5 STAR review for The Haunting of Hawk’s Ridge Hall

Rhys Davies

5.0 out of 5 stars

A good, cozy murder mystery, with ghosties.

A cozy weekend adventure with mystery, history, mischief, murder, and ghosties. Loved it.

An author spends many hours trying to get just the right words to help readers enjoy their work. It is so special when one of those readers takes time out of their day to write a review.

Ostara/Spring Equinox



The welcoming of Spring has been celebrated in ritual for over 12,000 years by many cultures around the world. As the sun appears to cross the earth’s equator on the 20th or 21st of March, (in 2017 it will fall on Monday, March 20th @ 6:28 AM EDT) entering the Zodiacal sign of Aries, day and night will be equal in length.

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Christmas musings

December… what does it mean to you? Christmas carols on the radio? Beautifully decorated store windows? Brightly lit houses and Christmas trees? Children eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa? Christmas pageants and carol services? Family and friends gathered for Christmas dinner? All these things and more. I remember Christmases as a child. My Dad and I would always get a real Christmas tree and we all decorated it the next day. Presents were added (there were a lot of us in the family) and anticipation was high. Creeping down the stairs Christmas morning was a magical time. I was allowed to open my sock, so I slowly went into the front room and just absorbed the feeling of mystery and quiet. My sock always had a couple of comic books and one new book (Nancy Drew) to cherish in the weeks to come. Some candy and always an apple and orange in the toe of the sock. These were rare treats. There was also always a new stuffed animal. One year it was a gigantic teddy bear dressed in a top hat and tails. I loved my stuffed animals and my Mom would very often find me curled up asleep on the couch hugging my new stuffie when she came down. It wasn’t until I was grown that I discovered not everyone had those kind of memories.

In my late thirties, I had a breakdown and as a result suffered panic attacks. On the recommendation of my doctor, I attended a group counselling session. There I met people who had very different memories from my sheltered ones. That’s when I discovered December is a hard month for a number of people.

It’s the dark time of the year. Many people suffer from SAD and find it hard to be happy when it’s so dark.

Not everyone has a family with which to celebrate the holidays and some have family who are toxic and they have no fond memories. One of the girls in out group described what her Christmases were like. Her mother was an alcoholic and by the time dinner was ready she was well into her cups. So much so that on numerous occasions the dinner was spoiled because she threw up onto the turkey. That was so far out of my experience, but it did open my eyes to look around and see what others were feeling.

Some have lost someone they love in the previous year and this will be the first Christmas without them, and yet all around are commercials saying “buy this, buy that to make you and your loved ones happy”. TV shows are the Hallmark Christmas movies with the girl and boy finding love and everyone coming together or specials with singing and dancing and smiling people.  I have one friend who lost her husband just before Christmas and has to get away from home to somewhere quieter where she can find some peace.  Christmas is very hard for her and for other of my friends who do not have the person they want most to share the holidays with.

There are pictures of bountiful feasts and wonderful decorations, while many are without homes and won’t have much if anything to eat, so it’s not so hard to see why December isn’t happy for everyone.

I did not write these musings to say “don’t celebrate”, nor to say “bah, humbug” but to remind us that there are others who may be especially sad and lonely at this time of year. If you attend a church service, say a little prayer or light a candle for those who are grieving. Let’s be patient when shopping for our Christmas gifts. Be mindful that not everyone has gifts to buy or someone to share them with. Let’s be kind to one another and do the best we can to bring comfort and a little joy to everyone we meet. Most of all, let’s be thankful and express gratitude for the love and bounty we have every day that we live.

Merry Christmas! 


Winter Solstice

winter solstice3The returning of the sun in the northern hemisphere at Winter Solstice has been celebrated by various religions for thousands of years. Over that time the holiday has evolved into what we recognize as Christmas or Yule today.

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Imbolc – Festival of Brighid

Brighid:  Beloved Goddess of Imbolc

The Goddess, Brighid

The Goddess, Brighid

Great Lady, Exalted One

King Maker, Bright Arrow

We call on you;

Brighid of the Eternal Flame

Brighid of the Sacred SpringsBrighi

Mistress of poets, healers & Smiths

We invite you to our circle;

Enter and give us your blessing


Brighid was a much loved and primary Goddess of the Celtic people.  She has been known by many names depending on where you were located and the time period you were in.  Her festival, Imbolc, is held each year on February 1st or 2nd and is seen as welcoming the first vestiges of Spring.  She is known by many names including Bright Arrow, The High One, The Bright One, Lady of the Sacred Flame & Healing Waters and Brighid of the Green Mantle.

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Only two weeks until the WCDR’s massive book launch and sale.

Pen BOOKAPALOOZA! into your calendars! Meet the authors, get your books signed and attend dynamic panel discussions with authors of various genres. There’s something for everyone at Bookapalooza!

Books make fabulous Christmas gifts. There will also be other craft vendors at the sale.

Come and join us for a fun day!






