MAYDAY – by Mike Steeden

Genre: SciFi-Horror-Adventure-Adult-Romance-Fantasy

There is no way to pigeon hole Mike Steeden’s writing, both in style and genre. Then again, my reviews are unorthodox. So, let me get on with it!

THE SCI-FI

Mayday was not born, she was made by a male professor/scientist. Her body is perfection, her blonde hair is to her waist. She is an adult without a childhood. She will never age. Her cerebral prowess is unfathomable, and grows during the course of the story. She can heal the ill, feed the hungry, make people forget or make them remember something different. That’s just the tip of it.

 Her name means “help me”, but no one can; at least not for long, and not in the end.

THE HORROR

As knowledge of Mayday spreads throughout the world, there are 2 elemental societies that desire her. One is the religious fanatics that want to torture then crucify, or burn her at the stake. The other is the Nazis, who would use her to their advantage in securing the Master Race.

THE ADVENTURE

Rescued from prison, her safe keeping falls into the hands of a wealthy French man, Andrei Voland. It was just pre WWII and Andrei Voland, with a home in Paris and one in Lille, could afford all of the trappings, conveniences and more.

Andrei Voland hires Edith to give Mayday a makeover. Her hair is cut short, dyed black and Marcel waved. Make-up is a wise addition, as Mayday has been au naturel for her entire existence. Although Edith chooses smart fashions of the day, Mayday has her own take on the new her. She is given the name Nadele for public ventures.

Disguises & alter egos are Mayday’s reality.

For her part, Edith’s life is now in danger. Mayday, Edith and Andrei Voland move to his Lille home to hide.

Good friends, Eloise & Thunderman are let into the Mayday secret. Eloise joins them, living in the home in Lille. Thunderman, a large man, becomes security.  They start “Looking Glass Vacations”, as a lucrative cover.

THE ADULT

Just for fun, Mayday takes Edith, Eloise and Andrei Voland mentally into a harem, for a taste of that life. Although only gone moments, the 4 experience hours of harem life. Mayday accidentally brings back a black slave. They name her Princess, and she joins the household.

When Andrei Voland and Mayday return from an investigative trip to the Vatican, Thunderman is dead at the Nazi’s hands. Princess has been kidnapped.

After rescuing Princess, Juliette and Esme are hired to help with the agency. Now Andrei Voland has 6 women & his brother Henri, security replacing Thunderman, living with him. As with the harem experience, there is nothing obscene; however the story is quite suggestive of a sexually free bohemian lifestyle. This bohemian lifestyle prevails throughout the story.

THE ROMANCE

Love and romance evolves and flourishes in Lille, France. Mayday, Edith, Eloise, Princess, Juliette, Esme, Henri and Andrei Voland live under the radar of the religious fanatics and Nazis. During this time life is wonderful. Until the Nazis near Paris!

It’s at this point  that Juliette & Esme must flee, as they are not to the Nazi’s liking and will surely end up in a camp. When Mayday must leave to protect herself and others, Andrei Voland’s heart is shattered.

THE FANTASY

The ending of this tale is different from anything I’ve ever read. To see how this image applies, you’ll have to read the book.

To buy Mayday, or any of Mike Steeden’s books click on the book cover and go to Mike’s Amazon page.

The Author – in his own words – An aging old fool devoid of common sense and incapable of changing a light bulb. A ‘lefty’ at heart; an atheist by nature; I have no desire to be taken seriously!

The Author – in my words – Mike Steeden is a published prolific writer based in the UK. His mind is like the USS Enterprise in the sense that he goes where no man has gone before.

Eternal Road – by: John W. Howell

It’s the road trip of a deathtime.

I’d say lifetime, but both lead characters, James and Samantha, have already passed. Where are they going? I can’t tell you. However, a few brief glimpses of their journey are in order.

Of course I was keen on knowing why John had picked this particular car.

Resa – Why did you pick the 1965 Oldsmobile? Why turquoise and white?

