Saturday, December 16, 2017

Her Mystery Still Unsolved ...

Just as you should Google yourself (and your books) occasionally, I did this for the mysteriously vanished Russian Ghost Ship, the MV Lyubov Orlova, which I had instilled with new life in Books 3 – 5 of my Legends of the Winged Scarab series.
Dated November 19th, 2017, an article by Paul Harper appeared in the UK paper The Sun. (Curiously enough, I can't find any such headline in a US paper).
 Image: Science Channel/WhatOnEarth
The ship has been missing for four years after being released out to sea, when on its way to be scrapped in the Dominican Republic the towline snapped and she was set adrift (a bit irresponsible, if you ask me).

Remains of Russian ghost vessel wash up after it was invaded by hordes of cannibal RATS. Scientists believed wreckage that washed up on a Californian beach may have been the mysterious MV Lyubov Orlova.”

 Image: Science Channel/WhatOnEarth
And, yes, “my” ghost ship does feature cannibal rats (with some dire consequences) ...
To my disappointment (but also firing this writer’s imagination for another story perhaps), the article concedes at the end that this is not the Lyubov Orlova, but rather a vessel which was a former floating casino run by The Mob and called the SS Monte Carlo.
 As long as the ghost ship's whereabouts remain a mystery, this is good news for my books.

 My renamed Bucanero II (with its convenient home port of Caracas) can now sail on with unimpeded impunity under the ownership of all-around smuggler and modern-day buccaneer Lorenzo Dominguez.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Edward Always Tells a Good Story

... but somehow, it will differ greatly from the truth.

From December 3 until Christmas, a different short story or excerpt by my historical fiction writer friends will be posted every day  
on Helen Hollick's blog:
The shared theme is DIAMONDS

On December 13, it's Edward's turn to charm the gullible Mrs. Joe Bunting. Snuggled into the folds of her short neck sits a strand of exquisite South Sea Pearls. While Edward compliments her on them, his appreciative eye immediately spies the large yellow diamond in the clasp. Something he will not comment on in case the woman might grow suspicious.

After their delightful lunch with several glasses of heady California Chardonnay, Betsy Bunting foots the bill for Edward to accompany her on her trip to Egypt. In a strictly platonic manner, of course.

  Read Edward's entire California Interludes
in this short volume

Once in Cairo, our wily Edward becomes the nemesis to my protagonists in the modern portion of the Legends of the Winged Scarab series (Books 2-5) where he is no longer quite so charming, to put it mildly.

Buy individually for $3.99 each - 
or the 4-Novel Box Set for only $5.99

My Review of "Swift for the Sun,"

a Novel by Karen Bovenmyer 

  This is an excellent fluid read. I obtained a free copy as part of  reviewing it for Helen Hollick's historical fiction review blog -

It easily earned five stars from me as a Discovered Diamond.


Genres: Multicultural & Interracial/Gay Romance

In the beginning, the title “Swift for the Sun” conjured up everything from old sailing ships swiftly following the sun - to other flights of fancy involving smugglers and privateers (which it does). At the end of Bovenmyer’s novel, I realized that I was wrong in assuming it to be a rollicking pirate fable or – as one of its genre is listed as gay romance - a man loving another man; it was so much more (even though I, too, have loved men – but then, I am a woman).

Benjamin Swift (as he introduces himself to us in this first-person account) is young, impetuous and a bit of a bungler who doesn’t listen too well to advice from his more experienced mates. This becomes sadly evident when, as captain of the Sea Swift, he puts his ship squarely on the rocks on cursed Dread Island.

Deeming himself the only survivor of the wreck, the young seafarer is understandably spooked when he finds himself face to face with a blond island savage who masters survival a lot better than our handsome Benjamin. After initial life-threatening quarrels and mutual mistrust, the two men (both being predisposed by nature or circumstance) fall deeply in love.

This is when the author’s mastery of human needs and wants shines. Lust and love are aptly intertwined with Benjamin’s secret hope to be rescued. A storm does bring a ship - and with it terrible trouble brews for the two. Sun could easily “take care” by himself of unwanted intruders into their isolated paradise; but during an ensuing fight, Benjamin feels he needs to prove himself.

That’s when I shouted at my Kindle, “For heaven’s sake, he told you to stay put!” I had become utterly involved in the two protagonists’ fates and desperately wanted them to escape their seemingly inexorable doom clamped on them by their “rescuers.”

Apart from the thrill of exotic seafaring adventure, the novel left me with a much deeper question about loyalty, the bond between two human beings, and the moral choice between killing for freedom or submitting to Man’s laws. “What would any of us have done?”
 * * * * *

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Gem for Discerning Readers

 When I found that Andrew Levkoff’s new book, Little Gods, A Tale of Ancient Wonders could be pre-ordered, I stood in line being familiar with his award-winning “The Bow of Heaven Trilogy.” 

Just a few days ago, “Little Gods” finally went live on my Kindle and – four-hundred pages plus notwithstanding – I finished it abandoning all other duties (except for feeding the cat).

With Little Gods, one definitely puts on one’s thinking cap. It is also apt to haunt one’s dreams as it poses philosophical as well as dreaded existential questions: Why does Mankind worship God and gods? Why does Man wage war? Why is love so elusive?

But not to worry. There is plenty of tension in a hamlet of Ancient Mesopotamia. Levkoff cleverly weaves the moral of his story into the relationship between two young boys, Scolotes and Melyakhat. One good, the other bad – we initially assume. Wrong. Levkoff is deft in exposing the many sides of human beings as there is no clear division - not even in saints nor in the little gods – and we begin to feel empathy for both as they seek acceptance in their community. Their struggles become epic during those ancient times. And then, there is the beautiful Leyla ...

Another twist is the insertion of Hovan’s struggle in modern Iraq – on the same soil where the Little Gods lived, loved, and fought to stay alive.

Little Gods is by no means a quick, forgettable read. If it were, it would not deserve five stars from this discerning reader. It is a gem for historical fiction lovers who will appreciate the extensive Glossary and Timeline at the end with the also appended Bibliography underlining Levkoff’s extensive research and knowledge of his subject matter.

Check out Andrew Levkoff's excellent Trilogy here: