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COVID Closet (Part 1 of 3 Parts) blog post #390  Courtesy of Pixabay.comAfter the little ditty about Zack and Zel, it’s time to return to a proper short story. You can thank my reader (and friend) from Palm Springs for the following story. In an email exchange one day, he mentioned that all this social lockdown stuff might provide material for a story. So here you have it. Blame him; not me.*****COVID CLOSET          Bruno Hadley fought to keep his voice calm. “What do you mean I can’t leave?”          The college provost looked comical decked out in full protective gear, including one of those powder blue gowns. His navy pantlegs sticking out below the hem were capped by wood-brown leather oxfords. The idiot ...
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Recommended Read – I, Claudius by Robert Graves

Despised for his weakness and regarded by his family as little more than a stammering fool, the nobleman Claudius quietly survives the intrigues, bloody purges and mounting cruelty of the imperial Roman dynasties. In I, Claudius he watches from the sidelines to record the reigns of its emperors: from the wise Augustus and his villainous wife Livia to the sadistic Tiberius and the insane excesses of Caligula. Written in the form of Claudius’ autobiography, this is the first part of Robert Graves’s brilliant account of the madness and debauchery of ancient Rome, and stands as one of the most celebrated, gripping historical novels ever written.I, Claudius is an enduring favourite of mine. A fic...
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Inteachán – Book Five: The Tallest Tower Crane 5: 12 ‘likely house a mouse’

Mac moved slowly now, shuffling in his ragged, filthy suit. The front of his brogues were worn through and if you took the time you would see a grimy toe poking through the broken leather. His hair was matted and streaked with dirt. Wispy strands of silver hair hung lank and long from his chin to his temples. The sort of beard from a fairy tale that would likely house a mouse.Mac spoke to no one as he made his way to the canal in the morning and back to his bed every night. He took no part in any activities and looked straight through anyone who tried to engage with him.Barometric in his bearing now, Mac embodied the dying of the world.Original link

If this is Thursday, this must be Peking… no, wait, maybe Shanghai…

As I am planning a special podcast episode for my Patrons to celebrate both my birthday and the Feast of Long Shadows, that is, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee’s birthdays, I am re-watching for the umpteenth time the 1972 classic “faux Hammer” movie, Horror Express.A movie I love, and I have watched thousands of times – one about which I believe I know everything.And yet, five minutes in, the screen announces…Peking, Russian Concession… and my brain does a double flip, and I go…Hold it. There was no Russian Concession in Peking in 1906. Must be Tientsin, or maybe Shanghai. You guys are playing fast and loose, here…And then of course I kick myself for a pedantic idiot, because I’m here to e...
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Special Guest Interview with Louise Fein, Author of People Like Us

New on Amazon UK and Amazon USLeipzig, 1930s Germany: Hetty Heinrich is a perfect German child. Her father is an SS officer, her brother in the Luftwaffe, herself a member of the BDM. She believes resolutely in her country, and the man who runs it. Until Walter changes everything. Blond-haired, blue-eyed, perfect in every way Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew. Anti-semitism is growing by the day, and neighbours, friends and family members are turning on one another. As Hetty falls deeper in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, she begins to fight against her country, her family and herself. Hetty will have to risk everything to save Walter, even if it means sacrifi...
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Today, Foreign Correspondent is pleased to host author Nonnie Jules on her Rave Writers International Society of Authors’ “Rise UP” blog tour.Welcome to our 2nd RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR!Because of the current state of the world where we are faced with a pandemic like none has ever seen before, where homelessness, hunger, job losses, and world-wide lock-downs are the norm, we wanted to give you a glimpse into our world as we are now living it.Since we are also in the month of May, when Mothers should be celebrated even more than they should be every day, some of us are going to reflect upon our lives without our moms.  Yes, we have two themes this year!For 14 days, we invite you here to the RWISA...
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#Lockdown on Malta then and now

The Maltese islands on which Xaghra’s Revenge is based is faring well in these times. My friends there tell me tourism between Gozo and Malta has reopened so that will help to stimulate their economy a little. Of course in the main they need overseas tourists but I know several folk living on the main island of Malta who have holiday lets on Gozo, who until this week have not been able to travel there. I miss the gorgeous scenery and history there so much. So lucky that I was able to visit Malta and Gozo before the lockdown. Today, May 20th 2020 Malta had only 569 confirmed cases, sadly 6 deaths with 460 recovered.Ironically, in 1551, the island of Gozo had lockdown procedures as did many is...
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Alpha Titles Book Challenge B

B is for Books!Here are a few of my favorite "B" titles...Have you read any of these books?Bodyguard ~ Suzanne BrockmannBelow the Belt ~ Sarah MayberryBeach Girls ~ Luanne RiceBlood Brothers ~ Nora RobertsButterfly ~ Sharon SalaBubbles in Trouble ~ Sarah StrohmeyerBlonde with a Wand ~ Vicki Lewis ThompsonAdd your favorites in the comments!❦ Original link

Be Compassionate

Henry Be | UnsplashBeing compassionate allows you to appreciate a situation from another person’s point of view and consider their circumstances before acting. Compassion allows you to show genuine concern for others. Being compassionate is an expression of solidarity with others in your life. It’s an expression of your humanity. It’s a way of showing people your heart is open.Original link

Quote of the Week – May 20

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say ~ Ralph Waldo EmersonOriginal link

Inteachán – Book Five: The Tallest Tower Crane 5: 11 ‘ordering this disorder’

‘But,’ said the refugee, ‘everything is ending now and soon there will be nothing left.’‘And what should we do?’ asked Iseult. ‘Sit around and weep for what was once our world? Or resolve to do all we can to keep moving forward somehow.’Iseult put her hand on the refugee’s shoulder and smiled.‘We are building something here. In spite of everything that has now occurred, we still have something to build on.’Iseult pointed at the filthy chaos of the courtyard.‘Even ordering this disorder is something to live for.’Original link

Whipping up a storm.

