KD Did It Takes on Books has Moved!

by Kathy Davie

KD Did It Takes on Books has moved over to a WordPress.org site.

Come on over and sign up!

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Changes, They are A’Comin’

by Kathy Davie


Old woman praying, painting by Nicolaes Maes

Image by Nicolaes Maes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An Old Woman Praying, an oil-on-canvas, by Nicolaes Maes at the Worcester Art Museum.

Changes. It’s a move I’ve been contemplating for some time and was finally forced into. A part of my second annus horribilis…sigh… Moving last year. Again this year. My old computer dying on its last miserable wheeze. My brand-new computer’s hard drive failing. My computer getting hacked. Yeah.
So, changes. It’s not a bad thing. I probably would have continued to waffle along, so I am grateful for being “forced” into this change. It’s been worse than I had anticipated. And at least I’m doing it. That’s the good side. Another fun aspect is I get to do more research.
I can hear y’all laughing out there. Stop. Go to the bathroom.
Y’ back yet?

Get on with it…

So, changes. I’m blending my old KD Did It website and my free WordPress blog, KD Did It Takes on Books, into one website, KD Did It Edits, with a new host. I hadn’t realized how WordPress’ internal structuring would change how my old navigation and site structure functioned. Nor how WordPress’ search ability would affect the old Author Tools section. So, changes.
The previously posted book reviews and all the Word Confusions are still there. It’ll look a bit messy until I can go back and re-format things — I want everything searchable as well as taking advantage of a cool new plug-in I’m using (Creative Whim’s Ultimate Book Blogger). If you’ve bookmarked anything. Sorry. You’ll need to re-bookmark it. A pain for a bit, but my intention is to provide a better site for everyone.

Deluge of posts on self-editing

I’m asking for patience from y’all for the ton of posts on self-editing I’ll be uploading on Formatting Tips, Grammar Explanations, Properly Punctuated (FGP), and of course, continuing with the Word Confusions.
Why so many self-editing posts in a rush? Because there is so much interlinking in the no-longer accessible FGP pages, and I don’t want you getting frustrated over links that go nowhere. I know it would drive me mad! I’ll be putting link markers everywhere that will go nowhere until I get that particular post uploaded, at which point, I’ll hook those links up (yes, I’ll be keeping a list! If only for my own sanity!!) as soon as it has a destination. The link, not my sanity.
Not to worry about the book reviews, they’ll still be posted per usual.

Re-subscribing

I’m not sure how the subscription thing works — if you’ll need to re-subscribe. If you do have to re-subscribe, I hope you do. I’ve set up an easy MailChimp subscription in the sidebar on the new site, primarily so they can manage all the legalities involved in keeping things clean for you and sort out people joining and those who later decide they want out. (If you like, click here for instant access for a MailChimp sign-up form.)
As a bribe, er, um, I mean, an incentive for subscribing, I’m planning an eBook on the Word Confusions which I’ll send to everyone who signs up with MailChimp. Do NOT, however, hold your breath on it. It’s high up on my to-do list (ooh, love that research, lol!), but the website must come first.

And I hope you enjoy what’s to come and that it proves useful. Especially all them comin’ comma rules…lol…

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Book Review: Rainbow Rowell’s Landline

by Kathy Davie

LandlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fictional bit of literature that explores relationships with a bit of “time travel”.

My Take
Wow. Wow. Wow. It took a few pages, but Rowell pulled me in and kept me on tenterhooks. I couldn’t read fast enough. And I didn’t want to read too fast. Partly because I was dreading the outcome, one I was desperate to know.

And that contradiction is so typical of this story as Georgie is at war with herself. … And I can feel you waiting to find out with whom she’s at war, lol.

It’s love. It’s truth. It’s a chance to look back and move forward, to discover what’s wrong and fix it. To understand what’s truly important.

It’s only Rowell’s second book that I’ve read, and I am falling in love with her writing. I’m understanding why her books are so well received. She’s fast becoming one of the authors on my must-buy list.

“He kissed her like he was drawing a perfectly straight line.

He kissed her in India ink.”


I love how she takes ordinary life and makes it more. In this case, it’s a switching of the expected role of parents with Mom being the breadwinner and Dad the househusband. A woman who laughs and needs to make people laugh loving a man who doesn’t laugh.

It’s a great switch, if only because Georgie is the perfect characterization of a “husband”: too absorbed in her work, careless of her “wife”, an absentee parent whose children love her. Meanwhile, Neal decorates the house, paints murals, cares for their children, cooks, and is relatively patient with Georgie. And Seth is the irritant between them.

