Enjoy some Mayhem & Magic!

Our blog is meant to evoke fun with the magic of myths, folklore, movies and the mayhem of murder and madness. We have to keep it interesting so if you like different genres of movies and books then you're at the right blog. Our authors are a wide range of experts and our readers know what is top of the line in their favorite genres. Sometimes we post recipes that might be fun to try if a culinary author has one in her book that we think is especially yummy or one that Terri and I have created and want to share with you. Enjoy Guest Blogger Alice Duncan's monthly muse on her books and writing mysteries.

Plus you won't want to miss our book reviews, author interviews or our guest bloggers. So grab your favorite beverage then join us for some magic and mayhem! The good news is that you don't have to leave the house or your comfy chair. We have something for everyone's taste and every month we have a different topic for our bloggers: ones we feel that might be useful in your own writing and reader points of view. Not to mention, life in general. So join us and be sure to have a notebook handy as your to-be-read pile will grow as you add books, recipes, movies and t.v. series you won't want to miss. Not to mention folktales, myths or ideas you may wish to explore. Be careful what you wish for because on mayhemandmagic2 you just might find it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


February turned out to be a month filled with loss, with infinitely more mayhem than magic. Three people of whom I was fond died in February (well, four, if you count Leonard, Nimoy, and I certainly do). My cousin died. Pat Browning, a dear cyber-friend and longtime journalist died. But the one that got to me the most was when I learned of Wallace J. Swenson’s death.

Most of you have probably never heard of Wally Swenson, but if I have my way, the entire world will know about him and his wonderful books soon. I had the honor of editing three of his books for Five Star’s Frontier Fiction line: BUELL, PINE MARTEN, and CARLISLE. Wally had more books in the works (I believe they were all written, actually) and Five Star aims to publish them. I will be proud to edit as many books as Wally had lying around at the time of his death.

Wally’s dream was to be a published writer of western fiction. He didn’t rely on the Old West shoot-‘em-up myth, but told stories about people who felt like friends, and he put them into situations that might actually have occurred. Don’t know how many of you have seen “Deadwood” on TV, but that will give you an idea of how Wally’s books worked.

Well, Wally died before he could even hold his first published book, BUELL, in his hands. Broke my heart, as well as the hearts of his many friends and family members. Perhaps you have to have had a dream like Wally’s in order to truly appreciate what a cruel loss his death was. I still feel like crying.

Here’s the cover for BUELL, which will be published in August of this year:

Wally chose this photograph for the cover of his book, because he says this guy looks just like Buell, and I agree with him. Please buy this book when it comes out. You won’t be sorry. And it’ll be available electronically, too, so you don’t have to spend a bunch of money. The book itself is worth a bundle, but e-books are nice like that.

As for me, life goes on. I’ll be in touch with the winners of February’s contest, so they can tell me which of my books they want me to send them.

And for this month’s contest… um… well, I dunno. How about I give away a couple of copies of SPIRITS REVIVED, Daisy Gumm Majesty’s six-and-a-halfth adventure? If you’d like to enter my contest, please send me your name and home address in an e-mail to alice@aliceduncan.net

If you’d like to learn more about my books, please visit www.aliceduncan.net and if you’re really a sucker for punishment, check out my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925


Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: Bringing Adam Home by Les Standiford and Detective Sgt. Joe Matthews

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061983918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061983917

The story of Adam Walsh's murder is tragic and frustrating.

I remember bits on the news  at the time, but was a teenager and didn't really think much about it.  But the media was different then, we didn't hear much about these type of things - they seemed distant and outside our world view really.

A boy, snatched from a sears store while his mother was in a different part of the store -- looking back NOW puts an entirely different perspective on it.  When we were kids we would often hang out in the toy section while our parents were in another section.  I even remember Christmas shopping with me and my younger brother shopping on our own with a meet up time and location with my parents at a food place in the mall.  Oh - how times have changed.  And really as a major result of this horrific crime.

A parent now would be horrified at leaving their child unattended and would come down like a hammer on poor Reve' Walsh (who probably comes down harder on herself than any other person ever could).  The fact is, even though abduction/murders of children did happen, we never heard about it.  And the idea of a predator like Ottis Toole who did it on a whim was just too unbelievable to comprehend.

