Monday, July 30, 2018



Belief Kills and Belief Cures

When I saw what this month’s blog all about it challenge topic was spirit, I though this is a good topic to highlight few of the things that add to my island home diverse culture. I decided to talk about the beliefs and customs of my island home, which would cover this month’s topic.

The title of my post indicates a common saying we have here in Jamaica. What this means is our belief system has the power to harm or protect, which depends on what or whom an individual believes in.

Jamaicans have several beliefs and customs, which stemmed from our African ancestors. These are indigenous to the island. Most these beliefs and customs are tied to birth and death. Both Jamaicans who live overseas and those who reside on the island practice these customs. However, it should be noted that the practice of these customs and beliefs is not practiced by all Jamaicans and is only done in some parts of the island. 

Beliefs and Customs
Birth: It is believed if the umbilical cord of a newborn is buried and a tree is planted at the spot of the burial the baby will stay connected to his or her place of birth. Not true, but when someone strongly believes in such a practice, it is hard to convince them otherwise. 

Death and Afterlife:  Prior to the commencement of a funeral for a loved one a festival is held. They call this a Nine Night or Wake. For the first eight nights after the death of a loved one, friends and relatives gather and drink, dance and sing all night. On the nine night, which is the important night, they sing only farewell songs. During this time, they rearrange the deceased room, as they believe in doing so the spirit of the deceased will not recognize the room and return from whence it came. In addition, a final meal is served to the spirit of the deceased and is placed under a cotton tree, which is considered a hiding ground for spirits. They do all of this to pacify the deceased so that its spirit will become harmless.  Again, this all depends on what you believe. I for one did none of these things when I lost a loved one and I am yet to be harmed by a spirit.

Religious Beliefs: Jamaica's value system is steeped in religion. It has a diverse range of cults, sects, denominations and movements.  The most common belief practiced today is Christianity. However, a few persons still follow the religion of the slaves, which is based on African beliefs and practices.  These beliefs include ceremonial spirit possession, spiritual healing, sorcery and drumming and dancing.  One practice stemming from these activities is called Obeah.  They link this belief to sorcery and black magic. Using Obeah can be twofold, depending on the user's intentions. It can be used for good or evil. Now the practice of Obeah is illegal, but there are persons who still perform these activities. This occurs in the deep rural areas. Obeah is based on the belief that the practitioner captures spirits and uses them for malicious purposes.  Sounds scary, right. Then again it all boils down to what you believe.  
In addition to the use of spirits to control or harm someone, the practitioner may prepare a potion, which can also be used for this purpose.  The things that persons will do to keep someone in their lives indefinitely or to destroy someone they think is their enemy, never ceases to amaze me.  

In regards to healing, there are persons who believe their illness is caused by an evil spirit, placed on them by their enemy, and so to get rid of this demonic force they would visit an Obeah practitioner.   Frankly I would rather spend my money with a qualified medical practitioner.

There is a lot more I could talk about, but I will leave that for another time.

I grew up in a Christian home and as such was not exposed to these practices. My beliefs are firmly rooted in Christianity. Thank goodness. I know that spirit possession and witchcraft exists, but that is not where my beliefs rest. As a woman of faith, my belief rests firmly in my Christian upbringing.

What are your beliefs?

If you would like to be apart of this challenge, which hosted by Anna @ Herding Cats and Burning Soup, here is the link:

Friday, July 27, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: FRIENDSHIP ON FIRE by MELISSA FOSTER @Melissa_Foster #Contemporary #Romance

Title: Friendship On Fire
Series: (The Bradens at Weston, CO #3)
Publisher: World Literary Press
Released: November 20, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance 
Format: ebook 
Pages: 300
Source: Purchase
Buy: Amazon

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Please welcome Brendon Bertram, author of  Moira Ashe: Enemy Within to the blog today.
He will be discussing his favourite detail to add to a character.


One of my favorite details to add to a character is a scar. Not to every character mind you, and not just to add attitude to a character's design (like the cliché vertical eye scar seen everywhere), but when you craft a story behind it, it can be a potent literary tool.

It can say a lot about the character. Are they a fighter? A reckless fool? or a victim of abuse? maybe they inflicted the wounds on themselves? 

But scars, or blemishes in general, can even say something about the larger world. Is the work the characters do dangerous? Is the world populated by horrid monsters? Maybe they're prayed upon by other people? 

As long as the scars match the story, the options are limitless.

Large or small, it tells a story simply by existing. A visual history carved into the very skin, undeniable and as permanent as the past that caused it.

A blood moon is rising above Abalon. Werewolves, once heard of only in whispers around the borderlands, have been spotted in villages and towns mere miles from the capital, and the king is worried - worried enough to send Lincoln Clarke to find help.

