Book Review: Hiding Cracked Glass, by James. J.Cudney ( Mystery) 5 Wonderful Stars! @jamesjcudney4 @shalini_G26

Thank you to Digital Reads Book Tours for my Advanced Reader’s Copy. Well, this is the first time I have actually read anything by this author. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I really, and I mean really did enjoy the vast amount of variety this author included in his mystery novel.

About the Book

An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?

In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.

Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved. 

5 Really Interesting Stars

Diversity is hard enough to come by these days in books, what I found as a first time reader to this author’s work was exactly that. I loved it, and really lapped it up. There are characters of many different ages all weaved into the Glass family, different generations which made interesting reading for me. Not only that I found that what really kept me very engaged in the story, where it was going, as well as where it had already been ( to try and work out who-dun-it), was that each member of the Glass family kind of have their own little sub-plot, and thing going on. This added to the intrigue around this mystery note that shows up, and who it’s really for.

I found that each character for me was well-developed, I was easily able to understand their ‘worry’ over the blackmail note. Either due to their actions or past dealings with others. In Hiding Cracked Glass it felt very much as I read, that everyone has a motive for wanting to blackmail each member of the Glass family, it was wonderful! As I really did not know who really is the person in the hot-seat within the family, let alone who the blackmailer really is. This added to the deeply complex, but not confusing mystery around the family.

As a reader who has not read the first book, it was easy for me to jump in on book two, and pick up three months after the conclusion and drama of book one. The author did a great job and giving just enough back story to fill you in, but not bore you and slow down the current story.

Overall, I’d say Hiding Cracked Glass is a deeply complex, well written mystery, that touches on many real life situations that people in the world may find themselves in. Not only that the Glass brothers are all really like-able, even if flawed and rightly so to keep readers interested. If you like mystery stories as much as I do, but you like them with that added bit of ‘umph’ and by that I mean, not easy to guess, predictable, or even so far removed from reality you just can’t believe the story. I’d say pick this up, because you will find a very deep story about family ties, secrets, growth, and people learning from their past in order to rebuild and move forward as a family. I really enjoyed the dynamic of the Glass family, even the dramatic parts. Five stars from me as a first time reader, I’d read more.

Here is the up close and personal interview I did with Author James. J. Cudney. Get to know him, and his other works.

Author Interview: Up Close and Personal With James. J Cudney! @jamescudney4 @Shalini_G26

Happy release day to James! This is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing James. The last time was May 2018, you can read that interview here (rather amusing to this day!). So we’re off to meet New York’s finest again, and doesn’t he look dashing in his trouser braces! It’s a special week as it marks the release of his mystery/family saga novel Hiding Cracked Glass, which I did read an Advanced Reader’s Copy of and I really enjoyed. Let’s go…

Hi James, been a while since we last spoke, thanks for joining me for this interview.  Congratulations on the release of Hiding Cracked Glass.  2020 has been a crazy year, New York also faced a lot of challenges mid-year with the pandemic.  During this time many of us myself included have been forced to look inward, outward, and all around us, as well as adjust to how we live life. Tell me, 1. What  have you learned about yourself or life during 2020? 2. Do you look at life differently in anyway after all the events of 2020?

It has been a while, but I’m glad to be back. Thank you for much for the opportunity. 2020 has definitely been difficult… I’m not even sure if I’ve truly processed it yet. Today, for instance, was a weird step forward and then backward. I’ll try to explain quickly… last year around this time, I went to Maine for ten days and stayed in various coastal towns. I am considering moving there in the near future. So… when things in my apartment building got a bit wacky this summer (construction on the exterior of the building making it impossible to work there with the jackhammers during the week for the entire fall season) and I am not allowed to physically go into my office, I decided to rent a house in Maine for 6+ weeks. I arrived yesterday afternoon, went to the grocery store for the first time in 6 months (everything in NYC was basically delivery), cooked dinner, and went to sleep. Today, I went driving around town (Kennebunkport) which was one of last fall’s primary stops. Walking around brought back so many memories, and this time I brought Baxter (shiba inu dog). We kept getting in and out of the car, walking around the beach, etc. I had to put on my mask and take it off a dozen times (no need to wear in the car). It was just so weird to remember a place I loved and see it through different eyes. So… I think what I’ve learned is that I need to spend more time doing things I love and less times being locked up in a NYC apartment. It’s time to leave New York!

Kim: Good luck with the move. Yep, I do hear you on the experience with being ‘outside again’ I spent an afternoon in the park for the first time since March. It was wonderful!

How have you been keeping yourself well, sane, and full of ‘high vibrations’ and hope in 2020?

Truthfully, I’m a homebody, so it hasn’t been that rough for me. Other than not being able to go out to dinner or see friends, everything has been status quo. I miss the theatre, shopping, and wandering around the city, but I can find fun at home. The big difference was socializing, on occasion… some friends arranged Zoom calls once a week, and I was also able to spend more time writing since my full-time job was less busy (in terms of no commute, more manageable hours). That kept me sane… but I truly hadn’t ventured out of a 4-block radius (walking the dog) for the last six months… until this weekend!

When I read  Hiding Cracked Glass  (this was the first time I had ever read anything of yours), I was really pleasantly surprised at the amount of variety you created with the characters, and their own little sub-plots. Tell me, was this on purpose?  What was your thought process when you created the characters and ‘their dramas’?

Yes, definitely on purpose. Watching Glass Shatter, the first book in this series, was my debut three years ago this week. I had been reading tons of family drama and contemporary fiction books, so it felt like the best first place for me to chance a new career. I don’t like being ordinary, and I like balance more than most others… so figuring out how to bring diversity into my books has been important since the beginning for me. Siblings fascinate me, probably because I’m an only child. I have a bunch of different personalities (in terms of the way I act sometimes, not clinically!)… so there are shades of each of the five Glass brothers in my real-life personality. Unfortunately, I have to make them all work as 1 person, so writing about them is a cathartic process of living through others in a way without having to constantly switch myself on/off in different situations.

Kim: Oh wow, I see an only child. Welp, as the youngest of three you’re right sibling relationships can be challenging at times, but on the other hand lovely. That’s interesting to hear that all the Glass brothers are a layer of Jay. *Raises an eyebrow* mmmmkay. I often wonder what it’s like for only children, my son is also in the same position and really what I notice is that, he really does know how to entertain himself, his teddy bears and action men seem to be good ‘friends’ of his, I often here them all deep in conversation LOL.

