Monday, March 31, 2014

Hot Coco by Cindy McDonald Second in Series Sure to Please Funny Bone!

Suddenly, four Thoroughbreds materialized through the mist to gallop freely through the shed row. Steam burst from their nostrils. Their eyes were wild with excitement and their manes tossed in the air. Sucking himself against the wall, Punch strained to see riders jumping from their mounts to pull them aside while the rouge renegades thundered past. 
The haze was beginning to dissipate when Mike West pulled his truck into the track parking lot. He yawned into his fist, stretched his back before he turned off the ignition, and slid from the driver’s seat. The truck expelled a deep beep, beep, when he pressed the lock button on the key ring. When he turned toward the barn area, his
eyes were drawn to a tall, leggy, blonde bombshell. She was the equal to any Playboy centerfold. His eyebrow arched and the left side of his mouth curved upward. With a bucket filled with oats, the lovely woman was coaxing a grey Thoroughbred. Interested in what she had to offer, the horse inched toward her until he came almost within her grasp. The closer the
The ornery equine jerked his head up.
His nose caught on the very edge
 of the bucket, flipped it into the air, a
nd then he bolted in the opposite direction.
The blonde grappled for the spinning bucket
and the sticky oats that were flying all
 around until it landed on Mike’s head.,,
Thoroughbred came, the more her blue eyes brightened and her plump lips curled in anticipation. Mike couldn’t deny such a beautiful damsel in distress. So, he sauntered toward her and her four-legged friend to assist in any way he could. The Thoroughbred stretched his nose toward the bucket to sniff the sweet oats smothered in molasses. The blonde’s eyes grew wider. Cautiously, she reached out her hand to grab the horse’s halter... 
Staggering around like a poor imitation of a tight rope walker, Mike tried to pull the bucket from his head. The molasses-drenched oats dripped down his neck and over his shoulders. When she reached for the bucket, her feet became tangled which caused her to tumble into Mike and knock him to the ground. When he finally managed to yank the bucket from his head, Mike found himself nose-to-nose with the beautiful blonde, who was straddling him. Other than the oats clinging to his hair and clothes, he’d been in worse positions. 

Hot Coco
By Cindy McDonald

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Please Welcome Cindy McDonald - Sharing a Little...Today's Guest Blogger!


For the past twenty years Cindy has helped her husband raise, train, and race Thoroughbreds at their forty-five acre farm known as Fly-By-Night Stables near Pittsburgh.
During those years Cindy has paid close attention to the characters that hang-out at the back-side of the track.  She found the situations and life style most intriguing. In 2005 she sat down at her computer and began a journey into writing about this life that few understand.

Cindy has recently retired from making her living as a professional choreographer. She owned and operated Cindy McDonald’s School of Dance since 1985.  She studied at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and with the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy at Carnegie Mellon University to name a few.  She has choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards.

To find out more about future books of the Unbridled Series, please visit Cindy’s website at:

How to contact Cindy McDonald:

Yep, I’m on twitter. Here’s my handle: @cindymcdonald7

My books are available on amazon:




Cindy and Mother
Over the course of twenty-six years I was very comfortable with my title: Miss Cindy—dance teacher/choreographer, and after a long and successful career, I decided to make a change. In 2011 I published my first book, I became an author, a writer, a storyteller. Problem was that I still thought of myself as a dancer/choreographer. Nothing had changed and I didn’t give it much thought until I attended a wedding—it was the day that everything changed…

No, this isn't Cindy on Dancing With the Stars...Just my
imagination of what she'd look like! Right?
I had just retired from my dance school in May to focus on writing my books, and on a very hot day in June my husband and I attended my dear friend’s daughter’s wedding. It was an outside wedding and we took our seats waiting for the ceremony to begin when another friend sat down next to me. She asked about my new release and how it was going, and we chatted casually until it was time for the bride to make her appearance. I didn’t give it another thought. After all I was still just Miss Cindy, the dance teacher/choreographer, and then as I approached the cookie table a woman tapped me on the shoulder.

“I didn’t mean to listen in on your conversation,” she began, “but did I hear you say that you are an author?”

I probably looked at the woman like she had just grown another head. What? Am I a what? It was the first time anyone had called me that! It was the first time anyone had even uttered the word. Author…author… I must’ve stood there for well over fifteen seconds staring at her like an idiot because she cocked her head to the side and said to me, “I could have sworn that I heard someone ask you about a book that you’ve written. I love to read, and I’ve never met an author.” Skeptically, she repeated, “Are you an author?”

It wasn’t computing. Yes, I wrote a book, and I had said book published. But I’m a dance teacher, a choreographer, I couldn’t possibly be an …um… author. Finally, my husband spoke up, “Yes, Cindy wrote a book called, Deadly.Com. It’s a murder suspense book. Do you like murder suspense books?”

