Wednesday, December 10, 2014

OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon - A Review

Time travel may not occur the way you imagine. . .

Beware of stone circles and places where witches like to dance. . .

Catapulted two hundred years into the past with no warning and no idea of where you are when you get there. . .here is a story of adventure, history, love and danger.


When Claire and Frank Randall visit the Highlands in Scotland, she doesn't imagine she'll end up time-tripping to the 1700s without so much as a fare thee well. In the postwar forties of the 20th Century, a nurse who has seen the injured from the fields of a world war battle suddenly finds herself in the midst of an 18th century skirmish, meeting an rogue ancestor of her husband.

Not far into this new era, Claire discovers a man who will form part of her destiny. This man, known as Jamie Fraser to his familiars, follows a path of his own in a Scotland known for its harsh times and it's even more harsh forms of government. His interaction and crossing of fates with the ancestor of Claire's 'future' husband form a thread that weaves its way through this story. Along the way are excessive punishment, greed, familial killing, witchery, and a wonderful overlapping of history, tied and secured with a love story that will warm your heart. Claire becomes a home and field surgeon and herbalist to cope and to secure her place in the times in which she finds herself. Even that can be dangerous, keeping in mind the simplistic notions about medicine that many a common man held in the 1700s.

At first I found Claire a bit annoying in her refusal to accept where she was but came to appreciate her stamina after a few more chapters. Gabaldon tells the story in her usual deft manner, retaining the attractive aura that surrounds Claire's companion, Jamie, chosen by Fate, the proper laird of his own property but exiled for political reasons.I like the character of Jamie better than Claire, as she seems to do many ill-advised things in the beginning, but due to her herbal lore, I do come to admire her. She gets her come-uppance in several ways, and she does eventually realize what a gift she has been given.  I recommend this book if you like your stories to be the kind that crosses many genres, are full of historical research and hard to put down.

Future Review to Come:

I am not reading the books in chronological order, and have begun The Fiery Cross, as I was lucky enough to get a couple of her books at a library sale.  I'm also finishing Roland Yeomans' novel, The Stars Bleed at Midnight. It's another novel meant to be savored.


Are you a fan of Gabaldon's writing? Have you read Outlander?

Please leave a comment to let me know you've been here, and I'll respond. I've been tending to family issues and have been a bit scarce.  I am posting when I can. I also wish all of you a Happy Holiday! Enjoy the family time!


Outlander, a New York Times Bestselling novel, published by Doubleday in Canada, Seal Books, 2001.


Friday, November 7, 2014

YAKUZA TERRITORY - New from Milo James Fowler

Danger lives in this part of town. . .

New Release from Milo James Fowler

Take a moment to discover what happens when a hardboiled detective story is set in a science fiction world:

A detective with no way out.
A telepath with something to prove...

World-weary detective Charlie Madison has seen more than his share of war. When he stops by the 37th precinct late one night to check on his old friend Sergeant Douglass, the place is as quiet as a morgue. The last thing he expects to find: half a dozen Russian gunmen with a score to settle.

What starts out as a vicious Alamo-style battle soon evolves into something more sinister as Madison's past comes into play. Will his ties to a branch of the Japanese mafia be a help or a hindrance? And who is the strange man in holding? Why are the Russians determined to break him out?

Struggling to survive the night, one private eye must rely on his wits to solve a mystery where he's outnumbered, outgunned, and trapped inside a police station with a soulless killing machine.


Maybe checking in on Sergeant Douglass late that night hadn’t been the best idea. I should have paid more attention to the warning signs right off; things weren’t exactly business as usual at the precinct. The pencil-necked clerk wasn’t at his post, and an eerie quiet held the foyer as still as a morgue. No cops, uniformed or otherwise, to be seen. In a city that never slept, one expected its law enforcement personnel to share the same god-awful insomnia—graveyard shift or no.

