Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Crunch Time!

by Bethany Maines

Ack!  I should be baking. Or possibly cleaning my filthy office.  Or writing any of the multiple stories I'm supposed to be completing. It's crunch time for me.  I've got a sci-fi novella that is due back from the editor at any second (more info to come after the holidays!), a Christmas short story that needs completing ASAP, and mystery novel that is supposed to be way more underway than it is. And my business partner at my day job is about to go on maternity leave at any moment. I could use a holiday.  Oh, wait, one has just turned up.  Now I get to add baking to the list.  So excuse me, if I just complain for a minute and then dash off to put a pie in the oven.

But in the spirit of the holidays, how about a chance to win a print copy of Shark's Instinct?  Reviewers are calling it an "amazing mystery with loads of action."  Click the link below to enter!  And come back tomorrow for some instant GIVEAWAYS from the whole Stiletto Gang!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shark's Instinct by Bethany Maines

Shark's Instinct

by Bethany Maines

Giveaway ends November 30, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


by J.M. Phillippe
Sometimes, I feel stuck. Sometimes, all I have in me is a stream of consciousness dump...
I am fumbling for words, searching my memory for rich sensory details, imagery and metaphor, a perfect picture painted with perspicacity, brought forth from my fertile imagination. 
I am new again, raw, an amateur who is just barely beginning to understand what creative writing is. I am spilling out consciousness on the page in rambling streams of poorly relayed emotion. Write what you know, but what do I know, anyway? What stories are mine to tell?
Oh, and I thought I was dark before, thought I had some sense of loss or grief, of the thousand natural shocks, but I am only a Horatio, battered witness of the twists and turns all around me. Transferred trauma, and they tell me to take care, but care has been taken to take such time away. I have no time. I have no energy to use what time I have.
I don’t take the time. I don’t spare the energy.
I sleep too much and not enough.
I fall back on the old words, the easy words. It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rings out. Once upon a time, in a land far far away. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Call me Ishmael.
In the room the women come and go, talking of Michaelangelo. And how should I presume?
All words are old, all words used so many times already. Should I dig up my vocabulary books, reacquaint myself with the archaic and obsolete, so that I may impress myself with my own prolix prose? 
And the seven (less or more?) great plot lines continue to unfold, over and over, and as Aimee Mann sings, “But nobody wants to hear this tale, The plot is clichéd, the jokes are stale, And baby we’ve all heard it all before.”

The only thing that’s mine is my voice. The only thing that can be new, the only thing that could make a story I tell different than any other.
But my voice needs words.
Words words words.
Lost in page counts, lost in deadlines, lost in pressures and anxieties floating all around me like ash, so thick it coats you, so thick it chokes you.
But even in the ash, a spark may fly, a tiny flake of potential floating on eddies, looking for the right tinder to settle on, the right wind to blow, and kindle standing by, waiting to burn.
I am a pile of kindle, ready to burn. I am waiting for my spark to find me.
J.M. Phillippe is the author of Perfect Likeness and the short story The Sight. She has lived in the deserts of California, the suburbs of Seattle, and the mad rush of New York City. She works as a family therapist in Brooklyn, New York and spends her free-time decorating her tiny apartment to her cat Oscar Wilde’s liking, drinking cider at her favorite British-style pub, and training to be the next Karate Kid, one wax-on at a time.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Plimouth or Plymouth?

by Paula Gail Benson

In school, I learned that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

On the map, there is an oceanfront town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, which is a lovely place to spend a carefree summer day.

Within the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, there is a living history Museum called Plimouth Plantation.

Why is the Plantation name spelled differently from the town’s?

According to a United States History Project webpage, the definitive journal detailing the organization of the colony by William Bradford had “Of Plimouth Planation” written at the top. “Plymouth” is considered the more modern spelling.

Visiting Plimouth Plantation gives modern guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in 17th century culture, both from the colonists’ and Native Americans’ viewpoints. The museum was established in 1947 by Henry Hornblower II (1917-1985), who worked in his family’s business of finance, but had a love for American history and archaeology that grew from his boyhood spent in the family’s Plymouth summer house. He became determined to present the story of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag People with the greatest accuracy and integrity possible.

