Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear Fascinating!

Maisie Dobbs (novel)
Maisie Dobbs  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"By the time she left  Maud Pettit's house in
Lambeth, Maisie had learned several things
she hadn't known before.
"She knew that Maudie had been assaulted
while walking from the factory to the brewery;
it was dark, so she had never known her
attacker--the father of her child.
"She discovered that Eddie had only ever been
bullied by one person, a boy who made fun of
him at school...
"But of the notes she had penned, the one that
 she would come back to again and again...
'I can't put my finger on it, but my Eddie
seemed to have changed lately...'"

Elegy for Eddie:
A Maisie Dobbs Novel

By Jacqueline Winspear

This is a well-loved series, but my first reading of this author. I can see why it is so popular! It is historically set and captures the mood and setting well. I must admit that my first thought was that Maisie Dobbs was another "Miss Marple" but was happy to learn that she was quite different. When I found this picture, I so enjoyed being able to visualize our investigator!

Her personal background story is not typical rags to riches and she still finds it difficult to realize that she is a woman of means...

So, when she heard that Eddie Pettit had been killed in a supposed accident, she immediately remembered him from her early years while she herself was in domestic service. So when a small group of men who worked on the streets came to her, asking her to check into his death, she was not only upset that something criminal might have been involved, she was anxious to solve the case!

Eddie had been a special child, slow in some things but a true "horse whisperer" if that term had been used then. Everybody in town depended upon him to come and gentle a new horse or find some way to heal him. In fact, his mother had been a victim and when the baby was due, she was still working in the horse stalls, and there she had her child. She had thought sometime that she might have done something to Eddie as she tried to keep him quiet, maybe cutting off too much air--she had to take the child to work with her, but could not risk having anybody find him. So Eddie had a horse nearby as he was bor and lived there helping when he could throughout his youth. He had grown to be a big gentle man who was always doing something for somebody and, slowly, began to learn enough to begin making money from his work.

We don't get to spend much time with him personally, but we learn about how people felt as Maisie began to check out what could have happened, for Eddie had been crushed in a paper mill, where he had just been traveling through to get to the horses that were used to pull their wagons... There had never been that sort of accident before...

I don't know whether Maisie plays a major character in all of her books, but I enjoyed the time she spent in introspection in this latest novel. Perhaps because she was interacting so much with the people who were friends when she was young? Or perhaps because her lover was pressing her to leave her work and become more involved in his social activities... For me, it added greatly in getting to know Maisie and I was pleased that she was a woman ahead of the times...

When things start falling together, including the death of Eddie's bully from school, who just happened to have been the man who had been running the machines, Maisie realizes that Eddie's death was because he might have learned something, or seen something...Then, her assistant is hurt badly when he is sent to discover anything among the men at a local bar.

This is a whodunit that moves through the clues, the findings, the interviews in a paced manner. Readers have plenty of time to ponder each step because soon Maisie is looking into the political world, including Winston Churchill (cool, right?!) and those that were supporting him, as they looked toward what was happening in other European countries. And some of the men she was looking at was the husband of her best friend, and a friend of her lover!

The amazing trail that readers follow was not only unexpected, but quite intriguing to follow! The book includes afterwords, and an interview, where the author explains that she had Eddie's part of the story based upon an actual individual and that she had to think carefully how to use it. I must add many kudos for taking a rough gem idea and molding it into a far-reaching novel that had potential world-wide impact! Truly fascinating!

If you've been following this series, I know that this will be a must-read! For those who are new to reading Winspear, do check out the entire series and I definitely recommend Elegy for Eddie to start!


Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London's Institute of  Education, Jacqueline worked in academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK. She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and while working in business and as a personal / professional coach, Jacqueline embarked upon a life-long dream to be a writer. A regular contributor to journals covering international education, Jacqueline has published articles in women's magazines and has also recorded her essays for KQED radio in San Francisco. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Historian Marilyn Weymouth Seguin Tells of Courage of Teens Making History!

English: Belle Boyd.
English: Belle Boyd. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Suddenly, Belle realized she would have to run through the gunfire of both armies if she was to reach General Jackson in time to keep the Yankees from destroying the bridges. Belle lifted her heavy skirts of her dress and ran into the crossfire. Artillery shot and shells whistled over her head, not six inches from her leg. Belle was sorry now that she'd worn the white apron, which surely must make her a more visible target in the murky smoke of the gunfire. Still, she continued to run on towards the Confederate lines..."

Young and Courageous:
American Girls Who  Made History

By Marilyn Weymouth Seguin

Seguin has a passion for history and has devoted her professional life to teaching and sharing through her non fiction and fiction writing, such as No Ordinary Lives which I earlier reviewed and which included diaries of teenagers from Maine, including Nathaniel Hawthorne. Her latest is based upon younger girls who became known historically.Based on that history, Marilyn Weymouth Seguin provides fictional short stories for young and old readers and includes a challenge in her Introduction:

"Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it." —Mark Twain

“Courage is grace under pressure.”—Ernest Hemingway

How courageous are you?

