Five cats I painted:
Max’s Christmas Adventure
A second solo adventure awaits Max the time-travelling Tonkinese cat in this Christmas short story.
Invited to accompany a well-known figure on a whirlwind trip into the past, he sets off on a mission to search for something very precious to his owners Jemima and Joe Lancelot – their missing parents.
The hunt reveals tantalising clues to this mystery and ends with a special surprise for the twins.
Max’s Midnight Adventure
Max the talking Tonkinese cat has a third solo adventure in this seasonal short story.
What happens when the feline hero is trapped in the attic one night?
Will he escape the clutches of the Christmas fairy, a regiment of soldiers and three obstreperous French hens in time to enjoy a holiday with his family?
One thing’s for sure, the Twelve Days of Christmas will never seem quite the same again…
Dividing my time between homes in South-West France and Abu Dhabi, I live with my husband and our beautiful Tonkinese cat. I spent 20 years as a teacher of French, Latin and Classical studies, before a change of career led me to writing books for children instead.
Shadows from the Past is series of time-travel adventures, featuring 3 children and a rather special Tonkinese cat by the name of Max. I’m currently working on the tenth book in the series, The Shadow of the Witchfinder. Max also has a few solo adventures of his own to accompany the series.
As I take my young readers on a magical mystery tour through the past, I’m hoping that my love of history, myth and legend will rub off on them too.
Q&A With Wendy Leighton-Porter:
1. Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
After almost 20 years of teaching of French, Latin and Classical studies in the UK, a change of career led me to writing children’s fiction. A Francophile, with a home in France, I’m currently living in Abu Dhabi with my husband and our Tonkinese cat.
2. What do you love most in the world?
As the question begins with “What?” rather than “Who?”, I think I can safely get away without mentioning my husband here! Everyone who knows me will confirm that I’m a cat lover, but my heart really lies with the Tonkinese breed. I adore them and would happily confess to being a Tonkaholic! A cross between Siamese and Burmese, they are the most delightful cats. I am, of course, speaking from experience – my first Tonk, Bertie (aka Max, the feline hero of my stories), is sadly no longer with us, but his sister is still going strong at almost eighteen years old.
3. What inspired you to become an Author?
I’d always wanted to write but, with a busy teaching career, I never seemed to find enough time. When I stopped teaching I found myself in the enviable position of having plenty of spare time and realised that I could now set off along a new career path. Writing for children seemed the logical step after so many years spent in the classroom and, ever the teacher, I hope that my books are a little bit educational as well as being fun.
4. What is your favorite Winter / Holiday tradition?
I love the Christmas tree, with its twinkling fairy lights. I think it takes me back to my childhood and my early memories of the magic of Christmas. However, I’m also a bit of a mince pie addict. I make my own, using a family recipe, and eating them fresh from the oven while they’re still warm is a real Christmastime treat in our household.
5. What is your trick for getting past writer’s block? And what advice do you have for other authors who are struggling to tell their story?
I’m lucky that this hasn’t really happened to me yet. I hope I’m not tempting fate here and am thinking that I should quickly touch wood or something! However, when I’m seeking inspiration, I usually find that my best ideas come to me when I’m in the bath (and have nothing to write them down with!). So, I guess that my advice would be not to try and force the story, but to take some time out and relax. Close the bathroom door to make sure you’re not disturbed, light a few candles, luxuriate in the warm, scented water and wait for the ideas to come floating into your head!
6. Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it’s yours. What’s your story?