What character is really close to your heart from the Glass family, and why?

I think Caleb. His story is the most like my own. While I haven’t adopted a child, I did escape for some time when I wasn’t really comfortable in my own skin. I’m still not comfortable, and neither is Caleb. There will always be apart of him that can’t just relax and be who he is without feeling someone is judging him. While I have amazing friends and family, inside me, something is broken… and I don’t think it’s fixable. Now, please do not ever feel bad for me or think I make this a big thing with others. All it means is that I often struggle with knowing exactly who I am because I share so many versions of myself that the authentic me is now a blend of different parts of my life: who I was as a child, who I am at work, who I was in college, who I was as a single guy, who I am now that I’m half of a couple… my group of friends changes every ten years as I age… sometimes due to location, others due to which part of my personality is shining more strongly. It may seem weird, and I’ve probably said way too much, but that’s just what I’ve dealt with all my life. Caleb is the same, and I like being able to watch his maturity and learn from him.

Kim: I found Caleb’s story a very touching one. I don’t feel sorry for you at all, not in the way you’re probably thinking. I often say we don’t ever really lose friends, people, situations, places in life. We outgrow them, simple. The ‘changes’ reflect that. That’s good! Otherwise we walk around stagnate as people, which no one should aim for.

Let’s talk about Caleb in Hiding Cracked Glass, he is a gay, married, father via adoption.  I  remember thinking to myself, ‘damn, this is a hot potato in the USA.’  Adoption and LGBTQ  areas have been highlighted across the water. What made you feel good, or drawn to creating a controversial character like him?  Was this intentional?

Okay, I should’ve heard all the questions before answering each one, or I would’ve changed my prior answer. Ha! But I have a good answer here. I mentioned earlier that I wanted diversity in my books. I also want authenticity. As a white middle-aged male, it is not easy for me to write primary characters who are on different ends of spectrums and scales… even with research, sometimes an author gets it wrong or is called out for stealing from another culture or gender or age, etc. In all my books, there will always be a variety of people, not because that’s what people want or what might sell better… but because it’s how my head thinks. I see the world in so many different shades and versions that differences are innate and fundamental. It’s similar in my other books… Father Figure deals with a lesbian teenager and an interracial relationship. But I’m not the proper writer to dig deep into the issues these characters face… the true experience of what it means to be of different races or ethnicities. Instead, I layer my books with characters from all these aspects, and as a writer and human, to me, it shows the norm of diversity and inclusion without trying to make it so obvious. My Braxton Campus Mysteries which now has over 120 characters includes at least 33% non-Caucasian characters because the world contains at least that many. My goal is to be accurate in terms of what I see around me and represent a society where everything that happens could be regardless of where someone comes from or what they look like. In Hiding Cracked Glass, Caleb is the ‘most normal’ character in terms of marriages; he and Jake fight and cuddle like typical married people where his brothers are the ones doing things that get them in trouble. Okay, off my soapbox!

Kim: Now that’s an insight, glad I asked the question. Given that I have only ever read Hiding Cracked Glass, I had no idea, or even would have guessed that the diversity in your work is so vast. Not because I don’t think you’re capable, I just didn’t think it would have been such an important thing for you. This is really good information for readers and myself to know. Now you put it that way, yes even though Caleb’s life is pretty full on he does seem to be the most ‘normal’ in terms of a relationship’s natural ups and downs.

Oliva  in Hiding Cracked Glass at times came across as a bit of an ice maiden , I also felt that sometimes about Matt’s wife Margret too. What this on purpose? It felt to me like Margret was Olivia’s protégée kind of .

Yes! In the debut, Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is 100% ice witch for 50% of the book… she softens, and some people still end up disliking her, some find her a bit redeemed. In Hiding Cracked Glass, three more months have passed, and she’s now somewhere in the middle. At times, she brings the ice… at others, she brings the warmth. She will never be the perfect mother, but she knows when to control her natural tendencies now. Margaret is just like her, but she’s a generation younger and has learned more from society’s differences. Matt, her husband, has always wanted to be just like his parents… so he’s tried to be his father, and he wanted a wife like his mother, and in the end, it caused his addiction to drugs and anxiety. He’s a classic case of impacts of certain types of upbringings. There are positives and negatives, and without proper attention, it’s so easy to go down the wrong path. Luckily, his brothers want to save him too.

Have you ever been to Italy? I really enjoyed that  parts of Hiding Cracked Glass are set here.

Yes! So… about two and half years ago, I was on a two-week vacation in Italy, and the hotel and town mentioned in Hiding Cracked Glass is the exact one I stayed in back then for four days on the Amalfi Coast. I took a few notes to use in a future book, and when Watching Glass Shatter ended, right while I was planning the trip, I even noted that Olivia was leaving for Italy… so I did kind of prepare for it!

Kim: Ah-hah! Nice

Did you have to do a lot of research generally, while writing both books? Which book caused the most fact-checking or research?

Nope! I’m not that kind of writer. Some writers thrive on research and finding the specific details to make something even more realistic and memorable. I rely on my writing style… I also am a bit lazy in terms of research, as often, my plots are a bit intense, so I am already asking readers to suspend some disbelief. I do research a little bit, but rarely do I pick topics that require major analysis or prep work. That said, I definitely did check into a few things. For instance, the adoption rules in Maine were important for Caleb’s situation, as were wills in Connecticut. I had to get true laws correct, but if there is room for subjectivity, I go with it.

Kim: Oh I felt that poke in the ribs. ‘some writers thrive on research’ LOL. Yes I remember when I came to you for the finer details about New York, for my own research. I use real street names and iconic places for the reality you mention. But it takes up a lot of time. But for someone like you, it must really speed up the writing process with less of this kinda detail. I better make a note! Maybe I’d write quicker.

Let’s talk about character development, there are many characters in Hiding Cracked Glass  you write the POV of women in their sixties, men in the early to late thirties, women of this age, gay characters, straight characters, drug addicts! And more.  Something must have stirred in you during this process over two books… spill the beans on character development and writing Hiding Cracked Glass?

