Friday, November 29, 2019

#Fi50: Forging Ahead

Fiction in 50 has been a regular feature in the last week of every month here for several years now. It was founded by Bruce the Bookshelf Gargoyle, and when he retired from blogging in 2017 I decided to take over the hop. Now, I'm throwing in the towel. I really enjoy writing these ultra-short stories, and reading those Jemima Pett writes. But the hop has no traction, no momentum and (navigating way from hackneyed metaphors to the concrete problem), no members. The December post will be the last official Fi50 post. So... if you want to participate, time is running out! Read the instructions below and hammer out your 50 words!
    Fiction in 50 NEW BUTTON

What is #Fi50? In the words of founder Bruce Gargoyle, "Fiction in 50: think of it as the anti-NaNoWriMo experience!" Pack a beginning, middle and end of story into 50 words or less (bonus points for hitting exactly 50 words).

The rules for participation are simple:
1. Create a piece of fictional writing in 50 words or less, ideally using the prompt as title or theme or inspiration.
That’s it!  But for those who wish to challenge themselves further, here’s an additional rule:
2. Post your piece of flash fiction on your blog or (for those poor blog-less souls) add it as a comment on the Ninja Librarian’s post for everyone to enjoy.  
For those thrill-seekers who really like to go the extra mile (ie: perfectionists):
3. Add the nifty little picture above to your post (credit for which goes entirely to ideflex over at or create your own Fi50 meme pic….
4. Link back here so others can jump on the mini-fic bandwagon.

Here's the Linky List so you can add your post!
This is a Blog Hop!

You are next... Click here to enter
Or just add your link in the comments below!  

The November prompt is...

Forging Ahead

“Officer Smith, I'm promoting you to a new department.”


“Report to Higgins in the Detective Division.”

“I do seem to be forging ahead with my career, sir.”

“Funny you should put it that way…”


“They want you to work on the MoneyCo case.”

“Embezzlement, isn’t it, sir?”



Yes, I'm that sort. I used my 50 words to create a bad pun. Hope you enjoyed it anyway!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Writer's Wednesday: NaNo Update #3

... And a Happy Thanksgiving!


With only four days left in the official NaNo month, how's your writing? I've hit the "winner" mark and kept going. I feel like I've been struggling with the book, though I've been able to hit my word goal almost every day. The strange thing is... I've been getting those words in the evening. I have always believed myself to be a morning person, and that I'm usually pretty much incapable of thought by evening. And yet here I've been, day after day frittering away my mornings, and finally sitting down in the evenings and writing like a mad thing. And it works.

So am I no longer a morning person? Or has procrastination reached a new peak?

As for the outline that was going to make it a breeze, well, I am still more or less on the outline but the writing is coming hard in any case.

Around 57,000 words
Attended three write-ins, where the peer pressure really helped
Several gallons of coffee.

 Don't forget--sign up for my newsletter by Dec. 15 (top right on this page) and get a free copy of the sweet Pismawallops PTA novella, The Christmas Question

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Photo Friday: Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Yes, I know, Photo Friday is happening on Saturday this week. I've been very busy writing that new novel! This will probably be the last of the reports from New Zealand, freeing me to start in on the travels we've done in the US since returning!

As we made our way up the North Island to meet our flight home from Aukland, we were able to explore one of the most striking New Zealand landscapes: Tongariro National Park. Picking just enough photos for a blog post was very, very hard.

New Zealand's oldest National Park, Tongariro is also a World Heritage site preserving Maori culture. We would look into some of that later. For our time in the park, we merely tried to be sensitive about hiking around a mountain sacred to the Maori people (Ngauruhoe). The Tongariro Northern Circuit, most of which we hiked, starts out between Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe, and circles the latter. Part of the hike, along the northern side of Ngauruhoe, is also part of the insanely popular Tongariro Crossing, which has justifiably (but regrettably) been touted as one of the best dayhikes in the world. As a result, even in the late-season when we were there (April), the crowds on the Crossing are dismaying.

