For Fans of Paranormal Romance on Kindle Unlimited

Do you like paranormal romance stories? There’s one on this list, from Stevie Turner, using my favourite element: time travel!

Stevie Turner

Do you belong to Kindle Unlimited?

If you do, there are 57 books (and free samples) in this BookFunnel promotion for fans of Paranormal Romance.  My Time Travel novel ‘Partners in Time’ is part of the promotion, and for non-KU readers it is just £0.99/$0.99 until the end of March.

Here’s the latest review from Phil Huston, who gives honest reviews and doesn’t sugar-coat anything!

4 out of 5 stars The Title and the Cover are only to suck you in to a not handholding and bouquets romp Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2020

First, I don’t read books like this. It requires no more suspension of disbelief than any other genre, but ghosts and vampires and sex and all that? I leave it to experts. Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. Did I agree with it? No. Did I find the characters…

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Book Review

Photo by Isaac Viglione on Unsplash

A great Reckoning, by Louise Penny

This book is possibly somewhat out of the ordinary for British readers, in that it is a crime novel set in neither Britain nor the United States, but in Canada. It was first published in the U.S. and Britain in 2016, so reasonably recent, and the paperback edition I read, ISBN 978-0-7515-5269-0, was published the following year, 2017, by Sphere, London. The main character is a recently retired Chief Inspector of the Sûreté, Armand Gamache, who has been drafted in to run, as Commander, the Sûreté training Academy; the Sûreté, here modelled on the French original, is analogous to a combination of our normal police, Special Branch & MI5. Some of its activities are confined to the Francophone Québec, but the official government website defines it thus: “The Sûreté du Québec, as the national police force, contributes throughout the territory of Québec, to maintaining peace and public order, preserving life, safety and fundamental human rights and protecting property. The Sûreté du Québec also supports the police community, coordinates major police operations, contributes to the integrity of governmental institutions and ensures the safety of transport networks under Québec jurisdiction. … Some of these services are exclusive to the Sûreté du Québec, while others are offered in partnership or in conjunction with police organizations and agencies that share the Sûreté du Québec’s mission.” The first part of this definition is called into question in the book, given that this fictitious version of the Sûreté has latterly been rife with corruption & brutality which, thankfully, does not sit well with some in authority, not least Chief Inspector Gamache himself, but he is aware of the challenge this presents, so it is not an undertaking he embarks upon without a degree of trepidation.

He surprises his superiors by both retaining one professor, Serge Leduc (aka The Duke) who was known to be at the forefront of the excesses Gamache is tasked with eradicating, instead of sending him packing; but also, before he has literally occupied his Commander’s chair, bringing back one of his erstwhile colleagues, Michel Brébeuf, “the man who’d been his best friend, his best man, his confidant and colleague and valued subordinate.”, who was languishing in shame after also succumbing to corruption: “You turned the Sûreté from a strong and brave force into a cesspool, and it has taken many lives and many years to clean it out.” Gamache’s son-in-law, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, who is also now his second in command, observes internally that “Either decision would be considered ill advised. Together they seemed reckless, verging on lunacy.” So it has to be assumed that Gamache has a plan, and that these decisions were part of it. One of the first major changes Gamache made was a slackening of the harsh discipline that had prevailed hitherto, but he also made the students aware that actions had consequences. All seems to be going well, but before the end of the first term, a murder occurs within the Academy, and after the initial inquiries, Gamache suggests to the Chief Inspector who is conducting the investigation that an outside investigator should be brought in, to vouch for the fairness of the investigation.

