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White Mesa Chronicles Book 1:

Fledgling militia officer Tommy Thaxton is used to scavenge missions in the ruined city. He’s not used to being in charge of his team of young men…but he can handle it. They all can handle it. It’s just a simple scavenge mission.

Until things go horribly wrong, and Tommy’s team finds themselves facing a full-scale gang attack – something their superiors never anticipated.

Now, getting home on schedule is the least of Tommy’s worries. Getting the entire team home alive is much more important.


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20 Steps to a DIY Thread Rack

Ready to make your very own DIY thread spool rack? Yay! This is totally just like one of those peg-board racks you’d buy in the store, except made by you and a lot different.

You will need:

a zillion spools of thread (left over from your hoarder grandma);

skinny dowel rods (1/18-inch to 3/18-inch work best–they need to fit through the spools);

boards;

nail and hammer;

hooks (I used “brass plated cup hooks”. They have a curving head so they don’t accidentally drop anything);

fabric;

staple gun and staples;

patience

READ ALL DIRECTIONS BEFORE BEGINNING Continue reading

Top Ten Mysteries

I’m a huge fan of mysteries. “Top Ten Tuesday” is a list-making meme currently hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and the theme for this week is a FREEBIE. Since I’ve noticed a troubling lack of mystery-related lists for Top Ten Tuesday, I offer up my list of the top ten…specifically, the mysteries which most took me by surprise or had the most satisfying twists!Top Ten Mysteries — Kimia Wood

1– Have His Carcase, Dorothy Sayers

Mystery author Harriet Vane is on a walking tour along the coast of England when she discovers a body with its throat cut. Along with her suitor and friend, noble sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, she sets out tracking down suspects, busting alibis, and cracking conspiracies.

The twist is truly original, beautifully foreshadowed, and is surprising yet inevitable – and thus very satisfying.

All in all, an excellent mystery story, with a smattering of romance mixed in.

2– Gemini Rue (2011)

Top Ten Mysteries — Kimia WoodThe hook for this sci-fi puzzle game is a former assassin hunting for his long-lost brother. But there’s way more in this story about organized crime, friendship, and whether we can really trust our memories.

Read my full review to see how the twist totally floored me and made me a fan for life!

3– The Bourne Identity, Robert Ludlum

Top Ten Mysteries — Kimia WoodA man washes up in the Mediterranean Sea, riddled with bullets and more dead than alive. Several months of care on a tiny fishing island restore him to health, but not to himself – he can’t remember who he is.

Once he steps off the island, a world of danger and secrets rears up, threatening to swallow him unless his “gut-instincts” from who he was can keep him alive long enough to figure it out.

This amnesia mystery is not for everyone, but if you’ve got a strong stomach and conscience, it’s a fascinating onion of conspiracies and secrets!

4– The Maltese Falcon (1941)

This classic noir detective film stars the iconic Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade – smooth-talking, quick-thinking, razor-sharp intelligent, and sly as a fox. When his partner is murdered, Sam sets out untangling a conspiracy of greed and murder, accompanied by a beautiful and mysterious woman wound in a cocoon of lies.

It’s not just a cultural icon — it’s also a terrific mystery story.

5– Clouds of Witness, Dorothy Sayers

Lord Peter Wimsey’s brother-in-law to be is murdered in the dead of night. Lord Peter’s brother is arrested for the crime, and to clear him Wimsey must delve deep into his sibling’s darkest secrets.

Full of intelligence and British wit, this is a fantastically tangled tale that resolves with a dramatic twist that stuns the entire House of Lords!

6– The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

This is a suspenseful and intriguing mystery, with a satisfying ending. There are a lot of characters, but they’re colorful and individual enough to be easily distinguished from each other.

7– “Now You See Him…” (Columbo Season 5)

Top Ten Mysteries — Kimia Wood

Image credit: marketwatch.com

The main question of Columbo is not who committed the murder, but how our shabby, trenchcoat-wearing, cigar-chomping protagonist assembles the evidence to finally nail the culprit.

In this episode, Lt. Columbo faces down a magician. While the ending might be a little “goofy”, it’s adorable, satisfying, and totally condemning (of the bad guy, that is).

8– Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie

Fourteen passengers on a train. One is brutally murdered in the night. It has to be one of them…but who? The Russian princess? The Swedish maid? The American secretary?

Only Hercule Poirot could solve such a case. And trust me, it’s worth it to read the original classic!

9– “Candidate for Crime” (Columbo Season 3)

This episode is one of my all time favorites. As the ending stretches on, Columbo seems to be doing nothing, while the murderer trundles along doing exactly what he wants. Then, in the last five minutes of the show – BLAM! Columbo unleashes his smarts, and the perp can do nothing but hang his head in defeat.

10– Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (2010)

Another video game – but one well worth your time! Sissel awakes in a junkyard to discover that he’s dead…but not just dead, dead with powers. He remembers nothing about his life, and must use his abilities to unravel the mystery of his own murder before dawn!

Full of easy physics puzzles, bright humor, and unforgettable characters, if you venture into Ghost Trick you will make friends for life (and also explore a neat amnesia mystery)!

Honorable Mention– The Tuesday Club Murders, Agatha Christie

This book is good the way pizza and popcorn are good. Perhaps they don’t have many vitamins, but they’re great to chow down on once in a while.

The short stories in this volume each feature a little mystery, and can be finished in about one sitting each. If you like brain puzzles, clever clue-laying, and brilliant old ladies, you’ll suck this down like a peanut-butter chocolate shake – just as I did!

What are some of your favorite mysteries? What story twists have made you go, “Uhg! I should have seen that coming. This is awesome!”

(Did you see what I did? I went through a whole TTT post without mentioning the Master Chief!)


Top Ten Mysteries — Kimia WoodKimia Wood grew up under an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives with her family somewhere in the American midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Join the mailing list for a FREE copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier!

“A Sidekick’s Tale” by Elisabeth Grace Foley

"A Sidekick's Tale" by Elisabeth Grace Foley — Kimia Wood — sidekick I wasn’t sure how to describe this book without spoiling it. So, I decided I could do worse than the author’s own book description:

Meredith Fayett needed to marry someone before the week was out or she would lose her ranch. It sounded simple, so ranch hand Chance Stevens agreed to take on the job, in spite of his friend Marty’s warnings that it could only lead to trouble. But even Marty, a loyal though opinionated sidekick, couldn’t have predicted the mayhem that ensues when his own eccentric relatives appear on the scene, dragging Chance, Marty, and Meredith into the latest skirmish in a long-running family feud. What follows is a hilarious tangle involving an emerald ring, a fearsome aunt, a scheming suitor, and a team of runaway mules—by the end of which Chance finds that even a marriage just on paper has its complications, and that it never hurts to have a good sidekick.

This story is made by the narrator. Humorous and deft with an apt turn of phrase, the first-person recitation makes this short story a breeze and a delight to go through.

Part of the fun is not knowing what could come next. In this regard, the Amazon description almost gives too much away. But as the narrator himself says, “It’s the little things.”

It’s the little social commentary on his family that Marty gives us while tied to a tree…or the grave advice he dishes out to everyone who doesn’t want it…it’s his descriptions of the fat, bald Justice of the Peace careening down a hill on horseback…it’s Marty’s voice that makes this book.

After all, as Marty observes, the story of a pretty young girl about to lose her ranch is as old as the hills. It’s the “sidekick” – and his rendition of events – that complicates this “marriage of convenience” story. And makes it more memorable in the process.

If you like laughing – if you like smart sidekicks, crazy families, and marriage arrangement complications…then this might be the perfect way to spend an afternoon or two.


DISCLAIMER: I received a free e-copy of this book by participating in the Indie Christian Authors Black Friday Sale. I was not required to write of review of any kind.

A Sidekick’s Tale can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or the Book Depository (free worldwide shipping).

Find out more about the author on her Amazon and Smashwords pages.

“Kate’s Innocence” by Sarah Holman

"Kate's Innocence" by Sarah Holman — Kimia Wood — innocence Can Kate prove she didn’t bomb her college campus? Can FBI agent Patrick trust God to reveal the truth as he tries to clear Kate?

For this indie Christian book, I’m going to front-load all my complaints, and then focus on what I liked.

That way, it’s like struggling to remove the sticky wax-paper wrapper on a chocolate toffee, then getting to eat the toffee! (I’m sure lots of people compare my reviews to chocolate toffee…) Continue reading

Easter Sunday Song

To the tune of “Doe of the Morning” (as far as you know)

Half the praise team is singing off key.
The director’s trying to pick up the time.
These dumb modern songs that just grab a hymn
And stretch out the chorus with weak-sauce rhymes.

It’s covered by the blood;
It’s covered by the blood.
Compared to what He’s done
The race’s all been run.
It’s covered by the blood of Je-sus!

That “Jesus” can’t be out of his teens.
Y’know, he ain’t shaved in over a week –
And they still had to make up his hair and his face
S
o he looked over thirty, the poor little tyke.

It’s covered by the blood;
It’s covered by the blood.
Compared to what He’s done,
The race’s done been run.
It’s covered by the blood of Je-sus!

I just gotta tell you, my hat is the best.
Admire my dress while I stand here and boast.
Say, here comes that snooty Mz. Emily West.
Oh, look at her hat! I hate it the most!