• Like Sacagawea, would you leave your relatives and travel thousands of miles through the wilderness to help strangers?
• Like Abbie and Rebecca Bates, would you be brave enough to stand up to an entire army?
• Like Emily and Mary Edmonson, would you leave behind your family and everyone you knew and loved for a chance to live free?
• Like Belle Boyd, would you risk going to prison, getting shot at, possibly even getting killed, in order to save what you believe in?
• Like Minnie Freeman, would you risk freezing to death yourself in order to save the lives of others?


(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Most of us remember Sacagawea from our American History high school classes, but the story presented makes her so much more real! I did not know that her husband was actually the guide, but soon Sacagawea's knowledge and early training showed that she was better able to meet the needs of Lewis and Clark!
Not so well known are Abbie and Rebecca Bates who saved their town against the British, playing the fife and drum!

Of course, nobody knew it, except for the story later told by the two girls. Me, I believe it! And if it is really just a legend, after all, I really don't mind, because it obviously meant something to the people of that time, and has been carried forward as a wonderful message for the youth that followed...
I just know that if I had been alive back when Mary and Emily Edmonson were trying various ways to escape and become free, I would have been helping if I could...Emily was just 13 when she quietly left through the back door to meet Samuel, her brother and then to go on to where Mary worked. She, too, had been waiting .. Would you believe it was when I was also 13 that I met my friend, Marian Davis. She was the first African-American I had ever seen and we became close friends, riding the bus to school together and hanging with others, mostly white. Funny, we never thought about Marian as anything but our friend, who happened to be a lovely shade of chocolate...

Paul Edmonson, their father was a freedman, but their mother was a slave, making all 14 of the children slaves as well... Their attempt to escape didn't happen, but they never stopped working to be freed...And when they were, they became involved in abolitionist circles! And admired for their bravery...

There were quite a number of women acting as spies during the Civil War. I had met Belle Boyd in a novel by Francis Hamit and was pleased to see her included in this book spotlighting the courage of young girls.One of her most famous actions was getting word to General Jackson that there was a plan to capture him, then later to burn the bridges. Neither of these plans were successful due to Belle Boyd!

I would like to have found a picture of Minnie Freeman, the main character in the last story. Although the story of her saving the children she was teaching during an extreme blizzard is still found on several sites, none of the searches I found show a picture--I wondered how old she was at the time. I've seen historical movies where many high school graduates immediately became teachers in their school, so perhaps she was around 17 or 18... And charged with the responsibility of other children who would have been very close in age, but also those who were quite young...

Yet, when an emergency arose, in 1988, Minnie took charge. The Blizzard had been totally unexpected and most of the children had dressed for the warm day that began...but they were later caught in their one-room school! After it was all over, Minnie received 80 marriage proposals! Hey, the men knew they would get a good, courageous wife if she accepted! LOL

Readers will learn of the courage inside of each of the teens who were faced with making decisions, even as early as at the age of 13...Do you have a young daughter, niece, or grandchild that may at some time be faced with the need for acting independently to save her own or somebody else's life? Would she be ready? This might make a perfect stocking stuffer for those you love...

One never knows what is  happening today that will affect tomorrow's history. Aside from helping our young learn about people in history, Reading about the past can help any of us form our future choices and decisions...Check out the many books by Marilyn Weymouth Seguin. I especially enjoy when a historian uses their research to give us fictional stories, based upon actual historical events. If you do too, then I highly recommend Young and Courageous!


Marilyn Weymouth Seguin teaches in the writing program of the English Department at Kent State University in Ohio. 

She is the author of sixteen books (both fiction and nonfiction) and dozens of newspaper and feature articles. She holds degrees in English and Communication from the University of Maine and the University of Akron.

She lives with her husband in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and Gray, Maine. She has two grown children. Visit her at her website at
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Swann is Back! Check out Charles Salzberg's Latest!

Charles Salzberg
Charles Salzberg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shamus Award Nomination 
for Best First PI Novel

The Shamus Award is awarded by the 
Private Eye Writers of America (PWA) 
for the best detective fiction genre novels
and short stories of the year. The prize is
given annually to recognize outstanding
achievement in private eye fiction.

For more about Swann's Last Song
go to!__swanns-desk

Swann Dives In

By Charles Salzberg

Would you believe Henry Swann (meet Swann if you want to!) became a cable guy after finishin his last case, in Swann's Last Song?! No Way! I just couldn't see him climbing those stairs to install cable...He said it was the stairs that were beginning to bother him, but later admitted that he began to feel alive again when he began working his latest case... Let's face it, some guys were created to do what they best do, but I guess we'll have to wait to find out in each book...

