My Writing Journey's Early Beginnings #IWSG

January 8, 2020

Today over at the Insecure Writer's Support Group, we are asked what started us on our writing journey. To be honest, I can't be entirely sure what exactly started me. I remember being very young and typing out stories on an old computer we had once (that was all you could do on it).

One of my favorite stories my mom will tell me is how before I knew how to read, one day I was reading a book and she came up to me asked if I wanted her to read to me. Well, I gave her a look and said, "I'll read a page and you read a page." I made up what the story said based on the picture and when she read with me that day, she just went along based on the story I was telling. I feel like that's when I really started to want to tell stories before I even knew what I was doing.

I remember when I was about 10 I loved writing fantasy and things like that. By the time I was 15, I was kneedeep in my own fantasy world and working towards finishing a novel of my own. I did, but I was in my early 20s.

Now, I work on short stories that I continue to submit out into the world. So, I can't pinpoint the very starting moment that I wanted to write, but it's always been a part of me. I love being creative, inventive, and using my imagination. I'm glad that it hasn't left me.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? 
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Read If You've Ever Subscribed to My Blog Posts Via Email

December 30, 2019
Hey folks!

How did 2019 go by so fast? I'm interrupting our usual blog posts to let you know that I've switched to sending out blog posts via FeedBurner. I had some issues with how MailChimp worked with blogger blogs and other things and so I've decided to go old school and use FeedBurner.

So if you've ever read my blog via email before, I would love it if you subscribed via FeedBurner.

Sign up here! 

I hope to bring some good things in the New Year. Things have slowed down for me a little, but I would love to bring this blog back in some way.

Hope you are well and had a wonderful holiday!
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Interview with Holly Bell, Author of the Amanda Cadabra Series

December 11, 2019
I'm so excited to interview author Holly Bell about her Amanda Cadabra series. Be sure to check out her entertaining Saturday night post and then come on back! 

First, here's a little bit about her book Amanda Cadabra and the Hidey-Hole Truth.

Asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch Amanda Cadabra is a survivor. After all, her family’s bus went over a Cornish cliff. Now the presentable but irritating Inspector Trelawney is dogging her footsteps as he investigates the unexplained deaths. But that’s the least of her problems. Amanda has just got a furniture restoration job at the old English Manor of Sunken Madley with its murky past.

Armed only with a wand and Tempest, her grumpy reincarnated cat, she’s going in. A body, ghosts, hidden tunnels, chills and unexplained lights; can Amanda solve the mystery in time and save the village from the scandal of murder?

This book is set in England, so the language reflects how we spell and speak here (however strange!). This may be a little different from what you’re used to, especially in the US, but never fear, there’s a glossary at the back of the book if you need help.

Doesn't that sound like a fun, exciting read? Make sure you check it out on Amazon.com or add it to your GoodReads list.

Me: First, what inspired you to write this series Amanda Cadabra?

Holly: One day I had a phone call from my author pal Tim, TJ Brown. Had I heard of this new genre called ‘cosy (cozy in the US) mystery’ and its paranormal off-shoot? he asked. No, It was new to me. He told me it was right up my street, there was no competition because the readers love the genre so much that no one writer can write fast enough for them. I’d written reams of non-fiction including three books, even a bad sci-fi novel as a teenager, but for years I’d insisted, ‘I can’t write fiction’. Yet, within minutes, Tim had convinced me. And that is the day it began.

Me: What an unbelievable start! What type of research did you do for this book? Did anything surprise you?


Holly: I began by researching the ingredients of the genre. Then I had to find a location. It had to be a village, I knew that but … I’ve never lived in one, city-girl, born and bred. So if I was going to ‘write what you know’ it had to be a hamlet on the outskirts of the metropolis. I looked at the map, found a candidate and went to see it. This was the greatest surprise of all my research. I drove around the bend that leads to it and there it was. As though it was saying, ‘Behold! Your village.’ And in a sense, it has become mine, and I have become the villagers’ author. Because you see, the next surprise was how warmly I have been welcomed by them.