They seem real to me. I picture them when I write. I know who they are, so it’s very easy to share their voices. That’s usually what I spend 3 months on before I write a word of my outline. People navigate the perimeter of my brain while I’m working, eating, showering, exercising, etc. And when enough details formulate to generate the real character, I start assigning relationships and scenes. That’s when I am ready to write the outline. I also live in the most diverse city in the world – New York, so it’s the norm for me to see these characters every day on the street. I might not know the 60s woman is struggling with the death of her husband, but I’ve seen a couple walk together holding hands for months, and then suddenly, I see only her anymore. Something happened. And her story becomes our story… because she inspired it, I captured it in words… and now we are connected.

Okay, let’s flip the script and talk about fun stuff. You look like a man who likes to have fun! What do you do for fun? Be honest.

I will piggyback off something I said earlier. I am a compilation of many different people. It’s even in how people refer to me. Some say ‘James.’ Others use ‘Jay.’ Many just write my initial or call me JJC4. Like my names, my personalities are kinda distinct. One is definitely fun, but he’s dangerous. He doesn’t believe in rules or laws. He is purely out for fun. He mostly stays in the box these days because I am getting older and less in need of the dangerous fun. I’ve swapped the bars for the restaurants, the clubs for the cocktails on the terrace, and the rest kinda goes the same way. I’ve also learned not to drink in parties because that calms me enough to be too fun… whereas if I keep myself in check, I can wake up without saying ‘oh no, you didn’t really do that… did you?’

Kim: *GIGGLES* I knew it. The trouser braces gave your ‘wild side’ away LOL

Okay pick one tea or coffee? Dogs or cats? Coke of Pepsi?  Fresh orange juice with or without the pulp bits?

Coffee. Dogs. Coke. With the pulp. That said, I do like tea and cats. I don’t drink soda anymore, but I also went for Coke over Pepsi. And OJ either way is truly okay!

This is my second interview with you in a few years, in the last one I never really got that nosey this time I will, I’m a romance author after all so I have to ask about your love life *Kim giggles* ummm, so like, do you have a girlfriend or boyfriend whatever applies?

Ah, yes, I am quiet about the personal stuff beyond me (I’ve basically revealed everything in my 365 Daily Challenge about myself, the good and the bad). I try to respect people’s privacy in my life, i.e. by not talking names of family or friends, etc. But I’ve definitely shared a bit on random posts about W. You can totally get nosy. W and I have been together nine years this fall. We met through Match.com; he’s an attorney from Louisiana. It’s easy to find him thru some of my social media connections. I just don’t advertise it, rather than intentionally hide it.

What’s your ideal woman or man whatever applies— if you are single?

I can only answer that if I’m single? Oh, that’s no fun. Pure and simple, I’m like you, Kim. Zach! And therein is my biggest problem. If I picked someone like Zach as my significant other, it would be pure bliss for 5 days a week… but then the other two, I’d want to kill him. And I probably would. Then I’d be writing from prison. And well… in the end, that’s probably not a good idea for someone like me who tends to try appease everyone in my life.

Kim: *throws head back giggling* welp, agreed there’s something about Zack (and I already told you this), that does make him appealing as a character and a man. What got me about Zack was when he and his ex-girl friend broke into the store for alcohol, had sex on the counter, forget about the CCTV and had to steal the tape. I was like, ‘oh my days, this is a dangerous man’. I would not have the balls to do something like that, but a younger Kim, with nothing to lose and with a few shots down her may have been ‘encouraged’ into it. *Covers face and laughs.* I really loved his character, not just for that but how he seemed to have grown, taking on the role as a single father out of choice. I respected him a lot for that.

I know that you and my co-author (who is now your co-author too) Didi Oviatt have penned a book together. Tell us about it? What can we expect?

Yes! I hope it’s cool we worked together. Maybe it’ll be a three-way in the future. (Shut your dirty minds, people. I’m not talking about… never mind, I won’t ruin your imagination.) Anyways, it lined up so nicely, given our major differences in writing style and genre. But at the same time, it was like we had a fantastic connection and symbiosis. As an only child and a perfectionist, I expected it would be difficult. But honestly, it was super easy. We kinda agreed on most everything and just kept flipping work back and forth. Weathering Old Souls will release in 2021. We’re talking to a few agents and publishers now, to see how to best handle a collaborative work, but we hope to have an announcement on the date and publication details before early next year. As for the story, oh, it would take pages to explain it, but essentially combine Didi’s amazing ability to write suspenseful thrillers with my complicated mystery plots. Add her brilliant scene descriptions with my shocking character relationships and historical references. Drip in some romance, family drama, natural elements, and a new genre for us both (metaphysical / past lives / the unknown world out there), and you’ve got a rollercoaster. The first part of the book shares Abigail’s childhood and teenage experiences where she’s learning to understand what all these voices and confusing memories are… all the while, news reports tell us about a serial killer torturing people nearby. By midway, Abigail has an accident that changes her forever… and when she figures out the distinct lines and connections from all her past lives, it’s a page-turner where you can’t stop because every scene leads to another stunning revelation.

Kim: I’m rollin’ with laughter, stop! I’d be up for whatever (writing mind you). Nah, it’s cool you’ve worked together it’s great. Didi is SUPER EASY!! And a pleasure to work with. I honestly may say that because our styles are very similar anyway. That’s what shocked me about Didi, the stories in our two books anyone of us could have written. At times, it did freak me out to know there’s someone on the other side of the world, who can mirror me and I can mirror her without even trying, it’s just how we both write without trying, when it comes to thrillers. Now I think it’s really cool and to ‘confuse’ people or let them guess who wrote what, with only American or British spelling as a hint.

From reading your work this week I can see how you and her differ in your writing styles. But like you said if you add both your styles together it would make great reading, but I can see how you may not always agree on everything as I’ve read you both separately and can see the difference. But I love both styles, the details you’ve shared sound like a very interesting plot. I wish you both a lot of luck, love, and good fortune for 2021.

Could you see yourself living anywhere else in the world? Outside of New York?

I’m hoping to buy or build a house in Maine within the next five years. I just need to work out the job situation or make enough money off writing to afford to live there and have healthcare!

Kim: keep manifesting! Good luck.

What are you writing now?

