June Book Reviews

Check out D. Wallace Peach’s June review post today. Nine intriguing-sounding books to add to your TBR piles, including a lovely one for my own Wake-Robin Ridge. Hope you’ll enjoy looking them over and will pass the post along so others can find out about them, too, thanks. And thanks to Diana for such a terrific selection of authors and books. Great post! 🙂

Myths of the Mirror

If you’re out and about, take a book with you on your wanderings. If you’re stuck at home, here are some reads to while away the time.

This month my offering of reviews includes fantasy, historical fiction, poetry, a thriller, a murder mystery, and more. I hope you enjoy browsing my 4 and 5-star reviews.

Click on the covers for Amazon global links.


The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair

I finished this book a few days ago and it’s stuck with me. I didn’t realize until I’d reached the end that it’s historical fiction based loosely on real women in 16th century Scotland when witches were rounded up, tortured, and murdered. Somehow it was easier to read when I thought it was pure fiction. After getting to know the characters, the author might as well have stabbed me in the heart.

The whole book is beautifully written…

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C. S. Boyack has a great post on Story Empire today on using turmoil to “write what you know.” We are living in turbulent times, for sure, and our own emotion-filled reactions to that can be used to help us create fictional characters facing turmoil of all sorts in our writing. The cause of the fictional turmoil isn’t as important for that as the human reaction to it is. Check out the post to learn more about how this can work to make you a better writer, and please consider passing it along to others, as well. Thanks, and thanks to Craig for making us think about positive ways to use negative feelings. Well done, Craig! 🙂

Story Empire

Hi gang, Craig here today. One thing good fiction requires is a bit of turmoil. Your main character has to have something unsettling going on in his or her life. I write speculative fiction, so it’s fairly easy to give an example or two.

I could dive right into an alien invasion or zombie apocalypse and have all the turmoil I need. In these examples it’s something the main character never wanted, but now has to come to grips with, maybe even defeat.

Something unwanted might apply in a more realistic setting when settlers have to flee an Indian uprising, or survive a starvation winter because the ships didn’t come.

There are also divorces, loss of employment, sick children, that kind of thing.

Another form of turmoil involves getting what you want, but it turns out to be problematic. Think about that new marriage that leads to her entire family…

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Attention Dresdenphiles: Only TWO More Weeks Until #PeaceTalks – Heeeere’s HARRY!

We are really getting down to the wire, so I thought this might be a good time to focus on the star of the Dresden Files, namely, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, himself. So, here are some of my favorite Harry pictures and memes for you to enjoy, all in one handy place at the same time. 😀 Let’s call this indulgence “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” shall we? 😀 

I’m gonna get the show rolling with one of my very favorite pictures of Harry, taken right from the cover of Welcome to the Jungle #2, cover design by the fabulous Christian McGrath, with cover model  John Paul Pfeiffer.

Though this my personal favorite version of Harry Dresden, there are a lot of other representations out there. Out of all the rest, my favorite takes on Harry are paintings by Mika Blackfield, such as this next one. Therefore, art by McGrath and Blackfield are the images I’ll be focusing on, with a few interesting exceptions. And, surprise! I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking today. 

Notice that in this one, Harry seems to be enjoying
some very interesting reading material.

Errrmmm…The Butcher Files?? 

Now how about a few action scenes just to mix things up a bit?

And Last, a Few Chuckles Before You Go

And that’s my offering of visual treats for today. Hope you enjoyed taking a look at some of the art that this series has spawned. And guess what? Next Tuesday will be the last countdown post BEFORE the release of Peace Talks the following week. Can you believe the end is almost here? Why it seems like no time at all since I started these posts to pass the time until I could get my hands on a copy of Peace Talks, yet here it is. Almost upon us! Woohooo! See you guys next week! 🙂 



Today, I’m the featured blogger on Story Empire, and I hope you’ll take a moment to drop by and check out my latest Why Write Wrong? post. It’s short and sweet, and will hopefully help other authors avoid making this particular mistake, so pass it along far and wide, if you would And be sure to say hello while you’re there.. Thanks! 🙂

Story Empire

Hi, Folks! Hope your day is going well so far, you’ve been staying safe and healthy at home, and you’re now ready for another #WhyWriteWrong post. 😊


As you might imagine, I have loads of these misunderstood words and phrases at hand, because many of us do use them incorrectly now and then, including me. So I keep a list, both as fodder for this series of posts, and as a reminder to be on the alert when using any of them in my own books.