Me: That sounds like a dream come true actually. I can see based on the reviews that you took so much time in building this world for your characters - and your readers. How did you do that?
Holly: As I say, it began with the location. I wanted this world to be as rooted in reality, such as it is broadly thought of, as possible. Then I drew on the characters of people that I have known in real life or through fiction. And here is the remarkable thing, which Tim told me this would happen; once you create your characters and place them in a location, they decide what they would and wouldn’t do or say. You could say they operate within their given parameters. As for the magical side of things, my friend, who acts as my creating sounding board, took a course in paranormal studies with a well-known professor of the subject. She has been able to steer me away from what would be less credible and keep me on the course of observed phenomena. Then again, I think anyone who is reading paranormal cozy has a belief, or a wish to believe, in magic of some kind. And I believe that magic of some kind happens every day, don’t you?

Me: Absolutely! I am obsessed with cozy mysteries. What about that genre draws you?

Holly: I talked about being rooted in reality, and yet the very genre itself is born of a fantasy England eternally 1932, sunshine on the cricketers on the green and murder in the library with the candlestick, discovered by the maid. It’s there in Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, the Lord Peter Wimsey stories; it’s in PG Wodehouse, the Ealing Comedies and other British films of the 1930s to the 1950s. I could give you a list. This fantasy has an innate charm, and components of it do exist but perhaps not all in the same place. However, in a cozy mystery, they can be brought into one place. And this leads to the most important thing about the genre for me: it makes people feel better. If only for while they read it. It conjures a world of the best of the best of people for all their foibles, in the best of places, rising to the occasion of crisis, which is the murder, the mystery. I feel better for the writing of each book. If a reader feels more hopeful, happier, entertained than before they read a book that I wrote, then I have achieved the ultimate goal. That is the appeal of this genre.

Me: We just finished National Novel Writing Month! Have you ever tried? If so, how was it for you? If not, how come?

Holly: No. My books come organically, they flow out when they’re ready and at their own speed. That is how I do my best work, which is what my readers deserve. Usually, I write the first draft in about 3 weeks and then editing begins, so if the process happened in a November, yes then I could do it. It’s like a cat: the gestation period for a kitten is about 100 days. My books are my kittens, and they come in their own time!

Me: So, I can’t help but notice you are an Agatha Christie fan! What about this author inspires you?

Holly: To me, she is the godmother of the cosy (yes with an’s’ as we spell it here in the UK) mystery. I believe she has been largely responsible for the creation of the fantasy England I described earlier. I greatly admire her puzzles, her ability to create suspense, tension, total absorption in the plot all without gore. Almost Hitchcockian. As I read each book, I quickly come to believe in the existence of her characters and care about them. She depicts anger without the need for expletives, romance without reference to anything that could not be read by the youngest reader. Christie is an all-access pass to escapism, drama, humour, tension, relief and the balance of yin and yang, crime and justice. I look up from where I write and the first book that catches my eye is ... The Murder at the Vicarage, Christies’ first Miss Marple!

Me: So, what advice would you have given yourself when you were younger?

Holly: Make all decisions based solely on this: which course will make you feel the happiest?

Me: Any lasting messages for readers (and writers) out there?

Holly: Everyone has a novel in them. We are all born story-tellers, and each person has a unique voice and a unique story. You could be a physicist and have never read a novel in your life, and I could ask you, ‘When was the last time you were late?” You’d answer, and then I’d say, ‘Why were you late?’ And you would tell me. And that would be a story. All right, a true story, but it’s still the stuff of which novels and novelists are made. Write it, speak it into your phone, scribble it, draw it. If you want to write, you can and you will. And when you do, come and say hello. I promise not say, ‘I told you so!’

Thank you so much Holly! Make sure you visit Holly's blog http://amandacadabra.com/blog where you can find out about this incredible series. Also, check the latest Amanda Cadabra book on Amazon.com or add it to your GoodReads list.
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Remember When? by Gila Green

December 9, 2019

“Nice and quiet here,” David says. 

“I can’t wait to see what you’ve brought me,” Yael says.

“I can’t wait to see your reaction.”

“To what?”