After Hiding Cracked Glass, the co-written book with Didi (Weathering Old Souls) will release in 2021. I am in the process of writing the 7th Braxton Campus Mystery, which will release around April 2021. After that, it’s open. I have a few ideas, but I also need a mini-break, so we’ll see after the holidays when I send the Braxton book to beta readers… that’ll tell me what to focus on. I will say I’m learning toward a paranormal mystery series about characters in the Underworld or a collection of short stories and character studies.

Kim: Sounds good, make sure you come back for your third interview. Maybe next time we could do a live Zoom interview and record it.

Do you think that the dreams of many writers to be household names, rich over night etc are things that need to be balanced in order to reach success?

Yes! It’s like someone who wants to be an actor or a politician or professional sports player. None of those are ever about how talented you are. That’s a given. But you also have to embody what the other person is looking for too… and that’s where people’s dreams get crushed. You can be qualified and have the best odds, but still fail. I always tell new writers… don’t just write. Have goals in mind. Know whether it’s about money, fame, connections, creative expression, etc. If you have something tangible in mind as the short-term goal, you can monitor the long-term goal… then if you meet somewhere in the middle, you can still be happy and proud and feel amazing about the

Thank so much for stopping by today Jay, it was amazing to catch up with you again. I really am proud of the diversity you’re bring to the world of fiction. I honestly look forward to reading more of your individual work.

Grab your Kindles it’s live now, readers! On Amazon

Hiding-Cracked-Glass-Main-File

An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?

In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.

Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved. 

Amazon Link https://www.amazon.com/Hiding-Cracked-Glass-Perceptions-Book-ebook/dp/B08F3YWTYX/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=hiding+cracked+glass&qid=1602246117&sr=8-1

Giveaway https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e5ee1a9220/?

Author Bio

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I began working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment, media, retail, and hospitality industries. Although I enjoy my job, I also want to re-focus on my passions: telling stories and connecting people through literature.

In 2017, I published my debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor, and romance. The sequel, Hiding Cracked Glass, released exactly three years later in 2020. I’ve also written another family drama novel, Father Figure, and created the Braxton Campus Mysteries, a light investigation series about a humorous thirty-something guy dealing with murders and the drama of a small town. I am currently co-authoring a book with a surprise writer and finalizing the next Braxton Campus Mystery, both set to be released in early to mid 2021.

Most of my books are available in hardcover, paperback, electronic, and audiobook formats, as well as in a variety of bookstores. We’ve begun translating into Portuguese, Spanish, German, and Italian for some of the books too. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com.

Outside of writing, I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2,500 family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 1,000 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I share several fun features, including the Book Bucket List, Tips & Advice, Author Spotlights & Book Alerts, and the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. You’ll find tons of humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers… where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have segments where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Baxter, a two-year-old shiba inu, constantly tries to stop me from writing so I can play with him and keep him amused. How else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

Author Links

Blog:

https://thisismytruthnow.com

Author Website:

Home Page

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

90 Days of Writing: How Did You Start Writing? #90DaysBlogChallenge

A very good question! For day #2 of my #90DaysBlogChallenge. In all honesty you could say out of pure creative, therapeutic, time-passing, chance! I never really premeditated this career move, or making it an actual profession I take seriously at all. Here’s the thing I guess while it’s true that I’ve always been a writer. Journals, diaries etc I’ve always loved the written word, and placing my thoughts down . (I have some journals from my school days, I read back and laugh at how my eleven-sixteen year old mind worked back then), in all honesty I never sat down and said, ‘ you’re going to do this for your real job, or at least try to lol.’

Where Did it All Start?

The first ever book I penned was a 90,000 word novel A Stranger in France. It was rough as hell in terms of the manuscript. I had no conscious thought for ‘how to be a good technical writer’ back then, but it’s a good story. This is when I realised my talent, and that a good writer is a GOOD STORY TELLER not (just) a good technical writer. As you can pay people to become good with grammar etc, and do that part. Plus you learn it as you write more. Story-telling natural talent, is not something you can teach, or pay people to really give you naturally. Yes, you can attend courses, read books I’ve written a writer’s reference too on writing good romance, but all they give you and all anyone can give you is, an outline and guide. You, the writer, must bring your talent and A-game and that’s what makes a good story teller- you-your talent. You have it or you don’t I feel. You as a writer will know, regardless of who says what.

Anyway, even with my lack of regard for being a technically good writer with grammar etc (at the time in 2015/16), my focus was just to write and get my idea down on paper then edit it all later. To my surprise after sending it out to the first publisher I had ever approached, I got a response! A good one! A contract! OMG what happened??

So fast forward the first version was published in 2016, but I was very unhappy. with the publisher’s standards of working, and marketing, I learned a lot. The main difference between a good publisher willing to help you grow, has high standards with regards to quality, and ones that are really not worth the paper they offer you the contract on. Especially as you market the hell out of your book, to bring them money, but the end product is piss poor if you want me to keep it real. So that’s how I fell into writing.

I wrote that book because I had a story inside me to tell, and wanted to get it on paper. I had no idea about self-publishing or KDP at the time. I was a total virgin writer in every way! Once my cherry was popped in a way that woke me up, I learned all I could about self-publishing, how to do it well, and the role of a good publisher. I kinda didn’t really trust anyone with my work for a while. I kept writing, self publishing, and loved it I did a few books but then found my home I’m at now. A publisher who I am happy with so far! And they are happy with me.

What Was Going on in Life When You Penned That First Novel?

At the time I started to write my first ever novel, I was thirty-four years old I was running a book club in London too. Some of you may already know this. I ran it for about five years, met some wonderful girls (it was just for girls). We’d meet in London’s biggest book store Waterstones with five floors of books! It was heaven, and I was reading at least two books a month if not more back then. I just opened up a word document, and started to write what was in my heart, how I felt, and what characters came to me. I was also in a terrible relationship, nearing the end. I think that writing actually gave me the strength to say ‘times up, good bye’. So I did! I moved forward with life. Writing really was my saviour, I went on to write more books. Now I’m on about number fourteen (off the top of my head), at the time that I write this. It’s not a hobby, it’s a habit, something I have to do, something that came to me later in life, something that was ‘woken up’ within me, my talent came out from experiencing trauma and self-realisation! For that bull-shit that happened I am thankful for.

