A to Z challenge · Bloggers · cover reveal · languages · Magical Memories · Sunday's Scraps

Blogging from A to Z 2018

April is going to be one crazy month – as you’ll find out in due course. Personally, I blame it on the fact that Easter Sunday is on April Fool’s Day.

So, to keep my foolish mind busy  – and to keep me from eating chocolate all day long – April 1st will not only kick off the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, but it also will feature a cover reveal for Magical Memories and the latest snippet from Sunday’s Scraps.

 

So, please join me in my sugar rush and check out my posts. The theme of my A to Z challenge will be “languages of the world”, and I’m aiming to find as many obscure ones as possible (Sorry, it’s the linguist in me – once a word nerd, always a word nerd!)

Thanks for reading 🙂

British · comedy · every Sunday · mystery · Sunday's Scraps · unfinished snippets

Sunday’s Scraps

Now that I’ve cleared one hurdle – getting Casualty of Court to the finishing line, or rather the publishing line – I’ve been thinking what next to do.
It’s only been a few days, I hear you yell (you did, right? Otherwise those voices in my head are somewhat disconcerting!)

Although I’m ploughing on with the next in The Blackleaf Agency Series, as well as the follow-up to Magic O’Clock, I decided to take a look back at some stories I started but didn’t pursue, for whatever reason.

So, every Sunday (until I run out of material), I shall post a snippet – forevermore to be known as:

Anyone so inclined to read through is welcome to comment and let me know if it has potential or whether it really should stay in the ‘unfinished’ pile permanently.

Note these are all unedited, first drafts – so be prepared for typos, rambling and a whole lot of head-scratching 😉

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

All That Glitters

#sundaysscraps #mystery #comedy #British

Dan can’t sing. He really can’t. So for him to greet me that morning with a tuneless rendition of “Happy birthday” was not the smoothest way to launch me into my fifth decade. My hearing is perfectly fine, in spite of my advanced years – his words, not mine and allegedly meant as a joke. Yeah, right. Still, his mood is infectious and the accompanying bacon sandwich and cup of milky tea rouse me in a more humane way, sufficient in fact for me to block out his well-meant caterwauling.

‘You looking forward to your spa treat, Mill?’

He’s arranged for me and a couple of friends to waste the day at a nearby Spa resort, with pampering treatments galore. It’s his way of apologising for not spiriting me away to the Maldives, or some other luxurious island. He has to work. I understand that. To be honest, I would have been quite happy at home, lounging around in my onesie until lunch. The spa day really is not necessary, but hey, it’s bought and paid for, so it would be churlish of me to refuse it now.

I nod back at him, savouring the bacon and brown sauce, and the demon of all foods, sliced white bread. I’m hardly high maintenance, am I?

‘Still too polite to talk with your mouth full? Your mum raised you proper, didn’t she?’ He grins, knowing that it bugs me whenever he adopts that coarse dialect. I am well aware that my parents speak that way, but he doesn’t need to force it down my throat. Not when I’m eating anyway. My glower is enough, and he lifts his hands in mock surrender, before disappearing into the en-suite. Fortunately the rush of water from the shower drowns out the lyrics that he now strangles.

I will not be rushed though. Bacon is my food heaven, although I’ll be cursing him later when there are crumbs in the bed. I hadn’t planned on changing the sheets on my day off, especially not on my birthday. Sipping at my tea I spy the golden envelope tucked under the plate on my breakfast tray. Hm, that looks interesting. Will my birthday gift will be something of the same colour? In more solid form, of course. A girl can hope, can’t see. Ha, look at me – a girl – no more of that nonsense Millie. You can’t get away with the “girl” tag now.

When I see the card within the golden envelope, I realise it is a little trick, supposedly another joke, to throw me off the scent. The card is garish, with a tacky metallic badge of all things. The message within, however, is cryptic, which for Dan is quite a feat. He’s a clever man, don’t get me wrong, but he hasn’t managed to surprise me with his choice of gift in twenty-five years of marriage, so this cunning ploy intrigues me.

“FIND ME” it reads and below it a QR code provides a meaningless, graphical explanation.

‘Dan! What am I supposed to do with this?’ I scramble out of bed, place the tray on the floor and run to the bathroom, waving the birthday card.

Dan grins at me, the electric toothbrush whirring away so that his comment makes no sense whatsoever. ‘Get your phone,’ he says finally, spitting into the sink.

‘Can’t you just tell me?’

He shakes his head, wiping his face with a towel. ‘It’s a bit of fun. You’re not too old to have fun are you?

