Friday, May 22, 2020

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow




By Kristy McCaffrey

A lyrical and innovative novel that plants both feet in reality and then slides easily into fantasy-elements. It begins in the early 1900’s with January Scaller, a young girl who is the ward of the very wealthy Cornelius Locke. Mr. Locke employs January’s father, Julian, as a rogue explorer/collector, and looks after January since her father is almost always away on a journey for artifacts of all kinds. As January matures, the resentment she feels toward her father and his frequent absences burns as brightly as the rules and regulations that Locke enforces. While Locke loves her like a daughter, he is adamant that she behave like a proper young lady.

January’s natural curiosity and longing for adventure lead her to an amazing discovery—doorways to other worlds. At first, she is frightened and suppresses the knowledge throughout her childhood, but finally, when she turns seventeen she is pushed into a mad scramble for power that involves not only Locke and her father but also the mother she never knew.

I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole as this story wrapped around me. It’s touching and maddening and desperate, but also romantic and fantastical. Ms. Harrow balances the magical alongside a gripping coming-of-age story with a deft hand. January is the girl we all want to be, and this novel is a love letter to storytellers everywhere. Read it and see what I mean. A wonderful book that I highly recommend.

Find The Ten Thousand Doors of January at Amazon

Monday, May 11, 2020

A New DEEP BLUE Short Adventure

By Kristy McCaffrey


Travel to Cocos Island with Alec and Grace in a new DEEP BLUE short adventure.


Grace is invited to participate in a documentary alongside several distinguished female marine scientists, and Alec, Double D, and Stephie come along to film them in the waters off Cocos Island near Costa Rica. Grace is still dealing with recent criticism of the film Alec made of her last year diving with great white sharks, and in the company of such accomplished women, she struggles to keep her insecurities at bay. When differing viewpoints lead to friction, Grace must learn to stand up for herself, but a bright spot emerges when Alec makes a surprise decision about their relationship.


All three Deep Blue shorts are now available in one collection. Grab a digital copy for only 99 cents. (Hurry - the price will increase on May 18th.)



Find it on Goodreads

Please note: the individual shorts are no longer available. By putting them together, I was able to create a paperback version for those of you who don't use e-readers.


I hope you enjoy these mini-adventures. I do love spending time with Grace and Alec, and have a few more tales brewing in my imagination.

Stay safe. Be well.

Kristy
xoxo

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

What’s New On The Writing Front




By Kristy McCaffrey

It’s a strange and heartbreaking time we’re going through, filled with anguish, boredom, sadness, irritation and fear. During this unprecedented worldwide quarantine, my family and I have been taking it one day at a time. Admittedly, some of those days have been better than others. It’s been a challenge for me to write, because I’m a worrier, and times like these have raised the anxiety level for many of us.

I had hoped to have my next novel, ANCIENT WINDS, completed by now, but I’m still mired in plot shenanigans that I’ve been meticulously unraveling. I need more time with Brynn Galloway and Dr. Tristan Magee and their adventure in the Amazon jungle, so I hope you’ll bear with me. Hopefully by June I’ll have an idea on a release date. I had planned to immediately dive into Book 4 in the Pathway series (COBALT SEA), but I’ve decided to set that aside for now and instead, once ANCIENT WINDS is done, I’ll begin working on COPPER CANYON, a new historical western romance.

In the meantime, I do have a fun treat coming – a new DEEP BLUE short. It’s currently with my editor but should be ready in a few weeks. Here’s the blurb:

DEEP BLUE COCOS ISLAND – A Pathway Short Adventure
Dr. Grace Mann is invited to participate in a documentary alongside several distinguished female marine scientists, and Alec Galloway, Double D, and Stephie come along to film them in the waters off Cocos Island near Costa Rica. Grace is still dealing with recent criticism of the film Alec made of her last year diving with great white sharks, and in the company of such accomplished women, she struggles to keep her insecurities at bay. When differing viewpoints lead to friction, Grace must learn to stand up for herself, but a bright spot emerges when Alec makes a surprise decision about their relationship.



So far, the DEEP BLUE shorts have only been available digitally, but I’ll be grouping all of them together (AUSTRALIA, REUNION ISLAND and COCOS ISLAND) for a paperback edition for those of you that prefer print.