“…I want to ruin you for everyone.”

Georgie herself is a mess. She never takes time out for what’s important. She wants that contact with her family, with Neal, but won’t take the time to change out her battery. I think she has one bra, and it’s dying. She ignores everything in her life that’s not work. And it’s symptomatic of her marriage. Still, she is willing to be realistic. To love Neal enough to want him to be happy.

Neal, of course, has his issues. He also has the most beautiful, if unorthodox, way of expressing his love for Georgie.

It’s that phone that’s so confusing to read about, and it’s a well-done bit of writing that reflects how Georgie’s feeling about it. Rowell makes us feel what Georgie’s feeling. Although I still don’t understand the bit about “we’ll make our own enough”. I’m just not making that connection.

It’s comedic, it’s tragic, it makes me cry and laugh. I adored it. Me, the queen of wanting it all to be fixed and happily ever after…Landline is so real.

The Story
Georgie is a screenwriter who’s always known exactly what she wants: a career as a comedy writer and Neal. Only she only pays attention to her career and her writing partner and best friend: Seth. A man of whom Neal is jealous but accepts because Georgie says he has nothing to worry about.

Now it’s been fourteen years in…and it’s fourteen years back. She and Seth have the chance to make a nineteen-year dream come true, but it’s at the expense of Christmas with her family. Yet another sacrifice…

The Characters
Georgie McCool has wanted to make people laugh forever and loves being a screenwriter. She’s also an absentee mom married to Neal Grafton, the cartoonist of the college days Stop the Sun comic strip, an artist studying oceanology who wants nothing to do with a real ocean. A man who doesn’t know what he wants. Other than Georgie. Alice and Naomi “Noomi“, the best green kitty in the world, are their daughters.

The always-turned-out, womanizing Seth is Georgie’s other half, her writing partner. They’ve been best friends for years. Dawn is Neal’s ex-fiancée back in Nebraska.

Scotty is their jokester third. Jeff’d Up is the show for which the three of them currently write. Jeff German is the jerky star of the show while Trev is its break-out star. Pamela is the screenwriters’ PA.

Georgie’s family
Mom, Liz Lyons, is a serial marrier, each husband getting younger. The current one is Kendrick, three years older than Georgie. Heather Wisner is Georgie’s eighteen-year-old sister, “the dog with the least ribbons”. Petunia is the pregnant prize-winning pug; I think Porky is the daddy. Alison is the pizza girl. Ludy was Georgie’s best friend in high school.

Neal’s family
It’s actually just Margaret, Neal’s mother, as his father, Paul, passed away a few years ago.

Maher Jafari is a network guy who wants a meeting directly after Christmas about Passing Time, the show Georgie and Seth have been batting back and forth since college. Rahul will become a character on the show.

The Spoon was the college The Harvard Lampoon where George meets Seth and Neal. Whit is a fellow student and on The Spoon staff as well.

The Cover and Title
The cover is basic, a greige background with an iconic yellow handset for an old-fashioned rotary telephone. I do love how its black twisted cord unravels to become the title, that chance, that connection, that Landline to Georgie’s future.

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Word Confusion: Imply versus Infer

by Kathy Davie

For as complex as I thought this word confusion would be, I was pleasantly surprised to discover I was wrong. Yeah, most of the time I hate to find out I’m wrong! Not this time. This time I was quite happy. So, I’m implying that this is a piece of cake…*grin*…

Imply and infer are the same thing in that an indirect message is involved. It simply depends on who is speaking and who is listening: the speaker implies, providing suggestions, and the listener infers, deduces, reasons based on what he has heard.

It’s an evolving list, these Word Confusions, and sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better. If you’d like to track it, “Imply versus Infer” can also be found on my website. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Imply Infer
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Image by Mr. T. W. Wood (“I am also greatly indebted to Mr. T. W. Wood for the extreme pains which he has taken in drawing from life the expressions of various animals.” – p. 26) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This dog’s expression implies a ferocity I don’t want to challenge.


Manhole cover in Zeeuws Vlaanderen

Image by Charles01 [Own work; CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Upon seeing a manhole cover in a street, one can infer that there are drainage tunnels beneath the surface.