Our departure was delayed for a day by high winds, which closed the high saddle over Red Crater, intended to be part of our first day's hike. We were able to cobble together a trip going the other direction, starting a day later, however.

We started under clear skies, though the wind was chilly. A mile or two brought us to the impressive Taranaki Falls, where the creek drops off the edge of a lava flow.
Taranaki Falls, a nice dayhike from Whakapapa Village
Not far from the falls, we caught up with the front, and the sun and wind changed to... snow and wind.
Ruapehu came and went behind us as the snow-flurries moved in and out.
About ten miles brought us to Waihohonu Hut, where we could watch the sun set on both Ngaurahoe and Ruapehu. The views, combined with the amenities of the very new hut, made this one of the two best we stayed in during our whole time in NZ.
Sunset and fresh snow on Ngauruhoe
Sunset colors snow both old and new on Ruapehu
Not surprisingly, the night was cold (the hut, however, was fairly warm, thanks to an efficient wood stove). In the morning, everything was frosted (including the steps up to the outhouses--watch out!).
Waihohonu Hut, with solar panels, view windows, and a lot of frost.
The ground that had been wet from the storm the previous afternoon froze. In places, long, delicate crystals formed under the surface, pushing the outer layer of dirt aside.
2" long ice crystals in the dirt
Morning light on Ngauruhoe reflected in the windows of the hut.

The next day's hike was quite a bit shorter, but the views started as soon as we'd climbed out of the trees, and they basically didn't stop. We topped out the ridge above the hut and enjoyed the sweeping view of Ruapehu (which at the time we thought might be our last).

After dropping through a beautiful forest (where we were protected from the wind on that frosty morning, and the birds were singing--something we didn't hear much of on this tramp), we climbed another ridge, and began crossing the vast moonscape that surrounds Ngauruhoe on at least two sides.
Note the line of blue poles telling us where to go.
The hike was shorter in miles, but the scenery and the ups and downs through the volcanic landscape meant it still took us all morning. We reached the Oturere hut in time for lunch, and to be almost the first to arrive, as most people were hiking the other direction (and thus had a much longer and harder hike).
Another hut in a stunning setting, though in contrast to the previous hut, this one was small, dark, and crowded, and you had to go outside to enjoy the views.
In an effort to beat the dayhikers who would be climbing over Red Crater on the Tongariro Crossing (as many of 5000 in peak season; we would count about 1000 that day), we started as soon as it was light. That also meant hiking though an other-worldly landscape under low morning sun.
First man on Mars?
As the sun rose, so did we, drawing ever closer to the steaming vents at the saddle by the Emerald Lakes.

A detour to the Blue Lake, a kilometer off our route, had us approaching the mountain and the Emerald Lakes across a lava field.
Looking over Red Crater to the volcano, which last erupted in 1977. We saw wisps of steam coming from vents near the summit (for the record, Seattle's Mt. Rainier also has steam coming from vents on the summit).
The Emerald Lakes lived up to their names, turned brilliant green by the minerals washed out of the steam vents. They are sacred, so are not to be swum in, but it would be foolish to do so in any case (due to the minerals), as well as probably destructive of their beauty.
The track up the cinder cone (Red Crater) looks benign, but is actually very steep, and the cinders are loose and deep. It's a workout!
We finally summitted Red Crater not long after the first wave of (most fit and/or most early-rising) dayhikers arrived. It would have been nice to be there ahead of them, but we couldn't quite do it.
Into the crater. If you see anything other than an old steam vent, for shame!
Looking NE, we could see past the Blue Lake to the much larger (and lower) Lake Taupo, sometimes called the Tahoe of NZ. You can just make out water and islands beyond the hill.

Heading down the other side, we had ample opportunity to note how many of the people struggling up were probably in over their heads. The signs in the outhouses do their best to filter out those people and prevent the need for rescues (an effort that keeps the number of rescues to... two per week).
As we were going down, opposite the direction of the dayhikers, it was comforting to know that the easy part was starting.
By the time we were getting near the Mangatepopo hut (and a half hour beyond it, the car park where we hoped to pick up a ride), the shuttles had long since dropped off their last passengers, and we had the track more or less to ourselves again. That gave us the chance to contemplate the minerals turning the water on this side of the mountain red-orange, rather than green.