If you clicked over and read my thoughts on Swann's Last Song, you will discovered that I favored the author's first ending over the published one... Wouldn't you know it, this ending surprised me too! But I'm thinking it was what the author wrote, so I'll have to ask him sometime. because while it surprised me, it worked. One thing we do know by this second novel is that Salzberg will not give us what we expect when a case is closing!

Charles Salzberg is just not going to trap himself into a fixed series format. I can tell that already! Now I love series, but Salzberg will take you to places where you didn't know you wanted to go and that can be cool too!

This time, readers will be taken behind the scenes in the book world...The rare books world of buying and selling...and possible criminal side of it...

Through an old connection, Swann is hooked up with a leading NY lawyer. Immediately, Swann hates the guy, but he's being offered $10 thou for a week's work...and, after all, it's all about getting the money when you work, right? BTW, the lawyer doesn't like Swann either, so they push their way through the arrangements because Swann knows he's taking the case... A Skip Tracer finds people, and Swann is good at it...

And the lawyer's daughter was missing, perhaps hooked up with a boyfriend who had also taken off...Sean Loomis was involved with Marcia Phillips, Carlton's daughter. So Swann figured it was best to start a search for Sean first...starting at Syracuse University:

Sean had worked in the library and majored in English Literature. Everybody praised his knowledge and devotion to the book world, but there was also one incident, after which he had left, insulted that they had suspected him. A rare book had disappeared...but was later found in another library building in regular stacks. The University had not pursued anything legally since the book movement could have been just a prank and nothing was gone.

Talking with students brought up the name of one of his professors, but she wasn't on campus at that time.

After talking with the librarian and an unlikely-looking chair of the English Department, he next traveled to Boston to talk with Dana Simmons, a professor in the department and then on to London. It seemed more and more likely that some type of scam might be happening, so Swann took some time to learn about the book business, which was quite interesting since most readers hate to destroy books and keep them, no matter how old. Finding old books that might be valuable was a business in itself and so readers learn along with Swann not only which books may have some value, but also how some type of forgery might take place...

Pretty straight forward trace activity so far, but then the twists start!

Salzberg has been a professional writer for years...but he has added a little flavor of Mike Hammer and Spenser, my favorite detectives from the past with Swann's own brand of humor...and now with the addition of Swann's voice of the trailers, we can start swooning over his wonderful voice...and can check out more about him on his site!

I loved the increase in pace as the clues began to point directly to who was doing what. The ending was somewhat surprising, but dare I say there was a moral to the story...a lesson to be learned...or perhaps, just a great, satisfying ending! This author adds some great imagery to his books, so be sure to check out his site! And kudos for the beautiful hardback cover directly on the book binding, as well as the paper cover! That probably makes it a future collectible rare book! LOL Enjoy Swann at what he does best and share about his story, so he doesn't have to go out and fix televisions anymore! Highly recommended!


Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York Magazine, GQ, Elle, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times Arts and Leisure, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times Book Review,  the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and various other publications.

He is the author of From Set Shot to Slam Dunk, An Oral History of the NBA, and On A Clear Day They Could See Seventh Place:, Baseball’s 10 Worst Teams of the Century, and co-author of My Zany Life and Times, by Soupy Sales, Catch Them Being Good, by Tony DiCicco and Colleen Hacker, Phd., and The Mad Fisherman, by Charlie Moore.

His novel, Swann’s Last Song, was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel.  The sequel, Swann Dives In, was published in October, 2012.  He also has a Swann short story in Long Island Noir (Akashic Books.)  His novel, Devil in the Hole, will be published in July, 2013.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Deeth's Drama Divide by Zero - Download Free Today!

She knew not to go back to Paradise Park...but, still, she did...
Divide by Zero

By Sheila Deeth


I read the majority of this book in one day. I'm shaken, confused, and disturbed as I finish it. But I have to say also--What an amazing, unforgettable story... I find I can't rest until I start telling you about it...

Readers may find the format hard to get into, so I'll share that I began to see it as time slices, slices of people's lives, their internal lives... Yes, I said internal because the emotion in this novel is intense, deep...and so realistic that you may find that you, too, have traveled to...


But this is not the Paradise that you would envision by its name...

Paradise is more a community, a subdivision of a larger area with characters that live rather insular lives, as we all do...

Perhaps that's why it becomes so real...

Deeth provides segments of lives and takes readers directly into internal thoughts and emotions so realistic that, for me, I had actual physical reactions to what I was reading. I wish I had taken more time to read, so that the emotional impact might not have been so high by the time it ended...because there was one major realization I had...

Are we all so blind to what is happening in our own communities? In this world?

This book is so character-driven that it is sometimes hard to, both keep some of them straight because of the impact of so many characters, and to absorb the power of some of the emotions   displayed by so many. So, do take the reading slow so each of the characters speaks to you...

