Twelve Days of Christmas, a Letter

An old one but still worth a laugh.


Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Avenue
Beaver Meadow, Col.
December 14 Dearest John:
I went to the door today and the postman delivered a Partridge in a Pear Tree. What a thoroughly delightful gift! I couldn’t have been more surprised. With deepest love and devotion, Agnes
Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Avenue
Beaver Meadow, Col.
December 15 Dearest John:
Today the postman brought your very sweet gift. Just imagine – Two Turtle Doves! I’m just delighted at your very thoughtful gift. They are just adorable. All my love, Agnes
Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Avenue
Beaver Meadow, Col.
December 16 Dearest John: Oh, aren’t you the extravagant one! Now I really must protest. I don’t deserve such generosity – Three French Hens! They are just delightful, but I must insist, you’ve been too kind. Love, Agnes
Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Avenue
Beaver Meadow, Col.
December 17 Dearest John:

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Several authors have listed books they enjoyed this year, and gave out awards.  I am very flattered I was mentioned on some of them –  not me – Amie of course and she won’t let me forget it.  Oh, and Truth, Lies and Propaganda as well, thank you Max Powers.

I was thrilled to get the first ever Supreme Grunter Award held by Grant Leishman. His best book for 2015 was Amie. Thank you Grant, I am seriously amazed and pleased.

Now, I’m a bit pushed for time with – the Big Trip and all – but I have made up a list of my very best reads for this year.

They cover a wide variety of genres and I’m not even sure if they’re all indies – but my criteria was a book that held me so entranced that I neglected to eat, sleep, wash dishes or stir from my chair until I had finished it. Pretty difficult when it’s over 600 pages, that requires a lot of self control!

I think I’ve reviewed nearly all the books I’ve read in 2015 and the total is approximately 133. Yes, I’ve been passionate about books since the age of 4, which was of course only a couple of years ago.

I was going to divide these into genres, and list them in order, but due to time constraints  and the impossibility of comparing so many different genres …. in no particular order:-



A clever story which took me back in time and revived lots of memories. I appreciated the plot and the resolution.

JOSHUA’S ISLAND by Patrick Hodges


A YA book about bullying which was beautifully crafted. I would recommend this as a gift for any child/teen.

THE GIRL FROM ITHICA by Cherry Gregory

cherry 2

An interesting take on history set in the time of the Trojan Wars. History is my thing.



This really appealed to my sense of humour as American history is turned upside down with hilarious dialogue.



This resonated for me, as I was brought up in Dublin and I could so easily relate to many of the incidents and attitudes.

THE INCORRUPTIBLE  by  Margaret Eleanor Leigh


A good adventure story set in Greece, but it was far more for me as I just adore the writer’s tongue in cheek style of writing. There’s a smile in every sentence.

BETRAYAL by Sharon Brownlie


A book about a young girl dealt a bad hand in life who seeks to exact revenge – an anti-heroine at her very best.



OK if it’s about Africa then I’m half way to liking it, but this book is special. I was in awe of a memoir told with such modesty about a man who has rubbed shoulders with more than a few world leaders.

TIME TO LET GO by Christoph Fischer


Possibly the most sensitive handing of a story involving Alzheimer’s that I have ever read – poignant and very moving. I shed a tear reading this.



Very close to home, marriage to a psychopath and the effects on family life and the dynamics with children – this was so close to many of my own experiences. An author I would love to meet.



Just another memoir I thought as I began to read, and then I got hooked. A simple, straightforward tale that held my attention.



A delightful tale of Africa which I found enchanting. Yes, the title is weird, but all is explained as we cross cultural barriers.



A mother’s worse nightmare, a single parent struggling with teenagers who are going off the rails. This book describes the nightmare faced by so many desperate mothers. Beautifully written from the heart.



Set in Spain this had immediate appeal, and although it’s essentially a love story – so not my preferred gender – this book with its descriptions of war, suffering and loss of hope was just too good a book not to include.

SPRING GRASS SERIES – Book 2 Shanghai Winter by Qiyin Emurian


After reading book one in the series, I immediately downloaded the next 6. A real story, about China during the cultural revolution. I laughed and cried and was shocked rigid. A fantastic series of memoirs at its very best.

Those are fifteen books which have grabbed me this year. But there has to be one special book yes? I mean if you forced me to choose one? It’s the  one which has four of my favourite locations/themes and it had me rooted to the chair/sofa/couch/bed – and bathroom.

Firstly it’s a simply great story.

Secondly it’s set in a country I’m familiar with.

Thirdly it’s set back in history to a time and a topic that holds a lot of fascination for me.