The vacant front desk didn’t sway me from my course, though. Little glitches out of the ordinary seldom did. I’d trained myself over the years to file them away, but not focus on them too much. As a detective, it was easy to get distracted by particulars while going after the big picture. Besides, I was suspicious by nature. I questioned everything as a matter of course. But as far as I knew, everybody on duty was partying in back, throwing Douglass a well-deserved soirée after his recent ordeal and return to the land of the visible.

I paused at the unlocked door leading into the bullpen—an open-concept area with clusters of desks for everybody ranked lower than lieutenant. Access into the station’s inner workings wasn’t usually so free and easy. As I quietly stepped inside, I knew without a doubt something was amiss.

The whole room lay empty except for five guys standing in the middle with assault weapons slung over their shoulders—AK-12s and SIG MPXs by the looks of them. Not what your average citizens usually carried around concealed on their person.

“Hey.” I saluted the first one to notice me. “Am I late to the party?”

He glared my way, and I couldn’t help feeling like I was back in high school; once again, I’d forgotten the beer. They weren’t in uniform—unless black nubuck jackets and jeans counted, not to mention the scruffy stubble, slick hair, and stocky frames. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the look of your standard-issue thug for hire these days.

“Charlie—get down!”

I would have recognized that Scottish brogue anywhere. I’d already assembled a good enough picture of the situation to know it was in my best interest to hit the floor a split second before the deafening staccato of weapons fire and a hail of bullets headed my way. The rounds blasted straight through computer monitors and potted plants on desks; sparks flew upward along with shards of clay and clouds of potting soil. Chairs disintegrated as I cringed behind a solid steel desk and drew the snubnosed Smith & Wesson from my shoulder holster.

“Sarge, you all right?” I barely heard myself over the stampede of slugs plowing into the steel that sheltered me. The rounds were making some serious dents, but none had punctured through—yet. It was only a matter of time.

I wouldn’t be able to stay put for long.


Available from
Musa Publishing. Musa Publishing is proud to announce the release of Milo James Fowler's most recent science fiction novella Yakuza Territory.

Add Yakuza Territory to your Goodreads bookshelf


 About the Author

1. When did you start seriously pursuing writing as a career?

I've been writing since I was a kid, but I started submitting my work for publication in the summer of 2009. I'd always thought I would pursue publication at some point—probably after I retired from teaching or turned 40. My first story was published in January 2010, and I've had another 96 accepted for publication since then. I won't turn 40 for a couple more years, and I'm still teaching full-time. Doesn't look like I'll be retiring anytime soon!

2. How did you create the character Charlie Madison?

When I was a kid, I learned to type on an old-school manual typewriter. That's where I learned to write, too. My first novels were messy, full of typos and plot holes. But they were fun. And at age 15, that's what it was all about for me. Private eye Charlie Madison was one of the first characters I created, based on Box 13 and Dixon Hill, and The Double Murder was his big debut. By the end of it, I had over a hundred pages of snappy banter, mob hits, double-crossing dames, car chases, and even some alligators on leashes. It was a horrible parody, and I knew it.

Halfway through
Write1Sub1 2011, I came up with the first Charlie Madison story I'd written in decades: Girl of Great Price. It wasn't anything like his original case, but he was the same quick-witted, intrepid detective I'd known before. I transplanted him into a more serious and gritty "future noir" sci-fi setting, and once I'd envisioned that world, I knew I'd be back. Immaterial Evidence soon followed, and Yakuza Territory will be available from Musa Publishing on November 7th.

3. Are you working on more Charlie Madison stories?

I'm outlining the follow-up to Yakuza Territory, and it's going to be full of assassinations, kidnappings, killer robots, and maybe even a mad scientist. The working title is The Gifted Ones, and it follows the origins of the mysterious suprahumans who have appeared in all three Charlie Madison detective stories so far.

Author Bio

Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night. When he's not grading papers, he's imagining what the world might be like in a dozen alternate realities. He is an active SFWA member, and his work has appeared in more than 90 publications, including AE SciFi, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, Nature, Shimmer, and the Wastelands 2 anthology. 
Visit and join The Crew for updates about new releases as well as exclusive promotions.

