#Poetrychallenge – Light and Dark


Black and white

My experience

demonstrates no black or white

only shades of grey

than can be interpreted

as we each see fit

This poem was written for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge. You can join in here: https://colleenchesebro.com/2019/08/13/colleens-2019-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-140-synonymsonly/

Goodbye for now

I will be away for the next two weeks with limited access to wifi so I will not be posting content. I will try to pop in an visit you all when I am able to as I will miss you. See you soon.



#Bookreview – Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

Book reviews

What Amazon says

Sizzling romance with steamy love scenes, also a must in her novels, but it’s the characters that make this a five star and a must-read. I laughed, I swooned, I gasped (totally didn’t figure out the murderer until Biggar revealed it), I cried. Highly recommend!
Amazon Reviewer

This is the first story I’ve read by Jacquie Biggar. It won’t be the last. TEMPTED BY MR. WRONG hits all the right romance notes
Amazon Reviewer

How can something so wrong, feel so right?

Falling for her step-brother is a mistake T.J. doesn’t want to repeat, but one look into those sapphire blue eyes and she’s ready to give Jason whatever he wants.

Tammy-Jo Hawthorne’s marriage was floundering, but she never expected her husband to make her the laughing stock of Magnolia.
And she definitely didn’t expect to trip over him in their front yard after he’d been murdered.

Jason McIntyre was forced out of his home and the love of his life by the man who’d haunted his nightmares for ten long years.
Now Jason’s back–and he wants revenge.

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, humorous murder mysteries, women’s fiction.

My review

Tempted by Mr Wrong is another exciting book by Jacquie Biggar. Tammy Joe’s marriage to her father’s partner is in trouble and she ends up walking home from the local country club when he has her car towed away. Who should come to her rescue but her step brother, Jason, who broke off their relationship and disappeared ten years ago. Unbeknownst to TJ, Jason’s actions were at the instance of her over-protective father, against whom Jason has borne a grudge ever since.

Jason picks up TJ walking home in the rain and gives her a lift home from the country club. He happens to still be in the vicinity when she trips over her dead husband in the back yard.

Naturally, as the humiliated wife, TJ is the prime suspect in her husband’s murder and Jason becomes involved to help her out and keep her safe. The attraction that the two shared is still disturbingly real and it creates confusion for both of them, especially as Jason’s presence in Magnolia is not as innocent as he has made out to his mother and step sister. He is living a lie.

Jason soon starts to discover that things are not entirely as they seem with his step father, who he has hated consistently for years, and his mother, who is suffering from dementia.

There is a bit more sex in this book than in previous books by this author that I have read, but it works and is tastefully written. The book has a dual focus with one being the rediscovery by TJ and Jason of their strong feelings towards each other and the other being the murder of TJ’s husband and her father’s business involvement with him.

This book is a fast past murder mystery with an intense romantic sub-story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Purchase Tempted by Mr. Wrong

#Openbookbloghop – The Writing Process


What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

This is an intriguing question which I can only answer if I first break down what I think my own writing process is.

I have only published one young adult book, While the Bombs Fell, and I have recently finished a much longer work for a young adult audience, Through the Nethergate. I am currently working on a novella called A Ghost and his Gold which is set during the Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa and the first book in a trilogy about a world in the throes of climate crisis and the fallout from the fourth industrial revolution.

My writing process for WTBF was rather experimental as it was the first longer and more complicated story I attempted. It involved a lot of historical research which was enjoyable but time consuming. I learned a lot about developing a historical timeline of real events first and then fitting your story around it so that the timing all works correctly. I only realised that I need a historical timeline after I had finished the first draft of the book so I took me a lot of time and effort to go back and turn the entire story around and remodel it onto the historical timeline. I’ll never forget this lesson, that I can promise. I also learned a lot about dialogue and showing not telling as I have previously written non-fiction books which have a different writing style.

I carried my learning experiences from WTBF through to TTNG up front so the structure and flow of this book was much smoother from the beginning. That made my writing experience easier and quicker. The developmental edits for this book were much smaller from a structure and story line point of view, and more around a developing emotion and showing rather than telling perspective. Another steep learning curve.

With my two WIPs I have had a good idea of the basic story outline up front and have fleshed it out as I go along. I research each new section as I write it which is why my word count rarely exceeds 1 500 words in one sitting as the research is time consuming and I check to a number of sources for factual accuracy.  I am doing my best to show and not tell and build in the emotion and description as I go along. I wonder what my new developmental editing points will be?

Going back to the question as to what is the most difficult thing for me in the artistic process, it is getting the detail and emotion into the story in a compelling way. The facts need to be conveyed in and interesting and natural way that fits in with the characters and the story and this is hard work and requires effort and deep concentration for me.

This post was written for the Open Book Blog Hop
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

You can join in here:

#Writephoto – Within

The front flap of the tent was tightly closed. Mrs De Wet opened it and gestured to them to enter. Marta’s first impression was of neatness despite the dim lighting and stuffiness inside the tent. A smell of sickness and impending death hung in the oppressive air.

A women in her thirties knelt on the floor next to a makeshift mattress. Her small son lay on the mattress, weak and frail. His face was flushed with fever and he had a hacking cough.

“I’m trying to keep him warm,” the mother said, by way of explanation for keeping the flap closed. “He is shivering with cold.”

“What is wrong with him?” asked Marta. She already knew but she needed to be sure. Her whole being shrank away from what she already feared.

“He has influenza. There are a couple of hundred cases of illness in the camp right now, a mixture of influenza, bronchitis and enteric catarrh. There had been some dust storms lately which the camp doctor thinks is causing more respiratory illnesses.”