John – The 1965 Oldsmobile was selected since it represents my awakening in high school. I was born in Detroit and when I was 15 moved to the suburbs. During high school I used to wash and wax a neighbors 1965 Oldsmobile coupe. Yes, it was turquoise and white and had fancy hubs and white wall tires. The car represents the suburbs since the real item very seldom got very dirty and existed without the inner city grime, pings, and nicks. It always struck me as a symbol of innocence and purity. No one in the city would drive a car like that. If they did it probably would have been stolen or at least vandalized.

So, I hopped in the car. First stop I remember was the wild west.

Resa – Were you enthralled by tales of the wild west when you were a kid? Did you watch all the westerns on TV?

John – Yes I loved westerns when I was a kid. I used to watch the old shows. Hoppalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers were my favorites.

John – I should also add I held a history minor in College so my learning about the old west never stopped.

So crazy how John wove everything together in this story. In terms of suspension of disbelief; I was there, as John took me hither and yon.

Yon… the devil, evil, trickery and punishment can take on any and many forms. So it does in this saga.

He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere, so beware! He’s even in Las Vegas!

I loved when we were with the horses. They are gorgeous creatures and have helped mankind immensely.

Then the devil….AGAIN! In the form of War!!

We go back to the horses. Why? Mmm that would be a spoiler. Where do we go after that. Again, spoiler.

Resa – I used the search tool. I was systematic and careful. Eyes are mentioned on almost every page, mostly due to travelling, but I could not find the colour of Sam’s eyes. I also searched brown, blue, hair…no luck. Thing is, I was thinking of drawing Sam as an angel, maybe no wings. This way I could do a gown.

John – You are not crazy. You won’t find a color of Sam’s eyes since I very seldom describe the characters in terms of physical attributes. My reason for doing this is I would rather the reader form an image in their mind of what the characters look like. So you can make her eye color whatever pleases you. She is more your character than mine since you invested your time reading the book. You can do whatever you wish.

Resa – I see her with light brown hair, and green eyes.
I know she and James look totally human, not like angels for sure. I’m looking for a reason to draw her in a gown. I’m sure I’ll think of one.

John – Since she died when she was seven I think she would be thrilled to be dressed in a gown just like a princess she dreamed of being when she was little.

Resa – Okay first drawing is along the lines of a Disney Princess. If Sam was murdered in 2003 … then Belle from Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aurora, and Cinderella, would all be an influence.

John – Sam was murdered in 2003 when she was 7. She certainly would have been influenced by Belle, Aurora, and Cinderella .

Did you ever look up the meaning of the name Samantha?

John – The name Samantha in Hebrew means “As told by God.” When my daughter was born we looked up a bunch of names and we selected another. I always liked the name and I wanted to use it. Also in this story and the next one Sam seems to be constantly telling James the rules of Eternity. I think she comes by being the mouthpiece of God quite naturally.

Resa – This second drawing, more straight from my imagination is partly based on one of the lesser known meanings of Samantha. My search yielded Flower. Another is Listener. “As told by God.” is the most listed. Sam has grown up, as has her idea of a princess.
I think both interpretations are valid.

John –  I agree with your statement that the interpretations are valid. Thank you for sharing these beautiful drawings.

Resa – My pleasure! John, thank you for writing this book!

Click on the cover of Eternal Road, and go to John’s Amazon page.

Visit John on his blog!

Pics taken by Resa – 2013 to 2021

Toronto & Winnipeg

The artists:

Horses – Mandy Van Leeuwen, War – Charlie Johnson, Horse & Cart – John Kuna, Devil Dude – Len Lone Child, Cowboy silhouettes – Joe Viera

The Snow White Tigress -by Mike Steeden

ADULT

FICTION SET IN REALITY ( WWII – London & Paris)

SEXUAL CONTENT (Integral)

My words are in blue. Mike’s words are in black italics.

“Frenchie” sobriquet for the French Resistance hero of this tale, is one kick ass martial arts fighter. She can kill a nazi in the blink of an eye. She uses guns, knives and her head. Her head has two uses; thinking and butting. Fearless, she will use her sexuality, in more ways than one.

