January Photo-prompt Round-up

Stefan Keller

Thank you to everyone who participated! I felt warm all over reading your responses despite the image’s wintry chill. Below is the round-up of all the January poems, flashes, short stories, and some artwork too! If I missed yours for some reason, please add a link in the comments and I’ll happily reblog. I invite everyone to enjoy some unique stories and meet some wonderful writers. I’ll post February’s prompt tomorrow!

 January Round-Up

Jerry Packard – Ice Dragon

Dawn – Frozen Giant

Balroop Singh – A Craving

Jomz Odeja – The Sacrifice  

Teagan Geneviene – Ice Dragon

Sue Vincent – Even Mountains Mourn

Geoff Le Pard – Little Helpers

Pensivity – Untitled

Dorinda Duclos – Frozen in Time

Carol Forrester – This Terrible Thing Called Hope

Fandango – The End of the Gods

Robbie Cheadle – Glass Mountain

Trent McDonald – Cold War

Anita Dawes – Ancient Evil

Anneberly Andrews – Kalaallit Nunaah

Kelvin Knight – Iceman

Barbara – No Guts – No Glory

Sheri Kennedy – Winter’s Pilgrims

Nick Rowe – Ice Mission

Cepcarol – Banished

Marje Mallon – The Old Man of Snow and the Snow Snake

Chelsea Owens – Directions from a Druid

Jordan Fasheh – Ice Giant Gnuri, A Creation Myth

Violet Lentz – Dragonlord

Venkyninja – Mission Gandalf

Relax – Playing Along

Colleen Chesebro – The Polar Shift

Helene Vaillant – Illusion

Virinchi – Star Wars, The Kyber Quest

Jane Dougherty – The Third Coming

Michnavs – Hey!

Cosistories – The Cold Alone

Tora Ellis – Gaiana

H.R.R. Gorman – A Missive from Dr. Stokes of Attenhold University

Jan Malique – Shambhala

Jessica Bakkers – Of Stone and Ice

Suzanne – Forgotten Stories, Forgotten Voices

Louise Brady – Fall of the Ice Giant

Greg, Almost Iowa – The Oracle

Himani Kaushik – The Creator

Bob Fairfield – The Titan Muse

Kerfe, Method to Madness – Near

D. Wallace Peach – Dead Planet


And a couple of bonus posts by inspired writers:

Pamela Wight – Do We Dare…?

Robert Goldstein – Haiku One: A Blue Grey Day 

And a straggler who missed the deadline but is worth the visit:

Hugh Roberts – The Riddle of Twelfth Night


Two Fast-Paced Reads for the Holidays

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I purchased a couple books written by bloggers whom I’ve followed for a while now. Who said that blogging doesn’t sell books?

The gurus of the book-blogging world advise us to skip the “Buy my Book” spiel and they’re spot on. I’ll attest to the importance of an occasional reminder that there actually IS a book to celebrate and sell, yet I’ve learned that this whole blogging thing is really about relationships. The sale of a book (through blogging) is mostly a result of the genuine interest that grows out of engagement.

After taking six months to get through the 1,860 page Raven’s Shadow Trilogy, it was a total delight to scoop up a couple books that I couldn’t put down and ended up polishing off in about three evenings. This feat meant forgoing a bit of sleep, but what can a person do when the next chapter begs a reading?

The Seneca Scourge

The first book I picked up is Carrie Rubin’s thriller, The Seneca Scourge. It takes off on the first page as a viral contagion manifests on an international flight.

Not long after arriving in the US, the traveler shows up in a Boston Hospital and becomes a patient of Sydney McNight. She’s a resident doing an infectious disease fellowship and her life is going to quickly turn upside down.

Sydney’s supposed to be working under the renowned epidemiologist Casper Jones, but who has time for that? She’s right in the thick of an influenza epidemic that’s running rampant with a body count suggesting a worldwide plague.