Part of Grammar:
Verb, transitive

Third person present: implies
Past tense: implied

Verb, transitive

Past tense: inferred
Gerund: inferring

Speaker implies

Indicate indirectly

Strongly suggest the truth or existence of something not expressly stated

  • [Of a fact or occurrence] Suggest something as a logical consequence
Listener infers

Received the implication, message

Deduce or conclude information from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements
Examples:
The salesman who uses jargon to imply his superior knowledge.

The report implies that two million jobs might be lost.

The forecasted traffic increase implied more roads and more air pollution.

From these facts we can infer that crime has been increasing.

From what George said, we can infer that the Christmas bonus will be substantial.

History of the Word:
Late Middle English – from the Old French emplier, which is from the Latin implicare, from in- (in + plicare, meaning to fold). The original sense was entwine, entangle.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the word also meant employ.

Late 15th century in the sense of bring about, inflict from the Latin inferre meaning bring in, bring about from the medieval Latin deduce, from in- (into + ferre, meaning bring).

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?


Kathy Davie is an author, educator, and artist with a BS in Technical Writing & Editing with minors in Digital Media and History from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado.

A huge believer in knowledge being power, Kathy has an ongoing and free set of Author Tools for authors interested in self-editing including an online tutorial in Using Microsoft Word’s Markup Tool, words commonly confused by authors and Punctuation and Formatting Tips.

Contact Kathy for various writing and editing services.

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Book Review: Seanan McGuire’s The Winter Long

by Kathy Davie

The Winter Long (October Daye, #8)The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye, 8
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eighth in the October Daye urban fantasy series and revolving around Toby, Knight, Hero, Changeling. Based in San Francisco.

My Take
Ooh, lots of important and shocking revelations in this one, and at least three conflicts for future stories. One is too sad, another will become a quest, while the third has been a mission for Toby for some time. New powers also reveal themselves. Whew, I’m tellin’ ya…there is no end of action in this. Convoluted and just plain mean! There are also some tender moments. Especially that one at the end…ah, sighhh…

What appears to be the main storyline too quickly expands into the second shocking revelation and leaves Toby battered and bloody. A usual state for her. Only this set of conflicts beats directly at Toby’s heart and her past.

The Winter Long starts on a light note, for us!, since Toby hates parties and having to be sociable, lol. It’s Queen Arden’s first Yule Ball. And you can’t help but adore Tybalt as he coaxes the so-reluctant Toby into doing all the things she’d rather not…and it’s not just the party she’s so against.

This is where some of my pet peeves come in. She knows she needs to eat to keep up her strength — or regain it!, yet she whines, moans, and complains about having to spend the time it would take to eat. There were a couple scenes where she’s whining on about it and…what I really don’t understand in these…she has to sit and talk about their plans anyway. Why not eat and talk at the same time? I hate this when authors have their characters ignore basic truisms to add drama. Work on this. Find another way. I’m really tired of this trope.

Oh, boy. I am so confused about Simon in The Long Winter. McGuire’s revelations, the words she uses, about he and Amy…they make me want to believe him. But then Simon’s actions make me see him as a lying bastard. Especially when Simon talks about what he got out of his deal. They also make me wonder why Toby appears to believe him so easily. I would have thought she’d be more skeptical. I do want to believe in this “better” Simon, but McGuire needs to work on this. There needs to be more trauma for Simon. More of a sense of conflict. Instead, I’m left with the impression that Simon is a really good liar, deceiving Toby, before he springs his traps. ‘Cause I sure can’t buy that someone who is supposedly as skilled as he is, as practiced, could possibly be taken this unaware in that first encounter.

Crack me up! Toby explains the lack of any real security at the entrance to Sylvester’s knowe and you will laugh too.

Well, this is grim…
“…the sad way most purebloods looked at changelings, like the fact that we’d die someday meant we were as good as dead already.”

Toby is wondering if Quentin is half Snow Fairy, lol.

Hmm, I’m not that thrilled with the scene in Goldengreen when Raj comes racing in. It felt heavy-handed and contrived. I am curious as to why McGuire didn’t provide any reactions from the Court of Cats. After events in Ashes of Honor, 6, combined with the “intrusions” Toby is making in The Winter Long and the “demands” she’s making of Tybalt, I’d expected some hassle.

I understand — and don’t understand — Toby’s anger at Sylvester. Rather, I do understand the anger, but I don’t believe in it. McGuire didn’t make me feel it. I do want to read whatever the ninth story will be, but I do wish I could feel more emotional about it rather than simply wanting my intellectual curiosity satisfied.