The end of a long hike.

We had to wait a little while, but found some hikers willing to give us a lift back to our car. Another six miles of walking would have taken us there under our own power, but somehow our feet said no.

I'll leave you with a very hopeful sign! There are too few places in NZ (and thus anywhere in the world) where you might need a warning sign about kiwis crossing the road. We didn't see or hear any where we hiked, but it's good to know they are out there, in the more kiwi-friendly parts of the park!

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2019
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Writer's Wednesday: NaNo update #2

Battle of the Brains: Planning Vs. Pantsing


Hey, everyone! I'm coming up for air (from the depths of my new MS) and wanted to let you know how it's all going--especially that extensive outline I started with!

We're three weeks in, which means most of us are in the doldrums. At least, that's where I am. I've been managing to meet my word counts every day, but I feel like I'm forcing it out. Like I have constipation of the imagination. This, of course, is famously where the outline helps.

So is my outline helping? Have I stuck to the plan well enough for it to have any meaning at all at this point?

Yes and no, on both counts. I've wandered a bit--things I planned for one point have ended up happening earlier, which leaves me with holes, or a lack of a point for a planned scene. But I do still have a more or less chronological list of the the things that need to happen to get to the solution of the mystery, and I can consult it when I'm flagging.

I also have a growing list of things that I think I'll need to go back and write into earlier scenes, from minor character things to plot points and red herrings. That means I need to look at pulling things to a conclusion around 65 or 70K words, to keep the final draft around 80K.

I think I'm going to have to admit that there's no way for me to make a nice, clean first draft that gets all the story bits in place. I did a great job of visualizing the beginning and ending of the story, but the stuff in between is... fuzzy. I wonder it it's possible for it to be anything else.

Word count as of 11/19: 42084. Less than 8K to "win" NaNo, but just past halfway to a novel.
Target: 80K by Christmas. We have a 2-week trip planned in early December. I'll be writing on airplanes, for sure!

 Don't forget--sign up for my newsletter by Dec. 15 (top right on this page) and get a free copy of the sweet Pismawallops PTA novella, The Christmas Question.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Launch spotlight: The Chronicles of Marsh

The Ninja Librarian is delighted to announce the release of a new addition to the Princelings series!
 The Chronicles of Marsh, by Jemima Pett (#9 in the Princelings Series) was released Nov. 14!

Genre: fantasy/history/memoir/MG/crossover (yes, it really is all of these things!)
Length: 59,000 words
Triggers: one sad death scene
Recommended: for children over 10 with advanced reading skills

Publisher's Blurb:
The Princelings of the East are now King Fred and Prince Engineer George.  Gone are the years of innocence when they travelled for adventure and uncovered time tunnels and pirate plots.

Now Fred, assisted by his queen, Kira, has the responsibility for his people, his lands, and for persuading the lords and kings of the Realms to act together for the common good.

George just has to work on his inventions, always thinking of a final goal: to fulfil the promises made to Lord Mariusz so long ago.

Neither has an easy task.

Fred decides to write this history of his reign. He starts with the joy of his inheritance, but quickly shows us that developments in the Realms are not leading towards a settled and happy future.

Ordinarily, in this kind of post, I'd insert my review here. In this case, that doesn't seem quite right, as I was a beta reader/editor on this one and might not be wholly objective. So I'll just say that it is a must-read for anyone following the series, though not the place to start the series. I love the Princelings, and encourage anyone who likes Erin Hunter's Warriors, Brian Jacques, or Narnia to take a look at the series. This one fills in a lot of important bits and breaks your heart a little.


Chapter One
Spring came subtly to the marsh. The reeds stood at odd angles, however the snow and winds had thrown them, beige against the black of the water and green of the new grass. The stubby willow bushes showed fluffy silver buds cracking out of chestnut-brown casings. On the more open wetlands, the peeping of wading birds made an incessant whistle against the wayward breeze.

