Rosepoint #Reviews – June Recap

Hello Summer!Holy Moses! Half of the year gone–poof! Waiting all this time for decent weather to grow my vegetable garden and see what survived or didn’t in the fairy garden, and now we’re into summer and spring blooms are dying. What is up with that? I’m not a fan of July heat, but with it may come more visitors and we had such fun showing our grandkids around the area, we may just do that again! (With proper heat protection this time of course.) If I suddenly go quiet, just picture the CE and I on our quaint senior deck enjoying the company of our old Navy buddies. We spent the last portion of dear hubby’s tour in Taiwan where I contracted amebic dysentery and the other wife worse. They now live in Texas where none of us have to wonder what we’re eating or whether the water was properly purified. Ahh, the good ole days!

Less you think I’m making excuses (again), I took part in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges and #ThrowbackThursdays, as well as spotlights and book tours during the month resulting in a net of seven book reviews for June.

A Steep PriceDark LavaAs the Christmas Cookie CrumblesConfound It

America on PurposeTail of the DragonI’ve Been Watching You

So the question is, do you start a favorites list from the beginning of the year, then of necessity keep rearranging, or tackle the task at the end of the year? No, I didn’t start an Excel spreadsheet, maybe I should have. Maybe Goodreads is a good place to start? How do you go about the mission? Any suggestions?

Indie Author DayI keep scanning my resources for any information on Indie Author Day set for Saturday, October 13, 2018. Registration is now open. So far, the closest library that appears to be participating is in Lafayette, some 90 miles away. Even my previous little town of Goodyear AZ is participating and this area is far larger. We have several gorgeous, new libraries within ten miles, so I find it difficult to believe no one is organizing a local (NWI) event. There are currently more than seventeen states involved as well as three locations in Canada.

A worldwide event, libraries and organizations will welcome local Indie authors and writers for a day of education, networking, panels and more. And according to their website–free registration to all participants! Anyone participating in this event? Have you been to one before? I’d love to hear about it!

A big thank to all my new followers and as always so appreciate you who continue to read and comment! Thank you!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

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What is the Fascination of the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son? Do Seven Daughters Count?

The Seventh Son of a Seventh Son - Is it Magic?

Yes! The fascination of the seventh son of a seventh son! Is it more than folklore? More than the 1988 Iron Maiden album that stemmed from the folklore? I suspect there may have been more seventh sons born last century than this, but still, it conjures powerful visions of mystical or even biblical significance, doesn’t it? According to Wikipedia, it can go so far as to be broken down by regions:

  1. Ireland – believed to be a healer
  2. France – believed to have curative properties
  3. Latin America – believed to be a werewolf
  4. Italy – believed to be a charmer of snakes
  5. U.S. – believed to garner riches

Well, that last was borne of a book written in the year 1807-08 by Edward Kendall regarding his visit to the Newgate copper mine. Indeed, a radio drama aired in 1980 on the CBS Mystery Theatre called “The Iron Horse” by Sam Dann played off that account of mining discoveries. Jimmy Stewart starred in a 1940 movie called “The Philladelphia Story” that noted the legend and as recently as 2014 the fantasy-adventure film Seventh Son has as the main character a seventh son of a seventh son that featured Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore. (Gees, never heard of it!)

Theatrical poster for Seventh Son from Wikipedia

To be authentically a seventh son of a seventh son, however, there must not be a female sibling separating the numbers. (Therefore, singer Perry Como could not legitimately claim the distinction. Lyle Lewis Aley, radio announcer was an unproven seventh, and Len Dawson, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs claimed the distinction without acknowledging where his dad stood in the family line. Como, however, could make musical magic with the best of them.)

Still, there are many books written that include the folklore theme as a plot–all fiction in the fantasy or science fiction genres, so who is to say it may or may not magically bestow super-human properties, cause I could find no non-fiction references.

Several popularly noted fiction books with the theme include:

harry potterAnd, of course, the granddaddy, blockbuster of them all–the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowlings, including Deathly Hallows (#7) 2009, which includes the 7th child of the 7th child (Ginny Weasley), a girl! (And the females have magical powers of their own.) These books were written for the 9-12 years age group. That’s fine–it got ALL ages to reading again!

  • And if you really want to have some goosebumps, try Comic book superhero Johnny Thunder who obtained his magical birthright by virtue of being the seventh son of a seventh son and was also born at 7 am on July 7 (the seventh day of the seventh month), 1917. Unfortunately, it didn’t have quite the fire of the Potter series.

With all the time and research, however, I was not able to find one non-fictional account of a real seventh son biography, memoir, or story. Still, we do love our folklore and stories handed down and wonder how the stories got started. If you’ve come across some true accounts, I’d love to hear them!

©2018 V Williams (Photo attribution for title pic: Pexels, Theatrical poster for Seventh Son from Wikipedia)V Williams

Reading on the #Cozy Side with a Little #Sci-Fi, #K-9, or #HistFic for Spice

#TBR - #Cozies

It’s not true that I’ve gone to the Cozy side, but sometimes it does appear that way, huh.

Take for instance these five on my current #TBR pile. It would appear at least four are cozy, and you’d be part right. Obviously, however, Bad Time to be In It by David Burnsworth is a Blu Carraway mystery, actually classified by Amazon as “hard-boiled.” You may remember I used that term in the discussion on Family Noir.

A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood GerberThat would leave three with the cozy, women sleuth, and amateur sleuth designation, because (**surprise**) Soufflé of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber has the additional distinction of also being classified as culinary. (Do you see more recipes in my future? The cover even SAYS “Includes Recipes.” But Nope!)

I really do enjoy a cozy mystery or two, particularly between heavier genres, such as the Irish historical fiction I recently reviewed or the sci-fi, or even the hysterically funny, campy, and definitely unique Ray vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F Stewart. If you missed it, see my review here.

