The Vintage Egg is my one and only foray into short stories, and it just received a fabulous 5/5 star review:
acflory writes some great sci-fi, and though I’ve read her novels, this was my first experience with her short stories. Her imagination and polished writing skills never disappoint, and these six stories are original and entertaining. My favorite tale was broken into two parts—The Vintage Egg and Egg Run—which bookend the other offerings. I also thoroughly enjoyed The Christmas Roast. I read this collection in under an hour and highly recommend it. A great peek at acflory’s writing talent.
I’m happy-dancing my way to the kitchen now for some lunch. Have a great day or evening. 🙂
Have you heard of the ‘Friendly Jordies’?
I hadn’t until the Offspring started talking about this daring exposé of National Party shenanigans in the small country town of Narrandera.
I watched the youtube podcast, and my first thought was “Why isn’t Four Corners investigating this?” Why is it being left to a young man and his mates to ask the tough questions?
I don’t want to be accused of being a conspiracy theorist so I won’t answer those questions. Instead I’ll post the youtube video I just watched and let you make up your own mind.
To quote the Bard, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”.
My focus is on writing at the moment, so you’ll have to forgive me if a lot of my posts are about music!
In my last post, I featured a compilation video called ‘Forgotten Odes’. The first track – Revolution – is by a composer called Piotr Musial, and while I love it, I’ve just discovered that further down the list of tracks are some stunning pieces composed by a young, gorgeous woman by the name of Bianca Ban!
This is the official music video of her ‘Forgotten Odes’ [from the album Eternal Eclipse]:
To call this music ‘haunting’ is an understatement. If you look closely at the fingers of the violinists at the very beginning of the video you can see that they are playing without any vibrato at all, giving the notes a thin, crystaline clarity. Then the lead violin comes in and it’s warm and rich and vibrant. The two sounds duel it out for a short time before the lead violin ‘wins’.
Love, love, LOVE! And the melodies are so beautiful…
Ahem. I know I shouldn’t be sexist but heck, hell and pftttttui…this truly stunning music was composed by a woman, and female composer are still so rare! Surely it’s okay to celebrate the fact that women are not only making beautiful music, but being recognized for doing so?
Anyway, this is the link to the Bianca Ban website where you can learn more about her. Under ‘Music’ you can also find samples of her most popular tracks. One of my other favourites is ‘Spirit of Africa’ which features a wind instrument of some kind – flute? pan pipes? Whatever it is it’s great. 🙂
Actually, there isn’t a single track that I don’t love so…enjoy! Oh, and this is the link to her Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHbmYdMBx1A8tkwxrjCRKpQ
Piano is my first love, but my Dad played the violin and this piece would have made him smile and the sheer virtuosity. The bowing is pretty amazing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do:
have a great weekend,
I don’t write a lot of reviews, but every now and then, a cluster of books come along that have something about them that really appeals to me. This next lot cleaned out my TBR list and triggered my desperate plea for more reading material. 🙂
Reviews on Amazon
5/5 No middle book sag here!
After falling in love with the first book of the series, Liars and Thieves, I was a little apprehensive about whether the second book could live up to the first. Second books are a bit like the ‘middle child’ of a family. You get all the surprises with the first one so what’s left for the second?
I needn’t have worried. 😀 Allies and Spies sees the story grow up and out, both in terms of the plot and the characters.
I really didn’t like Alue very much in Liars and Thieves, but she really comes into her own in book 2. I can’t tell you what she does, but she saves both Naj and Tallin from a very nasty death. More importantly, she does so by coming into her strength. She’s always been brave, but there’s a difference between physical courage and the courage needed to overcome your own shortcomings. Or even to recognize them. Yet that is precisely what all three of the main characters must do if they are ever to solve the mystery of the disappearances that have claimed so many lives.
