Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Crossword Puzzle - August 2015

Hey everybody. Guess what time it is. It's crossword solving time!


Clues


Across

1 Era (5)
2 Ballroom dance (5)
6 Wife of a nobleman between a count and a duke (8)
10 Discount South African retail chain (3)
11 Edible kernel inside a hard shell (3)
12 Kiss kiss (4)
14 Omega (3)
16 Female sibling (3)
19 Fey, actress (4)
22 Tac toe (3)
24 Apple computer (3)
25 WWII fighter plane (8)
26 Drop him (fly my balloon) (5)
27 Exert downward force (5)


Down

1 Active hostility (6)
2 Sadness (3)
3 Patch of grass in front of a house (4)
4 Lively (5)
5 Seen from your balcony (4)
7 Turkish brandy (5)
8 At the very topic (6)
9 Get a massage here (3)
13 Having six rays (6)
15 Capital of India (5)
17 Shorts worn as underwear (6)
18 Remove all your clothes (5)
20 Demon (3)
21 Hit it with a hammer (4)
23 Medieval hood (4)
25 Take a load off (3)


How it Works

In case you're not familiar with how this works, or perhaps you just need a refresher, here's the skinny:
  1. Solve this crossword puzzle before Tuesday, 22 September 2015
  2. E-mail me your answers
  3. If you're the first person to send me your correct answers before the cut-off date, I will publish your name on this blog (if you want me to - if you don't, just say so)
Sound simple enough? Go!


Never Miss Another Issue

Oh, and if you want to make sure you don't miss another issue of this crossword puzzle, sign up for my monthly e-mail newsletter. You'll get a free book, if you do. Click below:




Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Crossword Puzzle - July 2015 Answers

So, it's that time again. The time when I announce the answers to last month's crossword puzzle.

Did you take part? Did you get all the answers? If you did, why didn't you e-mail me? I could be featuring your name in this post!

Well, without further ado, here they are:


Across

1 Unleashed (6) loosed
3 Sol (3) sun
7 Remove the skin off a fruit (4) peel
9 Egg of a louse (3) nit
11 Ball (3) orb
12 Biblical Mount (5) Sinai
14 Respectful address to a woman (4) ma'am
16 Of the navy (5) naval
17 Of a monarch (5) royal
18 On demand (2, 3) ad hoc
21 Have fun (5) enjoy
23 Worn on the foot (4) shoe
24 Describing words (5) nouns
26 Made his acquaintance (3) met
28 Of a smile, dry (3) wry
29 TV psychologist (4) Phil
30 For writing (3) pen
31 Disconnect from a network (3, 3) log off (or log out)

Down

2 Bring about destruction of (2, 2) do in
4 Alien ship (3) ufo
5 Animal tracks (5) spoor
6 Cain's brother (4) Abel
8 TV award (4) Emmy
9 Maths game involving picking things up (3) nim
10 Get a dark skin (3) tan
12 North Indian tree (3) sal
13 Japanese martial art involving swords (5) Iai-do
15 Moses' brother (5) Aaron
18 Exclamations of enlightenment (3) ahs
19 Scottish expression of surprise (4) hech
20 For writing on a blackboard (5) chalk
21 Red muppet (4) Elmo
22 Alternative spelling for "you" (3) yow
23 Afrikaans, "cut" (3) sny
25 Russian mountain range (4) Ural
27 For resting a golf ball on (3) tee

See you next week, for the August 2015 puzzle!


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Tales from Virdura: Wolves

William walked into the kitchen just as Kathryn was serving breakfast. He kissed his wife Kathryn on the cheek and sat down, hanging his head in shame.

“What's wrong, papa?” Jeremy, the eldest son.

This made William feel even worse. He was not the children's father. Their real father, Marcus, had been an evil, abusive man who had tried to frame him for killing the children's favourite cow. That had been a year ago. He couldn't believe it had been that long since he had stood in the queen's court, facing allegations that he had had no idea about.

He sighed. “Wolves, my boy,” he said. “I have been up for many hours before dawn protecting our stock, trying to ward them away. They have taken three of our cattle this week, and I fear it may be a losing battle.”

Kathryn bent down and placed a plate of bacon and eggs on the table in front of William. “Have you considered going to Jacob with this? I really think we ought.”

“Jacob's the constable of Virdura Castle, my love. And there's been no crime. I wouldn't want to waste his time; besides, what does he know about wolves?”

Kathryn sat down at the table, and began eating her own breakfast, when there was a knock on the door.

William rose to his feet and opened it. In the doorway stood Jacob, holding his hat in his hands against his chest, looking very concerned.

“Constable, what seems to be the problem?”

“There's been an accident, sir,” said Jacob. “Young Master Thomas, from the farm opposite yours. He has been mauled by a wolf, on your property. He has been rushed to the healer.”

