Book Club: Bloodman by Robert Pobi

Had a great time at Book Club last week (and I admit, I was more than a little squiffy by time I crawled up to bed). We had a full house too, which was awesome, and we had a great time discussing this month’s read, as chosen by Michelle: Bloodman by Robert Pobi. I think it was the first time any of us had heard of that author and we were certainly keen to start pulling his debut novel apart. It’s a thriller at its heart. Troubled but talented FBI agent Jake Cole returns to his home town to look after his sick father but whilst he’s there, a series of sick and gruesome murders take place. To make matters worse, a horrific storm is on the horizon. Can Jake solve the murders in time? Well…I’m not going to tell you that. I will tell you, though, that our scores ranged from three to nine out of 10.

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A Dose of Dijana (Guest Post): I Judge Your Book by its Cover

Ah, the joy of summers. Is there a better time to talk about looks and appearances of well, all the living and non-living things around us, than July, the middle of what seems like it’s going to be a freakishly hot summer?

So while I force myself to go and workout even though I’d much rather sip some strawberry mojitos and scroll on Instagram – okay, I’ll stop with the Instagram jokes though I might introduce some hashtag jokes, just to keep up with the trends – I can’t help but wonder just how much we judge things, people, and what’s going to be the topic of this post, books, by their covers?

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Barbara’s Bookish Banter: The Extraordinary in an Ordinary World (Guest Post)

Summer is right around the corner and I’m sure that many of you are thanking whatever divinity you believe in that everything is almost over. For many of us, summer means a time before a big change, precious moments you spend with family and friends relaxing, travelling, making happy memories. Summer is also a time for festivals, a time to (re)discover yourself, to try new things, make new friends, find new bands, and be adventurous. Coincidentally, it’s during summer that I can actually read lots of the books on my very, very large reading list, and it was during a fateful summer a while back that I stumbled upon a hidden gem that changed me.

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Reader Interview: Pam’s Bookish Thoughts

Originally from the UK but now living in Canada with her family, Pam is an active member of Bookshop Bistro, a keen reader, and lots of fun to talk to! We had a chat about what she likes about books, and this is what she told me…

What makes you want to read a book? Is it a great cover, a good blurb, a recommendation, or something else?  

The first two pages. If I can’t read the first two pages I probably won’t buy the book.

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A Dose of Dijana (Guest Post): Lost in Translation

I may know a thing or two about books but a subject I know more than a few things about is translating books. Could the cliché get any bigger – a bookworm working as a book translator? Let’s all laugh and stop me from becoming an Instagram life coach one day (damn, I spend way too much time on that thing!). However, before you start being jealous of me spending days on end endlessly typing on my computer, let me tell you how book translations are handled here in Macedonia.

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100 Word Wednesday: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

“You really are getting on my tits, McCavity,” Queenie declared with a scowl and snatched the oars from him.

“I…I’m sorry my dear. I…” Lost for words, as always. If he wasn’t telling her how ravishing she looked, he really didn’t know what to say.

They rowed in jerky movements as Queenie yanked the oars towards her and then pushed them out again, growling as she went. The little boat rocked and wobbled, and their expensive shoes soaked up the fishy saltwater from the floor.

“W…What will we find when we get to the island?” McCavity asked, braving a conversation with the tiniest of smiles upon his face. Queenie blew a strand of hair from her red and sweaty cheek.

“How the bloody hell do I know?” she snapped through her teeth. “Mystery Island wouldn’t be so bloody mysterious if I knew, would it?”

Thanks Bikurgurl for the prompt, and Ales Krivec for the photo 🙂

Queenie and McCavity are characters from my two upcoming comedy fantasy novels, John Sharpe: No. 1,348 and The Queen’s Wrath. 

Immoral Things to do in Bed

What sort of immoral things do you like to get up to in the bedroom? 

There are oh so many to choose from! I have a clear favourite though: reading in bed. Yep, I said reading in bed. But that’s not immoral, I hear you cry. No, maybe not so much today, but that certainly wasn’t always the case. In fact, according to a particularly fascinating article over at The Atlantic, the joys of reading alone in bed weren’t always so well accepted. Instead, it was a delectable vice that only the bravest and most immoral of society would partake in. Bonkers, right? What could be so bad about reading in bed? Well actually, when you understand the reasons behind it, it even begins to make some sense (admittedly in a twisted, old-fashioned, ‘that doesn’t really apply to me’ kind of way).

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Review: The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth

I admit, I’m a bit geeky, especially when it comes to words or books – and when there’s a book about words, I turn from ‘a bit geeky’ to ‘full blown geek mode’. That’s where I am now. What is The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth? It’s not an academic work, that’s for sure, nor a thesis, nor a highly-focused and heavily detailed linguistic magnum opus. It’s also not boring, or stuffy, or in fact anything it doesn’t claim to be. If I had to describe The Etymologicon in one sentence, I’d probably say it’s an etymological stream of consciousness that, as promised, goes full circle and leaves you smiling from ear to ear. ‘Romp’ is not a word that I use often but actually, it’s a word that fits this book well – it’s a good humoured, rolling romp through the history and origins of a whole bunch of words that are barely yet humorously strung together by Forsyth’s flitting conscious.

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Three Line Tales: The Pasted-On Smile

We rumble and tumble, clop, clap, and clip as we roll down the hill.