To complicate Sydney’s life, her relationship of convenience isn’t ending well, coworkers and friends are falling ill, and something is definitely not adding up about the secretive Casper Jones. Things get pretty crazy as Sydney slides in over her head – asking questions, breaking the rules, and trying to figure out who Casper is and what he’s hiding. All while time is running out.

I thought I had the plot figured out about a third of the way through – Not! This book has a great twist.

Rubin’s personal experience in the medical field adds authenticity to the hospital setting, protocols, and medical/physical details of an infectious disease. The story moves at breakneck speed, with believable characters, realistic action and a number of tough moments as Sydney’s own life hangs in the balance. The writing is sharp and engaging. I’d recommend this thriller to any readers who enjoy an exciting ride.


Death in a Red Canvas Chair: A Rhe Brewster Mystery

Noelle Granger’s Death in a Red Canvas Chair is a perfect book to pair up with Rubin’s Seneca Scourge. Both plot-driven books feature strong female protagonists and are fast-paced investigative reads.

Rhe Brewster is a mom, wife, and nurse with a penchant for crime-solving that she can’t resist. In this first of the Rhe Brewster series, she finds a dead body stinking up her son’s soccer game.

Her brother-in-law is the sheriff of her quaint Maine town, and she’s persistent enough to get involved in the investigation against her husband’s wishes. Her husband isn’t wrong to worry as Rhe is prone to taking dangerous risks.

emiliecarolnoellegranger-9-2The investigation leads from the soccer field to the local college where her husband works as a professor, to a Caribbean cruise ship outfit and a high-class brothel at a posh seaside estate. Granger intertwines all these threads with a shady operation at a mortuary that Rhe will discover after a close encounter with a freezer full of body parts. More bodies show up and things get tense before Rhe solves the riddle of the woman in the red canvas chair.

Rhe is a great character and her relationships with her husband and brother-in-law were complex adding to the interpersonal tension of the read. The story is well-structured and entertaining with plenty of action, touching moments, and suspenseful danger. A delightful book for readers who enjoy murder mysteries.

I had a wonderful time reading both books and can happily recommend these two talented writers. The reads have broad appeal and would make great gifts! Happy holidays 🙂

The 777 Writer’s Challenge

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The 777 Writer’s Challenge has come my way. 

I was tagged by Julie Holmes, who writes adult mystery with psychic elements, mystery with a touch of romance, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy. Currently she has two polished novels ready for the world and a number of others waiting in the wings.

You might visit her busy blog, Facets of a Muse. She writes about the challenges of being a writer that most of us can relate to. I particularly enjoy her encounters with her good-looking muse. He’s demanding and doesn’t tolerate any excuses, but gets away with it because he’s so bad-boy dreamy. Intrigued? Check out this post: Distractions. 

So, according to the 777 Writing Challenge:

Go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to line 7, and share the next 7 sentences in a blog post. Once you have done that, tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their WIP.

I’m sharing a first draft snippet from The Rose Shield, my current fantasy WIP that’s tapping out on my laptop at a slug’s pace. This early in the book, my protagonist, Catling, is only 6 years old. She’s a neglected child who just vomited after witnessing a hanging on a sweltering summer day. In this scene, her mother is attempting to sell her to Scuff, a pig farmer.

“Kind of skinny.” Scuff raised a bristly gray eyebrow and scratched his belly. “Don’t look well fed and watered. Don’t know if the pigs will tolerate the smell.”

While he chuckled at his wit, Catling eyed the chubby, pink piglings rooting in the wagon’s hay. Unlike her, they weren’t wilting from thirst. Her throat was parched as summertime clay, her tongue swollen and head swimming with fishes.

And now I’d like to challenge the following 7 writer/bloggers. Participate if you wish, but no worries if you don’t!

Rand Stein 
KL Wagoner 
Patrick Jones 
Mary J. McCoy-Dressel 
Kevin Cooper 
Mike Fuller 
Annika Perrry 

Have Fun ❤