So, this book chronicles the investigation from the beginning and tells the story of why the crime was not 'solved' and Toole charged in the killing, despite numerous confessions.  It does not shine a good light on the Hollywood police department and others.

What makes it different from John Walsh's own book on the murder of his son 
is that this book was written by the man who repeatedly was shut out of the case over the years, and is the one who finally put the pieces together and found the evidence to close the case once and for all.

Both books actually are incredibly good.  And though telling the story of a horribly tragic murder of a beautiful young boy,

they are also the story of how the world changed.  And I don't say that lightly.

Adam's story is also John's story.

John Walsh had a waking nightmare that left him full of unimaginable pain, frustration, rage and he could have turned it inward and that would have been the ending of a sad tale.

Instead, John Walsh made it his life's work to change the way we react to a missing child.

Both books detail that struggle and it's results.  Some of which we know, some we don't.

But the highlights?

  • Child pictures on milk cartons
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

I do remember when this opened because it was very closed to where I worked at the time.  What Mr. Walsh learned and pushed others to support is that everyone needs to work together to find children.

This is another thing we all are used to now with CSI and other shows constantly checking it for similar crimes.  Nothing like it existed.

  • Laws too many to mention
Walsh was behind so many laws.  He worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle (back when Congress actually WORKED) to pass laws to aid law enforcement and help protect the innocent.

Probably the most important one to him, was the one that bears his son's name:

  • And of course the one that most of us knows him for:

A show most of us have watched.  A show that has resulted in the capture of well over 1000 wanted criminals.

And on a related note, when I was a member of the True Crime Book Club for the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, we actually met on the set of America's Most Wanted which is on the bottom floor of the Museum.  So we were in the nerve center where people answered the telephones and took leads.  Even empty but for us, I felt a bit a part of it at the time.  Had a sense of awe at what happened right there every week...

John Walsh has made the world a better place and done work that others have taken up and will continue to do.  At great personal cost.  He is a man I admire greatly.

And the book was as good as I had hoped as well. :)


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: Unscrupulous by Avery Aster

  • File Size: 670 KB
  • Print Length: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc. (August 14, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Taddy Brill is a Manhattanite to the core.  Self-emancipated from her parents as a teen, she now runs a highly successful PR firm.  Everything is excess - clothes, vacations, personal grooming,sex - it doesn't matter - she believes in having it all.  Until she meets Hotel Mogel, Warner Truman.  Then she might learn to share...

Wild characters and scenarios.  A fun escape.

Over-the-top decadent fun!


P.S. Very graphic erotica for those who need to know :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


Yes, I know it’s already February, but January got clean away from me, so here’s my first blog of the new year.

Lucky me, I got to spend Christmas in Southern California with my family and a ton of friends. It was fun. After Christmas, I dog-sat for my younger daughter and son-in-law’s dogs while they went traveling up to the wine country and San Francisco.

What’s more, visiting my old stamping grounds seems to have dissolved the writer’s block I’ve been suffering from for a couple of years. Yay! I finished SPIRITS ONSTAGE, Daisy Gumm Majesty’s ninth adventure, which will be published soon. Then I’ll need to write another one. The only problem now is time. But I’ll find it somewhere.

But the best part of my trip was eating. I love food. And Southern California has restaurants of all shapes and sizes. I got to eat Middle Eastern food, East Indian food, Japanese food and good Italian food! And Gilbert, Robin’s hubby, fixed a magnificent prime rib for Christmas dinner. But I’m home again, and cooking for myself. Feel free to send condolences. Not that I don’t like to cook, but I can’t do tempura or falafel and stuff like that. Well, I have done both, but they seem to taste better when someone else fixes them.

Here’s a photo of my grandson Riki my good pal, Barbara Masters, my late friend Sara’s daughter, Cathy; my daughter, Anni; and me at Pinocchio’s Restaurant in Pasadena. Yum!

And here’s Stephanie Cowans and her son, Colin, at another meal (have I mentioned I love to eat?) Steph and I used to dance and sing together back in the Good Old Days:

But all good things have to come to an end, I reckon, so on January 3, I boarded a plane (at 7:30 a.m.) at LAX and flew to Dallas. You see, in order to get anywhere from Roswell, you have to fly to Dallas first. Same thing on the way home again. So when I left Roswell, I flew to Dallas and then to Los Angeles. Going back, I flew from LAX to Dallas, and waited. And waited. And waited. Weather delays from all across the country had trapped people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, some of the poor things for days. But I eventually managed to get home at about 8:30 p.m., where I discovered my hounds, who had been well cared for by Ann and Barry Lasky, delighted to see me. I was delighted to see them, too, but boy, was I tired.