A woman lost a tribunal case recently. Her boss, when giving a motivational talk to the team, had used the phrase to crack the whip and the employee accused her of racism. The ruling however was that the term was not derived from the exploitative slave / slave master relationship, but from managing horses. The whip hand is the hand the horseman holds the whip in and, by extrapolation, can also refer to a person who has an advantage or dominance over another. Both phrases have since been used in other contexts, including sexual.A whipper-in is someone employed by huntsmen to manage the hounds, and no doubt in the past whips were used liberally on the dogs. In one part of Britain where I used ...
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Silverado (1985)

My late father loved westerns and war movies. He’d re-watch Shane (Alan Ladd was his favorite actor) or From Here to Eternity whenever he had the opportunity, often providing a running commentary for the annoyance of anyone sitting there with him.You know, the classic “Oh, and now watch what’s coming up…”Growing old, I find there’s movies I re-watch in the same almost-compulsive way – but mine tend to be adventure movies (Romancing the Stone), spy thrillers (IPCRESS), comedies (Animal House), fantasies (Dragonslayer, or Ladyhawke)… but there is one western I’ll always re-watch with great pleasure. It’s not one of my dad’s faves, but it’s a western that hit the theatres when I was 18. It’s ca...
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Historical Fiction Spotlight ~ After The Fire (Betsy Brand Mystery Book 1) by John Pilkington

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon USBefore Jack the Ripper, there was the Salamander.London, 1670. The Great Fire is all burned out. Now the city lies in ruins and a series of chilling murders is playing out on the London stage.SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES . . .Betsy Brand is an actress performing in Macbeth at the new Dorset Gardens Theatre. Every night she watches Joseph Rigg, the company’s most dazzling talent, in the throes of death as Banquo.UNTIL ONE NIGHT HE STOPS PLAYINGBetsy watches in horror as Rigg collapses mid-performance, poisoned. London’s theatre world turns upside down as more deaths follow.The authorities are baffled. But Betsy is determined to get to the bottom of it al...
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Elyse Springer – Suckerpunch

Today, I’m hosting author Elyse Springer and her latest release Suckerpunch, book one in the Hockey Gods & Monsters series, a m/m paranormal romance.  Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. **** Book Title: Suckerpunch (Hockey Gods & Monsters, Book 1) Author: Elyse Springer Publisher: Self-Published Cover Artist: Elyse Springer Release Date: 5/15/2020 (re-release; first … Continue readingOriginal linkOriginal author: Maggie Blackbird

Tasting mysteries!

Author of War Songs, Dr. Grady Harp is an artist representative, gallery owner, writer of essays and articles on figurative and all Representational art for museum catalogues and for travelling exhibitions, and an Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer. He describes himself as being ever on the alert for the new and promising geniuses of tomorrow. I am thrilled to find his review for Virtually Yummy:.Grady HarpTop Contributor: Children's BooksHALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER5.0 out of 5 stars Tasting mysteries!Reviewed in the United States on May 15, 2020Verified PurchaseThe various authors of the High-Tech Crime Solvers series – Uvi Poznansky, Robert I. Katz, Edwin Dasso, P.D. Workman, Jacquie Biggar, Cas...
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Nothing wasted

Eighteen months ago, a publisher I respect a lot opened a tiny window for pitches – they were looking for a series of stories, and they wanted the whole package: premise, cast of characters, hooks, and short synopses of twelve episodes. And they wanted it within a week.I had a great idea (if I do say so myself) and so I started putting the pitch together. Three days in, the publisher announced that all the available slots had already been filled – they had received pitches that were so good and solid, they had filled all the available spaces in three days.So I shelved my notes and things. No way I could be able to do such a series as a self-published thing, and while I loved the premise and ...
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In Awe

I was watching “The Universe” on Netflix. The sun, the planets, the galaxies. Mind boggling terms of billions of years, millions of miles per hour. I had to stop as it made no sense. Infinite numbers you can’t put on a blackboard and explain. Awesome dude….Life just happened to commence with the “Big Bang”? Give me a break.I am also in awe of Good, so powerful and meaningful and helpful.I am in awe and terrified by the rise of evil in the world today.Truth is good. Always. Our Judeo/Christian heritage is mocked.The truth is that truth can no longer be easily discerned. We are pandering to the feelings of minority/identity groups. When everybody has a cause there is chaos. The news has become...
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Be peaceful

Henry Be | UnsplashThe easiest way to live in a peaceful world is to be a peaceful person. Stop fighting with people simply because you disagree with them. Listen instead of shouting them down. You might learn something and make a new friend instead of creating an enemy. Being peaceful means choosing to stay unruffled when others question or oppose your point of view or disagree with your decisions. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You don’t have to justify yours or demolish theirs. You can agree to disagree without starting world war three every time someone sees the world differently. It takes courage and self-confidence to be peaceful but we all like being around a peaceful person. ...
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Inteachán – Book Five: The Tallest Tower Crane 5: 10 ‘there is everything left’

‘I was part of the team that toppled the Spire,’ continued the refugee. ‘Hundreds of people kept at the thing until finally it fell, crushing forty people as it did so.’The refugee shook his head.‘I have no family left so was able to flee in the confusion without fear of reprisals.’‘You are welcome to stay here with us,’ said Iseult kindly. ‘We could use the help.’‘Help you with what?’ asked the refugee incredulously. ‘There is nothing left.’‘Actually,’ replied Iseult, ‘there is everything left.’Original link