“You’ll see. I paid for an extra suitcase. There’s a ton of things from your parents,” he says. “Went by the house. They’re almost done packing.”

His words are like cold water down her back. Her smile disappears. Her parents hadn’t wanted her there when they were selling Erez’s things…

—Excerpt from No Entry, Gila Green

In my novel, No Entry my heroine, Yael Amar, is both haunted by and trying to tear herself away from memory. Though the novel's main focus is Yael's experience with deadly elephant poachers on a safari in South Africa's famous Kruger National Park, a sub-thread in the novel is all about coping with tragic memories. In Yael's case, at fifteen she left her brother behind in a Montreal café, impatient to get to the bus stop minutes before a terrorist attack. Her older brother didn’t survive. Though she lives daily with this tragedy, ironically, there is not a line in the novel she begins with anything close to "Remember when?" She cannot give what she doesn't have, not to her old or new friends in the novel, though she loves them, and not to the reader.

Yael's South African parents did not tell her about the final moments of her brother's life, possibly because they're unsure themselves or perhaps, to protect their young daughter from additional pain. She wasn't actually in the café itself; she was too busy seeking out her bus home, no longer looking in her only sibling's direction.

There's no one else available to clue her in unless you count her therapist, who is trying to get her to process her memory, not expand it. Yet, throughout No Entry, her brother shadows her, she dialogues, prays, questions, all to her brother who is long gone. She remains faithful to his memory, particularly of how she thinks he would want her to act and react.

The Battle for Memory

It is precisely what she believes her brother would want of her that propels her forward, a new layer on top of her old memories. When she admits defeat at the hands of the criminals in the novel and has all but walked away from a crime she knows deserves the full weight of the punishment the law can dish out, it is to this layer on top of her memory that she clings. Instead of weighing her down in grief, it yanks her up out of her hopelessness and toward actualizing her strengths and finally, success.

Family Factors

At seventeen Yael is not yet old enough to articulate how she feels about the dark space that is her family' past, but it is no more than a few pages into the story that the reader discovers how unanchored she really is, truly lost at sea. The emptiness inside of her is not because she lacks a happy childhood to carry her forward, but because she can now be triggered without context and experience the painful emotions of her loss all over again.

When siblings share their own memories of growing up with each other, they strengthen the connection between them because they share a database of events. Yael still has her parents and that familial collective database to draw on, but a massive chunk of it is now irretrievable. She must steer forward without it and building this resilient layer on top (what would Ezra want me to do now?) is one way for Yael to do this.

This is only one way in which I use memory in No Entry.

Memory and Tragedy

Memory is also greatly affected by trauma and when Yael's world collapses in No Entry, she's plagued by her inability to react the way she wants to. When a friend is badly injured, she does not immediately move him to safety, instead she allows her fear to engulf her, putting them both at risk. Then her initial attempts at gathering evidence against the criminals fall to pieces. The result is her own confusion about her role. Why isn't she effective in the face of new tragedy? Is it now her destiny? Will she forever race ahead to the bus stop and leave whatever's behind to explode?

This thought is so disturbing, she cannot bring herself to share it, not even with, strong, stable, David, the boyfriend she adores. All she can do is ask him to accompany her, out of his comfort zone to Africa, and stand by her side while she attempts to integrate the horrible. This plan backfires. When things begin to unravel in a truly bloody way, she shields David from her new reality, and lacking trust, she lies to him.

Real Life in Fiction
While Yael ruminates on next steps, the lines between true friends and enemies blur; her emotional memory is on overdrive, thus, fiction mirrors real life. When our emotional memories are authentic, the details don't matter. We know what we feel and those are the scars we will have to contend with, and in doing so we might push the wrong people out of our lives.

This is a harsh lesson but one Yael needs to learn in her path towards maturation. How she will deal with tragedy going forward is what matters.

Collusion Ahead

Just as memories are not fixed in real life, they are not fixed for my heroine. It is left up to the reader to decide how Yael will confront the people she loves the most when tragedy strikes again, as it inevitably will. Will she be open and honest with David next time, put her faith in her best friend Nadine? Or will she justify her deceit again to her boyfriend and cast doubt on Nadine?