Fourthly it moves – it moves fast, not stopping to describe a purple flower for half a page. It races forward, immersing the reader in a headlong dash, whisking you along for the ride. It’s one of the few books that I will read again and possibly even a third time – and I don’t often do that. And by the way I’ve enjoyed all the other books by this author, she is the closest modern day writer to Jean Plaidy and Norah Lofts I have found.

The Errant Flock by Jana Petken. FLOCK

Thank you Jana for many happy hours spent reading the words you put together so beautifully.

And a huge thank you to all the authors and readers and virtual friends from myself and from Amie.  I’d like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Healthy, Peaceful and Huge Amazon Stats New Year.





The author I want to introduce this week is Beth Hale. She lives in a small town in Mississippi and works as a E-911 dispatcher. But her first love is books and has been reading them for as long as she can remember.


Beth Hale writes about what she knows: strong, Southern women and the men who love them. She twines believable characters, realistic circumstances, and heart-felt emotions together to create sassy, sexy contemporary romances. She draws inspiration from the every day life problems we all face, and expands them into vivid, interesting, hard-to-put-down stories.

She learned the joys of reading from her mother, and her love affair with books has only grown stronger. If she isn’t breathing life into a new character, she is trying to make a dent in her large to-be-read pile.

Beth lives in small-town Mississippi with her own real-life hero and two children. They share the house with a variety of pets. When she is not working her “day job” as an E-911 dispatcher, you can find her curled up on her couch, with a blanket, coffee, and notebook.

She is the author of the Unexpected Emotion Series and the Magnolia Series.


Walker and Lainey share one explosive night together, and he awakens to find her gone. Shrugging it off as just a glorious one-night stand, he accepts a new job in a small town: New Hope, Mississippi. That’s where he finds Lainey again. She just happens to be married to the Chief of Police-and Walker’s new boss.

Lainey is terrified that Walker will divulge their secret. If he does, Lainey is a dead woman. But despite the danger, she can’t forget the one passionate night she spent in Walker’s arms. Walker demands answers from Lainey: What secret is she hiding? Why is she so afraid? And when people begin dying, he wants to get to the bottom of it. Why is the police chief trying to brush off the deaths? Why doesn’t he want Walker to work the cases? What kind of secrets is he hiding?

Drawn together, unable to deny their passion, they risk their lives. Lainey is trapped. Walker is determined to save her and uncover the truth. Can they expose the secrets before a ruthless man destroys any hope for a brighter future?


Magnolia Secrets is a romance exactly the way I like my romance: full of mystery, suspense, and danger. It is the story of Lainey, the beautiful wife of a small town chief of police; and Walker, the new officer looking for a fresh start. They have a steamy encounter early in the book, before either knows who the other is, and then to their mutual surprise meet again at a backyard barbeque. Walker believes the worst about Lainey, not knowing the dark secrets she keeps. Later in the book he suspects the truth about the terrifying life Lainey lives. As he works to help her find a way out of a seemingly hopeless situation, the full picture of the chief’s activities come to light, leading to an action-packed conclusion. If you enjoy romantic suspense, you can’t go wrong with Magnolia Secrets!


Beth Hale’s Magnolia Secrets is a fast-paced cop story that had me turning pages to finish in almost one sitting. It could be an episode of “CSI, Small-Town.” For a shorter novel, it didn’t lack for interesting characters to care about and lots of action. With a handsome hunk detective, some steamy sex scenes, and some nasty bad guys, this first of Hale’s Magnolia Series fits well within the Romantic Suspense genre. She left just enough on the table to have me looking for the next installment. Good job. I give it five stars.


Here are the links for Beth’s books.

Book Trailer:

Purchase Links:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

You’re Not Alone: An Indie Author Anthology: Reviews Links and Excerpts, Part 3 – 100% of Proceeds to Charity

A review of a great book of short stories including one of mine!

© Felipe Adan Lerma - All Rights Reserved - Blogging at WordPress Since 2011 🙂

you're not alone coverYou’re Not Alone: An Indie Author Anthology: Reviews Links and Excerpts, Part 3 – 100% of Proceeds to Charity

(from product page description) : An international group of indie authors, inspired by the personal grief of one, decided to collaborate in the spring of 2015 in a project to create this multi-genre smorgasbord of original short stories, all with the same potent theme – relationships. Some are heartfelt, some funny, some poignant, and some are just a little bit scary – much like relationships themselves. All are by authors fired by the shared enthusiasm to give something back in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Cancer touches us all. It has in some way affected those who have contributed their time and talent here. This is our way of showing that we care.

