Monday, November 23, 2020

Writer's Update

Time for a quick update before Thanksgiving. 

As I've noted, I'm being a NaNo rebel this year, not trying to draft a novel, but rather to sort and edit 50,000 words of short fiction into collections. And how's that going? Well, I think. I passed the 40k mark (including whatever else I've written this month, and the final edits on Death By Donut) late last week, and have three collections ready for final edits and formatting, with stories for a fourth tagged but not yet edited.

I have also written a guest post for the WEP--watch for that to come out on Wednesday, I think--and tackled some challenging computer issues (which turned out not to be as bad as expected). Editing mode has been good to me, and as readers saw on Friday, even led to writing a whole new bit of flash fiction just for the heck of it.

That being the case, I feel like I do have something to be thankful for this week, in addition to friends and family who are holding me together, largely from afar. 

To my US readers, have a good, and safe, holiday. To those elsewhere... be thankful anyway.

Write on!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Flash Fiction Friday: Night of Wind and Talons

 I've been re-reading and working over so many flash fiction bits for the collections I'm assembling, it felt like time to write something! I stumbled on a title generator, and tweaked this a bit from what I got. With wind and talons, it obviously had something to do with dragons. I enjoyed writing it, and hope you enjoy reading it!

967 words

Night of Wind and Talons

The crowd of young people waited in a silence that bordered on the unnatural, yet was essential. The night when the dragons came in was too important for whispers and nervous giggles, certainly too important for wisecracks and horseplay, however much those waiting and watching might have appreciated the release.

Seventy-five young men and woman had spent their lives preparing for this moment. Within the hour, some would be dead, some would be broken and left behind—and some would have achieved the end to which they had been working all their lives.

In the center of the crowd, Erlan and Marda stood close together, holding hands. That was against protocol, but it wouldn’t have stopped them. The twins had always stuck with each other, especially in times of stress.

When the testers had come ten years before, to see if either was suited for dragon-training, they had been terrified that one would be chosen and the other left behind. The twins now knew that would never have happened: the telepathy they shared with each other was exactly what was being sought.

Tonight, after nine months in one womb, and nineteen years of sharing everything, they would be parted. No matter what the outcome, they could never mingle their lives the same way.

At least they could share their fears, unlike the other seventy-three candidates. Chosen and nurtured for their empathy, nonetheless they had no telepathy.

I’m scared. Erlan was never afraid or ashamed to admit he was scared. Marda didn’t usually share that willingness, but Erlan knew anyway. Tonight, she gripped his hand tighter.

Scared to death. What am I going to do without you?

Maybe we’ll be near enough to stay in touch, Erlan consoled her, meaning in touch through their mental speech.

Marda didn’t answer, even in her own mind. They both knew that if they were chosen, their dragons would take them to their homes, and they would have to give up human bonds for dragon bonds. If they weren’t, and survived the Choosing, they would be sent to whatever labor units needed workers—and those units kept men and women apart. The dragon-trained were thought too unstable to be allowed to marry, and the only way to prevent that was to prevent all contact with the opposite sex.

Being Chosen for the dragon training was both an immense honor—and a life sentence.

A sound like a strong wind in the distance began to be audible, and grew louder by the second. The crowd flinched as one, but no one made a sound. The first test passed with no failures.

The second test came when the phalanx of dragons burst over the ridge into sight, talons extended, illuminated by the flames they breathed from out their nostrils. Two of the candidates dropped to their knees and began to moan in fear, and the others moved away from them, leaving clear spaces around each as everyone strove to separate themselves from the failures.

Marda watched the dragons, her head thrown back to give her a clear view, her eyes scanning for the one—the dragon she suddenly was sure she would find. Next to her, she felt Erlan stiffen as he, too, felt it. She couldn’t tell which of the huge winged creatures was calling to her spirit, but it was up there. She was up there.