On reflection, maybe elbowing him in the ribs was a little harsh, but I’m sensitive about my age. Men don’t get that, do they? Well, at least, Dan doesn’t. He’s five years older and acts like a teenager. He’s allowed to grow a moustache, go grey at the temples and carry a little extra weight – it seems his paunch is sign of contentment. Whereas I face a costly session of waxing and tinting, followed by a deprivation diet – standard punishment for letting myself go! I head for the kitchen, grab my phone, then spend ten minutes looking for my glasses – yes, I’m lacking in that department too!

Meanwhile, Danny boy dresses and squeezes past me once I find my “eyes.” ‘No cheating, Mill. Once you find the treasure, play by the rules. I’ll see you tonight. Enjoy the spa.’ He plants a kiss on my furrowed brow and grins at me, scrolling through my phone for the right app to scan the code.

I mumble something incoherent back at him, my mind is elsewhere. Did he say treasure? A squeal of excitement escapes my lips, only to be dashed by my frustration in not finding a stupid app with some equally dumb name only understood by the younger generation. I’m tempted to smash my phone to smithereens, but then another of Mum’s subliminal messages creeps into my brain – Money doesn’t grow on trees, my girl!

Now what do I do? Calling Toby is not cheating, is it? I haven’t found the treasure yet, so asking my son for help at this stage doesn’t constitute foul play, does it? Just as I bring Toby’s number up, the phone rings. ‘Grrr! Not now,’ I say, but on seeing Eva’s face pop up, I have to answer it – through gritted teeth though. She tells me she’s running late and will meet me at the spa resort rather than pick me up. Great, so now I have to drive. That means no champagne for me. Some treat this is going to be.

As quickly as I can, I end the call and finally get hold of Toby, who to my shock is already up and on his way to a lecture. Atta boy, Toby – your mum raised you proper too. Over the phone he directs me to the much-needed app and within minutes the secrets of the bar code are revealed to me.

An image of a gold box with a huge taffeta bow taunts me. No more than three inches square, but it looks expensive. My mouth goes dry and I can feel my blood pressure rising, a fact confirmed by my red-cheeked reflection in the microwave door. Who is that monster? The digital clock flashes to tells me I have two hours before my first spa treatment. I can’t go looking like this. Those pretty therapists will have a fit if they could see me now – fleecy pyjamas, bed hair and … are those wrinkles? OMG, they`re enormous, like maggots crawling across my face.

‘Oh Dan, where is this bloody box?’ Another glance at my phone offers no further clues, so with reluctance I slope back upstairs to get ready, huffing and puffing with each step. I am too old for games, I’ve decided. Hunting for the box will have to wait till later.

An hour later I emerge from the bedroom, dressed casually and ready to be pampered. One final mirror check. Ugh! I grimace. It’ll have to do. I can’t believe it took me a whole hour to look this casual. I can usually be up and off to work in thirty minutes. Casual is hard work. Especially when I’m only going to put on another robe and towelling slippers.

That’s it! If you’re still with me, thank you so much for reading.

Next week’s scraps come from The Dream Builder – a paranormal tale of a son whose dead mother convinces him to follow his dream to be an architect, particularly if it makes his father suffer.

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#NewRelease “Casualty of Court” by L S Fellows

Today’s the day!
Thanks, Felicia ❤

Nesie's Place

cover

Casualty of Court (The Blackleaf Agency Series Book 1)

by L S Fellows

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Mystery & Suspense/International Crime/Detective

Kindle Unlimited

Four lives – Three friends – Two sides – One verdict

Fern Mortimer wants her life back.
After five years recovering from a hit-and-run accident, the last thing she needed was a maniac trying to kill her.
Now, eight months after that attempt on her life, she returns to Portugal to face her nemesis in court.

Raven – her closest ally – offers support throughout. In return she wants a business partner.


Stefan Pereira, has no intention of languishing in prison any longer.
He’ll do whatever it takes to secure his freedom and complete his mission.
He wants Fern dead.

Nessa – his girlfriend – is at his side. She risks losing her best friends for the family she always wanted.

The trial pits them against each other.
Can…

View original post 79 more words

book launch · Casualty of Court · interviews · mystery · The Fifth Wheel

Casualty of Court: Vikki stirs the pot …

Vikki Winner is a regular sight on the red carpet here on the Algarve. Armed with her trusty microphone she seeks out all the juicy gossip for her weekly column: Vikki’s Vices, and has never been one to hold back with her opinions, even when this has led to the occasional legal writ coming her way.