The banners on the castle towers fluttered, halfway up the flagpoles. The castle stood proudly on a rock, surrounded by miles of reedbeds. To the east ran a line of dunes, then the sea. To the west, a thinly wooded meadow area gave way to dense forest. To north and south, reeds continued as far as the eye could see. 

In the castle, the entire population had gathered round a wooden box, set on a trestle in the middle of the upper square.

Fred watched as six members of the 25th Rifle Brigade, smartly dressed in their dark green jackets, hoisted the coffin onto their shoulders. They followed their captain, a huge person named Haggis, towards a gateway that led to the castle’s crypt. Fred felt the warmth of his wife next to him, warding off the chill in his heart. It was not just the death of his uncle. He wasn’t ready to be a king.

Yesterday, Princess Kira had been showing the children of the castle how to make a sound like a bittern by blowing across the neck of a jar. Today, Queen Kira was giving Fred moral support as he addressed his people.

“So, as we send our beloved King Vladimir on his way,” Fred said to his audience, “I ask each and every one of you to support me as your new king, to help me uphold the best traditions of our castle, and to help me serve you in the best interest of our community.” He paused for a couple of seconds, then added, “ I believe we have refreshments ready in the lower square.”

“Long live the King!” cried FGP, the castle’s long-serving steward. He’d never had any other name, and nobody knew what the initials stood for.

“Long live the King!” the people responded. Then they hurried off to the corner of the upper square and down the stairs. A feast was laid out for all at the tables set out in front of the tavern.

Chronicles of Marsh, Ch 1  © J M Pett 2019

Buying Links

iTunes, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords Amazon   (universal link)
Paperback: ISBN 9780464454038 – coming soon to your favourite store.

About the Author

Jemima wrote her first book when she was eight years old. She was heavily into world-building, drawing maps, building railway timetables, and dreaming of being a champion show-jumper, until schoolwork got in the way. Then she went down the science path, reading all the scifi in her local library, writing papers, manuals and reports, as well as editing the newsletters for her sports clubs. She changed career aged 42, to a new and exciting cross-cutting science called environmental technology, and worked in energy efficiency and climate change. A few years on, she was writing stories based on the personalities of her first pets, guinea pigs named Fred and George, after the Weasley twins. Then her other guinea pigs demanded starring roles….

Jemima Pett lives in Norfolk, UK, and first started writing fantasy adventures for young teens over ten years ago.

Connect with Jemima Pett:  Blog ** Amazon ** Goodreads ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Pinterest ** Smashwords

Now enter the Giveaway

~ one $20 or £20 or €20 gift card~

Runners up prizes:
~free ebooks of Chronicles of Marsh~
~1 UK winner gets a Princelings Notebook worth £16~

Note that only 3 entries are permitted per day to avoid spam. You may return to use other ways to enter at any time during the period of the giveaway.
Giveaway ends at 23.59 on December 6th, UK time. Open worldwide. You can come back to complete all the entries at other times but only three entries are available to you each day. Just visit Jemima Pett's page and make your entry! 

And just because I love the series and love the covers, here are all the rest!

The Princelings Books: Jemima Pett

Friday, November 15, 2019

Favorite Holiday Memory Blog Hop

Running a little behind here...

Blog Hop Question: What is your favorite holiday memory?

(This includes Hanukkah, Kwanza, Yule/Winter Solstice, Christmas, etc.)

My Memory:
I have a lot of good holiday memories. I admit I love Christmas, from opening stocking in our jammies to big family dinners (and pie! I like pie!). A couple of favorite memories stand out in my mind, though. When I was about 5, my mom got creative on a budget. She sewed each of the three of us a patchwork snake (thus thriftily using up scraps of fabric, some furry, some not) and put it in our Christmas stockings. The kicker? Those snakes were 6' long! We know that, because my middle brother got a tape measure in his stocking as well, so of course we measured them.