That said, I have a secret fondness for tortured characters and in book 2, Naj suffers. That suffering serves to catapult him into a greater understanding of his world and himself, but that’s not much consolation on a personal level. I truly feel for Naj. 😦
And finally, Tallin. In many ways, Tallin the Changeling was my favourite right from the start. There’s something about his easy going nature that is very appealing. His alter ego Slick seems to encapsulate his personality perfectly – cute, cuddly, cunning, and naughty. But Tallin has demons of his own, and in book 2 he faces at least some of them.
I wish I could tell you about the plot, but if I do I’ll spoil it for everyone. Let’s just say that some things become clearer, but the forces behind the disappearances are still shrouded in impossibilities.
I can tell you about the writing though. Peach makes writing on multiple levels look easy. The prose is lyrical, the dialogue is always just right and the pace is perfect. No typos, no plot holes, no ‘what the?’ moments. Definitely no saggy middles! The story. Just. Flows. And takes us with it.
This series is character driven fantasy of the highest quality, and I recommend it to everyone, even those who don’t normally read fantasy. I’d give it 6 stars if I could.
5/5 Dipping a toe into the world of Herbert West
I absolutely adored the Herbert West series and really enjoyed revisiting the world in which the series is set. Of the new stories, the one that will probably stick in my mind the longest, and give me nightmares, is The Ice Cream Truck from Hell. I will never think of Mr Whippy the same way again. lol
Beautifully written horror-ish short stories that all lovers of good writing will enjoy.
5/5 Coming of Age in a time of chaos
Serang bears a slight similarity to the Karate Kid story, but only because the main character is young and learns martial arts. Beyond that, Serang is a lovely, unique story about a young girl who is given to the Temple to be raised by monks. These monks are both male and female, and there is no qualitative difference between them. All monks learn martial arts. Which style of martial art they learn depends upon their individual personalities – i.e. what suits each monk the best.
When the temple is destroyed, Serang is saved by one of the wandering monks who also survived the carnage. He continues Serang’s education in martial arts and living off the land. There are exciting fight scenes, but they are not the main focus of the story. Serang’s development and growth are the drivers, and I have to say that I loved the story from start to finish.
I would recommend Serang to anyone who loves reading about ‘becoming’ and the triumph of the human spirit.
And there you have it, three very different authors, genres and stories, but I enjoyed every single one.
Have a great Sunday [in Australia] or Saturday [everywhere else]!
I’ve reached a point in my writing where I’m stuck. It happens. So what do you do when your writing is stuck? You read, of course. But who in hell can afford $10 USD for an ebook?
I read 99.9% Indie only and noticed a price hike from $3.99 to around $5.99 USD a while ago, but suddenly this morning, I discovered that a great long list of Indie authors are pricing their books around the $10 mark. Given that I’d already bought most of their books at the ‘normal’ Indie price, I was shocked at the sudden leap.
After rejecting book after book because it was simply too expensive, I finally thought to look at the book details and…doh. Without fail, these previously Indie authors are now ‘published’ by a company.
Indie to traditionally published… I understand. No matter how much we may extol the virtues of being an Indie – creative freedom, product control, more money – a part of every author wants to be traditionally published. Why? Because of the validation.
We still think that traditional publishers are the doyens of good taste and literary value, the way they used to be before publishing became a big business like any other. Even those who know that’s not true succumb to the siren song of validation.
I get that. What makes me furious is that these publishers are reaping the benefits of ebook sales without having done any of the work. And it’s loyal readers like me who suffer because we cannot afford to spend that much money on ebooks. Or any books for that matter. Not when we often read two books a week.
I’m also angry at the fact that it’s the pandemic that’s brought about this price grab by publishers. They can’t get their ‘normal’ books out there because most bookshops and retail outlets are closed, so they hoover up ebooks that cost them next to nothing, and suddenly they have a cash flow again.
The third thing that makes me spitting mad is that these previously Indie authors who had it all – money coming in, fans by the thousand, control of their art and their future – have probably signed away their copyright for ‘life plus 70 years’.
What happens when this pandemic finally ends, and most of them become the equivalent of midlist authors? Will the publishing companies be grateful that these authors gave them a cashflow for next to nothing? Or will they consign them to publishing limbo as they did with a previous generation of midlist authors?