Marda tried to count the dragons, anything to keep her mind focused on something other than her fear. It was impossible to be accurate, but she thought there might be as many as fifty dragons. Dared she spare the attention to pity the ones who wouldn’t be chosen?

The dragons wheeled overhead, flew off, and came back. The candidates, well trained to expect this, took the signal and broke formation, spreading themselves well apart, making room for the dragons to swoop in and make their selections.

At last Marda and Erlan had to drop hands, and neither had the time to form words, but each felt the other’s thought: Good-bye! I love you!

Then the third test. One by one, the dragons swooped low over the candidates, reaching for their chosen partners. Sometimes, on the way in, they knocked other candidates sprawling with wing or claw, or singed them with fire-laden breath, and Marda could see how so many were killed or injured each year. Several more broke under the tension and ran for the distant buildings, or for the river.

Marda and Erlan stood and waited, until she felt the call, the instruction. With a wild glance at her twin brother, she took a dozen rapid strides to her left, leaving twice the required distance between them. She wanted to ask Erlan what was happening, but her mind was now fully focused on the one who had chosen her, though she still couldn’t sort it out from the crowd.

Now she saw, and saw something that she had never heard of: two dragons flew towards her and Erlan side by side
, in formation. At the same instant they folded their wings high over their backs, dropping like hawks on the twins. Still in concert, they snatched the young people in their talons and unfurled their wings. The two dragons, chosen partners clutched firmly in their talons, wheeled in unison and flew for the ridge.

At last Marda could clearly hear her dragon—and to her amazement, the other dragon as well.

We have waited long for a matched set like you two, Marda’s dragon said in her mind.

Twins. Like us, the other explained. We four will be like no dragons ever before us.

United, Erlan thought at them all.

Forever, Marda responded.

Their night of wind and talons had been nothing like they’d expected. It had been far, far better.


All images and text ©Rebecca M. Douglass, unless otherwise indicated.
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Photo Sunday: How Grand is that Canyon?

It's been 6 weeks since our abortive trip into the Grand Canyon, so I'm a bit slow at getting this post up! The trip was meant to be 4 nights, 5 days, dropping from the North Rim to Tapeats Creek and Deer Falls. As it turned out, it was one glorious, stunning night 1000' down on the Esplanade. Given how overwhelmingly scenic that was, it might have been just as well I started slow.

Speaking of starting slow, this Photo Friday post seems to have taken until Sunday to get up. Life's just that way.


On Sept. 24, we met up at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (for the record, we'd all been isolating and/or had COVID tests, knowing it would be beyond difficult to maintain distances).

The drive from Kanab, UT, to the North Rim Visitors Center (closed due to COVID) was a reminder that it was fall, and the North Rim is high.

The aspens were turning beautiful shades of yellow and red.

Bright Angel Point gave a good look at the deep gash that the North Kaibab Trail follows to the river. Our route would be less well-traveled.

A couple of hours of driving on dirt roads took us to our night's camp at Indian Hollow, next to the trailhead so we could make an early start. It also covered our cars with dust, thoroughly baptizing my new Prius.

After a short night, we hit the trail at 6:13 a.m., definitely before sunrise. Despite the late season and the colorful fall-like aspens, daytime temperatures below the rim, even a little way below, were up around 90. We wanted to make as much progress as we could before that heat hit us.

First light colors the rim as we drop down to the first terrace.

By the time we were dropping through the Kayenta formation the the Esplanade, the sun was up.


From above, the Esplanade looked flat and easy. The reality was endless detours and twists to pass above the heads of the canyons that slice into it.

We'd been on the trail about three hours when it became evident that one of us couldn't go on. We found a great spot to wait out the day, and then two of us got cocky and went for a 6-mile dayhike (as it turned out).

"Boob Rocks" marked our turn-around point.

By the time the dayhikers made it back to camp, it was fairly clear that injuries were going to keep any of us from continuing to the river, even had we wanted to split the party (we didn't). Instead, we enjoyed the most amazing evening and morning. The Canyon, I think, is always hazy, but smoke from fires near and far made it especially so that evening.

