The Mandolin Mysteries – Three Short Stories

What can I say about Robert Lee Beers? He is talented, funny and makes you believe in his strange urban fantasy take on San Francisco. Tony Mandolin is a marvelous literary creation and I’d recommend getting to know him as soon as you can.

Holidazed: a Tony Mandolin Mysteries short story (The Tony Mandolin Mysteries Book 1)

‘On floor 5 things changed, whether for good or bad is still up in the air.’

It is Thanksgiving and PI Tony Mandolin is enjoying the traditional meal and gathering of friends when another good friend, Police Captain Pat Monahan, turns up at the door with news of a strange disaster back at the police station. Ably assisted by those gathered for the celebratory meal, including his work partner, the ex-drag queen Frankie and his romantic partner Alcina, Tony sets out to deal with – well, no one is quite sure.But that is the way Tony rolls in his day job so a little paranormal overtime on Thanksgiving is not going to make him break a sweat – too much…

This is a short story that captures well all the essential elements of Tony Mandolin, from the humour to the good-heart, from the tough city to the strange and paranormal. It also introduces you to the significant people in his life and the nature of the world he inhabits and the strange investigations he gets asked to handle.

I liked that, unlike the other Tony Mandolin books, this is available through KU. If you already are a fan of the series you will want to read this special holiday story. If you have never heard of Tony Mandolin before, then this is your chance to meet him and maybe discover a new firm favourite urban fantasy hero – and author.

Haberdashed: A Tony Mandolin Short Story (The Tony Mandolin Mysteries)

‘I’m Tony Mandolin, a slightly worn private investigator who’s seen far too many dead bodies killed in far too many weird ways.’

I love bonsai. I love the way that despite their tiny size they retain all the qualities of the full-sized version. This story does that. It is Tony Mandolin in a nutshell – in more ways than one. The story itself is a classic peek into the kind of adventures Mr. Mandolin encounters in his esoteric life as a PI noir hero in an urban fantasy San Fransisco. It is also a perfect introduction to the many and highly varied denizens of alternative San Franciso who share and shape those adventures with Mr. Mandolin

This time it is the fashion industry that has been hit by weird murder and the close Tony looks the weirder it seems to get. Is there some magical Anti-fashonista on the loose? Has someone set out to punish crimes against fashion?

‘This, whatever it was, made hinky look downright normal.’

This is well written, well paced with characters you meet and then feel you know well enough to invite them out for a drink. It has a good storyline and a satisfying ending. Oh – and did I mention it is funny too? Perfect.

If you have yet to discover the Tony Mandolin series, this bite-sized version might be a good entree to the banquet that awaits you. Do I sound like a fan? Hmm, I think maybe I have indeed become one.

Hole Lotta Shakin’: A Tony Mandolin Short Story (The Tony Mandolin Mysteries Book 0)

I did enjoy this book – but in all ethicality I can not review it as I am in it! A lot of name checks for members of the Roundtable too. I can say I was there, in that poker game, San Francisco, 1906…

Midwinter Miracle

Midwinter Miracle

I.

It was Midwinter.

Tegwyth reminded herself of that. A time for celebrating that the longest season had finally turned on its pivot and the warmth of summer, though short-lived, would come again. A time for gifts to be given and feasts to be eaten. In past years she had been given gifts by the owner of the caravan – her owner – trinkets to wear, bangles for her wrists and ankles, a fine scarf to protect her hair and pull over her face, keeping the dust from her nose and mouth, as it was thrown up by the caravan on the road. She had been pampered and cosseted, well treated and cared for. She had even believed she was loved.

Then last Midwinter she had become a gift.

She had seen it coming from the moment his true-born child had started speaking venom – one who would take no competition for her father’s affections. And he, in his turn, adored her and indulged her. Then the boy-child Tegwyth carried was born to live no more than a few gasping breaths, like all his sons before. She had failed him.

