A Stella Review: The Wish Auger by Cecil Wilde

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wish AugerGabriel Juarez has only one wish for Christmas, uttered moments before midnight on Christmas Eve: a hug. He wakes up the next morning to find his wish being haphazardly granted in the form of an insecure elf called Felix, who works as a wish augur and couldn’t bring himself to let Gabe’s wish go unfulfilled.

A knitting elf? I’m a goner. How cute is it?

The Wish Augur by Cecil Wilde is a short Christmas story.

Gabe has no family, no friends (except Maria), a crappy job with crappy coworkers and a crappy apartment. Shortly, his life sucks. He writes comics in his free time, hoping it could become his true work. He’s lonely and sad, spending the Christmas Eve in bed crying and cursing his life.

“I want… All I want for Christmas right now is a hug.”

On Christmas morning he wakes with someone wrapped around him. Who is the blond haired, blue eyes guy in his bed?
Felix is one of Santa’s elves, a wish augur elf come from the North Pole to Gabe’s home to fulfill his request of a hug. He just wants Gabe to spend a perfect Christmas.

There are a lot of things I loved in this story. First of all the characters: Felix is exuberant, full of energy and at the same time insecure. Gabe squeezed my heart in the first pages of the book and it was wonderful to see him starting to believe in this “hugs dispenser” and becoming happier and self assured.

I liked all the little details the author added to the story: the fireworks scene, the decorations’ choice and the fantastic use Felix do of the magic (pancakes from nowhere and high speed knitting).

Since I’m a naughty girl, I loved the short and funny sex scene.

Being so short I can understand there was no space for more informations about Felix’s world, but I’m sure we could get more about this cute couple in a sequel, cause I loved the end so much and it would be wonderful to see them again in their new life together.

A quick, magical Christmas story. Highly recommended.

COVER DESIGNED by Aisha Akeju. I like this artist’s work a lot. So far she designed covers that fit the stories I read perfectly. In particular I like this one cause I can see something magical in it and at the same time it’s simple and cozy. That bed draws a lot of hugs.

Sales Links:   Less Than Three Press   All Romance (ARe)    Amazon    Buy It here

Book Details:
Published December 17th 2014 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
Kindle Edition, 44 pages
ASIN B00PPH99SM
Edition language English

 

Down Under Showcase Author – RJ Jones

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Meet R J  Jones!

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R.J. Jones  is the new author of Out of the Blue and Black and Bluhe, both coming in 2015.

To get to know Australian author R.J. Jones a little better, she agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within.

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Author Bio 1

I started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men pop into my thoughts, insisting on telling me their story that I started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.

My initial thought was if I could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow me to concentrate on other aspects of my day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work.  But they didn’t shut up.  They told me their entire story and I didn’t sleep for days.  Sometimes I couldn’t keep up with what they were telling me and I had to keep a notebook by my bed.

Whilst I was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.

You see the problem? If I ever want to sleep again then I need to write.

I’m a wife and a mother to two boys. Even my dog is a boy.

I am surrounded by males.

Author Contacts

 

 

Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

Novel Length:

Out Of The Blue – Release Feb 15

Out of the BlueLt Cameron Cooper has been with the San Francisco Fire Department for fifteen years. He’s seen and dealt with a lot of horrifying situations. He’s always considered himself mentally tough, but when he attends a multi-vehicle accident and sees a dead boy with features remarkably similar to his long-time boyfriend, his mental health takes a hit.

All Jake Montgomery wants is to propose to his boyfriend on their ten-year anniversary. He’s already bought the perfect rings, but when Cameron struggles to look at him after a tragic accident, he has doubts about their future. Cam is withdrawing, and Jake doesn’t know why.

With heated arguments and cold shoulders, Cam and Jake’s life starts to fall apart. Just when Cam thinks he can overcome his issues and finally talk to Jake, memories from Jake’s past threaten to push them apart forever.

 

  • Black and Bluhe – Release Mid 15 March!
  • The One That I Want – It’s based on the musical Grease.
    Publication date – 20 March.

Genres:

• Contemporary

 

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Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, RJ Jones) is an eBook copy of  Out Of The Blue’,  eBook copy emailed upon release. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “Word“. Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.

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Author Qand A

Were you a reader as a child?  

Yes.  I read all the time. I remember being told off for reading a storybook during church on a Sunday morning.  My mum wasn’t impressed.

 Q• Title or characters or plot?  Which comes first?

Geez, that’s a hard one. My first novel, the characters came first, then the plot. The title went through a few changes until one stuck. I’ve just written a short story and the title didn’t come until about a week after I finished writing. And I’ve just had the premise for a new story based on the title of a song I heard on the radio. It’s been very random for me.

 Q• What inspired you to write your first book?

Would you believe porn? I’m serious… sort of. I saw a video with Jake Bass and at the same time I was thinking about a scene a friend of mine was having trouble with. I ended up with these two men in my head and I thought if I could just write it down they’d shut up. They didn’t, and now they have their own novel.  One of the MC’s is called Jake.

