Don’t miss the blog tour for KALORAMA ROAD, by E. Denise Billups!
I’m very excited to be the first post on a two-week blog tour managed by Jina S. Bazzar for the amazing Kalorama Road by E. Denise Billups. I read the book last month and thought it was a phenomenal story. You must check out my 5-STAR review after reading through today’s post. We’ve got all the links below to get to know the author and the book as well as a special Q&A section where I was lucky enough to ask Billups twelve (12) fun and frisky questions. If you’re a fan of thrillers, mysteries, suspense, and romance fiction, this is definitely one you can’t afford to miss! Let’s learn a little more about this novel… and then click on the YouTube link to watch the awesome trailer, but be ready to bite your nails or grab something to hold while your mind begins to worry what’s going on!
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From Mystery/Thriller writer E. Denise Billups:
Title: Deadly Spirits (A Mac McClellan Mystery Book 4)
Author: E. Michael Helms
Genre: Hard-Boiled Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Camel Press, January 3, 2017
Kindle Pages: 268 Pages
When PI Mac McClellan’s girlfriend convinces him to join the Palmetto Paranormal Society, he becomes embroiled in a case of whooodunnit. The society president, while investigating an old hotel, is found dead at the foot of the stairwell, his neck broken. The man’s secretary and current squeeze stands horrified beside his body. Authorities rule the death an accident. Mac has doubts—no one heard the man tumbling down the stairs. Then the secretary dies in an apparent suicide. Two deaths in two paranormal investigations, and not a peep out of either victim. Mac suspects there’s more going on than a vengeful spirit.
This is the first book I’ve read by Mr. Helms, and it won’t be the last. I…
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From the Pen of Crime Writer/Blogger Margot Kinberg:
The watch must have come off when she hit the ground. It was a nice one, too – a Bulova. See, that’s why I even saw her in the first place. I noticed it lying there on the street. You don’t see Bulovas just anywhere. When I went over to pick up the watch, I could just see her hand and part of her arm showing from behind the dumpster. I didn’t want to go any closer. There was no way I was going to get mixed up in it if someone was dead. I’m not heartless, though. She was somebody’s sister, or girlfriend, or something. So, I went down a couple of blocks and found an open bar. The guy there let me use their telephone when I told him mine was dead. I called the cops and told them about the body, but I didn’t give my name.
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“Being Politically Correct means always having to say you’re sorry.”
“Well, the man who first translated the Bible into English was burned at the stake, and they’ve been at it ever since. Must be all that adultery, murder, and incest. But not to worry. It’s back on the shelves.”
–Phyliss Reynolds Naylor
In today’s Politically Correct US of A, we Americans must tread carefully on eggshells. We must be ever vigilant of what we say, what we write, and even of what we think, lest we offend the sensitivities of the many “holier than thou” factions inhabiting today’s society. God forbid we utter a wrong word, a word that has been deemed by our Big Brother government or our institutions of higher learning (I use the term very, very loosely!) as offensive, or insensitive, or racist, or sexist, or homophobic. We must exercise extreme caution not to step on anyone’s toes or offend them in any way, shape, or form. Should we slip up and cross the line drawn in the sand by the PC Police, there might well be hell to pay.
Back in the long ago days of yesteryear and my misspent youth, one of my favorite children’s books was The Story of Little Black Sambo. Written and illustrated in 1899 by Scottish author Helen Bannerman for her own young tykes, LBS was a favorite among children everywhere until the 1970s when Political Correctness reared its ugly head and the book largely vanished from library and bookstore shelves. Yes, Political Correctness has existed long before the rather benevolent name came into everyday use and household popularity (or repugnance, choose your poison). A much more defining term for Political Correctness would be Cultural Marxism. Think about it. Research it if need be.
When the racist uproar over LBS reached the ears of the all-knowing censors, they zeroed their focus and targeted the name “Sambo” as a shameful put down for the young black protagonist of the story. Uh . . . okey-dokey. I fail to see the damaging implication, but if the know-it-alls say it’s so, it must be so. However, they somehow failed to mention the real relevancy of Mrs. Bannerman’s tale. Or realize the morals the story teaches, and the positive attributes the story showers generously upon our young (and yes, black) hero. For those not familiar with Bannerman’s gem, I offer a brief synopsis of The Story of Little Black Sambo.
