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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A Writing Update and Monthly Goals

November 3, 2019
I kept meaning to do a general blog update this week, so I figured taking on the #NovemberBloggingChallenge would be a great time to do this. I think my first couple of years of blogging were the most fun and I had a great community, due in part to my involvement in Writer's Digest online community. Also, I think blogging was a bit different from 2011 - 2012. At least for me. Social media has really taken off and I wonder if that impacted the community vibe blogging once had for me.

Anyways, it was sad to hear the news of the death of a blogging buddy I once had when I first started my blog. Diane Carlise blogged over here. I really lost touch with reading other's blogs, actually, but I never forgot how wonderful the community felt when I first started.

One thing that I can say about this past year is that my creative writing has really taken off. I have been doing a lot of short story writing and submitting. I may not get published this year but I am at a great pace.

My monthly goals are wrapped up in this challenge as well as NaNoWriMo (sort of). I am attempting a half-NaNoWriMo, actually. I am hoping to complete 5 stories that are around 5,000 words each. We'll see how this goes.

You may or may not notice that my blog has a new design! I love it. It's much cleaner and feels like it's much easier to read. So, that also inspired me.

Anyways, I'd love to know what your goals are this month. Are you taking part in National Novel Writing Month? What else is challenging you? 
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#NovemberBlogChallenge - Taking on a Month of Writing

November 2, 2019
Okay between NaNoWriMo and blogging, I think I've bitten off more than I can chew when it comes to writing this month. I thought I'd decide to give this challenge a try. Encouraged by Phyllis of VerifiedMom.com, I am signing up for 30 Days of Blogging this November.

So, for the first day of November, I am reintroducing myself. I think that's poignant considering I haven't done a personal post in a really long time.

Who Am I?

My name is Nicole Pyles and I am a blogger and writer. In case you don't know, I put together blog tours for a writing website called, WOW! Women on Writing. It's fun working with authors and getting to read books I otherwise wouldn't have read.

I start this blog in 2011 when I graduated from college and I have kept it ever since. I'm surprised it has lasted this long, to be honest! I did a lot of writing about writing when I first started the blog. It then evolved into being about creative writing. And now I do a lot of blogging about authors and books I've read. I lost a bit of the community I had with blogging so this is why I wanted to join this challenge and hopefully gain some new readers.

One interesting thing to me is that over the last few years I became closer to the Lord and really began a more serious walk with Him. I don't blog about my Christian faith a lot, though, although maybe that can change. Who knows?

So, what comes next? I have for you the beautifully made button featuring the challenge:



Happy writing!
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A Saturday Evening with Author Steven Max Russo (And Giveaway!)

Happy Saturday night everyone! I'm excited to invite back Steven Max Russo to my blog again and he is our Saturday night host. Before I share his suggestions for Saturday night, I'd like to tell you a little bit about his newest book, The Dead Don't Sleep.

About the Book:

Frank Thompson, a recent widower and aging Vietnam veteran is down from Maine visiting his nephew, Bill, and his family in New Jersey.

While at a trap range, he and his nephew have a chance encounter with a strange man who claims to remember Frank from the war.

That night, the windows in Bill’s home are shattered along with the quiet peaceful lives the two men had been living.

Three veterans from a special combat unit directed by the CIA during the Vietnam War have gathered to discuss what they are going to do about a man they claim killed one of their own over forty years ago.

Jasper, Birdie and Pogo were part of a team that called themselves the National League All Stars. They were a squad of psychopathic killers trained by Special Forces to cause death and mayhem during the war. Now, they have banded together to hunt down and kill the professional soldier who led them all those years ago.

Drawing on his military training and a resurgent bloodlust from his tortured past, Frank prepares for a final, violent reckoning that will bring him full circle with the war that never left him.

Be sure to add it to your GoodReads list

Now, onto author Steven Max Russo's Saturday night suggestion!

What is your Saturday night reading suggestion?

Hey, it’s the weekend! Let’s have a little excitement! How about we read Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun, a rollercoaster of a novel about a young girl, her outlaw father, and their struggle to stay alive after a white supremacist prison gang has put a bounty on both their lives.