Consider if you would that you are a community member, already an established long-time resident. There is a mother and son there. The father left when the boy was 10. The father had found his mother under the table at his home when he, too was 10...His father had killed his mother.

And so when his son reached the same age, he had left them. His mantra had become, he wasn't his father, but still he left them, to go on without him.

When 10 years had passed, his son came looking for him. And he came back home...

Ahhh, but you see, this overview can tell you nothing about how each of them felt inside. Only the son felt that if he could get his mother and father back together, it would be like it used to me.

But it wasn't...

The mother had never tried to get a divorce; the father decided she still loved him as he loved her, and he expected to come to her for the love he had never sought anywhere else, during the past 10 years, and that she would give it to him.

But she wouldn't...

Sometimes, readers will grow bored with what some of the people say and do--just like we might find with people in our own lives. Sometimes, we will learn of strange things happening, but also just turn away and go on about our own lives, not caring enough to start asking questions, raising our concerns to the right people to find out what was happening... (But I found I was alert...and wanting to speak out only to realize I was...reading a fiction novel.)

Until a young woman committed suicide in a public restroom while aborting a child she felt she could not keep...

Until all the young mothers, with children, who were so tired, could only wonder, but not really care, "who was the father?"

And until one of their own was brutally murdered...

Ahhh, but there are many bright spots too--I should not totally leave the happiness out as that son falls in love and marries and soon has three sons of his own... Or, there is a grandmother who cannot talk, but manages to love enough to make sure she was placed in a home so that her daughter could try to have a normal life...and then blesses the relationship that daughter forms with a married man... And so many more life experiences!!!

And, tell me, can there be such a thing as an angel cat? I was given one many years ago for my collection, so I know there just might be...and Garnet was a bright spot that ran throughout the entire story as her strange influence was shared...

But I must admit I was totally unprepared for the ending and, even now, wonder, "was this the plan all along?" Let me know what you think...  This novel is so thought-provoking that, even now, I can't stop wondering... Sheila's banner certainly speaks the truth... She's given us a "What IF...S book that will leaving you with challenges, perhaps regrets, perhaps renewal...but definitely an unforgettable story... Go download free today because this inspiring novel turned out to be almost epic in impact...


Author(and sometimes illustrator)--Mongrel Christian--Anglo-American--mathematician who can't add up and writer who can't spell.

Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States near Portland Oregon, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories and meeting her neighbors' dogs on the green.

Friday, October 26, 2012

One Last Cat, (A Ghost?) from Pat Bertram's The Light Bringer!

The Light Bringer

By Pat Bertram


No wonder she felt tired—it was still night. She was about to climb back into bed when she remembered what Luke had said about the setting moon illuminating the outlines of the houses where the white tribe had lived. Afraid of missing the phenomenon, she didn’t even take time to snatch a robe to throw over the long T-shirt she wore, but dashed to the front door, yanked it open, and stepped out onto the porch.
She gaped at the town. By outlines, she’d thought Luke meant a faint tracing on the ground where the foundations had been, but this . . . this was a complete village, each exquisite stone house solidly visible. Though the stones weren’t uniform, they fit together snugly, like a miniature version of the megalithic ruins she’d seen in pictures of Cuzco. The roofs seemed to be made of rough wooden shingles, and the windows were covered with what appeared to be mats woven of dried grasses.
Seeing the door of the nearest house open a crack, she froze.
The door opened wider, and a sleek, hairless white cat with outsize ears and large slanted eyes sneaked outside. It looked around as though proud of its accomplishment, then sat back on its haunches and washed its face.
A ghost cat?
Becka felt a giggle percolate to her throat. She tried to swallow her amusement, but a tiny gurgle escaped.
The cat swiveled its head in her direction and focused its luminescent eyes on her.
She gazed at the hairless creature, unable to look away. What is it they say about staring too long into the abyss? Make sure it isn’t staring back at you?
She shivered, but still couldn’t avert her eyes.
Suddenly, with one liquid motion, the cat sprang to its feet and streaked toward her.
Want to know More?
Becka Johnson had been abandoned on the doorstep of a remote cabin in Chalcedony, Colorado when she was a baby. Now, thirty-seven years later, she has returned to Chalcedony to discover her identity, but she only finds more questions. Who has been looking for her all those years? Why are those same people interested in fellow newcomer Philip Hansen? Who is Philip, and why does her body sing in harmony with his? And what do either of them have to do with a shadow corporation that once operated a secret underground installation in the area?
“Brilliant!” —Suzanne Francis, author of the Song of the Arkafina series
“Pat Bertram has a marvelous ability to write the longest parables in all of literature. She unglues the world as it is perceived and rebuilds it in a wiser and more beautiful way.” —Lazarus Barnhill, author ofThe Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday
“Light Bringer is TYPICAL BERTRAM: plots within plots, multiple characters with multiple agendas, fast moving, more than enough mystery and intrigue for everyone, satisfying conclusion. Great book!” —Malcolm Campbell, author of The Sun Singer and Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire
Light Bringer is one of the most unique novels I have had the pleasure to read in a long time. Ms. Bertram’s fascinating characters and original subplots make this a page-turner I simply could not put down.” —Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato and Snare.

