Posted in fiction, FYI, Recycled Book Reading Challenge, Uncategorized

Recycled Book Review: He Huffed and He Puffed

Here’s my long delayed review. What can I say, when I’m late, I’m really late!

He huffed and He Puffed Barbara Paul cover

He Huffed and He Puffed by Barbara Paul

Mliae over at LifeExperimentblog has a challenge for us bookish and environmentally concerned ones: the Recycled Book Review Challenge. Each month, you are challenged to reach to the highest (or lowest levels) of your bookshelf, withdraw a book long forgotten or beloved, one that was bought from a secondhand/charity shop, dust it loving off, and read and review the book for us. Pingback to LifeExperimentblog and see which other books surfaced this month.

I was looking for a short quick read, one I could lay aside at a moment’s notice. I picked wrong. I found this story quite engrossing and finished reading the book within two days instead of the estimated week.

Barbara Paul – an author I haven’t come across again since I bought this book back in the ‘90’s – has written a solid suspense novel just perfect for a long trip or a cold weekend, especially if you’re going through an ‘80s phase.
I, in all probability, bought this book for its cover; a wolf and a violin, how could I have resisted…

He huffed and He Puffed detaill cover

So what’s it about:

A whodunnit set firmly in the 1980’s with a Sunday afternoon movie cast of characters.

Despicable millionaire, AJ Strode (the wolf), acquires and plunders companies and people’s lives with impunity until he decides to acquire House of Glass.
To get his paws on the controlling stock, Strode has to persuade one of three other stockholders to sell him their holdings.
This proves a greater challenge when he realizes that each of the three are unwilling to sell, especially to him. Even more distressing, all three have just as questionable ethics as Strode, all three have probably murdered before, and all three have never been caught letting their masks slip.

Strode unwisely decides to play a nasty game. He collects evidence to blackmail all three, then invites them to his home for a weekend, allowing only one the option to sell to him and so prevent their crime from coming to light.

Naturally he ends up very dead, leaving us with three solid suspects for the police.

What I like about it:

It was very difficult to like any of the characters in this story, yet I could not stop reading it. I found it well written. I really wanted to see all of the characters reveal themselves and get their comeuppance. And, of course, to see who the killer was, and how they might have gotten away with it.

So, in short, I thought He Huffed and He Puffed has a great suspense whodunnit plot with slightly stereotypical characters who work well in this story because I don’t really care about them…Don’t ask me how, but it works!

Strange fact:

Technology has advanced quite a lot since this book was written and some scenes may not work so well if you don’t take that into account. So, as a writer, it’s made me a little more aware of how to portray technology in suspense/crime stories.

PS. See who else has been recycling reads over here.

Posted in fiction, FYI, Pinime, quotes, Uncategorized

PiniMe: Integrity

Alan Dean Foster quote gender good writing attract

The one and only Alan Dean Foster — writer, educator, adventurer and creator of many of your favourite sci-fi and fantasy worlds —  is the guest of this week’s interview for my sci-fi/fantasy feature over at InBetweener.

You can read my interview with Alan Dean Foster here.

I chose this quote to share with you because:

So many writers are writing to someone else’s prescription, when all they have to do is write what the story demands. That way lies integrity. That way  makes you good enough, if only to your own worst critic — yourself.

How do you define integrity in your art and writing?


Posted in fiction, FYI, Pinime, quotes, Uncategorized

PiniMe: Why Draw, paint, sketch…?

Shannon Legler Illustrator quote drawing details love

Shannon Legler, illustrator and creature creator,  is the guest of this week’s interview for my sci-fi/fantasy feature over at InBetweener.

You can read my interview with Shannon Legler here.

I chose this quote to share with you because:

I thought this was a such  a cool reason to draw, paint, create…if you do in fact need one.

Do you need a reason to draw, paint, create? If so, what would it be?


Posted in fiction, FYI, Pinime, quotes, Uncategorized

PiniMe: Resilence

Jason Rennie Editor SciPhi Journal succeed fail quote b

Jason Rennie, the editor of Sci-Phi  Journal, is the guest of this week’s interview for my sci-fi/fantasy feature over at InBetweener.

I chose this quote to share with you because:

Sometimes we need a simple reminder of how to find resilience. Keep it simple. Find it easier 😀

You can read my interview with Jason Rennie here.

Posted in fiction, FYI, Pinime, quotes, Uncategorized

PiniMe: A Noble Human Thing

Christoph Weber Writer Arborist poet conquer darkness

Christoph Weber, a new writer in the science fiction and fantasy genre, kicked off my sci-fi/fantasy feature this May over at InBetweener.

I chose this quote to share with you because it resonated with me, and I know that many of us bloggers have been fighting the same darkness in the form of depression, chronic illnesses and fear caused by this uncertain and bewildering period that we’re currently facing.

I thought you’d like to know that someone is celebrating your bravery 😀

You can read my interview with Christoph Weber here.

Not this Arnold, the other one!
Hey Arnold!

And if you need a laugh, you can see what happened when Arnold answered Christoph’s phone for him over on his blog here or here.

Not this Arnold, the other one!

Posted in fiction, Uncategorized

Does this sound like a hero you’d watch?

As part of the Introduction to Screenwriting Course  that I’m doing (one of the reasons I fell off the face of the earth this week), we were asked to work on a character from a movie or of our own making.

As my project, I’ve worked on Rob Hart, the hero of my novel Settle Down Now.
He’s been a bit problematic, you see. Most readers of Settle Down Now dislike him intensely and don’t think he’s worth Charmaine’s time.

So I’d like to know what you think from my assignment. Does Rob Hart sound like a hero to you?

I  had to quickly jot down his major actions, then deduce his needs and wants, then describe his character.