Q. What’s your favorite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?

There’s a town called Dunsborough in western Australia which is about 3 hrs drive south from where I live. It’s little and right on the ocean. We usually stay close to town and it’s a short walk to a sheltered bay. Even in winter it’s beautiful. The ocean is endless blue and the sand is pure white. I love the surrounding townships and it’s such a great place to rest and relax. I’d move there tomorrow if I could.

Q. What are your current projects?

 Currently editing my second novel, but I have three stories in some stage of writing. One is just started, one has stalled and one is about half way through.  I’m excited for all my books as each and every one one is different with different characters. It’s very exciting to see the people who live in your head come to life

Our Final Day of the Down Under Author Showcase-Welcome, RJ Jones and AUS/NZ Facts of the Day!

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January 31st – Down Under Authors Showcase Final Day

Welcome, R.J. Jones!

Today brings to a close the wonderful Down Under Authors Showcase at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. My thanks to all the great authors who participated, sharing their thoughts, stories, and giving away their precious books as well. All the reviewers here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, including myself, have found new authors and books to love and we hope that you have done the same.

We’ve gone from the Northern Territory of Australia to the beaches of the South, from the shores and cities like Christchurch of New Zealand into the pastures and mountainsides of that uniquely gorgeous and largely uninhabited country. We’ve had amazing and fun facts about both countries and had to look for some Down Under words and phrases for the Down Under Scavenger Hunt. What fact stuck with you? Was it the one about wombat poop? Or the world’s largest insect? Who has the most Scottish piping bands? And have you learned a little Aussie or Kiwi words to mingle in with your every day vocabulary? Send us an email and let us know which authors are new discoveries for you, new books you put on your TBR pile and any other comments you want to share! We’re going to do this again next year, so all suggestions are helpful.

R. J. Jones has a wonderful bio and new books about to be released! Check out her author’s page to follow along with her bio, books, and interview. Oh, and of course, her giveaway! The authors showcased this week will have extra time added to their contests so more can enter.

Look for another post about the contests, notifications, and prizes on February 1st. My thanks also to the Embassy of Australia and the Embassy of New Zealand (in DC) for their contributions to our prize packages. Their media staff couldn’t have been lovelier. My thanks also to Bottom Drawer Publications and Wayward Ink Publications for their contests and giveaways as well. I’ve loved every bit of this month and hope you all have too!

Now onto our last Australia and New Zealand facts of the day, at least until next year!

Australia Facts of the Day – The Echidna and The Platypus

Some of Australia’s best-known animals are the kangaroo, koala, echidna, dingo, platypus, wallaby and wombat. We’ve shared facts about the dingo (see John Wiltshire’s page). We’ve talked about wombat poop! How about a little about the Platypus and Echidna, the world’s only egg-laying mammals?

The Echidna
Echidna’s lifespan is over 45 years, and grow up to 20″ in length
Their tongue is very long and sticky and is perfect for catching the hundreds of termites and ants that make up their staple diet.echidna2
An echidna can lift objects twice its weight, drink water and can swim.
Like the male Platypus, the male echidna has spurs, but has no venom glands attached to them
Echidna is slightly less intelligent than a cat
Mating takes place Belly-to-belly, which avoids the male spiking himself on the female’s spines-Echidna sex fact!
The echidna is best known not only as a mascot of Sydney Olympic Games 2000, but also for its amazing biology. Like the platypus, this unusual mammal lays eggs and suckles its young. The echidna and platypus are the only members of a primitive group of mammals known as monotremes.echidna5

Echidnas are widely distributed throughout Australia and Tasmania. Although not commonly seen, they are not considered threatened. They live in a wide variety of habitats, from cold mountainous peaks to deserts.

They usually found in places with a good supply of ants and termites, where it lies on an ant-mound, sticks out its tongue and lets ants walk onto it. Echidnas have no teeth. It crushes its insect food between horny plates on its tongue and the roof of its mouth.

The Platypus!

The platypus is among nature’s most unlikely animals. In fact, the first scientists to examine a specimen believed they were the victims of a hoax. The animal is best described as a hodgepodge of more familiar species: the duck (bill and webbed feet), beaver (tail), and otter (body and fur). Males are also venomous. They have sharp stingers on the heels of their rear feet and can use them to deliver a strong toxic blow to any foe.platypus_662_600x450

Platypuses hunt underwater, where they swim gracefully by paddling with their front webbed feet and steering with their hind feet and beaverlike tail. Folds of skin cover their eyes and ears to prevent water from entering, and the nostrils close with a watertight seal. In this posture, a platypus can remain submerged for a minute or two and employ its sensitive bill to find food.

These Australian mammals are bottom feeders. They scoop up insects and larvae, shellfish, and worms in their bill along with bits of gravel and mud from the bottom. All this material is stored in cheek pouches and, at the surface, mashed for consumption. Platypuses do not have teeth, so the bits of gravel help them to “chew” their meal.

map-platypus-160-20148-cb1273171934On land, platypuses move a bit more awkwardly. However, the webbing on their feet retracts to expose individual nails and allow the creatures to run. Platypuses use their nails and feet to construct dirt burrows at the water’s edge.