So at Midwinter she had been given away. A gift to seal a trading pledge with a merchant from across the ocean – a merchant from this city, from Keran. The merchant had taken her into his house and then taken almost all she cared about from her – even her hope. But when he threatened to take and sell the most precious thing in her life, she had risked everything and run away. It had been her Midwinter gift to herself.

So yes, Midwinter was about gifts and feasting, but sometimes, maybe, you had to take the gifts and help yourself to the food.

It sat on the table beside a smeared empty bowl with a lingering savoury smell of soup. Someone had bought it, eaten their fill and left half the loaf. Whoever it was did not want the bread and it had already been paid for, so it could not really be considered theft.

She had first seen it through the small window, as she stood, shivering, in the frozen white outside. Somebody had wiped away the condensation of the warmth within so they could look out, which had granted her a half-glimpse inside the tavern. That had been enough. Following a group of wealthy men and their whores through the briefly open door, then shrinking into the shadows to disguise the quality of her dress and the thin felt cloak that had been worn through in patches.

The loaf still sat unguarded. The boy clearing the tables did not seem to have noticed it yet. He was at the far side of the room, dodging between the patrons with their fine and fancy faces, plump from good eating. He ducked, avoiding a cuff aimed at his ear, as he picked up a jug someone had not yet deemed empty.

The loaf looked bigger than it had through the window. Tegwyth’s stomach called out to it and she was grateful for the sounds of raucous cheer. Without them the man standing with his back to her, close by the fire, might have heard. He was tall and even from behind she could see the wider whiskers of his beard as they spread from his chin.

She knew who he was, of course, all of Keran had heard of him. They called him Drum. He was someone special here and his arrival the previous day had been talked of everywhere as she hunted for food. Not many sons of Temsevar, as she knew well, made their way to other worlds and even fewer of those who did ever came back as he did. Even here in Keran, where the twin domes of the spaceport humped high with snow dominated the city, it still seemed strange beyond imagining for Tegwyth. She struggled to believe that anyone could come from worlds beyond the stars.

Her eyes moved back to the loaf which seemed so far away – as if, it too, sat on another world. Beside it, cast aside onto the stool and partly pooling its fabric over the table, was an odd, sleeved garment that might be some kind of coat. It was the colour of freshly shed blood, but had a sheen in its fabric which the flickering firelight caught and played with. She had seen the bearded man wearing it out in the snow on his way here. It must be warm to wear as he had needed no cloak. Even above the gripe of her stomach for food she felt a sudden desire for the coat and the warmth it could give.

She looked back to the bearded man. He was laughing now. The woman he was talking to was someone special too. Tegwyth knew her given name was Micha and had heard the gossip that her late husband had been in good health, in his middle years, before marrying his young bride. Now a recent widow, she was the woman who owned this hostelry, the very best in the city. Which was why, this Midwinter, so many of wealth and status were here – and was also why Tegwyth really should not be. The thought almost broke her courage. The risk of being recognised, identified, returned.

Knowing if she waited longer she would never make herself act, she slipped from shadow to move under the nearest table. It was by the door and prone to regular blasts of cold air, so it had been left empty.

Pressed close to the wall she paused to be sure no one was aware of her presence. The door opened and she froze as if the snow-laced air had made her into a statue of ice. The bearded man, half-turned his head towards the door, then smiled as he saw who was there. He beckoned in a welcoming way and called out:

“Tavi! Get your lazy butt over here I want you to meet someone I -” He broke off slapped his own cheek with one hand and laughed. Then spoke again using strange words Tegwyth did not recognise.

The man at the door was wearing the same kind of coat as the one on the stool, only in a dull metallic blue-grey. Tegwyth kept very still. If he moved his head even a small amount he would see her. But his eyes were not even considering straying. They were locked on the woman called Micha and his face wore an expression of awed discovery. As he walked quickly over to the fire, all three were caught up in his arrival. The bearded man clapped a hand on his shoulder and almost pushed him a pace closer to the woman.