Relaxing in camp after dinner

This star-and-moonlight shot was about a 4-second exposure, with the camera very carefully propped on my gear.

The author enjoying the morning java.

Finally, we got moving, to finish enjoying the morning while we hiked, in hopes of not getting wholly cooked on the 1000' climb.

It was good to see the trail sign! From there, it was about a 1/4-mile hike to the cars, through the rim-top forest, which gives no sign that there is a giant hole in the ground just yards away!

Hope you enjoyed a little trip into the Grand Canyon!

All images and text ©Rebecca M. Douglass, unless otherwise indicated.
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Writer's Wednesday comes on Thursday: Fun with Flash Fiction

Last Wednesday, for IWSG day, I announced that I'm being a NaNo rebel and working on selecting and revising short stories/flash fiction for some anthologies this month. I am happy to report that this work is proceeding nicely, and that I am really enjoying the process. 

Editing novel-length works is often challenging and discouraging. Working with a story that can be read in five minutes, and has already been through the editing process once, if hastily, is a breeze by comparison. The best part about what I'm doing is that I'm no longer constrained by the 1000-word limit imposed on most of my flash fiction. I'm able to add those little bits that make the story more rounded, without (I hope) losing the tightness that makes short-short fiction work.

I was even inspired to write one new story wholly from scratch (well, almost--I was writing in a universe already invented in other stories), with an eye toward tying the anthologies together. At this point, I've got stories selected for a "bar stories" anthology, and a collection to comb through for one on libraries. I think the third collection will be mystery stories, and I believe I can tie that one together with the others, as well.

My intention is to bring these out as three 99-cent ebooks of 11-13,000 words each, but to assemble them, plus a couple of other stories perhaps, into a single paperback (thus making it thick enough to have a title on the spine). Honestly, though, my main intention was to keep being a writer, while giving myself a break from novels.

And hopefully, to give myself time and space to figure out just what happens in that little town where Seffi Wardwell went for a quiet retirement...

Next challenge: to create my own covers, since I don't expect to sell enough of these to pay for one of Danni's spectacular covers. I'm open to advice!

Monday, November 9, 2020

Non-fiction audiobook review: 81 Day Below Zero

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 Title: 81 Days Below Zero: the Incredible Survival Story of a World War II Pilot in Alaska's Frozen Wilderness
Author: Brian Murphy. Ready by Richard Ferrone
Publication Info: Audible Audio, 2015. 8 hrs, 42 min. (Hardcover Da Capo Press, 2015)
Source: Library digital resources
Publisher's Blurb:
Shortly before Christmas in 1943, five Army aviators left Alaska’s Ladd Field on a test flight. Only one ever returned: Leon Crane, a city kid from Philadelphia with little more than a parachute on his back when he bailed from his B-24 Liberator before it crashed into the Arctic. Alone in subzero temperatures, Crane managed to stay alive in the dead of the Yukon winter for nearly twelve weeks and, amazingly, walked out of the ordeal intact. '81 DAYS BELOW ZERO' recounts, for the first time, the full story of Crane’s remarkable saga. In a drama of staggering resolve with moments of phenomenal luck, Crane learned to survive in the Yukon’s unforgiving landscape. His is a tale of the human capacity to endure extreme conditions and intense loneliness—and emerge stronger than before.
My Review:
This was one of several books I listened to last month while driving across the country and back. Given how cold some of my camping nights were, I'm not sure if this made me feel colder, or served to remind me that 18 isn't really *that* cold. 

Either way the book made for good listening. Meticulously researched, at least as far as I could tell, the story pulls together all the available information from many sources to give a detailed account of Crane's experience in the Alaska winter (too detailed? I did at times wonder how, as I don't believe the author was able to directly interview the subject, there could be so many tiny specifics. I have to assume liberties were taken with regard to dialogue, at the least).