The woman’s face lit up. “I love murder suspense books! Where can I buy it?”

Yet still I stood there like a total moron, still contemplating her very first question: are you an author? At last I managed to speak. I said, “Amazon… you can buy the book on amazon.”
Tickled pink that she had actually met a real-live honest-to-God moron… I mean, author, the woman gathered some cookies and returned to her table. My husband turned to me and said, “Well you totally blew that. If she’d have asked you about the dance school, you would’ve given her a business card, directed her to the website, and told her all about it. She asked you about your book and you were clueless. You’ve got to get better prepared, Cindy. She was a potential customer.”

He was right. After I came out of my funk, I went straight to the task of getting prepared. Nowadays with six published books under my belt, I actually admit to being an author. When someone asks me about my books, I whip out that business card, I direct them to my website, and yes I bore them to tears as I tell them all about my books. Yep! That’s what I am: an honest-to-goodness, real-live, in-the–flesh author.

Hmmm, now I’ve just got to figure out something snappy to say when people ask, “Are you on the New York Times best seller list?”

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Friday, March 28, 2014

File M for Murder by Miranda James - Perfect for a Whodunit Weekend! Celebrate Big Cats, Especially Maine Coons!

 Charlie Harris in
 Athena, Mississippi takes Diesel, his rescued Maine coon everywhere. Since he's a loving cat, but does not participate in the mystery solving, I thought readers could get to know about him...
He's big and most people take a second glance to ensure it's a cat! But when I went hunting for pictures, there were others out there on the internet who thought they could compete in size! So while I tell you about the great mystery I recommend you get for the weekend, I'll be adding pics of the competitors...I'm not sure what breed some of these are--these on the leashes are examples of what I thought Coons normally looked like...Maybe some cat experts will add some comments to help???!!!

If I have a favorite, I might be a little partial to this one who reminds me of a friend, Tracey, who I lost after I moved here to the cabin... but she was never this size! Wow!

File M for Murder:
 A Cat in the Stacks Mystery
This is April, 2013 edition - Check for Latest!!!                                                                       By Miranda James

I've become quite a fan of this series for two reasons... I had great respect for Robert Munn and Ruth Jackson, the last two deans of Libraries with whom I worked at West Virginia University... And because Charlie Harris reminds me of Qwill who was the main character and mystery solver in the long-running series, The Cat Who, by Lilian Braun, which I'd collected. Qwill would read to his two siamese and Koko would assist him through often knocking books on the floor which would then give the right clue to Qwill... Silly? Maybe, but I loved all of those books!

"She sounds like a stalker to me," I said
My daughter put her arm around my waist. "Come
on now, Dad, don't start worrying. I promise you
Damitra is harmless. To me, anyway. Connor's
the one who should be looking over his shoulder.
She follows him everywhere."
"Has she ever done anything physically aggressive
toward you?" I wasn't ready to drop the matter.
"No, she hasn't. Just stupid little tricks like this."
And this series? I must say they are more mystery than cozy...that is, in my opinion, James presents a better whodunit to solve, while Braun's were more cozy and character driven...But with cat characters, I don't care which--I want to read them! LOL

Charlie received a wonderful surprise when he went home one day to find his daughter was there. She was an actress and had been working away for a number of years. Now, Laura was taking a temporary position until Christmas, filling in for a professor while she had her baby. She would have a few courses and also help with the fall production of the Theater Department.

But it seemed she may have brought trouble with her...

The man who had arranged for her job was Connor Lawton, who was a writer-in-residence and also a native son...and he was also almost Charlie Harris' son-in-law! Thankfully he didn't know it earlier, but now he was almost in information overload as things started happening... Then other close calls came!

Like a young woman who claimed she was now involved with Connor started sending "warning" messages to Laura.

Soooo, of course Connor is murdered!
"C'mon, Rowf, wanna ask you 'bout sump'n."
She swayed toward him and Johnston
grimaced. "When's Connor gonna get here?
Said he would be here. But he's not here."
"How the heck should I know when he's going
to turn up, Magda. You know what he's like.
Why don't you go upstairs and lie down. I think
you could use a rest." He tried to pry her fingers
from his arm without success...
"Who is she?" Laura asked as we headed for
the door.
"I think she's his wife, or maybe his ex-wife,
I said. "I heard something about them not
long ago through the campus grapevine,
but I can't remember precisely what it was."
Privately I wondered why she was so
interested in Connor...

It was Charlie who found Connor's body
or at least he thought he had...but it was
merely a prank during practice for the
play and Laura was upset with how 
Connor was acting. An argument started
and was loud enough that Ralph Johnson
came to find out what was happening.
Johnson even threatened to take over!

Laura coaxed her father into attending the welcome for the Department, where Ralph "Montana" held court as head. He was not a favorite for Charlie--in fact, he also was not impressed with Connor and could not believe that Laura could have been considering marriage to him!