Okay, I tell a lie. I do not care what happens to these authors. I care about me and readers like me. So…having struck a heap of authors off my to-be-read list, I’m asking you guys for recommendations, but true Indies only, please!
I love scifi, first and foremost, then fantasy, then thrillers, and murder mysteries. Can you recommend a good Indie for me to read? Someone who doesn’t charge $10 for an ebook?
As a reader, I’m loyal, and if I like the author, I will read everything he or she has ever written. My Kindle is testament to that.
- Voyage of the Lanternfish, by C.S. Boyack
- A Woman Misunderstood, by Melinda Clayton
I read one of Melinda Clayton’s book some time ago [psychological thriller ], and I read C.S. Boyack’s, ‘Serang’ just recently, so I know both writers are great value. But I need more, so please tell me about your favourite Indies in the comments.
SP Ausnet had a planned power outage today from about 8:30am to 3:30pm, and it was not pleasant. The weather was grey and drizzly but thankfully not super cold otherwise I have no idea how we would have coped. It seems that electricity is needed for absolutely everything.
Did you know that without electricity the solar hotwater doesn’t work? Yup, because a small pump sends the water up to the solar thingie on the roof. No pump, no circulation, no hot water.
And heating is no better. We have gas heating but…a fan is required to blow the hot air around, and also to stop the heater from overheating. So again, no power, no heat.
But wait, there’s more! I knew the electric oven wouldn’t work, but I forgot that the gas cooktop has piezo electric ignition. Thank heavens I had matches! Actually, that’s one of the good things about living in Warrandyte; we have unplanned outages a lot so candles and matches are staples.
And finally, there are the solar panels on my roof. Great investment for my old age except…when the power goes out, they’re automatically switched off because we ‘feed in’ to the grid. I swear, if I ever win tattslotto, I am buying a battery and hooking the solar panels up to that so we have power even when we don’t have power.
But today wasn’t all doom and gloom. The Offspring and I got stuck into garden stuff. Still a work in progress, but we both feel super righteous. 🙂
Hope your day was productive but pleasant!
Today’s delicious offering was baked by the Offspring based on a recipe given to me by a fellow kindergarten mum, Diana. I won’t tell you how long ago she gave it to me. 😉
The thing I like about this recipe is that it’s very easy. It’s also very forgiving of variations. In the following recipe, our variations are shown in italics after the base recipe.
- 1/2 cup soft butter [we used Lurpak Slightly salted spreadable butter which contains a small amount of vegetable oil],
- 1/2 cup of white sugar [we used caster sugar],
- 1.5 cups of self raising flour,
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of plain yoghurt or milk. Yoghurt makes it rise more. [We only used 1/2 a cup of yoghurt so we could add more banana]
- 1 cup fresh fruit [we used 2 cups of bananas, chopped into decent sized ‘chunks’. NOT mashed]
- a little extra butter to grease the muffin tins [we used paper cupcake thingies? to save on clean up]
- Preheat oven to 200 C [392 F]. If using fan bake, lower the temperature a couple of degrees.
- Grease muffin tins [or use paper thingies for easy clean up].
- With an electric mixer, blend the butter with the sugar until it changes colour and looks ‘creamy’.
- Beat in 2 whole eggs. If the mixture starts to separate or ‘curdle’, add a tablespoon of the flour.
- Beat in the yoghurt.
- Remove from beater and fold in the chunks of banana. [This is a trick I learned by accident. If you mush the banana the flavour will be very bland. If you leave the banana in chunks, you’ll get a burst of strong banana flavour whenever you bite into a piece].
- Fold in the flour [no need to sieve].
- Spoon mixture into the muffin tin [or into the paper cupcake thingies inside the muffin tin].
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the muffin tin and place onto a cooling rack
You can eat these muffins straight from the oven with a bit of butter, just watch out for the chunks of banana, they are hot! Or you can eat them plain, hot or cold. Either way they’re delicious with your beverage of choice.