Saturday, December 10, 2016

And Then He Was Gone, Joan Hall Hovey's latest suspense


Where is Adam?

Julie Raynes' husband has been missing for six months. Devastated and confused, she refuses to believe that he would leave her voluntarily, though her best friend thinks differently. However, her Aunt Alice, a psychic, tells her Adam has been murdered, and when she reveals how she knows this, any hope that Adam is still alive, dissipates.

The police are also beginning to believe that Adam Raynes was murdered. And Julie is their prime suspect. Her life in ruins, Julie vows to hunt down whoever is responsible for Adam's murder and make them pay for their crime.

In the meantime, David Gray, a young man who was pulled from a lake by a fisherman when he was 9 years old, wakens from a coma after nearly two decades. Unknown to Julie, Adam and David share a dark connection, a darkness that threatens to devour both of them, in a terrifying race with death.

 Reviews for Joan Hall Hovey's Suspense novels

The Deepest Dark~
"...Joan Hall Hovey knows suspense. She keeps it simmering in every scene she writes and knows just the right moments to turn up the heat and bring it all to a boil. ......" James Hankins, author of BROTHERS AND BONES and SHADY CROSS
Night Corridor
"...The mystery and suspense in this novel is outstanding, truly top notch, in the vein of Mary Higgins Clark, but—dare I say—even better? - In the Library
Chill Waters
"…a chilling hold-your-breath-as you-turn-the-pages novel of such depth and credibility, it's hard to remember that it's fiction and won't be headlined in the daily news…" —Evelyn Gale, All About Murder Reviews.

Nowhere to Hide
"…another winner. I highly recommend it to any lover of suspense, mystery, romance, or thriller. You'll not only race through this book, but clamor for more works by this talented and polished author. Aaron Paul Lazar, author of Healey's Cave -Midwest Book Reviews 

Check out all of Joan's Books on her Books We Love author page.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Working with Emotions

As I lay in bed this morning, thinking about this blog post, a commercial came to mind. West Jet Airline is known for their emotional ads and this one is fantastic. 
A little girl and her family are checking in for a flight. Using both hands, she is gripping a plastic, transparent container. Inside, we are able to see her tiny pet turtle. Yes, a pet turtle. A real live turtle. It’s not exactly a service animal that can board and remain with the owner. 

It’s a unique production. The marketing team behind West Jet used facial expressions with internal thoughts to relay their message. 

The father; what will they do? 
The mother; they can’t hurt it / flush it
And two employees; oh, dear. How are we going to handle this unique situation without breaking that little girl’s heart?
The little girl doesn't have a voice, but she has facial expressions. See my turtle. Don’t make me leave him behind. 
The camera zooms in on the turtle. The little guy looked directly at the viewers, pleading with the airline personnel in it’s own special way, using it’s human voice.

The entire commercial is brilliant.
Near the end, one employee finds her real voice and speaks. Problem solved.
I give the marketing team at West Jet full marks and high praise.

Authors use emotion when writing. We write words that evoke fear, laughter, make a person think, or simply warm a person’s heart. Through the gift of words, we develop our characters, making them three dimensional. 
We describe the scenes, so the reader can visualize the picture in the author’s mind.  
Technology has given us audio books. These allow the visually impaired to listen to a story without inconveniencing anyone else. Someday, I’m hoping I can afford to have my books released in audio. 
I’m not visually impaired, but I love inserting my ear plugs, closing my eyes and listening to a story while my husband listens to his music. Good quality time with my guy. Don’t you agree.

I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, from my family to yours.
Personally, I wish for world peace, patience and love. It’s a crazy world out there. 
Take a moment, breath deeply, and relax. Your body and mind will thank you. Fingers are crossed for the New Year.

The Natasha Saga
Empowerment shatters traditions and lives. Greed and pride have devastating consequences. Sacrifices must be made. Written on multiple levels, the saga deals with hope, relationships, and giving, set against a background of conflicting values.
Through a series of dreams, modern day couple Keeghan and William follow the triumphs and tragedies of multiple generations of the Donovan family. A chance encounter changes Natasha’s life, forever. In her diary, Natasha writes of her dream, and her hope to escape a horrid dictated future.

Will Natasha's legacy survive an uncertain future?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas by June Gadsby

December is a month of mixed emotions for me. I love Christmas with a passion that comes from my early childhood when the family lived together in an old miner’s cottage overlooking the River Tyne in the north-east of England. There was my grandfather, John Peel Richardson, my grandmother, Polly, my aunt Ruby [and sometimes her wandering husband, Fred], my mother, Edith, and me. My parents split up when I was only ten months old after a short and disastrous marriage.  With Christmas approaching, my aunt and I used to get busy making crepe paper ceiling decorations and strings of coloured metallic sweet-paper beads to drape around the Christmas tree. A real tree in those days, so big it reached the ceiling and filled our tiny house with the smell of fresh pine.

Christmas Day was the most exciting day of my young life with the old dining table groaning under the weight of the presents – most of them for me. And yet, every Christmas there was one big disappointment. Apart from the books that I adored, and the festive food we devoured, I would have given up everything else for a bed of my own instead of the small double bed I had to share with my mother and my grandmother where I had to perch on the hump in the middle and suffered from my grandmother’s bony knees and elbows and her sharp demands that I should “keep still”.  On the other side of me was my mother’s broad rump sticking out at such an angle that being in bed was not the happiest of places for me.

