Friday, April 17, 2015

Book Review: The Cunning Man by John Yeoman

Looking for clever, fast-paced historical mysteries? Here you’ll discover seven ‘impossible’ crimes, locked room puzzles, passion and riddles galore. Enjoy these lusty crime stories set in Elizabethan England where a ‘cunning man’, Hippo Yeoman, must solve devilish cases to save his friends’ lives, or even his own.

This anthology of short historical mystery stories is a world ‘first’. It’s not only a joy to read in its own right, but it’s also a ‘fictorial': a collection of crime thrillers packed with clever but unobtrusive tips that show you precisely how they were written, to help you write your own stories! They will appeal equally to avid readers of historical crime and students of creative writing who want to enhance their story or novel writing skills, in any genre.

Can you find the culprit before Hippo does? Challenge your own detective skills, enjoy a thundering good read in settings that are wholly authentic to 16th century London, and discover – while you read – how to write a great story!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

#AtoZChallenge - All Gallow's Eve - N


According to the Newport Aquarium site, they were voted the #1 aquarium in the country.  It just doesn't say when.  I did not get to go on this trip that my husband, children and mother-in-law took, as I had to work.  There have been several occasions like that and on one occasion I got a tattoo on my right shoulder with my kids' initials and birthstone colors in hearts so I wouldn't miss them as much.  I'm glad the kids had a wonderful experience, but I have to admit to being a wee bit jealous at such times.

Even if you couldn't tell by the date on the photos, you could tell that these are *ahem* old pictures, because the kids here are the same ones in the cave pictures from yesterday.  Only they're more like young adults now.  Heck, the boys are old enough to drive!

Aside from the Louisville Zoo, and maybe Kentucky Kingdom (amusement park) I'd hazard a guess that the Newport Aquarium is probably the most visited family-oriented destination in the state.

I can see a school field-trip or two in All Gallow's Eve where "the poor ignorant country children are treated to the educational experiences available only in the big city".  At this point, I can hear DS2 (far right in the above picture) say, "do I notice a hint of sarcasm"?  Hmmm.  What do you think?

Ok.  I'll stop now.


Click on the sunflower graphic at the very top of this post to see the list of 2015 A to Z Challenge participants and visit their blogs to see what they are writing about this year!

#AtoZChallenge - All Gallow's Eve - M


I guess I was feeling lazy yesterday, or maybe I was worried about the flooding state of emergency in our county, or both.  Anyway, I thought I would repost some pictures we took in Mammoth Cave in Western Kentucky.

Above is DD (dear daughter-sitting), DS2 and DS1.  DS2 is not really taller than DS1 (he might have been standing on a rock.  And since then he has 'grown into his height'.  He's definitely not as stocky anymore.  But in this silhouette, he does look AMAZINGLY like his paternal grandfather.

This was in the first chamber where we topped for some history information.  That was after descending some 400 stairs.  Now, since I got kicked in the knee at a job 4-5 years ago, and had an operation on that same knee. I can count the number of times on one hand that I have not gone down steps like a toddler, both feet landing on each step one foot after the other.  There was simply no time if I did not want to hold up the entire group.  I was holding onto the railings for dear life.

There were four (or maybe five) tours available from that area going to different parts of the 400 mile cave network.  We chose a medium-length tour.  The kids kind of wanted to do that one, and I did not want to be what made us choose something else.  The guides made several general warnings before we left about the degree of difficulty on the hike and anyone who thought they might have trouble could till back out.  I was *ahem* not thinking straight and said, "No problem!"  

It was that with that thought of not disappointing my children (and not wanting them to worry about me) , and with God's help I made it through without having to be carried out.  I was 'purt near' delirious by the time we got to the final chamber.  When they said, up the walkway and outside, I think I bit on my tongue to keep from crying tears of joy! *lol*  (Yeah, sure, NOW I can laugh about it!)

There was a 3-4 hour drive home, interrupted by stopping at a restaurant.  We had never been there before, but I swear that was just about the best food I have ever tasted!  (It is a regional chain, and we have visited several of their locations since then.  The food is really good, but that day ... mmm, mmm, GOOD!)

And I don't know about the kids but my husband admitted being sore the next day.  Me?  I could hardly move for the following two days.  