The actual story may have proven a little thin for a full book, but the author works in information on the war, the history of aviation in Alaska, survival, and more. The extras felt occasionally tacked, on but for the most part were good enhancements of the story. In particular, the accounts of the discovery and investigation of the wreck were fully relevant, and used to effect.

The narration was excellent, adding to the overall effect (my hands are cold just thinking about the story!). The main question I'm left with is the one Crane had: how on earth did he get so lucky? Because by all rights, he shouldn't have survived the many mistakes he made.
Recommended for fans of both outdoor adventure/survival stories and WWII history. I learned a lot about what went on in Alaska during the war, much of which I didn't know.

FTC Disclosure: I checked 81 Days Below Zero out of my library, and received nothing 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." 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Cozy Mystery Author Interview: Bogged Down

Bogged Down: A Vashon Island Mystery by Charlotte Stuart

Bogged Down: A Vashon Island Mystery  

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series  

Publisher: Taylor and Seale Publishing (August 5, 2020) 

Paperback: 244 pages  

ISBN-10: 1950613445  

ISBN-13: 978-1950613441  

Digital ASIN : B08FBZMRYL 

 Publisher's Blurb:

An ancient bog hidden away in a forest is the perfect backdrop for murder…

BOGGED DOWN is a mystery set on Vashon Island, a place that has been described as Mayberry-meets-Burning Man. Its motto: Keep Vashon Weird.

Lavender (Lew) Lewis moved there because it is only a twenty-minute ferry ride from Seattle, yet light years away in tempo and character. She grew up on a commune in Alaska, joined the army at 17, does woods parkour for exercise and HR investigations to earn a living. Life in her waterfront cabin with her two food-obsessed cats is predictable and relatively stress free. Until she leads a tour group into an ancient bog on the island and discovers a body.

  This is where I meant to have a review. Unfortunately, as I read, I quickly encountered a scene where the police bring the news to the new widow, and I was unable to read on. I hope someday to be able to finish the book, but not this month, not this year. My apologies to the author, who is guilty only of writing an all-too-evocative scene.

However--read on to learn more about the author, and enjoy my interview with Charlotte Stuart!


About Charlotte Stuart

In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart has a passion for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. She began her career in academia, spent nine years commercial salmon fishing in Alaska, was a partner in a consulting group, and a VP for a credit union. Currently, she is the VP for Puget Sound Sisters in Crime and lives and writes on Vashon Island in Washington State’s Puget Sound. She spends time each day entertained by herons, seals, eagles, and other wildlife.


Now for my interview with Charlotte Stuart, who was kind enough to answer my sometimes goofy questions!

1. First things first: I need to introduce myself. See, I’m a 3rd-generation graduate of Vashon High, so I was really excited to see you are an Islander and set your mystery there! I don’t live on the Island now, and I know things are a bit different than I remember, so… tell me first how long you’ve lived on Vashon, and what brought you there?

My husband and I lived on boats for quite few years and missed being close to the water after we became landlubbers. We were lucky enough to buy an older cabin on Vashon waterfront in 2012 before prices started going up. We spent four years remodeling the cabin before moving to the island full time. Each morning I look my office window at the water and see “my” heron fishing for breakfast and feel fortunate to live here.

2. You are braver than I, to set your mystery in your own town. I made my own version of Vashon a little to the north. How do your neighbors feel about you planting bodies in the bog?

I really wanted to portray the beauty of the island and the uniqueness of the culture. However, I didn’t want to have anyone traipsing around our fragile bog, so I made up a location for it. No one has complained yet, but who knows? My biggest concern is that readers might expect everything to be accurate, whereas I’ve employed a mix of fact and fiction when describing the island. Elizabeth George actually identifies specific streets, buildings and even residential homes in her books. But then, she’s a big name so people are probably flattered rather than annoyed.

Now a bit about your writing.
3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? And what do you think are the strengths and/or pitfalls of your approach?