Mom stuffed the snakes using cut-up scraps of fabric, and I remember that she was sitting around snipping the scraps into little pieces, and I got worried that she was wasting good fabric! She just gave that mysterious mom look and said she thought she could find a use for the bits :)

New Picture Book Release from Elaine Kaye!

On Christmas Eve, Gregory and Sammy get a special visitor—Santa Claus! Santa brings them on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure around the world and to the North Pole. Bundle up and come along for the ride!

General Age Range - Kids 4-8 (Story Picture Book)

Book Links:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo
Smashwords / Goodreads


Get Pea Soup Disaster now!
Kindle / Nook / Kobo

About the Author: Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools. She currently lives in Florida, but has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home.

Hop around to the other blogs participating:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Writer's Wednesday: NaNo Update #1


I like to do a weekly update during November when I'm doing NaNoWriMo (it's another way to procrastinate, right?), to say how I'm doing and see how those of you who are swotting along with me are coming along. By the way, if you want to be buddies on NaNo, I do it under my own name :)

So how's my NaNo going, after 12 days?

Stats: 23,922 words as of 7 p.m. last night (really hoping as I write this, at 7 p.m. last night, that I can up that before bed).
Consistency: Yup. Every day.
Average output: around 2000 words, which is my minimum goal (2K/day gets me an 80K draft in 40 days...)
Most words in one day: 2967
Fewest, excluding yesterday because of hopefulness: 1069

Less numerically, I'm in the mid-book doldrums. Like my sleuth, JJ MacGregor, I'm flailing around looking for clues as to where all this is going. So, you ask, what about the extensive notes and outline? Still more or less on, and still helpful, but the holes in it you could drive a train through! Time for a time-honored cure: throw something nasty at poor JJ.

And what else is going on? 

Well, I was up late Monday night finishing the Kindle and paperback MSS of Death By Library. The proof is on it's way to me, so I should be able to get the paperback out at the same time as the ebooks go live, i.e. Dec. 6. The ebook is available for pre-order on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Apple Books, and Barnes & Noble, and probably some other places I don't know about. Unfortunately, the paperback can't be pre-ordered--except on this blog! Which means that updating that page is another task that needs doing ASAP.

Got the edits back on the special novella, The Christmas Question (Pismawallops PTA #4.5), and I'm working on final tweaks and polish. There's still time to sign up for my newsletter and get a free ebook of it in my December newsletter! Sign up before Dec. 15 to be sure you're there before I hit "send." Right now, it's the only way to get a copy.

Looking at all that, which leaves out the personal stuff (like finally getting to start PT for my plantar fasciitis!), I think I know why I'm busy and tired!

Drop me a note in the comments and tell me how it's going for you!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Cozy Review: Tell Me No Lies

Title: Tell Me No Lies
Author: Shelley Noble
Publication Info: November 5, 2019, Forge Books. 368 pages.
Source: ARC provided through Great Escapes blog tours

Publisher's Blurb:
Rise and shine, Countess, you're about to have a visitor.

Lady Dunbridge was not about to let a little thing like the death of her husband ruin her social life. She's come to New York City, ready to take the dazzling world of Gilded Age Manhattan by storm. The social events of the summer have been amusing but Lady Phil is searching for more excitement---and she finds it, when an early morning visitor arrives, begging for her help. After all, Lady Phil has been known to be useful in a crisis. Especially when the crisis involves the untimely death of a handsome young business tycoon.

His death could send another financial panic through Wall Street and beyond.

With the elegant Plaza Hotel, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the opulent mansions of Long Island's Gold Coast as the backdrop, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.

My Review:  
An intriguing mystery with an marvelous historical setting, Tell Me No Lies combines an American setting with the characters and features of an English country-house mystery. But the Dowager Duchess of Dunbridge is no Miss Marple--she's pretty adventurous, both in her personal life and in pursuit of a perp. I liked the characters from the start--not only Phil, but her servants, Lily and Preswick. The latter is all British butler perfection, but the former is a mystery herself, and one that I hope the author sees fit to unravel eventually, along with that of Phil's mysterious "boss."