Are you familiar with Milo's noir tales? Read any of his other works? Do you like noir with a science fiction twist? Ever heard of Charlie Madison?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! Check at Milo's blog for ordering and for the advantages of being a member of The Crew.


Friday, October 24, 2014

WEP - Haunted Memories, A Ghost Story

I didn't hear that noise. It's my imagination. . .

Hosted by Denise Covey

A moonless night with a storm approaching, and I'm all alone in this house.  I checked all the doors and windows on the lower level when I arrived, except one, but that one is hardly ever opened and always locked. I don't have the TV on since the radio weather advisory warned of nearby tornadoes. The howling winds of the storms are something I'll never get used to. It always sounds like the roof will blow away. Maybe I've watched the Wizard of Oz too many times.

The house was as silent as death before the sounds started. Great. First, I heard what sounded like a footstep. Then another. Quiet footsteps. A door creaked, but old doors do that when they settle. A house like this, which has seen many people come and go, must sigh every now and then. Can a house sigh? It seems like it. 

So much misery has been bottled up here. Why did I say I would watch the place while my family went for a short visit? I remember the stories about this house. We kids used to relate them to each other when we had sleepovers. There it is again, almost like a door closing gently.

Perhaps the ghosts in this house aren't angry ghosts, just sad ones. I'll get the flashlight in case the storm blows the fuses and the lights go out. I can hear the rain starting to fall harder now. If any of the large windows are open on the second level, I have to shut them.

As I ascend the stairs, I try not to look at the landing after the 13th stair where the staircase turns right to go to the second level.  My bedroom was on that level when I was younger. That landing features in a family story about a man who hung himself. Bereft and depressed after the death of his brother by a lightning strike, he committed suicide.

I arrive at the top step and the same window is open at the end of the hall. The window where the first brother was killed, burned by the ferocity of the lightning as he left the bathroom beside the window. The wind is blowing through the hallway, bringing in the rain. I shut the window quickly, careful not to look at any relfection that may be there, and listen for thunder announcing a coming strike. As kids, we learned to count the seconds between the thunder and the strike to gauge how close the lightning was. 

I need a cup of tea or something stronger. My nerves are on high alert. As I turn, I notice the suite across from the one we used to occupy. It's used for storage now. The house was built raised above the ground in 1875. It's easy for rats to get in the storage areas, even though the fireplaces in each room were sealed long ago. 

Not the same house but similar vintage - WC-PD*

As I descend the stairs, the house sinks back into silence and I think of grandmother and the man who gave her this house for a pittance. He was in love with her, but married her sister as she was already married to Grandfather, a man twenty years her senior, when she met the younger man.  He was a doctor and lived in another town. His daughter was our erstwhile aunt. Only one photo we have shows them talking in front of the house. How sad that they never got together. Both Grandmother and Grandfather died in this house, as did others before them. That used to be the way of families, the elderly died at home. I make my tea and reminisce. The spirits settle now, my fear is gone, but I still feel uneasy. I don't know if I can sleep here tonight.

Maybe I'll just sleep on the couch over there in this one room next to the lower kitchen where it seems peaceful.  Then again, maybe not. I wonder if I can stay awake all night?

I might need a lot of tea.


(For more details on this same house see DG's 21st Century Journal Blog), A Gothic South Tale

For a peek at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris: 2013's post at Halloween 

Have you ever felt the chill of 'otherness' in a house, room or even in an area outside? Are you fond of ghost stories, and the unknown? OR are you a fan of Halloween?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by and hope you can check the other WEP stories sometime before Halloween!

*WC-PD NOTE: Photo credit, free use image, used to set the mood. Not the actual house, as the real place on which this story is based has been renovated extensively and has a new owner.



Would you like to challenge yourself? Try Write...Edit...Publish! aka WEP

Join us for a monthly signup and some very interesting reading. It's flexible. I joined the once-a-month bloghop to write a few short stories or write in installments like the old-time serials. I've also met fellow writer-bloggers with the same penchant for responding to Denise's challenges. WEP can help you practice short writing and the prompts will invigorate your creative thinking.