The Story
An unexpected revelation by Queen Arden causes Toby to commit to more than she desired. And I suspect Toby would much prefer another night like that to the days and nights that follow.

For old enemies resurface with some awful truths, and Toby must do battle to save herself and her friends.

The Characters
Sir October “Toby” Daye is the Knight of Lost Words in service to the Duchy of Shadowed Hills and to His Majesty, Tybalt, King of Dreaming Cats. She’ll also become Hero in the Mists for services rendered in Chimes at Midnight, 7. Her mother is Amandine (“Amy”), the Last Among the First. Seems Toby has a missing older sister, August and an unexpected, unwanted stepfather. Cagney and Lacey are Toby’s two Siamese cats; Spike is the resident rose goblin, catlike but, um, thorny with a preference for fertilizer instead of tuna.

May Daye is Toby’s Fetch, her legal sister, a former night-haunt, and housemate along with Jazz, a Raven-maid and May’s girlfriend. Quentin Sollys is Toby’s squire, a Daoine Sidhe illusionist descended from Titania, only…we learned the truth behind that in blind fosterage in Chimes at Midnight. Penthea is his little sister.

Tybalt, a Cait Sidhe formerly known as Rand, is the local King of the Court of Dreaming Cats, Toby’s frustrated lover who uses the Shadow Roads, secret pathways to get around; Raj is his heir and adopted nephew, the Prince of Cats.

Duke Sylvester Torquill, a Daoine Sidhe who rules Shadowed Hills, a knowe in Pleasant Hill, is Toby’s liege lord, and has long been as a father to her. Tybalt would gladly rake his claws across him. Luna is his angry duchess, a Blodynbryd, a rose dryad; Rayseline is their daughter, kidnapped so many years ago, damaged enough to kill anyone who crossed her path, and now in an elf-shot coma. Sir Etienne is a Tuatha de Dannan knight in Sylvester’s service and still without his powers; he is head of Sylvester’s security and about to marry his mortal lover, Bridget Ames, the mother of his child, Chelsea, who will be a powerful teleporter. And, he’s, um, changed his mind about Toby. Grianne, a Candela, and her MerryDancers is still Sylvester’s second-in-command. Jin is an Ellyllon, a hedonisitic fae who heals, and Sylvester’s personal physician.

Simon Torquill is Sylvester’s twin brother and evil to the core. He’s been working for a nameless power and was supposed to kill Toby in Rosemary and Rue, 1. Oleander de Merelands was a fae assassin determined to destroy Toby but Toby got her instead (see Late Eclipses, 4).

The Luidaeg, a.k.a., Viviane, a.k.a., Antigone, is the oldest of the Firstborn, a child of Oberon and Maeve. She’s also Toby’s auntie, the sea hag, and one of Toby’s allies, she thought.

Queen Arden, a former bookstore clerk, was the lost heir to King Gilad Windermere whom Toby persuaded in Chimes at Midnight to come out of hiding. She is now the Queen of the Kingdom of the Mists (Chimes at Midnight). Her knowe is in Muir Woods. Madden is a Cu Sidhe, a faerie dog, who worked the coffee shop next door, and is one of Arden’s few friends. Lowri is the head of Arden’s guard and recognized for bravery.

Li Quin Zhou, a Shyi Shuai, a luck bender, and the Countess January’s widow, is the current regent of Dreamer’s Glass — no one is expecting its former ruler, Duchess Riordan, to return from where Toby left her in Ashes of Honor, 6. April O’Leary is the current Countess of Tamed Lightning, January’s adopted daughter, and a cyber Dryad.

Karen Brown is the very young daughter of Toby’s changeling friends, Mitch and Stacy; she’s also an oneiromancer: she sees the future in dreams and uses them to tell people what she thinks they need to know. Her oldest sister, Cassandra, is majoring in physics at UC-Berkeley. Magdaleana “Mags” Brooke, a Puca, is the Librarian at the Library of Stars where the one rule is no violence. Danny is a fae taxi driver, a troll who is one of Toby’s friends.

Dean Lorden is the current Count of Goldengreen, a fiefdom of the Kingdom of the Mists. Marcia is the Seneschal of Goldengreen. Dean’s mother is Dianda, The Duchess of Saltmist and a Merrow (think mermaid). Mary is a Roane woman with a gift of prophecy who is part of Dianda’s court.

Evening Winterrose, the former Countess of Goldengreen, the one who died in Rosemary and Rue (and if this doesn’t make ya want to go back and re-read that story…!), is threateningly back. She’s the eldest daughter of Titania and Oberon — a Firstborn and “nigh-impossible to kill” — and should have no sway over a descendant of Maeve’s.