At most, there may be a conceived pattern. If you detect the upcoming pattern is filled with food or decadent desserts, it would appear that food or desserts are a necessary ingredient for the genre. But please, no more recipes for me, unless it includes a pleasing classic cocktail.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint #Reviews – May Recap

Review Recap

June is heating up here in NWI! (OMG, did it turn hot!–from freezing to frying!) It was a semi-productive May month with books taking a back seat to the yard and garden while I could. News reports Chicago land received record-setting rainfall this year. We must have missed all that as I’ve had to water my slow-growing vegetables. The fairy garden, on the other hand, has been overrun with WEEDS far exceeding any bushes I planted, many of which are unidentifiable. Fortunately (knock on wood) no poison ivy (or ticks), so far. I’ve hit it with shovels, saws, and clippers, but the fairies are winning! Stay tuned…

In May I took part in spotlights, book blasts, and book tours during the month resulting in ten book reviews. 

  

(May) 2 – Micromium-Clean Energy from Mars 4 – Better Off Read 6 – The Mirror Shop 8 – Pick and Chews 13- Go Home, Afton 18-Dying Truth 20-Area 51: Redemption 22- Charlie Mac 27-Ray vs the Meaning of Life 29-Confessions of a Red Herring

My associate, The CE, read several and we accommodated five author requests in addition to Spotlights and #ThrowbackThursdays. Many of the book tours included Giveaways in which I hope you participated! Several of these titles stretched my reading chops and proved absolutely outstanding and will eventually go on a “Favorites” list I’ve yet to begin.

So what book tours can you anticipate coming in the near future? Here’s just a few (in hue compatible colors, of course). Please let me know if you are reading one of these as well! 

Upcoming Blog Tours

And just a little ditty I wrote for one of  my blogger buddies (who’d also spent a busy month):

Grab a cup, corral the pup, and set the puter churning,

then lift the book, correct the specs, and start the pages turning!

As always, I welcome my new followers, and sincerely appreciate the ones who continue to read and comment! Thank you! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

#AmReading – Area 51 – Redemption by Bob Mayer

#AmReading - Area 51 - Redemption by Bob Mayer

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Bob Mayer and his book Redemption, part of the AREA 51 series. I won this ebook download from a Giveaway on Goodreads! The book was released on April 24, 2018. Amazon classifies the novel as a war and military, science fiction fantasy, and First Contact and is only 378 pages.

This book has been released and is now available at the following retailers:

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logo

 

 

 

I will be presenting my review on Sunday, May 20, 2018. In the meantime (from Amazon), here is the…

Book Blurb:

At the edge of the Solar System, beyond the Heliosphere, a massive warship comes out of Faster Than Light Transit. It is the Ancient Enemy spoken of in myths and legends. 

Do we deserve a Second Chance?

Mike Turcotte, the Special Forces officer who led the fight against the Airlia, which ruled our planet from the shadows for over 10 millennia, has returned to Area 51. Earth has freed itself from the shackles of alien domination, but at high cost while winning World War III. He has learned what he believes is the truth about human origins.

A truth so devastating he insists it cannot be made public.

But the thing no one on Earth knows is that in winning the war they’ve initiated the seeds of their own doom.

Something worse than World War III.

Something worse than the Airlia.

Something that means the end of all life in the Solar System.

But there is one who might have a solution; except she’s not human.

The continuation of the series that has sold over 2 million copies, screenplay written by the man who penned Alien, Total Recall and produced Minority Report and is Cool Gus approved. This book will be followed by Area 51: Invasion on 14 July 2018.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

Bob Mayer - author

(From Goodreads Author page)

Look! Squirrel!
Bob Mayer is the grandfather of two future leaders of the Resistance Against the Machines, a NY Times Bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former Special Operations and the feeder of two Yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over 70 books published and sold over 5 million, including the #1 series Area 51, The Green Berets, Atlantis and the Green Beret. Born in the Bronx, having traveled the world (usually not tourist spots), he now lives peacefully with his wife (who also collaborates with him), and labs. He previously wrote under multiple pen names including Robert Doherty and Greg Donegan.

For more information, free ebooks, free audio and pictures of the legendary Cool Gus go http://www.bobmayer.com or find him on Twitter and catch some Cool Gus pics!

©2018 V Williams

Blog Tour Review Stop and #Giveaway of Micromium-Clean Energy from Mars by David Gittlin

Micromium-Clean Energy from Mars

Title: Micromium: Clean Energy from Mars by David Gittlin

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Source: Sage Adderley – Sage’s Book Tours

Publisher: Entelligent Entertainment

Genre: Science Fiction

I am thrilled to present today a blog tour review stop by both myself and my associate reviewer, the CE, promoted by Sage Adderley of Sage’s Book Tours. And please don’t miss your chance for this Super Sci-Fi Giveaway!

Book Blurb:

The year is 2038. Earth’s biosphere is on the brink of destruction from the effects of global warming and pollution. The World Energy Council has awarded a lucrative contract to a major US corporation to mine a precious ore discovered by the first manned mission to land on Mars. One kilo of Micromium can power a large city for a year without environmental side effects. Micromium promises to provide clean energy to a thirsty planet far into the future.

When two people die in a mining accident on Mars, the World Energy Council sends Commander Logan Marchant and a crack team of astronaut specialists to investigate.

Confronted with a lack of cooperation from the mining colonists, the investigation is further complicated by Logan’s growing attraction to the team’s beautiful and brainy geologist. While tensions and tempers rise, Logan and the audit team make one shocking discovery after another, until the investigation leads them into mortal danger, and ultimately, to a surprising conclusion.

Because Sci-Fi is more his genre than mine, I am presenting his review first. This is definitely a unique spin on that ole Sci-Fi tale and one you’ll be glad to have discovered!