SamhainSamhain (Scots Gaelic: Samhuinn) means “Summer’s End”. It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st . It marked the first day of winter. Crops had been harvested and the grains, fruits and nuts safely stored for the winter. Hay was brought in for the animals. The cattle, sheep and goats were brought down from the mountains to either be kept safely in the barn or slaughtered and salted to keep the family fed for the cold months. Wood was chopped and stored to bring heat to the home. It was a joyous time of celebration before the long dark days set in. On October 31st the fire in the home was put out. Bonfires (originally bone fires as bones were thrown into them) were lit in the villages. Offerings of symbolic objects for healing, abundance in the coming year, thanksgiving etc. were also tossed into the fire to be blessed by the Druids. When the fire died down, brands were lit that were taken home to light the fire in the family hearth to bless the home. Ashes from the bonfire were scattered on the fields to bless them and to pray for abundant crops the next year.It was thought to be a time when the veil between the worlds is suspended and the dead walk the earth again. It was a time to honour the ancestors, particularly those that had died in the previous year. These ancestors were welcomed by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead”. Candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of loved ones home. Extra chairs were set at the table and around the hearth for any unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths to provide for spirits who were lost or had no descendants. Turnips and gourds were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits. Candles were placed in them so they became lanterns to help them on their journey. It was also a time for the faeries and other “wee folk” to come out of hiding and play tricks on unsuspecting humans. When Christianity came to the Isles, these practices were denounced as evil. Although the Celts eventually accepted Christianity, they did not wish to give up their own customs. So, in order to win more converts, in the 7th century c.e., Pope Gregory reaffirmed November 1st as All Saints Day and October 31st as All Hallow’s Eve. All Saint’s Day became Hallowmas – a mass to honour the dead and All Hallow’s Even has morphed into Hallowe’en. It was meant to be a day of quiet prayer and contemplation, but the Celts wished to keep their own ceremonies. The Church’s teaching that the Beings walking the earth this night were evil and to be feared gradually took hold and people began to dress up in costumes to fool the “ghosts” and such that were roaming abroad. The food that was laid out was gradually turned into “treats” that were given to the children and the hollowed out turnips and gourds that were the lights to guide their loved ones home became the Jack O’ Lanterns of today.

Samhain marks the beginning of the “Dark” or “Dream” time and hunkering down for the winter. It is a good time to reflect on the last year and to prepare for the new one. Think about the last 12 months. Have you accomplished what you wished to do? Has your personal “harvest” been bountiful or have you left things undone that you had planned? Now is the time to see what you can do to complete anything that is unfulfilled and to contemplate what seeds you will plant come Spring.

Today’s intreview – Author Karen Millie-James

Two envelopes. Two holocaust survivors. Two anonymous bearer bonds each worth one million pounds. Corporate forensic investigator, Cydney Granger, with help from beyond the grave, enters a world previously unknown to her to unravel the truth behind a web of secrets, lies, corruption, blackmail and hidden Nazi loot as new horrors of the Third Reich come to light.

Still struggling to come to terms with the apparent death of her husband, Captain Steve Granger, five years’ earlier Cydney puts her personal feelings to one side and is determined to bring to justice an escaped Nazi criminal, Adolf Weissmuller, living under the assumed name of Albert Whiteman, whose son is about to run for the US presidency. Can Albert ever make amends for his crimes against humanity, or are some actions beyond forgiveness …?

Will Cydney, along with her trusted and tough protector, former sergeant, Sean O’Connell, also uncover the truth surrounding her husband?

The consequences of Cydney’s investigations, stretching back before WWII, are far reaching with the potential to bring down a banking dynasty as she faces insurmountable odds from which there is only one final solution.

The dramatic follow-up to The Shadows Behind Her Smile, a compelling debut which takes the reader from the heart of Cydney’s corporate world to the ruins of war-torn Damascus and where men will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Continue reading



Book Description:
Carlos the Wonder Cat lives free, traveling from house to house in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Known by everyone, his idyllic existence is jeopardized when a snarky letter from animal control threatens to punish kitty owners who fail to keep their pets indoors. The $5,000 fine / loss of kitty to THE MAN is draconian and mean, but before Team Carlos can take steps, he is kidnapped by a feline fetishist sex cult obsessed with the films of eccentric Pilsen Güdderammerüng. Stakes are high. Even if Carlos escapes their clutches, can he ever go home?
The third novel in the UNAPOLOGETIC LIVES series, SHELL GAME follows SCOOTER NATION (2016) and HEUER LOST AND FOUND (2015) this time, with an eye on a seemingly pastoral community with a lot to hide. More than a cat and mouse story, Shell Game is an examination of community—who we are and how we relate to one another in a questioning world. Written with tongue firmly in cheek, it asks us to open our eyes, see better, and have a little more patience.

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Feature Author – Geoff Nelder


When Reece and Zita become lovers, past and present collide as the spirits of their ancestors force them to relive one of the greatest battles of the 16th century.

Xaghra’s Revenge follows the fate of a sixteenth century abducted family, and of two contemporary lovers thrown together by the ancients. Reece and Zita are unaware that one descends from the pirates, the other from the abducted family. While ancient Gozo spirits seek revenge, so do the Ottoman Corsairs, who intend to roll back history, and this time win the siege of Malta.

The history is real. The places are authentic. The tension and excitement are palpable.

Praise for Xaghra’s Revenge:

“A gripping tale, full of energy and mystery, keeping you wanting for more with every line you read.” John Bonello, First-Prize Winner of the Malta National Book Award

“I liked it. There’s a foreground of interesting characters combined with a skilfully fed-in hint of weirdness.” Jaine Fenn – Hidden Empire series.

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podcast symbol Click here to access my podcasts on interviews with authors and artists from the Durham region, plus reading of my work.

My Latest Book:

The Haunting of Hawk's Ridge Hall

I am delighted to announce my new book The Haunting of Hawk's Ridge Hall was published on May 1, 2019 and is available in hardcopy and on Kindle at Amazon.com and Amazon.com

Maighread Mackay is a Member of the Visionary Fiction Alliance.

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