Never once did I imagine that in under five years of being a traditionally published author, I’d be an award-winning and best-selling one. Nope, never. I never had any of those common goals or wishes many writers have in mind, in order to 1. validate themselves as a writer 2. validate their talent as a writer 3. make them feel as though ‘they’ve made it’. It just happened by writing and being myself. My only goal has only been to get these characters out of my head , on paper, and into stories that I would love to read and hope others would. I guess I’m the kind of writer that writes for me first, and then hopes others will enjoy it. Sure, if I notice that readers like a particular story, style, series I create etc I will aim to keep them happy! But I guess when I sit down to write, the first thing that comes to me is ‘what do I want to create?’ rather than ‘what will sell?’ ‘ x,y,z would love this’, if that makes sense.

So my route into writing was a very random one, it flourished from experiencing joys with getting a publishing contract very easily or early, but not being happy with that experience, to learning myself how to put out my work, to then securing a publisher who is on the same page as me! My only hope is one day of course for one of the BIG, BIG BIG publishing houses to take onboard a manuscript of mine. But for the here and now I just want to keep going as I am, just write.

What Else Do You Write?

Outside of romantic suspense and crime/thriller/mysteries, magazine writing came later, I expanded on my love of non-fiction writing. I wrote for one magazine that did not stand the test of time sadly, and carried out editorial here. Then I landed my gig with Aspiring Authors Magazine LLC. Then I was blessed with an Associate Editor’s role for a romance literary magazine this year. Tallon Lake publishes quarterly.

How did you get into writing? Leave me a comment, blog it and link back to it here. Join in the writing prompt challenge use #90DaysBlogChallenge

New Release: Historical Fiction: A Painter in Penang by Clare Flynn @clarefly @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

About The Book

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Barrington hates everything about living in Kenya and longs to return to the island of Penang in British colonial Malaya where she was born. Expulsion from her Nairobi convent school offers a welcome escape – the chance to stay with her parents’ friends, Mary and Reggie Hyde-Underwood on their Penang rubber estate.

But this is 1948 and communist insurgents are embarking on a reign of terror in what becomes the Malayan Emergency. Jasmine unearths a shocking secret as her own life is put in danger. Throughout the turmoil, her one constant is her passion for painting.

From the international best-selling and award-winning author of The Pearl of Penang, this is a dramatic coming of age story, set against the backdrop of a tropical paradise torn apart by civil war.


Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/3iyTFYD

Meet The Author

Historical novelist Clare Flynn is a former global marketing director and business owner. She now lives in Eastbourne on the south coast of England and most of her time these days is spent writing her novels – when she’s not gazing out of her windows at the sea.

Clare is the author of eleven novels and a short story collection. Her books deal with displacement – her characters are wrenched away from their comfortable existences and forced to face new challenges – often in outposts of an empire which largely disappeared after WW2.

Her latest novel, Prisoner From Penang, was published on 17th April 2020. It is set in South East Asia during the Japanese occupation in World War Two.

Clare’s novels often feature places she knows well and she does extensive research to build the period and geographic flavour of her books. A Greater World – 1920s Australia; Kurinji Flowers – pre-Independence India; Letters from a Patchwork Quilt – nineteenth century industrial England and the USA; The Green Ribbons – the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century in rural England, The Chalky Sea – World War II England (and Canada) and its sequels The Alien Corn and The Frozen River – post WW2 Canada. She has also published a collection of short stories – both historical and contemporary, A Fine Pair of Shoes and Other Stories.

Fluent in Italian, she loves spending time in Italy. In her spare time she likes to quilt, paint and travel as often and as widely as possible. She is an active member of the Historical Novel Society, the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors, NINC and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Get a free copy of Clare’s exclusive short story collection, A Fine Pair of Shoes, at www.clareflynn.co.uk.

Advance Reader Copies Up For Grabs! Release Date 30th October

I have twenty-five (e-version) advance reader copies of Sacrifices, for those who would love to read it before it’s released! It’s still on pre-sale at .99 cent too, on the 30th it will increase to 4.99.

Book Blurb

Sacrifices is a riveting romantic story with historical and suspenseful elements set in the 1960s jazz scene and the present day.

Jane O’Sullivan, a sultry twenty-seven-year-old singer, starts a torrid, forbidden affair during the 1960s jazz scene in London. Working hard, she makes a name for herself. She’s a woman with dreams, hopes, and a burning desire to leave Europe behind and travel to New Orleans with her lover, Louis.

Louis Simpson, a charming twenty-nine-year-old musician from Jackson, Mississippi, is on tour with his band in London. Back home, the height of the civil rights movement plays out in the USA. Driven by ambition, a forbidden love, and a desire to turn his life around, he pushes forward, living his dream.

Once their paths cross, a twist of fate crushes Jane’s world, forcing her to make a life-changing decision that impacts both her and Louis. This historical love story spans across the Atlantic and roams through Europe with love, loss, and broken promises.

Twenty-five years later, when Jane and Louis’ paths cross on a Greek island, will the helping hand of fate bring them together, or rip them apart, once more?

Enter Your Email Here For An Advance Reader Copy!

Book Review: Disturbing the Peace, by Winona Kent 5 ‘wow’ stars! (Mystery/Detective) + $10.00 Giveaway

 
Lost Time
Jason Davey Mysteries Book 2
by Winona Kent
 
Genre: Mystery, Amateur Detective
 
 
In 1974, top UK band Figgis Green was riding high in the charts with their blend of traditional Celtic ballads mixed with catchy, folky pop. One of their biggest fans was sixteen-year old Pippa Gladstone, who mysteriously vanished while she was on holiday with her parents in Spain in March that same year.

 

 
Now it’s 2018, and founding member Mandy Green has reunited the Figs for their last-ever Lost Time Tour. Her partner, Tony Figgis, passed away in 1995, so his place has been taken by their son, professional jazz guitarist (and amateur sleuth) Jason Davey.
 
As the band meets in a small village on the south coast of England for pre-tour rehearsals, Jason’s approached by Duncan Stopher, a diehard Figs fan, who brings him a photo of the band performing at the Wiltshire Folk Festival. Standing in the foreground is Pippa Gladstone. The only problem is the Wiltshire Folk Festival was held in August 1974, five months after Pippa disappeared. Duncan offers Jason a substantial sum of money to try and find out what really happened to the young woman, whose mother had her declared officially dead in 1981.
 