The things I really looked forward to on Christmas morning - the smell of my grandmother’s cooking, the turkey in the oven, the vegetables on the hob and a great pan of hot ginger wine and sausage rolls prepared specially for the band of the Salvation Army playing Christmas Carols in the snowy street outside. The band, many of whom were close relatives of ours, would come inside and warm themselves; so many laughing, happy people crammed into our living room, shaking off snow from their boots and warming themselves in front of the open coal fire. It’s no wonder I have always been inspired to include Christmas in some of my books.

Alas, the Happy Christmas’s of my childhood did not stretch into my adult years, but I still have the good time memories to enjoy. Between then and now there is quite a saga to tell and I plan to write it one day, warts and all. In the meantime, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Day of Infamy, December 7, 1941

On the morning of December 7, 1941,  a Japanese strike force of six aircraft carriers steamed eastward under a screen of local Pacific rain squalls. At about 8 a.m. local time, the planes rnoared out of cloud cover for an attack on Pearl Harbor, a military base on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands.  About 100 American ships were at anchor at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese attacked these ships along with the planes sitting on the airfield.

In hindsight, we can ask ourselves if this attack could have been avoided by diplomacy. Almost certainly, the answer is "no."  The Japanese were determined to dominate the Pacific.

Up to that time, Pearl Harbor was the most disastrous defeat in America history. It was the intention of the Japanese to immobilize the American fleet while they put their main effort against the Philippines, Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies.

The first wave of attacks sent all personnel to their battle stations. They performed bravely, but of 351 Japanese planes, only 27 failed to return.  ,

Almost 2400 Navy personnel were killed and 2000 injured.  Four battleships and three destroyers were sunk.  Many other craft were heavily damaged.

It's not just a coincidence that the attack occurred on a Sunday. The Japanese knew that the Americans considered Sunday a day of rest.

The Japanese made several serious blunders. The planes that were damaged were obsolete; the fleet carriers were at sea, so they escaped the attack. The Japanese didn't attack the machine shops or fuel facilities.  Had these been damaged, that would have made Pearl Harbor untenable and would have forced the fleet back to the mainland.

The American public was so shocked by the attack that investigations were made. The first investigation launched in early 1942 blamed the local commanders, General Short and Admiral Kimmel  These men had already been removed from their commands and forced to retire.

This author remembers Pearl Harbor. My family was listening to a radio program (no TV then) when an announcer interrupted the program to tell of the attack.

On the day following the attack (December 8) President Roosevelt requested the Congress that a state of war existed between the United States and Japan. Congress promptly approved.  On the same day, Britain declared war on Japan. You can listen to Roosevelt's speech here..

Several days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States. Without a dissenting vote,  Congress agreed that a state of war existed.

The First World War--the war to end all wars--failed to achieve its promise. Once more, the United States was at war.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Rockin' Around...the Twissmas Twee..." by Gail Roughton

I know educators and child experts (and I still maintain that anybody who hasn't actually raised at least one child can not claim to be an "expert" in matters of child-rearing regardless of how many letters come after their names) encourage us to correct children's mispronounciations. Yes, I know a child will all too soon be out in the real world and people other than doting parents and grandparents don't need to be guessing at exactly what a child's trying to say. That child will then definitely need to be able to communicate clearly. But some things I just can't bring myself to correct; to-wit, my three year old granddaughter's pronunciation of Christmas and any phrase associated therewith.  Next year she won't ask me "Where my Twissmas twee bow?" Translation: she wants her green and red hair bow sporting a reindeer. She won't advise me in the serious demeanor of a newscaster announcing an event of world consequence "Mimi get me 'tar and a ow-el for my Twissmas twee in my room." Translation: Her mother is to get her a star and an owl ornament for the little Christmas tree set up in her room at her house. 

She didn't know at the time she so advised me of her needs that in fact a pink and purple owl, personalized with her name, is winging its way to our house from Miles Kimball, as is a replica of a play station controller personalized with her brother's name and she's gonna freak when it comes in. For the foreseeable future, that ornament, even though hers, will hang here in our house on our tree, her home away from home, and in time, when she's all grown up with a home and family of her own, that ornament and any other ornament designated as "hers" will pass into her no longer tiny hands and hang on her own tree. Because that's what treasured ornaments do. They pass from one generation to another, carrying with them memories from Christmases past and enveloping those who share those memories in a blanket of love so palpable you'll swear you can feel the warmth and softness of fleece.

Like many families, we've always had the tradition of buying special ornaments for each child each Christmas. Some of them no longer hang on the tree, their "hangers" having fallen  victims of age or rough handling, either by said child themselves or one of our fur-babies, and those are arranged in positions of honor on the piano or on shelves or tables.

All of them represent our family's Christmases in microcosm.  There's "Billy", a chubby ceramic angel my daughter fell in love with at the age of five, "Sweetie Heart", a small painted red heart named by my oldest son when he was three, my youngest son's flock of miniature glass birds that clip onto the tree branches. There's the little red train, the golden river boat, Gandalf the Wizard, the oreo cookie, the rocking horses, the miniature of the leg lamp from A Christmas Story, the replica of the bell and ticket from Polar Express.  

Certain decorations, not necessarily ornaments, have their own established places of honor; the acrylic "stained glass" tree topper that's over forty years old, the birdhouse that sits on the fireplace hearth and rattles when moved due to the crayons my grandson fed it when he was four, the Santa Claus I got when I was five, which means he's currently celebrating his 57th Anniversary with me.

Our Christmas heirlooms are so much more than decorations; they're our connection to Christmas Past, our celebration of Christmas Present, our memories that we'll carry into Christmas Future.  Y'all have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas now -- you hear?

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Brides of Banff Springs by Victoria Chatham

AVAILABLE HERE   VICTORIA CHATHAM is a young-at-heart senior who has written short stories, newspaper and magazine articles on a...