…And It’s Friday!


Did I mention it was Friday?

And one more thing:  Happy Oneth of December.




Visit my online store at https://cotner-artworks.com/

“Pharaoh Cat #1” Women’s Relaxed T-Shirt

A Simple Life

As we head into the traditional (at least around my neck of the woods) month of Winter Holiday gift-giving, I want a simple life–free to use my imagination and creativity without the hustle and bustle of early rising to write, edit, create artwork, run my online business, keep up with my blog and social media posts, and attempt to otherwise stay sane. So, my “Wishful Christmas Card to Santa” will read something like this:



Please visit my online shop for some great, unique gifts.

“Writing Keeps Me Sane” Mug

“Ill Wind” by Nevada Barr

Nevada Barr is best known for her mystery novels featuring the character Anna Pigeon, a National Park Service ranger. “Ill Wind” is the third book in the Anna Pigeon series.

“It is whispered that the Old Ones still haunt Mesa Verde—the restless spirits of the Anasazi, who carved their homes in the mountain’s face eight centuries ago…and then disappeared from the Earth.”

“Newly assigned national parks ranger Anna Pigeon seeks solace from her own personal demons in the ancient cave dwellings of a vanished Native American civilization. But an inexplicable illness affecting visitors to the popular Colorado landmark has dragged her from her reverie—as have two mysterious tragedies: the death of a child…and the murder of a friend. And now she must find the very human source of the evil wind that is blowing through the ruins. For it threatens more innocent lives. Mother Nature…and Anna herself.”

“Ill Wind” is set in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. In this novel, Anna Pigeon is on a temporary assignment as a district ranger at Mesa Verde. The story revolves around a series of mysterious deaths and accidents that occur in the park, and Anna becomes embroiled in trying to solve these crimes. As she investigates, she uncovers a complex web of secrets and danger in this remote and beautiful national park.

Nevada Barr’s novels are known for their vivid descriptions of national parks, their natural beauty, and the challenges of law enforcement and investigation within these settings. “Ill Wind” is no exception and offers readers an interesting mystery set against the backdrop of a stunning natural landscape.

This is the second book by Barr that I’ve read, the first being “Track of the Cat” and my review of that work can be found here.



Visit my store and browse at Cotner-Artworks.

Looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind gift? Check out my Christmas mugs

“Merry Christmas” Mug with Color Inside

Thank you!

“Do The Dead Call?”

Do the dead call?

If they did, could we hear?

Would the voice be from afar?

Or would it seem quite near?

Would we listen with our minds?

Or would we run in fear?

Would we open to the chance?

Or would we jump and swoon?

Would we think it summer breeze?

Or howling at the Moon?

Do the dead call?

You tell me.

I wonder if you know.

Do they call on summer days?

Or whisper in the snow?

You tell me.

I’d really like to know.


I was honored to have this poem selected for inclusion during NPR’s National Poetry Month.

The poem opens Chapter 31 in the 5th Century Celtic novel, “Mystery Of The Death Hearth”, as the intrepid protagonist–a young Celt magistrate–must work with those whose ways are alien to his Elder Faith beliefs. Along the way, he must find an elusive young Celt girl and her missing grandfather, unravel the mystery of an Elder’s runevision, and avoid death at the hands of an assassin as he faces the greatest challenge of his life.




Please follow the link below and visit my online store for unique gifts like the “Three Skulls” mouse pad original artwork by J. R. Cotner


“Shattered Mirror” by Iris Johansen

“Shattered Mirror” is a thriller and part of the Eve Duncan series. It follows the adventures of forensic sculptor Eve Duncan who finds herself at the center of a dangerous mystery.

The story revolves around Eve’s quest to uncover the truth about her daughter, Bonnie, who was brutally murdered years ago. Despite her grief, Eve has dedicated her life to using her forensic skills to help solve cold cases and bring closure to families. However, when a man named Jim Doane comes to her claiming to have information about Bonnie’s killer, Eve is plunged into a web of deception, danger, and long-hidden secrets.

As Eve delves deeper into the investigation, she realizes that not everything is as it seems, and the people she thought she could trust may have hidden agendas. With the help of her friends and allies, including her lover Joe Quinn and her adopted daughter Jane, Eve must navigate a treacherous path to uncover the truth about Bonnie’s murder and confront the dark forces that threaten her family.

I personally do not enjoy novels that are rife with running, page-heavy dialogue and the occasional indefinite pronouns that confuse and slow down my reading. Again, that’s just a personal thing. And, honestly, this book did nothing to make me want to explore other works by this author.

On the positive side, if you enjoy suspenseful mysteries with strong, determined female protagonists, and don’t mind plentiful back and forth dialogue, you may find “Shattered Mirror” an interesting, worthwhile read.



Visit my online store for some great gifts! Looking for something with a feel good Winter vibe?

“Snowy Winter Cabin” Mug with Color Inside



“Something Wicked This Way Comes”

October and Autumn in general mark my favorite time of year and always make me think of one of my very first favorite authors, Ray Bradbury. I first discovered his writings in Junior High School in the 1960’s and have been a fan ever since.

Ray Douglas Bradbury was born on August 22nd, 1920, and died June 5th, 2012, at the age of 91. In between those dates he did, in my opinion, pen some wonderful writing including such memorable works as “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Martian Chronicles,” “Dandelion Wine,” and the “Illustrated Man.” The one I most remember this time of year is “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” a title inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the witches with their utterance “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”

In this haunting tale, two 13-year-old friends, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway, are drawn into a chilling adventure when a sinister carnival rolls into their hometown of Green Town, Illinois, on October 24th. Encountering the eerie characters of the carnival, the boys grapple with their fears. The carnival is led by the enigmatic Mr. Dark, who appears to have the ability to fulfill the hidden wishes of the townspeople. However, in truth, he and the carnival thrive on absorbing the vitality of their captives. As darkness looms, Charles Halloway–the local library’s janitor and Will’s father–emerges as a beacon of hope. Charles confronts his own deep-rooted fears of aging, feeling out of step as an older father to young Will. The novel combines elements of fantasy and horror, examining the conflicting natures of good and evil that exist within all individuals.



Don’t forget to stop by my online store 


Writing Isn’t All I Do

Besides my Celtic murder mystery, poetry, and my book of short stories, I’ve managed over the last 40+ years to stay busy creating art. Actually, I’ve been doing some sort of art since I was old enough to hold a crayon but that’s too many years ago now for me to even think about.

It’s been a time-consuming challenge, but I’ve finally opened my online storefront to showcase selected pieces of my artwork on various items including mugs, notebooks, drinkware, clothing, and notebooks, just to name a few. And, since we are nearing the Autumn holidays of Halloween, Day of the Dead, and Día de los Muertos, I would be remiss not to mention many of my motifs concerning these holidays are available for purchase. Come by and take a look.