“Micha – this is Gernie Tavi. Agernilio Tavi if you want the full bloody mouthful. He’s the man I’ve been telling you about. Would you know it, he’s taking over the whole bloody spaceport. I offered him a lift so he could be here for our Midwinter,” the bearded man gave an exaggerated wink. “He’s only got Standard for the now, mind, so we can talk about him behind his back all you like.”

Micha had the golden skin of someone from the far north of the Western Continent and hair, piled up into a high style with cascades of ringlets, the same rich red as Tegwyth’s own. She wore embroidered skirts of the finest woven wool and a bodice that clung over her breasts, like a second skin, made from some strange offworld fabric. When she smiled, as she did at the man called Gernie, her eyes widening, she looked truly beautiful.

The loaf was within reach now. But so was the coat and it was that Tegwyth slid carefully from the stool first, looping it around her and under her cloak out of sight. Then she reached out again for the bread.

“I really wouldn’t do that if I was you.”

It was the bearded man. He had moved away from the fire, perhaps so the other two could get to know each other – or perhaps, feeling simply not wanted there anymore. Either way, he now stood on the far side of the table. His face hard, although his voice sounded more as if he were offering her friendly advice than any threat. But she had just become a thief – she had stolen his coat, its warmth so good around her, the warmth of life in the bitter cold of winter. And the price of theft, even if she had been free and not hunted as an escaped slave, was death.

For a moment she thought to run. To flee. Break away. Rush for the door and out into the snow. But as if he could read her thoughts, the bearded man had taken a step to the side so she would have to pass him to be able to leave. His hand curled on a strange looking item clipped onto his belt. But as he moved and light fell on her face, his expression changed. It seemed to soften, as the warmth of the sun softens the hard packed ice. His hand moved away from his belt and he shook his head.

“Sweet truth and dare, you’re only a bloody child,” he said. And reaching past her he picked up the loaf. Tegwyth wondered when he would notice she had taken his coat, maybe he would see the flash of brilliant colour through one of the holes in her cloak, maybe he –

“Here, you hungry? Eat this and I’ll get you some hot soup to go with it.”

Her hands closed over the bread. It felt soft and smelled of yeast and grain – and life. The bearded man had already left her, striding back to the fire.

“Micha – could I ask for more -” He broke off laughing at something Tegwyth could not hear the woman say. “See? I told you that you two would get along.”

He was distracted. They all were. Tegwyth ran.

It was because she ran she didn’t look. Didn’t take the usual care. Her face was uncovered, profiled by the narrow lighting as she wrenched open the door, ducking under the arm of the slow, bulky man who was paid to make sure it stayed shut. But she heard the shout.

“Tegs?” Then: “Stop her!” Running feet. “Back off, she is my property!” and the thunder came, before: “I hope I killed the bitch.”

It hurt so bad she staggered and thought she would fall. As if something had pierced her through the side. It made no difference though, she kept running. Past the bulk of the snow-clammed houses, holding her side as the warmth leaked from it. Limping a little, she crossed the cold-pressed open ground marked by a thousand hooves and the runners of sledges and sleighs. She scurried over the last road, slipped on the ice and slid under the vent that heated the small building by the spaceport dome. Pulling the snow and ice after her, she pushed herself further and deeper into the narrow shelter. By then the pain was coming in great waves; like the waves she had seen deep out in the ocean on her journey here from the Western Continent, arising from unseen depths and slamming hard against the hull of the ship.

“Ma?”

The small voice, no more than a whisper, came from the dark recesses of the little cave she had found for them. That had been the hardest thing, teaching Elisca to be silent when she needed to go out to find them food. But at least they were together and the child spared the horror of branding and separation that Tegwyth herself had known. Tegwyth gasped and almost cried out as she unwound the coat from under her cloak, pulling it free where it stuck, wetly, in her flesh, then wrapping it around the cold-skinned child. It was too dark to see what she was doing and she had to work by feel. When she was done she pressed her cheek close to her daughter’s.

“There,” she said so softly the air barely carried her words. “I brought you a gift for Midwinter, sweetling.”