The CE’s Review

Corporate greed combined with Martian mining makes for a fascinating tale. Four auditors and astronauts are sent to a mining outpost on Mars to investigate the mysterious deaths of a former audit team. Extra-terrestrial events embroil them in a life and death struggle with exceptionally greedy management. Access which should be totally open is suddenly restricted and robotic miners guard areas they do not want investigated.

The team discovers alien space shipwrecks and find that the mining operation is a ruse for a much more sinister endeavor. Management attempts to kill and stifle reports which may restrict their dreams of vast wealth and world domination.

World pollution and degradation of the planet’s atmosphere threaten life on earth. Micromium, a miracle heretofore unknown substance promises many years of totally clean energy and the chance to clean up the damage caused by the burning of fossil fuels and global warming resulting from their use.

The team headed by Logan Marchant include Kate Blackstone geologist, Kaneko Fukui MD and Exo-geologist and Rashawn Livingston navigator and EVA specialist. They all have advanced degrees in their fields. Their personalities are deeply vetted to make sure they fit as an audit team.

Kate studies the mineral deposits on Mars and finds that the concentration of Micromium is much smaller than she had expected. Trying to access the mines results in resistance from the Operations Manager, Oscar Kominsky. His reward for managing this Martian operation is undreamed of wealth. He will not allow anyone to get in his way.

Unexpected twists and turns in this illustrated novella along with the unexpected meeting of aliens make for a very exciting read. There are no lagging parts in this book. The audit team expands communication with them. When mining management tries to destroy the second audit team along with the aliens there is a very surprising result. I highly recommend this book.  (5 stars) C E Williams

Micromium ebook cover by David GittlinMy Review:

I love it when I can find a book that I know will have the CE chomping at the bit to tear into. And he did. And, surprisingly, not a sci-fi fan, so did I. This takes place in 2038, but not much has changed in human behavior. There are still the good and the bad–and the bad can sometimes be very, very bad.

What else is the management team of Martian Mining Interplanetary hiding from the World Energy Council and their U.S. corporate bosses that have been awarded the contract for bringing back the minerals? The mining colonists are not particularly friendly and certainly don’t appreciate the investigatory team, but it definitely goes deeper than that. The death of the early audit team must be investigated.

Although the story starts off a little slow for me, the discoveries feed into an interesting mystery. And the mystery reminded me just a little of some of the old interplanetary thriller movies, as they kept finding clues and developed the cast members.

The search for precious metals or minerals in this case creates the same tension that any mining operation has created since the first was discovered. The idea is a noble one–that of becoming capable of providing the energy to the world that will help turn around the environmental disaster wrought on the earth. Mining the ore becomes technologically feasible and might serve the earth for some time to come, but then something happens when the ore is assessed by the audit team. Something isn’t right.

The little drawings added an extra little tease to the narrative, but unfortunately, there were a few edit misses that diverted my attention as well. Dialogue generally works, and the romance probably served as a slight distraction, unnecessary to the general plot. The protagonist allowed his team to use their individual expertise fleshing most of them out and the team worked well and usually successfully even as events became progressively dangerous.

I was offered this stop on the blog tour by Sage’s Blog Tours and greatly appreciated the offer to read and review, particularly sharing with my sci-fi guru for his opinion. Did it meet his expectation? Yes, and I would recommend as well to sci-fi and mystery fans, intrigue, and action-adventure fans. A mine on Mars? Certainly within the realm of imagination and an appealing concept.

Add to Goodreads

Check out the spotlights and reviews of this book and don’t forget to sign up for one of the giveaways!

Blog Tour Participants

April 26th Bound 2 Escape ~ BOOK SPOTLIGHT
April 27th Storyteller Alley ~ BOOK REVIEW
April 28th Book Fidelity ~ BOOK SPOTLIGHT
May 1st Bound 2 Escape ~ BOOK SPOTLIGHT
May 2nd Rosepoint Publishing ~ REVIEW
May 2nd Shari Sakurai ~ BOOK SPOTLIGHT

About the Author

David Gittlin - author (From Amazon Author page)

After a career in marketing and business communications, David Gittlin studied screenwriting and novel writing at UCLA. His three feature length screenplays; “Love Will Find You,” “Joshua’s Decision,” and “A Prescription for Happiness” have reached the finals or placed in several major screenplay competitions. His first novel, an urban fantasy thriller, “Three Days to Darkness,” was a recent nominee to the James Kirkwood Prize for creative writing. Entelligent Entertainment recently published Gittlin’s second and third novels, “Scarlet Ambrosia” and “Micromium–Clean Energy from Mars.” I’ve put my heart, soul and guts into these books.  I’d like you to read them.

(From Goodreads Author page)Only one thing stood between me and my dream of becoming a creative writer: I couldn’t do two things at once. Upon retiring from my career in marketing communications, I decided to devote my full attention to writing fiction, thereby solving my multi-tasking challenge. Mr. Gittlin is also a prize-winning citizen journalist and film maker. He lives in Aventura, Florida.

David Gittlin’s purchase and social media links:

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/2FOfg0y
On B&N: http://bit.ly/2G9H2Ea
On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2GJoubD
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dgittlin 
On Twitter: @DavidGittlin

The author will be giving an ebook copy of Micromium to the first 40 people who contact him with their name and ebook format preference (ePub or Mobi). They can enter here: 

https://www.davidgittlin.com/contact

©2018 V Williams

Sage's Blog Tours

Rosepoint Publishing Book Blast with a Spotlight and #Giveaway

Book Blast banner for Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt

Welcome to my stop on the book blast for Shadow Girl, An Afton Tangler Thriller, by Gerry Schmitt.

I am thrilled to present a Spotlight for tour host Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours at Escape With DollyCas. Many thanks to author Gerry Schmitt and Dolly Cas for allowing me to join the book blast today!