“Oh dear,” said William. “That's terrible! Is he going to be all right?”

“It seems so, sir,” replied the constable. “But it could have been worse. Those wolves on your property are becoming a real nuisance. You should really consider doing something about them.”


***

"Be vigilant, boy," said William to Jeremy. "These wolves could attack at any moment."

The moon was high in the night sky, and the two could hear night-larks in the distance. Jeremy brandished his pitchfork.

"Don't worry, papa. We'll get them. No wolf is going to take any more of our cows. As I live and breathe, I promise you that.

William smiled and ruffled Jeremy's hair. Brave young boy, he thought. First his cow is murdered by his own father, and now the wolves. He's had a hard life.

“It is strange though,” continued Jeremy. “I've never heard of wolves stealing cows before. Sheep, yes. But never cows.”

As William was about to respond, he heard a snarling sound from behind him. He turned, just in time for a snow-white wolf to leap into him, knocking him to the ground.

Jeremy screamed as William tried to fight off the wolf with his arms. The animal's jaws locked around William's forearm, and the blood flowed. The boy took courage, and charged at the wolf, pitchfork in hand. He ran the beast through.

The wolf yelped and then fell silent; Jeremy followed through with the pitchfork, pushing the beast off of William. The man sat up and cradled his arm. The blood seeped through his fingers and onto the ground.

“Papa, are you all right?” said Jeremy. “We need to get you to a healer!”

“I'll be fine, son,” said William. “Wolves always hunt in packs. The others must be close.”


***

Fully two hours later, there was still no sign of any other wolves, which William found strange. What was also strange was the fact that he was beginning to feel very sleepy.

“You're very pale, papa,” said Jeremy. “I think we should go to the healer.”

“I'll be fine,” said William. “I just need to... lie down... for...”

“Papa!” Jeremy screamed. But no response came from William. The boy got up, and ran as fast as he could for the healer.”

***

William opened his eyes, slowly. He looked down at his arm, and saw a clean white bandage on it. Looking up, he saw Kathryn and Jeremy, smiling down at him.

“Where am I?” he asked.

“You're at the healer's,” replied Kathryn. “You gave us quite a scare. Jeremy said you passed out.”

The memory started rushing back. “It's thanks to Jeremy that I'm still alive,” he said. “The boy killed a wolf, all by himself!”

Jeremy blushed. “It was nothing,” he said.

“We searched every inch of the farm,” said Jacob, stepping forward. “We found no other wolves. It seemed as though that one was hunting alone.”

“Strange,” said William. “They always hunt in packs.”

“Indeed,” said Jacob. “Perhaps the one that you saw was a loner, but you'd best keep an eye open anyway.”

“Yes,” said William. “Or perhaps it wasn't a wolf at all.”

* Image from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/8176793116/










Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Did You Go to the Exclusive Books Warehouse Sale?

Look at that queue!
If you live in or around Johannesburg, you may have known that Exclusive Books had a pretty massive Warehouse Sale this weekend. All books (hardcover, paperback, new releases, old releases) were only R20, and all proceeds went to various literary charities throughout South Africa.

The event was supposed to run from 29 July to 2 August 2015, but it was such a resounding success, that it was completely sold out of several hundred thousand books, by the end of Saturday, 1 August 2015!

The photo on the right was shared on Exclusive Books' Facebook page on the morning of day one (29 July). Take a look at that queue! I wonder what that guy is doing on his cellphone: perhaps he's telling a friend or loved one that they'd better hurry if they want to get anything at the sale....

You may also know that I donated four paperback copies of my romantic crime novelette, Heritage of Deceit, to the sale. Like all books, it also cost only R20, and all proceeds went to charity.

I really wanted to attend, and take a photo of my book on sale, but due to circumstances out of my control, I couldn't make it.

Did you go? How was it? Did you find any literary gems out there? I'd love to hear your feedback - please post them in the comments below.

Also, if you happen to have picked up a copy of Heritage of Deceit while you were there, I would absolutely adore a photo! If you take one of you holding the book, or just of the book lying on your coffee or bedside table, and e-mail it to me, I'll send you one of my e-books (your choice), free of charge.

How's that?

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Crossword Puzzle - July 2015

Well, you all know the drill by now. Here's a crossword puzzle for you to solve.

Get all the answers correct, and e-mail them to me before Tuesday 18 August. That's the day when I post the answers on this blog.

If you're the first person with the correct answers before then, not only will I mention your name in that post, but I'll also send you an electronic copy of one of my books, free of charge!

Ready? Good luck!