She held the child close as the little one wolfed down the bread, fed and wrapped warm for once. But for Tegwyth the cold seeped deeper into her with each breath. It seemed to hurt less though, but she felt so very tired. Her daughter clasped safe in her arms, Tegwyth let herself fall asleep.

 

 
II.

The frost had frozen the blood onto the surface of the snow almost as soon as it landed, stark red against the white. In the cold illumination of the flashlight, it seemed crystalline and jeweled.

“She’ll have lost too much,” the bearded man muttered grimly. Gernie nodded. He was no expert but even he could see what this trail meant. They followed it out past the courtyard wall and on towards the edge of the settlement.

“If we had been a bit faster or you’d just hit that – ”

“We had no bloody choice,” the other man cut across him. “It’s how things are here, lad, you can’t bloody change it.”

“The bastard shot her,” Gernie protested.

“And in his full legal right to do so. She is his property – or was, most likely. She ran away and that means she knew she was in for death if she got caught.”

“So you and Micha have to make nice to him? Man, that’s -” Gernie realised for the first time just how alien this world really was.

“We had to play it that way. That’s the way it bloody is around here, Tavi. Maybe if you work on it you can make a difference one day, but you can’t go shooting down local notables – nor even beating them up. Not if you are planning to stay here – and I take it you are?”

For a moment, Gernie wanted to say no. Wanted to say he was not going to stay anywhere a teenage girl could be murdered, legally, in front of an entire tavern full of people. But even as he opened his mouth to say as much, he found his mind filled with the memory of an oval face with golden skin, framed by dark-copper ringlets and wearing an expression of appalled compassion. Something inside him moved.

“I’m taking the job,” he said, “if that’s what you are asking. It’s why I came here after all. The pay is crap, this place is like a nightmare. But someone has to run the spaceport so crazy people like you can come and trade here. I’ll stick it a year or two then head back to civilisation.”

The bearded man grinned briefly.

“I think Micha will be pleased.”

Gernie said nothing to that, it was still too new, too startling. He shone the flashlight back on the snow and followed the trail.

The blood seemed to vanish near the small block building that backed onto the first of the spaceport domes. As if the ground had opened and swallowed the girl.

 

 
III.

It was two days later as Gernie was still familiarising himself with the incredibly unsophisticated technology that enabled the spaceport to operate, and wondering just what he had taken on in coming to this hellish backwater, when he heard the sobbing. It sounded so close that, for a time, he thought he had to be hallucinating as he could think of nowhere it could come from.

Except he was not the only one who heard it.

It stopped around early afternoon, but they kept searching even as the huge red sun began to vanish behind the horizon. When it was gone completely, the ground would turn to rock in the cold of the night and their task would be harder if not impossible.

They found the body first, lying in the small gap that went under the ledge at the bottom of the wall, where there was an overhang to allow for venting and drainage. Drum had used a simple heat detection probe from the belt he wore, sensitive enough to tell the difference between solid snow and freezing flesh. He was red faced, he had been digging along with the rest.

“She must have dropped down the side and pulled herself along so the snow would fall back over and cover the way in. She’d be getting air and water melted down from the venting brick to your control room, Tavi.”

Then, as they moved the body, there was blood red shimmering in the white, like the gash of an open wound. Drum grunted something short and abrasive in the language Gernie knew he must soon begin the struggle to learn, the only language most spoke here on Temsevar.

“What is it?” Gernie asked. At least Micha spoke Standard.

But the bearded man ignored him and bent down again, pulling at something that the ice did not want to release. Then he drew an energy snub from his belt and used it to melt the frozen edges away from what they could see, his aim careful and precise. More red emerged. Then he stopped and clipped the snub back before leaning in to try and lift it free.

Gernie was sure he recognised the red now.

“That’s your coat, but how -?”

“Don’t stand there gawping, lad, give me a bloody hand here.”

The thermal-release coat was slightly warm on the inside and wrapped around something bulky. Gernie brushed the snow away as the bearded man pulled and lifted the entire bundle free from the snow. A small chubby hand, flesh pale and blue, emerged limp and lifeless from the folds and the bearded man held the wrist for a moment then tucked the arm back.