As always, to receive the most up-to-date info on my projects, subscribe to my newsletter. (I’ll be sharing the cover for ANCIENT WINDS soon. I love it! I hope you will too, and subscribers will see it first.) You can also catch my latest news at my Facebook and Twitter pages.

I’m still working on a Wings of the West novella, THE SONGBIRD. I’ve got a bit written, but right now I’m only writing on it when I have a spare moment here and there. I’m hoping this summer to set aside some time to give it the focus it deserves. My creative well is a funny thing – it doesn’t always cooperate when I switch gears too much.


I’m also exploring a new COLD HORIZON short adventure starring Ty and Lindsey. If you recall, they spoke about a mountain called Hkakabo Razi in the short story COLD HORIZON TELLURIDE, and it keeps nudging me. I think I’ll have to write this one soon, but preliminary research has shown me that this journey will be a bit complicated, so I’m not gonna dive in just yet.


I hope you and your families are well, and if that isn’t the case then I send you my heartfelt prayers.


Brighten the day with music (and maybe a nice hot cup of orange-cinnamon tea). What I’m listening to: Thriller, YMCA, One Night in Bangkok, Marrakesh Express, Sweet Emotion, Sultans of Swing, Take Me Home Country Roads.

I wanted to share a favorite recipe that I frequently make because it’s so easy.


Spaghetti with Lemon and Basil

½ lb. uncooked spaghetti
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. lemon zest, plus ½ cup fresh juice (from 3 lemons), divided
5 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 3 1/3 cups)
¼ tsp. finely ground sea salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh basil (if I can’t find basil, I substitute fresh spinach)

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, 9 to 11 minutes. Drain spaghetti, reserving ¼ cooking water. Return drained spaghetti to pot; cover and set aside.

Whisk together oil, lemon juice and reserved ¼ cup cooking water in a medium bowl; add cheese, and stir until mixture is thick and creamy. Stir in salt and pepper.

Add lemon sauce to spaghetti in pot; toss until pasta is evenly coated with sauce. Stir in basil and lemon zest; serve immediately.

Serves 6. Total prep time: 15 minutes.

So delicious and the citrus is great for the immune system.



Be Well. Be Safe.


Connect with Kristy




Sunday, April 5, 2020

A Virtual Arizona Visit

By Kristy McCaffrey



We're going through a tough time worldwide. I'm fortunate to live in the beautiful state of Arizona, so let's relax our minds, take a few deep breaths, and enjoy the scenery.

View of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim
My daughter Hannah atop Black Mountain.
Behind her is the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

My dad on a hike to The Wave, a sandstone formation located along the Arizona/Utah border.

The Wave.
Downtown Flagstaff in Northern Arizona.
Desert storm near our house in Phoenix.
Lake Powell.
This photo was taken by my daughter Hannah at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Tourists like to feed the squirrels, so they're a little chubby.
The serenity of the Sonoran Desert.



Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

"Wild Geese" by poet Mary Oliver


All photos by Kristy McCaffrey (unless otherwise stated)





Connect with Kristy


Friday, March 20, 2020

The Aurora Rising Series by G.S. Jennsen

By Kristy McCaffrey

It's always fun to find a new author and series, and that's what happened when I picked up a copy of Starshine by G.S. Jennsen. I grew up reading a lot of sci-fi, but I've always preferred it with a bit of romance and fantasy thrown in. That can be a challenging mix, so I was delighted to find Ms. Jennsen's books. You might label these space opera, but they're so much more. Smartly written, with riveting plots, great dialogue, and compelling characters - I highly recommend.




Starshine
Aurora Rising Book One

This epic science fiction space opera is rich with detail, filled with memorable characters, and anchored with a strong romance at its center. Humanity has settled the stars and a previous war has left two sides at a delicate truce. Alexis Solovy is Earth Alliance—a renegade explorer who doesn’t like being told what to do. Caleb Marano is a Senecan spy, and when war erupts he becomes Alexis’s enemy. But the two of them have found something far worse on the outskirts of the solar system than war between their factions. Together they must convince their respective governments of the real threat. Ms. Jennsen has written a complicated tale of espionage, alongside a compelling romance between Alexis and Caleb. I couldn’t put it down.