Tonight she’s attending an event at the Municipal Theatre, hosted by the local Expat community. Fern Mortimer is expected to attend after tickets from an ‘unknown’ source were sent her way, supposedly with the generous intention of taking her mind off the upcoming trial. Strangely enough, and allegedly unrelated, Vikki has suggested in her column that she’ll be targeting a certain young woman tonight. I think we can all draw our own conclusions from that. 

The event in question is a theatre production to be performed by a local drama group, notwithstanding a cameo appearance by homegrown talent and oft-nominated Jose Rosco (he’s particularly “big” in Brazil).

It’s getting noisy here as people flock into the theatre. Rumour has it there will be an auction in the interval, raising money for Access4All, a charity promoting wheelchair-friendly tours around the globe.

Here comes Vikki now with an entourage of photographers close behind; those  flashing bulbs give her an angelic aura, although I doubt she’ll be remotely heavenly once she gets her prey in sight.

Well, talking of prey, Fern has just arrived with Raven at her side. Vikki has spotted her too and the glare of the cameras now falls upon the startled young women.

RH: (whispers) I think we’ve been set up.

FM: What? I can’t hear you.

RH: (leans in closer) Don’t look now but there’s a woman with a huge microphone heading our way.

FM: Our way? Why?

RH: No idea, but maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.

VW: Miss Mortimer, Vikki Winner here from The Courier. How are you feeling?

FM: Fine, thank you. (She looks to Raven with a ‘what the heck’ expression)

VW: Great. You must be nervous, what with the trial starting tomorrow.

FM: Must I?

RH: Come on, let’s go back to the hotel. You don’t need this, not tonight. (She steps in front of Fern’s wheelchair and thrashes her arms about as though to clear people out of the way)

VW: Going somewhere?

RH: We’d like to, yes, please. If you could just …

VW: You’re not staying to lend your support to the charity. My editor thought it would be perfect for you, that’s why he sent those tickets.

FM: You sent them?

VW: (beams and turns to the camera) Not personally, although I might have suggested it to him.

RH: Are you going to let us pass?

VW: You really aren’t staying? That’s a shame. Maybe the stories in the other newspapers were correct. Not that I like to talk about them …

FM: (taps Raven’s leg and nods to her to move aside) What stories? I wasn’t aware of any.

VW: Really? That does surprise me. It seems the defendant’s father has been … shall we say, loose with his words.

RH: (now interested) But, surely that’s not allowed? Not until after the trial, anyway.

VW: Well, maybe in some places. Besides, the Pereiras are a local family. Very successful too – Mr Periera Senior mentions moving his law practice back to the area. Such news went down very well with the local Chamber of Commerce.

FM: Did he mention me, then? By name?

VW: Not exactly, but as you must realise this is a small community. People talk. Names are irrelevant. Let’s just say there aren’t many young blonde Brits taking a local man to court right now.

FW: So, what do these stories say?

RH: Fern, don’t get involved. you can’t risk anything that might harm your case.

VW: Harm it? Are you unsure about the case then? Having doubts, maybe?

RH: (Jumps in front of Fern again) No she is not! But as we are not familiar with legal formalities here, the less said right now, the better.

VW: That’s a shame. My readers are very interested in you, Fern. (She gently shoves Raven aside) They really want to know why you’re accusing Mr Pereira’s son of assault. It’s common knowledge there are no witnesses.

RH: (stepping forward again) She does have a witness, and a strong case.

VW: Really? Based on whose evidence?

RH: Based on a little thing called the truth. You might need to look that up, I know journalists are prone to ignore it.

VW: Hmm, can I quote you on that? (She spins to the photographer and mumbles something to him. A flashlight goes off. She turns back to Fern)

FM: Raven, you’re not helping. Come on, let’s go. (She looks up at Vikki as she passes) Please inform the organisers that we are unable to stay, but we’ll be making a substantial donation to the charity before we leave the country. Goodbye, have a lovely evening.

(The two cross the road and head away from the theatre, not caring where they’re heading so long as Vikki and her cameras are not close by)

VW: (Back outside the theatre, she faces the camera and winks) Seems we scared them off, guys. That spoilt little girl tag sure does seem appropriate now.

Well, what do you make of that? Has Vikki thrown a spanner in the works? I’m not so sure she has. Fern looked pretty composed to me. Raven, on the other hand, well, that  young lady certainly gets riled easily. This trial certainly promises to be addictive. Then again, I would say that, wouldn’t I? 😉 

Thanks for reading 🙂

Casualty of Court is available to pre-order now as an ebook, releasing March 21st 2018. Click here to view on Amazon

In the meantime, you can read The Fifth Wheel – A Prequel now and find out what happened to her last summer.