Character: Rob Hart


Defeats pirates to save Charmaine and The Sunflower.
Confesses to Charmaine that he loves, but doesn’t act on it.
Confronts Charmaine about past, scaring her.
Risks life to chop away fallen mast to save Charmaine and The Sunflower.
Constantly makes snarky, insulting remarks to Charmaine to convince himself he hates her, and ensure that she dislikes him.
Threatens to sabotage the show, but never does.
Carries Steve’s package, even though he’s not so sure it’s a good idea.
Accepts the show’s offer despite it meaning he’ll have to deal with Charmaine in his life again, telling himself it’s for The Sunflower’s good.
Remembers Charmaine and the pain.
Takes Steve’s advice and contacts the shows producers to offer The Sunflower as transport/venue for the show.
Takes measures to ensure he forgets Charmaine.
Falls in love with Charmaine in Scotland despite himself.

Robs needs and wants:

Wants: to hate Charmaine, earn enough money to keep The Sunflower running, to be loved and settled, to have a sailing lifestyle.
Needs: money, to explain himself to Charmaine, to be loved by Charmaine, to feel not a failure at everything.


intelligent, sly, drily humorous, resourceful, charming, generally in control of self, own worst enemy, a realist, wary/distrustful

Described as:

not the easiest going guy, a retired ladies’ man, active, dependable, predictable, selfish, self-absorbed


Tall and lean, bright eyes, greying dark hair, quick movements, energetic, active, sea-farers complexion, long-fingered.

m_Rob on Charmaine

So, is it thumbs up for Rob, or a rotten tomato?

Posted in fiction

Karaoke Cool

My apologies for not being around the blogosphere much recently. I’m doing two free courses concurrently with FutureLearn. Together with the revision on a novel of mine, time’s been flying by. I can’t believe we’re already almost a third of the way through Feb. And with Valentine’s Day knocking on the door already! So I’ve decided to share the 500 word or so love-themed story I wrote for class.

Be warned. There’s some Karaoke 🙂 I’ve links to the songs further down in case you aren’t familiar with them. Enjoy!

Karaoke Cool

Sweat glistened on Julian’s face.“Sing!” Lex had insisted, pushing him up onto the stage and shoving a mic into his lax hands. Curious faces looked up at him. Melinda nodded gentle encouragement. Reaching her, Lex smiled a crooked smile, his hand hovering closer to her shoulders.

Polite coughs from the floor brought a fresh onslaught of sweat, joining into potential rivulets, further panicking Julian.

The selection of songs scrolled leisurely across the screen without a care in the world. Lex smirked, his hand on Melinda’s bare shoulder. Melinda frowned a little at Lex, but didn’t move away. She turned back to Julian with another encouraging nod.

Snickers and whispers grew in volume. Others were awaiting their Karaoke moment.
Desperately, Julian looked at the scrolling selection—something with few lyrics and more music. Or something which sounded fine no matter how badly you sang it.

Definitely not Mariah Carey then, or Wham, or…

Julian’s mind hit pause.

Someone from the floor yelled something indistinct. The tone said it all–patience was running out.

And there it was, Uncle Harold’s favourite song! Julian selected it. He even knew most of the lyrics! And those he didn’t know he could just mumble.

Julian shut his eyes, imagining he was back in Uncle Harold’s garage. “Born in the USA!” roared Julian.

Shocked into silence, the audience stared at the tall, bony man; his face contorting with the words like a Scream mask.

As so often happened when Julian was around, shock and horror turned into gentle amusement. People started clapping time and stamping their feet.
Julian didn’t open his eyes until the end. Then he staggered off the stage.


Melinda met him with a glass of something cool and a large smile. Lex hovered behind her.

“That was very brave of you! Well done, Jules–” began Melinda.

“Yeah, well done. Could’ve picked a better song, my man.” Lex thumped him hard enough on the shoulder, sending him an involuntary step back. “That one was kind of lame.”

“Oh, come on, Lex,” grinned Melinda. “It was fun! It’s my Uncle Steve’s favourite. Especially at weddings…though I don’t know why!”

Julian smiled in relief and wonder. “I know! It’s the same with my Uncle Harold!”

“No, you lie!” Melinda looked delighted.

“No, you lie!” mimicked Lex as Melinda took Julian’s arm and led him to their table, talking a mile a minute.

Lex would not be out-done. He never was. Plan B’s time had come. Brushing past a matron, he snatched up the mic and scanned the selection. What would impress Melinda the most, and blow Julian out of the water? So, she liked American Rock, huh? Here it was — Dire Straits; just the thing to leave Julian in.

Calling Elvis, anybody home?”

Lex looked over to Julian and Melinda. They were talking and laughing.

He refreshed his memory of the lyrics as he sang, then looked back to his targets, singing, “Love Me Tender.

They were kissing.

Heartbreak Hotel.


For the music videos, see below. Graphic by Pixabay.comemoji-773998

Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen

Calling Elvis by Dire Straits

Posted in fiction, guest post, Tips and Hacks

Mad Scientists, Space Travel and Graphic Resources

It’s been a crazy month. It’s just zooming by, hardly giving me a chance to catch my breath or think–you know, proper thought-time.

So my apologies for not posting more, especially reviews, or for my not commenting much on your posts, but time is…out of my control for now.

So while I catch my breath, and shake my head mournfully over the pile of work I’ve still got to get through this month, here’s some of my stuff to keep you company.

For those of you who have a class or presentation coming up, you might find this interesting:

And if you’ve wondered what kinds of papers are delivered by Mad Scientists, or maybe you’ve been thinking of taking trips to Mars or Jupiter, you’ll want to check this out:

And don’t forget this week’s PiniMe. It will be out in a couple of hours:)

Thanks for catching up with me. See you later:)