But hunters this far from Abalon aren't exactly keen. Lincoln's gone through half a dozen leads before he finds Moira Ashe lurking in the corner of a tavern, her dark eyes glinting in the candlelight. It takes a bag of gold for Moira to agree even to tell Lincoln what she knows, and more still for her to allow him along on a hunt.

But what should have been a simple job turns out to be anything but. With a suspect Moira can't pin down and a string of bodies piling up in the beast's wake, Lincoln finds himself doubting Moira's skill. And with time running out and the full moon approaching, failure is not an option.

But Moira has her own secrets to protect, and the beast she and Lincoln are hunting may not be the biggest threat after all...


Brendon Charles Bertram was born on May 28, 1994. Working on the family farm on PEI, it wasn’t until March 27, 2015, after the death of his father that he began pursuing writing. He continues to live on PEI, but now occupies his time with travelling the globe, reading texts on philosophy and psychology, and exploring a deep fascination and passion for storytelling.

You can purchase my first book Moira Ashe: Enemy Within on Amazon, or you can read the first five chapters for free on
You can also pre-order my next book Moira Ashe: Kindred Spirits on Amazon as well. Chapter one is available right now on my website.

Visit my website: for news on everything I’m doing or check me out on

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Monday, July 23, 2018


Title: The Secret Adversary
Author: Agatha Christie
Series: Tommy and Tuppence Mystery#1
Narrator: Nadia May
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Source: Prime Channels via Audible
Format: Audio Book
Release Date: May 2, 2009
Length : 7 hrs 52 mins
Purchase:  Audible, Amazon

Thursday, July 19, 2018

REVIEW TOUR: BACK AT YOU by JOHN W. MEFFORD @JWMefford @beckvalleybooks #Thriller #Mystery

Title:  Back At You
Author: John W. Mefford
Publisher: Sugar Hill Press
Source: Author via Beck Valley Book Tours , Kindle Unlimited
in exchange for an honest review
Format: Ebook
Published: June 5, 2018
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 208
Reading Challenges:  2018 New Release Challenge
Available to buy from....    Paperback

Monday, July 16, 2018

Friday, July 13, 2018

REVIEW TOUR: ANYTHING FOR LOVE by MELISSA FOSTER @Melissa_Foster @beckvalleybooks #Contemporary #Romance

Title: Anything for Love
Series: (The Bradens and Montgomerys (Pleasant Hill - Oak Falls) Book 2)
Publisher: World Literary Press
Released: June 27, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance 
Format: eARC 
Pages: 318
Source: Author via Beck Valley Book Tours
Reading Challenges: 2018 New Release 

Available to buy from ...

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Today I have the pleasure of hosting  Patrick Canning. Today he will be discussing the research  behind his latest novel, The Colonel and the Bee.


The word ‘research’ probably conjures up images of dusty library archives, meticulously sourced bibliographies, and maybe even microfiche (if you’re of a certain age). But research for The Colonel and the Bee was some of the most fun I’ve had in writing a book.
Once I had my idea: a destitute acrobat and a flower-obsessed adventurer explore the world of the early 19th Century in a fantastically large hot air balloon, I needed some help filling in the details. The story wouldn’t be beholden to reality at every turn, but I’ve always thought a measure of science makes even the most outlandish fantasy that much better. It was time to do some research.

While I admit going to the Wikipedia well more than I should, I quickly found many other amazing sources of information. Ballooning by C. H. Gibbs-Smith, an antiquated look at the world of hot air ballooning before 1946, provided some great aeronautical theory and history of ballooning. 

In an ill-visited corner of the upper floor of The Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles (a great place to check out if you’re ever in LA), I discovered Forty Favorite Flowers by Beverly Nichols, a 1970s guide to curious flowers and how they fare in an English garden. Aside from having a great old book smell, Forty Favorite Flowers helped bring the Colonel’s extensive horticultural knowledge into focus. A dictionary of Victorian slang delivered gems like “enthuzimuzzy” (much ado about nothing) and “butter upon bacon” (excessive extravagance), but it was Lina Rivera, The Colonel and the Bee’s editor, who contributed what is probably my favorite bit of Victorian wordage: “chuckaboo” (friend).

By far the most thrilling and enjoyable bit of research was a trip in a real hot air balloon. I took note of all the sensations and emotions that came with the unique way of flying, and paid close attention to the charismatic British pilot’s manner of speaking (“The crown line’s in a bit of a state!” and “A woman can understand a compliment in any language, can’t they?”). The difficulty in controlling a craft as unwieldy as a hot air balloon was made clear with our unscheduled landing on a golf course. Luckily, the irate owner was placated with a handy bottle of champagne.
Imagination might do most of the leg work when it comes to fiction, but I hope all these real-world details help further color the world Beatrix and the Colonel explore, and make for a more engaging and exciting read.