However, things are zooming along this year. Already I have a new audiobook out. I know it’s after Christmas, but if you should find yourself in dire need of a heartwarming Christmas story, check out CHRISTMAS PIE:

I’ll be holding a contest again this month, and I’ll be giving away copies of . . . oh, heck, I don’t know. I think I’ll let the winners select any old book they want, providing I have a copy on hand. If you’d like to enter, please send me an e-mail including your name and home address to alice@aliceduncan.net  At the end of the month, Bam-Bam, my winner-picking wiener dog, will select as many winners as he feels like picking.

Also, please visit my web page at www.aliceduncan.net and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925


Review: The Blackhouse by Peter May

  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1849163847
  • Publisher: Quercus (December 3, 2013)
Fin McLeod returns to Isle of Lewis when a murder occurs their with similarities to one he investigated in Edinburgh.  The victim is a bully from his childhood.  

This story is more about his childhood and the people in it than the actual murder itself.  The characters are quite believable and it is their stories that make the book engrossing.  That, and I have always been fascinated by Scotland and its atmospheric islands.  The setting adds immensely to the story, especially the integral part the annual guga catching trips play.

It is a story of coming home and the changes occurring on the island and in Fin himself.  Also how his past bleeds into the present.  

The resolution of the crime is very sad and important to Fin and I felt very satisfied by the last page.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Terri's Top 10 Reads of 2014

In no particular order since they are very different books:

Death of the Mad hatter - Sarah J Peepper
Creepy - Jennifer Hillier
Sing it to her Bones - Marcia Talley
Undead by Morning - Joyce 7 Jim Lavene
The Man Who Watched the World End - Chris Dietzel
The Sherlock Files - Guy Adams
Animal Kingdom - Iain Robb Wright
Creatures of the Night (ed) Absolute Xpress
Treasure Me - Chrstina Nofti
Ebola:  The Natural and Human History-David Quammen

Most of these I have posted reviews on


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review: The Halloween Mask and Other Strange Tales by David Stuart Davies

  • File Size: 219 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (September 15, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • ASIN: B00JIE89PC

  • An Anthology of dark tales by a new-to-me author who is very skilled at his craft.  Some of my favorites include:  'The Key', 'The Lady in the Garden' and a very fun Sherlock Holmes story (This author is VERY good at Holmes Stories I have discovered) - 'Sherlock Holmes and the Ghost of Christmas Past'.

    Then I have to discuss his story 'The Books' which, though NOT a vampire tale, reminded me very much of Jonathan Harker's journey and first night in Dracula's castle.  Similar elements such as the storyteller being dropped off reluctantly at the end of the path to the Lodge and his arrival to a note, wine, fire and so on, brought back that foreboding feeling I felt when reading Dracula for the first time.  Is it homage?  Or too similar?  I found I didn't care, it still took me where I needed to go in my mind.

    And finally, my favorite story in the book: 'The Oldest Ghost Story-Writer in the Land'.  A very hold horror writer is invited to appear as a guest on a television adaptation of one of his stories on Halloween.  My two favorite descriptions follow:

    "This was real and all the more terrifying because he didn't know why he was frightened.  For a moment, his body turned to ice and his heart began to race.  He blinked furiously, gasping or breath."


    "I am a Relic.  that's how I have been treated today.  Some old curiosity from a bygone age who's been wheeled out for his novelty value.  The oldest living ghost-writer in the land."

    Well written words that manage to convey atmosphere and feelings without slapping you in the face with it.  Horror at its best.

    I will definitely be reading more by this author!


    Friday, January 23, 2015

    Review: Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris

    Title: TAGGED FOR DEATH (A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery)
    Author: Sherry Harris
    Paperback: ISBN-12: 978-1-61773-017-7
    Price: 7.99

    Sarah Winston is starting her life over. At age thirty-eight she is no longer a military wife. When her ex-husband has a fling with a nineteen year old. Sarah moves out but still stays in the same area just off base.