A father’s love for his child, along with sex, violence, murder, and non-stop mayhem drive this story. Not for the faint of heart!

Perfect with a glass of wine or perhaps a nice craft IPA.

Wait, what am I saying?

No, let’s wash down this gritty prose with shot of cheap whisky in a dirty glass!

What is your Saturday night movie suggestion?

Don’t want to read? How about we get our adrenaline rush watching an oldie but goodie, a Robert Ludlum book brought to the screen with Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in the Bourne Identity.

An amnesiac government operative trying to remember who he is – and what he is. An elite assassin programmed to kill without mercy, on the run from the black ops government agency that recruited and then brainwashed him in the first place – while both using and protecting a young woman who is slowly helping him regain some of his memory.

What is your Saturday night wild card suggestion?

What’s that?

Childish? Immature? Selfish?

No, no, I was only kidding about all that. What I meant was how about we forget the book and the movie and instead go out for a nice, romantic dinner, just the two of us.

I’ll get a bottle of wine, and you my love, can pick out any restaurant your heart desires.

Yes, of course, I was planning on leaving my phone with the ESPN app at home.

About Steven Max Russo

Steve has spent the majority of his professional career as an advertising copywriter and agency owner. He got interested in writing fiction after one of his short stories was accepted by an online literary journal in 2013.

Then he caught the bug and began writing seriously. The publication of his first novel, Thieves, has garnered praise from
renowned crime and thriller authors from around the globe. With a gritty writing style and a unique voice, he is quickly winning a legion of new fans.

Steve’s second novel, The Dead Don’t Sleep, is slated for release
in November of 2019. Steve is proud to call New Jersey
his home.

Be sure to check out his website http://www.stevenmaxrussobooks.com.

I am also excited to announce that I get to giveaway a copy of his book Thieves. (You can read my interview with the author here!) 

About the Book Thieves (purchase your copy here if you can't wait for the giveaway!)
Esmeralda works for a housecleaning service during the day and as a restaurant hostess at night. Just out of high school, she is the sole support for her mother and two young siblings.

She has drive and ambition. What she doesn't have is money.

She knows of a home in the upscale town of Mendham, NJ, that will be empty for more than a month. The rich people who live there go away the same time every year to spend time at their vacation home. Having cleaned the house, she also knows it contains a fair amount of cash and valuables.

Sitting with Ray, one of her co-workers one night, she casually mentions a "what if" scenario; Ray tells Skooley, a white trash drifter who recently moved to New Jersey from South Florida, and a plan is hatched.

It isn't long before Esmeralda finds herself trapped by both circumstance and greed, forced to try and defend herself against one of her partners in crime, who she quickly discovers is far more dangerous than she ever thought possible.

Enter via Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends November 15th. US Only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Should Books Contain Trigger Warnings?

November 1, 2019

This week over at the WOW! Women on Writing blog I discussed the need for trigger warnings in books. All of this came about because of a recent book review I read where someone had been reading a Stephen King book and desired a trigger warning for some of the content.

After googling some conversations and articles online about this subject, I find it isn't as clear cut as you might think. Trigger warnings can be a respectful tool to help those with PTSD. However, what complicates it is, one person's trigger may not seem as obvious as you might think.

So, I'd love for you to read the blog post and come back and tell me what you think! Read it here.

Do you think books should contain trigger warnings? 
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3 Suggestions on a Saturday Night with Author R. Douglas Clark

October 26, 2019
It's Saturday night folks! I am here with author of the book Welcome to Maravilla, an entertaining sci-fi novel that I just recently posted a review on (check it out).

Before we get into the author's Saturday night suggestions, here is a bit about the book Welcome to Maravilla:

The tiny hamlet of Maravilla, New Mexico is not immune to modern-day problems. But the citizens of Maravilla have their own special problems, as well:

A developer wants to build a Christian-themed amusement park next to Maravilla’s historic church.

The county line runs right through the town, splitting it in two.