I wasn't born in the hills of Kentucky, but I have some of the mule-stubbornness that seems to run in my in-laws' family.  And my father's side of my ancestors came from West Virginia, next door to the east from Kentucky.  Maybe all this contributes to my love for the Appalachian region.

One word of caution - if you ever take one of the Mammoth Cave tours, make sure someone in your party has a working flashlight.  (In our case, of course, the park rangers all had flashlights.)  Because, if the lights go out while you are down there, you cannot see your hand even if it is touching your nose.


The sunflower graphic at the top contains a link to the participants' page at A to Z Central, where you have a choice of literally hundreds of blogs to explore!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

AUDIO BOOK REVIEW/GIVEAWAY - Shelf Life by Christina George

Publishing: An industry of out-of-control of egos, unrealistic expectations, and books with the shelf life of milk. This is Kate’s world, but for how long?

When one of Kate Mitchell’s star authors is carted away in handcuffs, she thinks it’s only the beginning of her troubles. As her world crumbles around her, Kate desperately looks for anyone to hold on to but finds that happy endings are truly works of fiction. When her career and love affair hit their expiration dates, Kate sets off on a new adventure....

Starting over in California is easy, but Kate soon learns that leaving her old life behind isn’t. Nicholas Lavigne is eager to help her forget, but two things still own her heart: the dream of discovering the next great American novel and MacDermott Ellis. As Kate tries to rebuild her life, she finds a surprising gift that reboots her career in a new and unexpected direction. Suddenly her name becomes synonymous with one of the biggest best sellers publishing has seen in ages, and she's welcomed back with open arms. At the height of her success, the ghosts of her past come back to remind her of the world she'd been trying to forget and the man who never let go of her heart. Behind the book there’s always more to the story.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#AtoZChallenge - All Gallow's Eve - L


Before we moved to Kentucky, we lived in Texas.  One two occasions, we drove up here with the kids to visit Chris's Dad and Mamaw.  Both times, our vehicle broke down beyond simple repair and Chris's Dad had to come and rescue us several hundred miles away from his home.  Yeah, I know most parents would do that for their children, and certainly grandparents for grandchildren.  But there are a couple of exceptional additions to this set-up.

First of all, my father-in-law's right leg is amputated above the knew due to an infection that had set in after a surgery.  Secondly, he had not met our two boys before our first visit.  Secondly, the first time I met my father-in-law was when he knocked on our motel room door at 2am after he arrived from Kentucky to pick us up.

So, that was all set up for the real story.  We were waiting in a gas station-cafe while someone was trying to fix our vehicle when I overheard the following story.  Some version of this will probably wind up in All Gallow's Eve.

A table of locals were sitting there talking amongst themselves.  They were trying to determine the pronunciation of the capital city of Kentucky, whether it was "Loo-iss-ville" or "Loo-ee-ville".  My mind played the following retort:

"First of all, the capital of Kentucky if FRANKFORT!  Secondly, it's not pronounced "Loo-iss-ville" OR "Loo-ee-ville", *ahem* silly, it's "LOO-uh-vull", or even "LOO-vull".  You'll be pegged for an outsider right off talking like that!"


Click the sunflower graphic at the top of the page to see the LONG list of other #AtoZChallenge participants and see what they're on about this month!

Monday, April 13, 2015

#AtoZChallenge - All Gallow's Eve - K


Book Review/Giveaway: Wicked Stitch by Amanda Lee

When murder strikes the small town of Tallulah Falls, embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer isn’t afraid of getting into the knitty-gritty to clear her own name…

For most small-business owners in Tallulah Falls, the upcoming Renaissance Faire is a wonderful way to promote their specialty shops. For Marcy’s nemesis, Nellie, and her sister Clara, it’s an opportunity to finally put Marcy and her shop, the Seven-Year Stitch, out of business. Apparently the sisters like to keep their grudges all in the family and have set up a competing booth right next to Marcy’s at the Faire.

When Clara is discovered dead in her own booth—strangled by the scarf she had almost finished knitting—Marcy becomes the prime suspect. Now she has to do whatever it takes to keep her reputation from unraveling and get to the bottom of a most deadly yarn…