Write…Edit…Publish! welcomes you to submit any of the following – flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction or playscripts to a word count of 1,000 words – artwork and photographs accompanied by your written inspiration in creating your work/s.

Next Challenge: November - Affluenza

Denise Covey - WEP in detail, the list of participants and prompts


Monday, October 20, 2014

SURVIVE and Thrive Blogfest - It's Your HEART!

Once again, Michael di Gesu, together with Stephen Tremp, our own Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and the lovely L. Diane Wolfe join together for another very important blogfest  about HEALTH!

The Survive and Thrive Bloghop is meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages. If you're just entering your forties, or even fifties in particular, you can make a difference in your own chances of beating illnesses by being aware and taking steps to prevent bad habits which will pay you back later in life.

Take a walk through a senior's care home or through the recovery-rehab unit in a hospital to see the effects of heart attacks, strokes, cancer and other degenerative diseases. It's an eye-opener and one we don't like to think about. It's up to us to stay out of those situations.



Eat heart healthy - lean meats, less fat and more olive oil, complex carbs, fruits and veggies

Walk, run or exercise in some manner. Get off your tush! BIC is good for writing, but not for health.

Get a checkup if Heart conditions or Heart attacks run in your family (tests specifically for the heart as well as associated tests)

If High cholesterol runs in your family, discuss the dangers and testing with your doctor, even if you're slim and appear healthy.
Tiredness can imply a warning: clogged arteries, anemic conditions, and others, so have a checkup with your doctor. A barrage of tests may be needed, but it's your life or that of a loved one at risk.

TIME Factors:

Time is essential if a heart attack occurs; you must have some idea of what to do. They can happen anytime, after a stressful situation or during peaceful sleep. Strokes, and heart attacks don't always give warning signs. Have you had any first aid training?

Will you know what to do and how fast you have to do it? My desire to know First Aid came from seeing hubs in a car accident when we were in our early thirties (I was 7 months pregnant at the time). A woman driver ran through a yellow light as it was turning red. I saw it happen as hubs was picking me up from work. The co-workers in the company I worked for were taking care of his bleeding from his head immediately after the accident occurred because they knew First Aid. I thanked each one of them individually after the accident.

After that, I wanted to be able to be competent if I ever was in a similar situation.  In addition, when I became a mother, I wanted to be know what to do if my kids were choking, or having other distress in the early years. I took several courses - basic first aid, lifesaving techniques, and baby CPR, and that knowledge helped when hubs had his heart attack this past summer. I knew what the term 'clear the airway' meant and how to do basic CPR when the 911 operator told me to do that. It is critical.

Ambulance Prioritization
I recently read a news article about the triage of ambulance prioritization of emergency calls in our local paper, The Vancouver Sun. The article says the ambulance response teams prioritize in order to help those first where time makes a large difference, such as cardiac arrests, respiratory collapse, etc. Time without oxygen will impact recovery and chances of survival. In these cases, speed is the essence that helps.
It's your choice. Wouldn't you prefer to be prepared?
To read the other blogposts, click on the title: SURVIVE AND THRIVE

Thanks again to our hosts for organizing and promoting Good Health and Prevention!


Have you had testing for various diseases: Diabetes, heart trouble, cancer, etc? Do you know first aid?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and thanks for dropping by! I'll respond.


Monday, October 6, 2014

WHITE LADY by Jessica Bell - And a Quiz

Do you like to read psychological thrillers? Then you might want to read this. . .


​Sonia yearns for sharp objects and blood. But now that she’s rehabilitating herself as a “normal” mother and mathematics teacher, it’s time to stop dreaming about slicing people’s throats.

While being the wife of Melbourne’s leading drug lord and simultaneously dating his best mate is not ideal, she’s determined to make it work.