It’s covered by the blood;
Covered by the blood.
Compared to what He’s done,
The race’s all been run.
It’s covered by the blood of Je-sus.

Mom won’t take me to Calvary’s egg hunt,
And Grandma’s burned the Easter Sale ham.
(What’s worse, this piggie was clearly a runt.)
Now Grandpa’s singing that “Just As I Am”.

It’s covered by the blood;
Oh, covered by the blood.
Compared to what He’s done,
The race has done been run.
It’s covered by the blood of Jesus.

“The dumb-ness of God is smarter than men;
“The weakness of God is stronger than men.”
That’s why I bury His Word in my brain;
He’s forging me stronger – again and again.

I’m covered in the blood;
I’m covered by the blood.
Compared to what He’s done,
My race is fully run —
I’m covered in the blood of Jesus.

The First Day of the Week

Before dawn on Sunday those women went to the burial chamber. They took with them the spices that they had prepared to put on the body of Jesus.

When they arrived, they discovered that somebody had rolled the stone away from the entrance to the burial chamber. They went into the burial chamber, but the body of the Lord Jesus was not there! They did not know what to think about that.

Then suddenly two men stood by them wearing bright, shining clothes! The women were frightened. As they bowed down low to the ground, the two men said to them, “You should not be looking for someone who is alive in a place where they bury dead people! He is not here; he has been made alive again! Remember that while he was still with you in Galilee, he said to you, ‘They will have to hand me, the Son of Man, over to sinful men. They will kill me by nailing me to a cross. But on the third day after that, I will become alive again.'” Continue reading

“Good” Friday

"Good" Friday — Kimia Wood

1) Take old barnwood boards. 2) Nail together. 3) Hang with string. 4) Drape with sheet or fabric.

Now a large crowd was following Jesus. It had many women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. Jesus turned to them and said, “You women of Jerusalem, do not weep for me! Instead, weep because of what is going to happen to yourselves and your children! For I want you to know that there will soon be a time when people will say, ‘How fortunate are the women who have never given birth to children or nursed babies!’ Then the people in this city will say, ‘We wish that the mountains would fall on top of us and that the hills would cover us up!’ If I have to die, even though I have nothing wrong, terrible things will certainly happen to people who deserve to die.” Continue reading

3 Things Owning a Dog Taught Us

Two years ago, my family got its first dog. 3 Things Owning a Dog Taught UsHe’s a mild-mannered Border Collie with beautiful coloring and a low-maintenance coat – but that just tells you about his outside.

In the course of training him, we didn’t just learn about the way dogs think. We learned several things about human nature, as well.

I Can’t Read Alpha’s Mind

Border Collies are very smart. Too smart, in fact. Because they’re also lazy (like humans) they will try to guess, and “work smarter, not harder”.

When the military tried to train them as tracking dogs, they found that the Border Collies wouldn’t follow the scent. Not because their noses weren’t strong enough. But because they would try to take short-cuts, and guess.

Instead of following the clear scent trail, they would try to “skip ahead” and cut the quarry off – and 50% of the time they’d guess wrong. Continue reading

“The Racketeer” by John Grisham

"The Racketeer" by John Grisham — Kimia Wood — Grisham In the first few chapters, Malcolm Bannister plays his sympathy cards by explaining his situation as a guest of the federal government. In year five of ten for being unknowingly involved in a big-time racketeer’s money laundering, Malcolm has lost his wife and son to divorce and has a rocky relationship with his hard-nosed, lawful dad.

By the end of the book, I thought he deserved everything the FBI could stick on him, and finished reading partly to find out whether he was thrown in an oubliette.

Guess I’m not John Grisham’s target audience. [SPOILER ALERT] Continue reading

“Out of Their Faces and Into Their Shoes” by John Kramp

How to Understand Spiritually Lost People and Give Them Directions to God

"Out of Their Faces and Into Their Shoes" by John Kramp — Kimia Wood — lost The past year or two have been a period of growth for me. Specifically, God has been prodding me to be more gospel-oriented. While I’ve heard passages such as the “great commission” all my life, it wasn’t until a year-and-a-half ago I realized it could be directed at me. And then, every time I opened the Bible, there it was, staring me in the face: “Share Jesus. Talk about Jesus. Go to those who don’t know Him yet and let them know!”

The trick, as in so much of life, is balance. Out of Their Faces and Into Their Shoes is all about knocking off the pushy, plastic, tract-dependent type of evangelism and changing our thinking to looking at people as “lost”.

The author calls his new mindset “lostology” (the study of lost-ness and seeking the lost), and uses examples from his own life and the Bible to help us get away from the seminary courses and toward actually reaching out to people around us. Continue reading