So he was pleased when Laura met a nice young man there and left with him... Which allowed Charlie to listen in--and he really heard an important clue, even though he didn't know it... and of course I'm not going to tell you...LOL
"Sorry, you seem so familiar, but I'm afraid I can't remember
your name. How are you connected with the Theatre
She laughed. "You're Charlie Harris, and I used to babysit
you when you were five or six years old." She cocked her head
like an inquisitive parrot. "I heard you'd moved back home."
I wracked my brain as I examined her face. Then a name
popped into my head. "Sarabeth. Now I remember. You used
to sing to me, didn't you?"
"That's right. I'm Sarabeth Conley. I was Sarabeth Norris
back then." She Chuckled. "Your two favorite songs were
'My Favorite Things' and 'Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo' as I recall...

"Your daughter is causing a stir...

"I read her resume." Sarabeth nodded. All her theater work
is great for our program, and her exposure on television if
advantageous, too. We're delighted to have her for the
"I am, too." I laughed. "But it was quite a surprise. I didn't find out about it until yesterday...

How well does she know Connor Lawton?"
I was taken aback by the question. For a moment I thought she'd read my mind. "They're friends," I said in a cautious tone...

Sarabeth cocked an eyebrow. "Judging from his behavior,
Connor wants to be more than friends. He acted downright
jealous."                                                                                          ~~~

I love the cop in this series. She is the daughter of Azalea who works for Charlie--actually she had worked in the home long before Charlie had inherited it. So, since Charlie gets involved with a murder or two every once in awhile, it creates a difficult situation...but only for Kanesha... Actually, she's beginning to soften up and reveal a sly sense of humor... Cool!



 Miranda James is a pseudonym for Dean James, the Agatha Award-winning author of several works of mystery nonfiction as well as four mystery series including the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks series.

Now you know I'm going to say I loved File M for Murder! But I just had to get the remaining pics I had found...LOL Plus the adding this closing comment that probably is quite true to give you a final smile! Have a fun, catty weekend! 
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Detainee by Peter Liney - Best Dystopian Novel I've Read! Second of Favorite Novels for 2014...

That's me on the right, with Mr. Meltoni sitting...
There's a scream inside us all we save for death. Once it's out,
once it's given to the world, there ain's no going back on it.
It's time to let go, to release your fragile grip on life. Otherwise
God's just going to wrench it from you.
If you've never heard that scream, I hope for your sake you never
will, I, on the other hand, must-ve heard it a thousand times.
I can hear it now. A woman somewhere over toward the rocks
is squealing like an animal that's just realized it exists to be
butchered, her cries issuing out of the fog like blood through
a bandage. Now some guy, probably her partner, had joined in.
Shouting at them, telling them to leave her alone, as if he has
some influence on the situation. But you know he hasn't.
Fear's slicing so hard at his voice it's cutting right through.
Soon she'll die, and so will he. And I can do nothing but lie
here in the dark, listening to my frightened heart pounding;
just as all around me, hundreds of others must be lying there,
listening to their frightened hearts pounding. It makes you
feel sick to do it. But we don't seem to have a choice.
When I was young and used to see homeless old people hanging around, I never dreamed I would end up being one myself one day. Why would I? I was healthy, strong, and once I started working for Mr. Meltoni, always had plenty of money. And there ain't nothing like a pocketful of dough and some bounce in your stride to make you think you're gonna live forever. In any case, everyone always assumed it was gonna get better, not worse. But it's those with a home who are the exception now. Those across the water, behind their fortified walls, in their private enclaves, who make all the rules and who decided that by sending us out here, by giving us this "last chance to become self-sufficient," they'd done everything for us they could. Which, in case you don't know, is how we ended up living on this dollop of crap; four miles long, three across, and a little over a mile offshore.

The Detainee

By Peter Liney

Starring "Big Guy" Clancy

Well, of course, I don't normally spotlight the main character of a novel, but as soon as I had read enough, I had pictured the guy above that normally plays a heavy in mob films. For some reason, I just could always see a softer side of this man--and that's how the author has created Clancy...I always was attracted to "Big Guys" so I fell for this character immediately...LOL 

But the main reason I'm going to make this a "must-read" recommendation is because it goes beyond the horror, gets right into issues right out of today's headlines and includes futuristic technological advances that are not only viable but could easily, in my opinion, be "created" in the future...Yikes! In fact, conceptually, I thought it was an outstanding, plausible...and "too scary" potential of the future--perhaps not for me, but certainly for some of you who may read the book! If you dare...
People were running this way and that, begging to be spared,
doing everything they could to get away. While--and I'd heard
but never believed it--others just stood calmly in front of them
like trees waiting to be felled. They even offered themselves:
kneeling down, placing their bodies in the arc of the machete,
the swish of the knife. They wanted to die. They wanted to be
put out of their misery. And I saw some obliged, and I saw
others just laughed at...know that the cruelest thing of all
was to let them live.