It does work. Until Mia, her lover’s daughter, starts exchanging saliva with her son, Mick. They plan to commit a crime behind Sonia’s back. It isn’t long before she finds out and gets involved to protect them.

But is protecting the kids really Sonia’s motive?

*This novel contains coarse language, violence, and sexual themes.


The Quiz Question:


To celebrate the release of Jessica Bell’s latest novel, WHITE LADY, she is giving away an e-copy (mobi, ePub, or PDF) to the first person to correctly guess the one true statement in the three statements below. To clarify, two statements are lies, and one is true:

Jessica Bell’s favourite Classic is ...

a. Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

b. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

c. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

What do you think? Which one is true? Write your guess in the comments, along with your email address. Comments will close in 48 hours. If no-one guesses correctly within in 48 hours, comments will stay open until someone does.

Want more chances to win? You have until October 31 to visit all the blogs where Jessica will share a different set of true and false statements on each one. Remember, each blog is open to comments for 48 hours only. If you win, you will be notified by email with instructions on how to download the book.

Click HERE to see the list of blogs.

Click HERE to view the book trailer.

Click HERE for purchase links.

Questions for the Author:

Where is the setting for this story?
It's set in Melbourne, Australia. Lots of places I mention really exist, but many are fictional too, such as a café called Roxy's. It's location, The Docklands, is real, but the café is not. But that's the beauty of fiction, isn't it? We can do what we like with it.

Did a particular event inspire the novel to be written, such as a news article or?
No, I actually started off with one character (Nash) in a situation that didn't end up being the focus of the book. All of my novels grow quite organically. I'm never really sure where they are headed in the beginning.


Are you familiar with Jessica's work? Are you intrigued by that cover image? Are you trying the quiz questions?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by to learn more about Jessica's new book!

Who owns the mind behind this story?

Author Jessica Bell


Jessica Bell, a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, is the Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

Connect with Jessica online:
Website | Retreat & workshop | Blog | Vine Leaves Literary Journal | Facebook | Twitter

Blog Tour Schedule

*** Good Luck! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

GIRL OF GREAT PRICE by Milo James Fowler

A Charlie Madison Detective Story about kidnapping and a girl who is more than she seems. . .

Milo has written a companion story setting the stage for his novel, Immaterial Evidence.

Girl of Great Price begins in classic noir style with a missing person, in this case a child snatched on the street by mysterious men. Or so Charlie is told. He accepts the assignment, mainly because he needs the cash and rent is due. As his investigation begins, he sees connections running to a Russian kingpin, who has 'eyes' everywhere. In a town sunken to its knees by brutish thugs, anything is possible.

Charlie has a soft spot for certain dames and innocent kids caught in the web of adult intrigue. He's ordered to find the little girl known as Mao, and tries to bluff his way in the decadent town. The wily detective sees a setup. As the game unfolds to the kingpin's advantage, Charlie calls in an IOU from his past.

Tension is palpable when you're on the losing side. Girl of Great Price held me captive 'til the end. It's perfect for a quick read. This little girl is unique. So is Charlie.


Have you read any of Milo's books before? Do you like suspense? This isn't straight suspense, it's slightly spiked. . .

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by!

Girl of Great Price is available as of October 3, 2014. For more information on Girl of Great Price and Immaterial Evidence,  check at Milo's blog.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

WEP - Changing Faces - What Now?

I wake up, look in the bathroom mirror, and a different face looks back at me.

Write, Edit, Publish at Denise Covey's site

Parts 1 and 2 are summarized, Part 3 is New

Take Me Away - Part 1, Beginnings

As I gaze at the Seine River from the Pont D'Iena, I don't regret what I have done. My past life is gone forever. My family, my work, all gone. I wish the river would take me away too, but I have a few things to do first.

In this, my new beginning, I burned the letters which would incriminate others. They were worth a fortune. But there is one more, an important one. The Paris letter is hidden in the lower levels of the Louvre, in one of the statues in Antiquity. 

I know which one. . .