Clues

Across

1 Unleashed (6)
3 Sol (3)
7 Remove the skin off a fruit (4)
9 Egg of a louse (3)
11 Ball (3)
12 Biblical Mount (5)
14 Respectful address to a woman (4)
16 Of the navy (5)
17 Of a monarch (5)
18 On demand (2, 3)
21 Have fun (5)
23 Worn on the foot (4)
24 Describing words (5)
26 Made his acquaintance (3)
28 Of a smile, dry (3)
29 TV psychologist (4)
30 For writing (3)
31 Disconnect from a network (3, 3)

Down

2 Bring about destruction of (2, 2)
4 Alien ship (3)
5 Animal tracks (5)
6 Cain's brother (4)
8 TV award (4)
9 Maths game involving picking things up (3)
10 Get a dark skin (3)
12 North Indian tree (3)
13 Japanese martial art involving swords (5)
15 Moses' brother(5)
18 Exclamations of enlightenment (3)
19 Scottish expression of surprise (4)
20 For writing on a blackboard (5)
21 Red muppet (4)
22 Alternative spelling for "you" (3)
23 Afrikaans, "cut" (3)
25 Russian mountain range (4)
27 For resting a golf ball on (3)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Crossword Puzzle - June 2015 Answers

How many of you have been struggling to find the answers to the June 2015 crossword puzzle?

If this is you, you're welcome! :)


Clues

Across

1 A young goat (3) kid
3 With a needle (3) jab
5 Nothing (3) nil
8 Anger (3) ire
9 Thailand (4) Siam
11 Brand of beauty soap (3) Lux
13 Do with a canoe (3) row
14 Open area of land for temporary pasture (3) ley
15 Witch (3) hag
18 Motor-cross bicycle (3) BMX
20 Estimated time of arrival (3) ETA
21 A tree's blood (3) sap
24 Used to see (3) eye
26 A young wolf (3) pup
28 Currency of Japan (3) yen
30 Make a mistake (3) err
31 The alphabet (3) ABC
33 Afrikaans uncle (3) oom
35 First month (3) Jan
36 Fancy (4) posh
37 Submachine gun (3) Uzi
38 Dude, or guy (3) oke
39 Rodent with a long tail (3) rat
40 Catholic, wears a habit (3) nun

Down

2 Not bright (3) dim
3 Work well together (4) jell
4 Reminiscent of a box (4) boxy
6 Member of a people of S.E. Nigeria (3) Ibo
7 For extinguishing cigarettes (7) ash-tray
10 Persistent pain (4) ache
12 U-turns (4) ueys
13 Steal (3) rob
16 Did with food (3) ate
17 Happy (3) gay
19 Height of the lowercase x (7) x-height
22 Large primate (3) ape
23 Prefix in pursue (3) pur
25 Island in Tuscany (4) Elba
27 Command for a horse to stop (4) proo
29 Vietnam (3) nam
31 Slightly open (4) ajar
32 Also Canute (4) Cnut
34 Large evergreen tree (3) oak
36 Small metal rod (used in needlework) (3) pin

See you next Tuesday, where I'll have a brand new puzzle for you!



Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Tales from Virdura: A Murder in Carrington

At Virdura Castle, Queen Celeste and her chief advisor, the Wizard Solon, were sitting down for their evening meal, and discussing the events of the day.

“We had a messenger today, from Carrington. A young man named Jonah,” said Solon, before tearing off a piece of chicken with his teeth.

“Carrington?” answered the queen, “We haven't heard from the village of Carrington in... how long has it been?”

“Too long, your highness. Your mother visited there once, when you were but a child. You should really pay them a visit one of these days.”

“That's a good idea,” said Celeste, “Perhaps in a month or two's time, when things have quietened down at the castle. Anyway, what did this Jonah want?”

“A young girl was murdered yesterday, on a fishing vessel from Carrington. It's the first time that's happened in over fifty years,” answered Solon.

Celeste gasped, and she brought her open palm up to her mouth, before Solon continued, “They apparently have a young man in custody, a boy by the name of Richard. The local Sherrif is requesting a magistrate to travel to the village, to preside over his trial and make a pronouncement.”

“You should go!” said Celeste immediately. “Murder is serious business. You should go, and divine the truth for them.”

Solon gave a half-chuckle, half-sigh, before responding. “I'm sure Virdura's magistrates are quite capable, Celeste,” he said, slipping into a familiar demeanour towards his friend and queen. “Besides, you said yourself how busy we all are here. I'm afraid that I can't spare the time to go to Carrington, any more than you can.

“I have asked Jessa to travel with an entourage to assist them. She will leave at first light tomorrow morning, and should arrive in Carrington in no more than two days.”

Author's Note: This is an extract from one of my works in progress, about a murder in the small fishing village of Carrington, in the kingdom of Virdura. What do you think? Should I pursue this story, and would you be interested in reading it?