Sambo’s mother sews him a new red coat and bright blue trousers. At the local bazaar, his father buys Sambo a pair of purple shoes and a beautiful green umbrella. All decked out in his dandy new outfit, Little Black Sambo decides to take a stroll through the jungle. Along the way, he encounters four hungry tigers, one at a time. Each tiger threatens to make a meal of poor Sambo, but he persuades them to accept an article of his new ensemble in exchange for not eating him. The tigers agree, and each strolls away thinking that they are the “grandest tiger in all the Jungle!” Bereft of his dandy new outfit, a dejected Sambo begins his journey home. But then he hears a terrific commotion and sees the four tigers arguing over just who is the grandest tiger of them all. The argument heats up, and the tigers remove their prized items (to avoid damage—this is a winner take all battle to the death) and begin fighting. They are soon running in circles around a big palm tree, ripping at one another’s backside, none willing to concede the title of dandiest tiger to the others. They are soon zipping around the tree in a blur, and before long they’ve become so heated they begin to melt. As Little Black Sambo approaches the tree, he finds the tigers have turned into a great ring of delicious melted butter. His father appears on his return from work carrying a big brass pot. They fill the pot with the tiger butter and take it home. That night the family enjoys a meal of delicious pancakes fried in, and flavored with, the tiger butter, all thanks to Sambo and his ingenuity of outwitting the four powerful tigers of the Jungle.
So, what lessons does our little tale have to teach us? Bullying is an ongoing problem in the schools and playgrounds of today. The hungry tigers are prime examples of the typical bully—big, mean, threatening, and boastful. Always preying on the small and weak. However, Sambo, faced with being eaten by each of the four bullies, used his wits to outsmart them. Instead of allowing them to make a meal of him, Sambo kept his cool, devising a plan with his quick thinking, knowing the boastful tigers would try to outdo one other to win the title of the “grandest tiger of all the Jungle.”
Sambo displayed calmness in the face of danger, the ability to process a threatening situation (times four!), and the smarts to devise a plan on the spot. I ask you, are these attributes in any way demeaning to Sambo, despite the color of his skin? No, just the opposite. His calm, cool, and collected demeanor shows exactly the opposite—Little Black Sambo displayed intuition, intelligence, and bravery in the face of a very precarious situation.
However, instead of concentrating on these overwhelmingly positive and admirable attributes of character that our young hero obviously possesses, the offended, chip-on-the-shoulder-carrying politically correct faction cries “foul,” all the while pointing accusing fingers at Sambo’s name and how he appeared in the author’s original illustration (created, I remind you, in 1899).
The Story of Little Black Sambo has, in recent years, made a comeback of sorts. There are now several revised versions of Helen Bannerman’s classic tale available on the market. However, most have been revised with deviations of the narrative, location, and especially the illustrations accentuating our young brave hero’s exploits. Even, in some cases, the names have been changed to protect the innocent. (God forbid they should hear such a racist name as Little Black Sambo, never mind Sambo’s heroic reasoning and exploits). All the revisers, in my honest opinion, have missed the point. (See my arguments/defense above.)
I had intended to list numerous works of literature, their authors, and the reasons they had been banned, but alas, time and space restraints beckon me to refrain. Most of you can name your own favorite works that have endured the dull culling of the Politically Correct and ignorant censors. First Amendment be damned! I believe choosing an innocent children’s book written in the 19th Century will suffice getting my point across.
We writers—and readers, are faced with an ever-intensifying attempt to sweep our Constitutional rights under the rug to please and placate the whining of those who care not a damn for the principles upon which this nation was founded. It has become, “That offends me, and I’m not going to put up with it! Big Brother, make them cease and desist!”