100% of the royalties earned or accrued in the purchase of this book, in all formats, will go…

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Sadly, this will possibly be the last ‘me’ blog for a while as the Big Trip looms. I will be laptopless for over two months and struggling to manage on the iPad.

Now I agonized big time worrying if I should mention why I was about to drop off the social media circuit for such a long time. Would some gentle soul post a virtual wreath on my timeline, or write rude things about me because I hadn’t replied to their comments, emails and such? Or, worst of all, in late February, would people be asking “Lucinda E Clarke? Who the hell is she?”

But of course the problem is, if you tell the world you’re not going to be at home for a while, it’s an open invitation for every scoundrel on the planet to come and relieve you of all your belongings.

So if you are planning to track down my ISP and raid our tiny home I should mention the following facts.


In South Africa we had burglar bars on all our windows. We have them here in Spain too, only they are called wreckers/reckers/recas (you choose), which are ornamental steel bars, now a cultural feature of adornment, once introduced by the Moors to protect their ladies from randy Spanish youths. So, it’s not going to be easy to break in.

Next, I must tell you about our neighbour. Now DH says he thinks he’s in the witness protection programme for squealing on the Mafia, but let me tell you he’s big, really big and hairy, and very, very fierce. He apparently has a black belt, or whatever colour is applicable at the top end of every marshal arts known to man. And, he owns a gun, a large one. He has promised to keep a close eye on our rabbit hutch. And he has several friends who look equally ‘capable’ and who visit him frequently. Even his girlfriend could be a candidate for the Strong Man Championships.


Last, and certainly least we have absolutely nothing worth breaking in for. No stashes of money (manic laughter here), no jewellery, no share certificates, not even this laptop – the CIA / MI6 will be taking it into custody for safe keeping.

I shall be taking with me my iPad, my phone and the €3.75 I have been saving all year as my spending money. I won’t give those up easily either.

Now I read with horror on one of those ‘proper’ blogs that to make lots of sales and really connect with people I should be blogging at least 3 times a week, and mention my books in every other line. That would be so ‘showing off’ wouldn’t it? But here is a quick update on my plans.

I will be launching my comedy book ‘Unhappily ever After – A fairy tale for grown ups’ – in March and then hopefully by September/October Amie 3 should be out.

Amie would like to thank everyone for their very kind words about her adventures.

Amie 3 front cover jpeg

A message from Amie.

Dear Readers,

Can’t you do something about Lucinda E Clarke? She’s getting out of hand. I’ve just read the first line of her next book about me and the opening sentence reads:

The tears ran down Amie’s face as she watched them lower the coffin into the freshly dug grave.

I think she’s gone too far this time and someone needs to put a stop to her. This form of abuse must be illegal surely? I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Great New Year and spare a thought for me facing a very uncertain future in 2016.

I promised you the gruesome bit about James II last week remember? Do you have the valium nearby?

James died of a brain haemorrhage in his little cottage in the French countryside. They removed his heart –


which was given to a convent in a silver-gilt locket. (I’m no surgeon, but it must have been a &*&^ big locket – would you want to wear round your neck?) Next they placed his brain in a lead casket which was sent to a college in Paris. (Purleeease don’t ask me why).

His entrails were packed into two gilt urns and sent to a parish church and another college and the flesh from his right arm sent to another group of nuns. (I was going to post a picture of entrails but they were just too gruesome, so please imagine them for yourselves).

His body – what was left of it – was laid to rest in a triple sarcophagus, two of wood, one of lead in St Jacques in Paris. Then he was buried? Er, no. He was left in a side chapel.

For 31 years they burned candles around the coffin until his tomb was raided during the French revolution.


At least in this statue he still looks all in one piece, that was kind wasn’t it?


Time for WilliamanMary to enter stage left, but that will have to wait a while. I’m sure they won’t mind.

A final word. A huge thanks to those people who have included and recommended my books in their reading choice for the holiday season. If I get a spare minute this week I will be posting my favourite reads from over a hundred books I have read this year.

Have a wonderful holiday.



This week’s author I’d like you to meet is Elizabeth Hull. She writes under the name of C.N.Lesley and lives in Alberta with her husband and their cats. If like me, you are not too sure where that is, Elizabeth’s home is in the foothills of the Rockies at just over two thousand feet above sea level. It does get a tad brisk in winter. On the other hand, she says they don’t get snakes or rats. Rats because of the cold and natural barriers and snakes because they are reptiles and not fond of the cold.

