Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Flintlock is the second book in the Cutlass Trilogy. It continues Barren and his crew's story.

Barren Reed hopes to protect the Orient from his tyrant uncle, but his plans to make the King’s life a living hell aren’t supported by the Elders of the pirate community. As it stands, Barren has earned the Elders’ disdain for his carelessness, and they threaten him into exile if he makes one more mistake.

Barren’s not the only one feeling the Elders’ wrath—they don’t trust Larkin either. Worse, Barren can’t comprehend Larkin’s wish to have a relationship with her father, and the secrets she’s forced to keep create a tension that may pull them apart forever.

When the Pirates of Silver Crest begin to die, bullets laced with dark magic are to blame. With more and more of these weapons infiltrating the Underground, discovering who’s behind the dissemination is no easy feat. As fear and tension mount among the people of the Orient, Barren and his crew find themselves in a race against time to stop the spread of dark magic before the world of Mariana spirals into collapse.

Pirate captain Barren Reed and (former Lady) Larkin Lee find their relationship and world is getting ever more...complex. Mariana is rife with political upheaval among men and elves (not to mention various people who can use magic). Barren and his crew go through many battles and conflicts (this is not just a pirate story with one or two big moments). As the story unfolds, heartstrings can't help but tug at the braveness of their friends Cove and Leaf. The many villains of this story are determined, for whatever their personal agenda is, to quickly spread dark magic throughout Mariana. Despite many codes and allegiances, it's still a guessing game as to where loyalties lie or how deep they will extend.

My rating:  5 out of  5 stars. Each chapter's ending significantly influenced the rest of the story (mark of a good writer). The middle book of a series and I can't wait for the third. :-)

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Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren't used as much as she'd like. She has a Bachelor's in English Writing and a Master's in Library Science and Information Technology. When she's not writing she's either working out or pretending she's Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she's loved everything Fantasy--resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the 'geek' tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

-----Internet throwback: When someone posted they had "moobs like Jabba." Hmm, I should make a "Moves Like Jagger" (Maroon 5) parody out of this. :-)
-----“Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea.”-George Orwell

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pandemonium: The Phoenix Blade, Book 3
Cover Reveal!!!

Paranoia is at an all-time high. After the recent attack on the group formerly known as the Revolution, Andrew Lancaster (A.K.A. the Phoenix) has decided to retreat and take the group back to New York. To make matters worse, the terrorist known as Reaper, has gone into hiding…or has he? 
Months of silence has left the Lancaster with a false sense of security. His defiance of Presidential orders have left the group vulnerable to another attack. With Reaper hiding in the shadows, he sets his sights on complete chaos. He will stop at nothing to destroy everyone in the Andrew Lancaster’s life. 
Will the Phoenix let his friends and loved ones fall victim to Reaper’s deadly games or will he rise from the ashes one more time to stop the man with the white skulled face?

Andrew Hess is a resident of Long Island New York who likes to spend much of his time traveling between Long Island, New York City and the Dutchess County areas. In 2011 he debuted with his first book Chamber of Souls, a small book of free verse poetry which depicted the struggles of a man who thought he had everything in the world only to feel like he lost everything after a rough break-up. In 2013, Andrew debuted his novel The Phoenix Blade: Project Justice; the first in The Phoenix Blade series.
Andrew is also a blogger at TheWritersRevolution13.blogspot.com where he interviews and promotes other authors in order to assist indie authors get more exposure. Andrew is also a frequent guest on the Anthony Charles Podcast, a show dedicated to creative professionals as they give insight into their works and the lives they lead; guests have included authors, comedians, musicians, stuntmen, actors and producers.
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Misc. Food Stuff

-----Fried Baklava Ice Cream
-----General Mills announces Star Wars cereal. :-)
-----Sirloin Marinara recipe
-----I still think this Poached Pear & Cranberry Cake looks incredible. :-)
-----Bacon Marmalade. To go on burgers, steak, ribs, etc.

-----Hmm. Martha Stewart has a Roasted Eggplant Dip recipe.
-----I still haven't checked to see if our Walgreens is carrying the MADD Virgin Drinks. MADD as in Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Talking about Artic animals in the Summer with Preschooler.

-----I haven't used Shelfari in so long.

Doggies, (human) biscuits and my aggravating neck.

-----Flipping through one of last year's Family Circle magazines and I found out there is such a thing as a chewable flea and tick medicine. We might try NexGard instead of the nasty stuff that we put on the back of our dog's back and then have to constantly watch to make sure kids don't touch.