“Flying the Ox is much more akin to playing an instrument than operating a machine. Approach the challenge less formally, do so with confidence, and the craft’s perfect obedience will be your reward.”
I lost sight of the burner strap and by accident pulled a vent on the main balloon. We began to rotate and descend with great rapidity. The Colonel allowed me to find the correct cord on my own, and I did so just in time as the Ox nearly scraped a rolling pasture hill, startling a herd of brown Belgian cows enough to sour their milk.

Taking care to avoid the ripping line, I continued to bring the Ox up, searching for the northwest wind. To my chagrin, I sent us southeast, and it took a deft intervention from the Colonel to set us right. Applying the correct pressure on the correct combination of cords in the correct sequence did indeed give him the appearance of an accomplished maestro.

“Skill comes with practice, and northwest can be elusive. Northeast can be downright tempestuous,” he said as if recalling a talented snooker rival.
I readied another question, but the Colonel anticipated me. He held up a gentle hand to stay the incoming query, motioned with both hands downward, indicating I should relax, then gestured to the edge of the Ox.
So worried I’d been about that morning’s lesson, I’d hardly taken a moment to observe our environment. I joined the Colonel at the railing, and became lightheaded with wonder. The full effect of flight had been disguised by darkness the previous night, and now, in the maturing light of dawn, I beheld a world transformed by perspective: rivers and mountains were maps come to life, trees were seas of leaves that shimmered emerald in the breeze, even birds flew at a height far below the Ox, moving like schools of fish in currents of wind.
“Toast my bloomin’ eyebrows,” I mumbled, forgoing any attempt at eloquence. “I didn’t know... I couldn’t have imagined...”
“Wonderful, isn’t it? From this height, we’re permitted to see plainly the orchestrations of daily life, rank with crisscrossing motives and the clutter of needless haste. Up here in the rarefied air we are weightless in cool √¶ther, unspoiled by the odour and noise of man’s desires far below.”
We stood side by side, watching the scene in silence, until something in the distance stole the Colonel’s gaze.

“There. Antwerp on the horizon. Drink your leaf juice if you must.”
By now, all of the Manx were flying in a loose halo about the Ox, gently displacing the Belgian mist we floated in as they dove and twisted as birds in play.

“They have such charm and spirit,” I said.
“They detect my excitement. This visit could prove fruitful in our search for the criminal. He’s been most elusive thus far.”
“Do you know the murdered party?”
The Colonel’s face fell a note, but he recovered quickly.
“I’m interested in the criminal.”
“To bring him to justice?” I gulped my tea. “For this or a past transgression?”
“There is plenty to choose from. It is enough for you to know I seek an audience with the man.”
“He has committed other crimes?”
“Is he dangerous?”
“Most certainly.”
I finished my tea as the green vegetation and black soil of tilled fields shifted to the red brick and grey stone of buildings. Antwerp’s harbour introduced itself to the nose long before the eyes.
The Colonel inhaled deeply.
“Have you been?” he asked.
I shook my head.

“A bastion of crime and seafood, how I adore this city. I apologise as it’s unlikely we’ll have time for a proper tour. Perhaps a return under less harried circumstances. Unfurl those ropes there, won’t you?”
The spiderweb of roadways below passed ever faster as we descended. I let drop a collection of heavy ropes over the side of the Ox as the Colonel set her down in a rather regal park. Despite the posh surroundings, there was an air of danger. Apparently, the Colonel felt it too.
“No chance we’re deflating here,” he said. “Down the steps with you. Help secure us.”

The Colonel and the Bee
Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world of the halcyon 19th century, a time 
when the last dark corners of the map were being sketched out and travel still possessed a kind of magic.

One night in Switzerland, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix’s show. This larger-than-life English gentleman, reputed to have a voracious appetite for female conquests, is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon called The Oxford Starladder.

Beatrix flees that night to join the Colonel and the two of them make a narrow escape—Beatrix from her abusive ringleader, the Colonel from a freshly made cuckold. Beatrix, feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, pledges to help him catch the criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his magnificent balloon.

The criminal seeks a precious figuring, The Blue Star Sphinx, but he’s not alone. The Sphinx’s immense value has also drawn the attention of the world’s most deadly treasure hunters. A murder in Antwerp begins a path of mystery that leads all the way to the most isolated island on earth.

What dangers await the Colonel and the acrobat.


Patrick  Canning

Patrick spends as much time as possible turning coffee into collections of words that look like books, shorts, and screenplays. Most of his stories attempt to look for the meaning of life in an adventurous way, and often employ humor, important since the search usually doesn’t turn up much.

Instagram: @catpanning
Goodreads: Patrick Canning

Monday, July 09, 2018


Title: Integral
Author:  Adam Thielen
Series: Visceral #1
Genres: Paranormal, Suspense, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Indie
Published: June 15, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: ebook
Source: Purchase