(for full original post click on title)


Part 2 - Louvre Antiquities Letter: The April Fool

I looked at the charcoal grey envelope in my hand held close, as if I might lose it. This was my freedom letter, my payoff. The last thread of my old life. . . before they kidnapped my sister. The envelope had been exactly where I was told to find it, in a cleverly concealed narrow crevice in the back of the Sekhmet statue. Perhaps the Egyptians had passed missives that way too.

As I sit waiting in the private train compartment at the Gare St. Lazare, my thoughts are interrupted by the rumble of the engines, the ringing of the bells and blowing of the whistles, interwoven with the slightly oily smell and the hissing of the air brakes. I  close my eyes to shut out the noise and drift into a short nap, finding myself back in that dimly lit hallway of an older apartment building. . .

. . .I'm walking down the corridor. . .I hear small noises like talking, I'm almost there, get ready, release the safety, secure grip, push door, throw in a smoke device. It lands between them on the bed. This man killed my sister. They turn as one, I aim and fire, intent only on accuracy. Snick! Smoke is filling the room. No witnesses. Aim. Snick! Keep moving fast. . .  Focus. Remove silencer, empty chambers, get out of the building. Into the car and on the road.

I live in Paris now, maybe a long time, maybe not. Yesterday, I went to the old cafe in the Marais. I sat at a different table the first time after the surgery and they treated me as if I were a new customer. On the second visit to the Cafe Louis Phillippe, I sat at my old table, but none of the waiters working now had been here five years ago.

(full original post click on title above)

Paris - Cafe Louis Phillippe, by DG Hudson


Part 3 - Changing Faces: What Now?

I've been transformed, given a new lease on life, but the inside me is still the same. The voice is slightly smoky now, an effect achieved by fraying the vocal cords minutely. . .all part of the Changing Faces deluxe identity package.

Changing faces gives me freedom, protects my identity and may even give me cover. I've cut all the ties to my previous life, so I've closed any way of them tracing me. No forwarding addresses are sent out and I've moved a few times.

I can't communicate with anyone, relative or not. I need to blend into the centuries old buildings that survive in Paris. They said disappear. I plan to, including disappearing from them too. Never trust those who want you to disappear.

It will take a long time for the fear to recede. I will stare at those who look similar to the ones responsible. One day, I may get my revenge on all of them. Or not. I don't know how I'll feel about it once I feel settled.  But will I ever feel safe?

Paris - the Eiffel Tower, Seine River, Bridges and Lampposts by DG Hudson

My name is now Lise, although that isn't my birth name. I'm sitting at a table for two at the Resto Med, a cozy family owned café at 77 rue St Louis, Île Saint Louis, one of the islands in the Seine.

I saw an old and dear friend come in and my heart jumped, but he walked right past, even though he looked directly at me. He saw my face, and my eyes, which are colored by opaque contacts. There was no sign of recognition. He looked no different, just a slight graying at the temples, and now he wears a neatly trimmed mustache.  He was a lover at one time. After he was gone, my mood changed.  I was not 'me' anymore. That fact had just been slammed home.

In the mirror, I see a face with no flaws, a mannequin face. No one warned me about the psychological implications of morphing into a different shell. C'est la vie! It is done. I will try to wear this skin as if I was born with it. A sip of wine and a perfectly seasoned curried chicken on rice will help me to soothe my woes.

My new life begins today. From now on, I live for me.


Would you like to challenge yourself? Try Write...Edit...Publish! aka WEP

Join us for a monthly signup and some very interesting reading. It's flexible. I joined the once-a-month bloghop since I wanted to write a few short stories or write in installments like the old-time serials. I've also met fellow writer-bloggers with the same penchant for responding to Denise's challenges. WEP can help you practice short writing and the prompts will invigorate your creative thinking.

Write…Edit…Publish! welcomes you to submit any of the following – flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction or playscripts to a word count of 1,000 words – artwork and photographs accompanied by your written inspiration in creating your work/s.

