Category: Guest Blogger (page 1 of 3)

Cool Gus Book of the Week: Welcome Janice Maynard to the House!

How many weddings have you attended in your lifetime? Me—close to a hundred, I’ll bet. Between my spouse’s career as a pastor, our friends and family near and far, and all of our daughters’ contemporaries, the ripples roll out in a great big circle.

I may not have seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot. First are the large traditional weddings with ten bridesmaids and a fancy reception on the lawn beneath a white tent decorated in lights. At the other end of the spectrum are the simple ceremonies out in the woods with the groom in a kilt and the bride wearing flowers in her hair. Between those two extremes comes everything else you can imagine.

Through all those weddings, I have learned one thing. It’s impossible to predict which marriages will last and which won’t. Life throws curve balls. Tragedies happen. Sometimes people simply have to give up. The truth is, there are no guarantees in life, not even at the altar.

sayido3In my book, Say I Do, I turned the traditional romance trope on its head, because it’s the heroine, Hannah, who is commitment phobic, not the groom. She’s no starry-eyed romantic. Her world is based firmly on reality, and she’s not at all sure a lasting marriage is even possible in the twenty-first century.

The hero, Morgan, has had the opposite life experience. His parents have been happily married forever, and he’s counting on Hannah to make his house a home and grow old with him.

Then disaster strikes, in a manner of speaking, leaving both Hannah and Morgan to deal with the aftermath, when finding their back to each other is the only thing that matters…

Thanks for reading!

Janice Maynard

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Cool Gus Book of the Week…Space travel in the 17th Century?

Please welcome Colin Falconer to the House!



Imagine you’re on a flight from Amsterdam to Jakarta. Flying time is around 14 hours. Let’s face it, you would probably be annoyed if the flight was delayed for an hour; two would leave you furious.

Yet imagine making that same journey in 1628. The one that takes you less than a day would take them eight months. That’s how long it currently takes for an unmanned space ship to travel to Mars.

If you were on of the 4,000 hardy souls to undertake the trip on a Dutch East India ship every year, it would in fact be very much like traveling to a distant manned space station. After a seemingly endless and extremely hazardous journey you would arrive at your company’s outpost – in Batavia, now Jakarta – to be greeted by a sour and hard-bitten community of singular individuals, in an alien and hostile environment.


But that is if you arrive. First, you have to survive the journey, which is so tedious and so uncomfortable that you will wish cryogenics had been invented. Imagine over three hundred people living and sleeping for eight months in a space not much larger than an interstate bus and you have some idea.

As part of my research I went on board a replica of one of those seventeenth century spaceships, the retourschip Batavia. I couldn’t even stand up straight below decks. And then there are the bathroom arrangements; the best you can say about them is that they were … novel.

The bathroom was a platform extending from the hull below the stern, the toilet paper a long piece of rope with a frayed end. You pulled it up to use it; you dropped it back down into the ocean to activate the self-cleaning mode.

During that eight months between Amsterdam and the Spice Islands you would travel through a dangerous and uncharted world. It would be actually less hazardous than going to Mars today: our navigational systems today far exceed Dutch capabilities in 1628.


For example, skippers then could calculate latitude with the aid of an astrolabe but had no reliable way to calculate longitude – distance east or west – and relied on experience and dead reckoning.


Often the skipper’s dead reckoning was out by some considerable distance; it was how one East India Company ship came to shipwrecked on the Houtman Abrolhos, off the western coast of Australia, over 1400 nautical miles to the south of its intended destination.

Now I’ve visited the Houtman Abrolhos. It’s a great place if you’re a sea eagle or a reclusive seal. But if you had come from the bustling port of Amsterdam in the seventeenth century and then found yourself abandoned there, it must have seemed like being stranded on – well, the moon.


And rescue? As unlikely as Matt Damon getting off the space station in The Martian.

But they did, somehow. What was left of them.


You have to hand it to our ancestors, they were a tough bunch. They had to be, because as they say – in space, no one can hear you scream.

East India by Colin Falconer


Exclusive on Amazon

Cool Gus Book of the Week: A hot romance to warm up your fall day…

Welcome myself to the house!

There is something very special about the first book an author writes. Doesn’t matter if that manuscript went in a drawer, or eventually published, there is an overwhelming sense of satisfaction to have written “the end” for the very fist time.

In Two Weeks was the first book I ever wrote. Also the first book that was ever published. I was lucky that way. Trust me, I have my share of manuscripts hidden away in a drawer, but this book and these characters mattered so much to me that I had to re-write and re-write until it was ‘good enough’.

It all started one day at the lake… I had finished reading just about every backlist title for the tenth time by Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown. The ones from back in the 80’s. While my kids were playing in the lake, I picked up a pen and notebook and just started writing. See, I couldn’t pull them out of the water yet again so mommy could go buy another book. The Kindle did not exist back then. I though perhaps thinking of my own imaginary people might be fun. I had no laptop, so I’d write at the lake, then come home and type in what I wrote. I literally fell in love with these characters. So much so, that Jared makes an appearance in the 5th book in the series coming out in December: Murder in Paradise Bay.

You know its good when the characters inside you head just won’t be quiet. These characters spent over a year with me. And they keep popping up here and there, showing their faces as I write more books in the series.

In Two Weeks is currently free on all platforms right now. Below is links to all the platforms and a book trailer to give you a little taste of what the story is all about. Enjoy!

Two Adirondack chairs

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