It happened one Halloween a few years ago when I’d been to a friend’s party, dressed as a vampire with full gruesome face make-up; white face, black-ringed eyes and fake blood dripping from the corners of my mouth. I was the first to leave just after midnight, as I had to go to work the following morning. My friend lived in a rural area with a manned railway-crossing near to her isolated cottage. Late at night, you weren’t allowed to ring the bell to get the railwayman to come and open the barrier for you to drive across the tracks. Instead, you had to climb the steps of the signal box and knock on the door, which I duly did – but there was no reply. I was a bit impatient at having to wait out there in the cold and the dark, so I moved in front of the window and saw the man with his feet up on the desk, seemingly engrossed in his newspaper. I rapped loudly on the window pane and at last he looked up. His face went white, his eyes almost popped out of his head, but he remained seated, staring at me with his mouth gaping. So, I banged harder on the glass and he eventually staggered to his feet and came to the door, looking terrified. ‘You nearly gave me a heart attack,’ he gasped. Then I remembered how I was dressed and felt such a fool, and also a little guilty for having scared him. Apparently, he dined out on that story for years and always told my friend, every time he saw her, that the encounter had probably shortened his life by 20 years! I wonder if it was on his recommendation that the crossing in question is now automated?
The first bookmark is a papercut owl on a tree, with googly eyes and some cord.
The second is is a beaded ribbon bookmark, with a ballerina charm.
The third one is a magnetic bookmark.
by Lu J. Whitley
This short prequel to BloodMarked, is another quick and easy, fast-paced page-turner.
The authors’ descriptive writing, once again, pulled me into the story and kept me captivated.
I enjoyed finding out more about Jaromir and Stein, how they met and the reason behind their close relationship.
I hope I don’t have too long to wait, for another book from Lu J Whitley.
Join your favorite Book Boyfriends, Jaromir Ragnarsson & the ever-wonderful Stein, nearly 400 years before the events of BloodMarked (The Fraktioneers #1) in this all new prequel novella!
Cursed to live in the shadows, Jaromir Ragnarsson wanders the world, searching for a sign. What he finds wasn’t exactly what he had in mind.
Nearly four hundred-fifty years after a fateful meeting with a Wyrd woman changes his life, Jaromir is no longer alone. His adoptive son is the light of his long life, and he believes he will do anything to keep him safe.
When that belief is tested, will he have the strength to do what is necessary?
Even if, no matter what he chooses, he loses?
by Elizabeth Horton-Newton
A fascinating and unique take on an unforgettable event in American history.
The book is as much a romance as it is a thriller. It’s well-written and the story ticks along at a steady pace.
The main characters of the story, Olivia and Bill, are believable and make a great couple. It was refreshing to read a book in which the protagonists were older than I am!
The book is written in the first person and after a page or two, I felt like Olivia was telling her story to me personally and from that moment on I was hooked on this interesting and enjoyable read!
This romantic thriller takes a fictional “what if” look at the JFK assassination. Suppose accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had lived to defend himself. Imagine if 50 years after the assassination someone stepped forward to reveal the truth of what happened that day. What if the assassination was a conspiracy and the impact of those revelations reached into the 21st century? This is the story of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events. You’ll never look at your neighbors the same way.
by Regina Morris
These books have a nice twist on vampires, romance and the Secret Service.
Each book focuses on a different couple, but involves all the other members of The Colony, as well as solving a crime or two.
We get to know the couple as individuals as well as how they fit together.
The books a well-written and enjoyable to read, they aren’t fluffy and sparkly, but they aren’t gore-filled either. The author does a great job of grabbing your interest and keeping it right up to the last page and beyond.
The characters are dimensional and they all have their own voice and personality. I enjoyed the ‘family’ life of the Colony and feel as though I have made some good friends while reading the first three books of the series and I’m looking forward to continuing with the rest of the books.
A covert team of sexy vampires protect the President of the United States. This sensual paranormal romance collection contains the first three novels of the COLONY Series by author Regina Morris. The novels are: “Eternal Service”, “United Service”, and “Enduring Service.”
The COLONY Series is a suspenseful and sensual vampire fiction series that has earned five star reviews from fans of some of the best paranormal romance series like “Love at Stake”, the Argeneau series, and the “Black Dagger Brotherhood.”
by A. J. James
The Weight of Light is an interesting and thought-provoking read. It is, in equal measures, sensual and spiritual
A.J. James has a way of writing that is both lyrical and informative.