Shadow Girl, An Afton Tangler Thriller, by Gerry Schmitt

Shadow Girl (An Afton Tangler Thriller) Book 2

Small Print and Book Details:

Thriller Suspense

Berkley (August 1, 2017

Paperback edition: 320 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0425281789

Kindle Digital ASIN: B01MXHV6CL

Book Blurb:

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree…

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage…

Add to Goodreads

Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt

About the Author
Gerry Schmitt - authorGerry Schmitt is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-five mysteries, including the Afton Tangler Thrillers, as well as the Tea Shop, Scrapbooking, and the Cackleberry Club mysteries, written under the pen name Laura Childs.

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

She is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won dozens of TV and radio awards, produced two reality TV shows, and invests in small businesses. She and her husband, a professor of Chinese art history, enjoy collecting art, traveling, and have two Shar-Peis.

Laura’s Links:

Website – http://www.laurachilds.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31

Purchase Links:

AmazonAmazon

Barnes & Noble

kobo

 Don’t miss the chance for the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Find a complete book blast listing here:

Great Escapes Book Tours

2018 V Williams

Rosepoint #Reviews – April Recap

Review Recap

My name in Gallifreyan--hint--starts with a "V".In defense of my obvious decrease in reviews this month, I’ll mention I was inexplicably inspired to write several articles regarding bookish (Family Noir) conundrums or publishing algorithms (the 1200 lb Gorilla), the last post of which included Sunday’s hesitant but fascinating introduction into Circular Gallifreyan. Before you protest that it is not a “constructed language,” I’ll agree that it probably isn’t as I couldn’t find any classification linked to the character-driven concept in any of the pages or websites I read. Remember this?

I waited all month to get my struggling seedings out and then almost immediately had frost. As always, too anxious. What can I say? I’m from California where we started seeds directly outdoors in February. Checking my fairy garden daily for any indication my plants made it through the winter–they didn’t–although I’ve been told it’s still a little early. It’s MAY! Having chopped down snags and trunks took advantage of the sunny, warm and beautiful weather today, and got out the old saw and put the fire pit to work. I have high hopes for the vegetable and flower bed this year. And bonus–both the rose bush and forsythia made it through the winter, thank heaven as DH (Dear Hubby) covered the other plants and they will apparently remain buried (I can’t find them).

 

the-bean
The Bean – Chicago IL

 

We had a week-long visit from our grandchildren and together with our son who works and knows Chicago very well took us on a whirlwind sightseeing experience that crammed as much as we could in a week. We walked ten miles one day to include the Navy Pier, the Bean (see above), the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). On other days we toured the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium each requiring most of the day. (Yes, I’m exhausted.)

Absolutely outstanding world-class museum and the Art Institute houses an impressive number of masters including Van Gogh, Monet, El Greco, Picasso, Warhol and every imaginable form of art from early medieval and renaissance to impressionism. Love the Monet’s!

So, life happens along with reading and reviewing and sometimes it is the latter that takes the hit–only five reviews in April–with more read but due for review in May. (These links will take you to my review.)

The Advice Column Murders

Claws for Concern

Murder at the Mushroom Festival

A Dog’s Way Home

The Crooked Staircase

The CE reviewed three titles as well, one of which is due for a blog blast the middle of May. Additionally, I’ll be participating in blog tours, spotlights, and giveaways in May. I’m thrilled and excited to be participating in giveaways and I’m eager to see the response.

As always, I continue to enjoy, welcome my new followers, and sincerely appreciate the ones who continue to read and comment! Thank you! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Is Gallifreyan a Conlang, an Artlang, or Neither?

Is Gallifreyan a Conlang?

We’d ordered our coffee then stepped into the adjacent room in the coffee shop in Crown Point when my grandson pointed and asked, “Is that a Gallifreyan?”

When I turned to look where he was offering his appreciative stare, I saw a wall of paintings, prints, graphics, and abstracts. But wait, he called that a Gallifreyan?

Jeremiah is 22 years old and knows ALL about these, what I thought remote bits of trivia, and it wasn’t until I approached the painting and he began to explain the intricacies of the canvas that I began to grasp that he was discussing a language, not an abstract technique. A language? Who would know that?! Well, he would, of course.

Ah, tis the beginning of another odyssey into what, even at this age, I still didn’t know.

Conlang? Sorta, but not.

The Gallifreyan language stemmed from the popular British TV show Doctor Who. It was spoken by the Time Lords of Gallifrey. The funny part is that the language wasn’t created by the originators of Dr. Who but a fan, Loren Sherman. In fact, it is not a real language and is not used by the show. But I was fascinated.

Gallifreyan vowels

It is an artistic way of writing English words based on a clock. The Circular Gallifreyan alphabet even follows MOST of the rules of written English but using characters rather than letters. Phrases are joined via circles. A simple word is contained within one circle, such as my name (painstakingly created over five hours–yeah–five hours! Hope you LIKE it!). Well, then, I wonder if it would be called Artlang. No? Can you “read” it?

My name in Gallifreyan--hint--starts with a "V".

There are blogs, pins on Pinterest, long lists of YouTube videos a minute to more than two hours, and countless alphabet charts and, unfortunately, more than one translation cipher on the subject. But that I could find, not one stat for popularity numbers. Granted, it’s a mesmerizing study and researching discovered that conlang (constructed languages) exist owing their creation from novel authors such as J. R. R. Tolken, well-rated TV series, and movies. Anyone speak Klingon?

Klingon is actually classified an artistic conlang, as is Dothraki (Games of Thrones), and Mangani from the Tarzan novels. A number of conlangs have been developed recently for such specialized films as Star Wars (Huttese) and Avatar (Na’vi). There are four categories of constructed languages, which is a language that has been “consciously devised,” not naturally developed, and these include auxiliary, ritual, engineered, and artistic.

