30 April 2014

Michelle Muckley

Welcome to my Fifth Blog Introduction. Michelle Muckley is an author who already has four books - all thrillers - to her credit, and she is presently working on her fifth. Born in England, she now lives on Cyprus where she writes, reads and immerses herself in the beauty of her second homeland. Click here to visit her blog, which is full of interesting information for writers and readers alike, and is well worth a visit. Below, you can read the first chapter of Michelle's very-soon-to-be-published thriller

and, if you would like to be in the running to win one of ten e-Books of Psychophilia, click here. Don't miss out on this very generous offer. 

Chapter one

Everybody around me celebrated.  Everybody except me.  They said it was the point in time when the balance tipped, when I finally agreed to let them help me.  They told me on that day I woke up with red eyes, red as the Devil’s, Gregory said, like fire might burst through them, my pupils the craters of two angry volcanoes.  Their description of me sounded like something rabid, wild, as if I had been set loose.  For a time afterwards I imagined myself as a snarling dog, lips foaming and teeth on show.  I imagined them holding me down to stop me biting those who were unlucky enough to get close.  If I had been an animal I would have been euthanized or shot, put down out of my misery.  But human misery is tolerated.  It is allowed.  It is necessary.  Humans have a mandate to suffer their pain and work through it. We cannot be killed like dogs.
They used to discuss this moment with a reminiscent smile, sort of like, oh how it was back then.  They would talk whilst I sat, inanimate like a discarded slipper tossed to the floor.  They would discuss me idly, like they might deliberate a good wine or movie, the chatter chirruping around my head like birds in a spring sky.  They would recall how willing I was back then when life was simple and good, before anybody had tried to die.  Now their heads stay dipped, heavy with sadness at how far we have really fallen.  At how far I have sunk.  Now they see how pointless it all was.
I do not remember this moment in time.  There was no light bulb moment or eureka as I came to understand the solution to the problem.  To their problem.  But I can imagine it.  I can imagine what it must have been like.  The words leaving my mouth at a rate so fast, that I would forget the meaning of the sentence before I had finished saying it.  My heart beating me in the chest like a jackhammer, a rhythmical reminder that life was a punishment.  I know my hair felt electrified and my skin crawled with bugs that felt like a million static shocks.  Even the wind against my skin must have felt like an enemy, there only to break me into submission, to push me backwards.  I know because I am starting to feel this same energy again.  I believe that in my proximity to death, I had never felt so alive.
Michelle Muckley

Cyprus (

26 April 2014

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint

This story is built around a murder with lots of suspects. The detective - Inspector Singh - is likeable, if somewhat 'different', and the story moves at a fast pace. The book is made up of short sections, each telling a small part of the story, and all of these sections tend to conclude with some suspenseful revelation or question, which, of course, makes the book a definite page-turner. I feel that the book is quite well-written, and it is obvious that the author is fully acquainted with the countries forming the background to the story, not only the geography but also traditions, customs and idiosyncrasies. This particular book was published in 2009, and, since then, Shamini Flint has published a further five books with Inspector Singh as the central character. Definitely worth a look.

Shamini Flint (

23 April 2014

The Final Curtain1

The Final Curtain1 by Billy Ray Chitwood is the fourth of my blog presentations. Billy Ray is from Tennessee in America, and he is an author. He has written a number of books, including six books (five in print) based on the character of Bailey Crane. It is very obvious from Billy Ray's blog posts that he is a person who thinks a lot, and, given his wealth of life experiences, his observations can also invoke much thought in others. As he writes in his blog, he has experienced much despair and sorrow as well as joy and happiness - in other words, his life probably parallels the lives of most other people - however, it is his acute awareness of this fact, together with the ability to extract a deep understanding from his experiences, that makes him such an interesting person. Click here to visit Billy Ray's blog.

19 April 2014

Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen

This thriller by Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen is well-balanced, switching as it does between the victim, Merete, and the detective, Carl Mörck, giving equal attention to both. Like a painting, it is built up in layers, each layer handing out just a little more information while, at the same time, adding more anxiety to the overall story. As the horror of Merete's situation becomes gradually apparent, the reader is at times a step ahead of the detective, at times miles behind. The ending is, as expected, dramatic. A great read if you are looking for something that will remove you from reality for a few hours. The title in Danish is Kvinden i buret, while in America the book is called The Keeper of Lost Causes.