When Duncan is murdered, it becomes increasingly clear to Jason that his investigation into Pippa’s disappearance is not welcome, especially after he follows a series of clues which lead him straight back to the girl’s immediate family.
 
But nothing can prepare Jason for the truth about Pippa, which he discovers just as Figgis Green is about to take to the stage on opening night—with or without him.

 

 
 
 
 
 
Notes On a Missing G-String
 
Jason Davey Mysteries Book 1 
 
 
“A highly entertaining caper set in a sleazy London underworld…Jason is a well-crafted reluctant hero, and Kent’s writing is slick and engaging throughout.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

 
The first time we met Jason Davey, he was entertaining passengers aboard the Alaska cruise ship Star Sapphire, Eight ‘til Late in the TopDeck Lounge.
 
Then he came ashore, got a gig playing lead guitar at London’s Blue Devil jazz club, and gained a certain amount of notoriety tracking down missing musician Ben Quigley in the Canadian north.
 
Now Jason’s back again, this time investigating the theft of £10,000 from a dancer’s locker at a Soho gentlemen’s club.
 
Jason initially considers the case unsolvable. But the victim, Holly Medford, owes a lot of money to London crime boss Arthur Braskey and, fearing for her life, has gone into hiding at a posh London hotel.
 
Jason’s investigation takes him from Cha-Cha’s and Satin & Silk (two Soho lapdancing clubs) to Moonlight Desires (an agency featuring high class escorts) and finally to a charity firewalking event, where he comes face to face with Braskey and discovers not everything Holly’s been telling him is the complete truth.
 
As he becomes increasingly drawn into the seamy underside of Soho, Jason tries to save Gracie, his band-mate’s 14-year-old runaway daughter, from Holly’s brother Radu, a ruthless pimp, while at the same time protecting Holly herself from a vengeful Braskey—nearly losing his life, and Gracie’s—in the process.
 
Notes on a Missing G-String is the first novel in a new mystery series featuring jazz musican-turned-sleuth Jason Davey.

 

 
 
 
 
 
Disturbing the Peace
 
Jason Davey Mysteries Prequel  
 
 
Jason Davey’s last job was aboard the Star Sapphire cruising from Vancouver to Alaska. Hired as one of the ship’s entertainers, he played guitar in the TopDeck Lounge. You can read about those adventures in the novel Cold Play here.

 

 

 

Now Jason’s back on shore, and he has a regular gig at a jazz club in London.
 
Jason’s son, Dominic, is studying film at university. When Dom asks his dad to help track down a missing musician for a documentary he’s making, Jason leaps at the chance.
 
Ben Quigley played rhythm guitar in Jason’s parents’ folk group Figgis Green in the late 1960s. And he dropped off the face of the earth four years ago.
 
Jason’s search ultimately takes him to Peace River, Alberta – 300 miles from Edmonton in the Canadian north. And what he discovers there is both intriguing – and disturbing.
 
Disturbing the Peace is a novella which introduces readers to professional musician and amateur sleuth Jason Davey. Jason will soon feature in a new series of full-length mystery novels, beginning with Notes on a Missing G-String.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Winona Kent is an award-winning author who was born in London, England and grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, where she completed her BA in English at the University of Regina. After moving to Vancouver, she graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. More recently, she received her diploma in Writing for Screen and TV from Vancouver Film School.

 

After a career that’s included freelancing for magazines and newspapers, long and short fiction, screenplays and tv scripts, Winona has now returned to her first love, novels. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.
Writing is Winona’s passion.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
 
$10 Amazon giftcard, ebook set of the series – 1 winner each 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 

5 ‘wow ‘ really good stars

Thank you to Silver Dagger Book Tours for my free review copy. I was thrilled with the chance to read a new to me British author. I must say the author’s prequel novella Disturbing the Peace really did not disappoint in my reading experience.

Without re-hashing the blurb and giving spoilers to the plot, I was drawn into this story from page one. The author’s character Jason is very like-able, and I found him relatable too, being British myself. His mannerisms I found very authentic, and his dry sense of humour and sarcasm cracked me up. I followed his first person POV with a lot of enjoyment. There is very good character development with Jason.

The story itself moves quickly, it’s not really a slow burn ‘who-dun-it’, I liked this. What I really enjoyed was the setting, it’s based in London then moves to Canada. All the places in London the author referenced I had knowledge of, this was really nice. Even if you’re not a British reader, the author paints a very vivid picture for those who don’t know London well.

How things come together with Jason’s investigations into the missing person, once he’s in Canada, this is where the mystery starts to unfold, I really enjoyed reading it. The ‘big bang’ and plot twist I never saw coming. And this is where I’d love to really shout out this author, sometimes with this genre (for me), I can sometimes see what’s coming and guess, or I find plot gaps (sadly). I found none of this with Disturbing the Peace!!

Bottom line I was pretty much hooked on the novella, so much so, I was very happy to check my email and see that I had the other two books also sent to me. So yes! I will read them, I am drawn in. The story does end on a bit of a cliff-hanger, and normally I hate this I like a conclusion. That said, there is enough conclusion as we find out where Ben ( the missing person) is, we just don’t know what happens next. This to me was a good cliff hanger as I had a conclusion, ‘we found him’, but what happens next? I look forward to finding out. Five stars for Disturbing the Peace from me, I thank the author for sharing her work, she has gained a new fan. I recommend this series and the prequel I read to all mystery, suspense, and detective/sleuth fiction lovers! Especially those who seek stories outside the USA.

90 Days of Writing: Average day and Routine? #90dayBlogChallenge.

I woke up this morning in a very good mood, not that I don’t normally but today just felt like I had an extra spring in my step. I don’t know if it’s because release day is nearing for me, or just from reading some very uplifting books these last few days. Either way it felt good as I fixed my morning tea and thought about what’s on today’s to-do list.

I can hardly believe that we’re already in October and if I’m honest, it’s always in the last quarter or so of the year I personally get more productive. Whether this be with writing and/or personal goals. This year it’s been very different, the Covid-19 pandemic in a very ironic way pushed me to get more done. I was and still am at home so often, that I have not much choice put to get on with what I should be doing, around managing the household.