I start with an idea. In Bogged Down, I wanted to have someone find a body in the bog. Then I make a list of characters I want to include, focusing on the protagonist. In this instance, the character’s background and profession ended up driving some of the action. At the point where I have my characters in mind, I become a plotter, a flexible plotter. The plot morphs as I work on an outline and then the rough draft and another rough draft and another less rough draft, etc. In Bogged Down, even the gender of the murderer changed in a late draft. Then it’s more writing with an eye on details and trying to eliminate repetitions and typos. But even when I think I’m done, the editor often comes up with something more to change or add. So far I’ve never disagreed with her suggestions.

The main strength of my approach is that I enjoy my process. I like living in the mind of a competent and upbeat protagonist who is capable of doing things I can only fantasize about. I’ve listened to many successful authors talk about their approach to writing. And I know some just sit down at their computer and start writing. Others do exhaustive outlines. Or draw everything up on a whiteboard. If I knew exactly where I wanted to end up, that might make my writing and story better, but I don’t seem to function that way.

4. We all have to write in our own way, and find what works for us!
What’s the most interesting/weird/disturbing thing you’ve had to research for your mysteries? In other words, what’s going to bring the FBI to your door (if they can scrounge up the ferry fare)?

If you are a published mystery writer, then purchasing books on topics related to murder might not seem too suspicious. But in the years before publication, I always wondered if a few red flags were going off somewhere on some invasive system dedicated to seeking out dangerous people. Books about forensics, blood splatter, lock picking, how to change your identity and Seal sniper training for example. Then there are the online searches about guns and survivalists and floaters to name but a few. I also assume that somewhere in an airless room filled with computers and storage units, there’s a tally of how many times I’ve browsed the Paladin Press website. And I admit to having potentially lethal tansy ragwort in my yard. If not the FBI, then the noxious weed police might come calling.

5. That tansy could get nasty, along with the Scotch broom!
Do you draft your books longhand, at the computer, or…?

Longhand? What’s that? Actually, I frequently start the draft in my head in the middle of the night. But all serious outlining and writing is done with my closest friend, my Lenovo computer.

Finally, the fun personal questions:
6. I remember the spiders Vashon harbors in the wood piles, so my standard personality question is a bit tougher than in some places! If there’s a spider in the corner of the room (or the woodbox), do you a) panic, b) have to drop everything until it is removed, or c) hope it’s planning to eat the more annoying bugs that get in?

When I lived in Seattle we had tall ceilings and white walls. Occasionally, a large, fuzzy-legged black spider would make an appearance, silhouetted against the stark whiteness, freezing in place when it sensed someone looking at it. We haven’t encountered any of these Halloween props on the island, but we do get the occasional bathtub spider. Since they can’t get out on their own, there are only two options: elimination or draping a towel over the edge so they can get traction and climb out without assistance. I would rather not think about where they go after they escape.

7. Do you garden? If so, what do you grow: flowers or veggies? Or, this being Vashon, moss?

We have a vegetable garden, but I only like to participate in the harvest, not in the planting or tending. Our property has some lovely vegetation, but it’s starting to look like a scene from The Secret Garden. At least our front yard stays green all year round, although from weeds, moss and clover, not grass. I’ve been thinking about hiring someone with a pair of large clippers and a weed whacker. Maybe in the spring--.

And finally…
Is there anything else you would like your readers to know about you?

Several readers have asked why I’ve started three different series before any one was well-established. The answer is simple – I was trying to attract an agent and a publisher, and when I didn’t immediately have luck with one approach, I moved on to another. Then they all found publishing homes within a year. That was exciting, but also a marketing challenge. Especially since I had no social media presence and not a clue about how to promote a book. It’s been a busy year and a steep learning curve. But I’m not complaining; well, maybe a little, but I don’t expect any sympathy.

Thanks for stopping by and answering my questions, and I apologize again for not being able to review the book. It's no reflection on your writing or the story, only my personal life!

