and some phrase restructuring. That means I need to let it sit for another week or two and take one final look.

In the meantime, I’m going to focus on my WIP. I had such a clear vision of this book before becoming sidetracked by NaNo last November, when I took a detour to work on a different project. That book is still singing a siren call as well, both competing with the other. I need to figure out how Craig Boyack manages to work on two stories at one time and maybe that would solve my problem!

old typewriter with sheet of paper that reads Write Something in large text

That’s the latest from me. I wish you happy writing—and happy reading. Look for more book reviews next week, and a few guests authors to pop in later in the month. As much as I love doing my book reviews, I thought I should mix them up with something different for a change. Eventually, I may get back to a semi regular blogging schedule, along with the return of Wednesday Weirdness!

Book Review Tuesday: The Accident, Wall of Silence, Bad Habits @TracyBuchanan @judypost

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

Happy Tuesday, friends!I have a new roundup of books for you. I’m still sharing reviews of books I read during April quarantine, along with a newer title. Lately, I’ve been immersed in a single series (Harry Dresden), but we’ll chat about that in the weeks to come. 🙂

In the meantime, I hope one of these fabulous novels tickles your reading fancy.



Book cover for The Accident by Natalie Barelli shows woman from back walking up stepsThe Accident
by Natalie Barelli

I believe I’ve found a new auto-buy author, if the rest of Natalie Barelli’s work is anything like The Accident. Katherine is a shining star on a fast-track career, plus a single mom with a teenage daughter. She becomes friends with Eve, who worms her way into Katherine’s life and her place of employment. When the two have a girls’ night out, Katherine wants to call an Uber, knowing she’s had too much to drink. Eve talks her into driving, pointing out the roads will be deserted. Halfway home, Katherine strikes a pedestrian on a lonely road. Eve convinces her they need to get back in the car and take off. It’s a decision that will become a nightmare for Katherine as her life spirals out of control. But as each day passes and she wrestles with what happened, she realizes Eve is not at all the person she originally thought.

The book gets very twisty very quickly. I blew through it in two sittings, glued to the pages. It’s fast-paced, does require a stretch of credibility in a few places, but is pure popcorn enjoyment. Part soap-opera, part Lifetime movie, it sucks you in quickly and doesn’t let go until the thoroughly satisfying ending. If you enjoy psychological thrillers, this is an excellent read. I’m already scouting out more books by this author.

5 Stars
Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Fiction > Women’s Psychological Fiction


Book cover for Wall of Silence by Tracy Buchanan shows closeup of trees in forest with title  laid overtop imageWall of Silence
by Tracy Buchanan

Wall of Silence presents an interesting mystery and an interesting concept. Melissa Byatt has an ideal life with three wonderful children and a popular husband who is running for a local office. She lives in an upscale “forest” community, with neighbors who look out for one another. Her childhood was less than ideal, but she’s risen above it and has so much for which she’s grateful.

One day she comes home from a bike ride to find her husband stabbed, her three children clustered around him with the knife. It quickly becomes apparent one of them is responsible, but which one and why? When the police arrive, Melissa decides to protect her children at all cost. With her husband, Patrick, in a coma waffling between life and death, Melissa must unravel what happened to so drastically alter her perfect family.

As the book progresses, the reader gains insight not only to the Melissa’s children, her in-laws, and her childhood, but also the neighbors in the community of Forest Grove. A neighborhood Facebook group is used for back and forth chit-chat (and gossip) to advance the story, which I thought was a brilliant and intriguing move by the author. Slowly, old secrets, suspicions and grudges come to light, and many are not who they seem at first glance.

There were times I was thoroughly aggravated by Melissa’s behavior, and the behavior of her children, much of which contributed to the slow build of the story. This is not a book that moves at a fast clip but a mystery that falls into place bits and pieces at a time. The tension is constant and there is always some new nugget of information to keep the reader flipping pages. I found this an intriguing mystery and would definitely read more by this author in the future.

5 Stars
Amazon Link
Genre: British and Irish Literary Fiction > Psychological Fiction


Book cover for Bad Habits by Judi Lynn shows shows bloody revolver in background, cute redhead in foreground on a laptop, yellow Bentley behind herBad Habits
by Judi Lynn

There is a lot of heart in this story. To be sure, there is mystery too—murder, drugs, a crime to solve—but the characters themselves bring an entirely different dimension. Lux hasn’t had a great upbringing or childhood, but she’s independently wealthy. She finds the loving environment she lacked with her own parents with her best friend Gabbie’s family, including Gabbie’s brothers. She’s especially drawn to Keon, a chef, and soon realizes what she feels surpasses simple fondness.

As Keon and Lux grow closer, they find themselves caught up in a web of trouble revolving around Keon’s brother, Tyson. The cast of characters is large, but there are many standouts, including Pete, a cop who’s attracted to Gabbie. I also liked Ian, who found himself in difficult situations even as he tried to do the right thing, and his sister, Shelly—a fifteen-year-old learning the value of self-worth over game-playing and manipulation.

The mystery ties together neatly at the end, but it is the warmth among the characters that brought me a special smile when I finished the story. I also have to mention that I really loved the addition of Lux’s yellow Bentley as a cute aside. Although this story is complete, the book has all the earmarks of an engaging series. A pleasure to read.

5 Stars
Amazon Link
Genre: Amateur Sleuths > Women Sleuths


Although I did a minimal amount of writing during shelter-in-place months, books were my friend. I still have a few more to share before I catch up to the present. You just can’t go wrong with books. Here’s hoping you’ve had a few entraining tales to distract yourself as well! 🙂