Wednesday, January 28, 2015 Amazing Deals! E-Book Bestsellers! ($25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway)

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review/Kindle Giveaway: Climax by Christina George


Title: Climax by Christina George, Book 3 in The Publicist series
Category: Adult fiction
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: CreateSpace 
Published: Dec 15, 2014 (bundle edition)
Available in: Print and e-book (mobi for Kindle) 
Tour dates: Jan 12 to Feb 6, 2015
Content Rating: PG-13 Mature 


Kate Mitchell has never forgiven herself for breaking Nick Lavigne’s heart. Now he’s back and he’s moved on, and it’s affecting Kate’s life more than she’s willing to admit. 

Kate Mitchell has everything. She's the head of a crazy successful publishing house, engaged to the traffic-stopping sexy Mac Ellis and she's about to sign one of the biggest authors of her career.

And that's when everything falls apart. 

Everything is perfect…until it’s not.

In a city of 8 million people Kate manages to run into someone she never expected to see again.

Nick is handsome, impossibly kind, every girl’s dream, and Kate’s former fiancĂ©. He’s also the brother of the rising star author she’s trying to sign. Now that Nick’s back in town and has moved on he insists he’s over Kate, but part of him still can’t get past how amazing they were, and his sister won’t let anyone forget how brutally it ended.

When Mac is dealt a life-changing blow, it forces Kate to question every single choice she’s made.

Follow Kate as she embarks on a journey of life and love, navigating through the decisions that will change it all forever.

Book Review: Murder, Mayhem and Bliss by Loulou Harrington

Nothing much happens in Myrtle Grove, Oklahoma. So when prominent businessman Harry Kerr is discovered face down in his pool shortly after dawn, the breakfast crowd in Jesse Camden’s tea room is buzzing. Recognizing the name, Jesse hurries to her friend Vivian Windsor, Myrtle Grove’s resident oil heiress and great-aunt to Bliss Kerr, widow of the deceased and soon-to-be prime suspect in his suspicious death.

Clearing Bliss and finding the real murderer isn’t what Jesse meant when she offered her assistance. And wrangling an eager band of helpers while chasing a tangle of leads across the countryside, tripping over deputies and evidence along the way, isn’t her first choice for her weekend. But here she is, and here she will be, hearing secrets no one should know, and discovering betrayals no one could live with, until Jesse finds her way through the maze of deceit to uncover the real killer.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

#YourTurnChallenge - Day 7 - Grow Your Blog

  2 Bags Full

What to do When it's Your Turn is a book by Seth Godin.  It's been morphed into a writing challenge and you can click the book cover up there to find more information.


Day 7:  What are you taking with you from this Challenge?

During the Your Turn Challenge this past week, I have concentrated more than I ever have (I think) on writing something that readers with either enjoy or at least be able to take something away with them.

This is also going to be my post for the "Grow Your Blog" link up, hosted by Vicki at the 2 Bags Full blog.  (I first saw the link-up 2 years ago, on the day they all posted.  I tried to keep a look out for it in 2014, but did not sign up in time.  I JUMPED on it this year!  BOO-YEAH!

So, #YourTurnChallenge-rs, meet the GrowYourBlog-gers (and vice versa)!

At YTC, scads of writer-types pledged to post a blog entry once a day during the challenge.  Today is the last day.  

At GYB, scads of blogger-types have their virtual autograph books out, looking to make new blogger friends.

Since the beginning of 2014, I have been more of a book blogger than anything, all grown out of a years-long reading for pleasure starve-a-thon that lasted from college through my youngest child reaching tween-age.

I have learned many things in the past year.  I have been entertained beyond belief.  I have experienced a full range of emotions.  And, I have traveled around the world, all in the pages of books. It's been a heck of a ride and I'm always looking for more fellow, make that sister-and-brother co-travelers!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

#YourTurnChallenge - Day 6 - Walk a Mile in Somebody's Shoes

What to do When it's Your Turn is a book by Seth Godin.  It's been morphed into a writing challenge and you can click the book cover up there to find more information.


Day 6:  Tell us about a time when you surprised yourself.

That would be the time I did a walk-a-thon (before they shortened them in general).  It was in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The walk-a-thon started at Sugarhouse Park, went through Research Park (a business-type park), around the University of Utah, through the mouth City Creek Canyon, past the State Capitol, Trolley Square, Liberty Park and back to Sugarhouse.  The total distance was 30 km (18 miles).

I had never walked so far in my life, but had a little of the swagger of youth left and thought it would be no problem.  Wow.  I was SO wrong!

At a little way station in the Avenues, I changed my socks.  That helped.  I also put bandaids over my several blisters, and ate an orange.  I love the aroma that bites the air when you peel a ripe, juicy orange.