Author Links Website -  

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Purchase Links- Amazon - B&N - Vashon Bookshop - IndieBound  

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November 4 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST
November 5 – The Ninja Librarian – AUTHOR INTERVIEW


November 7 – Literary Gold – EXCERPT

November 8 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Ascroft, eh? - CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 12 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
November 13 – Thoughts in Progress – EXCERPT

November 14 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
November 15 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 16 – My Reading Journeys- REVIEW

November 17 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT


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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

IWSG: NaNo Time?


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post. The IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. Since we are all insecure and can use all the support we can get, huge thanks to Alex and this month's co-hosts, Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

Every month there is an optional question to spark our posts and discussions. This month's question is (stripped of all the explanation you will find here):

Why do you write what you write?

Now for my post...

I'll get to the question in a minute. First, the big question: to NaNo, or not to NaNo? That's right--November is National Novel Writing Month, and many of us like to use the energy of the event to push our work along. So am I doing it this month? 

My answer to that appears to be a great big "sort of." When I first drafted this post on Oct. 30, I was still working on edits on last year's novel, something I'd hoped to have done by the end of May. As my regular readers know, life intervened, and writing, not to mention just getting up and going on each day, has been a challenge. As of November 1, the edits aren't quite done, and that's my first priority.

Still, I have a new story that's itching. 

Well, not so much a story as a character. I want to start a new mystery series with a new heroine. She's taking shape in my head pretty well, but the story has not, except in the broadest sense. And therein lies the rub: I could rush ahead and write a story all unplanned. That hasn't worked well for me in the past. Or I could spend however long it takes to plot the novel, then start. That might make it hard to reach 50K words, but frankly, who cares?

My third option is to spend the month working on short fiction, mostly editing flash fiction into a couple (or 3) anthologies. That is, once I finish the edits on Death By Donut. By the way, I'm still open to beta readers, and I haven't forgotten those who volunteered last month. I expect to finish my edits within the next two days.

Once the draft is off to the beta readers, I can either start plotting the next thing or (much more likely) start organizing my stories for the anthologies. I guess if I'm "doing NaNo," I'm doing it as a rebel. I did log my substantial word count for today, a mix of new text and edited material!

Okay, after all that, I'll skip the monthly question. Feel free to answer it in your comments, though! I'd love to hear why you write!


Last-minute Tuesday night update: despite obsessing fruitlessly over the election returns, I managed to finish the edits, and the draft will go out to beta readers tomorrow (after I do a little formatting cleanup and write a note to guide readers in their feedback). I'm very relieved to let go of that one for a while!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Photo Friday on Saturday: Fall color

 Blogging here has been pretty sparse the last couple of months, mostly because I've been on the road (and maybe because I haven't felt much like reviewing books). But I'm home at last, for the moment, and ready to share a few random fall color photos from my trip to Maine. There's no story with these--just photos. About half are from various parts of Maine, and the other half from New Hampshire.

Through my travels, I made a point of working at least a little bit on my novel every night. I missed a few when I was traveling with a friend, but most places I managed at least a paragraph or two!

Yes, you CAN write with gloves on!

All images and text ©Rebecca M. Douglass, unless otherwise indicated.
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Cozy Mystery Review: The Killer Outdoors, by Jodi Linton


The Killer Outdoors (A Southwest Exposure Mystery) by Jodi Linton

About The Killer Outdoors

The Killer Outdoors (A Southwest Exposure Mystery) 

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series  

Independently Published (October 5, 2020)  

Digital ASIN : B08C72CMSV 


Welcome to Bushwhack, New Mexico: home to tourists, the great outdoors, and murder...

Tourist season has hit Bushwhack and Andie Sullivan--owner of Sullivan's Adventure Company--is ready for her town to fill up with city slickers, snotty teens, and the dollars she needs to keep her business afloat after her messy divorce from Bucky Gunn--local celebrity rafting guide and Sullivan's main competition. With all her guided tours booked, it finally seems lady luck is on her side. 