Of course, probably the most well known constructed language is Esperanto, which was intended to be the second language of the whole world, originally published by ophthalmologist Ludwik L. Zamenhof in 1887. Repopularized largely in part by the internet and refined for today, Esperanto II is enjoying a fan base of more than two million people worldwide.

Are these constructed languages gaining interest? Enjoying a narrow margin according to media popularity. Certainly a millennial will recognize a Gallifreyan faster than I, but I’m sure you can remember many words or phrases of a conlang. If so–what is your favorite? Attribution for Gallifreyan in title: Clinton & Leslie Mason ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Flower Friday – Spring Blooms in Chicago

I love that Lorilin is in my neck of the woods (Chicago) and that she posts to her blog Flower Friday.

Check out her beautiful spring blooms at Bug Bug Book Reviews. We’ve had grandkids this week and this was our third trip into downtown, covering ten miles yesterday from Navy Pier to the Art Institute. We ended at Sears Tower where they’d just planted some pansies–so pretty! I’m also posting a few pics from the Shedd Aquarium, which is totally awesome and recommended. And the “Bean”? Are you kidding? (More on that later.)

Pansies at Sears Tower in Chicago     Bloom at Shedd Aquarium, ChicagoBlooms at Shedd Aquarium, Chicago     Bloom at Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

By the way, that white glob on the leaf? It’s a frog. ©2018 V Williams

I’m Not Ignoring You–Is it WP or the 1200 lb Gorilla?

I'm Not Ignoring You

Spoiler Alert: Anyone else experiencing these issues?

Many of you know that my blog stats suddenly dropped 107 followers the end of March. I’m not ignoring you–honest! I wrote the Happiness Engineers at WordPress regarding the drop as well as the increase in “followers” from Outlook email accounts. Eventually, I got a canned response that didn’t address the issues (either one, but directed me to check my listed follower status).

I wrote again, unhappy with the result of my inquiry, and finally got a response from Damianne who wrote, “Your followers are from social media as well as WordPress. We can’t manage followers from social media, so we don’t have any information about those changes.” That’s true, as my followers are made up of more than 750 social followers, 250+ WP followers, with the balance made up of email followers (no Outlook followers).

She went on to note that “Followers from outlook.com may be spammers and we are looking into the issue generally, and have already implemented some fixes. The follows in themselves are not an actual threat…so really all they’re achieving is to annoy people. We’re working on our end to get these follows blocked, and we’re also removing fake follows as we detect them. On your end, just ignore them for now.”

Wait, What? “Fake follows.” Are you considered a fake follow? Did you get unfollowed?

It wasn’t until later that I realized I was no longer getting notifications from my most active blogging buddies. That’s you! So I apologize–it wasn’t me–it was…WordPress?

I know you are not fake follows, so what happened? Damianne suggested my notifications may be going to my spam folder as a result of my email provider. They are not.

Dot Com vs Dot Org

As a dot com (not a dot org), I do not have the ability to download and use all those wonderful plug-ins that would give me some additional insight into the dynamics of my website. So frustrating! But trying to research what may be happening, I see one overwhelming theme–speed–and mobile technology. 

WordPress-Plugins vs Widgets from My Theme Shop

We know WordPress changed their algorithms this year, but I didn’t realize it would affect my little contribution to the blogosphere. Why? Because nothing stays the same–remember that old adage? People change. Technology advances to keep up with wants and needs. At the forefront of change is Google who has issued five (yes, FIVE, and they all have names) major algorithm updates recently, forcing search engines to change.

I’ve written before about some techniques to avoid being blacklisted such as keyword stuffing (I wouldn’t know how) or avoiding black-hat SEO techniques. Web gurus talk about the need to blog at least once a week (yes, okay) resulting in a “freshen” score, with posts of 2,000 words (fail). Then what?

Mobile First

Apparently, there is a shift for Google to “move their entire search index to mobile-first.” It’s called the Progressive Web App (PWA). Currently, there are two search indexes, mobile and desktop. BUT, these are going to be combined. And then they will crawl the mobile version first–that means “the mobile version of your site will be the one crawled, not desktop.”

It’s all about page speed then? Has my site been penalized because it’s slow? I don’t know–I can’t use a plug-in to check that and I can’t add any “code markups” to speed it up.

The 1200 lb Gorilla

Google has been rewarding publishers that have objectively delivered better mobile experiences to visitors for a while. It should come as no surprise that Google is talking even more about page speed. They are actually going to include it as a mobile ranking signal this year.

Angry woman shooting computer

One of the patterns I routinely follow before scheduling a book review or post is to check to see what it is supposed to look like on a tablet or a mobile device and correct accordingly. Maybe it’s not working.

I will try to “catch up” with some of your posts in the coming week, hopefully to re-establish the connection. In the meantime, I’m always grateful for the likes and comments, especially from Nina at Cozy Pages, Nicole at thebookwormdrinketh, FictionFan, Lynne at Fictionophile, and Cathy at Between the Lines. I’ll be looking to see what you’ve posted recently. I’ve really missed seeing the new posts from all my blogging buddies!

In the meantime, please let me know if you are experiencing somewhat the same with your stats too. Or perhaps you have a suggestion for me? I’d love to hear it! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

If Family Noir is In, I Want Out

If Family Noir is In, I Want Out

Remember back in December 2015 when I investigated all these new-to-me genres? Nano-punk, nano-technology, or cyber-punk?

Well, it’s happened again. A number of bloggers I follow have reviewed stories recently they’ve categorized as “Noir.” If it sounds French, it is, and means “dark” or “of the night.” It is usually a genre that deals with violence or sex, but definitely corruption in some manner. (BTW, noire is just feminine for noir, but you knew that, huh.)