“Is it -?”

“Aye,” there was a sadness in his voice and he caught on the words. “We were too slow. It took just – just a bit too bloody long, the poor mite.”

Then the bundle moved in his arms.

Midwinter Miracle
by E.M. Swift-Hook

 

You can also read another Fortune’s Fools short story on the blog:

Doubled Spirit

 

 

Just Good Friends

 

I asked the  members of the Roundtable:

‘Which of your characters would you most want as a friend and why?’

Robert Lee Beers

Robert Lee Beers: Pat Monahan.

E.M. Swift-Hook:  A good choice in my opinon. Care to share your reasons why? And also, maybe, why not Tony himself? Just ‘cos I’m curious…

Robert Lee Beers: Pat is me in many ways. I like me. Tony is me minus filters. It would be a bad combination.

E.M. Swift-Hook:  Good answer and makes a lot of sense

 

Eric Michael Craig

Eric Michael Craig: Sophia Warner. Why? Because she is a very tough and very smart woman. She lives far enough outside the box, that she is also a real problem solver. I think I would trust to have my back in any situation as well. She’s is also passionate about life and plays well with others.

E.M. Swift-Hook: I can  see her as a good choice – I was wondering who I’d go for in your universe and am still thinking about it. Hmmmm..

Eric Michael Craig: I’d be interested in seeing who you thought the most likable character in my book was. (or barring likable, maybe some other quality of friendship) There are a few to choose from.

E.M. Swift-Hook:  Oddly – having given it a lot of thought, the person I like most is probably Sylvia Hutton – nowt to do with her job, just how she comes over as being a woman trying her hardest to do the right thing by her people and by the world. As a friend – ok it would come down to survival so has to be Colton.

Eric Michael Craig: Interesting. Thank you for your insight. I think Ducky’s favorite character is Kuromori but I don’t know if she’d see him as a friend type or more of a person to look up to. I wish I had time to develop him more fully – there was a lot more of him in the earlier revisions.

E.M. Swift-Hook: I can see why Kuromori – but he does not leave so much of a ‘footprint’ maybe. If that makes sense.

Eric Michael Craig: He is my Jedi Master.

E.M. Swift-Hook: Yup – he has that problem too!

Ducky Smith: Actually we talked about this and I also chose Sylvia. Although Sophia would be great to have in your corner and so would Carter Anthony, since he does whatever needs to be done, even when it comes to being a hero. Jonathan Merrill would be a good drinking partner. I think I would like to choose several and have a tribe from Eric’s books.

E.M. Swift-Hook: That is cheating!

 

Zora Marie Brewer

Zora Marie Brewer: Such a hard one! Limiting to the first half of Book 1, I’d have to say Luxly – aka Lucky – or Jones. Both are super sweet Knights. Luxly has a humorous personality, and Jones is almost too caring for his own good.

E.M. Swift-Hook: They definitely sound like the kind of people I would like.

 

Lyra Shanti

Lyra Shanti: Ayn, hands down, though he is a little too much like me, so we might cancel out. Lol But he has the best heart. He’d always be there for me, no matter what. Meddhi-Lan, Ayn’s teacher and high priest, would be good to have as a father figure type friend as well. I often feel I need advice and someone to ground me. He’d be good to depend on.

E.M. Swift-Hook: Seems good reasons to choose them both. When I have read a bit more I shall let you know if they would be my choices too

Lyra Shanti:  Cool. Everyone is different, so I’m expecting your answers to vary.

 

Jesse Toldness

Jesse Toldness: OK, this isn’t from anything anyone’s read, on account of its not finished, and I know its stereotypical, but I think I could be friends with my current main, Morgan Gannis. We’re both Earthmen, both like a good beer and he’s a just regular guy trying to make a living… granted a regular guy of the 3800’s, but still… man’s got some stories. This might just be because I’ve been working on this bloody thing long enough that he’s started feeling like a damn roommate.

E.M. Swift-Hook: I soo know that feeling.