It is during this phase that an artefact which has come to light in Gamache’s home village, Three Pines, attains a status of some importance, but its relevance remains unknown for most of the story. The artefact is a map, which was hidden in a wall in one of the buildings in the village which, for unknown reasons initially, doesn’t feature on any maps of the territory. Gamache organises a group of four of the brightest students from different years in the Academy to look into this conundrum, ostensibly as a project to keep them occupied during the ongoing investigation, but it also becomes clear that their interactions will throw light on the power-plays between some of the lecturers and students. After the murder, it transpires that the copy of the map belonging to one of the four students has gone missing, but this is an obvious red herring. Little by little, the history of the village and its earlier inhabitants, to which the map is the key, is revealed as a result of painstaking research. All through the narrative, the reader is kept guessing as to how much Gamache knows, how honourable his motives have been & are, and whether he will succeed in unmasking the killer. It is slightly unusual to encounter a fictional detective, private or State employee, who is as empathetic and reasonable as Gamache, as well as being happily married: the only other one I could nominate, without considerable thought, is Maigret; I really couldn’t say if the French connection (with apologies!) is coincidental or not. At 495 pages, this is quite a long novel, but it moves at quite a steady pace, so it keeps the reader’s attention without any difficulty, and the dénouement is suitably satisfying.

For Readers of Romance

Free Romance book! Today only! [Sunday January 10th]

Stevie Turner

BookFunnel are running a promotion for January which features 53 books/free samples for fans of Romance. I have added a FREE sample of ‘A Rather Unusual Romance‘ to the promotion, which you can check out by clicking the link below. The book itself is FREE just for today on Amazon:


Erin Mason, divorced and with two teenage sons, finds her world begins to fall apart when she undergoes what is termed a “life event”, and is diagnosed with cancer. Not too far away somebody else, Alan Beaumont, is also suffering a similar fate. Their paths slowly come together in this inspiring and humorous tale which is partly based on actual events, and shows how love can flourish in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Review on Amazon by Thom Stark:

Stevie Turner’s A Rather Unusual Romance is exactly that. It’s unusual because its primary characters are middle-aged…

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48 Free Books and Samples for Fans of Women’s Fiction

Plenty of free books here, to start the New Year with!

Stevie Turner

This is a scheduled post as I’m now off the radar every Tuesday and Wednesday for the foreseeable future to enable me to reconnect with creative writing without any distractions from social media notifications.

However, BookFunnel promotions still run, and there are 48 Free books or samples of women’s fiction available on the link below until the end of January:

My family drama ‘The Daughter-in-law Syndrome’ is part of the promotion, and by clicking on the link above you will be able to download a free sample.

The Daughter-in-law Syndrome investigates the complicated relationship causing much friction between Grandmother Edna Deane and her daughter-in-law Arla. In addition it focuses on the sometimes tumultuous partnership between Arla and her husband Ric.

Arla Deane sometimes likens her marriage to undergoing daily psychological warfare. Husband Ric will never voice an opinion, and puts his mother Edna up high on a pedestal. Arla…

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A while back, I posted about this contest, and offered readers the chance to participate. Well, the contest has now closed, and the winners decided. In the first ten, there was one winner from the UK, one from Ireland, one from Australia, one from Canada, one from Sweden, and the rest were from the United States. According to the site’s administrator:

“It was a huge success, with a total of 3,847 submissions! … We were really impressed by the fantastic work carried out by all the authors … We think there’s a lot to learn from these expertly crafted blurbs.”

Lana, site administrator

If you would like to find out who the winner was, and see a list of the top ten ‘blurbs’, please go to:

Responding to Negative Reviews

Negative reviews, whilst unwelcome, should be handled correctly.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Mark Lindsey of Enplug has written an interesting article with tips on how to respond to negative reviews on social media.

There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to reviews.

The first is that reviewers need to feel that Amazon is a safe space where they can review without worrying about authors (or companies) becoming aggressive or taking offense. So, it’s best if you don’t respond at all. Let any dialogue happen organically between your readers and avoid interjecting to leave them the space they need to feel free to express themselves.

The second is that it’s best if you respond to reviews right away, as long as you follow some rules. So, be thankful for positive reviews and express your gratitude that the reader took the time to review. As for negative reviews, Enplug’s tips may come in handy.

how to respond to negative book reviews | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

1. Understand the…

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Are There Any Primitive Languages?