The question for the reader is if it is believable that Yael has grown enough to stand her ground and resist the temptation to toss everyone in her life in the same basket when the going gets rough. Or can Yael turns things around? Can the reader imagine a higher resolution Yael Amar by the end of the novel? A heroine who fingerprints a firm protective layer over her brother's memory, so that she can preserve what's lifegiving about the familial database she does have and avoid turning it into an excuse to deceive and abandon the people she loves the most. I invite you to read my sequel No Fly Zone when it's released to find out. Meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts.

About No Entry:



Broken-hearted after losing her only brother in a terrorist attack, 17-year-old Yael Amar seeks solace on an elephant conservation program in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. She is soon catapulted into a world harmonious with nature where she can heal and devote herself to the wildlife that is so important for the continued existence of all mankind. She is dazzled by her new best friend, reunites with her devoted boyfriend, and is fascinated by a local ranger who peels back another layer of meaning in her surroundings with each lesson. Then, on a drive through the safari, she sees something shocking. Soon her heaven on earth is seething with blood and betrayal and she is warned that she is no match for the evil that lurks in the men’s hearts around her. Now she has a secret she must keep from the people she loves the most if she is to stand against the murderous forces that threaten Kruger, her new friends, and her own life. But will taking a stand do more harm than good?

About the Author, Gila Green



Canadian Gila Green is an Israel-based author. Her novels include: No Entry, White Zion, Passport Control, and King of the Class and she's published dozens of short stories. She writes about racism, war, alienation, immigration, and survival. She has a fascination with the 1930s and 40s in the Middle East, and most recently has turned her attention to African elephant poaching. She does most of her work in a converted bomb shelter overlooking the Judean Hills. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit: www.gilagreenwrites.com

Make sure you follow author Gila Green on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.com. Make sure you purchase a copy of No Entry on Amazon.com or add it to your GoodReads list.
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A Note to My Future Writing Self #IWSG

December 4, 2019

I've decided to join the Insecure Writer's Support Group and today is my first post with the group. Today's prompt asks you to describe your future writing self and your future life as if you were already "living the dream." Funny thing is today is my birthday and every year I write a letter to myself for the next year. So, I guess this is a letter to myself whenever that whole "living the dream" thing happens.

I'm imagining by now I have a couple of books published that are bringing in enough income for me to live off of - or at least very close. I can't say what my future life will be like, though, in terms of who is around me or where I live. I don't tend to think like that.

I've only been published once - two poems that were featured on a website called "The Voices Project" but once the initial excitement wears off, what remains is this idea of wanting to do it again. The publishing high doesn't last long. Or maybe it lasts as long as the length of the work. Who knows. I'm imagining if somehow I've managed to make a living off of writing that the publishing high has faded quite a bit and writing is now it's more of a habit and lifestyle.

If my ideal scenario is that I am making a living off of writing than I'm imagining that if I could change anything, I want that excitement back of first publishing my work. How does one change that, though? I guess you can always try something new and maybe that's what I'd like to encourage my future self to do. Don't forget to challenge yourself along the way. Write outside that comfort zone.

Oddly that is what I'm encouraging myself to do this next year. I want to write outside of my usual comfort zone. I am hoping to challenge myself to write in at least 2 unfamiliar genres next year. I also want to challenge myself to finish a previous work that I left undone. I have a few in mind that I want to see complete.

What is your ideal writing life? What does it look like? What would you want to change about that idealized version of your writing life? Tell me in the comments.




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The Best Gift for the Book Lover in Your Life

November 26, 2019


This post contains an affiliate link for which I will receive a small compensation if you purchase through my link. This pays for very important things like coffee.

Can you believe the holidays are upon us? As a bookworm, I am very aware that it can often be difficult to purchase a book-related gift for someone that loves books. There's always that chance this person has read the book or already owns it or something like that. So what's the solution?

Book of the Month club.

I am absolutely excited to share with you that the Book of the Month club is the perfect gift idea for the book lover in your life! Or the coolest gift to give yourself if you want a treat.