Given the many advances in Medical Science, it was inevitable... people were living to be older than ever before. There were now more older people than those who were still working and paying into the government for retirement programs...

Security and criminal activities had become so bad that there would never be the ability to provide sufficient staffing... Satellites were created to fly over the earth. Anytime a crime was happening, the guilty part was lasered...

The "throwaway rich" had increased so much that companies had no place to put the garbage they routinely created...

Many parents did not have money to care for their children or they were too self-involved to keep them. Drug abuse was rampant...

Garbage. Nothing but garbage. Acres and Acres, heaped up,
stretching and stinking into the distance like a flyblown
corpse dried and contorted by death. Most has been combed out
dragged and checked for anything of value, then just left to
rot. Year in, year out, till it subsides enough to be dumped on
again--and again, and again...
I want to be allowed to go free. To get off this foul and
  sickening pile of crap, fill my lungs with fresh air, my heart
with hope, and believe in people again.
But I might as well sit and howl for the moon. No one-s ever
got off the island. No one. They seen to that good and proper.
Once you're out here, the only way you leave is by dying. By
the wings of your spirit lifting you up and flying you out of
this godforsaken place.

When the infrastructure of a once prominent offshore island proved to be nonprofitable to replace, at the same time that a place for garbage grew, that island was chosen as a location for elders to have a second least that was what they were told... The people wound up going through the garbage, pulling on anything they 
could use to
provide some type of
cover, a little privacy. 

I don't rightly know how to explain to you about satellite policing. I guess its roots lie in the early part of this century, when so many cities decided to install surveillance cameras. Gradually, as they cut crime in the immediate area, more and more appeared, but criminals just reacted by going farther out. Into the leafier suburbs, the country, the very places that up until then had been more or less free of such things--places where the rich tended to have their rural retreats. A lot of pressure was brought to bear and, finally, some smartass came up with an idea that everyone thought would put an end to crime forever; surveillance drone satellies. Hundreds of them. Low-orbit coordinated navigation, stretching from one side of the country to the other...
Whenever one of those things sees a crime--zap!--it takes you out. Not only that, but in the split second before it hits you, it assesses the seriousness of the offense and delivers the appropriate punishment...

The only one on the island who had a home was DeGrew, who had some type of arrangement with someone of the mainland. All knew that he was evil incarnate...and his Wastelords were almost as bad.  They were also the druglords for the thousands of

children who worked and lived in the garbage piles...

Then whatever was left, the older people tried to find, to live         with, to survive...

Those who were evil, always find way to make things even worse, whenever possible. Most of the children were given drugs and taught to hate the older people who had caused all the problems the world had. They would get them riled up on drugs on certain nights... When it was foggy, the satellites could not see anything that happened... The Wastelords gave them machetes and send them... to the village where they would be told to eliminate anybody they could... They always dressed for the occasion as if they were scary monsters at halloween...

But one day the Big Guy got in trouble himself and when he woke up, he was in a place he'd never seen before, being nursed by a young woman... That's when things started to change on the island...

Sure, there are parts of the novel that are just like "slasher" movies. But that's a small part of the story that Peter Liney presents to readers. Many have become disgruntled, angry, and with little hope that things will ever improve in America. Environmental, Criminal, and Financial issues affect everybody so that we lose hope of ever seeing it become better. This novel takes us to the farthest reach of our imagination! And yet, affected individuals, beaten down, living in squalor, strive to live. They look for and find that there is still those who can love, and those with integrity, who are honest and just waiting... 

Our lead character had once worked for a mob leader, but even the mob took care of their own and dealt out punishment only when needed. Now, evil men were leaders who had no concern for anything or anybody. A man, once a heavy for a mob leader, now finds himself being looked upon for leadership, for help, for love. Things that he had never done or had in his life.  He was only 63 but had felt he was so old that he could never again experience any part of his former life.

It's strange to claim that a dystopian story can be inspiration...but this one was for me. If each of us who are concerned decided to act to help in some way...would we be able to improve things? Not very long ago I reviewed a book about a man in Africa who has children fighting his war as "Christian soldiers." This could be just the beginning of what happens in this book... Will fact follow fiction for our future? Let us hope and pray that it doesn't...and then talk about how to make sure it doesn't! 

Kudos to Peter Liney for showing us hope arising out of despair!


Peter Liney was born in Wiltshire but has spent a large part of his life overseas indulging in such diverse occupations as sewing-machine salesman, actor/model and stuntman—to name but a few. He has written sitcoms for ABC and Channel 4, and drama for the BBC and South African radio. The Detainee is his debut novel. He lives in London.

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