Tuesday, 25 April 2017

60. Progression, Not Perfection

I heard a wonderful phrase while watching a movie the other night and it really resonated with me - much like the pain I’m feeling. I’ll explain the former momentarily, but for now, I’ll let you know why I’m feeling a little broken. A few mornings ago, one of my precious pups, who wasn’t so precious in the moment, decided he wasn’t finished being patted. As I took a step away, he planted his paws on my foot. I kept moving. Unfortunately, my little toe didn’t.

Naming and shaming the (lucky he's) cute pup who's now much heavier - Banjo



It’s been a few years since I've broken a bone, but the crunching pop that accompanied my misstep brought some painful memories screaming back. I’m certain I screamed in the now also. Or a few swear words. You choose! The result, I now have nine toes and one that’s masquerading as the purpliest grape I’ve ever seen.

My grape, that is, my toe.







Fear not dear readers, having a broken toe has some major advantages. I must keep my foot elevated so there’s not much I can do about the housework. I can’t put on a shoe, which is a bonus all its own, I don’t have to go grocery shopping, and the best thing – since I can’t sit at my desk for long, I have a legitimate reason to vanish into the lounge and read. :)

Book Reviews

Finding Paradise (The Gods of Oakleigh Book One) by Juanita Kees
From the shores of Mykonos to Melbourne Australia, Arian and Ajax find that sometimes in life or death true love is worth fighting for.

Arian Kendrick has always felt she doesn’t quite fit in. On holiday in Mykonos she rescues a little girl from drowning and discovers powers she didn’t know she had. As her long-dormant mystical talents blossom, so does her heart when she meets Ajax, the handsome, mysterious Greek-Melbournian who swears he is destined to be in her life.

After falling on his sword after the Battle of Troy, Ajax the Great is banished to Van Diemen’s Land where he must search for a way to redeem his soul. Two thousand years later, he is given a second chance when Zeus orders him to Mykonos to search out and protect the future Queen of the Faeries, Arianrhod. The last thing he expects is to fall in love.

But every romantic island holiday must come to an end, and the mysteries and fairy tales of Mykonos fade into the suburban reality of Melbourne where Arian begins to doubt Greek lore and the magic in her veins.

Can Arian embrace her mythical legacy in time to save her people as Hades threatens to destroy Paradise forever, and will Ajax rise to fight by her side, or is he destined to fall on his sword for eternity?

The quiet suburb of Oakleigh may never be the same again. Not as long as the gods are in town...

The moment he emerged from the waves, salt water dripping down a body the Greek Gods themselves would envy, Arian should have known he'd break her heart. A holiday fling was the last thing she wanted, but the odd sense of déjà vu that claimed her when their eyes met wouldn’t go away. Strong and silent, he seemed capable of handling anything, yet moments later he stood by, helpless, as she’d charged into the water and saved his little girl from drowning. At least, she thought the girl was his, just like she thought she’d seen something impossible in the water, something that wanted her dead. But what’s more confusing, the more she sees of Ajax, the harder it is to shake the feeling that together they’re meant to be so much more.

Ajax the Great, banished to Purgatory for falling victim to Athena’s treacherous ways, he’d spent more lifetimes than he cared to count trying to appease Zeus. When the King of the Gods offers him one last chance at redemption, it’s at a price he’s not sure he’s willing to pay. Protect a queen who doesn’t know she’s the ruler of mythical island paradise, a female whose beauty reminds him that women are not to be trusted, not to be fooled by, and not someone to whom he should give his heart; he should never have agreed to such a loathsome task. But if he doesn’t help her, he’ll never reclaim his soul from the treacherous Hades, and he’ll never reclaim his rightful place as one of Zeus’s chosen warriors.

When Arian learns the truth about Ajax’s identity, her own ancestry, and Zeus’ manipulation in their lives, they realise not only must they defeat the King of the Underworld, save the people of Paradise, and right the wrongs of the past, they must also battle each other’s hearts.

I love Greek mythology. (Okay, I love all mythology,) so I wasn’t going to miss reading this story and I wasn’t disappointed. Who doesn’t want their own Greek God to seduce? (My book boyfriend harem is growing.) Ajax was the perfect flawed hero, doubting his ability, wondering if he was worthy not only of the tasks he’d been set, but also of the love of woman he swore to protect despite his original motivations, yet still a man worthy of redemption. And Arian, heir to a magical world she didn’t know existed, stepping up to claim her inheritance from a dark mythical being intent on stealing it away, and learning to trust in her heart in another kind of eternal magic all its own.

When Jax walked out of the ocean and onto the beach and Arian saw him for the first time, I wanted to flick sand in her face as I elbowed her out of the way. He is the epitome of a Greek God and Ms Kees brought him to life with fan girl, lust-filled perfection. Ms Kees is a new author for me, so I’m pleased to have discovered the first book in her new series. And despite my knowing better about time frames for new books, (aka my impatience) I may have found a new writer to nag, er, encourage. In the meantime, enjoy!