And now through Thursday, November 28th you can get your first month for only $5! Isn't that amazing? So, what you do is sign up via this link here. You can get a free book for yourself! So give a book, get a book! And any new members can get your first box for only $5 using the code FAM5. These codes are good until the end of the year.

So go now and get that amazing gift for the well-read person in your life! Or for you!

This post contains an affiliate link for which I will receive a small compensation if you purchase through my link.

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Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, and Crumpets with Author Holly Bell

November 16, 2019
It's Saturday everyone! Author Holly Bell will be joining us today and sharing her suggestions on this Saturday night. Before we get into her suggestions, here's a little bit about her book Amanda Cadabra and the Hidey-Hole Truth.

Asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch Amanda Cadabra is a survivor. After all, her family’s bus went over a Cornish cliff. Now the presentable but irritating Inspector Trelawney is dogging her footsteps as he investigates the unexplained deaths. But that’s the least of her problems. Amanda has just got a furniture restoration job at the old English Manor of Sunken Madley with its murky past.

Armed only with a wand and Tempest, her grumpy reincarnated cat, she’s going in. A body, ghosts, hidden tunnels, chills and unexplained lights; can Amanda solve the mystery in time and save the village from the scandal of murder?

This book is set in England, so the language reflects how we spell and speak here (however strange!). This may be a little different from what you’re used to, especially in the US, but never fear, there’s a glossary at the back of the book if you need help.

Doesn't that sound like a fun, exciting read? Make sure you check it out on Amazon.com or add it to your GoodReads list. Now, author Holly Bell will be sharing her suggestions for an amazing Saturday night! Take it away Holly!

As I am a cozy paranormal mystery writer, these are my suggestions for snuggling up with cushions, blanket, and steaming mug of your hot drink of choice, on an autumn weekend night.

The Book

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is generally accepted as the godmother of cozy mysteries. Consequently, I'd recommend the very first book in which her village amateur sleuth, Miss Marple appears: The Murder at the Vicarage. She's a cleverly introduced character, hoving into view apparently in the background, of minor importance, until ….



Christie's first Marple is set in the quintessentially English village of St Mary Mead in 1930s. It has all of the ingredients, and indeed set the tone, of the genre that was not to emerge as a recognised form until the next century. Why has it endured as an international bestseller? Settle in and discover the magic of an entertaining, suprising and charming mystery.

The Film 


Want a break? Or once you've read the final page, smiled, and exhaled with wonderment, you'll be ready for more. So, my recommendation would be to have lined up Murder She Said. This is based on Christie's 4.50 from Paddington, starring the talented character actress Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple. Now, this was not the author's vision of her heroine. However, she was a great admirer of Rutherford's work, and the film, made in 1961, has a charm all of its own. There are three others in the Rutherford-Marple series, and you can watch them all free of charge at The Daily Motion, starting with the one suggested, https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6bycfa or on YouTube.

The Wild Card

What is the ideal accompaniment to the book and film? It surely has to be English crumpets, toasted with a generous spread of butter melting through the holes in the top, deep into the luscious centre. Failing that, Victoria Sandwich (with tea, naturally).

There you have it, the essential cozy mystery Saturday night, a trip back in time with a glorious culinary experience in the present.

Happy reading, watching and … tasting!
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The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later [Book Review]

November 15, 2019
Do you ever read a book at the best possible time? Recently, I had the chance to read The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later by Barbara Barth and it was the one thing I needed to read lately.

Before I get into my review, here's a bit about the book:

Picking up where The Unfaithful Widow ended, Ten Years Later continues the author’s journey from widow to a slightly askew woman. A memoir written with warmth and candor on being single again, aging, and finding a creative path surrounded by dogs, friends, laughter, and a bit of craziness. Barbara Barth shares stories on the adventures that followed her first year alone as she moved headfirst into a new life, listening to her heart, sometimes not so wisely, but always full speed ahead. Join her on the ride of her life, from owning an antique shop to moving to a Victorian cottage outside of Atlanta, and all the follies in between. Going into the next decade with six dogs by her side, the author proves you are only as old as you feel, and happiness begins with a grateful heart. A funny and engaging memoir for anyone who wants to be their own superhero facing life’s good and bad moments.