Four major holidays for the Fae include Beltane, Samhain, Midsummer, and Yule. The “knowes are little pieces hewn out of the Summerlands, carved to fit fae needs and desires…reflect[ing] the personalities of their keepers”. Tybalt keeps mentioning the Divided Courts, and I’m not sure what he means. The Rose Road can be accessed by a Blodynbryd and it runs between “the Summerlands and places where the walls of the world are thin”. Libraries exist “in shallowings, space scooped out in the thin membrane between the Summerlands and the mortal world”; you can only get in if you’re invited by the Librarian.

There are three schools of magic: flower which is illusions and wards inherited from Titania; water which is transformation and healing from Maeve; and, blood which is memory and theft from Oberon. Toby is blood; Simon is blood and flower.

Doaine Sidhe are descended from Titania and Oberon; Tuatha de Dannan are descended from Oberon alone; Dóchas Sidhe is two generations removed from Oberon and is a result of Amandine having a baby with a human.

The Cover
The cover is icy roses in Luna’s winter garden as the snow falls and chills our Toby, her hair flying in a breeze, her shirt soaked in blood (per usual), jeans hanging low, and her beloved leather jacket protecting her from the thorns even as she carries a bleeding rose through the stone archway away from the Shadow Hills knowe.

The title is in truth The Winter Long as Toby, Quentin, and Tybalt go up against a chilling adversary.

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Book Review: Christine Feehan’s Hot Blooded

by Kathy Davie

Hot Blooded (Dark, #14; Midnight Upyr, #2.5; Mageverse, #.5)Hot Blooded by Christine Feehan
Series:
“Dark Hunger” (Dark, 11.5 in my chronology; 14 per Goodreads chronology)
“Night Owl” (Midnight, 4)
“Seduction’s Gift” (Mageverse, 0.5)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An anthology of four short, hot blooded, and erotic stories.

In 2004, it received the Hughey Award for Best Anthology as well as the P.E.A.R.L. for Best Anthology.

The Stories
Christine Feehan‘s “Dark Hunger” finds Riordan De La Cruz the captive of a master vampire and his minions, subject to their experimentations with a paralyzing injection in a South American laboratory.

This short story is a dip into a Carpathian life and brings together the Carpathians with the jaguar shifters, notably Juliette Sangria, her sister Jasmine, and her cousin Solange.

Maggie Shayne‘s “Awaiting Moonrise” is a nice bit of rather forward romance. A complete story with a full range of emotions from betrayal to fear to the joy of discovery to the hot blood of an erotic romance. It was interesting to read about the herbs used in the magic recipes and how their scientific properties contribute to the magic.

Emma Holly‘s “Night Owl” is quite yummy with Holly’s descriptions of Mariann’s baked goods, her own breakfasts (!), and the Luce “brothers” next door who are fixing up the Night Owl Inn. It’s also funny in how accepting a town can be of eccentricity when it comes with money. Its sweetness comes from Mariann’s cooking, but also from Bastien’s shyness. He’s so in love and so timid about pursuing it.

I do find Holly’s Midnight series to be rather frustrating for my OCD self, as it tends to be a loose collection of stories about different upyr groups from a range of historical periods. The primary connection is that they’re all upyr, vampires. They also seem to connect back, eventually, to another character, but don’t plan on any future readings about a character you have enjoyed in the past.

Angela Knight‘s “Seduction’s Gift” is a prelude to Knight’s Mageverse series that provides a twist on King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table. Quite an erotic twist *she says as she fans her hot-blooded cheeks*. Knight does a good job of introducing the whole concept of her Magi and Maja and their purpose in this short story. It also provides the background for their version of our universe.

I do love that Grace blows Lancelot off at the start, lol. She may love the boy, but there ain’t gonna be no insta-love here, *more laughter*, not after what Grace has experienced. And Morgana has a scary threat which Lance slowly reveals to us in all its nasty detail. Creates a good conflict. Very nicely done.

The Cover and Title
The cover is abstract until you can focus in on the sweep of a woman’s blood-red varnished nails as she sweeps the dark fall of hair away, baring her neck for some Hot Blooded antics.

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Word Confusion: Grown Up vs Grown-Up vs Grownup

by Kathy Davie


GIF by Eadweard Muybridge [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A pair of grown-ups dancing.