Our nation is facing a precarious turning point. Do we succumb to the Politically Correct and their continual push for more censorship, or do we throw off those shackles and recapture the rights once held so precious and dear to the heart of every American patriot? The choice is yours, dear reader.
Michael Helms enjoys hearing from fans and critics alike. Never fear, he can listen to and entertain opinions that deviate from his own viewpoint (no matter how misguided they might be). Contact him through this blog, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An historical contest-winning short story from writer Anne Clare!
YOUR HUMBLE HOST
It is my pleasure to present to you the second place winner from the March 2018 Word Weaver Writing Contest, Anne Clare’s “Dark Corners.”
Anne Clare’s story was a blast to read. She hooked me from the opening and held me straight through to the end. Obviously, it was a fave of the celebrity judges, too.
Have a good time reading this story. I’ll give you my reasons for why I liked it, as well as including comments by the celebrity judges, at the bottom of the post.
SECOND PLACE WINNER
Bonny tiptoed to the library door and peered around the frame, holding her breath. Miss Worther sat in the far corner, back bent over the desk, pen scratching across a sheet of paper.
She must be writing to that sweetheart we’re not supposed to know about. She’ll not notice I’m gone…
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Remembering a true yet humble hero!
This story was contributed by fellow blogger, Mike Tuggle, in tribute to his father, who sailed his final voyage this past Saturday.
My account of the Invasion of Okinawa
By: Clayton C. Tuggle
I was one of the approximately twelve hundred men aboard the USS Birmingham CL-62. We set out for Okinawa in March, 1945.
Arriving in Okinawa, we were stationed about five miles from shore. We bombarded the island with 6-inch guns at night hitting several ammunition dumps and shore guns of several sizes. This went on until the invasion began on April 1, 1945. This battle was something entirely different from any the Navy had experienced. Torpedoes were exploding all around our ship, the skies were full of explosions from guns on both sides.
On the 5th of May, 1945, I was cleaning officers’ quarters when the captain [John Wilkes] came on the PA system…
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Author/blogger James J. Cudney reviews The Private War of Corporal Henson
Before I get into my review, I wanted to share with everyone that this author is a blogger many of us have interacted with before. He shares writing advice. He is very supportive of other writers. He shares, tweets and re-blogs content to help market books, posts and thoughts from other people. He’s a solid guy and I’m privileged to be part of his online life… that said, I chose to read his book without him even bringing it up. And my review is completely free and clear of impacts from knowing him. He’s genuine and I thank him for the opportunity to read his work and about parts of his life. If you’re interested in reading more about him, check out his blog and other books. He’s also written a mystery series I can’t wait to get my hands on! But that will be another review later this summer……
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Loglines & Taglines, by writer E. Denise Billups
In the midst of preparing my third novel’s synopsis, logline, and tagline, I researched other author’s book covers and came across numerous taglines that inspired a satisfactory completion of my own. With all the subplots, twists, and characters it took many drafts before I successfully summarized an 80,000-word novel into one sentence, and it left me wondering if one-liners and catchy phrases are necessary.
Yes! Taglines and loglines are essential parts of a writer’s media kit. Especially Indie Authors who may not have the followers or media endorsement bestselling authors have to promote their books. But before you start crafting your own, understand taglines and loglines aren’t synonymous. They both serve different purposes, but the one element they have in common is they’re not elaborate descriptions of your book but succinct statements.
A logline is essentially an elevator pitch, a concise, succinct summary of your book in one or…
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A Short-short crime story from Mystery-Crime writer/blogger Margot Kinberg!
They were looking at me. They were making eye contact. Celia told me that’s a good sign. It means they see you as a person, and that was going to make it harder for them to convict me. And I could use all the good signs I could get.
I felt bad for Celia. She had to really work hard for me. I mean, I was drunk that night. A few of us from Delta Epsilon were at Patricio’s, where we used to drink when we were in school. It was no big deal, just an Alumni Weekend thing. I told them that, too, when I was on the stand. It didn’t look good that I had too much to drink, but Celia told me not to lie. And I didn’t. Lying is perjury. I may not be a lawyer, but I know that.
Now, the other lawyer was looking…
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