Postwar film noir - Humphrey BogartYes, I remember film noir, but “classic” (or roman) noir is considered a “hardboiled” genre that usually includes a self-destructive protagonist. I’m not writing the rules here, only relaying what I found in research–and it’s not pretty folks. Although I must say, we’ve definitely done a number on the original noir fiction spawned from Dashiell Hammett ( 1894-1961) “the dean of the… ‘hardboiled’ school of detective fiction.” The protagonist is not a rumpled, raincoat cloaked, cigar-chomping thoughtful-hearted protagonist, but rather a perpetrator. Forget Columbo! Think Humphrey Bogart. No, much worse. Think Kevin Spacey in LA Confidential. But there is a huge difference in the definition of “noir” and what we are calling forms of noir today.

Harking back to the Huff Post updated in December 2017 by Otto Penzler who didn’t mince words when he described the genre, “noir is about losers,” not private detectives. This is the down and dirty–doesn’t do well and never will. The protagonist in a noir story is driven by just about everything bad a human can exhibit: greed, lust, jealousy. They aren’t ever going to triumph. They can’t! (It’s noir.) And this is what separates the private detective or family noir from noir fiction–the moral ground.

The problem then, as Noir Fiction has splintered off as many sub-genres as the previously discussed fiction novels, is the evolution. Here are just a few:

Classic noir (Hollywood crime dramas emphasizing derisive attitudes and/or sexual motivations)

Family noir (domestic noir)

Film noir

Neo-noir

Photo noir

Pulp noir (classic noir with urban influences)

Scandinavian noir (Scandi noir)

Tech noir

I think it was the Scandinavian noir that set me to scratching my head. A Scandi noir? Certainly, it was the film industry that influenced the change of the hardboiled nuance into a neo-noir flavor. Definitely a contemporary or more modern version of film noir, the term neo-noir was popularized by two French critics back in 1955. It appears these were retro-actively applied to much earlier crime movies including the 1940s as well as the 1950s in the U.S. (Think Bogey)

Farewell My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerSo I jumped on Goodreads again, my go-to of all things bookish, and noted that on their (current) favorite noir list the first six of nine is divided between Raymond Chandler at number one (Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)  and two and Dashiell Hammett at number three (The Glass Key).

It was Hammett who created Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon after a character he knew living in San Francisco. His authentic period dialogue was included in the movie famously played by Humphrey Bogart.

 

Black Mask Magazine featuring The Maltese Falcon by Dashell Hammett
Cover courtesy Wikipedia

Raymond Chandler? Really? Because if you were surprised by Hammett’s life dates, Chandler is right there, born in 1888 and died in 1959. Wikipedia notes he began writing after losing his job as an oil company executive. He published a short story in Black Mask Magazine, a pulp magazine in 1933. (First issue April 1920-final issue 1987) Along with Dashiell Hammett and other Black Mask writers, he is considered to be a founder of the hardboiled detective fiction. Philip Marlowe, his protagonist, was also played by the quintessential Humphrey Bogart. He said of the hardboiled detective, “he is the white knight who walks the mean streets, but is not himself mean.”

 

 

Point Blank film noir 1967 starring Lee Marvin
Neo-noir film Point Blank directed by John Boorman, 1967, starring Lee Marvin.

 

Cinematically, Lee Marvin cemented the neo-noir style of film when he starred in Point Blank (1967), introducing a new level of violence in film and established the foundation for later escalation of ferocity and brutality.

I suspect there would be some argument over whether the film Pulp Fiction is actually pulp noir or film noir. Jessica Jones – pulp noir? Where would you classify any of the dark noir books (Gone Girl) (or movies) that you’ve read (seen) lately?

But really, a family noir? OMG–it’s gotta be sad, depressing, and can never be made right.

It’s doomed.

I don’t need it.

I want peaceful.

I want happy–if not happily ever after–a light at the end of the tunnel. Some small promise it’ll be okay.

And hopefully soon.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Stinger: Operation Cyclone – a #BookReview

Stinger: Operation Cyclone by Bill FortinTitle: Stinger: Operation Cyclone (A Rick Fontain Novel Book 2) by Bill Fortin

Genre: Currently #2811 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, War

Publisher: Cold War Publications

Publication Date: February 12, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: Stinger: Operation Cyclone – Obvious military action

It is shortly after the election of Ronald Regan in 1979 that the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, but it was not until 1982 that POTUS set in motion Operation Cyclone.

The wheels of government and governmental agencies move very slowly. The Afghani people are locked in a desperate attempt to avoid total annihilation by an occupying Russian force. Severely out-gunned and with very limited resources they are resisting one of the strongest armies in the world.  Several covert governmental agencies are trying, albeit slowly, to assist. Continue reading “Stinger: Operation Cyclone – a #BookReview”

Rosepoint #Reviews – March Recap

Yes, we have zinged right into April with Easter Sunday! A beautiful beginning to the month.

Fairy Garden - Easter TimeIf the ground is no longer frozen, you know I’ll be grabbing my shovel and turning some dirt in the hope I can get my garden in before the end of April. I already have a few little seeds sprouting in my indoor starter tray. Hopefully, these will do better than last year. And last year? Remember I started the Fairy Garden that we alternatively call (depending on weather) “the Swamp.” I am currently waiting to see what survived and my heart is beginning to sink–I don’t think any of the ferns or Lilly of the Valley made it through the winter. Butterfly bush? History. But I’ve attained some satisfaction in digging out more reeds, snags, and trunks making way for slightly larger bushes than those $5 budget plants. If it’s sunny, I’ll probably be outdoors, at least until all plants are established.