Again, these are not words that have been mistyped, but rather, words that are frequently misunderstood, and thus used incorrectly way more often than they should be. The goal of these posts is to help us all avoid such mistakes. Since I believe a humorous approach is often easier to remember, that’s my preferred method, so…

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How to Publish with KDP: Part Eleven

Harmony Kent is back on Story Empire today with #11 in How to Publish with KDP: How to Preview Your Book. This step is very important, and one that writers need to pay close attention to. Check out Harmony’s full instructions and illustrations to see just how to handle it. Don’t forget to pass the post along so others can check it out, as well, thanks. And thanks to Harmony for such a helpful post! 🙂

Story Empire

Image courtesy of bigstock.com

Hello SErs. Harmony here.  As promised, here is  part eleven in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer and on sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback.

If you’d like to take a look back at the previous posts in this series, please click on the links at the end of this post.

So, here’s Part Eleven: How to Preview Your eBook.

The quickest and easiest way is to use Amazon’s online previewer to view your eBook. However, it is always best–if you can–to check how your finished book looks on as many devices as possible … more on that later.

As we saw in Part Ten, once you’ve uploaded your eBook, you can click on ‘Launch Previewer’ at the bottom of your eBook details page.

The following screen will load >>> (It…

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Pen Names: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Ever thought about using a pen name for your work? Check out Mae Clair’s very interesting post today on Story Empire for all sorts of pros and cons about this very topic. Lots of things I never thought about when I decided to start writing, that’s for sure. And as always, please consider passing this one along so other writers can learn more, too. Thanks, and thanks to Mae Clair for another super post! 🙂

Story Empire

Hello, SE readers! Mae with you today. If you’re a writer, at some point or another, you’ve probably considered using a pen name. Authors use pen names for various reasons ranging from privacy, to branding, to multi-genre writing.

Privacy is huge, especially in an online world where self-promotion is all but mandatory. I admit I’ve always been freaky about Facebook. Before I started publishing, I neither wanted nor had anything to do with it. As an author, I had to embrace it, but even that was a reluctant endeavor. Eventually, FB and I parted ways, but it’s still necessary that I promote myself elsewhere. If you’re an author, privacy only goes so far.

I’m fortunate that “Mae Clair” works in multiple genres. If I wanted to write hard-boiled crime thrillers, I might become M.L. Clair, but I can move around pretty easily with my name.

Writing note showing Storytelling. Hand holding pen resting on open notebook, reading glasses lying wooden table.

Those who are familiar with…

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Another Week Bites the Dust (“And another one gone, and another one gone!”) Are you Ready, Dresdenphiles? THREE More Weeks!

I apologize for being late with this post today. You can imagine how crazy my week has been for this to happen, but here it is, ready or not!

Only THREE more weeks until the arrival of Peace Talks, and today, I want to share some of the amazing merchandise this series has spawned. We should all be so lucky as to have some of these things on store shelves for our own books! What things, you ask? Well, let’s take a look.

How About a new Cover for Your Cell Phone?

It this one doesn’t appeal, you can find many other options out there.
I’m partial to this one!

And as you might imagine, t-shirts abound.
Possibly by the hundreds. Here are a few I liked.

And on, and on, and on. 

Now you’d expect t-shirts for sure, but how about jewelry?
Anybody brave enough to wear the coin of a
Blackened Denarius around their neck?

Or on their cuffs?
(Not meeeee. I know too much!)

Other options abound, though.
How about your very own shield bracelet?
I think I could go for one of these.

Or maybe a key fob with a pentacle just like
the one Harry wears around his neck?

If jewelry’s not your thing, perhaps a blanket?

A spiral notebook or two?

Posters? Decals? Mugs? Plaques?

Into Games?

Raising a Little Dresdenphile at Home?

Or Maybe You Like Coloring for Stress Relief? 
(Lots of these pages out there!)

Collect Action Figures?