    However her whole married life has been that of a military wife. She has friends and people who will vouch for her to be on base. She helps with the thrift shop, garage sales and many other things.

    Sarah and her friend go to tag sales. After taking a friend to tag sales all over the Ellington Massachusetts area she returns home with many bags of things to sort, tag and maybe keep a few things. The problem arises the next morning when she finds a bag of bloody shirts that belong to her ex-husband.

    Then the more drastic concern is what has happened to Tiffany the nineteen year old CJ is seeing. Tiffany has disappeared. Sarah tries to stay busy but when she discovers a body on the acres the thrift shop sits on and when they arrest CJ for murder.

    Sarah thinks CJ is a lot of things but he isn't a murderer. Life gets complicated has more issues and another death come to light.

    TAGGED FOR MURDER by Sherry Harris is everything you want in a cozy mystery. It's also true another persons junk is someone else's treasure. Don't miss this wonderful first in the series.


    Monday, January 5, 2015

    Pamela's Top Ten books for 2014

    As promised here is my 2014 list of my top ten books. I will do a another list of runner up's this week. Now some of the book have already been returned to the library so I couldn't get detailed.
    1. The Yard (I forgot the name of the author but it's the first in the series. There is a Scotland Yard Murder Squad that forms after Jack The Ripper. Nice historical start that hits the right mark on character, plot and history.

    2. Twelve Clues Of Christmas by Rhys Bowen this is a wonderful historical cozy series. I think this book sparkles.

    3. Christmas Carol Murder by Leslie Meier What a great cozy to read at Christmas or in the winter. Lucy Stone takes on a mortae company plus is in a Christmas Play and her daughter moves out. I want to add these are only a few of the highlights.

    4. Ophelia Wylde Series by Max McCoy I can't say enough about this historical series. Ophelia dreams and when she does all hell breaks loose. She knows how to be a detective and often works with a bounty hunter. This series is one of the best of the best historical series.

    5.TheSayer Swindle by Victoria Abbott all I have to say is "If you haven't read this series you very well are missing out on one of the best cozy series on today's market." This book in the series ha me hooked from the first line.

    6.Forget Me Knot Murder by Mary Hart for anyone who likes quilts, loves quilting and has friends must read this series. Definitely cozy but add adventure and interesting characters.

    7. Mrs. Jefferies and the Merry Gentlemen. As always this book in the series does not fail and is a wonderful Christmas historical cozy.

    8. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith Okay this is my book find of the year. Not only a great detective story but the characters are witty, unique, interesting and the plot is much more layered than your average detective novel. Also Robert Galbraith is the pen name for JK Rowlings.

    9. The Skeleton Takes A Bow by Leigh Perry I have to say this is the most entertaining series that I have ever read. Sid the family skeleton is a wonderful character, as are Georgia and her teenage daughter Madison. In this one Sid is going to be in the play Hamlet.

    10. Ghost Gone Wild by Carolyn Hart in this one there is a huge problem. Bailey Ruth Evans thinks that Wiggins her boss from Heaven's Department of Good Intentions has sent her to Adelaide, Oklahoma to save Nick Magruder but while Nick needs saving it wasn't Wiggins who sent her but instead Nick's Aunt Dee. Bailey Ruth has no way to disappear or even change into lothes. From there the plot takes an interesting turn. Aunt Dee and Bailey Ruth need to et along long enough to help Nick and solve murder.

    Okay this is my top ten.


    Review: Milwaukee Autumns can be Lethal - Kathleen Anne Barrett

    Beth is a lawyer who writes briefs for other attorneys.  She goes to deliver one to Don (a lawyer she does work for) and finds him dead.  She decides it is up to her to solve the murder and goes about it with gusto.

    The problem with writing a cozy is for the author to make the reason for investigating the crime believable.  After all, why not let the police do their job?

    I liked most of the characters well enough in this book BUT that said, the enthusiasm with which they embrace Beth's involvement in the investigation really irritated me at times.  one friend of hers actually pumped fist in the air and exclaimed YES or something like that.  I found it off-putting.

    Yet I can get past it if the story keeps me going.  And for the most part, it did.  But then, I felt the resolution didn't work either.  Where did the killer come from out of the story?  Were their clues? Maybe it was just me, but I missed it.