Dinosaurs Wore Coloured Feathers

Earth’s sole sentient stands
on cliff tops, looking to the stars.
Below, unheeded, the thoughtless range
through cooling oceans, jungle lands
and unrolling, unmapped plains.
“Tonight, we try.”
Feathers preened, muscles trained.
Reptilian brains abuzz.
The launch is power, synchronised lift,
and all but one fall back.
He is their defiance of limits,
wearing moonlight and aimed for its heart.
They will conquer new worlds,
live forever.

Earth’s sole sentient stands
on city towers, looking to the stars.

Out of the Shadows by Kay Hooper

Kay Hooper teased for ages about Bishop’s backstory. In Out of the Shadows, we finally meet his Miranda (is her name a play on the Miranda warning?), and she’s a character strong enough to hold her own against Bishop. I don’t want to give away any of the plot twists, so I can’t really talk about the events. Let’s just say there is a serial killer; that Bishop means trouble in Miranda’s past and in her future; that Miranda’s sister, Bonnie, is a fine additional character and her inclusion ups the tension. Even better, you don’t have to read the preceding Bishop books to understand this one. Just know that Bishop heads a psychic FBI team. Enjoy.

PS. I was going to add a cover image, but it doesn’t look so great on screen. Rather like the anthology On the Prowl where in the computer image you can’t see the paper copy’s glitter pawprints–which I love.

The Cloud of Unknowing

Can you review a spiritual classic? I’m certainly not going to try.

I’m currently reading A C Spearing’s translation of The Cloud of Unknowing, about a chapter or two at a time. It makes some interesting claims–like why we have two nostrils instead of one–but reminds us we’re not to read it to amuse our minds and inflate our pride of knowledge. It is not quite a guide, maybe you could call it a desire, for its readers to launch beyond their senses and knowledge into the nothingness (the beyond comprehension) which is our attempt to reach to God. Words are so clumsy.

The point of me typing about this now, when I clearly can’t explain the book, is that it struck me last night that the book’s concept of the cloud of unknowing could be influencing my description of portals and the Between in my novel. It gave me a jolt. But when I thought about it, they’re not at all alike.

The idea of the Between has grown out of an idea of four dimensional space travel that I’ve been playing with for a couple of years. It’s about spirals and space collapsing in interesting ways. Initially I wondered if a quantum computer would one day be able to access this four dimensional space. Then you could attach the computer to some movable object and voila, 4D travel, and not just on this planet.

Besides, in my Between (unlike the cloud of unknowing) Lyn can use her senses. It’s just that they act a bit like she has synaesthesia. Confusing but with an underlying logic.

So I can stop worrying that I’ve somehow hijacked my imagination by reading the Cloud of Unknowing while writing about portals and the Between.

Foolish Fancy by Dawn Lindsey

In Foolish Fancy Dawn Lindsey weaves a wonderful regency tale of two people whose social status, needs and desires seem worlds apart, yet actually match. Fancy is a school ma’am and the niece of a celebrated feminist scholar. She is struggling with a dismal future of poverty and an arid, loveless life. Trey, is a former soldier and the new Earl of Wychfield, overwhelmed with responsibility for his younger siblings. When he proposes a marriage of convenience between them, Fancy understands he needs someone to look after his sisters. But Trey is marrying for love. Foolish Fancy just needs to believe.
The majority of the book deals with the couple’s emerging relationship prior to marriage. It is well plotted, well written and all of the characters are characters, and not cardboard cut outs.

Old favourites–category romances

Manuka Fire by Mary Moore makes me cry every time I read it. Not bad for an old Mills and Boon. Megan is sensitively drawn, strong but vulnerable. Her family has left her insecure, and the explanation of the reasons are why I cry on each read. Megan’s new home in a remote New Zealand farming community is beautifully brought to life, both the people and the landscape. Moreover, this is one of the rare romances where the heroine’s rescuer is not the hero. For that alone, you should read it.

The Seduction of Fiona Tallchief completes the stories of the original Tallchief family. Fiona is the baby, the fiery activist, the elephant kidnapper. Joel Palladin is the son of the man who killed her parents. Their courtship is handled with Cait London’s typical, offbeat charm. It is a story of love, courage and redemption.

Sarah Morgan writes excellent medical romances. The Doctor’s Engagement is one of the best. Holly and Mark have been friends forever, but then Mark needs a favour. He needs a fake fiancee. For Holly, it’s a chance to put some nightmares behind her when she agrees and moves to Cornwall. From friends to lovers is an old romantic ploy, but it works beautifully here.