You wouldn’t think that such a simple word could have so many ways to misspell it! And I’m just as guilty as the rest of you. I find that I keep coming back to this page again and again for a memory refresher!

You really can’t go wrong if you err on the side of hyphenating this compound word to create grown-up.

Yep, I know what you’re gonna say: “but in this one book, it uses grown up!” And now you know why y’all need editors! Someone has to catch those words that have been used wrongly. Just because it’s in a book, a magazine, newspaper, web page, etc., does NOT mean it’s being used correctly. You can trust a dictionary or an editor. Ahem.

Sure, editors are fallible. They’re people just like you and you and you. However, qualified editors have made a study of words and how they go together. They’re more aware of words, which is more than I can say for some authors…*sigh*…

It’s an evolving list, these Word Confusions, and sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better. If you’d like to track it, “Grown Up vs Grown-Up vs Grownup” can also be found on my website. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Grown Up Grown-Up Grownup
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com
Part of Grammar:
Nope, see grown-up UNLESS

Verb phrase = past participle of grow + adverb

Adjective 1; Noun 2 Nope, see
grown-up
Adjective:
Not childish or immature

Of, for, or characteristic of adults

Noun:
An adult

Examples:
My, he certainly has grown up. Adjective:
She’s insisting on wearing grown-up clothes.

Noun:
He’s a grown-up now.

History of the Word:
1 1633

Adjective use of the verb phrase grow up

2 1813


C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?


Kathy Davie is an author, educator, and artist with a BS in Technical Writing & Editing with minors in Digital Media and History from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado.

A huge believer in knowledge being power, Kathy has an ongoing and free set of Author Tools for authors interested in self-editing including an online tutorial in Using Microsoft Word’s Markup Tool, words commonly confused by authors and Punctuation and Formatting Tips.

Contact Kathy for various writing and editing services.

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Book Review: Charles Todd’s An Unwilling Accomplice

by Kathy Davie

An Unwilling Accomplice (Bess Crawford #6)An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd
Series: Bess Crawford, 6
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sixth in the Bess Crawford historical mystery series and revolving around a World War I nurse who works on the front line. This story takes place in the autumn of 1918.

My Take
Hmmm, the autumn of 1918, the year in which the Armistice is signed on the eleventh November. What will Bess be up to in her next adventure?

I’m looking forward to finding out, meanwhile, Bess is in deep trouble with charges of dereliction of duty following her, threatening her reputation and life with the nursing corps. Her punishment seems rather lenient in this: two weeks leave. It’s a conundrum, for Bess doesn’t deserve punishment, but the time off does come in handy.

The timeline was a bit confusing: do mind that the murder happens after Wilkins’ desertion.

It feels as if Todd didn’t have the time to polish this as it felt as if there were loose threads flopping all over. Yes, they mostly get tidied up in the end, but it was messy along the way. How could Bess have not been able to identify the sergeant? Todd tossed in all these wounded men as red herrings for finding the sergeant. All those attacks on Bess that made no sense. Phyllis Percy’s mysterious behavior was too odd. The major’s weird behavior from his desperate moves to escape and then not taking it when the chance offers. His bouts of madness. Barbara’s reasons for taking him on. Maddie’s secretive behavior. The two-man deduction. Then there’s the whole Wilkinses confusion.

It’s topped off with the stupid trope, the one of the heroine who can’t stay put.

Jesus, the stupidity of Lessup.

Still I enjoyed the basics of the story, and I do enjoy this series and how well Todd captures the flavor of the time period, its manners, mores, and dress. It’s also a look under the cap at how the nursing sisters perceive the army boards and what they’re doing to the men. And I think Bess might be discovering she likes Simon!

The Story
It’s Bess’ kind heart that gets played, and she’s left in the lurch with her superiors, Scotland Yard, and the military powers-that-be. Her reputation and that of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service are brought into question, and Bess is determined to learn the truth and clear her name.

It’s an ugly, convoluted path Bess follows as she discovers how many people Wilkins deceived, and she discovers a number of other deceptions along the way.

The Characters
Bess Crawford is a nursing sister with a predilection for solving mysteries. Sergeant-Major Simon Brandon started as a rebellious boy whom the Colonel, Bess’ father, took under his wing. Now he’s involved with the Colonel on hush-hush missions and lives in a cottage at the bottom of the Crawfords’ garden. And he’s usually around to help Bess out. Those missions must be pretty important, since the king asks Bess to give his best to her father.

