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Music Monday, Anniversary Edition

Eighteen years ago today, I stood in the English Garden at what was then the Lake Tahoe Fantasy Inn (it’s changed hands and no longer has the fabulous theming) and said “I do.” I married into Clan Cathcart, which also makes me a Wallace. Thus, our choice for a recessional: “Scots Wha’ Hae.” World-renowned Celtic harpist Anne Roos played it for us; this version is by Alex Beaton. Original link

Shark teeth and having the dentist pull baby teeth

If there was a contest to see who could have the most baby teeth pulled by a dentist, I think my son is winning. I’ve lost count how many teeth he has had pulled but I feel safe to say that 14 of his 20 baby teeth have come out at the dentist office. One of them during a cleaning but the rest we had her pull. It just seems none of his teeth wanted to come out on their own. He didn’t lose his first tooth until he was just three weeks shy of his 7th birthday and had the four remaining baby teeth pulled when he was 14. I always tell him that his teeth just love him and don’t want to come out. Why did we have so many of his teeth pulled? It is because he had shark teeth. (No, not pointy teeth of...
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How to handle bad reviews?

Every author will face it with a bad review for his book, sooner or later. You might have a perfect book, but there is always a reader who will think differently.  If you think that a good editor and translator will help you to change the audience's opinion, you are wrong. Your book is an investment, you paid an illustrator, editor, beta readers, but still, this is not enough to be a bestseller. You got a bad review. What I consider a bad review? 1 star in Amazon. 2 stars in Amazon. Receiving bad reviews doesn't mean that your book is a pile of rubbish.  The reasons for bad reviews might be different: It could be an act of revenge. Someone doesn't like you and he will spit at your book. The ...
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Introducing author Patricia McDonald

  Let me introduce an awesome British author. She is very collaborative, one of those who motivated me to write my stories and inspired me.  British Crime Author Pat McDonald lives in a rural part of the Midlands, United Kingdom. After studying for a degree in Applied Social Sciences including criminology, psychology and sociology, she had a long career as a researcher, project manager and program manager in the National Health Service and in policing. She is now a full-time novelist and writes primarily in the crime genre.  Her crime novels have been described as ‘gritty’ although she also writes humorous satire (The Penny series) and her thrillers have included the paranormal and historica...
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DJ Jamison – Faking a Groom

Today, I’m hosting author DJ Jamison and her latest release Faking a Groom, book three in the Marital Bliss series, a m/m contemporary romance.  Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. **** Book Title: Faking A Groom Author and Publisher: DJ Jamison Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh at Black Jazz Design Release Date: September 24, 2020 … Continue readingOriginal linkOriginal author: Maggie Blackbird

Death on the Nile - Official Trailer (2020)

Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot's Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple's idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short. Set against an epic landscape of sweeping desert vistas and the majestic Giza pyramids, this tale of unbridled passion and incapacitating jealousy features a cosmopolitan group of impeccably dressed travelers, and enough wicked twists and turns to leave audiences guessing until the final, shocking denouement.   Death on the Nile" reunites the filmmaking team behind 2017's global hit Murder on the Orient Express, and stars five-time Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh as the iconic detectiv...
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I hope the cat did it…

There’s this photo a mate sent me, posted on some social or other by a Good Writer (and no, I don’t know who) somewhere here in Italy.And no, I will not post the photo.But to give you an idea, we see a desktop, with a flat screen, a sleeping cat and a keyboard. There’s an open notebook by the side of the keyboard, filled with scrawled notes (very neat) and a pile of books. Six books. On the screen, what I think is Microsoft Word, with two pages of manuscript side-by-side. Yes, you know that sort of photo. Maybe it’s not even a stock photo (like the ones you’ll find in this post), but it looks and feel likes one. It’s the classic “writer at work” photo you see posted around the web by Good Wr...
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Renovations at Historic York Guildhall Reveal Human Remains, Roman Artifacts | Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine

As BBC News reports, the team’s other finds include a well-preserved hairpin, a copper stylus, and pieces of roof and floor tiles tentatively dated to the Roman period. “It is therefore possible that the medieval Friary was built over the ruins of a Roman building that once occupied the riverfront,” says Tom Coates, project supervisor for the York Archaeological Trust, in the statement. York—then known by its Latin name, Eboracum—was established as a Roman settlement around A.D. 71, according to the Yorkshire Museum. The latest finds are far from the first ancient discoveries at the Guildhall site: In February, archaeologists uncovered a cobbled Roman road buried some five feet below the gro...
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American Dirt

  In my last post, I ranted about media hype for books and blithely announced that I was going to read American Dirt instead. At that time I did not know American Dirt was an Oprah Book Club recommendation. (No, I didn’t notice the little yellow sticker on the cover.) Nor did I know that the book was mired in controversy. As a non-Latina, I will not comment on the controversy, but I will say that I’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico and learned from a variety of sources (some much more reliable than others) a few details of crime and corruption at all levels of government and society, so will comment with that perspective. American Dirt started out very strong and I was quickly immersed in the...
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Yuko Takeuchi (1980-2020)