I did find that the book started a little slowly, though I couldn't put my finger on anything besides my own mood that made me reluctant to engage. But once well into the story, it definitely took off, and as we neared the end I had to push on to see whodunnit, a solution that I felt I should have seen coming more clearly. The author did a good job with the misdirection on that score.

There were a few too many moments when my attention was distracted by a word used incorrectly or an awkward turn of phrase, but those problems didn't ride to the level of disqualifying the book for a positive review. 

My Recommendation:
I always like to read series in order, but there were no issues with reading this book without its predecessor. I would recommend it for anyone who likes mysteries set in the 1920s, or those who enjoy a peek at high society, complete with some lovely gowns.

Shelley Noble is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction. (Beach Colors, Whisper Beach, Lighthouse Beach.) And the author of the Lady Dunbridge Gilded Age  Manhattan mysteries. Tell Me No Lies is the latest of the series.
She has written eighteen amateur sleuth and historical mystery novels and novellas as Shelley Freydont. (The Sudoku Murders,  Celebration Bay mysteries, The Gilded Age Newport mysteries.
A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to discover new beaches and indulge her passion for lighthouses, vintage carousels, and the past.
Author Links
Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo


a Rafflecopter giveaway


FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC of Tell Me No Lies from Great Escapes Free Book Tours, and received nothing further from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

IWSG: Writing and planning

The first Wednesday of every month is the Insecure Writer's Support Group posting day, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It's a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Check it out here and join if you want support with your writing. 
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional!
November 6 question - What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story? 
The awesome co-hosts for the November 6 posting of the IWSG are Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!
Welcome to another IWSG post! 
I am looking forward to reading about the weird things people have googled! I don't have any very interesting ones--I mean, every mystery writer googles weird poisons, and things like how long it takes for rigor mortis to wear off. I have gone down the rabbit hole a time or two--the biggest one, which might actually be a wormhole, was the fascination with WWI I developed while thinking about a particular story. That long since left the realm of research and became something I do for its own sake. But I'd rather hear about your adventures!

For myself, as I announced last week, I'm juggling a couple of projects (well, okay, three), including being 5 days into NaNo. I'm working from the most thorough plan I've ever had, and have hit 10,000 words, but I still don't feel like I know what I'm doing or exactly where the story is supposed to be right now. So much for detailed plans.

If you want to get in on another of my projects, a 9000-word Christmas novella featuring the characters from Pismawallops Island, just sign up for my newsletter before Dec. 15. I'm giving the story as a Solstice gift to all my newsletter readers (note: if anyone can recommend how to do that, please let me know--I would rather have something direct than give out Smashwords coupons). Here's a sneak peak at the cover:

Enough about me! I'm off to see what others are up to as we move into the craziest time of the year.

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2019
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Cozy review: Robbery at the Roller Derby

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Title: Robbery at the Roller Derby (Mollie McGhie #0)
Author: Ellen Jacobson
Publication Info: independently published
Source: Give-away

Publisher's Blurb:
When Mollie joined a roller derby team, she thought she only needed to worry about bumps and bruises. But when something valuable is stolen from the locker room, she decides to investigate and find the culprit.

In between identifying suspects, working at a mind-numbing temp job, and skating practice, she also meets a guy who just might change her view on blind dates.

As Mollie pursues her investigation, not everyone is thrilled when she starts asking one too many questions.

Can Mollie skate her way out of danger? Or will her nosiness be the death of her?

Robbery at the Roller Derby is a prequel novella to the Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mysteries, a whimsical series with a nautical twist.

My Review:  
This is another book from an author I probably shouldn't be reviewing, as I have beta-read several of her books before this (not this one). Nonetheless, this is my honest opinion about a fun little story: that it *is* a fun little story. There's nothing earth-shaking about Mollie's origin story, but there's also no question that it's as goofy and off-beat as she is. I mean, really: roller derby? For someone who has proven herself (in Books 1-4) to be a wee bit klutzy? What could possibly go wrong, besides... everything?