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado.

When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book -- character and story driven novels that can't easily be slotted into a genre -- she decided to write her own.
Grief: The Great Yearning is Bertram's first nonfiction book to be published by Second Wind Publishing. Her novels, Light BringerDaughter Am IMore Deaths Than One, and A Spark of Heavenly Fire, are also available from Second Wind Publishing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Different Kind of Review: Chablis Guest Reviews from The Cat, The Wife and The Weapon!

"I'd called Mercy's only vet as I sped to his office. The white-
haired Doc Jensen met me in the waiting area and immediately
took the half-conscious Dashiell from my arms. He headed
through a door to the back of his clinic. Tom's cat was in expert
hands now and I felt my shoulders slump in relief.
"Where's Tom?" the receptionist, Glenda asked.
"She was a fairly new employee, always cheerful--a caring,
sweet lady with highlighted hair who wore colorful, pet-themed
scrubs and always had manicured nails with painted-on paw
"I--I'm not sure." I said, "But I'll pay, if that's what I need to do.
I left my purse in my van." I started toward the exist.
"Wait, honey," Glenda said. "You don't have to be concerned
about money now. First we have to get our Dashiell shipshape...

The Cat, The Wife
 and The Weapon
   Look what the cat dragged in...

A Cats in Trouble Mystery

By Leann Sweeney

OMG! It was just like I was watching a soap opera! Excuse me, I'm just a little nervous to be here at Book Reader's Heaven. I'm the shy one in the family and often am not in the thick of things happening, but since I was selected I'll try to represent the latest Cats in Trouble Mystery by LeAnn Sweeney. I'm told this is only the second book read by our host, but she's thrilled to add another series to her huge cat mystery collection! She even pulled out a small quilt for me to lay on while I visited! Sooooo, purrrrrrfect for me...

We had just gotten home from...yet another quilt and cat show trip. These things are just so boring since we have to travel in cages and be soooo careful around all the quilts, with nobody willing to allow us to stretch and dig our claws in! Anyway, we were finally home and eating out of our own bowls, in our own kitchen...

     Who's we? Well I live with Jillian Hart and two friends--Merlot and Syrah... and, Oh, I'm Chablis! I'm sure you'll get to meet everybody sometime in the future, but right now I just wanted to relax and check that nothing is changed.

That just wasn't going to be possible, though, 'cause we all knew that Mom was upset. She had not heard from her friend, Tom, during the last part of our trip. She talked with Kara, her step-daughter, and found he had told her that he had to be away for a few days. We knew what was next! She got back into the car and drove to Tom's house, telling us to stay home and nap while she was gone. Of course, we had already planned to do just that once we finished dinner! Mom made each of us our own quilt which she keeps at the foot of her bed and serious nap time like we needed would ensure we all went there to feel safe and secure...

Mom was so upset when she got back and shared what had happened. There was a stranger in Tom's house and he looked like he was acting as if he owned the place. He said he was Tom's half-brother, but Tom had never mentioned him so she didn't quite believe him. Then it got worse for all of us, because the man had allowed Dashiell to get out of the house!

Dashiell had diabetes and needed constant care...

And Tom's supposed brother hadn't even been out hunting for him! Mom went out and finally found him, out cold, and rushed him to the hospital after rubbing his gums with Karo syrup (she's such a wonderful, caring individual)! Notice that he get's an "excerpt" just because of the new receptionist, Glenda! But I won't say anything, since I'm a guest here at BRH...Ok, my eyes may say something different in that pic above, but, really, that's alright, Mom really was concerned about Dashiell and how he'd been treated!

Well, soon Tom caming walking in our back door and Mom got so excited because, first, he was here, but then, because he had clearly been beaten...

Then, they bring home a young man who was introduced as an "almost" official step-son of Tom with Yoshi, OMG, a rat terrier!

Please forgive me, I do get soooo upset with changes...and can you imagine how I hated hearing that howling, although Mom was enjoying talking to him...

But I digress...Tom had been kidnapped and taken out of state and beaten by the new husband of his ex...mainly because he had once been a cop and Tom had arrested him...Now he was out and had been once again living with Tom's ex, Hilary, and her son, Finn. Finn had left home, now at 18, and had come to find Tom and hopefully, stay there until he could deal with his future. Didn't I tell you it was like a soap opera?!

But then Hilary's husband winds up dead in Tom's car and there is evidence that Finn had been in the car as well, although he doesn't remember it. Tom and Mom had found Finn walking on the streets and rushed him to the hospital where they discovered he'd received a blow to his head...