So anyway, this morning I woke up and realised, ‘damn it’s already October’ and I felt like I really wanted to focus my time on my personal blogging. I’ve had this blog/official author site since 2016. Back in the day I did a hella-lot of blogging and writing prompts. I slowed down though because of other projects. I decided I’ll do my very own blog challenge that I included in my writer’s reference book , and respond to all the blog challenge topics myself as we close out 2020! Reason being 1. to actually do the challenge myself 2. allow you a little more of a glimpse into me the person, and my life 3. as mentioned I felt like I wanted to spend more time on my blog, personally rather than just featuring others and posting reviews etc. it’s been a while since it’s had a ‘personal touch.’ If your interested you can find out more here on this page, ‘personal blogs n’ rambles’. The funny thing is in the book I’ve set the challenge from the months October- December so it’s perfect timing LOL.

Also I’d like to say do join in with me on the prompts and topics, feel free to link back to this page! I’d love to actually spend more time reading personal blogs of others. Back to that habit I developed years ago. Use #90DayBlogChallenge if you’re onboard.

My Average Day and Routine?

I really wish my day was that simple, wake up, coffee, the rest… since March my average routine has flip itself upside down, around, backwards, and God knows where else. The reason? Yep you guessed it Covid-19. Here’s what my day looks like now as we move through this second wave of the virus in Europe.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday

7.00a.m: Alarm goes off, I moan, curse ,and generally ask myself WTF it’s time already? by 7.30ish I’m out of bed.

7.30-8.00a.m: coffee, tea, or a herbal tea, switch the heating on if it’s chilly, sit down at the kitchen table, express my gratitude for the day and think about what needs to be done today. Quick check of emails.

8.00-8.30a.m: Most days I try to fit in about twenty to thirty minutes Yoga. I really like Vinyasa, Astanga more dynamic yoga in the morning to wake me up! During the summer when I started this new routine, I’d take my yoga mat out onto the patio and practice there. If it’s chilly I’ll practice in the kitchen lol.

8.30a.m: Wake everyone up! Make breakfast, then I jump in the shower and get ready for the day.

9.30a.m: Shower time and dress my son.

10.00a.m: Home school starts! Now this is the major change to my average day since the pandemic. My son has not returned to school since they opened, closed, then opened again. I’ve made the decision to home school until the risk with Covid-19 is a little less. I would rather my son goes to school and has social interaction, yes. But in all honesty health first. I know maybe I’m over protective so much so that I will disrupt my ability to work and earn to home school, but there are ‘vulnerable at risk people’ in the house. The thought of him bringing the virus home (sans symptoms as kids don’t have them), then passing it around. Or him becoming very ill in anyway frankly, it freaks me out. We focus on all the subjects for his age, the national curriculum for his key stage, and we follow the work sent home from school etc.

12.30p.m/ 1-ish until around 2pm: Lunch time. I’ll prepare something, or we’ll have something from the night before. As we all take a break from the day, I allow my son to watch his tablet if he wants, or play a game. Generally he gets to chill. I will check on emails, calls, anything I need to do. Sometimes if need be we’ll eat then head straight out to run errands.

2.00p.m- 4.30ish: Back to home school. We will change topics and/or subjects.

5.00p.m- 7.00p.m: Me time! Finally I get to chill and do as I please. My son will go off and take his time also.

7.00pm: Cook dinner.

by 8.00pm: We all eat!

9.00p.m until bed time: Family time, chill time, reading, writing, enjoyment at home. I actually will do my ‘day job’ around this time I work from home part time.

So Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday that’s generally my ‘pandemic routine’ before this there would be no home school. My son would be at school, I would work and write in the days.

Wednesday officially there’s no school, my son only ever did four days a week anyway. This is a day of rest for us all and enjoyment. I may write a lot on a Wednesday, catch up with work in the evening. On the weekend Saturday and Sunday we take it as it comes, wake up whenever,eat whenever,get dressed whenever and general it’s whatever and whenever I love it. The changes to my week and days has been a lot to get use to. But we’ve managed, it’s working very well. In all honesty I see the improvement in my son’s overall educational abilities from the one to one focus. As mentioned I do really hope that he can return to his normal traditional school soon. But only when this ‘second wave’ is not so risky.

How does your day or routine look? Has it changed since the pandemic? How do you feel now with the changes? Let me know below, join in the blog challenge link it back if you want or comment

Book Review: Zenned Out Guide to Understanding Crystals (spirituality/non-fiction) 5 Wonderful Stars!#TheZennedOutGuidetoUnderstandingCrystals #NetGalley

CrystalsThis is the second book I’ve read by this author, but the first time I’ve ever heard of her. I feel like she’s a new favourite non-fiction author of mine already from just two books. I also bought this one too. I thank the author and Netgalley for my free copy in exchange for a review, all opinions are my own.

About the Book:

The Zenned Out Guide to Understanding Crystals covers everything you need to know about crystals and their unique healing properties.

This is your spiritual guide to using crystals for healing, meditating, boosting energy, improving mood, elevating your health, and much more. Discover which crystal is right for you and harness its power as you become more balanced and centered. Approachable exercises make it easy for you to practice techniques for amplifying healing energy, manifesting your intentions, and enhancing your ritual work. A gorgeous illustrative guide to over 90 crystals helps you identify which crystals resonate with you the most. With this book, you’ll:Learn the significance of each crystal’s color and its relation to chakras, the best way to position it, and ideal crystal pairings.Find out which moon phases, days of the week, zodiac signs, and chakras work best with each.Learn how to best clean, program, and protect your crystals by using elements such as the moon and the sun, so you can enhance each crystal’s power as you work with them.Use crystals as intention-setting tools to manifest what you want to bring into your life and add more meaning to your spiritual craft.Practice meditation techniques and protect your energy to raise your vibrations.With The Zenned Out Guide to Understanding Crystals, you’ll deepen the connection between your mind, body, and spirit as you explore the earth’s energy through crystals.
The Zenned Out series is an open invitation to seasoned and curious spiritualists who want to explore their craft. With Cassie Uhl’s approachable steps and explanations to mystical tools and symbolism, readers can start using the information right away.

blendedfamilies - my review

So this is my third book on this subject matter I’ve found on Netgalley and then purchased, while the others are both five star reads, I feel like this book offers something very different. It’s to die for also, visually as is the author’s other book I read. This book on crystals felt more down-to- earth and by this I mean, less technical, or metaphysical with the fine details of what makes up each crystal from the earth. That said, for me the more toned down approach was not something I needed, I could get head around the metaphysical approach of the others, it was just nice to read a more reader friendly book on the subject!