Sex born of choice, no matter one’s sexual persuasion, is nobody’s business but theirs. Yet, when the ‘I own the world’ male of the species hold sway: women young, old and in-between beware! Those male scum bag’s brawn trumps feminine delicacy and brains. It’s been that way ever since poor Eve copped the blame for tempting a namby-pamby Adam in the supposed Eden. The Nazi’s history in that regard is a classic example of contemptible lowlife abusing the fairer sex at will.

Although fiction, the whole nazi thing is difficult to read about. However, after a slow start, Frenchie got to me. I had to know her next move. 

I asked Mike a few questions, and in the end his answers serve better than any further review I could write. He provided two Leonard Cohen songs. The last question I ask, explains why.

1 – This tale is fiction set in the reality of World War II. We are predominantly in London and Paris. Where and/or how did you learn of: what London & Paris looked like, felt like and how people survived or died in those war years?

Born and bred in South London not that long after the end of the war, our two-up; two-down terraced hovel was on the opposite side of the main drag toward The Smoke. It scarred the already dubious, giant field of broken bricks, redesigned concrete slabs, shattered glass, bent pipes and later, dandelions by the millions. Oh yes, there were broken kettles, crushed teddy bears, lonely bed springs and crumpled shoes as well.

Prior to the bombing of said dubious field, it had housed many families most of whom died on impact. The view from my bedroom has never left me. It has a habit of creeping into both my dreams and nightmares. Because of this, its proximity to the city, its rebuilding of all things flattened and along with my day trips there, it has always had me imagining ‘what if I’d lived through that?’

As to Paris, I’ve visited more times than I can count. London I find bland and devoid of finesse. Not so The City of Love. It’s an ‘art versus science’ differential. The art of Paris always wins out insofar as I am concerned. What I know of Paris during the war was born of a combination of idle chat with its aging citizens and my research addiction.

To this day, given the choice and in the knowledge that the deadliest conflict in human history was shortly kicking-off, I would have no qualms about taking residence there.

The period twixt the two wars was, in Paris and particularly its bohemian district known as Montparnasse, a haven for free-thinkers and artists of all genres. They called it ‘The Crazy Years’…ask F. Scott Fitzgerald, Man Ray, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, to name but a tiny few.     

2 – I first heard of the Nazis and the concentration camps as a child. I read “”The Diary of Ann Frank, when I was a young teen. Over the years movies and documentaries have added to my knowledge of the atrocities perpetrated.

Your story focuses in on certain detailed horrors the Nazis inflicted on young, pretty women that were not of the Aryan ilk. I am speaking of the women that were not sent to camps, but were kept for the Nazis own brutal form of enjoyment.

Where did you learn of these abominations?

‘People with dementia never lie’, so said the boss of the care home my father found himself in not long before his death aged 89. Fortuitously he only lost his mind in the last two years of his life.

The thing was, during his time in the ‘home’, he truthfully thought he was back in Stalag 8B POW camp near Kraków, Poland. Only a throw of a cricket ball away from the Auschwitz concentration camp, it doubled up as an extermination equivalent.

Aged 20 at the time, my father had been captured outside of Dunkerque when his lorry ran out of fuel. He’d spent the entire war banged up in said stalag. He never spoke of the war during his days of sanity. Come the madness he relived it. He saw the staff at the care home as armed guards, daily forcing him to dig for coal down the mines of Silesia, his ankles always tethered in chains. This initial talk of  his, of such hideous happenings, is a mere example; there were many more like it.

I took his chatter to be gobbledygook. However, since then I’ve been able to verify such evil, as was inflicted upon his person.

What pray has that got to do with ‘women that were not sent to camps’? In terms of what’s stored inside my head, everything. Dad got to speak passable German. He and others sometimes got to chat with a friendly sentry, sometimes with the local Polish girls who handed out meagre rations. More often than not it was ‘cat meat’, not that he knew that at the time.