NB: Access4All is a fictitious charity, created purposely for this series of interviews – although it sounds like a great idea to me.

book launch · Casualty of Court · interviews · The Fifth Wheel

Casualty of Court: A change in proceedings

Press Release – March 18th.

Issued on behalf of the team for the prosecution in the case against Stefan Pereira. 

Due to the imminent trial (hint, hint – Casualty of Court is released March 21st), it has been declared unfeasible to continue with the interview of Mr Stefan Pereira and Miss Nessa Sullivan by Dr Ed Case.

Due to concerns of the prosecution team , working on behalf of Miss Fern Mortimer, about the defendant being released (albeit with the appropriate guards) so close to the start of legal proceedings, it has been decided to remove this interview from the calendar of events.

A spokesperson for Miss Mortimer states that while previous interviews have gone ahead – with Annie Skillsett and CeeCee Dedmann – this latter one has come too soon before the commencement of said trial, in which the defendant, Pereira, is accused of assault against Miss Mortimer.

Talks are underway to see if Dr Ed Case can pursue said interview at the remand centre. Although not ideal and certainly not conducive to the atmosphere in which the renowned psychologist prefers to conduct his assessments, it remains the only avenue currently available should the interview proceed in time.

In the most likely event that this interview will not now go ahead, Detective Hugh Dunnitt will make his judgement on the case according to the information at his disposal.

A media event this coming Tuesday is expected to produce the final interview in this series, that of Fern Mortimer and the notorious Showbiz Reporter, Vikki Winner. Ms Winner’s column in the English press has not been wholly complimentary to the young British woman. It will be interesting to see how she handles the forthcoming encounter.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Casualty of Court is available to pre-order now as an ebook, releasing March 21st 2018. Click here to view on Amazon

In the meantime, you can read The Fifth Wheel – A Prequel now and find out what happened to her last summer.

blog tour · book launch · dystopian · sci-fi

Army of Authors Blog Tour – Michael Poeltl

 

A.I. Insurrection: The General’s War

by Michael Poeltl

Your Attention Please! 

A.I. Insurrection – The General’s War Press Release. Feb, 15th, 2018

2162 – Artificial intelligence claims sentience, but it’s the proof that will divide the world, and usher in the violent end to utopia, unless an uneasy alliance of adversaries can stop it.

A.I. Insurrection, the new release by Michael Poeltl, author of The Judas Syndrome trilogy, takes the author back to his roots of dystopian sci-fi. “This novel investigates global utopia and the struggle to maintain an unrealistic hold over everything and everyone,” Poeltl explains. “Certain aspects of humanity will never be satisfied with the thousand shades of grey a utopia will provide, no matter the spin. When faced with the threat of their robot slaves rebelling, distrust in the system begins to infect the general public, opening the door for a new world to emerge, and new leaders to rule.”  Discover how quickly a near-future utopian society can become a dystopian nightmare fueled by fear as the A.I. populace of United Earth become sentient and demand their freedoms.

Raymond Bellows, United Earth Chancellor, challenges the A.I. claims until an astonishing truth is revealed by Host: SENTA, one of hundreds of millions of individual robot Hosts who teams up with the Chancellor while struggling to discover her new-found awareness.  A secret coup schemes to over-throw the peaceful government, while a separate threat of human/tech hybrids who think the current regime is anything but idyllic arise from the Shadow net, taking direction from the mysterious Allfather avatar. In a three-sided war, humanity and humanity’s creation fight to claim their own place in an ever-evolving solar system.

“I believe science fictions fans, myself included, appreciate the complexities of artificial intelligence, and the moral questions which accompany it, like: when is intelligence consciousness? The novel also offers an exciting potential new proof of life for sentience.” Poeltl declares with an air of cloak-and-dagger surrounding the surprise reveal behind his new book.

Goodreads ratings for A.I. Insurrection are settling in at a respectable 4.25 stars and has one reviewer saying: A great read for anyone who enjoys extensively built worlds, philosophical questions, and an ol’ fashioned A.I uprising.” – Ari Augustine.