But then Bucky is found dead. Not great.

And she's the prime murder suspect. Double not great.

Being framed for murder sucks worse than a rabid chipmunk bite. Andie's determined to clear her name, and this time her survival training skills won't be used to fetch an ice pack. But how long can she stay one step ahead of a killer before she becomes the final victim?

My Review:

Jodi Linton's new series opens with a plausible murder and an engaging heroine. Andie is reasonably strong and independent, without being perfect. I found her book a quick and pleasant read, with a decently-plotted mystery (though I admit I pegged the killer well before the end). At only 115 pages (according to my Kindle), it's definitely on the short-and-quick side, and doesn't have a lot of room t develop complexity.

Nonetheless, the story was enjoyable, and the setting was interesting, a bit out of the usual run of mysteries! The denouement had plenty of drama, if perhaps still leaving a bit too much to be explained after the dust (or whitewater) had settled. 

I thought the romance-to-mystery balance was good, with room left for a love story to develop in future books but a heroine who is focused first on her own life and her business, not on swooning over men. In the end, my main criticism was not with the story, which was enjoyable, but with a need for a little more careful editing, as there were word-choices that grated some on this word-nerd. Doubt most readers will be bothered!

My Recommendation:

A good vacation read, for times when you want a bit of distraction and not too much tension.

About Jodi Linton


 Hey Y’all, I’m just a girl from Texas, minus the big hair…and oh, yeah, a horse. My crew consists of two kiddos, one which inherited my makeup addiction, and a husband still living out his garage band dreams, but in our closet next to my shoe collection. I love to hang out with my readers, discussing books, recipes and just everyday shenanigans. I got started in the romance community, which you might know a few of my books from there. Now, I’m all about the cozies…and the coffee. Yeah, can’t forget that. I’d love for you to come join my reader group, Jodi’s Book Corner, or come like me on Facebook to discover my books. And chat. Naturally.  

Author Links  

Jodi's Book Corner:

Purchase Links - Amazon

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October 12 – I'm All About Books - SPOTLIGHT
October 12 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

October 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 14 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 15 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

October 16 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT

October 17 – Baroness' Book Trove - CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 18 – StoreyBook Reviews - REVIEW

October 18 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 19 – Socrates Book Reviews- SPOTLIGHT

October 20 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 21 - The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 21 - Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT

October 22 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 22 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 23 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT

October 23 – Christy's Cozy Corners – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 24 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

October 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 25 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW

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FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC of Killer Outdoors 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."  

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

WEP: Grave Mistake

 It's time for the October WEP challenge, and after missing several this year, I'm back with a tentative offering. I couldn't do any of the horror-type stories that the prompt and badge suggest. It's humor, and I hope you all enjoy it as a sort of palate-cleanser after all the spooky stories out there this month. But be sure to pop on over to the WEP and check out the other stories in the hop!

As for me--I'm back on the road again, and will be reading the stories when and as I  can, probably continuing into next month. If you leave a comment I *will* get back to you. Just don't hold your breath, okay? I don't want to be responsible for anyone turning blue in the face.

686 words.


Grave Mistake

“It’s a lovely piece, don’t you think, dear?”

“Mmm, yes. Is that the one you want, then?”

“I’m not sure. This has a lovely color, and the fine grain would look well, I think.”

“WIll it do the job?”

“Well, any of them will be cold enough. And I presume we can get whatever size we want, so I think I mostly need the right look.”

“Right, Dear.”

The salesman spotted the well-dressed couple studying the marble samples, rubbed his hands together, and approached the shoppers with anticipation in his eye.

“Is Madam looking for a slab or a stone?”

“Oh, not a slab. We could never afford to do the whole thing in marble. But for an accent—yes, I think this would do nicely.” She laid her hand on a piece of fine-textured pink-tinted marble. “Can it be cut?”