The clatter of our hollow heads rings through my ears, and laughter overwhelms us.

As we settle at the bottom, our smiles refuse to shrink and our disingenuous happiness consumes us.

Thanks Sonya over at Only 100 Words, and Carson Arias for the photo.

You’ll find full guidelines on the TLT page – here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post (& check the link shows up under the weekly post).
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.
  • If you want your post to be included in the round-up, you have until Sunday evening to publish it.
  • Have fun.

Happy three-lining!


100 Word Wednesday: Nana

“I am not joining that queue,” he said. His head moved back into his neck to avoid the snake of people, and his eyes were wide.

“Of course you are,” she said, plodding forward matronly, handbag clasped in her hands in front of her.

“Nu-uh, no way.” He shook his heads and pursed his lips. “No way, José. It’s not happening.”

“Okay,” she said as she joined the never-ending queue and rooted herself to the spot. “Suit yourself. Do as you wish. See if I care.” She stared ahead, her scowl firm and her narrowed eyes immovable.

He paused, looking at her for a moment with the tilted head of consideration, before sidling sheepishly up beside her. “Or, you know, I could just join the queue,” he shrugged.

Thanks for the prompt and the photo, Bikergurl!

The Great Debate: Books vs. Movies

Omar: Books are better than movies. A false statement used to conclude a meaningless debate. Have you ever felt that a movie was better than the book it was based on? Didn’t declare this opinion in fear of condescending looks from your extremist book friends? Well, you are not alone. Some people are convinced that all books are better than their movie versions. This claim is taken as an absolute fact, while being based on so many false assumptions and prejudice.

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Guest Post: Books to Make You Laugh Out Loud

I almost felt depressed after reading the newspaper last night. If doom and gloom gets you going, you are onto a winner. Page after page of bad news and sad news, unnerving tales of a rising tide of crime and economic woe. To top it all there was a piece on Nostradamus and his prediction that world war III will start this year. The only saving grace was a tiny article in the bottom left hand corner of page 15, about a lost cat that found its way home. Whoop-de-do.

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Friday Feels…Excited: It’s Holiday Time!

Friday feels…excited.

Yep, I’m off on my happy holidays today. I’m going to Wales to visit family, and I’m super excited. I get to see folks I ain’t seen in yonks, and I’m going to have a nice, relaxing week. We’ve got tickets to go to a comedy club, we’ll be going for a tasty carvery, we’ll be having a few beers too no doubt. Perhaps we’ll go to St. Fagans with my nieces and my nephew, and my brother and sister-in-law, or Warren Mill Farm. I’m going to stay up as late as I want, and sleep in until noon if it takes my fancy.

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100 Word Wednesday (on a Thursday): Determination

Months she had spent pensively pacing and wringing her hands as her mind whirred at the thought of this day, but she had known without knowing that she’d be ready, when the time came. She had known all along.

A warm breeze tickled her arms, and a calmness washed through her core. The quiet around her quietened her soul and a smile crept upon her lips. This was it. It was now. With her head held high, she marched towards her greatest fear and she knew, finally, that nothing could stop her.

Thanks Bikurgurl for the prompt, and William Stitt for the photo.

Three Line Tales: The Crowd

I stand and await my so-called reward, people buzzing and jumping around me.

I began this journey to stand out from the crowd, to have something different, be someone special.

Now here I am, one among many; we’re all the same.

Thanks Sonya over at Only 100 Words, and thanks Faustin Tuyambaze for the photo. 

You’ll find full guidelines on the TLT page – here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post (& check the link shows up under the weekly post).
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.
  • Have fun.

Happy three-lining


Short Story: Sally Slug

A bit of a silly one today – thanks for the idea, mum! (Before anyone asks – my mum is not a slug, but she did once compare herself to one.)

Sally Slug slumped down the stairs, leaving a trail of slime behind her. Sally Slug hated mornings. She slimed across the cold, tiled floor, shivering as she went, and ducked under the wooden door. She slid into the kitchen and groaned with the realisation that she was no longer asleep. Her eyes drooped and sagged – they were even more slug-like than the rest of her – and the corners of her lips wilted. She reluctantly raised her slimy head, her sad feelers hanging down like long, floppy ears, and stared up at the table towering above her.

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Book Review: Sprocket and the Great Northern Forest by Bryan Pentelow

From the top of his telephone pole, Blaggard the crow (who believes in the occult) watches a mysterious man push a parcel through the fence of 7 Pudding Founders Lane – the address of one Mr. Brassroyd and his delightful bull terrier, Mrs. Mumbly (who wouldn’t mind some tasty bacon rind, crispy black-pudding, and fat-soaked fried bread, thank you very much). Follow the story of these three delightful characters as they uncover the mystery of what’s in the box, learn all about dragons, fight against big corporation, and race to keep Brassroyd Environmental in business.

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Should Authors Praise Their Own Work?

So I was happily browsing the internet this morning when I came across an article on the Independent website, all about Stephen King mocking James Patterson for praising his own work. It’s old news, I know, but when I read the headline, I was expecting it to be about a gushing James Patterson going around telling the world how simply amazing he his, how he’s better than all other authors, that he does nothing wrong. That would be uncouth at best, certainly unfair, and perhaps even a little despicable. Upon reading the article, however, I found it was nothing of the sort. In fact, it all came about as a result of this:

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