From its humble beginnings, the museum has grown to include a replica of the Mayflower (known as the Mayflower II and now residing in Mystic Seaport being restored for the 400th anniversary of the crossing to take place in 2020--Queen Elizabeth II is expected to be in attendance for the celebration); recreations of an English village and Wampanoag Homesite; a visitors’ center (featuring a café where foods from the 17th century are served), craft center (where artisans use tools, materials, and techniques to create items that might have been used by the early colonists), barn with native and historical animals, and grist mill. All these venues are open to the public with interpreters and other guides.

This summer, I had the opportunity to spend a morning at Plimouth Plantation. As we approach Thanksgiving, here are a few pictures of the buildings and depictions of how the early settlers and Native Americans lived.

Visitors' Center

Nye Barn

Craft Center

Wampanoag Homesite
The Wampanoag Homesite features Native Americans demonstrating skills used by their ancestors. On the day I visited, they were cooking rabbit over the fire.

 Here are photos of the English village and interpreters.

The Grist Mill is at Jenny Pond. Visitors can watch the grinding and purchase corn meal.

May you all find joy in your celebration of Thanksgiving this year!

Friday, November 17, 2017

What We Really Write About--by T.K. Thorne

T.K. Thorne


        Writer, humanist,
           dog-mom, horse servant
and cat-slave,

       Lover of solitude
           and the company of good friends,
        New places, new ideas
           and old wisdom.



Hi ya'll!


With my first two words as a new member of the Stiletto Gang, I have given away that I am a Southern girl. Okay, I am . . . um . . . a bit past the dictionary definition of “girl,” but where I’m from, we are still girls no matter our age.

I never thought I’d be a member of a Stiletto Gang, as I never met a pair of high heels I didn’t run from, but here I am. There is much in my life I never thought I would be or do, such as becoming a police officer after graduating college. Actually, it was an accident (that lasted over two decades), but that is a post for another day. Today, I am introducing myself.

So here are some “fun facts” about me:

  • I’m a 4th degree black belt in the martial art of Aikido.

  • At age 8, I won a ribbon for being stubborn.

  • I dove the Great Blue Hole in Belize, the largest sea hole in the world.

  • As a rookie police officer, I had to devise a different way to hold a gun because my hands were too small.

I once had an M-16 rifle pointed at me while researching a book.

  • Frogs make me smile.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to have adventures. I blame my Granny for inspiring that desire. She read Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to me long before I could read them for myself. For many years I decided the biggest adventure ev-er would be to meet aliens (the kind from outer space). Every night I checked out the back window to see if the spaceship had arrived to pick me up. I guess that is why, after life had twisted my path a few times, I picked up a gun and badge.

As you can imagine, being a police officer provided plenty of adventures and enriched my writing. I never met aliens, but I did encounter lots of strange people. Another way to say that—my experiences exposed me to a side of humanity I would never have otherwise encountered and deepened my understanding of human nature. And that, I truly believe, regardless of the genre, is the real essence of what we all write about—what it means to be human.


T.K. has written two award-winning historical novels, NOAH'S WIFE and ANGELS AT THE GATE, filling in the untold backstories of extraordinary unnamed women—the wives of Noah and Lot—in two of the world’s most famous sagas. The New York Post’s “Books You Should Be Reading” list featured her first non-fiction book, LAST CHANCE FOR JUSTICE, which details the investigators’ behind-the-scenes stories of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing case. Her next project is HOUSE OF ROSE, the first novel of a trilogy in the paranormal-crime genre. She loves traveling and speaking about her books and life lessons. T.K. writes at her mountaintop home near Birmingham, Alabama, often with two dogs and a cat vying for her lap. She blogs about “What Moves Me” on her website, Join her private newsletter email list and receive two free short stories at “TK’s Korner.”


P.S. After the holidays, my normal day to post will be the 4th Friday of each month. See y'all then!