Mrs. Hennessey is Bess’ landlady in London. Mary and Diana are fellow nurses and flatmates. Constable Williams is the beat cop in the neighborhood.

Inspector Stephens is with Scotland Yard.

Sergeant Jason Wilkins was badly wounded and is expected at Buckingham Palace. Thompson is the orderly who brings Wilkins to London. Grimsley is the orderly who expects to bring him back to the hospital in Shrewsbury. His brother, Jeremy, was reported killed on the Hoo Peninsula. Paul Addison survived. Corporal Benton also knew Addison.

Lovering Hall, the hospital in Shrewsbury
Sister Murray is a friend of Diana’s. Sister Hammond is young and in charge of the sergeant’s care.

Ironbridge
Inspector Jester is the hostile local law enforcement in Ironbridge where the famous Iron Bridge still stands. I remember seeing it on one of my trips to England. Stebbins was missing his bay horse. Sergeant Henry Lessup was on indefinite leave after shutting down his post.

Captain Francis Jackson is a lucky man with a new baby and leave. Polly is the new mother. Mrs. Jackson is the happy grandmother. Danny is a driver with General Hauling. Captain Harry Cartwright is another head case in his cousin’s care.

Little, Middle, and Upper Dysoe
Barbara Neville is the lady of Windward manor with her family dead and acts every inch of that. Major Arthur Findley, a solicitor before the war, is a wounded man who’s not right in the head whom Barbara insists on caring for in her home — and insists he’s her fiancé. Mrs. Neville is her stepmother and her deceased husband left Barbara in her care. Violet is a helpful housemaid. Tulley and Jim work the pub she owns. Maddie is the local medico — part vet, part healer — with plenty of secrets. Warren owns the flour mill; Matt is one of his sons. Mr. Oakham owns a pub and rents Molly, a tall sweet horse, by the hour.

Mrs. Chatham is a war widow; Phyllis Percy is her younger sister. Mary is one of the maids.

At the front
Sergeant Lassiter is an Australian Bess has treated on occasion. He seems to know everyone and get everywhere. He’ll do anything to help Bess out. Corporal Minton was the flailing patient. Sister Norton is one of her fellow nursing sisters. Dr. Browning tapes up her wrist.

The Cover
The cover is an idyllic scene of the Iron Bridge in Ironbridge on a late summer’s day with a gray-hatted Bess in a gray suit, her back to us as she ponders the river. An unexpected wheeled border lines the left side.

The title is what Bess is forced into being, An Unwilling Accomplice.

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Book Review: Thea Harrison’s Falling Light

by Kathy Davie

Falling Light (Game of Shadows, #2)Falling Light by Thea Harrison
Series: Game of Shadows, 2
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Second in the Game of Shadows urban fantasy series and revolving around Mary, Michael, and Astra. Based in Michigan.

The story picks up where Rising Darkness, 1, left off with the battle in the woods at Michael’s cabin.

My Take
I think this is the end of this part of the series, and it seems that Harrison will be embarking on a new spin-off from it. We’ll see.

Essentially, this is a good plot line, but I’m not impressed. Harrison’s writing is half-baked with little finesse — superficial is a good word. She makes a good stab at creating various levels of tension — the Deceiver’s chasing Mary and Michael is very good, but the bit with Astra was good and too obvious at the same time. Harrison introduces possibilities for tension and goes nowhere with it. The crises that begin to bring Mary’s memories back are convenient.

It’s the age-old story of the search for eternal youth on the Deceiver’s part, his desire to live life as he chooses. Only Harrison has stressed the most awful aspects, enough to terrify anyone, and it’s so one-sided. There is no complexity to him. The Lake Michigan entity was the opposite to the Deceiver and was quite handy — and completely lacking in real tension.

It was more of a cartoon characterization, much as the Deceiver and Astra were. Astra is too quick to choose to kill, another one-sided character. And I suspect it’s because she’s tired of living. She wants it over. Okay, I’m being mean. Astra is more complex than that. She does have some warmth — look at her care for the island and the little fox. But when you dig into her…

The point Astra makes about soulmates not always equating with romantic love was a good one and turns out to be a bit of foretelling.

I do like the chance Mary gives Nicholas. It’ll be interesting to see what Harrison/Nicholas do in the next story. I really liked Harrison’s metaphor for the Entity, what I think is meant to represent Gaia with a truly gruesome description of what we’re doing to our environment.

As smart as these people are supposed to be, why would they let Jerry and Jamie leave?