What the old boy told me regarding the treatment of women from conquered lands, be it under the knife of sicko doctors seeking to sterilize those not considered worthy of the ‘master-race’ at one extreme, rape by selection of the Nazi hierarchy or ‘a treat for the troops’ for no other reason than ‘we can’, was…well I’ve not a ‘word’ that gets even close to describing my father’s account.

However, he had inadvertently sent me on an eternal quest. Probing for verification through printed books, apposite telephone calls and via Google searches it was clear my father was not delivering a sick man’s exaggerations nor bonkers induced fibs. Quite the opposite. I’d rather say no more regarding those abominations we speak of. My book, fierce as some of its contents may be, doesn’t come close to what’s stored in the library of my mind.

I should add, to this day I have a printed pile of research far bigger than the book itself…a pile I’ll likely never read again.

3 – In your author’s opinion, what percentage of your tale is factual, what percentage is extrapolation and what percentage is complete fiction?

Cruel deeds taken by the Nazi’s as a matter of perverse motive ‘true’ in method only. Places, events and characters, all fiction based on fact. Basically, the whole of this book is entirely fictional, including the imagined actions of prominent WW2 leaders. Only the generality of well researched Nazi cruel habits, along with just the names and places of towns and cities in Europe and beyond are truthful. The bit I have to say on pain of death is ‘any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events within this book is wholly coincidental’.

4 – Chapter 15 opens with the telling of French actress Arletty, and her affair with a Nazi officer. It ends with a quote of hers. Is this factual?

‘Tis all factual. Ms Arletty was a charming girl who loved life. A French actress, singer, and fashion model, she was found guilty of treason for an affair with a German officer. I understand she served out her sentence in her own house. Good on her! Her quote when being interrogated by the French Forces of the Interior just after the war, says it all, ‘My heart is French, but my ass is international’

Chapter 15 was prompted by her unfair…to my mind…ridiculous treatment. She, like many other French girls, chose to have an affair with the enemy. I see no crime in that, and would lay odds that had it been the other way around the males of France wouldn’t have given a tuppenny toss. As mentioned earlier, “Sex born of choice, no matter one’s sexual persuasion, is nobody’s business but theirs.”..an irrelevance that somehow irked both the religious and the jealous into making it a crime.

In this regard, certain French men were as bad as Nazi’s. Post the war, male patriots were prone to take matters into their own hands. Across the country you’d chance upon girls hanging dead from the branch of a tree as punishment for frolicking with a German soldier. Mainly, their hostile foes would shave off the hair on their heads and march them through the town in front of an audience. Also, it was not uncommon for the accused to be stripped naked, and like the shaved head girls dragged through an angry mob, humiliated. Plainly, The Snow White Tigress would have none of this in her tale. Indeed, she made double sure such thugs got their comeuppance.   

5 – As a matter of fact, chapter 13 opens with a report by Franz Mawick. Is this factual?

Franz Mawick, like Arletty, was genuine, his report also, his story heart-breaking.

6 – At the start of chapter 16, you quote 4 lines from “Suzanne”, by Leonard Cohen. Written 21 years after the war, it has  nothing to do with the war, yet it works for the story.

Why Leonard Cohen? Why not one of the many famous poets from the WWII years, Cecil Day-Lewis, Lewis Aragon, Ana Swir, etc.?

Well, Leonard Cohen was born in September of 1934, five years before the outbreak of war. He may have lived an ocean away, yet of Jewish heritage he would have been aware of the racism’s goings on. More importantly though, be it in song, as poetry or as a novel, his work is at its best when it’s reflective of life’s events. His song, ‘Dance Me To The End of Love’ is all about The Holocaust. Dipping deeper into his portfolio reveals another song, ‘The Partisan’  where he speaks of the plight of the French Resistance…a subject integral to my book.

For me, the main thing is that this book has added more to; what should never be forgotten to be remembered. Did I like it? Yes, but No. I hope Mike and all take this as the compliment it’s meant to be.