I finished this book...but now I have just started the AIP "diet" (autoimmune protocol). Yeah, most pioneer cooking doesn't fit into that regime.
My thyroid has been enlarged on and off for years...just a part of Hashimoto's thyroiditis. At the last appointment, the casual suggestion of a biopsy was tossed around for the second time. I have been thinking that maybe I will just have a biopsy anyway but I am doing all I can to get my goiter/nodule issues under control. I did research and then got mad, the most dangerous thing I have as far as my immune system is the Hashimoto's Disease and no doctor has ever told me that it could go into remission (or even aimed for that). Despite "advocating" for myself about what is going on with my body, I find myself either medicated into just being low "normal" or ignored. My medical coverage and the number of doctors stepping out of business is making it harder and we find ourselves traveling for medical care often. I am getting really disillusioned by the American medical system.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Red Fury Revolt

Something keeps drawing G. Julius Agricola to Britannia again and again…
This is where it starts… book one, Red Fury…Revolt
A.D. 60…
Camulodunum! Londinium! Verulamium!
Three towns writhe under the Iceni queen’s wrath, as she leads her warriors intent on destroying all things Roman – be it Roman temples, Roman villas, or entire families sympathetic to Rome. At stake is Suetonius Paulinus’s reputation. With only 80,000 legionaries, will he destroy Boudica or will he endure the disgrace in Rome for losing–to a woman?
Julius Agricola-Rome’s tribune, and Rhianna-Boudica’s youngest daughter, become ensnared in this horrific historical revolt against Roman injustice. Just as Julius and Rhianna reveal their love to each other, they are hurled back into the harsh reality of their differing worlds that are determined to destroy each other.
Who will survive?

The beat of distant drumbeats and the clank of metal carried over the nearby ridge. People’s attention shifted from Prasutagus’s funeral stanchion to the standard of Rome’s tax-collector slowly appearing with each stride. A soldier covered with the hide of a silver wolf marched into view. He carried before him Rome’s banner embroidered with gold letters ‘LEG II AUG’ that hung on the elegant staff.
Behind him glided a column of soldiers appearing over the grassy hilltop like a long, metal-scaled snake. Row after row of gleaming armor marched in unison, each man carrying a blackened javelin in one hand and, in the other, a red rectangular shield with yellow-winged pattern. Their swords called gladius banged against hips as their long red capes swayed with each measured step.
Like eyes of this silver serpent, two officers on horseback rode behind the standard. A black-crested helmet hid one man’s face while the other held his red-crested helmet under his arm. The bareheaded officer lifted his free arm.
In that same breath, the black-crested officer shouted, “Consiste!”
A trumpet sounded and the serpent’s body halted.
All watched as the bareheaded officer slid from his horse, handed his helmet to a foot soldier, and strode up the rise toward the stanchion. Rhianna’s mother’s sharp glower followed each step until the Roman halted before her. The Iceni people stirred restlessly as the silence thickened like thunderclouds between the leaders.
“Who are you, Roman, to intrude this day?” Boudica demanded.
The man tore his attention from the mound of gifts to focus on her mother. “Decianus Catus. Procurator of Rome.”
“If you come to honor my husband, you are welcome. If not, I demand you leave.”
“Demand?” A glimmer of mirth lit in his eyes. “And you…are his wife?”
“His queen.”
The procurator lifted a hand, a finger pointing skyward. It flicked. “Tribune.”
The black-crested officer dismounted and then motioned to another soldier with a white crest crossing his helmet. “Centurio. With me.”
Both joined the procurator on the rise.
“Circle the men around the stanchion,” the procurator ordered.
The tribune hesitated. Even the white-crested soldier shifted as if uncertain.
“You heard me, Tribune. Give the order.”
The tribune’s red cape whipped around his leather sandals as he whirled to the white-crested soldier. “Centurio, circle the men.”
The centurio raised the first two fingers of each hand and pointed between the stanchion and her people. One hand circled to the left and the other to the right. The serpent split and surrounded the rise where Rhianna stood with her mother and sister as it separated them from the others coiling in anger like angry dogs.
Her father’s first man jerked his sword arm across his chest. “Wait.”
Beyond the circle of red shields, Rhianna saw the Iceni warriors bristle. Wives halted husbands with a hand to an arm. Children hid behind their mothers’ skirts, whimpering.
Morrigan stepped forward.
Mergith caught her wrist. “Morrigan, Churl said to wait.”
Her sister braced, as everyone focused on the smirking Roman.
“I regret to find the leader of the Iceni dead,” the procurator said loud enough for the gods to hear. “Still, I have orders from Rome to collect payments on loans granted to the Iceni.”
“We owe nothing to anyone,” Boudica said equally as loud. “Not even to Rome.”
“Records show your people owe much for the loans that built Camulodunum.”
“Camulodunum?” Her mother shrieked laughter. The Iceni joined her mirth and then silenced when she continued. “We owe nothing to your designs except for what my husband granted your emperor.”
The procurator relaxed back on one leg. “What has the leader of the Iceni… granted Rome?”
Frigid air formed in the silence. Rhianna watched as her mother’s fists opened and closed at her sides. She could only wonder what thoughts were searing through her mother’s mind.
Finally Boudica spoke. “Prasutagus grants half of the Iceni wealth and no more to this Nero.” Her hand flicked as if throwing a tidbit to the Roman.
“And you have papers proving this agreement?”
“Proof? We have no need for proof. Our word is law. Is not Rome’s word equal?”
“No papers?” Laughter bellowed from the procurator’s lips. “Tribune, they expect us to accept the word of a Britanni woman who calls herself their queen.”
The tribune’s attention set on the arrogant Roman and then scanned the rise as if in disbelief. It settled on her, locking with hers until the tribune tore his away.
Rhianna staggered from its intensity, gasping for air.
The tribune said something to the centurio who motioned to six soldiers to leave the ring to come up to stand beside her, Morrigan and Mergith. Their presence threatened every nerve in her body.
“Agreed! Half of the Iceni wealth now belongs to Rome as well as the loan payments owed,” the procurator announced.
“How dare you!” Her mother scooped a handful of dirt and hurled it into the Roman’s face.
“By word of Rome I dare.” The procurator backhanded her mother, twisting her aside like a bent tree.
As if struck, Rhianna hand flew to her cheek as if she had been the one slapped.
In that same instant, soldiers braced behind their shields. The points of gladii flashed into view, glinting like metal teeth.
“Curse you! Curse Rome!” Boudica screamed and then coated the Roman’s face with spit.
Cheers and laughter roared up through the Iceni as the procurator slowly lifted the edge of his red cape and wiped his face. The cape dropped and his finger rose.
“Flog her.” …

