Book Reviews, Book Promotions And A Hint of Spring

Millie Thom’s writing is beautifully elegant and her books an enjoyable read. If you like historical fiction then check her out. 🙂

Millie Thom


All writers know the value of reviews to the success of their books. Yet most readers don’t review- even if they’ve really enjoyed the book – for a variety of reasons. Time is always a factor in the hectic, modern world. There are some people, of course, who simply don’t like the idea, or aren’t comfortable expressing their thoughts for others to read. Perhaps they feel daunted when they see the long, detailed reviews done by Amazon top reviewers and professional editors. Yet even short, to the point reviews are greatly appreciated by authors. Every single one adds to that all-important number that shows up on Amazon or other online retailers.

That said, from today, Saturday 20th February, until Wednesday the 24th, the first book of my Sons of Kings Trilogy will be free on Amazon. It’s entitled, Shadow of the Raven. As you’ve probably guessed, I’m…

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Word of the Week (WOW): Dilettante


This post is in response to Heena Rathore P.’s Word of the Week (WOW). This weekly meme is a great way of improving your vocabulary.  If you wish to participate, simply create a post with your word and leave a link in a comment on Heena’s WOW post.

Here’s my WOW for this week:



dilettantes or dilettanti

Part of Speech
both noun and adjective

dil-et-tante (dĭl′ĭ-tänt′)


noun – someone who dabbles in an art or field of knowledge

adjective – amateurish, superficial


noun – amateur, aesthete, dabbler, nonprofessional, sciolist, smatterer, trifler, uninitiate

adjective – amateurish, dilettanteish, dilettantish, nonprofessional, sciolist, unprofessional, unskilled, unskillfull


noun – expert, master, pro, professional, specialist

adjective – able, capable, competent, good, skillful

Word Origin

C18th Italian lover of the arts, from present participle of dilettare, to delight, from Latin dēlectāre

Use in a sentence

noun – Whilst he professed to be a master of the subject, in truth he was a dilettante, merely skimming the surface in order to spout superficial inanities.

adjective – It was a dilettante effort, completely unprofessional in brushstroke and content, and would never be accepted at the academy.


If you want to discover more great words then visit Heena’s page Word Treasure.

Cee’s Which Way Challenge 2015: Week #7 – Station

York Railway Station

York Railway Station, UK

Away from the pushing and shoving, from the crowds that jostle impatiently for place, you wait in the chill winter air. Cold light, cleansing in its purity, filters in through the iron and glass lattice of the cathedral-like roof. You close your eyes, tilt back your head and feel it wash over you. You tune out the noise that burbles from all sides: the hum of voices, the rumbling of engines, the chime of announcements – all fade into a background hubbub that affects you not. Refreshed, you are prepared for the continuation of your journey.

This is my entry into this week’s Cee’s Which Way Challenge.

This week’s picture was taken in York Station in December of last year, when we visited the city for its Christmas Market. The station was built in 1877 to replace the old station that had required through trains between London and Newcastle to reverse out before continuing their journey. It was designed by Thomas Prosser and William Peachey, architects working for North Eastern Railway along with the Engineer in Chief Thomas Elliott Harrison. It had thirteen platforms and was at that time the largest station in the world.

For more information you can go here or here.


Friday Fictioneers: Crystal Sickness

This is my entry for this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s picture prompt was provided by Marie Gail Stratford. The challenge is to write a story within 100 words.


Copyright: Marie Gail Stratford

He huddled in the corner of the room, cringing at the hate filled shouts, the banging, the shattering glass, that sounded from outside.

The strange sickness had spread through the town with devastating swiftness, whole families encased in crystal, friends and neighbours gone in minutes. The cause remained unknown.

Accusing stares had quickly settled on him. Loner and outsider, he was an easy target for their anger, their fear. Before long the mob had formed, baying for blood.

Soon they’d find him.

Jem clutched the crystal figurine carved long ago by his mother and prayed for salvation.

Outside, silence fell.

Word Count: 100

Click the little blue frog to see other

One-Four Challenge: February Week Three

Here’s my third edit for Robyn’s One-Four Challenge.

Ponies week 3.2

With a wary gaze she watches the world as her companion sleeps in blissful oblivion.

For this week’s edit I had two things I knew I wanted to do. The first was to crop it in some way; the second was make it into a black and white image. All edits were done using Photoshop Elements 13.

I spent quite some time trying out different crops – first I trimmed off the top but I found the image to be too long and thin, next I cropped to the two ponies on the right but the whole balance felt wrong. I finally settled on the crop you now see.

Next I used a gradient filter to transfer the image into black and white. To create the effect I wanted I shifted the midpoint towards the darker end of the slider and moved the black stop to location 22.

I finished off by using the healing brush to remove the tip of the third horses tail, a couple of dandelion seed pods from in front of the white pony and a few dark areas in the top section of the image.

Here’s the original and previous edits for comparison:

Ponies Original


Ponies edit 1

Week One

Week 2

Week Two

If anyone has any suggestions for next week’s edit please let me know. I tried to download Gimp last week but unfortunately my dinosaur of a computer quite clearly said ‘no’ to that, so I’m still limited to Photoshop Elements and any free online photo-editing programs.


Monday’s Finish the Story: Frame-bound

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.


Little did they know when the photographer took their picture that they would find themselves trapped in a painting.

It was a strange experience. There was a flash of light and everything shifted. Time slowed; sight skewed to oscillating patterns of light and dark; the sound of music became muffled. Confusion reigned.

A voice steadily chanted.

Later, existence coalesced in the strokes of a paintbrush.

Within the frame of the painting they found they could move and talk, look and listen. And create their music.

“This was the only way to save you,” a soft voice, a familiar voice, whispered. Aaliyah: sister, lover, friend respectively, stroked fingers against canvas. “The boat burned – just as I saw in my vision. This way you, and your music will live forever.”

Time passed – days, years, decades dragging interminably on. They watched Aaliyah age, hair fading, skin sagging. The bounds of the frame became like prison bars. Tempers flared and friendships shattered.

“Set us free,” they begged.

Aaliyah breathed her final words.

Word Count: 150



If you want to read any other entries, or add your own, go here.

Cee’s Oddball Challenge: 2015 Week #7

holding the sun

He stands beside the water with the setting sun at his back, his pose deceptively casual. Between his hands clouds begin to gather, a roiling reflection of the sky above. In their midst a spark of sunlight ignites. It grows steadily in intensity until a golden orb burns; the wild energy of the stars compressed into miniature form. The sun sinks closer to the horizon. Glowing striations cross his face as the gathered energy is absorbed. To what use will it be put?

This is an entry into Cee’s Oddball Challenge. I took this picture a couple of years ago when visiting Whitby with my nephew. As you can see, the photograph didn’t work quite as I intended but I found it such a bizarre flaw that I couldn’t delete it! The picture also doesn’t quite fit the descriptions in the passage – his hands are in the wrong positions and the expression on his face isn’t quite what you’d expect from someone performing such an ‘energy gather’ – but I couldn’t resist linking it with a little magical, mystical scene. I hope you like it.