The story rockets along like Mollie on the skate track, and takes the reader along, laughing all the way as Mollie struggles to find her way in life, as well as to find the thief.

My Recommendation:
I think this would be a fun read even if you don't already know Mollie and the crew from the marina. If you do, you are probably going to love finding out how she met her husband, and why she knows about bolt cutters.

FTC Disclosure: I collected a copy of Robbery at the Roller Derby on a free day, and received nothing further from the writer or publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  

Friday, November 1, 2019

Spotlight and guest post: C. Lee McKenzie’s Not Guilty

I’m delighted today to welcome author C. Lee McKenzie to my site to talk about her latest release, NOT GUILTY, as part of her MC Book Tour Blog adventure.

After you find out more about this intriguing new YA book, and read some fun tips from the author herself, be sure to enter Lee’s giveaway featured below.

* Not Guilty
* by C. Lee McKenzie
* Publication Date: October 25, 2019
* Genre: Young Adult

       A blood-smeared knife. One young man’s word against another. A lifetime dream crushed.
       The evidence points to Devon Carlyle. He was there when it happened. Everyone knows he had it in for Renzo Costa. And Costa says Devon was the one. In the judge’s rap of a gavel, Devon’s found guilty of assault. The star of the Oceanside High’s basketball team loses his shot at the one thing he’s worked so hard for—the championship game where college scouts could see how good he is.
       Now he makes his great shots in Juvenile Hall with kids far different from those that have always been in his life.
       Angry? Hell, yes.
       He’s bent on finding who did the crime. He’s bent on making them pay because he’s Not Guilty.
       But can he prove it?

For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. She has published five young adult novels: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, and Sudden Secrets. Not Guilty is her most recent novel.

Sometimes she likes to jump into the world of the fantastic and when she does, she writes for the middle-grade reader. Some Very Messy Medieval Magick is the third book in the time-travel adventures of Pete and Weasel, with Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster being the first two. Sign of the Green Dragon, a stand-alone, takes the reader into ancient Chinese dragon myths and a quest for treasure.

When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot of questions about things she still doesn’t understand.

For more information on Lee and her writing, connect with her on FacebookTwitterInstagram and at her Website

NOT GUILTY can be found Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Kobo.

NOT GUILTY is also now on Goodreads.

The author’s other young adult books include: Sliding on the Edge, Princess of Las PulgasDouble NegativeSudden Secrets

A Visit from Author C. Lee McKenzie

I'm so pleased to welcome C. Lee McKenzie to the Ninja Librarian blog. She's brought us some tips on how to get that writing done!
Tips About Writing From a Non-Tipper

When someone asks me for tips about writing, I have a good chuckle. I have absolutely no tips that I know work. However, I’m not above pretending to know techniques to take you from the blank page to a book between covers. So far I’ve gathered a few, so here they are. You can let me know if any work for you.

Sneak up on your computer or your notebook, so that it’s surprised and delighted by your appearance. Who knows, but these tools may even cough up a few words as a bonus.

Have wine and/or chocolate ready for when you’ve been on chapter one for an hour and have only written “Chapter1” at the top of the page.

Hydrate well before you open the wine, and just in case, step on the scale before you launch into that chocolate.

Write naked at least once. This is best done at home in your special writing space. I suggest this for summer, but winter does produce some special results--sometimes it speeds up the writing process if you set a word count goal before you’re allowed to put on a sweater.

Practice being a cat and look as if you’re always far too important to be a part of social media, but will tolerate it for the moment.

Imagine yourself with the hide of an elephant. This will prepare you should any reviewers have a bad day and take it out on you and your book.

Many thanks, for letting me be on your blog, Rebecca. I’ve had a bit of fun here today and I always appreciate having fun during a book launch.
Love the tips, Lee! And we are always ready for a bit of fun around here, too :)


With Halloween just past, Lee’s giving away five digital copies of NOT GUILTY and a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate. This tour-wide giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 5th.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by today during Lee’s visit. Do you enjoy stories where the underdog becomes the champion? Don’t forget to enter the giveaway.