I enjoyed the sound of Astra’s island, her home, and her food(!). The bits of history Harrison weaves in with the alien twins and how the Deceiver destroys them is interesting.

Still, it’s Saturday-afternoon-at-the-movies without the fun.

The Story
It’s a battle between recovering from their injuries and escaping the Deceiver. Of eluding the manhunt focused on Mary and Michael as they seek out Astra, for they’ll need her aid in what they hope will be the final battle.

Along the way they’ll learn about each other’s talents and abilities. They’ll remember their pasts…

The Characters
Mary was Michael’s soulmate for millennia, but they haven’t reunited for nine hundred years until Mary was healed from the damage the Deceiver did to her. Now she’s Dr. Mary Byrne, an ER doctor, on the run from a very bad man.

Michael “Mr. Enigmatic” has been training to go up against the Deceiver most of this lifetime while hunting for his soulmate who has been missing for nine hundred years.

Astra is Michael’s old childhood mentor. She chose not to be reborn and has been alive for millennia. It has allowed her to forge close ties with the people of the First Nations: they call her PtesanWi, White Buffalo Calf Woman. She was also the leader of the original seven who left their world six thousand years ago to chase after the Deceiver.

The Ojibwa
Jerry Crow is an Ojibwa elder who’s dying. Nicholas is Jerry’s son and has been murdered. So many hopes had been pinned on him: a Green Beret, part of the president’s Secret Service detail and intended to protect the president from the Deceiver’s touch. Jamie is one of Jerry’s grandsons. Sara is Jamie’s mother.

I think the Entity is meant to be Gaia. Or, it’s meant to be Lake Michigan?? The dragon, the Honored One, of whom Mary speaks, healed her in Rising Darkness and is a supernatural creature she met in her previous life.

Charlotte and Jim are the worried couple at the rest stop.

The Deceiver, a.k.a., Lucifer, a.k.a., his oldest name, the Morning Star, a.k.a., Light Bearer, has been wreaking havoc on earth since he arrived six thousand years ago.

The sixty-some victims included:
Justin Byrne, Mary’s ex-husband, had been one of the bodies the Deceiver took in Rising Darkness. Steven Ellis was reported missing by his wife, Vicki. The diner massacre consisted of Ruth Tandy, Jackie Parsons, Emilio Gonzales, Greg and Jeffrey Macomb, Beau Chambers, Dickey Boxleitner, Bobby Jackson, Cherry Tandy, and Sue Evans. James and Christine Atkins along with their son, Robert, and Christine’s mother, Gina Barclay, were at the TGI Friday’s; Christine’s father, Ray Barclay, didn’t survive the news.

Drones are servants to the Deceiver, turned with one handshake. Without a will of their own, they obey his every order and are everywhere: Martin, Ryan, and Allison are some of his drones at the FBI.

A Haokah is a sacred clown which teaches life lessons.

The Cover
The cover is greens and yellows and a slash of brown. It’s Michael’s face, determined, a sword in hand, emblazoned across the sky against a beam of yellow light, hovering above the lake and an old wooden pier.

The title is the Deceiver, the Falling Light that has destroyed so many.

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Warning: BookBaby Prices Going Up

Just got an email from Joel Friedlander, and he warns that:

A reader alerted me to this news, so I’m passing it along.

I’ve long recommended BookBaby.com as a great solution for ebook distribution. And they are still really good at getting your book into lots of retailers and providing you with a single point of contact for all your ebook distribution needs.

However, they built a large following partly because of their inexpensive and free account options, along with their ability to use your own ebook files or convert your book for you.

Now, if you go to their site, you’ll see the following notice:

“Please note that starting December 9th, Free & Standard Publishing packages will be discontinued, and we will be offering a single package that includes all the features of the current Premium Publishing package and more. eBooks submitted using Free & Standard packages before December 9th will be unaffected by this change.”

The new pricing will be $299 for all accounts.

December 9th is this coming Tuesday. So if you’ve been thinking of using BookBaby for your ebook distribution and your book is ready—or nearly ready—you should act now.

You can still get in for a free account or their $99 option if you do it quickly and get your book set up before Tuesday.

After that, Smashwords, another great ebook distribution provider for indie authors, will be the only major supplier left with a “free to play” model.

I don’t have an interest in either company, I like them both. But I think it’s important to keep you informed when changes like this can cost you hundreds of dollars.

That’s it. Have a great weekend and keep on writing!

Best,

Joel

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