Jinty’s Lament (a very short story) by Stuart S. Laing

Staurts photo for short story


“Whaur’s that blimming cat got tae noo?” Jinty sighed as she stared around the edge of her door, peering out into the darkness of Fishmarket Close. “If yer no’ hame in ten minutes, ye kin hae a night on the tiles!” she warned the moonless night and absent feline before closing the door over and slowly shuffled on tired legs back across the tiny space which constituted her home. With a weary sigh at the dull pain in her chest and legs, reminders of every one of her eighty-three years, she gently lowered herself into an armchair almost as old as herself.

Nestling back into the mass of cushions which bolstered her thin, bone weary body, she gazed into the low burning flames of a handful of coals in the fireplace which provided the sole illumination in the room.

The warmth they provided was welcome, as was the scant light they gave out. The dancing shadows hid the dust and dirt which gathered on every surface no matter how often she cleaned, not that she did as often as she had in the past. That was back in the days when her husband Josiah had still lived. He had been gone for almost twenty years now leaving her heart-broken. The fruits of their union, two fine, strapping sons had attempted to help her around the house once. Their wives had tried to ease her burden but as time rolled on their visits became fewer and fewer and the gaps between them grew longer and longer. Now she would struggle to recall exactly when she had last seen hide or hair of them. Her sole company these days was a feline philanderer she named, with no real thought, simply Cat. Like most males, she had discovered, he could not be relied upon to be dependable. She had sat long into the night more times than she cared to count, sitting here in front of a dying fire, waiting for the scratching at the door or his impatient yowl which signified his return…..read more of this story here

A Few of my thoughts:

Stuart is a talented story teller. He is so descriptive with words and really captures the period and setting of his stories. And his characters are lively and have a lot of spunk! Jinty’s Lament is a prime example of that talent! I’m wondering if he will expand on this story. Hmm…..either way it’s fabulous! Three cheers to Stuart S. Laing and hoping he will write more about these fascinating characters!

Stuart S. Laing is also the author of A Robert Young of Newbiggin Mystery Books! You can find them on Amazon! Highly recommend!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

About Author:

Stuart Laing

Stuart S. Laing was born and raised on the east coast of Scotland in the ancient Pictish Kingdom of Fife Stuart grew up looking across the Firth of Forth towards the spires and turrets of the city of Edinburgh and its castle atop its volcanic eyrie.

He has always been fascinated by the history of Auld Reekie and has spent most of his life studying Scottish history in all its aspects whenever he finds the time between family, work and the thousand and one other things that seek to distract him.

Despite the vast panorama of Scotland’s history he always find himself being drawn back to the cobbled streets of the Old Town. Those streets have provided the inspiration for his stories and characters.

He would urge all visitors to Scotland’s ancient capital to (briefly) venture into one of the narrow closes running down from the Royal Mile to get a flavour of how alive with mischief, mayhem, love and laughter these streets once were.


Sebastian’s Way: The Pathfinder by George Steger

Geroge Steger Book cover

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree

‘It is dangerous to be right in matters where the established authorities are wrong,” said Voltaire, aptly reflecting the theme of Sebastian’s Way, a powerful tale of two men , the High King Charlemagne, “the Thunderer,” who fights and reigns like his pagan enemies, and Sebastian, an intrepid young warrior whose vision challenges the king to forge a new path to peace. A provocative plunge into the Dark Ages, here is a saga of vicious religious wars between Christian Franks and pagan Saxons, a tale of the pain of love thwarted by the rigid mores of the times, a rich and colorful medieval stew full of pageantry and filled with the authentic stock of the times: savage warriors, groundbreaking clergy, salty peasants, and plenty of memorable maidens for those who like a good romance—a realistic yet imaginative time travel back to the reign of Europe’s greatest medieval monarch.’

Sunday Book Highlight

Serpent in the gardenAfter years of hard work, Matthew and Alex Graham have created a thriving home in the Colony of Maryland. About time, in Alex’s opinion, after far too many adventures she is really looking forward to some well-deserved peace and quiet.

A futile hope, as it turns out. Things start to heat up when Jacob, the third Graham son, absconds from his apprenticeship to see the world – especially as Jacob leaves behind a girl whom he has wed in a most irregular fashion.

Then there’s the infected matter of the fellow time traveller Alex feels obliged to help – no matter the risk. Worst of all, one day Philip Burley and his brothers resurface after years of absence. As determined as ever to make Matthew pay for every perceived wrong – starting with the death of their youngest brother – the Burleys play out a complicated cat and mouse game, and Alex is thrown back into an existence where her heart is constantly in her mouth, convinced as she is that one day the Burleys will achieve their purpose.