How many tantalising missing links are there in the development of our language?

Nicholas C. Rossis

Once again, Quora has a great answer on linguistics — and the emergence of language in particular.

As Thomas Wier points out, the faculty of language is far, far older than our own species.

Early Communication Systems

No one knows precisely when language began. As far back as we can tell, primates had communication systems more complex than almost any other in the animal kingdom. Vervet monkeys, for example, have different calls for different kinds of predators: leopards, eagles, and snakes. The form of these calls is arbitrary and resembles words, in that no property of the call itself resembles a leopard or a snake. But they are also genetically wired into the monkey’s behavior — the monkeys don’t have to learn the calls. Our remote hominid ancestors must have had speech systems at least this sophisticated.

Enter Homo Erectus

Then a revolution happened. Around two million years ago or…

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A book for Christmas?

Wilfred Risdon at his office desk in 1937

Just by way of an annual reminder (you can’t have forgotten, surely?), books make an excellent Christmas present, especially at the moment, when we might have rather more time on our hands than hitherto, so if you enjoy reading biographies of people with fascinating/engaging or even objectionable lives, why not think about, either for yourself, or as a gift, the life story of Wilfred Risdon? He was a man whose career divides itself quite neatly into two distinct halves (although there was some overlap, to be fair, in terms of the principles that drove him): the early political activism, fighting for the interests of the British working man (and woman, or course), which took him eventually down the dark road of fascism, in its British manifestation; and the second half, fighting the cause of defenceless animals, endeavouring to impede where possible, or ideally curtail completely, the barbaric practice of experimenting on animals in the cause of human medicine.

The book is available in paperback (and it still only costs GBP15.00, plus postage & packing!) and delivered by post (so please take delivery times into account when ordering), and digital download forms (still only GBP5.00): all variants are available; PDF, ePub, and both popular formats of Kindle, .mobi & .azw3. Each chapter is fully supported with comprehensive notes, and there are also several appendices at the end, with faithful reproductions of literature which was relevant to Wilfred’s life; the most significant of which was his interrogation by the Defence Regulation 18B(1A) Appeal Committee in July 1940, to decide if he could safely be released from internment in Brixton Prison; and even some biographical information about a (second world) wartime Polish pilot, Jan Falkowski, who bought Wilfred’s house in Ruislip, north west London. Whatever your views about the rights and wrongs of right & left in political affiliation, this is a very detailed examination of the life of a 20th century activist who is not well known, but whose work does deserve to be better known. The book can be ordered direct from the Wilfred Books website (which is, assuredly, safe, despite what over-cautious browsers might want you to think) by clicking on this link. If you do order the book, thank you, but nonetheless, Merry Christmas!

Typography: What Is That Called?

Take a letter: what’s it made of?

Nicholas C. Rossis

Have you ever wondered why some parts of letters are called tails and stems, and what are other parts besides them called?

As David Maier explains, a lot of the terminology seems to come from human and animal counterparts with roughly the same shape or position (eye, tail, head, foot, shoulder, arm, beak). Others are more directly descriptive (crossbar, terminal, bowl).

Here is what the various letter parts are called:

Typography | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

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Reading Is the Key to Learning

No persuasion necessary here that books are best!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Garima Aggarwal | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookThis is a guest post by Garima Aggarwal. Garima is an aspiring content writer working for TABSCAP. Coming from a journalism background, she has been into content writing for 2 years and is passionate about topics related to lifestyle, health, and digital marketing. 

Reading is the key to learning

Books don’t just teach you good vocabulary, but a lot more than that. 

As a child, I always found it hard to read books. I mean, who could read a thick novel containing difficult text and no pictures?

And yet, I was always been told that reading books is vital, especially for people interested in writing or those who have to interact with a mass audience on a regular basis. But very few people ever cared to explain to me why reading is important. The rather boring list of reasons they gave me included clichés like, “you will learn new…

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