Sunday, 30 September 2012

Welcome Author Jeffrey Philips

Jeffrey “Hammerhead” Philips strapped on a scuba cylinder (when Clorox bottles were BCD’s) for the first time in 1967. Dove for two years, decided he liked the water and obtained his scuba certification from NASDS, then became a PADI instructor. He hasn’t stopped diving since. In 1980 he married the prettiest mermaid in the ocean, Kitty. Today, he lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, writing fictionalized events of his travels.

   Website    Blog    Amazon Author Page     Facebook Profile

The Best Place to Write - Stiltsville

Some people have told me this would be a great place to write. Not going to get any neighbors dropping by on a whim, or the telephone ringing constantly. And it’s pretty quiet sitting in the middle of Biscayne Bay. Well, not quite in the middle, but you have to admit, not much here just a mile south of Key Biscayne. At one time twenty homes sat in the north east corner of the bay, but in 1992 hurricane Andrew with her 190 mph winds knocked that down to around seven.

But how did this collection of homes start?

Back in the 1930’s, an enterprising fisherman by the name of “Crawfish” Eddie Walker decided to sell bait and beer from his shack. His establishment was a wooden house plunked down on a barge. For the men who fished, netted, and trapped the reef, it was a time saver to stop at Eddie’s, rather than motoring all the way back to town.  Eddie was given his nickname because he made chowder from the crawfish he harvested under his shop.

Soon prohibition caused an economic boom in the bay. Gambling was allowed (and bootlegging) a mile off shore. Stiltsville is about 250 yards over the limit. The good times flourish. The structures grew into a small town. And of course, no taxes were being paid. Can’t have that, now can we. And the Federal Government changed the law to a three mile limit.

The flappers, rum-runners, and speakeasies left, but the homes survived.

As you can see, some of the homes have a lot of square footage. The structures are built in water between five and twenty feet deep. The stilts look like telephone poles that were driven into the sandy bottom, and the homes are made out of Dade County pine. Very sturdy.

So I decided to visit one. The captain of the boat didn’t want to motor under the house or anchor very close. Shallows come up quickly in the bay and the risk of running aground is always present. Thus the boat was anchored just outside the channel, meaning I’d have to snorkel a ways. And, not checking the tide chart, we arrived as the bay was emptying itself into the ocean.

Strapping on my fins, de-fogging my mask, and grabbing the dive flag, I slid off the boat’s swim platform and headed to the nice blue color house with the pink shutters. Everything in Miami has flair.  The salty water felt warm against my bare skin and I kicked against the current looking for a place where I could stand. No such luck.

Underneath the house, the water was twelve feet deep and the current still kicking. I snagged the dive flag’s stainless steel hook onto a barnacle encrusted piling, held on, and rested. To my surprise this stilt was made out of concrete. The boat dock under the house was destroyed and the stairwell leading up to the home was gone. I had picked the wrong house to try and explore.

Underneath the structure, there was calmness. Some yellow stripped sergeant majors swam by and every now and then a barracuda scooted over to see what I was up to. But as I lay floating on the surface, holding onto the float line to keep the current from swirling me out to the reefs, I’m thinking, this would be a great place to hole up and write. Especially if your story involves the ocean.

It seemed I was only there for a few minutes, when the boat crew signaled that my hour was up and for me to return.

Thus, I headed back to the boat.

Stiltsville, a place I’d like to stay.

                          Book Spotlight

While diving on Jesse Stoker’s boat, Cassandra, a local radio personality awaiting contract with extraterrestrials, disappears. Stoker considers her a hoaxster, but allowed the charter because the bank is ready to repossess his vessel.

Cassandra’s body is found three days later, but the M.E. finds she’s only been dead for five hours. Once it’s known that Stoker filled her tanks and she died from oxygen poisoning, he becomes the prime suspect. He’s never lost a diver before, doesn’t believe in alien abduction, and doesn’t believe she just died. To clear his name, stop a wrongful death suit, and save his livelihood, Stoker must figure out where Cassandra spent the missing days and find her killer.

Available on Amazon and Createspace

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Fifty Shades Surprised

I gave this novel 4 Stars. 

I began the novel expecting to be horrified by the writing as I had read so many negative reviews and comments.  What a surprise.

Besides the overuse of the words ‘flush, flushed, flushing’, the story flowed along at a fast pace.  The character of Christian Grey has been written very well.  Anastasia Steele was annoying at times but I kept reading, mainly to find out what Christian Grey would do next.

Personally, I couldn’t find the Twilight connection.  Probably because I wasn’t looking for it but I think ‘Fifty Shades’ is its own story.

Is it perfect?   What is perfect when it comes to story-telling?  Was it entertaining?  For me, it was.
‘Fifty Shades’ lets you escape to a whole new place of light and dark.  The title is very fitting.

The ending was mostly expected and had my ‘inner feminist’ give a high-five.  Can’t wait to read the next book in the series.  I will go in with an open mind.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Only Today

“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it.
But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know.” 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Autumn Belle

Auburn belle in a golden gown,
Spinning through nature with a twirl.
Acorns falling at her feet all around
A shower of Harlequin leaves fall upon the girl;

Skies of amber-golden hues
slowly unfurl to hail the Harvest Moon
The Autumn Queen with her wand subdues
The angry Sun with a mellow tune

In fields of gold her subject stand,
around mounds of pumpkins, acorn, and scarlet leaves
With all the bounty in the land
In September the Queen with her wand, pearls of dewdrops weaves.