Her three daughters live close by. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth likes to read and to paint watercolours. She is also a keen gardener (despite the very short summers) and now has a mature shade garden. Once a worker in the communications sector, mostly concentrating on local news and events, she now writes full time, and fusses over her cats. She was senior managing editor of FlashMe Magazine and now is assistant flash fiction editor for Abyss and Apex.


Elizabeth writes fantasy books and here is the trailer for the trailer for her latest book Darkspire Reaches and had sonme amazing effects. It’s well worth the watch.


The wyvern has hunted for the young outcast all her life; a day will come when, after being rejected by civilisation and the tribes, she must at last face him.

Abandoned as a sacrifice to the wyvern, a young girl is raised to fear the beast her adoptive clan believes meant to kill her. When the Emperor outlaws all magic, Raven is forced to flee from her home with her foster mother, for both are judged as witches. Now an outcast, she lives at the mercy of others, forever pursued by the wyvern. Soon her life will change forever.

A unique and unsettling romantic adventure about rejection and belonging.



The late afternoon sun gave a red tinge to the sky as Raven emerged from the rank tunnels onto the lake shore. She wrinkled her nose in distaste at the smell coming from her wet clothing. Foul water found and polluted every dry shred of fabric on her body.

The hunters used vargel hounds to track, and they would come to this place, so she would spread her scent to confuse them. Raven waded out into the lake, keeping within her depth, then, using the sun as her guide, she headed northwest. They would figure a direct north line of escape to the settlements of the tribes. Raven didn’t doubt Margie would help foster that notion to save her own skin. Again, a bitter smile curled her lips upward. As long as she remained in the water, she left no trail. Almost as an afterthought, she dipped her torch into dull, gray waters and let it fall.

Cold seeped into her bones while she waded on the fringe of the lake. It made a harsh contrast to the foul, but warmer, temperature of sewer filth. Hunger clawed at her insides, bringing another form of cold, one that started from within. The baying of hounds startled Raven into a misstep and she fell; her feet rose to the surface, turning her on her back, the motion warring with the wet clothes pulling her down. If she shed them, she would give the hunters another clue to her passage, and how would she get new ones? The fabric belled out to catch a current and draw her to the center of the lake.

She drifted north to the sounds of the horn call of hunters and the baying of their hounds. Maybe they would burst from the thick line of trees almost reaching the edge of the lake. No pyre could send her spirit on its journey now.

She didn’t know the size of the lake. She hadn’t seen the other side across a vast expanse of water, sunlight sparkling off the waves and ripples. No doubt it drained in the direction of her passage for the current to pull her, but that soon ceased to concern her as the icy waters leeched at her, sucking out her life. A small bird fluttered down to settle on her chest and under his bright gaze, she let herself become enveloped by death’s cold arms.

Waves of sleep lapped around her, washing away hurt. She closed her eyes, feeling the wind on her face, on her body, as she hurtled through the air. For a moment, she imagined herself back at the citadel, throwing herself off a turret to ride the wind. One last image of Margie, a smile lighting her face after a good scrying session, and then flashes of gold lanced through the picture in her mind’s eye until only gold remained. Gold upon gold, fading down into nothing—nothing but a pair of shining, golden eyes.

The wyvern has hunted for the young outcast all her life; a day will come when, after being rejected by civilisation and the tribes, she must at last face him.

Abandoned as a sacrifice to the wyvern, a young girl is raised to fear the beast her adoptive clan believes meant to kill her. When the Emperor outlaws all magic, Raven is forced to flee from her home with her foster mother, for both are judged as witches. Now an outcast, she lives at the mercy of others, forever pursued by the wyvern. Soon her life will change forever.

A Martha Stewart ChristmasDebra by DeAngelo/iPinion Syndicate

My kind of humour 🙂

 Martha%20Stewart%20At%20HomeA Martha Stewart Christmas

Dear Santa:

I rarely ask for much. This year is no exception. I don’t need diamond earrings, handy slicer-dicers or comfy slippers. I only want one little thing, and I want it deeply.
Christmas Present
I want to slap Martha Stewart.

Now, hear me out, Santa. I won’t scar her or draw blood or anything. Just one good smack, right across her smug little cheek. I get all cozy inside just thinking about it. Don’t grant this wish just for me, do it for thousands of women across the country. Through sheer vicarious satisfaction, you’ll be giving a gift to us all. Those of us leading average, garden variety lives aren’t concerned with gracious living.

We feel pretty good about ourselves if our paper plates match when we stack them on the counter, buffet-style for dinner. We’re tired of Martha showing us how to make centerpieces from…

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