Find Mike on his Blog: THE DRIVELLINGS OF TWATTERSLEY FROMAGE

Find The Snow White Tigress and his 8 other books on Amazon by clicking on the cover of the Blue-Eyed Cat above. (A fab read IMHO)

George Blamey-Steeden made this promo for The Snow White Tigress. The music is original.

You can hear George’s music on his blog- George Blamey-Steeden

You can download his albums starting at £5 GBP by visiting George’s Bandcamp site. Just click on the cover of his album “Devil’s Kiss”, (above) and you will find yourself there!

Fiona Finch & the Pink Valentine

A delightful fanciful tale by: Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

There are many shades of pink, and seemingly Fiona Finch possesses them all, or just about. As a matter of fact, I’ll put myself on the line and say she may end up inventing a yet unknown most perfect shade of pink.

That’s just eccentric, you might say. I say rather, simply eclectic. Which is partly why I am enchanted by this playful, romantic story.

There are many unique people, places and things in Fiona’s life. Like a room adorned with an abundance of adored this and thats; bought, found and gifted, one looks around and marvels at how wonderfully it all comes together to create a rich brocade tapestry.

Of course, in Fiona’s case it doesn’t hurt that there is a great variety of  pinks tying it all together.

So it goes that this  “in the pink” Fiona, is a very popular young lady, who receives many cards on Valentines Day. Red comes to mind when thinking of hearts and valentines. However, when an old pink valentine comes into Fiona’s life, her curiosity is beyond piqued.

Headstrong, the clever Fiona decides to delve into the mystery of the old pink valentine, and a sweet, wonderful escapade is begun.

I won’t give away the adventure, but let me say that this novelette will take you on a bit of a spin, before it all comes together at the end.

I am very impressed with the solid development of the characters. In 5 chapters (and a later) over 56 pages, I came to know them all well, as if I had read a full novel.

The plot is well structured, and though you might think you know what is going to happen, think again! Time’s up at midnight.

This story, from the most imaginative, Teagan, is a fun read for adults, teens and children alike.

My take away from the story is a reminder that if you are drawn to certain things, certain paths in life; follow your heart! That is the way to live life to its fullest.

Click on Teagan’s image of Quellie & Cupid below. It will take you to where you can purchase this novelette, Fiona Finch & the Pink Valentine, on Amazon.

Quack Quack, yes there is a duck in the story. Is it pink you ask? Well, why don’t you read this wonderful Steampunk fable, and find out!

You can also visit Teagan on her blog: Teagan’s Books

“I’m Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene and I write fantasy fiction.  This blog is mostly limited to writing and related topics.  It began in 2012, as part of my “grand experiment” in indie publishing.”

View Teagan’s all of Books on Amazon

 

  • A quick note; the pink street art images are from my collection. Hopefully I used them properly, to enhance the importance of pink!

Thank You Teagan!

Recently, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene from Teagan’s Books offered free copies of her book; “The Glowing Pigs – Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee” to her readers.

Teagan thought that the the shorts of her magical glowing pigs would brighten up some of our days during isolation. As for me, I love love loved it, and am still basking in the glow. I have gone through my pics to find art of pigs, and return some of the whimsy & joy.

Above are 2 pigs painted by “Bacon”. Odd name considering the art is on the side of a vegan restaurant. I’m considering them to be the Siskel and Ebert of pig stories.

“Two Snouts Up”, they snort in unison!

Deme and Honeybell, 2 sweet and lovely glowing pigs, are the stars of the Snorts. They use their magic to do good things. Honeybell wishes she was as bold as Deme, but they are partners in adventure.

“So what? You have to be a good looking gal, to get to be a glowing pig?” grunts the disgruntled regular street art pig.

A much wiser pig, from a Chinese Zodiac mural, knows different.

“I think all pigs are wonderful in Teagan’s glowing mind. I’ll have to read more to be sure, but I’m making the prediction here!”