Learn more about Ms Kees and her books here. https://juanitakees.com/

Storm Road (Old School Book Three) by Jenny Schwartz

When a woman with secrets saves a man hunted by a ghoul, the choice is stark: salvation or damnation. 

Major Dean Fortescue, JAG lawyer and former Marine, enters the Southern Appalachian Mountains to find his aunt, who has gone missing. He discovers her house burned down, a ghoul in residence, and a mysterious woman who claims to control the weather. 

Beulah Morgan is a weathermage, home after months away on a scientific research vessel in the Southern Ocean. When her mountain retreat is invaded by death magic, old memories resurface and with them a chilling terror. 

Children will die unless Beulah trusts Dean, he trusts her magic, and together they face a ghoul that was bound during the Civil War, but recently freed by a reckless wizard mercenary. 

*** 
"Storm Road" is a stand-alone novel in the Old School series of paranormal romance thrillers.

He’d come to the mountains to locate his missing aunt. As a former Marine, there’s little Major Dean Fortescue fears, but whatever exists in the burned-out shell that used to be her home, is a horror even he can’t fathom. Running for his life, he comes to Beulah Morgan’s door and discovers a world of magic and mayhem he never knew existed.

Beulah, a weather mage, knows her magic, just like she knows the truth about Dean’s aunt, but that’s not her secret to tell. However, when she follows the major back to his aunt’s home, and confronts the ghoul, even she is at a loss to understand the vileness it radiates. They barely escape. Until they can get reinforcements, Beulah’s the only magical being who can contain it before the entity consumes the non-magical population she calls home. She knows she must face it again, but the ghoul’s power is growing, and even with Dean by her side, Beulah’s still trapped in the past with a secret she could never overcome. But if they’re going to survive the ghoul’s onslaught, they’ve no choice but to face those memories, no matter what the cost.

I swear Ms Schwartz likes making me cry. The emotional moments in this story are heart wrenching. The secret Beulah’s been keeping messed with my head, such is the strength of Ms Schwartz’s writing. I also liked the quiet strength both main characters possessed. They’ve both seen and experienced terrible things in their past, which the ghoul used to its advantage, but that quiet, inner strength is what made them push forward. And again, I love that previous characters made an appearance or were mentioned in this stand-alone story to tie the series together.

More on Ms Schwartz’s stories here. http://authorjennyschwartz.com/

I’m also beta-reading a wonderful novella, which I’m loving. It’s an honour to be trusted with someone’s book baby and I’ll be taking good care of it. I can’t wait until it’s published, and then I can officially share a review. :)

Special Events

For those who celebrate it, I hope you had an enjoyable Easter. Unlike me, I hope you didn’t overindulge on the chocolate. For those who don’t celebrate the occasion, I hope you spent precious time with your loved ones just the same. :)

And I can’t post an April blog without mentioning something so important to my country and to New Zealand. To our ANZAC’s, who sacrificed so much so that others may live on in their memory. 

We sat on the foreshore today (the family walked very slowly so I could hobble along behind them), and gave our thanks to those in service who protect our country whilst honouring those who’ve gone before. It was wonderful to see so many uniforms, the many medals proudly displayed, and respect with which everyone gave them. I don’t condone war, but I do honour those who gave so much to keep my loved ones safe.

All gave some
Some gave all
Some are still giving
Lest We Forget!

News

The goals – This is where my title for the month comes into play. I am progressing through my goals, finishing my stories, and letting them go. They’ll never be perfect, even though I cling to them in desperation, terrified the moment I press SEND, that book baby I scoured for errors is on its way, mistake riddled and laid bare for all to see. So, I’m moving forward, trying to put less ‘perfection pressure’ on myself, and methodically plodding along – much more of the forward stuff though, right?

Therefore, the novella is finished and in the more than capable hands of two beta readers whom I know will tell me the truth – the good and the bad. Another wonderful beta reader asked me the right questions regarding a second story I was editing, so I’m a step closer to sending that to the publisher I’m coveting, and when I get my beta comments back on the original novella, well that’s two stories I’ll have finished to send away. (I did mention I was terrified.) And next, another of those unfinished projects, a novel this time, is going to get the evil eye. So far, I’m on track for what I want to achieve.

I’m also grateful for those who are keeping me honest and making sure I continue to work on my goals. I shared them for that reason, to keep me honest and motivated, otherwise the next one to be named and shamed in the blog might be me.

For now, I’m off to ice my pretty toe, (it’s recovering from being forced into a shoe,) continue to ignore the housework (good thing it’s school holidays and the kids are being more helpful than usual – and yes, I am milking it), and get back to what I love. :)