Now, though, both Tom and Finn were under suspicion of killing Hilary's husband!

And Bob and him mother get into the act when money comes into the picture!

All this drama was just too, too much for me and I spent a lot of time in our bedroom...but I just know that you readers will enjoy helping to follow the twists and turns that leads to the solution of this "crazy-cat" quilt mystery (I took that description from the name of a friend I met at the Vet's office one day...) and I've been told to say that this is BRH Highly Recommended! for cat, dog, and mystery lovers alike!

Thank you so much for inviting me!

I have been writing for more than twenty years and feel very lucky to have become a career writer. Many times I was working my day job as a nurse and then writing well into the night. My books are "gentle mysteries" and my towns are populated with people I'd like to me. Not that I "like" them all, I'd just like to meet them. There will be justice in the end and no animal will ever be harmed, only rescued. I hope you can escape into one of my stories.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Different Kind of Review--Guest Reviewer, Irving from Lauren Carr's Dead on Ice!

A Maine Coon cat in the snow of Canada.
A Maine Coon cat in the snow of Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dead on Ice:  
 A Lovers in Crime Mystery

By Lauren Carr

You know me, right? We met first in Shades of Murder. That was when I first got involved with Gnarly and Mac Faraday. They are both cool dudes, but, really, I just needed to have my own book, which is Dead on Ice, the Debut Lovers in Crime Mystery! And, no, I'm not a lover...yet.

I'm the sidekick of Cameron Gates, one kick-ass lady! Of course, I could have no other type of partner since most people also run when they see me... Ha, I'm just teasing you as we cats are prone to do with our...victims... You see, only God knows why I was literally striped with white down my head and back, so that, some, who don't immediately recognize me as the beautiful Maine Coon  (I had this picture touched up so you could enjoy just gazing at my big furry bod...) that I am, immediately scream, "Skunk!" You know, that gets old reallllll quick! But, at least Mom always immediately corrects the mistake and introduces me...I'm Irving! Yeah, Irving is my moniker--Mom gave me that name--you wanna step outside and make something of that?

But then, she had to go and allow the story of my being "skunked" to be shared here... It'll be awhile before I forgive her for that!

So, just let me go ahead and tell you a little about our great story!

Cherry Pickens was her name...

Yes, she was a well-known porn star at one time, but had at some point come back to her home town. Some didn't even know she had been there, or at least that's what they said when my Mom started asking...

Hey, I haven't told you yet that Mom is a state Police homicide detective. She works a lot with Joshua Thornton who is the Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney. This time, Joshua was personally involved because his cousin owned the house...

Where the well-preserved body of Cherry Pickens was found.

But that wasn't the first body...

Albert Gordon was a local lawyer and the cousin of Joshua, but had been noticed to be missing for a few days.

Cameron and Joshua had both showed up to a house that they had not been inside since before Albert's wife had died. Since then he had become a hoarder and there was just a small path through which they began to search. Soon, though, Mom noticed a familiar smell beyond the mustiness of all that was stored there...

They saw his hand first; piles of newspapers had fallen on him and apparently smothered him before he could get out. They soon learned that Albert's estate was left to the church and included a million dollars! That's when people started coming from all over to see what was in the house, to help clean, and to consider what would happen in the future...

And someone spotted the bomb...

There were certainly many trails down which Mom and others went, to try to find out who would have killed a porn star. Could it have been as simple as the mob finding her and taking their revenge out? But then, how did they get the body into a freezer and into the basement of a house so full that humans had to follow the paths that had been left by the owner. You may be stumped by this complex mystery--cause my Mom sure spent a lot of time investigating, not even taking me out as usual! That was NOT good! And I often let her know my feelings, even though she was so busy she couldn't listen to me much!

I've been told this book will be lots of fun for you humans,  and Dead on Ice is BRH Highly Recommended! As for me, I hope I am invited back once I'm totally smell-free from the spray from you-know-who! And, if you don't mind, could you keep this little part of the book to yourself...and I'll owe you one!

Enjoy this one, especially my parts in our Debut...I just know it's going to be me that you'll want to follow, but I'm sure you'll also like getting to know my Mom and the others in our little town! Thanks for reading about me!