Vertigo
Aurora Rising Book Two

Alexis Solovy and her lover, Caleb Marano, are on the run as they stand accused of murder and terrorism, but they have bigger problems as they attempt to cross an interdimensional portal to uncover the truth behind a massive alien invasion. The second book in the Aurora Rising series takes up where Book One ends, filled with non-stop action, heroism, and betrayals. There’s a large cast of characters, and Ms. Jennsen deftly handles multiple character arcs, romances, and deepening backstory for our favorites.




Transcendence

Aurora Rising Book Three

This installment in the Aurora Rising Series wraps up the Metigen War, an alien invasion that threatens all mankind. To survive, humanity must turn to artificial intelligence and Jennsen’s approach is extreme, realistic, and a bit frightening. I appreciate the scientific details and research that has obviously gone into these books. Alexis and Caleb are once again at the center of the story, and they’ve quickly become one of my favorite fictional couples. I’ve enjoyed immersing myself in this futuristic tale of man’s settling of the stars. There are more books in related series to this one, and I look forward to exploring them.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

THE WREN and THE DOVE are available in German

By Kristy McCaffrey

I'm pleased to share THE WREN and THE DOVE are now available in German.



VERLIEBT IN TEXAS (THE WREN)

Nordtexas, 1877

Zehn Jahre sind vergangen, seit ihr Zuhause überfallen, ihre Eltern ermordet und Molly Hart entführt wurde. Nachdem sie den Großteil ihrer Kindheit bei den Kwahadi-Comanche verbracht hat, kehrt sie endlich heim nach Texas. Sie findet jedoch nichts weiter vor als ein verfallenes Anwesen. Mit Schaudern entdeckt sie ihren eigenen Grabstein und trifft auf Matt, der ihr schon früher viel bedeutet hat. Entschlossen, das Rätsel ihrer Vergangenheit aufzuklären, beschließt Molly, den Mörder ihrer Eltern zu suchen. Dabei setzt sie nicht nur ihr Leben, sondern auch ihre Liebe zu Matt aufs Spiel …


Getrieben von den Dämonen der Vergangenheit steht Matt Ryan vor den Überresten der Hart-Ranch. Zehn Jahre lang hat er als Soldat und Texas Ranger sein Leben aufs Spiel gesetzt, stets auf der Suche nach Gerechtigkeit für den grausamen Mord an einem kleinen Mädchen. Nun kehrt er, seelisch und körperlich angeschlagen, zurück an den Ort, wo alles begann. Dort trifft er überraschend auf eine Frau mit denselben blauen Augen wie das Mädchen, das er nie vergessen konnte. Für ihn ist klar: Um jeden Preis will er Molly zu ihrem Glück verhelfen, auch wenn er dafür riskieren muss, sie ein zweites Mal zu verlieren … 

Erhältlich als E-Book, Print-Ausgabe und Kindle Unlimited.



VERLIEBT IN NEW MEXICO (THE DOVE)

New-Mexico-Territorium, 1877

Die Enttäuschung trifft Ex-Deputy Logan Ryan schwer, als er Claire Waters inmitten einer quirligenStadt am Santa Fe Trail wiedersieht. Die Frau, an die er sich erinnert, ist verschwunden und an ihre Stelle ist eine betörende Bardame getreten, die ihn in die größten Schwierigkeiten bringen kann. Als Claire in ein Netz aus Intrigen gerät, gesponnen von gefährlichen Männern, versucht Logan sie zu beschützen. Doch er erkennt nicht, dass seine eigene Vergangenheit die größte Bedrohung für sie darstellt.

Claire hat ein Leben in Schande geführt und ist entsetzt, als sie, gekleidet wie eine Dirne, Logan im White Dove Saloon begegnet. Sie lässt zu, dass er das Schlimmste von ihr denkt. Da ihre Mutter, die Besitzerin des Saloons, verschwunden ist, bleibt ihr jedoch nichts anderes übrig, als sein Hilfsangebot anzunehmen. Verzweifelt bemüht, ihr Leben in Ordnung zu bringen, begibt sie sich mit ihm auf die Reise. Dabei stellt sie fest, dass die Versuchung, Logan ihr Herz zu öffnen, sie in größere Gefahr bringen kann, als sie für möglich gehalten hat.

Erhältlich als E-Book, Print-Ausgabe und Kindle Unlimited.