The vivid descriptions and the depth of emotion of the characters brought the story to life and kept me involved from start to finish.
The carnal appetites of the disgraced warrior Watcher Angels devastated the world many millennia ago – inviting a deadly chaos into our world and carving a bloody, brutal stain into human history. And an extraordinary love that dares to transcend the boundaries of time.
Arma’ros is one of the first Watcher Angels to fall at the dawn of the human race. His fierce, unsanctioned love for one human woman leaves him tormented by his separation from Divine grace. Determined to repair the damage he and others like him have wrought upon our Earth, he vows to protect those affected by their actions – even if it means defying Divine Law.
Zoe is a cursed woman. She has a talent no other being on Earth possesses – the ability to sense and track down the feared Nephilim, the dangerous and typically diabolical offspring of the Watchers. Her dubious gift has made her a vulnerable target, attracting the deadly attentions of the Dark Celestials.
An agonizing past must be retraced to expose startling revelations – joy, pain, loss, and secret, twisted agendas of Celestials and humans, concealed since the beginning of time. Together, Zoe and Arma’ros must locate both the Watchers and Nephilim still left and the last Enochian Key to prevent them from falling into the enemy’s grasp. . . a Key that will either unlock the Song of limitless Divine Creation for humans – or unleash the complete and utter annihilation of our Earth.
by C.D. Gorri
This quick and easy read grabbed my attention on page one and kept it to the end.
C.D. Gorri packed a lot into this short introduction to her new book series.
Her main characters were well-developed and complex, and I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens next.
I received an ARC of Charley’s Christmas Wolf from C.D. Gorri in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Rafe Maccon is the Alpha of the Macconwood Pack, for now. His rule is being questioned by a rogue Wolf who wants him ousted for breaking an ancient law that states the Alpha must be mated!
He must find a mate in order to keep his position. Seeing their Alpha in trouble, Rafe’s Wolf Guard take it upon themselves to find one for him.
Charley Palmieri works a dead end job and lives alone with her cat until one night when her world is changed forever.
Instant attraction sparks between them. Can Rafe convince Charley to be his before the meeting of Pack elders on Christmas Eve? Will she be his one true mate, for life?
by T.E. Hodden
Written from the point of view of a man with six months to live this is a bittersweet and emotional read.
It’s wonderfully written, and despite the subject matter, or maybe because of it, it’s a ‘feel good book’ and I enjoyed the moving story of love and friendship.
There is a wonderful cast of multi-faceted characters all of whom add something to George’s life and the story.
George has just six months to live, and no chance of a happy ever after. At least not for himself. When he is advised to make his time count, George makes it his mission to offer others their own Happy Ever After. Three ex girlfriends, and the best friend he has never met, are about to have their lives changed forever.
He has one hundred and eighty two days to die.
by Mark Taylor
A great collection of disturbing and well written short stories.
Each story is different, but they are all dark and foreboding.
The author describes perfectly the horrific and unique, but plausible, lengths that each character will go to, to achieve their goals.
Take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Ask yourself what you are truly capable of. Don’t lie…your reflection will know. The Human Condition is about the deepest, darkest part of the human mind-that part of us we suppress. But what if…just for a moment…we let the maladjusted you out to play? Would you be capable of the demented? Of maniacal, deranged violence? This collection of macabre short stories will have you on the edge of your seat as you come to realize you are not that different from the monsters in these tales…the ones hiding in polite society…the one in the mirror.
by The #Awethors
This is the second anthology I’ve read from the #Awethors, and once again, all the stories are well-written and kept me interested.
I find most anthologies are a great way to find new authors, and this book is no exception.
Keanan Brand and Amelia Mapstone are just two of the authors that I will be looking to read more books by.