Lauren Carr is the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. All of her mysteries have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Dead on Ice is Lauren's sixth book, and the first installment of a new series, Lovers in Crime, which is set in Chester, West Virginia and Hookstown, Pennsylvania, in the Ohio Valley.
When a foul odor reached her nose, Cameron covered her face. She could hear Irving screeching behind her. Big Will covered his face with one hand while pointing over her shoulder with the other. “I thought you said that was a cat.” Whirling around, Cameron saw Irving racing across the parking lot toward her. His fur was flared so that he looked twice his size. As he grew closer, the stench became worse. “Irving? Is that you?” “Skunk!” Big Will turned to run. In his hysteria, he banged into the edge of the picnic table and fell over. He rolled before scrambling to his feet and running up the hill to where his car was parked along the road. Cameron wanted to back away also, but she couldn’t leave Irving, who was equally hysterical. When he got to her, he stopped, dropped, rolled, and pawed at his face with first one paw and then the other. “What did you do?” Irving howled. When he tried to rub up against her, she backed up. He followed her in her retreat until she had her back up against the picnic table. Crying out, the big cat reached up to claw at her thighs. Cameron looked from where the cat was pitifully writhing in misery at her feet to the state police cruiser. There was no choice. The only way to get Irving home and cleaned up was to take him in the police car. “You do realize that we’re never going to live this down.” She picked up the howling cat. Clinging to her with his front claws, he rubbed his face back and forth across her shoulder. “What happened? Did she get mad when she found out you were a cat in a skunk suit?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Different Kind of Review: Guest Reviewer: Hercules!

Jip en Noah
Jip en Noah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"I wasn't a police officer. I wasn't even a lawyer. I was a
librarian. I knew about books, grant proposals and the
Dewey decimal system. The thing was, because of my
parents' acting careers, I'd seen a lot of subterfuge and I
was pretty good at spotting a liar. Plus I have Hercules and Owen who had the ability to stick their furry noses--
literally--into places they probably had no business being. Of course, I couldn't share that with Marcus, or
anyone else for that matter.
"I tried to imagine his reaction if I told him that my cats' talents went beyond being able to hear a can of tuna being opened from a hundred feet away; that Hercules had the ability to walk through walls and Owen could disappear whenever it suited him, which was generally at the worst possible time for me. How could I explain it to anyone else when I didn't even understand it all myself? At best, I'd end up somewhere having my head examined, at worst the cats would."

CopyCat Killing:
 No More Pussyfooting Around...

 A Magical Cats Mystery

By Sofie Kelly

Hi, I'm Hercules, one of the stars in the Magical Cats Mystery Series. First, I want you to know that any pictures presented anywhere is really us--we use stand-ins for publicity. Otherwise, our lives would be just too, too know how fans are...especially when they learn that we have special abilities. People are just so silly about that and I have to say, I need my quiet time--hence the decision not to reveal our true beautiful selves!

Sofie Kelly's latest has more humor and fun between Mom and us... And, a lot more mystery. What's more fun than having a mystery cozy with cats?! My Mom, Kathleen Paulson, is a very smart lady so she told us that cat lovers will enjoy her talking with me and Owen; while mystery lovers will be following deaths within an artist co-op and a long-ago murder that was literally uncovered!

Mom moved to Mayville Heights to become the head librarian and we all debuted in Curiosity Thrilled the Cat. I don't know why Owen got to tell you about that first story, because I am the main detective--just so you know, especially since I can go anywhere to find the clues! Anyway, Mom is also a volunteer who helps to feed and protect a group of feral cats in our town. In fact, she found Owen and me out there! It was during her scheduled feeding with Marcus--well, you would probably call him a potential beau...but we call him an interloper...

Anyway, while Mom and Marcus were out at Wisteria Hill, they both took a little time to check out the area around the building. There had been a lot of rain and much flooding and Mom had also been helping her friend Maggie because the artist co-op building had flooded. She made me promise not to tell you what she did while's so funny but she's a little embarrassed about it--pssst, but it involved a big dead rat...that wasn't dead!

While Mom was looking around she heard rushing water and went to investigate. Whoosh! She was on a hillside and suddenly that hill slid down with her with it! If I had been there, I could have warned her, but, no, she had Marcus with her and he was clear across the property. Wouldn't you know, she had been able to hang on to the purple piece of stuff she had seen and stuffed it in her pocket, which is why she had gotten too close. Who knew it would be an important clue later?!

In fact, she had forgotten about it because of what she discovered at the bottom of that hill--a human skull!

"I looked at Owen. "I have to get up." He made grumbly
noises but he jumped down to the floor and trailed behind
me into the kitchen. Hercules came through the door from the
porch. Literally through. The energy in the kitchen seemed
to change somehow and there he was. It still made me jump.
"Owen looked at my keys on the table and meowed. "We're
still trying to figure out what happened to Tom." I said to
"Hercules interrupted my recitation with a loud
"I don't know how he knew Pearl was at Wisteria Hill. He
just did."
"The cat didn't raise any more objections..."

Did I tell you Marcus is a cop? Well, he was quickly there to help Mom, but as soon as she pointed to that big round bunch of bones, they both started to move very carefully. The skull had been bludgeoned; this was now a crime scene... Later they had discovered that the body, long dead, had been the father of our vet! I mean, we didn't really like her for "needle-point" reasons, but we sure were sorry for her finding out that her father had never left them--he had been killed and left there!