I’ve confessed before to being a stats watcher (as I’ve set several goals) and was thrilled to announce the coming of my first 1,000th follower. I’ve been steadily building on that number and by Wednesday, the 28th of March had attained 1106 followers, looking forward to 1200. Then Thursday, the big crash happened and now the view counter is showing 999. How do you lose 107 followers overnight? But wait! There’s more..no really! Looking at my monthly totals, the blog achieved 1.0k views for the month of March. Hazzah! In fact, the first quarter of 2018 showed a significant jump in views. So I’m at a loss for the loss.

My February Recap noted that I was going to participate in Cathy‘s “Reading Ireland” Challenge. They were Shadow of a Century by Jean Grainger, Irish author, and another titled For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie and you’ll find both of those in the linked list below.

Eight new titles read and reviewed in March:

Deja Moo – a #BookReview

If I Live – a #BookReview

For the Love of Ireland – #BookReview

The True Tales of the Road to Key West – a #BookReview

Shadow of a Century – a #BookReview

Last Night – a #BookReview

Fiction Can Be Murder – a #BookReview

Dark Territory – a #BookReview

That intrepid associate reviewer, the CE, reviewed three titles for me in March.

The Telltale Tattoo – a #BookReview

The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview

Illinois Native Americans – a #BookReview

#TBR - Easter

Check out my Easter week #TBR, cozy mysteries. In the meantime, I’ve added a book tour from Sage’s Blog Tours, an author request, and I won a beautiful hardback book titled Claws for Concern by Miranda James from Lori at Escape With Dollycas. Boy does it seem strange to hold a “real” book again! Thank you, Lori!

I so enjoy and appreciate my new followers and the ones who continue to read and comment! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Fiction Can Be Murder – a #BookReview

Fiction Can Be Murder by Becky ClarkTitle: Fiction Can Be Murder (A Mystery Writer’s Mystery) by Becky Clark

Genre: Currently #6572 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Publication Date: To be released April 8, 2018

Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Fiction Can Be Murder–I get it–her reading chair, but…

This book is every bit as much fun as a cozy mystery but without the recipes! Is it or is it not a cozy mystery? Well, maybe so, though it’s sub-titled a mystery writer’s mystery, and that’s not really a cozy mystery cover, I don’t think. I’m already invested in the characters, however, that she establishes in this, the first of her series and the setting of Denver in March? Come on–Perfect! (As I’m reading from Indiana flirting with snow flurries.) Even were it the middle of summer, everyone is familiar with the cliché of Denver winters, which I’m sure must be comparable to northern Siberia, and fetches chills just saying the word. Continue reading “Fiction Can Be Murder – a #BookReview”

Define TBR – In Bookish Terms It Means Different Things to Different People

Most generally in Bookish Terms, TBR stands for “To Be Read.” That wildly general term could mean books that at one point or another laid resident in your library or virtual novels on your Excel spreadsheet, shelf, or shelves.

Or your list may be a very detailed spreadsheet of all the books you want to read (not that you yet possess), perhaps in chronological, alphabetical, (color?) or genre order including print, ebook, or audio editions. Then there is a short, specific list of those few next up in your queue. Mine consists of the latter, usually dictated by publishing date and rotated in and out on my Goodreads list, as I discovered it impossible for me to schedule a month out. I never know what gorgeous cover will catch my eye, or that there is a thriller pop up I must have. That said–my #TBR changes weekly–it’s as fickle as the NYT bestseller lists I just wrote about. That said–here are this week’s books–right now:

#TBR end of March

Last Night by Kerry Wilkinson

“It’s the early hours of the morning and Rose Denton wakes up behind the steering wheel of her car. She’s off the road, through a hedge and in a field. What happened last night?” Contemporary English thriller

Add to Goodreads

Dark Territory by Leo J Maloney

“Black Ops veteran Leo J. Maloney delivers a lightning-fast thriller that puts America’s top operatives on a collision course with Russia’s deadliest weapon . . . The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest rail line in the world. But for Dan Morgan’s daughter Alex, it could be the shortest trip of her life—and the last.” (Amazon) Military, thriller and suspense

Add to Goodreads

Claws for Concern by Miranda James

“Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, are embroiled in a new mystery when a cold case suddenly heats up in the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.” Cozy mystery

Add to Goodreads

What about you? What is your definition of TBR? Is it totally out of control or this week’s reads? ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Five Reasons Why Books Release on Tuesday–Does That Include Indie Authors?

Five Reasons Why Books Release on Tuesday

Because it’s always been done this way. (?)

Oh really?! Why? Retailers call it Super Tuesday.

But Tuesday…Maybe it is just not as hectic as the first day of the week. Nor is it Friday when everyone is ready to flee to weekend outings. Tuesday is not yet Hump Day, not generally a payday, and very rarely a holiday. So why is it that I started having a problem with overlapping release dates–Tuesday–after I started receiving books from NetGalley?

Most sources, including Bob Mayer (one of my favorite authors), speculated it might be (1) because of the NY Times best-seller lists (and this seems to be a generally accepted opinion). “The NYT bestseller list is based on sales from Tuesday to Monday, tallied on Wednesday. The list for the following Sunday is actually compiled by the prior Wednesday evening.”

So what else are we looking at? Spy icon by Colourbox Continue reading “Five Reasons Why Books Release on Tuesday–Does That Include Indie Authors?”

My Pet Tag – Our Bichon Frise – The Perfect Pet Partner

Frosty and the CEI saw this tag over at LFBooks and just loved her post. She got the tag from Carla at carlalovestoread and heaven knows I have a little cutie, too, though thankfully is NOT a fart machine! So why not share?