Marta looked at Sannie, aghast. Their two families and their house servants had always lived a rural life and had little immunity to such illnesses. It was bad enough to deal with the multitude of biting insects and vermin but how could they deal with this?

A few moments later, Mrs Smit entered the tent with her children. She laid the dead body of her baby down on a blanket. The child had drawn its last breath while she was speaking to the Camp Commandant. He had given her directions to the children’s graveyard. She dropped into a seated position on the hard ground and sat there, rocking herself to and fro, and keening softly. Her worn and seemingly bloodless body was that of an old woman and her large eyes in her white face were wild and haunted. The death of her infant on top of the recent losses of her oldest son and toddler seemed to have broken something deep within her mind. It was frightening to watch.

Needing to escape the cloying confines of the tent and the overwhelming anguish of the mother of the dead baby and the mother of the seriously ill boy, Marta went for a walk around the camp, stopping to speak to the other women.

This piece has been posted for Sue Vincent’s weekly write photo prompt. I am desperately trying to finish my novella, A ghost and his gold, about the Second Anglo Boer War. Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I find it hard to tear myself away from my most recent writing undertaking. That is why I often weave prompts into my latest story idea as I have done here.

You can join in here: https://scvincent.com/2019/08/08/thursday-photo-prompt-within-writephoto/


#SoCS – Where?

Stream of Consciousness

Where am I going this coming week?

I’ll give you some hints.

This was the home of three famous female authors, all siblings, who all wrote initially under male pen names as women had no recognition as writers at the time they published their first book. The three siblings had two other female siblings who both died of TB as children and a brother who became addicted to alcohol and opiates. In this place you will find artifacts from this family including tiny books which they made from all sorts of scrap paper including wallpaper, paper that came wrapped around packages or newspapers, sheet music, sugar wrappers and other packaging. These are the items I particularly want to see.

Then we are going on to see the home of a rather famous English writer, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her children’s books featuring animals. This female writer wrote thirty books of which twenty three were for children. My favourite of her books is Two Bad Mice which features Hunca Munca and Tom Thumb.

I am then going to visit the house of Robert Burns, the famous poet, who died of rheumatic fever at the age of 37 years old. I am also going to see fellow blogger, Mary Smith, who lives in this interesting town.

Where will I be?

This post was written for Linda G Hill’s SoCS challenge which you can join in here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/08/09/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-10-19/

#Flashfiction – Poisoned apple

Fear had eaten into his mind’s core like a malevolent caterpillar. Fear of the future. Fear of the soldiers. Fear of losing his farm. It had been there, rotting his brain matter, ever since the declaration of war in October the prior year. The injury he had sustained early this year had exacerbated its effect until it felt as if his mind was like a worm-infested apple, brown and soft inside. He took some deep breaths, determined to prevent the poison from spreading and affecting his reactions. Poor reactions could result in the deaths of him and his family.

The extract from my WIP, A Ghost and his Gold is posted for Charli Mills’ weekly 99-word flash fiction challenge. You can join in here: https://carrotranch.com/2019/08/08/august-8-flash-fiction-challenge/

#Bookreviews – A few shorts by Jan Sikes, D.L Finn and D.L. Cross

Voodoo or Destiny, you decide by Jan Sikes

How would you feel if your husband and the father of your children announced he was having an affair and wants a divorce? Might you vent your anger and humiliation by having a bit of fun with voodoo?

Claire Winters is in just this position when she gets together with her best friend, Jade, for an evening of serious drinking. Jade, whose grandmother comes from Haiti where voodoo is common, comes up with the bright idea of their making a voodoo doll to help Claire express her feelings. The two women have some fun dressing themselves up for the ceremony and going through the voodoo ritual Jade learned from her grandmother.

Claire and Jade come to realise that dabbing in the occult can have unexpected consequences. This is a fast paced and enjoyable story about a game gone wrong.

Red Eyes in the Darkness by D.L. Finn

Someone or something is stalking Cass and Will Henderson, something innately evil. It is not enough that “It”, the pronoun used by Cass to identify the hunter, who no longer appears to have any human properties, has manipulated the murder of a relative to make it look as if Cass and Will are guilty of murder, It is now after them too.

The circumstantial evidence, which is not enough for conviction, but is enough to raise great suspicion as to Cass and Will’s guilt, has torn their family apart with both their daughters turning their backs on their parents. This, together with the disdain of their friends and neighbours, has made Cass and Will’s life unbearable in the town they have lived in for many years. They are caught in a cycle of wanting to leave to escape it all, but not wanting to effectively confirm their guilt and let It win.

It is not prepared to wait and let them make the decision. It is coming after them with an intention of getting rid of them forever.

A fast pace story with an unusual twist at the end.

The Scout: Dark Crossings by D.L. Cross

This short story is part of a series but it can be read on a stand alone basis. The Scout is dispatched to a strange and forbidding planet by his superiors to spy on the movements of a group of aliens who have been sighted. The Scout is warned that he will have a limited ability to contact his own people and report back to them, but he is told to make every effort to do so and to keep them appraised of the activities of the aliens.

The Scout walks a lengthily distance from his drop off point in search of the aliens whom he eventually finds deep in a forest. They are busy building a fortress and make several trips to the river. The Scout initially thinks they are reconnaissance missions but, after managing to get close enough to watch them, he discovers they are trips to get water and wash clothing. During one of the aliens trips to the river he makes eye contact with Aria, a small and pretty alien who sense his presence. This is the beginning of a relationship which has unexpected and shocking consequences.

The Scout was a most entertaining short story and I would recommend it to people looking for a short and exciting science fiction read.