Erscheint demnächst
(Coming soon)

Friday, February 14, 2020

Book Review: The Navajo Family Blessing Series by Cheryl Reavis


By Kristy McCaffrey



I’ve previously reviewed One of Our Own by Cheryl Reavis, but now that I’ve completed the entire series, I thought I’d put all the books together in one post. This series features contemporary Navajo culture in the Window Rock area. Since I lived for a year on the Navajo reservation when I was nine years old, I can appreciate the time and care that Reavis took in researching the setting and beliefs of the Native Americans. She gets it right, and so much more. Please don’t be deterred by the old covers. My guess is that despite these books being decades old, Ms. Reavis has been unable to gain the rights back, so her hands have been tied as to updating and labeling the stories (it took some digging for me to identify which books were in the series and in which order they should be read). As an added bonus, I’ve included an additional book (by a different but no less talented writer) that also features a Navajo hero.


One Of Our Own
Book 1

Sloan Baron has come to Navajo Country to see her estranged brother, who is in critical condition after a car accident. She already has been caring for two of his children, and now she learns that he has a third child, a young half-Navajo boy named Will. As she navigates the mess her brother has left behind, she finds an unlikely ally in Navajo Tribal Policeman Lucas Singer. Together, they try to unravel the laws regarding children on Indian Reservations. They also fall hard for each other. This is such a wonderful book! Ms. Reavis has created well-rounded characters that you’ll love and root for and cry over, along with a peek into the traditions and beliefs of the Navajo people. This is a story that will stay with you long after it’s ended. Moving and deeply romantic, I highly recommend.



Meggie’s Baby
Book 2

This story features Meggie Baron, Sloan’s niece, who was a child in the first book, and her love for Jack Begaye. The story begins with their estrangement, but the bond is still there. However, Meggie has gotten pregnant by another man, and although she didn’t love the father, this is a hurdle that she and Jack must overcome, as well as the custody issues by the grandparents of the unborn child. This is an engaging and emotional read, with wonderful details about the Navajo and their culture.



Mother To Be
Book 3

The heroine in this tale, Lillian Singer, is older sister to Lucas from Book 1 and in her forties. Wanting to carve an identity away from the reservation, she became an attorney and works out of Albuquerque. But family draws her home to Window Rock, and she’s tasked with getting Tribal Police Chief Johnny Becenti out of his self-imposed exile after the death of his wife. Lillian and Johnny have a history of not getting along, but that’s about to change. This book really got to me, as I didn’t expect to love these two as much as I did.



The Music Box
Book 4

When Eden Trevoy learns from her archaeologist mother she was adopted, and that her father was Navajo, she’s drawn to Tribal policeman Ben Toomey to learn more about her heritage. But when she discovers the true identity of her father, her world is turned upside down. To say more would ruin the surprise, but through it all, Ben and Eden can’t help but fall for each other. Another wonderful love story set against the backdrop of the Navajo culture.



Medicine Man
Book 5

The last installment in the Family Blessing series features Will Baron, who was the child involved in the custody issue from Book 1. Now a paratrooper stationed in North Carolina, he’s awaiting orders when he meets single mom Arley Meehan. The timing couldn’t be worse, since he’ll be leaving soon and she’s in a custody battle with her ex. Will, half-white and half-Navajo, had trained to be a medicine man, but is now at a crossroads as he faces the legacy of his father, Sloan’s brother, a man he never knew. This story didn’t have quite the sparkle as the others, and I think it was because it didn’t take place on the reservation but rather in North Carolina. But several of our favorite characters show up, so it’s a fitting end to the series.


If you enjoy stories with a Navajo hero, don’t miss this bonus read!


Coyote Dream
By
Jessica Davis Stein

Sarah Friedman has come from New York City to the American Southwest to buy Indian art for her family’s store. When her car breaks down, she finds herself in the company of Ben Lonefeather, a solitary Navajo with a great talent for sculpture and pet coyotes he's raised since they were pups. While waiting for the parts to repair her vehicle, she falls hard for Ben. But after a whirlwind affair, she returns home believing that she and Ben could never really be together. Their differences—she’s Jewish and he’s Navajo—are simply too great. This is an epic love story that I had trouble putting down. A sad side note: this was the only novel Ms. Stein wrote before passing away a few years ago. It’s a shame, because it’s quite simply incredible.