  1. What is your pet’s name? Frosty, though her full name is Frosty Dancer Nampa Dandy. (She is AKC registered. They seem to love long names.) Frosty with a Flicker
  2. What kind of pet is it and what breed? She is a Bichon Frise, considered a “companion” dog (but according to the AKC, is a non-sporting breed. A Bichon won the Westminster Best of Show this year! We call her a thigh buddy, cause if we’re sitting where she can snuggle next to us–she will). They must have black eyes, black nose, and black pads, and thick, curly white double layered furry ringlets. Yes, she requires grooming (which I do), but, hey, she is non-allergenic (for my husband) and non-shedding (for me). I searched a long time to determine what breed I wanted and discovered that Bichon rescues want you to have a dog in the home–so no, I only wanted one dog.
  3. How long have you had your pet friend? We got her at 7 1/2 weeks after she was weaned. She was barely as big as my hand and fit under my chin when she lay down with me. She is now twelve.
  4. How did you get your pet? My husband and I were moving to Idaho, but he had not yet closed down his business in California. So after a number of months visiting once every month or so, I decided I needed a dog. It had been more than seven years since we’d had to part with our last dog, Muffin, who died at age 13. (He was thrilled that I was talking about another dog–said he needed another hunter.) Frosty was one of two females in a litter of five.
  5. How old is your pet? She was born January 24, 2006–just turned twelve.
  6. What are some quirky things about your pet’s personality? 

     She’s a back sleeper, so it is not unusual to see her roll over and get comfy. Smart as the dickens and has the memory of an elephant. She knows where she left all her toys. Knows what time it is and uses a herding instinct to guide us wherever she wants to go. Frosty's toy She likes to tuck whichever toy she wants to play with under her chin and if so inclined, offer to play with you. Thinks she’s a retriever–just throw the ball–she’ll bring it back. Learned a number of tricks very quickly and knows which will trigger your interest faster. Hide her treat anywhere in the house–she’ll look until she finds it. What a nose!

  7. What does your relationship with your pet mean to you? Having retired and no children at home, she is now the focus. Gives us a purpose, an incentive to exercise, makes us laugh, commiserates when we’re sick or sad. She goes most everywhere with us–good as gold in the car–has never torn or ripped anything. She just waits patiently and watches for us to return (not a barker). It is difficult to imagine being without her.
  8. What are some of your favorite past times with your pet? We do a lot of walking with her, have hiked all over parks. When we lived in an RV for two years, she was easy to live with and at 13 lbs., she’s a great no-fuss traveler, although she’ll let you know when it’s time to stop.
  9. Frosty-age 12What are nicknames that you call your pet?Her nickname is Frost, but we also call her Woofy or Woof. 

I am not sure who has a pet, so, if you want to do this tag, please do! Consider yourself tagged. I love to read pet stories and I hope you enjoyed mine! Bark if you did! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Shadow of a Century – a #BookReview

Shadow of a Century by Jean GraingerTitle: Shadow of a Century by Jean Grainger

Genre: Currently #27 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, Irish

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Publication Date: June 3, 2015

Source: Author

Title and Cover: Shadow of a Century – Cover in old photo tones

This story is split between Scarlett O’Hara and Eileen Chiarello of New York in 2016 and Mary Doyle of Dublin in 1916. Scarlett is introduced and her circumstances as the “other woman” to a powerful political figure described as well as her sudden and embarrassing fall from grace. That circumstance will introduce ninety-three-year-old Eileen Chiarello. It is really the story of Mary Doyle and the turmoil and upheaval in Dublin leading to the events of the Easter Rising in 1916. It is her daughter, Eileen, that provides the link.

Mary Doyle has turned 18 and left the Catholic orphanage for a wealthy home in Dublin in 1913, where she expects to live a life of domestic service. At the Grant’s home, however, she is received by the housekeeper and Mrs. Grant who bestows room and board and a friendly welcome. Mr. Grant serves as the immediate antagonist. Mary meets the servant of another home, Eileen, who becomes a close friend, while Mrs. Kearns the mother she never had.

Are you with me so far? Continue reading “Shadow of a Century – a #BookReview”

Rosepoint #Reviews – February Recap

Irish flag gif by giphyCan you believe it’s March already?! March always reminds me how this whole writing, reading, blogging, reviewing thing got started–with my grandfather, of course!

Well, Faith and Begorrah (and btw, Begorrah is a form of “By God” in Irish slang), sure reminds me of the beautiful, musical way he pronounced my name. I don’t ever remember him, however, using the term “Erin Go Bragh,” spelled variously and used in wildly different meanings. Erin, of course, is the Angelical assassination of Eireann, which translates to “Of Ireland.” (The Irish word for Ireland is Eire, so says Patrick Murphy, good Irish lad.)

Ireland 9 by gliterly.comMy grandfather, another good Irish lad named Patrick, professed a few more colorful terms, such as “Blatherskite,” given him by his uncle following his kiss of the Blarney stone three times. Apparently, that bestowed him full right to blarney on as he wrote the stories I published for him. Ah, but I digress…

February? I only read and reviewed five books. I KNOW–embarrassing, right? Falling down on the job, no doubt due to my distraction with Bookstagram. However, I was successful in enlisting the aid of my hubby, that Associate Reviewer I call “the CE”, who managed three books of his own. And I did manage three Throwback Thursdays, highlighting authors D. W. Ulsterman, Rick Mofina, and Melissa Stevens (not to be confused with Melissa F Miller from yesterday).

Shadow of a Century by Jean Grainerfor The Love of Ireland by Judy LeslieI’m looking forward to participating in Cathy‘s Reading Ireland challenge, as noted in Lynne’s Fictionophile March post. I already have a couple books for the challenge, one by Jean Grainger, Irish author, Shadow of a Century and another titled For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie. It’s a chance to get a couple titles off my TBR!

March hopes to see the coming of spring and also marks another of my birthdays. Gulp–and this one will be a biggee. I’ll toast with some Bailey’s Irish Cream! So what did I read and review in February? (click) Continue reading “Rosepoint #Reviews – February Recap”