And the government is threatening to close their post office!

Into this muddle steps Jake Epstein, a young writer from the big city. Jake is seeking peace and quiet to finish his current project: a science fiction story in which adventuress Tai-Keiko must deliver the secret formula for Zeton-9—with the evil Krossarians in hot pursuit.

But then reality and science fiction converge—and Tai-Keiko finds herself in present-day Maravilla, face to face with a gobsmacked Jake.

Join Jake on this comic run along the dusty roads of Maravilla, and find out who won the fight between Father Ignatius and the heathen pig farmer. How a basketball game changed the fate of the town. And was that white flash in the sky a UFO?

Now, here's author R. Douglas Clark with his suggestions for Saturday night:

Saturday Night Reading Suggestion: 

With your partner, read funny book excerpts to each other. The goal is to produce prolonged laughter and belly laughs. Try David Sedaris or Catch-22.

Saturday Night Movie Suggestion:

Cook up a pot of spaghetti, get a bottle of red wine, and watch The Godfather or Life is Beautiful with your friends, creating an immersive Italianate experience.

Saturday Night Board Game Suggestion: 

Have a marathon Monopoly session with friends. Dominos or Hearts works too.

Thank you to the author for the great ideas! Welcome to Maravilla is now available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and IndieBound.
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A Book Review of Hug Everyone You Know by Antoinette Truglio Martin

October 25, 2019
It's a beautiful time of year! The leaves are changing colors and the brisk chill in the air isn't so cold quite yet. I had the chance to read the most beautiful memoir and I can't wait to tell you about it. It's called Hug Everyone You Know by Antoinette Truglio Martin, part of the WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour (check out the launch day post here!).

First, a little bit about the book:

In 2007, Martin believed her call back doctor appointment was routine, maybe a scare, nothing worse. Her shock at receiving a Stage I breast cancer diagnosis was instantly compounded by her own deep fears. As a self-described wimp—afraid of needles and uncomfortable with sedation—how was she going to get through this?

Antoinette started her fight against cancer with words. She began by journaling and by writing emails to Her Everyone—the large close-knit family and circle of beloved friends wanting to offer their support, especially those who were fighting breast cancer alongside her. The emails not only helped to keep Her Everyone informed, they gave cancer less of a presence in Antoinette’s life, since she wasn’t repeatedly updating people or saying the word “cancer” over and over. The practice of writing calmed her and also gave her space to focus on living: on the house that wasn’t selling, an exciting new job, daughters in college, and summer beach plans. She signed every email with the reminder to “hug everyone you know.”

Those emails and journal entries are at the heart of this memoir, which give the book an immediacy and raw power.

HUG EVERYONE YOU KNOW is a memoir about how Antoinette found the courage to navigate her first year of breast cancer treatment. It’s the story of how a community—colleagues, family, friends—rallied to support her. The book is moving, brave, informative, and occasionally funny—and it speaks to us all.

What I Thought

What captured me immediately about this book is that Hug Everyone You Know is unlike almost any other memoir I've read. Antoinette really drew me into her experience of finding out the shock of the cancer diagnosis, having to tell her family and everyone else around her, and going through treatments. It was such a roller coaster of emotions while reading this book and I was so moved by the emails from her "everyone." On top of the moving experience of reading about Antoinette's journey, this book is also excellently written. 

So if you are looking for a new book to read this fall season, I highly HIGHLY recommend Hug Everyone You Know. 

Hug Everyone You Know is now available to purchase on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

About the Author

Antoinette Truglio Martin is a life-long Long Islander, teacher, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. She is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer—a memoir chronicling her first year battling breast cancer as a wimpy patient. Personal experience essays and excerpts of her memoir were published in Bridges, Visible Ink, and The Southampton Review. Martin proudly received her MFA in creative writing and literature from Stony Brook/Southampton University in 2016. Antoinette had also written the children's picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup (Albert Whitman and Company), and was a regular columnist for local periodicals Parent Connections (In a Family Way) and Fire Island Tide (Beach Bumming). Her blog, Stories Served Around The Table, tells family tales and life's musings. She lives in her hometown of Sayville, New York with her husband, Matt, and is never far from her “Everyone” and the beaches she loves. Since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2012, she strives to not let cancer to dictate her life.