It had to be said: Philip Burley had a certain flair to him, in everything from how he carried himself to how he was dressed, impeccable linen contrasting nicely with the deep blue of his dashing coat. That didn’t endear him one whit to Alex, and, in particular, not when he popped up most unexpectedly just as she was leaving the apothecary, her daughters trailing after her.

“Mrs Graham,” Philip said, bowing. Alex controlled the urge to turn on her heel and run. Never, ever show him how much he scares you, she admonished herself, just stare him in the eyes. Except that she didn’t want to, unnerved by the penetrating, assessing look in them – as if he was putting a value to her, estimating how much she might be worth should he sell her.

“Mr Burley, how unfortunate to find you still so very much alive.”

He laughed, shaking his head so his signatory lock of black hair fell over his left eye.

“Why, Mrs Graham, one could think you don’t like me much.”

“Like you? I hate your guts, Philip Burley, and to my dying day, I’ll regret not serving you toadstools the first time we met.”

His eyes lightened into impenetrable ice. “Well, you didn’t, did you? And so, here I am.” He glanced over her shoulder, studying her girls with interest. “See?” he said, directing himself to the Philip lookalike that had appeared beside him. “Quite pretty, aren’t they?”

Walter Burley grunted, his eyes stuck on Sarah.

“We’re partial to fair girls,” Philip said. “In particular to young, fair girls.”

“You …” Alex swung at him, Philip ducked, and came up grinning, eyes like flint.

“Don’t,” he warned, and, at a snap of his fingers, yet another Burley brother materialised, this one so badly scarred Alex knew he had to be Stephen. She threw a look over her shoulder, relaxing somewhat at finding the street busy. Should they try anything, she’d scream – or stab them with her new knitting needles. Still, they were far too close, with Walter more or less drooling over Sarah. When he made as if to touch her daughter, Alex flew at him, slapping him hard over his wrist.

“Don’t you lay a finger on her. Do that, and I’ll—”

“… do what, Mrs Graham?” Philip purred.

“Kill him,” she replied, staring into those eyes as firmly as she could. It only made him laugh.


Anna Belfrage photo 2

Anna Belfrage combines an exciting day-job as the CEO of a multinational listed group with her equally rewarding writing endeavours. When she isn’t writing a novel, she is probably working on a post or catching up on her reading. Or standing about on a crossroads and wondering why time isn’t unravelling at her feet… Other than work and writing, Anna finds time to bake and drink copious amounts of tea, preferably with a chocolaty nibble on the side. And yes, now and then she is known to visit a gym as a consequence…

For more info about Anna, visit her website or her Amazon page. You can also find her on her blog. Serpents in the Garden is available on Amazon US  and Amazon UK.

Spotlight: The Clever Mill Horse by Jodi Lew-Smith


Publication Date: August 15, 2014 Caspian Press Formats: eBook, Paperback Pages: 424

Genre: Historical Fiction

Winner of the 2014 James River Writers Indie Novel Contest.

A young woman’s gift could weave together the fabric of a nation…

1810, upstate New York. 21-year-old Ella Kenyon is happiest gliding through the thick woods around her small frontier town, knife in hand, her sharp eyes tracking game. A gift for engineering is in her blood, but she would gladly trade it for more time in the forest. If only her grandfather’s dying wish hadn’t trapped her into a fight she never wanted.

Six years ago, Ella’s grandfather made her vow to finish his life’s work: a flax-milling machine that has the potential to rescue her mother, brother, and sister from the brutality of life with her drunkard father. The copious linen it yields could save her struggling town, subjugate the growing grip of southern cotton. Or it could be Ella’s downfall. If she’s not quick enough, not clever enough to succeed, more than her own life rests in the balance…

Praise for The Clever Mill Horse

“Jodi Lew-Smith’s The Clever Mill Horse is that rarest of all contemporary novels: an authentically old-fashioned adventure story, in all the best senses. Full of drama, humor, plot surprises, and, best of all, memorable characters, The Clever Mill Horse had me hooked from page one. Best of all, there’s a sequel coming. I can’t wait.” – Howard Frank Mosher, author of Where the Rivers Flow North

“In this delightful debut novel set in the early 19th century, a young woman fights to patent her flax-milling machine. . .An assured, cleverly plotted piece of historical fiction with an irrepressible female protagonist.” – Kirkus Reviews

“. . .intricately plotted and exceedingly well paced. . . filled with danger, science, and suspense, the story rings true with historical and natural detail. . . a complete and finely polished first novel.” – Foreword Reviews

Buy the Book

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About the Author


Jodi Lew-Smith lives on a farm in northern Vermont with her patient husband, three wonderfully impatient children, a bevy of pets and farm animals, and 250 exceedingly patient apple trees which, if they could talk, would suggest that she stop writing and start pruning. Luckily they’re pretty quiet.