Her hair, like husks of corn rustle in the September air
As the Autumn sun kisses her cheeks red as apples
Her eyes, a caramel-colour hazel so rare,
Matches the many falling leaves and her lips of scarlet are so supple.

In the atmosphere there's an essence
Of apples, pumpkin pies warming
on windowsills
Autumn fills the heart and soul
with cosy scents
That makes the soul more mellow
and tranquil.

2003 © Mary Aris, All rights reserved

                         Autumn Belle featured in Portraits of Life

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Welcome Author Irina Shapiro

Irina Shapiro was born in Moscow, Russia, and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of eleven.  

She earned a business degree from Bernard M. Baruch College, and worked in Advertising and Import/Export before trying her hand at writing.  

She has written six novels and is working on a seventh.  

Irina incorporates her love of history and travel into her books, and creates an exciting and textured backdrop for her characters. 

Irina Shapiro lives in New Jersey with her husband and children.

When the skeletal remains of a young woman and her baby are found entombed behind the kitchen wall of a historic Tudor house, Cassandra is overcome with grief. She seems to know who the young woman was, but not how she knows, or how she came to be there. Cassandra becomes inexplicably drawn to the house, and the mystery of the "Bones of Blackfriars." As she begins to learn the truth about the Thorne siblings who occupied the house during the reign of Elizabeth I, her own life takes an unexpected turn, and she finds that her fate is linked to the Thornes in ways she never dreamed of.

More Novels by Irina Shapiro

Amazon.UK Links

Monday, 10 September 2012

Love is a Rose - A Poem by Mary Aris

Love is but a delicate rose
That adorns the earth with grace.
Love is an exotic flower, I suppose,
A child of Venus, dressed in Chantilly lace;

Love is the offspring of desire,
Bred of pure affection and true passion
It is the soul's exquisite fire...
Love shall never quite go out of fashion.

Love is the sacred blood of matrimony.
It flows constantly within its' veins,
Like an everlasting sea.
Love is enduring to the end, taking great pains
yet with patience it is forgiving;

Love is a precious rose
Which blossoms slowly into one beauteous flower,
And spreads its fragrance to enchant the nose
With its' alluring scent and its mystique power.
Love is born of that maternal seed
Which transforms instantaneously
Into a beautiful flower of selfless deeds
Of kindness and wonder.

2004 © Mary Aris, All rights reserved

Saturday, 8 September 2012

What Manner Is This?


I must be showing my age.  I thought manners were taught in childhood.  I still address some people as Mr or Mrs even though I’ve known them all my life.  It’s the fact that they are older than me that I address them this way.

A few years back when I was working in retail, I noticed that the younger girls would address senior customers by their first names.  It not only felt weird, it felt wrong.

You would think that manners would be encouraged in the home and school, and that children were taught to respect their elders.  Sadly, this is not always the case.

While it is good to see confident young people, it is even better if they have manners.  Someone once told me that respect has to be earned.  I disagree.  I think respect has to be learnt.

And though my young adult children have achieved many things in their lives, the greatest compliment for me was being told of their good manners.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Melodies of the Heart by Mary Aris

My heart breaks out
Into a song and dance
When it hears the rhythmic music of romance,
Orchestrated by Heaven’s Golden Choir
With utmost precision.
When love and joy enters the heart
And your heart skips in perfect rhythm
At the sounds of the harp and violins
Your heart sings to the tune
Of true love and sweet passion.
There is much joy and cadence!
When love sings its merry melodies,
Your soul is swayed and carried away
By some rhythmic pattern;
And you can’t help but to stop and listen
To the sweet melodies of the heart.
 2005 © Mary Aris, All rights reserved

Jeanette's 4-stars-plus book montage

An Offer He Can't Refuse
Emily's Affair
Rough Harbor
The Chosen One
Runaway Heart
Bared to You
Melodies of the Heart
Fifty Shades Freed
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades of Grey
Somewhere in Time
House Guest
A Cop, His Wife and Her Best Friend
Hero Of Her Heart
All In Time
Asking for Andre
Almost a Bride
The Fence My Father Built

Jeanette Hornby's favorite books »

Jeanette's bookshelf: diversity

In Love With Death
3 of 5 stars true
I liked the authors take on the Angel of Death and enjoyed learning about the individual characters. The story was interesting and I liked the way the author simplified the subject matter. With a little more editing and polishing, this ...
tagged: from-dec-2011-to-now and diversity
An Offer He Can't Refuse
4 of 5 stars true
A thoroughly enjoyable tale. I liked the characters and the situation they were in. A good read for romance lovers.
tagged: from-dec-2011-to-now, 4-stars, diversity, and favourites
All In Time
4 of 5 stars true
An interesting and enjoyable story. I would have liked the unique events to unravel slower and continue longer, but overall, the tale was quite engrossing. A good read.
tagged: from-dec-2011-to-now, 4-stars, and diversity
4 of 5 stars true
An intricately woven vampire tale that keeps you wanting more. The historical and scientific content was unique and engrossing. I particularly liked the way the author separated each character's story in the beginning and then tied the...
tagged: diversity, 4-stars, and from-dec-2011-to-now
House Guest
4 of 5 stars true
A short, creepy and enthralling story. The development of the main character and situation was strangely enjoyable. A good read.
tagged: from-dec-2011-to-now, 4-stars, and diversity