Or Prefer More Realistic (Read: Expensive) Art?

So, as you can see from this array of photos, pretty much any type of Dresden Files collectible you’d enjoy is out there. I found many of these items for sale on a site called Redbubble in case you want to check it out, yourself. You can even get face masks there, should you want the whole world to know who’s really defending you against errant viruses of all types.

And because this post is so crammed full of images, I’m only going to leave you with one meme for the day–but it’s a good one. 

And now that I’ve boggled your mind with all the merchandising this series has inspired, and maybe encouraged you to pick up an item or two  for your own bookshelves, I’m outta here! 

Okay, ONE more for you devoted fans of Bob the Skull, like me!
Yes, you can actually purchase one of these for yourself. 
(I’m sooo tempted, except that honestly,
Bob doesn’t really have all the glyphs and things,
so I’m resisting.)

And now I’m outta here! (For sure, this time!)

Roll on, July 14, roll on!

A Deeper Look at Reader Guides

P. H. Solomon offers some great ideas in today’s post at Story Empire, “A Deeper Look at Reader Guides.” I’ve made no secret of my love of Authors Notes as a way to communicate interesting and informative things to readers, but Paul expands on that and gives concrete examples of ways to use meta-data that you may already have put together during your writing process. And more! Check out this super helpful post, and please consider passing it along to others, as well. Thanks so much, and thanks to Paul for showing us more ways to connect with our readers! 🙂

Story Empire

Good morning to all the Story Empire readers, PH here today with a topic you may not have thought about but probably should. I’ve touched on this subject in posts about using your meta-content (story bible) for dual purposes, but I wanted to revisit the idea of reader guides and the variety of information that you can develop from your data content. If you’re interested, read Marcia Meara’s recent post about Author’s Notes which is closely related in concept with reader guides and focuses on using different forms of engaging readers in your books. Likewise, Staci Toilo recently shared about Churn and Transmedia which describes how to gain an avid audience. The ideas about transmedia directly relate to the usage of reader guides.

A reader guide (transmedia and author’s notes are essentially the same) is simply any additional information you can provide to readers in a variety of formats…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 14th -20th June 2020 – Outsmarting the Crows, D.G. Kaye and Relationships, USA 1985, Books, Authors, Music and Funnies.

Sally Cronin has got to be the busiest blogger I’ve ever seen. Just take a look at her Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up today! Amazing! Don’t forget to check the videos, too, and then, please consider passing it along so others can enjoy the post as well. Thanks, and thanks to Sally, who (as always) ROCKS! 🙂 ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

I thought this week I would share some of the work we have been doing in the garden to brighten up the place. With the garden centres shut until a couple of weeks ago, I was reliant on the local Tesco for early spring plants to bring a little colour into the front of the house. I waited until this week to visit the local garden centre as I knew they would be swamped initially and I went this last Monday and had the place almost to myself. I piled my trolley high and spent two days in glorious sunshine getting all the pots out of storage and planted. The pansies from March and April are still going strong and I feel the place is looking much brighter.  Here is a small snippet.

We have…

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Changing Literary Styles (Part Two)

Check out Joan Hall’s “Changing Literary Styles Part 2” on Story Empire today. Interesting examples of past works by two of her favorite authors will show you just how differently various writing aspects used to be handled. The times, they are a-changing, and these are some of the things we should all be aware of. As usual, I hope you’ll consider sharing this post on your favorite social media so others can enjoy it and learn from it, as well. Thanks, and thanks to Joan for another job well done! Great post! 🙂

Story Empire

Hey, SE Readers. Happy Friday. Joan with you today with the second in a two-part series on changing literary styles.

In the first post, I used examples from James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans and Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Today we’ll look at two of my favorite authors.

I first read Agatha Christie in high school. Her Hercule Poirot stories are among my favorites, particularly Murder on The Orient Express. She was a master at writing intriguing plots, throwing in enough twists to keep readers guessing until the end.

I recently read, And Then There Were None for the first time. Initially published in 1939, it’s the world’s best-selling mystery, having sold over 100 million copies, and is one of the all time best-selling books among all genres.

As I started to read, I realized how much writing styles have changed.

The driver said, addressing his remarks…

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