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The Fourth Year Spell by Amanda Jeffery


  Synopsis Declan Devereaux is finally ready to complete his Fourth Year Spell so he can move on to the next year of studies. All that's left is one ingredient and he's ready to get it from the Mayor's Manor. Unbeknownst to Declan, the local Thieve's Guild also has plans to rob the Manor on the same night. When they meet mid-robbery, Declan casts a spell that sets the four of them on a path that may end at the gallows.  Meet the author Amanda Jeffery is an Author and Freelance Writer. She was born and raised in Alberta, Canada, where she resides with her husband, two children and family pets. When not writing, she can be found reading or working on her latest cross stitch project. Amanda wri...
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Amanda Meuwissen – Author Spotlight

Today at my blog, I have author Amanda Meuwissen in the interview chair.  We are talking about five of her romance books previously released.  I’m also reviewing Coming up for Air, a m/m romance.  Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. **** 1. Hi, Amanda. First off, readers have an idea of the writer you, … Continue readingOriginal linkOriginal author: Maggie Blackbird
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Learning from anime


I’ve had this idea, about a series of posts about what I learned about storytelling from various media I used to spend my time with as a kid. This was in part inspired by a chat I had this morning with my friend Lucy, but it’s a little more complicated than that.As a kid I watched a lot of movies and TV series, cartoons both western and Japanese, I read comics, I read novels and short stories and non fiction… each of these shaped the way I think about stories, and I think it might be fun to try and take a look at all these influences. And I’m starting with anime because… ah, because we need to start somewhere, right? As I probably already mentioned in the past, Italy was at the forefront of ...
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Memories of Scotland, 2 years later

August 10, 2018: The plane landed in Glasgow at approximately 6 am local time. I can’t remember sleeping much as we flew across the Atlantic. That need that had been in my soul for decades had awoken like a hungry lion. I needed to get to Scotland, fulfill some promise made lifetimes ago. Only I didn’t know who I made it to, or where, or why. Seattle had been in a heat wave when I left. Upper 80’s/low 90’s. I’d been miserable for over a week. If I remember correctly, we’d hit triple digits within the week before my trip. We make it through customs and immigration. I visited an ATM in baggage claim as we waited for the bags to come around. Part of me was nervous about my bag. Not that it was ...
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Brigham Vaughn – Off-Balance

Today, I’m reviewing Off-Balance, a May/December LGBT romance by Brigham Vaughn, book one in the Peachtree series.  Don’t forget to check out the excerpt. **** Book Title: Off-Balance Author: Brigham Vaughn Series:  The Peach Tree, book one Release Date: August 3, 2020 Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance Trope/s: May/December, age gap, hurt comfort, rich man poor … Continue readingOriginal linkOriginal author: Maggie Blackbird
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Meet Mystery Author Paty Jager, Read About Her New Title and Puzzling out a Murder Mystery


Paty hosted me last week on her blog Ladies of Mystery featuring my historical mysteries. Now, to return the favor, she's my guest! Paty is an award-winning author of 46 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.” ...
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Ten Captivating Books to Read While Still Stuck at Home by Vivienne Diane Neal

COVID-19 does not seem to be leaving any time soon. Staying home does have its drawbacks, but not to worry. We have gathered some of our favorite reads by diverse authors from various genres: mysteries, thrillers, and suspense. Just click on the link(s) and enjoy reading these narratives with some endings that will leave you reeling.Killing Signs 2 by Ernest Morris - Two lead detectives assigned to decipher ghastly murder cases realize they have arrested the wrong person for the crimes. Layla’s Score by Andy Rausch - A hitman is hired to eliminate a deranged mobster’s son. Deep Fried Trouble (Eugeena Patterson Mystery, Book 1 by Tyora Moody - The head of a neighborhood watch discovers the de...
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I must get him to lower his defenses, so I may gather clues about his past


As his Chevrolet slows down to a stop, Dr. Patel is eyeing my knees. At first, I press them tightly together and smooth down my skirt as far as it can go, which is not much. Then I figure, why not let him swoon over what he’ll never get to touch?  Don’t hate me for acting sexy. I already hate myself for it. At the same time, I recognize that seduction may be my best weapon. I must get him to lower his defenses, so I may gather clues about his past. Nothing will please me more than to gain confidence in the veracity of his education. A failed experiment is not what I want to be.  Dr. Patel hops out, comes over to my side while spreading out his umbrella, and opens the door for me. This is the...
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Creative mumblings


Among the many things I’ve been toying with, while I am trapped in a time-consuming, soul-killing writing job, there’s a ghost story. I’d love to write a “proper” ghost story, more or less novella-length, set in modern day and with a classic structure.I even have a working title – The Cold Spot. And this morning, while I was doing a modicum of chores, I set my brain to thinking about it, and a question came up – would I be able to do something different with such a story?Because, really, writing classic ghost stories in a world where the readers can get Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House or Peter Straub Ghost Story or, indeed, M.R. James’ collections, the risk is an exercise in fut...
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Phones to the rescue


  My daughter calls from Mexico in a panic. The ATM she was using clicked and chattered as they usually do, but no money was ejected from the machine. This has happened to me a couple of times over the years so I know the feeling. “I’m not at home and my phone charge is dangerously low,” she says. “Please check my account to see if I’ve been debited.” Yep. She’s been debited. I call her back and tell her I’ll phone our bank. I explain what happened to the young man and tell him that my daughter can’t call him herself because she’s running out of charge. “I just had a woman call from the US with the same problem,” he says. “Don’t worry, we can sort this out.” The young man at the bank needs i...
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Dunce means stupid – but should it?