Next Challenge: October - Ghost Story

Denise Covey - WEP in detail, the signup and list of remaining prompts

Would you like to get a new face? One that makes you look totally different, not just plumped and tightened? Mirrors don't lie, do they?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read my entry.

References: Images on Yelp of the Resto Med. ( I didn't get a photo when we were there)


Monday, September 22, 2014

Alex's Underrated Treasures Blogfest - Dragon's Egg and Starquake

Brought to you by the Ninja Captain:

Alex J. Cavanaugh says:

'Everyone has a favorite movie or band that no one else has ever heard about. For whatever reason, they remain undiscovered and underrated. Post about your favorite unknown – one or all four – dealer’s choice!  MOVIE – BAND/ARTIST – TV SHOW – BOOK

Hop through the linky list and have fun!'


I chose a science fiction novel(s) by Robert L. Forward, Dragon's Egg and its companion story Starquake, an story about the fast life of Cheelas, creatures on a neutron star, and the humans who discover the intelligent life. Published in 1980 by Del Rey Books, Ballantine Books, N.Y. This is hard science fiction, and a bit different from contemporary fast paced space operas.

Dragon's Egg:

Intelligent life is found on a neutron star, a extremely dense entity which humans cannot land upon. The creatures live a hundred years in one hour of human time. A Cheela evolves from savagery to science in a span of days, with the help of astronauts orbiting high above Dragon's Egg. These humans become observers, then teachers, then friends.


A monstrous quake rocks Dragon's Egg, destroying many Cheelas. A few survivors fight for their lives. The humans, so high above the neutron star must decide whether to let this alien race risk extinction or try to help and perhaps die in the attempt.


Dr. Robert L. Forward, is a science fiction novelist, science-fact writer and consulting scientist. In 1987, Forward left Hughes Aircraft Company Research Labs, in order to become a writer and aerospace consultant. Between 1983 to the present, he contracted to work for the Department of Defense (US) and NASA on a project to discover breakthroughs in space power and propulsion. 

Dragon's Egg


The copy I have includes both stories: Dragon's Egg and Starquake. Published in 1980 by Del Rey Books , Ballantine Books, N.Y.


Just so all you dragon lovers know: There are no dragons in this novel, the constellation in question is shaped like a dragon, with the neutron star acting as the egg. To access the linky list, go to Alex's Blog.

 Have you read anything by Robert L. Forward?  Do you prefer something lighter than hard science fiction?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by and hope you enjoy the bloghop!


References: / Alex J. Cavanaugh ISWG, a writers support group


Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Stars Bleed at Midnight and A Bear with No Clue!

What's happened in the Human World, if 'The Stars Bleed at Midnight'? Read the follow-up to Death in the House of Life to find outRoland Yeomans has two new books out for your reading pleasure.

In 19th century Egypt. . .intrigue in the desert

“It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed.” Samuel McCord
In Roland's words, we find the inspiration behind the story:

We forget that the true monsters are us.

Ever since LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, I have been fascinated by the mysterious desert and the cold-blooded machinations of pompous politicians.  KHARTOUM only intensified my fascination.

My childhood LEAGUE OF FIVE and I stayed up all Saturday night watching ancient black-and-white movies.  We yelled at Flash Gordon to ditch Dale and take up with the evil Princess Ardala.  We scratched our heads over Terry who never fell for the seductive Dragon Lady.

I swore if I ever wrote a book, I would have my hero marry the Dragon Lady. And so Sam McCord is married to the ancient, eternally young Meilori Shinseen to whom ancient Egyptians and Aztecs offered screaming sacrifices.

As a youngster, I was absorbed in Egyptian mythology and the scoffed at theories of Erich von Daniken in CHARIOTS OF THE GODS. I read and re-read AYESHA: SHE by H. Rider Haggard.  I made my Alan Quartermain a cursed Texas Ranger whose belief in the redemptive power of love keeps him married to a being once called Sekhmet.