Follow her at Facebook and her website.
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A Book, A Movie, and A Wild Card Suggestion for a Saturday Night

October 19, 2019

It's Saturday night and I can't believe how fast this year has gone. It's already mid-October! What have you all been up to? I'd love to hear! Also, I'm doing a trial run on subject lines, so if the subject line caught your attention - let me know!

So, before you know it, the holidays will soon be upon us. First, a special shout out to my Saturday night sponsor: Don Pablo Coffee! They have an incredible Bourbon Infused Coffee that I know will be PERFECT for your holiday gathering. You can get a two-pack over at Costco for only $28.99! Purchase now.

Now, here's for my suggestions:

Saturday Night Book Suggestion: I'd love to recommend What We Do For Love by Anne Pfeffer. It's a romance novel with a twist of drama. 38-year-old Nicole is a single mom who has taken on a major project for a local museum along with raising her son. Everything starts to get really stressful, real fast when her son's girlfriend gets pregnant. I enjoyed this a whole lot and it kept me on the edge of my seat with the touch of the thriller mixed in. Check this one out on GoodReads.

Saturday Night Movie Suggestion: I sure hope I haven't recommended this movie, but the "Lake House" starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. This movie is so romantic and touching. It actually made my mom and I cry! This basically includes dual plot lines of two people living in different time frames, but slowly they fall in love. Check it out on IMDB.

Saturday Night Wild Card Suggestion: So, my random suggestion for this Saturday night is an online game that I played several years ago. It's called the Ballads of Reemus. It's basically like a bug-monster-catcher guy and his purple bear assistant going on a journey together. It's a fun, entertaining point-and-click game that is web-based. I think you'll enjoy it a lot if you love web-based games and just want a cheap, fun thing to do tonight. Play now!



Again, a special thank you to Don Pablo Coffee for sponsoring this post! If you are interested in doing something good for the environment, be sure to check out their eco-friendly Subtle Earth Organic Coffee made with Nespresso capsules that are plant-based and 100% compostable. Purchase now.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
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Review of Welcome to Maravilla by R. Douglas Clark

October 17, 2019

Rain is coming in, the weather is getting cooler, and the nighttime is creeping in earlier. It's the best time of year to pick up a new book! If you are interested in something unusual, entertaining, and humorous.

Here is a bit about the book Welcome to Maravilla:

The tiny hamlet of Maravilla, New Mexico is not immune to modern-day problems. But the citizens of Maravilla have their own special problems, as well:

A developer wants to build a Christian-themed amusement park next to Maravilla’s historic church.

The county line runs right through the town, splitting it in two.

And the government is threatening to close their post office!

Into this muddle steps Jake Epstein, a young writer from the big city. Jake is seeking peace and quiet to finish his current project: a science fiction story in which adventuress Tai-Keiko must deliver the secret formula for Zeton-9—with the evil Krossarians in hot pursuit.

But then reality and science fiction converge—and Tai-Keiko finds herself in present-day Maravilla, face to face with a gobsmacked Jake.

Join Jake on this comic run along the dusty roads of Maravilla, and find out who won the fight between Father Ignatius and the heathen pig farmer. How a basketball game changed the fate of the town. And was that white flash in the sky a UFO?

What I Thought

Immediately when reading this book, I got such an incredible sense of the setting. It's rich in detail and character. In fact, the setting itself felt like a character all on its own. There's a lot going on in this book and the writer does a great job with keeping things lively with each of the characters. The side part featuring Jake's story was a bit sidetracking at first, but it became such an integral part of the story. It reminded me so much of how a writer can become attached to their characters. So, if you want an interesting, unusual book for the colder seasons, you'll want to pick this one up.