 

Kat  Caffee

Kat Caffee: Any of my pukah (except Nameless – though I’d still try if I could stay out of a collar.) Celeca, Bes, and even Thelda. Though, I also admit to being a glutton for punishment with Thelda.

 

Ricardo Victoria

Ricardo Victoria: Funny, I wrote my characters as if they were actual friends of mine. Considering that one of the members of the main cast is based on my younger self of a decade ago, that makes sense. So I guess the main 5?

E.M. Swift-Hook: An interesting way to approach writing characters. Is there one you would feel might be a better friend than the others?

Ricardo Victoria:  Probably the non human.

E.M. Swift-Hook: Care to share what in their personality gives them an edge? Or will er have to wait for the book?

Ricardo Victoria: Well, he is a former assassin that decided to take under his wing one of the characters and train him and in the meantime build a spaceship, his only real weakness is the love he has for that piece of junk. That doesn’t means that he is serious and broody all the time. On the contrary, he rarely takes anything seriously, so when he does you know shit hit the fan, and is usually being a smartass and complaining of everything. Has a bit of contempt for stuffy people, most humans and beings from his own race, and is fascinated by human pop culture. He also has a lot of obscure jokes with the human he took under his wing. He is a loyal friend and has a honor code so despite all his complaints when the chips are down he not only has your back, but also has the big guns to back you up – there is no such thing as an overkill for him. So underneath his slacker personality, he is kinda a pragmatic warrior poet that doesn’t take himself very seriously and dreams with exploring space.

E.M. Swift-Hook: Sounds a good choice for a friend – I look forward to meeting him ‘in the flesh’, so to speak, one day soon

 

Francis LaLonde

Francis LaLonde:  I’d like to hang around with Jake Balsum. He is a member of the Boston Police Department, and partner of Carl Trimbley.

Lieutenant Jake Balsum has a thin, athletic build. Jake dresses in a freshly pressed suit, with shoes polished to a bright shine. A little more easy-going than his partner, Carl Trimbley. However, Jake still approaches his job in a professional manner. Loves his partner like a brother, but can’t repress a little chuckle now and then at Carl’s foibles. I would almost call him a “Scully” type character, but he really isn’t that efficient. At any given opportunity, will try to get his partner to ‘pull my finger.’ Jake likes the finer things in life, but isn’t afraid to let loose now and then. He fits in well with both high society and a ‘fight club’ atmosphere. Jake is in top condition and exercises regularly. Jake has no special speaking accent.

Goal: Aiding Carl (his superior) in any investigation. Mostly Jake will throw out a stray question, or ‘perk up’ at the mention of something related to their investigation. Essentially, he is the “Watson” character to Carl’s out-of-shape “Holmes.” He occasionally asks a question when he catches an odd statement. Such questions often trigger ideas in Carl, which lead to further developments in their cases.

Background: Middle- to Upper-class. A decent enough family, with a caring mother, strong father figure, and a younger sister. Had an older brother who died when Jake was only about 6 or 7 years old. Graduated from college, but his degree isn’t related to his work. So his educational background is – flexible. In Dutch Oven (screenplay), though, his lack of local historical knowledge becomes evident.

Likes: Clubbing. wine walks, baseball, tennis.

Habits: Loves to ad-lib a line – either to himself, or occasionally out loud – when a humorous opportunity presents itself. Likes to pester Carl to “pull my finger.” Exercises regularly, Doesn’t brag about his activities, but isn’t shy about talking about them if he’s asked. He does have one vice: Jake enjoys playing the horses. But, he’s not very successful at it. Jovial. The type that’s beloved by everyone he meets. Could easily be a close friend of Janet Bush, in Dutch Oven, though he can also lean against an alley wall and chat with a wino or drug addict.

Dislikes: Not really much, except he really detests classical music.

So – bottom line: Jake seems to be quite the sort of person to just hang around and have some laughs – take in a comedy show, head to the race track, maybe see a wrestling *match* or whatever. A lot more easy-going than his partner, Carl.