Also, the author covers a very different angle for example moon phases, astrology, and different areas of crystal use, information, facts and practical info that other books have not. I found this really nice. Generally it is an easy to read book, and very enjoyable. I would recommend it for anyone who has an interest in metaphysics, crystals etc. Especially beginners because the author’s approach is very different to what I’ve noticed is common, with books on this subject matter. Five wonderful stars from  me! I can’t wait for the hard copy to arrive. Thank you again Netgalley and the author for the chance to review it free!

Book Review: Understanding Auras (Non-fiction/ Spirituality) 5+ Wonderful stars!! #TheZennedOutGuidetoUnderstandingAuras #NetGalley

Understanding AuraThis book is OMG gorgeous on EVERY level, I thank NetGalley and the author for my free review copy. All opinions are my own. Let’s just say, I bought a  hardback copy after I read the e-book version!

About The Book:

In this beautifully illustrated comprehensive guide to auras, expert spiritualist Cassie Uhl shows you how to identify and interpret energetic fields with actionable steps that will make you an expert in no time.

Auras are constantly changing. Everything can affect your aura: your mood, your health, the food you eat, your environment, and the energy of other people. With The Zenned Out Guide to Understanding Auras, you’ll learn how to intuit your auric field and what steps you can take to keep your aura radiant, healthy, and protected. You’ll also learn the different layers and colors and what they mean, plus discover techniques to cleanse and heal your energetic field. Gorgeous illustrations make it easy to navigate through the chapters as you enhance your intuition and understanding of energy. You’ll:Learn about the subtle energy body, the many purposes of the aura, and how each chakra connects to the auras.Tap deeper into your intuition and third eye chakra to open yourself up to experiencing auras by feeling, hearing, touching, intuiting, or “seeing” them.Take the aura quiz to find your primary aura color(s) and better understand your personality and traits.Protect your aura through energy work, crystals, herbs, food, meditations, visualizations, sound healing, and breathing techniques.Do quick aura scenes to identify energy vampires that are harming your aura and help keep your aura healthy.Perform aura readings on other people and on yourself! With these interactive exercises and tips, you can protect your aura from unwanted energy and feel like your best self.
The Zenned Out series is an open invitation to seasoned and curious spiritualists who want to explore their craft. With Cassie Uhl’s approachable steps and explanations to mystical tools and symbolism, readers can start using the information right away.

blendedfamilies - my review

I picked up the book off Netgalley as I just love these kind of esoteric subjects, and yes I have been able to read my own aura by using my hand in the past.  It’s not a new subject to me, but there’s always more to learn and understand. In fact, I have never really read more on the subject of auras, than what I found on small blog posts on esoteric websites I follow. The first thing to say is, this book is visually to die for, the illustrations are beautiful, diverse, and feature people from all over the world. There are so many ethnic pictures it is just adorable to look at. Apart from the stunning visual I found as a reader, that the author is very down to earth, uses everyday language, very detailed, and makes the whole subject matter of ‘auras’ we give off as people 1. interesting 2. fun 3. very practical in ‘how to’ actually read someone’s aura, or your own.

The book also covers a lot of reference to the body’s chakra system, therefore it gives additional learning and deeper understanding. It also covers why we have auras, where they come from, the different types and so many other cool things.

One statement that the author makes is that, ‘we give off an aura before we even say anything, shake hands etc.’ ‘ Vibes don’t lie.’ I totally agree with her, I have always felt this way. The author is very relatable in her style of delivery.

Overall, I give Understanding Auras 5 plus wonderful stars, the level of detail, ease of reading, and general enjoyment for me was off the scale! I recommend it to all those who enjoy spirituality and esoteric subjects. I can’t wait for my hardback to arrive it will sit very proudly on my bookshelf for ‘woo woo’ subjects LOL. I thank Netgalley and the author again for the preview.

Hot New Mystery by Jo A. Hiestand Just .99 Cent + $25.00 giveaway!

Hide and Seek
The McLaren Mysteries Book 12
by Jo A. Hiestand
Genre: Mystery 
 
Playing a mystery game seems the perfect way to celebrate Jamie Kydd’s promotion to Detective Sergeant rank. But the game turns real when a body turns up in the pretend crime scene. Perhaps worse than spoiling the party, the corpse is someone Jamie knows.
Even though the police take on the case, Jamie asks his friend, former police detective Michael McLaren, to also investigate—concerned that the victim’s criminal past may dampen the Constabulary’s usual fervor to nab his killer. It seems to have been a smart decision, for the police aren’t expending a lot of energy on the inquiry.
Suspects float around McLaren…half truthful, hard to find. More like wraiths than flesh and blood. If the victim’s burglary partner, ex-wife, or childhood friend didn’t kill Dan, who did? It’s a desperate game between McLaren and a killer who’s playing Hide and Seek.
** On Sale for only .99 cents!!**
 
 
 
Books, Girl Scouts and music filled Jo A. Hiestand’s childhood. She discovered the magic of words and the worlds they create: mysteries, English medieval history, the natural world. She explored the joys of the outdoors through Girl Scout camping trips and summers as a canoeing instructor and camp counselor. Brought up on classical, big band and baroque music, she was groomed as a concert pianist until forsaking the piano for the harpsichord. She also plays guitar and has sung in a semi-professional folkgroup in the US and as a soloist in England.
This mixture formed the foundation for her writing. A true Anglophile, Jo wanted to create a mystery series that featured a British police detective who left the Force over an injustice and now investigates cold cases on his own. The result is the McLaren Mysteries, featuring ex-police detective Michael McLaren. Jo’s insistence for accuracy — from police methods and location layout to the general feel of the area — has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire. These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books. She also writes the amateur sleuth Linn House Mysteries under the pen name Jessie McAlan. In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English. She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.
She has employed her love of writing, board games and music in other ways by co-inventing a mystery-solving game, P.I.R.A.T.E.S., which uses maps, graphics, song lyrics, and other clues to lead the players to the lost treasure. Jo founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president. Besides her love of mysteries and early music, she also enjoys photography, reading, baking, and her backyard wildlife.Her cat, Tennyson, shares her St. Louis home.
 
 
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