This is Poeltl’s tenth book and the first of 2018. For more on Michael Poeltl and his books, visit his website: www.mikepoeltl.com Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or join him on Goodreads.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

army of authors · blog tour · kidnapping · suspense · thriller

Army of Authors Blog Tour: David Tindell

Quest for Vengence

By David Tindell

Honeymoons are new beginnings, and a year after helping save America from a major terrorist attack, brothers Mark and Jim Hayes are ready to enjoy theirs with their new brides. But while the couples tour Italy,a ghost from Mark’s past resurfaces, ready to rip apart his new-found happiness.

In Serbia, former Yugoslav Army officer Darko Novak receives word of Mark’s location. For thirteen years, he has been seeking vengeance against Mark for his role in the death of Novak’s younger brother, killed in a firefight with NATO troops during the Balkan Wars. A team is dispatched to kidnap Mark’s wife, making her the perfect bait to force Mark into a new battle, on ground of Novak’s choosing.
To save Mark’s wife, the Hayes brothers will have to go deep into Serbia, with no support from their government, relying on their experience and training. Failure will not be an option.

I’m going to leave this to the author to tell you more about his latest book, but don’t forget to check out Quest for Honor too. 

Take it away, David!

On our honeymoon, my wife and I visited an exotic island. We had a great time as we celebrated the beginning of our new life together. Everything went well.

But suppose it hadn’t? Suppose something had gone wrong? And not just lost-a-suitcase, bad-sunburn wrong? What if my bride suddenly turned up…gone?

In Quest for Vengeance, it’s a year after the events of Quest for Honor, and brothers Mark and Jim Hayes are with their new brides on a honeymoon tour of Italy, the native country of Jim’s wife, Gina. The violence and danger of their recent past is behind them. In the city of Capua, a chance encounter with an old Army buddy of Mark’s leads to a festive reunion. While the guys swap stories at a trattoria, the gals make one last visit to the city’s boutiques. But there’s been one more chance encounter on this trip, and now that’s about to turn into the greatest challenge the brothers have ever faced.

Like the Hayes brothers, I grew up in Wisconsin, and like them, my two brothers and I wound up living considerable distances apart. Although we were never estranged, as Mark and Jim were, not being able to see them often created a distance between us that no amount of phone calls or emails could close. It’s only been in recent years that we have made efforts to get together more often. Our reunions have not been as dramatic as those of the Hayes brothers; we go to ballgames and museums, while Mark and Jim go to war.

Still, I don’t think what happens to Mark and Jim in the Quest novels is too much of a stretch. Mark’s military experiences are certainly not outside the realm of those for many of our soldiers, and while Jim’s encounters are somewhat out of the ordinary for the average American abroad, I myself have once or twice had situations overseas that could’ve developed into something a little too adventurous for my taste. Last summer, for example, Sue and I hiked the Salkantay Trail of Peru, and we never saw the armed guerillas our guide told us he faced on the same trek a few years earlier. But I had the feeling they weren’t too far away.

If something like that does happen to us, though, we can only hope we will face the situation with courage and honor. These are traits that are not inborn; they are learned, through dedication and self-discipline. Both the Quest series and my White Vixen novels feature protagonists who exemplify those traits. Yes, my fictional creations are highly-trained individuals, but they are not superheroes by any means. They are ordinary people who have chosen to train themselves to face whatever extraordinary challenges may come their way; indeed, to seek them out. Most of all, they have chosen to serve a higher calling. I don’t believe we were put here to simply meander through life. We were put here to strive, to achieve, to overcome our inevitable stumbles. When we choose this life, we are taking on challenges that will make our communities, our country, our world, a better place.

So come along with Mark and Jim, as they embark on their latest Quest.

You can find the book here: http://amzn.to/2HnlFfN

***

If you pìck up any – or all – of David’s books, please consider leaving a review. Reviews keep authors writing!

Thank you for reading 🙂

books · justice · suspense · thrillers

Ooh, this looks good …

Isn’t it always the way … you just close Amazon after buying a couple of books (seriously, only two this time) and then you see another one that you really must have!

Dead to Me: A Serial Killer Thriller (Detective Kate Matthews Book 1) by Stephen Edger Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense/Vigilante Justice/Police Procedural 2.99 at time of posting! How do you catch a killer who knows your every move? The woman lay flat on the table, her face to one side, her wrists bound with […]

via “Dead to Me” by Stephen Edger — Nesie’s Place

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Have you met the cast yet?

March 21, 2018, is release day for the new L.S. Fellows mystery novel, Casualty of Court, and the clever author has provided readers a unique, enjoyable way to get a peek inside the upcoming courtroom drama with some twists. The story is told by — and from the POV of — four principal characters. […]

via Casualty of Court: Meet the Cast — Author_Iris_Chacon