While all of the police people went to that scene for their investigation, Mom went to help Maggie again. They were heading out with boxes when Maggie decided to check the level of the water in the basement one more time...And almost slid down the steps when she caught sight of the man's body laying half-way into the water! Mom helped Maggie sit on a step and went to check if the man was alive...and saw that not only was he dead, but it was the man they had just been talking about that had caused a scene at the co-op's meeting and argued with Maggie...

Well, with two murders and two friends of Mom in the middle of things, you just know we had to be involved in solving those crimes--besides Marcus doesn't like it when Mom gets involved--we do take sides with Mom! Mostly though, we just listened and helped Mom work out all the clues and, of course, I found the pen part--a major addition to identifying one of the guilty ones involved!

I just know you're going to love CopyCat Killing! And, I'm supposed to add that this book is BRH Highly Recommended! If you know what that means, let me know... In the meantime, Meow! Which means see ya next time!


Sofie Kelly is the pseudonym of young adult writer and mixed-media artist, Darlene Ryan. Sofie/Darlene lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she practices Wu style tai chi and likes to prowl around thrift stores. And she admits to having a small crush on Matt Lauer.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Internet Intersections... Photographs by Adolfo Caso; Haiku by Moi...

We all go that straight path that leads to Internet Life;

Coming often to Connect and sometimes become friends...

There we spend some time and space; Having briefly shared Intersected lives...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Guest Post from Touring Author Sheila Deeth Celebrating Divide by Zero!

Hi Everybody!

I self-published some children’s stories a while ago. I read and re-read, edited and re-edited them over and over before I let them loose on the unsuspecting world. Then I found I’d written Gad instead of God in the middle of one.

My new novel, Divide by Zero, was just released by Luckily I didn’t have to edit that all on my own. My words were handed over to a wonderful writer and editor, Shirley Ann Howard—since I’d already read and enjoyed several of her books I could hardly believe my good fortune. She taught me lots of things about editing and I suddenly realized, there’s a reason I’ve always enjoyed polishing a nice clean smooth wooden table—it’s like polishing a manuscript; it’s making words and wood shine.

Now I’m editing Vampires of Rome for Peter Joseph Swanson, another author I really admire, and I’m learning even more. So here are my first rules for editing a novel:

1. Don’t expect to do everything at once.
2.   Familiarize yourself with the voice and the story in your first pass. Read like a reader and take note of where you skim, where you’re confused, where the wording conjures entirely the wrong image, and where you’re itching to change something. Track changes and write lots of comments. What color is her hair? What year did they meet? Does he always speak so very formally?
3.    On the second pass look for answers to your questions and make the changes you skipped the first time through. If you started switching “he is” to “he’s” in chapter five, you’ll want to do it more often near the start. If something was confusing, find another way to say it. Try cutting down your long sentences, removing “that,” changing “he was walking” to “he walked,” deleting extraneous “but” “and” “however” etc.
4.    The third pass is a good place for some more global edits. Look for every use of “that” and see which you want to keep. Look for “was” “were” “and” and more. Look for “as if” and see if you want “as if it was” or “as if it were.” Look for likely misspellings of your characters’ names, and anything else that came up once too often in the earlier passes.
5.   And now, just to confuse things, change your font. I recommend Garamond. Those semi-colons will suddenly stand out. The italics look different—did you really want the quote marks italicized too, and the punctuation (probably not)? Even the shape of the paragraphs changes and you get to ask if this sentence belongs on the end of one or the beginning of the next.
6.   And now—yes, there’s still another pass—now read your file with much larger text on the screen. How did that word get to be only half italicized? How did did you manage not to see that repeated “did”? And those commas—why did you use so many in that sentence.
7.   That last pass shouldn’t have changed very much so now you stop. You really hope you haven’t left any mistakes but just know that you have. It’s life. Seven for God’s perfect plan and humanity’s perfect imperfection!

Shirley Ann Howard taught me well. Thank you Shirley! But even then, the “final” version of Divide by Zero, emailed in a beautifully formatted pdf file by my publisher, had the classic statement “She picked up a diaper for the baby provided by the church.” Luckily the publisher allowed a few more “final” edits. The church is now providing diapers, not babies, and Divide by Zero is wending its way to the stores.


About Divide by Zero:

It takes a subdivision to raise a child, and a wealth of threads to weave a tapestry, until one breaks.
Troy, the garage mechanic’s son, loves Lydia, the rich man’s daughter. Amethyst has a remarkable cat and Andrea a curious accent. Old Abigail knows more than anyone else but doesn’t speak. And in Paradise Park a middle-aged man keeps watch while autistic Amelia keeps getting lost.
Pastor Bill, at the church of Paradise, tries to mend people. Peter mends cars. But when that fraying thread gives way it might take a child to raise the subdivision—or to mend it.

About the author:
Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States near Portland Oregon, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories and meeting her neighbors' dogs on the green.

Divide by Zero is available from: 
And more.

Sheila can be found on her website:
Or connect with her on:

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