Platypus reproduction is nearly unique. It is one of only two mammals (the echidna is the other) that lay eggs.

Females seal themselves inside one of the burrow’s chambers to lay their eggs. A mother typically produces one or two eggs and keeps them warm by holding them between her body and her tail. The eggs hatch in about ten days, but platypus infants are the size of lima beans and totally helpless. Females nurse their young for three to four months until the babies can swim on their own.

New Zealand Fact and Unique Animal of the Day – The Tuatara!

 

The tuatara may look like a rather ordinary reptile, but it’s a highly unusual creature. This New Zealand native has a unique, ancient lineage that goes back to the time of the dinosaurs.Tuatara-4-660x495

There are two living species of tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus and the much rarerSphenodon guntheri, or Brothers Island tuatara, which is found only on North Brother Island in Cook Strait.

Mature tuataras usually measure between 12 and 30 inches long and weigh between 0.5 and two and a half pounds. Their skin is greenish gray and is sometimes speckled. Tuataras make their homes in coastal forest and low scrub, preferring areas with crumbly soil in which they can burrow.

1. The tuatara may look like a lizard, but it’s unique. The tuatara is not a lizard; it is the only living member of the order Rhynchocephalia, which flourished around 200 million years ago. All other members of the order became extinct 60 million years ago, in the late Cretaceous period.

2. The name “tuatara” comes from the Maori for “peaks on the back.” Tuataras have spiny crests along their backs made from soft, triangular folds of skin. These spines are more prominent in males, who can raise them during territorial or courtship displays.

3. They are surprisingly long-lived. Tuataras mature slowly and don’t stop growing until they reach about 30 years old. It is thought they can live up to 100 years in the wild. Part of the reason for their longevity may be their slow metabolism. Tuataras can tolerate much lower temperatures than most reptiles and they hibernate during the winter. The body temperature of tuataras can range from 41-52 °F over the course of a day, whereas most reptiles have body temperatures around 68 °F. This low body temperature results in a slower metabolism.

4. They have a third eye. The tuatara has a third eye on the top of its head called the parietal eye. This eye has a retina, lens, cornea, and nerve endings, but it is not used for vision. The parietal eye is only visible in hatchlings, as it becomes covered in scales and pigments after four to six months. Its function is a subject of ongoing research, but it is believed to be useful in absorbing ultraviolet rays and in setting circadian and seasonal cycles.

5. They can regrow lost tails. The tuatara can break off its tail when caught by a predator and regenerate it later.

6. They have unusual teeth that can’t be replaced. Tuataras have a single row of teeth on the lower jaw and a double row of teeth on the upper jaw, with the bottom row fitting between the two upper rows when the mouth is closed. It’s a tooth arrangement not seen in any other reptile. And unlike all other living toothed reptiles, the tuatara’s teeth are not separate structures but sharp projections of the jaw bone. This means that worn down or broken teeth cannot be replaced. Older tuataras with worn-down teeth have to switch from eating hard insects to softer prey such as earthworms, larvae, and slugs.

7. Tuataras reproduce slowly. They take 10-20 years to reach sexual maturity. Males can mate every year, but females breed every two to five years. It takes the female between one and three years to provide eggs with yolk, and up to seven months to form the shell. Then it takes an additional 12 to 15 months from copulation to hatching, possibly the longest incubation rate of any reptile.

A male tuatara named Henry, living at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery, became a first-time father at the age of 111. He fathered 11 babies with a female named Mildred, believed to be in her seventies.

8. They’re diurnal when young, nocturnal as adults. Hatchling tuataras are believed to be active during the day to avoid the cannibalistic adult tuataras that come at out night.

9. They cohabitate with birds. Tuataras can dig their own burrows, but also use the burrows of seabirds for shelter when available. The seabirds’ guano provides an attractive environment for the invertebrates that tuataras prey upon, such as beetles, crickets, and spiders. Tuataras will also sometimes eat the eggs and young of the seabirds.

10. Tuataras’ worst enemies are rats. Tuataras once inhabited the New Zealand mainland as well as offshore islands. But when the first humans arrived from Polynesia, they brought rats and other animals that devoured tuatara eggs and hatchlings. The situation was so dire that the New Zealand government fully protected tuataras in 1895. Despite the protection, tuataras were extinct on the mainland and confined to around 30 offshore islands until the first mainland release of tuataras into a sanctuary in 2005. Three years later, a tuatara nest was uncovered, thought to be the first case of a tuatara successfully breeding on the New Zealand mainland in over 200 years. Along with captive breeding and release programs, attempts to eradicate rats from offshore islands have also met with success and allowed tuatara populations to rebound.

 

Now onto R. J. Jones and the rest of our Down Under Author Showcase!  G’day!