The Glowing Pigs stories take place in Atonement, Tennessee. Teagan has written  two main books about Atonement: Atonement, Tennessee & Atonement in Bloom.  

Find all links to Teagan’s The Atonement, TN universe of urban fantasies at the end of the post!

Besides the many other books Teagan has written, she engages us all in a serial most Saturdays. Right now we’re river boating, and participating, on The Delta Pearl. So hop aboard, enjoy the trip and check out some of Teagan’s Other Books by clicking on the Riverboat Steampunk image above.

“Tha yibida tha yibida tha yibida That’s All Folks!”

“I told you we shoulda picked the small noses!”

The Atonement, TN universe of urban fantasies

Atonement, Tennessee

Kindle:  rxe.me/HGSVA8A

relinks.me/B00HGSVA8A

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of  Atonement, Tennessee

rxe.me/LTBDNH

relinks.me/B07GLTBDNH

Atonement in Bloom

Kindle:  rxe.me/5RRBLH

Paperback: relinks.me/1726882128

 And the Spanish version of Atonement, Tennessee…
Expiación y Magia – rxe.me/BM7L71

“Does Teagan have any Cow stories?”

Tom’s Midnight Garden – Philippa Pearce

Ste J reviews this book from Puffin Books, and I’m impressed. It sounds like a wonderful tale. Hey, did you know Ste j has 27 reviews in the “Children’s Literature” category on his blog? Book to the Future is a must follow!

Book to the Future

toms_midnight_gardenThirteen! proclaimed the clock, and then stopped striking.  Tom’s mind gave a jerk: had it really struck thirteen?

For Tom – angry and alone – the stroke of thirteen brings an escape to another time.

A magical, secret time and place, where friendships await and nothing is as it seems…

Look at this particularly fantastic cover it just screams out ‘read me’, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to do just that.  It wasn’t until I’d read the ending that I realised I had actually watched the wonderful BBC version in the 80’s, back when kids TV was made to be sinister and engrossing.  I may have to do a post on that….

I have long been a firm believer that silence challenges the reader’s imagination and as ever I chose that medium in which to immerse myself in this wonderful book, a masterpiece the cover…

View original post 400 more words

The Mythologies Of Love

How dreamy, I thought, Dean wrote a book of love poems!

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“Love”, it’s so beautiful…

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Artist: Jarus

..Well, yes! However, perhaps not exactly as I had envisioned.

TMOL #20
Photo © Norman Orenstiein

Nonetheless, passion is very evident in these poems. It’s especially noted when I feel distance from the sexuality of love, but want to feel close to it.

TMOL #21
Photo © Norman Orenstiein

Dean doesn’t squander the “love ” word. Yet, I feel puppy dog love eyes.

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Dean is the dark horse running with lighter, brighter angels. His view, as always, remains true to his perceptions.

Artists: Mandy Van Lueewen &
Artists: Mandy van Leeuwen, Jennifer Johnson

Sometimes I understood I was reading  in a special language. “Evol Fo Seigolohtym Eht”

TMOL #4

I have a fave poem in this book. “Poem For Ann Marie” & I must mention my second fave “The Market Place”. I won’t tell you why because I really think you should just read them for yourselves.

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Artist: Charlie Johnston – C5 Artworks

  I’ll be ordering another Dean J. Baker book, in paperback, tomorrow. My collection is almost current!

You can read my reviews of ” The Eschatological Dog”

Silence front71igyzlrqpl

or  “Silence Louder Than A Train”by clicking on the pics of the covers.

Dean is a prolific writer, and all of his many books are available on Amazon in EBook and/or Paperback. He even has his own Amazon page.

Dean J. Baker’s Amazon Page

OR

Buy his works on Create Space where all writers receive a larger royalty.

51ErddOT4xL._UY250_51eWJJqbj2L._UX250_41BMaZY93jL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_41gIaTO-6wL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_A few more books by Dean J. Baker

Visit Dean on his website Dean J. Baker – Poetry, and Prose Poems

Dean has several other interesting Blogs that you will find linked at the bottom of  his site.