One thing that helped was having a portable tape player with earphones, which I had bought especially for the walk-a-thon.  I think I had one tape - Introducing the Hard Line According to Terence Trent D'Arby.  I bought that tape because of the song they used on the show 21 Jump Street (the tv series, not the movie).

I changed my socks again at Liberty Park.  It was amazing how (relatively?) better I felt with a clean, dry pair of socks.  By the time I climbed the last hill back to SugarHouse Park, I was sliding my feet along the ground.  But I felt like a mongoose holding onto a snake.  I would be ok if I just kept held on.  If I let go (stopped putting one foot in front of the other) I would have been a goner.

Later that night, I went to a bbq/party for the department I worked for at a local bank.  One of our staff was moving to Hawaii with her family.  At the end of the evening as I was preparing to leave, I had to walk through a hallway from the kitchen of the house towards the front door.  Probably half a dozen people were sitting staggered on opposite sides of the hall with their legs out in front of them.  I had to ask my co-workers and their family members to move their legs because I was physically unable to lift my legs the 4-6" necessary to climb over them!

But I finished the walk-a-thon and survived!  That was a huge surprise to me, because on the last couple of miles I thought many times of the van that would circle around and pick up people who couldn't take another step.

This experience taught me the value of dedication to a task.  And that lesson would stand me in good stead years later when I worked a Christmas season at an Amazon warehouse in Lexington, Kentucky.  But that's another story altogether.

Friday, January 23, 2015

#YourTurnChallenge - Day 5 - Getting Unstuck

What to do When it's Your Turn is a book by Seth Godin.  It's been morphed into a writing challenge and you can click the book cover up there to find more information.


Day 5:  What advice would you give for getting unstuck?

I must say I am a Mistress of Breaking Big Plans Down Into Ridiculously Small Steps.  Probably more than half the time I feel completely overwhelmed by the 'big picture' - so much so that even if it is something that needs to happen, I have a lot of trouble actually starting, figuring if I'm going to fail anyway, I might as well save the time and effort.  (I know.  But I told you about my depression on Day 1 of the challenge.)

So, what do I mean by ridiculously small steps?

Say we're talking about getting out of bed and starting my day.  Some people can jump up and be about their business in fairly short order.  Once in a while that is even true for me...but not always.

Some days it goes like this:

1) Wake up.  (This one doesn't take a lot of effort on my part and actually happens whether I want it to or not.)
2) Think about getting out of bed.
3) Decide to stretch some before I do, because I read somewhere that that is a good thing.
4) Actually stretch.
5)  Reach down to pull aside the covers.
6)  Move my legs off the edge of the bed.
7)  Use principles of gravity and momentum to allow dropping my legs to the floor to cause me to sit up.
8)  Think about laying back down before that wonderful lazy sleepy feeling completely disappears.
9)  Swear at the dogs who are scratching at the side door to be let out.
10)  Actually stand up.

Ok, yes, this is a bit tongue-in-cheek.  But if I can break a daunting process down into small enough steps, I can often get enough of these micro-steps under my belt to feel like I have a chance at coloring in all the numbers on the big picture.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

#YourTurnChallenge - Day 4 - A Very Important Skill

What to do When it's Your Turn is a book by Seth Godin.  It's been morphed into a writing challenge and you can click the book cover up there to find more information.


Day 4:  Teach us something that you do well.


I like to listen.  Most of us would like more time, so here's the ultra-short version of the lesson:

1.  Open your ears.

2.  Zip your lips.

And here's the slightly-less-short version:

To listen is to hear + to understand.  We can go to a talk given in a foreign language and hear a lot.  But unless we know the language, we won't really be able to understand what the speaker is trying to say, so we cannot listen effectively.

But this is the internet.  Unless we listen to or produce podcasts or videos, to what do we have to listen?

We 'listen' to other bloggers by visiting and entering into a conversation with them, even if it is just by leaving a relevant comment on their post.  This shows that you read the post and you thought about it; in other words, you listened.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#YourTurnChallenge - Day 3 - This REALLY Needs Fixing!

What to do When it's Your Turn is a book by Seth Godin.  It's been morphed into a writing challenge and you can click the book cover up there to find more information.


Day 3:  Tell us about something that you think should be improved.


This is not going to be as serious or 'heavy' a post as either my Day 1 or Day 2, just so you know.  But it definitely has an effect on my mood, creativity and productivity.

My desk is a mess.

The desk is in our living room, having come with the house.  It belonged to my husband's paternal grandmother before she passed away a couple of years ago.  (We bought the house that summer.)  When we visited, I used to find her often sitting at the desk reading cookbooks.  That's a nice memory of Mamaw, but my point is that the desk is old.  It's made of real wood, but the surface was covered at some point by what looks like a piece of fake wood paneling.  Trouble is, the glue in the center front has loosened with age and now said fake wood paneling bows up in the center.  I've pinched vital parts of my anatomy more than once by leaning forward when I am typing on my laptop.  Also it makes for a sometimes precarious placement of a drink.