Rhianna finds her young life turned upside down when Romans plunder her homeland....almost everyone she loves being part of the plunder. The least likely person, a tribune in the Roman army, is compassionate towards her in the midst of the horror. Of course, the Iceni people seek revenge and freedom from Roman oppression...and the revolt is bloody. Not everyone survives and the Roman commander, Suetonius finds that Rhianna's mother, Boudica, is a formidable opponent.

At first, I thought I was never going to get used to the many long Roman names...but I did. On the second reading, it was like the characters were all old friends (or enemies).

I must applaud the emotional development of the characters. The author does a really good job of showing what is on the mind and heart of each character. (Dom is a bit of a mystery to me and I am glad to find, from the interview I did, that she is explored further in the next book.)

Smiles for me: My copy is autographed. :-)
My rating: 5 out of 5. Excellent storytelling and a fascinating time in history.

Amazon...Kindle and paperback
Barnes & Noble...NOOK book
Google Play...Purchase or sample
Smashwords...epub, mobi,pdf,rtf,lrf,pdb,txt,html,sample

Ms Ridgley loves the ancient world. Even after years of researching and many trips to the sites of her stories, she is still fascinated by what she can use for her next story. One thing she does enjoy more is bringing this world to life in her award-winning stories of power, greed, violence, and love.
Be sure to stop by her website to discover her books and novellas available on Amazon.com. Be sure to sign up for her newsletter to stay up with her next book or her next giveaway!
You can also connect with JF Ridgley on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.



What are the most beautiful ruins and landscapes that you have seen in your travels to Rome?
I am completely enthralled with Italy. But it always starts in the city of Rome.

I picture such elegance in the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum when walking through these beautiful places as in the picture below. Messalina’s house is middle left…Alexius’s house middle right, Balbus’s shrine below and to the left and below Messi’s house are the fishing huts where people were boiled alive. Above it all is the present day city of Ercolano that once covered Herculaneum. In the skyline and to the right is Vesuvius.

We visited Fishbourne, England, recently and toured a massive Roman villa built during the time of Agricola’s time in Britannia, It will be in the forthcoming books of my Agricola series.