“Of course. Madam has particular dimensions in mind?”

“Well, naturally.”

“And is this for yourselves, or...” The salesman let the question drift off into a vague query.

“Oh, it’s for me,” the woman laughed. “I’m really the only one who needs it, you know.”

“I see.” The salesman assumed a solemn expression, and murmured something about regrets. The woman, distracted by another marble slab, didn’t hear. Her companion did, and a faint hint of interest, the first he’d shown since entering the showroom, crossed his face. He opened his mouth to say something, then shut it.

“Allow me to get your specifics, then, Madam,” the salesman said in a hushed and respectful tone. “Would you be having it engraved now, or, ah, after?”

“Engraved?” The woman appeared startled. Her companion pulled out a large handkerchief and blew his nose noisily. She gave him a dirty look.

“It is customary, my dear,” the man said, when he had his sinuses under control. He appeared to suffer from a curious tic that kept his mouth twitching.

“Oh, of course,” she said, not looking at all as thought it was “of course.” “What do you think would be best, dear? Dates? Some kind of wise or witty saying?”

“The dates, of course,” the salesman put in. He pulled a notebook from one pocket, a gold pen from another. “I’ll just note it down. Date of birth?”

“Oh!” The woman looked confused. “I don’t think that’s relevant. I was thinking more like, ‘Blessed be all that springs from this slab.”

Her husband considered that. “How about, ‘What is laid out on this stone will rise in the flames?’”

“Oh, that’s perfect,” his wife exclaimed. “It captures the spirit exactly!”

The salesman appeared ill. He had turned pale, and beads of sweat glistened on his face. “Are you quite certain?” He asked faintly.

“Of course we are,” the woman said.

Her husband said, “Engraved on the unpolished side, of course.”

“Oh, of course.” The salesman really didn’t seem to know what he was saying. His head was spinning. He collected the relevant billing information from the couple, and saw them to the door.

“Oh,” the woman added before they left. “How soon can you have that ready?”

“Um, we work quickly. Is Madam expecting to need it soon?”

“Oh, yes,” she said happily. “By the end of next week, if everything goes well, don’t you think, dear?”

“Rather. I’ll arrange to have the contractor pick it up.”

The salesman, thinking that rather a strange way to to speak of the usual sort who picked up his stones, headed to his office. He needed a drink.

Outside, the sleek black Audi pulled out of the parking lot. The wife, driving, was absorbed by the need to find a gap in traffic, and her thoughts about finally winning the prize for the best pie crust once she had her marble slab in place in the kitchen they were remodeling. Only her husband could spare the attention to the elegant sign for Simmon’s Granite and Marble, and to see the part of the sign they hadn’t noticed on the way in, perhaps because someone had bumped it with a truck and knocked it askew.

The part that read, “Headstones and Monuments.”    


All images and text ©Rebecca M. Douglass, unless otherwise indicated.
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Check out the other entries in the hop!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Photo Friday: Playing the Slots... in Utah??

 What's that you say? You're pretty sure slots are illegal in Utah? Well, not the kind I like! In fact, they thrive there, and in September I had some fun playing them. Well, okay, playing *in* them. Here's a bit of a photo essay from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, some of the most amazing landscape on earth (which, not to get too political, is under grave threat from the people currently in charge in DC).

The expansive Navajo Sandstone of the Calf Creek wilderness

Approach to Coyote Wash

Now for some fun with slots!

On the approach to Zebra Gulch

The author in Zebra Gulch. Photo thanks to Zebra Guy, the nice hiker who coached me through and shared the photos!

Zebra Gulch turned very wet and challenging. This final photo is about the point where I turned around and stowed my camera on dry ground!

My hiking companion chest-deep. The water got more like neck-deep on us before we got through!

So there you have it--My idea of slots worth playing with--and protecting.

 Now, back to enjoying the wilds of Maine :)


All images and text ©Rebecca M. Douglass, unless otherwise indicated.
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!