Sekhmet, Egyptian Goddess

I thought of how human nature would remain in long-lived revenants (my vampires, like those of THE STRAIN, are quite different from the clichéd versions.)  They would be driven by all too human lusts of ambition, greed, and vengeance.

I pitted an undead Abigail Adams as the dubious champion of the American revenants against Empress Theodora ruler of Europe’s and Asia’s revenants.  I showed how their basic natures kept them at odds even when it was to their advantage to work together.

Samuel McCord said of this: “I wonder how much harm we do to ourselves and our world simply by getting out of bed in the morning and being ourselves?”

At the heart of this, I put a resurrected mummy child, the actual Princess Shert Nebti, whose body was filled with a pestilence that once released would drag the world into a new Dark Age as did the Black Death.

I mixed these elements against the backdrop of British arrogance, the Egyptian struggle for independence, the fanaticism of Muslim zealots, and the greed of the landed aristocracy.  The seeds of today’s headlines were sown in the Egypt of 1895.

I let all the heartache, misunderstood humanity, and mortal and immortal ambition be seen by the reader through the eyes of a thoughtful, haunted man of honor in a world where compassion is seen as weakness.

Always fascinated by Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Nikola Tesla, Ada Byron (daughter of Lord Byron), and Winston Churchill, I had them be my hero’s companions on a cursed expedition searching for Pharaoh Tutankhamun. (Or 'Pharaoh Two Tons of Almonds' as Mark Twain insists on calling him.)

In the desert wastes of Egypt lurk things older than Man that hum with mystery … and hunger. 

Join Samuel McCord, his deadly wife, and his bickering companions on this doomed expedition.  See what really causes dogs to howl in the darkness and cats to yowl after midnight.  Read THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT.  But should you hear long nails scratching at your back door … do not open it!


And now, for a detour to a different realm:

"D.G. has suggested I mention my first children's book, HIBBS, THE CUB WITH NO CLUE in MISCHIEF IS AFOOT. Hibbs endorsed that idea, too. Francene Lockett, the narrator for my soon-to-be-released audio book, BRING ME THE HEAD OF McCORD, suggested I write a children's book with Hibbs as the central character. 

 Francene said I fascinated her with the fun but wise tale of the young cub she read for the audio book. Hibbs, modest as always, thought that was a great idea as well. So I wrote HIBBS, THE CUB WITH NO CLUE -- a series of tales that mingles Lakota legends with Celtic mythology. Anything can happen in Hibbs' strange valley. He can fish for catfish ... and catch a dragon, or I should say the dragon catches Hibbs.

The Forrest Gump of mystical bear cubs, Hibbs, runs into leprechauns, Asgardian squirrels, insane unicorns, satyrs, and is mentored by the dreaded Turquoise Woman. I wrote the tales in the style of the Lakota storyteller: They do not begin with "Long Ago" or "Once Upon A Time." What happens in those tales is not measured in hours or by time. 
A place can be "a hundred sleeps away" or "a thousand paces away." They often begin with "Hibbs was in search of berries" as if the tale had just happened or was happening right then. And such is the stuff of magic, that well might be the case!

The tales are in no certain order so that a parent or grandparent can pick up the book and read any chapter to their child just before sleep without worrying about continuity. For those out there who just must have continuity, the last 3 tales are loosely linked so that they can be read ... say for a car trip or when a child is ill in bed.

Hibbs hopes you enjoy his short book. It is tiny but anyone who has shared her bed with a mosquito understands the power of small things!" 


Order or get more information on these two books at
Roland's Blog. Visiting his blog will reveal to you how many other titles he has available, many of which I've reviewed. I'm a fan of the writing and of the characters, especially Sam McCord. I'll be reviewing The Stars Bleed at Midnight as soon as I'm finished reading it. (DG)

Have you read any of Roland Yeoman's books? Do you have a favorite character? AND Do you know a child who might like to read about a curious little bear with no clue?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and you will get a response from the author, Roland, or me. Thanks for dropping by!


References: Roland Yeomans' Blog The post on 'The League of Five', a young reading group.