I am shattered at the news of the death of Japanese actress, writer and photographer Yuko Takeuchi, that was absolutely wonderful as a female version of Sherlock Holmes in the TV series Miss Sherlock. She was 40 years old. Original link

Marie-Claude Bourque – A Vampire’s Spell

Today, author Marie-Claude Bourque is guesting.  She’s interviewing the hero from her latest release A Vampire’s Spell, book one in The Order of the Black Oak series, a paranormal romance.  Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. **** Marie-Claude’s Interview with hero Immortal Valerian St-Amand: “So Valerian, tell me more about this witch you met … Continue readingOriginal linkOriginal author: Maggie Blackbird


Amidst the flowers and sunshine of Florida lies an evil so deadly, few speak of it. The residents of Oasis chose to fight it. Will they lose their hearts or souls? PREY FOR THE DEAD linkOriginal author: Susanne Leist

Sample Saturday, with Bonus Track: “Pompeii Fire”

Hi, everyone. This week’s sample is, again, from my work in progress entitled Pompeii Fire. As always, the final product is likely to differ from the current draft. Music was a regular part of gladiatorial games, played during and between bouts. The cornu referred to in the text is a brass instrument. You have probably seen images of them in frescoes and so on. Two examples of the instrument were excavated from Pompeii during the 19th century. The cornu in the video is a reconstructon. We are very fortunate to have an opportunity to hear this ancient horn played. After his bout ended and the cornu signaled the next event, Drusilla met Suetonius in the quadriportico. “You must come to the pra...
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Special Guest Post by Publishing Consultant Natalie Audley

My name is Natalie Audley, and I am a Publishing Consultant who has spent the last six years working across the industry. I have worked with hundreds of authors, from debuts to household names, and I know what makes them sell. In my work I have managed and marketed a variety of genres and learnt a great deal about how and why something sells. I have a great passion for literature, as well as respect for those who love to write. My abilities at selling books, from being a bookseller to pitching thousands of copies to Amazon, means I know how to communicate great ideas with personable flare.  The aim of my publishing consultancy is to support new writers in developing their fiction or plays, w...
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Time to create some magic

Good morning! It’s going to be an interesting day today. There’s no gaming, and we thought we’d have a weekend where it was just the two of us around the house. Then, our son decided to surprise us and come home from college last night…right before his sister went back to her school. We’re still working on that weekend without kids. LOL. Anyhow, I do plan to get some writing in. I recently got rid of the majority of our Halloween decorations. They were geared to younger kids. As our youngest is now 18, it was time to upgrade to a less kitschy decor. One of the things I went for is some throw pillows. This one in particular I fell in love with. As a writer, it’s my job to create magic. To giv...
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A work (as yet) without a title

Three weeks ago I started writing just for the fun of it. Writing has always been a relaxing thing for me, a good way to quiet the mind and just let the words go from the brain, through the fingers and the keyboard, to the page. I did it as a kid, when I was learning to type on my mother’s Olivetti Lettera 32, and for a long time it’s been a way to get away from it all for a moment. So I started writing, and for starters there were just two things – a piece of diary-like writing about an out-of-work actress/dancer looking for a job, any job, and an old dark house. That, and the idea that this would be a ghost story. But Old dark house is, of course, shorthand for a certain genre of story, th...
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Margot Swan – Delayed in Zurich

Today, I have author Margot Swan in the interview chair.  We’re talking about her latest release Delayed in Zurich, book one in the Vagabond Series, a new adult romantic comedy.  Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. **** 1. Can you tell us something about yourself and how you became an author? Margot: For those … Continue readingOriginal linkOriginal author: Maggie Blackbird


Please save us. Halloween is near, And THE DEAD will soon be here. THE DEAD GAME SERIESOriginal linkOriginal author: Susanne Leist

Write or Die

As I think I mentioned a while back, one of those “memories” that Facebook serves us daily to make us feel miserable (that’s my explanation of this “feature”) made me aware of the fact that in 2019, by the 15th of August, I had submitted 55 short stories and articles to various magazines and anthologies.By August the 15th 2020 I had only submitted 33.That scared me as hell. It was a sign of the HUGE amount of time I had wasted (so to speak) to follow the ghostwriting job from Hell that, as I mentioned a few days back, ended this September, with me not being paid.I was also scared because a drop of 40% submissions could be a sign I was losing my ability to write a lot, and write fast – and by...
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Weekend Reads: “The Jane Austen Society”

The Jane Austen Society
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie JennerMy rating: 5 of 5 starsOnce upon a time, I was a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Austen’s books, though they are few in number, are some of the most splendid social commentary of their time. Her works give us an intimate view of life in Regency England.This novel takes place during and shortly after World War II, in the town of Chawton (Austen lived there toward the end of her life). Frances Knight, a descendant of Austen’s brother, is living a reclusive life in the ancestral home while village life goes on around her. We get to meet Adeline Grover, the school teacher, Dr. Benjamin Gray, attorney/solicitor Andrew Forrester, and man...
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