With a doctorate in plant genetics, she also lives a double life as a vegetable breeder at High Mowing Seeds. She is grateful for the chance to do so many things in one lifetime, and only wishes she could do them all better. Maybe in the next life she’ll be able to make up her mind.

For more about Jodi and about the lives and world of the characters in the novel, visit her website or blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.

The Clever Mill Horse Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, November 12 Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, November 13 Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 17 Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, November 18 Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 21 Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Monday, November 24 Spotlight at Mel’s Shelves

Tuesday, November 25 Spotlight at Book Nerd Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, November 28 Review at Readers’ Oasis Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews and More

Monday, December 1 Review at Book Babe Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, December 3 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book Spotlight at Layered Pages Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Review: Past Encounters by Davina Blake

Publication Date: November 22, 2014 CreateSpace Paperback; 442p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction

Past Encounters book cover

England 1955.

The day Rhoda Middleton opens a letter from another woman, she becomes convinced her husband, Peter, is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks the mysterious woman down, she discovers she is not Peter’s lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. There is only one problem – Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster.

Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out why Peter has kept this friendship a secret for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter’s wartime experiences she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For Rhoda too cannot escape the ghosts of the past.

Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, PAST ENCOUNTERS explores themes of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.

Includes bonus material for reading groups.


It’s not too often I get to read books about the second world war or about people’s lives during that time period and when I do, I jump at the chance. The themes in this book contain real life experiences of prisoners of wars and the author does a great job in drawing out what the human condition must have been like at the time.

I found Peter and Rhonda to be fascinating yet complicated characters. I guess you can say their situation was a difficult one and there were secrets they were hiding from each other that made the situation even more difficult. To be honest I wasn’t sure how the author was going to reveal those secrets and how it would all tie together as a plot-if you will. Confusing I know, but that is how complex the story is. Again, the two are complicated characters.

Peter’s experiences in the POW camp were heartbreaking and so raw. One can tell that the author did her research.

I’m not sure I feel that Peter’s reasons for keeping his relationship with Archie a secret was right and even more so when his marriage with Rhonda was on uneven ground. I felt that is a betrayal even in the sense of cheating. Hard to explain really. One must read the book to understand what I mean….

Rhonda bothered me in many ways and I felt that she should have dealt with the situation head on from the very beginning…..having said that it really makes you think about the relationships you have in real life and the choices you make. This story really hit home for me and gave me a lot to think about.

I’m giving this story four stars. Highly recommend.

Praise for Past Encounters

“Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly Recommended!” – The Historical Novels Review

Praise for Deborah Swift

“stellar historical fiction” -Orange Prize Nominee Ann Weisgarber

“compelling’” -Westmorland Gazette

“The past comes alive through impeccable research…and the sheer power of descriptive prose” -Lancashire Evening Post

Buy the Book

Amazon US Amazon UK

About the Author

Davina Blake used to be a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, during which time she developed a love of research which fueled her passion for the past. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and also writes successful seventeenth century historicals under the pen name Deborah Swift. ‘Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended.’ The Historical Novels Review From Davina: ‘I was inspired to write ‘Past Encounters’ because I live close to the railway station where the iconic ‘Brief Encounter’ was filmed in 1945. I have often used the refreshment room that featured in the film when waiting for a train. I love a good cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a chocolate brownie!’

For more information visit Davina Blake’s website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter.

Past Encounters Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, November 15 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 16 Review at Library Educated

Monday, November 17 Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, November 18 Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, November 19 Review at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, November 20 Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 21 Review & Interview at Bookish

Saturday, November 22 Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, November 24 Review at A Bookish Affair Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, November 25 Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 26 Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, November 27 Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, November 29 Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, December 1 Review at Layered Pages Review & Interview at Casual Readers

Tuesday, December 2 Review at My Reader’s Block Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, December 3 Review at The Worm Hole Review at Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, December 4 Review at Beth’s Book Reviews Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, December 5 Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Saturday, December 6 Review at Unshelfish Review at Historical Tapestry

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