This is making me very homesick to go back. So I need an easy fix and need to go to Malibu, California, to the Getty Villa that is a replication of the Cornelius Sulla’s villa in Threatened Loyalties.
J. Paul Getty purchased a copy of the Villa of Papyri and had it remade. It is free to the public and something we here in the States can go to and experience Rome’s grandeur. It’s just plain wonderful. Did I say it’s free.

While reading "Red Fury Revolt" and the preview of "Red Fury Rebellion," I very much admired your talent for creating conflict among your characters. What are your tips to beginning authors on this skill?
Thank you so much for the compliment. One thing I do is rather crazy. Yes, I mean, it involves talking to yourself. I interview my hero, heroine, and villains about why they do what they do. And I just let them talk through my fingers, typing everything down they talk. (Yes they do talk to me). And I ask/type more questions. And keep digging like a physiologist, deep into their innards. Actually it’s kind of scary. I did this with the villain of Pompeii’s Plague (coming 2016) and uncovered the reason why he hates Faustina. His reasons are extremely valid. As crazy as it seems, the characters will talk to you.

Another writing skill question...what goes into the process of your deciding to kill off a character and writing that demise?
Oh that one hurts. So there has to be a long-reaching reason for doing this to a beloved character or villain. This is what George R.R. Martin in his Games of Thrones series made apparent to me. The death must keep the plot moving ahead. You don’t just kill ‘em off because you don’t want them around anymore.

What would you recommend as must reads when it comes to historical fictions about Rome?
Colleen McCullough Grass Crown Series. All of her Roman books are amazing in detail and research. Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield is amazing. I bought six books one Christmas to share with those I knew would like Spartans and Thermopylae. I love this book.Steven Saylor’s Rome series. His understanding of Roman history is impeccable. Be sure to enjoy his Gordianus mystery series. They are just plain fun. To be submerged in a place as Egypt, don’t miss Margaret George’s Memoirs of Cleopatra. Wow. Rome influenced and was influenced by all these eras.

There are so many authors who enjoy traveling with Rome’s legions. Conn Iggulden, Ben Kane, does one fantastic job in creating the world of the legionaries as does James Mace who pulls his experience from his tours in Afghanistan as well, as his love of ‘living’ with his soldiers. Don’t miss any of Mace’s Soldiers of Rome- Artorian Chronicles That’s just a start of historical fiction.

Who are your writing mentors?
I’ve been writing and studying this art for fifteen years, and list of mentors is longer than my arm. But hands down, the best mentor for writing is reading. I read as many Roman writers as I can. (See above) As for the practical art of writing I definitely recommend joining writing groups as Romance Writers of America and Historical Novel Society. They offer so many classes and sessions on line and at their conferences on what writers need to know. And they offer critique groups. Having your ‘baby” critiqued is tough. But these critique partners truly help you see what needs to be reconsidered.
I know they helped me.

Will the Agricola series be more than 2 books?
Absolutely. Julius has quite a history in Britannia as he covers over twenty years of his life there, searching for something he has lost.. Red Fury Rebellion is next, which sets up his return to Britannia. Let me ask you. If your child was kidnapped and you had access of the U. S. military, would you use them to find your child? And how long would you search?

Please tell us a bit about your current project(s).
Red Fury Rebellion is next. It is set in a very electric period of history known as ‘the year of four emperors,’ when Rome endures four men who claim the title of Caesar. It is a time when Rome’s legions go against Rome’s legions and gladiators. When those who fell in battle were left to rot in the battlefield. When constant turmoil and war tears at the heart of the empire. Caught in all of this, Julius struggles with his heart, the woman who still owns his soul, and his loyalty to Rome. What’s more, Domitia is a woman not to be ignored.
All this will determine whether Julius returns to Britannia to find his son.

I can’t thank you enough for letting me share my world that is like quicksand but unlike quicksand, I don’t want to ever leave it….for long

Monday, May 04, 2015

In My Life

Sadly, this is a tip: If there is no one around to scratch an itch between your shoulder blades and you don't have a back scratcher, pull a sturdy plastic ladle out of the kitchen drawer.

A 31" Darth Vader action figure in a drawer that is waiting to go back into a table is creeping me out. I either need to move the figure or reassemble the table ASAP. Darth Vader in a coffin is just a weird image.

I am finishing reading "The Little House Cookbook." I will likely turn right around and do a re-read. So much to learn and it will take a WHILE to learn it. One of the things I am interested in right now is something Almonzo Wilder's mother made-apple core vinegar. I want to try making apple cider vinegar from scraps.


http://www.coffeehobby.com/ 2009-06-11 daily 0.5 http://www.coffeehobby.com/st.aspx 2009-06-11 daily 0.5