What I Thought

This book immediately caught my heart and attention. Barbara has such a way with words and drawing you into the moments of her life. The words "free spirit" comes to mind as I read her memoir. What inspired me after reading this book was how much Barbara wanted to help others, meet people, and bring everyone together. Reading this book made me feel like we were sitting down to coffee together and she was sharing her experiences with me. Barbara reminded me that we're never too old to follow a dream, try new things, try love, and put ourselves out there. 

If you need to be inspired, you absolutely must read Barbara's book. I promise you will finish the book refreshed, renewed, and energized.


About the Author, Barbara Barth

Author, blogger, sometimes antique dealer, dog hoarder, bedazzled by life. Widowed ten years ago, Barth writes about finding a creative path back to happiness. Her recent move to a 1906 historic cottage brought many surprises, including discovering the Monroe–Walton Center for the Arts where she started the monthly Walton Writers group and is on the MWCA Board as Literary Arts Chair. Barth is a contributor to Walton Living Magazine and a former blogger for The Balancing Act, Lifetime Television’s morning show for women. Currently, she lives with six dogs, rescue dogs that rescued her.

Visit her website at https://www.barbarabarthwriter.com/, follow her on Twitter @writerwithdogs, and follow her Amazon author page.

I received the above book in exchange for my honest review.
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What Should I Do With All of My Notebooks

November 14, 2019

I admit this has become a slightly obsessive topic for me. This is the fourth time I've blogged about it. In case you are curious, the first time I talked about how refreshing it was. The second time I reflected on how refreshing it was. The third time I talked about this subject I was expressing concerns about whether I was right about doing this at all.

And now here I am again to talk about this.

So, cleaning out a closet recently, I noticed how many bags of notebooks I had, despite recent purging attempts. I read through some of the pages, realizing how illegible my handwriting is, and wondered about keeping these notebooks. Some of the notebooks are fairly recent and every now and then I'll sort through them and feel inspired. Yet, they are taking up closet space and I end up feeling cluttered keeping them.

I thought about stapling them into a weird paper stuffed scrapbook. That never felt right. So, there they sit.

I wonder if all writers feel like I do - not being able to let go completely, yet not sure what to do with notebooks that stack up. Even as I transition into being more of a digital writer and typing my stories, the stack of notebooks remains (and newly accumulate, much to my dismay).

Writers, what do you do with your notebooks? What can you ideas suggest to me?

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Letting Myself Relax and Not Being On All the Time

November 10, 2019

Lately, I've been making it a habit to not be so available on my phone and email as much anymore. Whether it's emails from authors or pending projects, I realize how important it is to have "off" moments. I wonder if our gig economy has made it harder for us to relax. Or maybe it's always been hard for us.

I'll be honest it's hard to let go sometimes. I'll see an author question come in, whether for WOW! Women on Writing or for this blog, and I'll wonder if I should reply. Then I say to myself that it's okay to not be available. It's okay to have "off" time. I think that's the hard thing about doing freelance work. It's tough to let go.

So, today if this sounds like you, make sure you give yourself "clock out" time. Clock out for the day and stop checking your email. Turn off notifications for social media. Make sure you are present in your own life sometimes.

How have you stopped doing so much? Do you give yourself clock out time?
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Comic Books, Godzilla, and Video Games with Author Hugh Fritz

November 9, 2019

Can you tell I am still tweaking the subject line? Another Saturday night is upon us everyone! Today I have author Hugh Fritz. I recently reviewed his book Made to be Broken. Read my review if sci-fi books intrigue you!

Now, here are author Hugh Fritz suggestions for your Saturday night!

What is your Saturday night reading suggestion?

Although comic books are not considered literature, I recommend the Immortal Iron Fist. It has the perfect balance of science fiction and fantasy. There’s a dragon, an android that
does martial arts, portals to other dimensions, and a cast of characters with unique superpowers. It seems like it should be all over the place, but the writers made it work.