Photo of  Jussi Adler-Olsen from Wikipedia

16 April 2014

Nine Lives Tarot

The third blog in this series of Blog Introductions belongs to artist Annette Abolins. Her blog, presenting her amazing series of Tarot Cards - 78 cards in all - is visually beautifully and factually interesting and inspiring. As well as presenting her own journey in designing and creating the cards, Annette also gives a lot of information - both general and personal - about the Tarot itself. There is also information for those wishing to purchase the cards on-line.
To access Annette's blog, click here

13 April 2014

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

I actually read this book in 2012, but it is so good that I have decided to include it anyway. Be prepared to be slightly confused, enraptured and completely involved as Haruki Murakami slides two completely different stories over the top of each other until they cling together to form one story without any troubling edges. 'Things are not what they seem', Murakami suggests, as memories from the past and the perceived reality of the present create new, fanciful ideas of time and even of identity. Beautifully and intelligently written, this book captivates while it subtly presents images and ideas that remain with the reader long after he/she has finished the book.

09 April 2014

Painting on the Edge

The second in my series of Blog Introductions is Painting on the Edge by Keith Tilley. Keith is a watercolour artist who lives in northern Scotland, and he does some amazingly beautiful paintings. While some people need words to express what they are experiencing, Keith does the same with a few lines and some well-chosen colours. His work is highly regarded and some of his paintings are now part of the collection owned by HRH The Prince of Wales. There is no way that I can do justice to Keith's paintings simply by talking about them, and I suggest that you either visit his website or his blog, or why not both? Below is one of Keith's many paintings, 'Showers Over Hoy'.

06 April 2014

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

This is a story on so many different levels. The physical construction is not only divided between the 'now' and the 'then', but also between the earthly and the spiritual variants of 'now' and 'then'; it is also split between five different people and their stories. At times, it can feel like a collection of short, interesting anecdotes, but gradually all the levels and all the stories merge, and the reader probably has reason to say - the book still in his/her hand - "Why, of course!". There is humour, tragedy and, at times, some very interesting philosophical and spiritual insights. Another perspective on the inevitable fact that we will all, at some time, 'move on'.
   Photo of Mitch Albom from

04 April 2014

Prevent Changes to World Heritage Decision

Tasmania's newest World Heritage protection ripped up and ancient forests re-opened for logging?
It’s unprecedented. No government has ever tried to overturn a decision of the World Heritage Committee for political reasons. But, right now Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Prime Minister Tony Abbott are asking the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to reject some of Tasmania’s old growth forests that were approved for the world’s highest protection less than a year ago.
Sign the petition to keep World Heritage Listing.

The government is trying to enable logging in protected old growth Tasmanian forests like the Upper Florentine, Styx and Weld Valleys. This would mean the end of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement – a peace deal brokered between conservationists and the timber industry after decades of conflict.

Some people say we have to choose between jobs and the environment. But we don't. Industry, timber workers and green groups signed this historic agreement, and an extension of the World Heritage boundary was a direct outcome. We all agreed. That was important. We sat in meetings working through negotiations on forest types, maps, a sustainable wood supply, and industry structural assistance – for over three years.

Greg Hunt would have Australians and the World Heritage Committee believe that much of the heritage area is already logged and not worth conserving. This isn't true! Less than 7 per cent of the 74,000 hectares, that they want to reject, has ever been logged, and an even smaller percentage of that has been clear-felled. This seven per cent was included in the World Heritage area because, once regenerated, it provides critical connections between logged and unlogged areas of habitat.

Will you tell the World Heritage Committee to stand by their decision?


Thanks for being part of this,
Paul Sinclair
Director of Environmental Campaigns
Australian Conservation Foundation

01 April 2014

Just a Girl by Jane Caro

As we know, there have been many novels and films based on the lives of Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I. Jane Caro's book "Just a Girl" tears away the cold, often unemotional, descriptions often found in history books to give a sympathetic and tender picture of Elizabeth I. The book, written from the point of view of Elizabeth herself, reads like a thriller without deviating from actual historical events and happenings. At the same time, many of the other characters in the book, although well known to the reader from history books, take on new angles and characteristics as they are filtered through the eyes of Elizabeth. The fact that the book is in the 'I' form allows the reader to come very close to one of history's most important personalities.

   Photo from