John Duns – note the headwear. John Duns (also known as Duns Scotus on account of his birthplace) was a thirteenth century Franciscan friar, theologian and philosopher. In his time he was one of the three most eminent theologian-philosophers in the Western world; the others being Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham. As a philosopher, his main sphere of study was the ‘univocity of being’ – the notion that existence is the most abstract concept we have. He also explored ways of distinguishing between different aspects of the same thing, and what properties appertain to an individual thing to make it individual. As a theologian he developed a complex argument for the existence of God, and for ...
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Not exactly real


My mother was born in 1938, so she was a teenager in the late ’40s and early ’50s, when teenagers were not yet a thing, but anyway… she was an adolescent when the big thing were movies, and she was absolutely in love with movies. In my mother’s family the rule was that even if money was short, there should be books and films. So my mother went and saw all the classics, Captain Blood and The Sacrlett Pimpernel, and all those.She had to leave the room during The Four Feathers, because the humiliations the character was going through broke her heart.Her favorite actor was Tyrone Power. She would buy magazines, such as gossip/celebrity rag “Confidenze”, cut the actor’s and actresses photos, and ...
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Testing 123

I don’t know how long will be in the braces. I do have a follow-up visit with my Dr. tomorrow at 2:00 PM. Hopefully we will have better answers as to what’s going on with the two fingers and exactly how long I will be in the braces. Until then I want to get back riding on the next book. My agent is already submitting ‘Scales and Stingers’ to publishers which means I have to get busy on the next one. This post is part of a learning experience. I will probably do a few more over the next week as I learned how to do speech recognition correctly. I can mistakes at least grammar wise in this. Please don’t hold it against me! I think the biggest part for me that will take the most time to learn is...
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My very own canon


There’s been a lot of talking about “the canon”, after the recent meltdown at the Hugo Ceremony. You know, this idea that there is a big fat backlong of science fiction and fantasy books you just have to read to “get into” the genre. Books that act as gateway, and form the backbone of our genre of election. The problem with all canons is that they tend to fossilize, and also can exert a sort of gravitational pull. There’s “canons” for everything, from jazz and rock’n’roll to movies to recipes and comic books. And it’s true – we are sitting on a big huge pile of wonderful stuff, and it would be nice to have time, and money, and lifetime, to go through all these marvels. But as things stand, t...
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FEATURED AUTHOR: SUMAN MALLICK


ABOUT THE BOOK 
 Zuleikha arrives in the US from Lahore, Pakistan, by marriage, having trained as a pianist without ever owning a real piano. Now she finally has one-a wedding present from her husband-but nevertheless finds it difficult to get used to her new role of a suburban middle-class housewife who has an abundance of time to play it.Haunted by the imaginary worlds of the confiscated contraband books and movies that her father trafficked in to pay for her education and her dowry, and unable to reconcile them with the expectations of the real world of her present, she ends up as the central figure in a scandal that catapults her into the public eye and plays out in equal measures in the...
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A Film Option for The Haunting of Hillwood Farm! #books #ghosts #paranormal #romance #FridayReads


Exciting news!  The Haunting of Hillwood Farm has been optioned for film!!!!  It's now been listed on IMDb (Internet Movie Database) as "in development"!  Of course, that's where many options linger--an option to make a book into a movie is just that: an option.  A lot of things would need to come together, including financing.  But, during these crazy times, I'll take any good news I can get, and I'm excited to share it with you all!  If I have any updates, I'll be sure to blog about them in the future...if a movie deal does in fact happen, it will be fascinating to learn more about the process.  And, of course, it's an honor to have had my story discovered by a potential producer.  Happy D...
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Six-Word Story Challenge – “Vendetta”

Warning: These can be addictive.Original link
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The Prescient - Installment 2


dontravis.com blog post #401    Courtesy of Pikrepo.comAs a matter of interest, I went back and checked and this is actually the 459th post on this blog. I didn't bother counting for the first year, so am coming up short. Hope you enjoyed the beginning of Tancready’s story last week. Have you looked up the word “prescient” yet? Don’t worry, Tancready will tell you what one is. Could be a bane… or a boon. Let’s get to the second installment.    ***** THE PRESCIENTBorn the seventh son of an Upir, a Russian Vampire Prince to a mother who was also an Eternal, I came squalling into this world with my head hidden by a caul. Thus was my fate sealed; I was given the kinetic challenge of all Vampires...
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An obsession with notebooks


I was reading an interesting piece by writer and adventurer (or the other way around) Alastair Humphreys, about his tools as a writer, and I followed one of his links down a rabbit hole of posts, tweets and photos about notebooks. The photo of Humphrey’s soaked notebook above reminded me of my time in the field as a geology student. The basic tools of the trade of the geologist in the field are hammer, compass and notebook. The basic destiny of the geologist student in the field is to get soaked. When I was a student, one of our teachers, together with one of the students from my year, has set up a nice hustle, importing special, plastic-covered, water-resistant notebooks, produced for the U...
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Recipe of the Month: Taco Casserole


My daughter loves the Zippy Beef & Mac casserole and Enchilada Casserole so she suggested trying Taco Casserole and found this recipe on dinneratthezoo.com. We have made just a few adjustments to the recipe and those changes are listed below. This is an easy recipe and everyone in the family loved it. I think this will be a great meal to plan on a busy school or work day. And it is a good use for those small pieces at the bottom of the tortilla chip bag. Ingredients 1 lb ground beef 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1 packet taco seasoning 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I use either Chipotle or Mexican-style), undrained 1 1/4 cup tortilla chips, crushed 16 oz. can refried beans 1/3 cup salsa 1 1/2 cup...
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