What is your Saturday night movie suggestion?

Anything with Godzilla. So much has been done that you could spend years looking for Godzilla movies and barely scratch the surface. I still get suggestions from friends once in a while for a title that I’ve never heard of before.

What is your Saturday night wild card suggestion?

I relax and clear my mind with video games. The modern ones are too complicated for my taste so my go-to is the Nintendo 64. They’re challenging enough to hold my attention but not difficult enough to be
frustrating. For me, there’s nothing more relaxing than opening a beer and playing the original Super Smash Brothers.

Special thank you to author Hugh Fritz for his suggestions!

About Made to be Broken:

Flarence knows that Genies are supposed to help their masters by granting wishes, but he’s never been comfortable taking orders. To him, pummeling bad guys with magically enhanced weaponry feels like a much better way to use his powers. Darren is a gangster who wants to leave his reckless life behind so he can focus on providing for his family. Unfortunately, there are people in the neighborhood who won’t let him move on. Soleil is a humble man who tries to lead a passive lifestyle. In times of peace or times of war, he can be found cleaning his cafe or singing along with rock-’n’-roll tunes while tending to his houseplants. Darren, Soleil, and Flarence will have to work together and step outside their comfort zones when a rogue Genie and a hot-headed police officer threaten the lives of their loved ones. Flarence will be challenged to work with a criminal, Soleil will be forced to leave his sanctuary and act to help his friends, and Darren will face the possibility that being a gentle and caring family man may not be an option for him.

Made to be Broken is now available to purchase on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.
About the Author

Hugh Fritz is a fan of monsters, mad scientists, sorcerers, and anything that involves being with incredible powers beating each other senseless. After years of writing research papers, he decided it was time to give reality a rest and let his imagination run wild. This is his first book, and it has been an illuminating experience making the transition from reader to author.

He was born in Chicago where he spent most of his life until moving to the Southwest in 2015. He finds inspiration bouncing ideas off other novelists in a critique group, but hours of television and finding the right songs to put him in the writing mood play an important role as well. He has no plans to end the Genies' adventures here, so be on the lookout for more magical mischief in the next book of the Mystic Rampage series.

Find Hugh Fritz online:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HughFritz1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stories-by-Hugh-Fritz-397896477228957/

Author's Website: http://www.hughfritz.com/

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Made to be Broken by Hugh Fritz [Review]

November 8, 2019
This is probably one of the fastest years of my life. I can't believe we're looking at the end of 2019!

Well if you are hoping to add some books to your reading list, I highly HIGHLY recommend you check out this book Made to be Broken by Hugh Fritz.

Before we get into what I thought about the book, here's the book summary:

Flarence knows that Genies are supposed to help their masters by granting wishes, but he’s never been comfortable taking orders. To him, pummeling bad guys with magically enhanced weaponry feels like a much better way to use his powers. Darren is a gangster who wants to leave his reckless life behind so he can focus on providing for his family. Unfortunately, there are people in the neighborhood who won’t let him move on. Soleil is a humble man who tries to lead a passive lifestyle. In times of peace or times of war, he can be found cleaning his cafe or singing along with rock-’n’-roll tunes while tending to his houseplants. Darren, Soleil, and Flarence will have to work together and step outside their comfort zones when a rogue Genie and a hot-headed police officer threaten the lives of their loved ones. Flarence will be challenged to work with a criminal, Soleil will be forced to leave his sanctuary and act to help his friends, and Darren will face the possibility that being a gentle and caring family man may not be an option for him.

What I Thought

Wow, this book was sure different! The book immediately drew me right from the beginning. I love books that use fantastical elements in the midst of a thriller. This was definitely not a "meandering" tale. Kind of a perfect book to read in the midst of a foggy, October day. I loved the strong characterization and the strong dialogue. This author also taught me a thing or two about writing action scenes. This ends on a cliff hanger which really makes me look forward to reading the next one. 

Made to be Broken is now available to purchase on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

About the Author

Hugh Fritz is a fan of monsters, mad scientists, sorcerers, and anything that involves being with incredible powers beating each other senseless. After years of writing research papers, he decided it was time to give reality a rest and let his imagination run wild. This is his first book, and it has been an illuminating experience making the transition from reader to author.