Welcome to Maravilla is now available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

About R. Douglas Clark

R. Douglas Clark was born in Vermont, grew up in Colorado, attended college in Chicago, and received a Master's degree in music from Brown University. Seeing no future for himself in academia, he spent a year in the Oregon woods, living in a primitive cabin, writing music reviews and cultural commentary for magazines and newspapers. Next stop, Eugene, Oregon where he spent 20 damp years as a bootstrap businessman, father and musician. On a vacation trip, he and his wife, Shelley, fell in love with sunny northern New Mexico and subsequently moved there. After four years running Boys and Girls Clubs in Chimayó and Abiquiú--and another four, running a U-pick raspberry farm--he retired to write fiction full time.

Find R. Douglas online: https://www.rdouglasclark.com/

I received the above book in exchange for my honest review.
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3 Suggestions on a Saturday Night with Author Charles Suddeth

October 12, 2019

Another Saturday night is here folks! So I'm excited to introduce to you, author Charles Suddeth, who is guest host tonight. Before we read his suggestions for Saturday night, here is a bit about the author himself:

Charles Suddeth has published poetry, picture books, middle reader’s books, young adult thrillers, and adult mysteries in English, Cherokee, and Turkish. He is active with Green River Writers and leads a monthly SCBWI Social. He lives in Louisville and teaches for the Jefferson County Schools.

You may find him online at his website, his Twitter account, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr.  

Now, here is what he suggests for Saturday night! Take it away Charles...

For a Saturday night book alone...

If you are not alone, I suggest 2 copies of my book suggestion. No use fighting. The first thriller I ever read was a 1974 best-seller, Six Days of the Condor, by James Grady. It is about a US government employee on the run from spies intent on stealing government secrets. It is one of those books you begin and read to the finish, even if Saturday morphs into Sunday. It started me on a path of reading and writing thrillers.

A Saturday night movie at home with your special someone

Dunkirk, the 2017 Warner Bros. World War II movie written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan. It was nominated for 27 awards, winning 3 Academy Awards. It has land, air, and sea stories running simultaneously. It uses what I call emotional time, compressing the 3 stories into a thrill ride as Allied Armies escape from Nazis. It has little dialogue so you can snuggle with someone and talk without missing anything. I have watched Dunkirk several times.

A special Saturday night with your special someone

A lady friend and I often hike the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge over the Ohio River connecting Louisville, Kentucky and Jeffersonville, Indiana. From 1895 to the 1960s, it was a railroad bridge. It is open 24 hours and is a 1 mile walk each way. Near both ends of the bridge, local restaurants and shops are open for hikers. It is lit up at night and features lights in patterns, especially for holidays like the Fourth of July and Christmas.

Thank you Charles for your amazing suggestions! If you need another book to read in addition to his suggestion, check out his book Stone Man and the Trail of Tears.

Driven to Stone Man’s trail...

After U.S. soldiers attack twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s Cherokee village, his family flees to the Smokey Mountains. Facing storms, flood, and hunger, they’re forced to go where Stone Man, a monstrous giant, is rumored to live.

His family seeks shelter in an abandoned village, but soldiers hunt them down. Tsatsi and his sister Sali escape, but Sali falls ill and is kidnapped by Stone Man. Tsatsi gives chase and confronts the giant, only to learn this monster isn’t what he seems.

Their journey is a dangerous one. Will Tsatsi find the strength to become a Cherokee warrior? And will they ever find their family?

Release date – October 8, 2019



Find Stone Man And the Trail of Tears at:

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Stone-Man-Trail-Charles-Suddeth/dp/1939844622/

ITunes - https://fnd.io/#/us/book/1455664389-stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears-by-char

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears

Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130849102?ean=9781939844620

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44453832-stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears


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3 Suggestions on a Saturday Night with Author Derik Cavignano

October 5, 2019
Welcome to my weekly feature where my Saturday night guests share about a book, movie, and one random suggestion of their choice. I am excited to have author Derik Cavignano with us.