Oh: age 30-35. Haven’t really figured out height, but would think about 6′ – not much taller.

E.M. Swift-Hook: I can see why he’d be a good friend :

 

Darrel Merke

Darrel Merke: I would have to go with my main character, Cole Daniels. As a pilot and astronaut, he’s had some interesting experiences. He’s also an everyman with a good sense of humor who likes to sit back and enjoy a beer – blended into the stories of both Sensabria and the sequel. He would certainly have some good stories to tell you. Because of his past however, he’s also vulnerable, which can lead him into precarious situations. Fortunately, he can also be rather clever in finding his way out.

Some of his other character traits include: adaptive, appreciative, courageous, resourceful, adventurous, curious, honorable, idealistic, independent, and observant.

E.M. Swift-Hook: So which particular aspects of his personality you mentioned would you see as being the prime ones in making him a good friend?

Darrel Merke: I would say that appreciative and honorable would be the two most important qualities in terms of being a good friend. He’s also very quite humble too, so that would also be a factor.

 

Aaron-Michael Hall

Aaron-Michael Hall: There are a few: Danimore, Symeon, Thalassa, Ayrmeis, and Ahvixx would be at the top of my list. Each are unique, yet encompass what a true friend should. Their honesty, inner and outer strengths, loyalty, passion, and compassion exude through and from them. However, each also has an innocence that is endearing.

 

E.M. Swift-Hook

And me? Well, since you asked…

E.M. Swift-Hook: I have to admit I struggle a bit with who of my characters I’d want as a friend. Those who have read any of the first trilogy will know that some of the individuals are not exactly ‘free agents’ – they bear the weight of agendas which they would place above even those they care for. Not good people to have as friends!

If I had to choose someone from the Transgressor Trilogy, maybe I would step away from my main characters and go with one of the significant others – Aisha, the leader of a group of travelling performers.

Lyra Shanti: Travelling performers are cool, but they can’t always be trusted.

E.M. Swift-Hook: Very true – and some of Aisha’s people prove that very point – but she shows herself to be a very good friend. The fact I would not choose any of my main characters in that first trilogy as a friend tells me something about them. That said, there is more than one character in the, as yet unpublished, second and third trilogies who I would see as being excellent friend material – the only problem is gaining that friendship would be something of a challenge….

Ducky Smith: Aisha for sure.

E.M. Swift-Hook: She would have your back, be great for advice and good for a chat – perfect!

Ducky Smith: And I have a bit of the gypsy soul in me. I could live in a vardo, traveling the world with my home going with me.

E.M. Swift-Hook: Yup! It occurred to me – after the event – that the quote I have used on the graphic for this post is something Aisha said…

 

 

 

 

One of Fortune’s Fools

I’m Just One of Fortune’s Fools

I used to play Bridge when I was an Uni. It was only fun, simple Bridge – natural bidding or the easiest of conventions and we would swap around partners depending who had a lecture or tutorial to attend. I remember one player, though, every time someone hesitated before drawing trumps, would mutter, ‘He who stands on the riverbank…’

I never did find out what the end of the saying was supposed to be, but it implied that it was a bad idea to dither around not getting on with a job that needs doing. This is a job that needs doing, on the bank of which I have been standing for a good long while.

So today I’m jumping in the river – I am starting my own blog.

It’s important to be well connected

Every author has a blog. I think it is as compulsory as having an author page on Amazon and Goodreads, or a  Facebook and Facebook Author Page and a Twitter presence. But aside a couple of small sallies on my provided Goodreads blog, dipping my toes in the river, I have not been blogging. That is now remedied thanks to the technical assistance and hosting from Ducky and Eric of the SciFiRoundtable.

So you can look forward to an interesting and varied diet of reviews, short stories, poetry, pictures, interviews and any other odd items that turn up and seem good to share with the world – not forgetting updates on my books and background nuggets on Fortune’s Fools.

If you like what you see please do leave feedback and – of course – please sign up so we can keep in touch by using the subscribe button on the sidebar.