Although hard to pick just a few out of this book of awesome stories, my favourites, in no particular order were:
Enchantments by Claire Plaisted
Seven Years by Amelia Mapstone
Kristen – Witch Hunter by K S Marsden
Because one voice in your head isn’t enough, here are so many more, as the Awethors chime together with our vast collection of stories and poetry to make you laugh, make you cry and make you feel alive.
We are the Awethors and these are our words to you.
by Adam Jones
I enjoyed this dark and suspenseful post-apocalyptic/horror.
The multiple storylines were easy to follow, and merged at different points through the books. The main characters were, for the most part, dimensional and interesting.
The plot was believable and well thought out.
The graphic descriptions mean the book is not for the faint-hearted.
I received an ecopy of Beyond the Storm from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Man tries to remember his past while Jude tries to forget hers.
Years after the nuclear holocaust decimated Britain, Man wakes up, naked and alone but for the murdered corpses whch surround him. Struggling with amnesia, Man travels the wastes trying to piece together his past.
Across the crumbling remains of the city, Jude flees a depraved fiend, running for her life. Beyond the Storm is a journey of horror and suspense which paints a broken future world and the events that made it that way.
by Maria Luisa Lang
This unusual, quirky and light-hearted tale is told from the point of view of Wrappa-Hamen, a cat and is set mostly in ancient Egypt.
It’s a quick and easy read, with some humourous scenes, though I followed the story as a bystander rather than feeling involved.
The characters weren’t particularly complex and would have benefitted from some fleshing out, the exception to this was Wrappa_Hamen, who’s personality developed over the course of the story.
I received a copy/an eCopy of The Pharaoh’s Cat from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
The Pharaoh’s Cat, narrated in the present tense by the cat himself, is the story of a free-spirited, quick-witted stray in ancient Egypt who suddenly finds himself with human powers joined to his feline nature.
The cat immediately captures the attention of the seventeen-year-old Pharaoh, making him laugh for the first time since his parents’ death, and is brought to live with him at the royal palace.
The cat also becomes friends with the High Priest of the god Amun-Ra and seeks his help in solving the mystery of his human powers and the supernatural manifestations that later plague him. He has an enemy in the Vizier—the Pharaoh’s uncle and the second most powerful man in Egypt. The Vizier hates him for himself and even more for his relationship with the Pharaoh.
The cat participates in festivities at the royal palace, developing an insatiable appetite for good food, wine, and gossip. He later accompanies the Pharaoh on a trip through his kingdom, all the while renewing the Pharaoh’s ability to enjoy life and inspiring him to become a stronger leader.
Between the cat and the Pharaoh a bond of love gradually forms which will determine Egypt’s destiny.
The Pharaoh’s Cat imaginatively blends Egyptology with comedy, drama, and even time travel–the cat and the High Priest will meet Elena, a resident of the twenty-first century and the daughter of a renowned Egyptologist.
by Jerry Flu
Written in the first person, by the late Randy Ratphink, this book takes a light-hearted look back through his life, as well as his time in the after-life.
The book was well-written, detailed and descriptive, and we meet a variety of weird and unpredictable characters as Randy tries to discover his murderer.
Although it was an interesting and, at times, humorous read, I found it to be more of a fictional autobiography than a murder mystery.
JA paranormal cozy mystery. Randy Ratphink, baby boomer cum geezer boomer, flower-power fossil, way-past-never-trust-anyone-over-thirty sexagenarian suddenly finds himself dead—murdered—and his spirit won’t rest until he discovers whodunit!
From his postmortem perch in the astral plain Randy’s life flashes before him like a Piggly Wiggly surveillance video. Determined to seek out his killer and avenge his murder before he moves into the shining white light, Randy Googles his memories for clues and suspects from his hippie days in the Haight to his present predicament.
But it’s only when he discovers that the identity of his murderer is none other than … well it wouldn’t be much of a mystery if you found out whodunit just yet, would it? So why not begin reading now, and find out for yourself Who Killed Randy Ratphink?