A native of Boston and a writer since high school, Derik Cavignano currently lives in Florida with his wife, children, and an angry cat who won’t stop biting him. He writes character-driven thrillers in a variety of genres, including horror, sci-fi, and crime. His novels include The Righteous and the Wicked and Colony of the Lost (a 2016 Silver Falchion Award finalist for best horror). His upcoming crime thriller, The Art of Dying, is due for release in fall 2019. Connect with Derik on Twitter @DerikCavignano or visit his website at derikcavignano.com.

Before we share Derik's Saturday Night suggestions, here is a bit about his book The Art of Dying:

When the bizarre death of a mob foot soldier sparks an escalating war between Boston’s Irish and Italian mafia, Detective Ray Hanley’s relentless search for the truth uncovers evidence of a serial killer obsessed with the art of human suffering. As the body count rises, Detective Hanley must navigate a minefield of crime families, dirty politicians, and crooked cops, while matching wits with a deranged serial killer. Temptation, betrayal, and death threaten to derail the investigation… and justice doesn’t come without a price.

This fast-paced police procedural examines the darkest corners of the human mind, exposes powerful political corruption, and depicts an honorable detective striving to balance the horrors of the job with his commitment to his family.

Be sure to add this book to your Goodreads list or purchase a copy on Amazon.

Now, take it away Derik!

Saturday night reading suggestion: Despite being a horror and thriller author, my all-time favorite book is EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED by Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s a wildly imaginative novel about a young American who travels to Ukraine to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Along the way, he is assisted by a hilarious Ukrainian translator who butchers the English language and a blind driver who requires the help of a seeing-eye dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior. The story switches point of view between the translator, the young man (also named Jonathan Safran Foer), and the ancestors of a Jewish settlement eradicated during the Holocaust. Foer’s writing style is ground-breaking, elegant, and eclectic, and the book, itself, is a work of genius. After reading it for the first time, I immediately returned to the first page and read it over again. If you’ve never read it, check it out… and don’t cheat by seeing the movie—it’s not the same!

Saturday Night Movie Suggestion: I’ll get back to my genre here and recommend “The Shining”, the 1980 horror classic based on Stephen King’s novel of the same title. If you’re part of the younger generation that hasn’t seen it, “The Shining” tells the story of a family holed up for winter in a haunted hotel built on an Indian burial ground. Jack Torrance is a recovering alcoholic who accepts a job as caretaker of the Overlook Hotel when it shuts down for winter, despite learning that a former caretaker once developed cabin fever there and violently murdered his family. Jack’s relationship with his wife is strained and their young son, Danny, has psychic abilities that present him with visions of the hotel’s violent past. But as the ghosts of the hotel become increasingly real, they attempt to turn Jack against his family and instruct him to “correct” his wife and son. The film’s suspense and creep factor are off the charts, thanks to Stephen King’s imagination and Stanley Kubrick’s fantastic directing skills. The acting is also great, with Jack Nicholson brilliantly portraying Jack Torrance’s descent into madness. A long-awaited sequel—Doctor Sleep—features a grown-up Danny Torrance and debuts this November (based on King’s 2013 novel), so if you haven’t seen “The Shining” yet, make sure you check it out in time for “Doctor Sleep”.

Saturday Night Wild Card Suggestion: If you’re looking for a night of fun beyond the tired routine of dinner, bar, or movie, I’d suggest teaming up with some friends and reserving a spot at an Escape Room. If you’ve never heard of one, an Escape Room is a physical challenge where a small group of people assembles inside of a locked room and must solve a series of riddles, puzzles, or clues in order to crack the code and escape before time expires. Each Escape Room is different and the challenges generally follow the theme of the room (e.g., crime and punishment clues for a prison escape or Prohibition-era clues for a 1920s jazz club). The time limit varies but is often 45 minutes to an hour. Escape Rooms are a perfect way to experience something different and enjoy an exhilarating night out with friends.

Fantastic suggestions! Thank you Derik! In addition to buying his book, be sure to check out his website https://www.derikcavignano.com/.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. If you want to be a guest on my Saturday night weekly feature, send me an email at npyles86[at]gmail[dot]com. Fun fact: you don't need to be an author to be a guest!