He was born in Chicago where he spent most of his life until moving to the Southwest in 2015. He finds inspiration bouncing ideas off other novelists in a critique group, but hours of television and finding the right songs to put him in the writing mood play an important role as well. He has no plans to end the Genies' adventures here, so be on the lookout for more magical mischief in the next book of the Mystic Rampage series.





Author's Website: http://www.hughfritz.com/

I received the above mentioned book in exchange for my honest review.
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Love, Chocolate, and a Dog Named Al Capone [Book Review]

November 4, 2019
I've been in such a different type of reading mood. From historical fiction and now to romance, it seems my reading tastes have changed a bit lately. Today, I am here to share with you an adorable romance novel called Love, Chocolate, and a Dog Named Al Capone by Abigail Drake.

Book Summary

Capone, the newly acquired puppy of Miss Josephine St. Clair, owner of Bartleby's Books, is a literature-loving Labrador. Obsessed with Jane Austen, and cursed with a terrible name, Capone hopes to change his doggie karma and prove he's just as much a gentleman as the heroes in his favorite books...by finding the perfect Mr. Darcy for the lonely and bookishly adorable Miss Josie.

Unfortunately, the only men Miss Josie seems to encounter aren't Darcys at all. They're Wickhams, Churchills, and Willoughbys. Even worse, there is trouble afoot. Someone has been sabotaging Miss Josie's business, and all signs point to her evil ex. Can Capone find a way to save Bartleby's Books, help Miss Josie find her true love, and earn, at long last, a name befitting a true gentleman?

What I Thought

First of all, I love the idea of the setting being a bookstore (it goes along with my daydream of owning one someday). This book is written from the perspective of the pup, Capone. He desperately wants two things 1) Miss Josie to meet her Darcy and 2) to get a new name (he's a gentleman, not a criminal, after all!). I love the fact that the pup Capone identified with being a gentleman and so desperately tried to be one, even in the midst of eating the wrong things and pooping out non-food items.

I'm not normally one for romance, but this one took me by total surprise. I LOVE the voices of each animal in the book. One scene that was my favorite is that Josie was on a date and - without revealing any fun details - a scary situation happens. Well, there was a tough acting dog there and the moment things get scary this tough dog acts frightened. It definitely made me smile to hear the dog's voice responding to the scary moment, especially one so tough-guy acting after all. The cool thing is that Capone comes to the rescue! 

Oddly, while there are Pride and Prejudice references, it isn't a requirement to be familiar with that book at all to enjoy this book. Actually, I've read Pride and Prejudice before and didn't like it and I still enjoyed this book a lot. Also one funny thing about this book is that there are definitely some bowel movement descriptions (well, it's a book written from a dog's perspective). I thought that made it funny and realistic to me.

Overall, I recommend this book so much! If you love dogs and love romance, you'll love this book. You can purchase it now on Amazon.com and add it to your GoodReads list.

Quotes

"Now I faced a moral dilemma. I knew the rules, and the right thing to do would be to decline his kind offer and go to my crate. Alone. But I heard the voice inside my head, the one always telling me to do naughty things."

"A quest could be the thing to push me into the realm of true gentleman status. The only question was where to begin?"

"Acting on instinct, I placed my head on her lap and stared up at her with my big, puppy eyes. I wanted to physically convey my sympathy to her, and it seemed to work."

About the Author


Award-winning author Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and Economics in college, and is a book hoarder, a coffee drinker, a linguistics geek, and an eternal optimist. She writes women’s fiction and young adult fiction with smart, sassy, funny heroines, and she also enjoys blogging about the adventures of her mischievous Labrador retriever, Capone.

Abigail is the winner of the prestigious 2017 Prism Award for her book Traveller, and the International Digital Award for her young adult novel, Tiger Lily. In addition, she was named a finalist in the Golden Pen, the Golden Leaf, the Dante Rossetti Book Award, and the Cygnus Award for Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction. Learn more about http://abigaildrake.com.


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