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Blood Creek by Kimberly Collins [Book Review & Giveaway]

October 4, 2019
Have you ever gotten into a book slump? I was in one for about a month and then I came across a surprising book that brought me right out of it. The book that did it is called Blood Creek by Kimberly Collins. It is the formerly untold story of the women of Appalachia. The author dives into lesser-known mine wars of the 20th century and takes the reader on the journey of an uprising.

What makes this historical fiction book is unique is she draws from her own family history.

Blood Creek is set in 1912 West Virginia, where the coal miners are arming themselves up and getting ready to strike. Wealthy coal owners have hired the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency to do whatever is necessary to crush the miners and protect their fortune. In the midst of all of this chaos is Ellie Cline. She arrives in Charleston on the arm of John Felts, a top aid to Tom Felts himself.  And despite all the gossip of being a kept woman to John Felts, she enjoys his attention, his lavish gifts, and the parties.

But Ellie is a spy. She is positioned between the lavish high society of Charleston and her family roots that go all the way down into the dusty coal mines. Will she escape the call of duty that pushes her to share what she knows? Or will she hide in high society, running from her past?

What I Thought

Ellie was a woman far ahead of her time. She is not settled with the status quo. She wants more to life than what society will give her. In West Virginia, she fears all she'll ever have is that cabin she lives in with her husband. Then something changes - her husband commits a crime, she gets pregnant, and her lover is dead. What will she do?

When she gets the chance to leave for Charleston, it's the chance to leave it all behind. Then the old saying comes around, "No matter where you go, there you are." Well, Ellie's past is not far behind and her call of duty draws her back to her roots. I was more than taken by surprise by the character of Ellie - who was likable, understandable, and occasionally detestable at the same time - while enjoying the world of the coal miners and the flashy life of Charleston.

This book drew me in and I couldn't put it down. The setting is so vivid. The book cover depicts a moment in the river when Ellie contemplates her situation, which is such a turning point for the character. I felt the strong family ties emit off the page.

Since it is based in historical fact, there is definite tragedy in this book. Yet, the author has a way of sweeping you along and drawing you back in, even in the midst of sadness and confusion.

I can't wait to see what comes up next for the Mingo Chronicles. If you haven't read historical fiction before, I suggest you start with this book. When I read "coal mines" I didn't realize how much I would enjoy the characters, the world, and the fight for what is right.

If you love historical fiction, you will not be disappointed by this book. I am sure you will enjoy it and will want to read more.

A small thing I really appreciated was how the author introduces which characters are inspired by real people and which characters are pure fiction. She does that in the beginning so that really sets the stage of helping me get to know who I'm about to read.

Memorable Quotes

"She turned to get her things, but an old, familiar tug in her gut told her not to go with Mary. It made her a little dizzy it was so unexpected." (pg 17).

"She sat for a long time watching the river gently flow away from her, listening to its gentle caresses against the rocks and shore. Where was it going? Could she go with it? Was there something better at its end?" (pg 64).

"She was skilled at feeding the male ego to get what she wanted. By the time they arrived in Charleston, John Havers didn't realize he had been hit with a meteor." (pg 118)

About the Author, Kimberly Collins



Kimberly Collins is the author of two novels, most recently Blood Creek, which is the first in the Mingo series. Collins grew up in Matewan, West Virginia, the home of the Hatfield & McCoy feud and the legendary Matewan Massacre. She loves the mountains, the river, the people, and the history. Collins is busy working on several projects including the Mingo series, short stories, photography, and dabbling in other creative endeavors. In 2017, she co-wrote her first screenplay for a short film, which premiered at the Knoxville Film Festival. For more information about Collins and her work, visit https://www.bluemingopress.com/


Giveaway

Best of all I get to giveaway a copy of Blood Creek to one lucky winner! This is US Only. Enter via Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends on 10/22/2019.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to pick up a copy of this book on Amazon.com or add to GoodReads.

I received the above-mentioned book in exchange for my honest review.
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