But I'm avoiding the true problem.

I could say that my desk is cluttered, but that wouldn't be telling the half of it.  Actually, my daughter and I use the laptop about the same amount of time.  Occasionally, my younger son will do some reading at fanfiction sites.  The point is that the laptop sees a lot of use, and a lot of changing of the guard in terms of users.  There is also a fair amount of folks forgetting to take their empies away with them.

So, I'm going to challenge myself to improve the state of my work location by improving the organization of my desk.  How do I hold myself accountable, you might ask?  On the 31st of January, 2015, I am going to post a picture of my desk on my blog, in whatever state it happens to be.  And I really, REALLY want the desktop to look better than it does now.  And yes, my daughter and son are going to help.

Aside from the neatness factor, when my desktop is cluttered, I don't think as clearly or creatively, and as writing is a big part of my work, that causes problems.

So, you're all invited back to see my wonderful desk a week from Saturday.  I can't promise I'll post 'before' pictures, but you never know. ;)

Book Review/Giveaway: Windy City Blues by Marc Krulewitch

Jules Landau feels right at home in the ethnic stew of the Windy City, where he’s indebted to the hopes and schemes of his criminal ancestors. Street-smart and college-educated, Jules wants nothing more than to go straight and atone for his family’s past. But when he investigates a horrific killing, Jules uncovers a hidden world of lucrative corruption.

Jack Gelashvili had his head bashed in and no one knows why. The most obvious answer is that he was a parking cop, a universally loathed job—especially in Chicago. Turns out there’s a lot of money to be made on expired meters, and when Jules starts making noise, he starts making enemies—from the head of a media empire to the mastermind of a prostitution ring. When rumors of bloodthirsty Mob connections arise, Jack’s gorgeous cousin Tamar objects, and Jules is increasingly swayed by the logic and charms of the sexy baker. Following this beautiful woman into the cloistered world of Georgian immigrants, Jules brings his hunches, his family connections, and his gun. But he’s just one man against a pack of criminals with a million reasons to shoot first.

Previously published as Scofflaw Blues.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Your Turn Challenge - Day 2 - Something That's Important

What to do When it's Your Turn is a book by Seth Godin.  It's been morphed into a writing challenge and you can click the book cover up there to find more information.


Day 2:  Tell us about something that's important to you.

Few things get me as fired up as the treatment of and discrimination against people with mental illnesses.  A majority of people will say, "That woman is autistic," or "That man is schizophrenic," as if the person is their illness.  He is not bi-polar; he is a person with bi-polar disorder (or manic depression).  You wouldn't say someone is cancer.

There is also a stigma attached to having a mental illness, that is not present with a physical ailment.  Think of when you hear of someone being referred to a 'mental hospital'.  We pigeon-hole that person as 'crazy' and write them off.  We wonder what happened to make so-and-so from that terrible story on the news do such a thing.  But we don't ask what makes someone lash out when their blood sugar is low.  Are we really afraid that being near someone with a mental illness opens us to the possibility of physical harm, more than just walking down the street?

I've been on both sides of the equation.  Having suffered from depression since I was a teen, I have taken various medications for more than a decade.  My mother could not accept it, but finally sent me to a LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) to 'find out what was wrong with me', then called the woman up and insisted she be told what we discussed during our sessions.

After having two children, I went to an employment counselor and expressed the troubles I had due to depression.  Her response was that I should just, "stop it and pull myself up by my own bootstraps"!  (If it were only that easy.)  I've never heard someone with a chronic physical condition to "just get over it and get back to work."

And while advancements have been made in the treatment of mental illnesses and mental retardation, there is still a long, long way to go.  I worked in a 'residential/teaching facility for adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities for four years.  I gained a second family (from my 'clients').  And it was the most fulfilling job I've ever had.  I was nervous about the administration 'finding out' that I was taking meds for depression -- until I found out that most of the staff was on anxiety meds.

There were enough rules (most often contradicting at least one other rule) that it was almost impossible to stay out of trouble.  There was a nagging feeling that the 'experts' were at least as interested in keeping their jobs, and making the right reports to the federal government as they were at actually improving the lives of their charges.  I went the rounds more than once with more than one of the various 'therapists'.

The funniest thing was when a supervisor came through and asked me what 'Pat's' level of supervision was (independent, field of vision, or arm's length).  I responded with "Well, I expect she's independent up in heaven as she died nearly two years ago."  (To be fair, he was new to the job, having been hired away from a local restaurant at the recommendation of his aunt, who worked in the offices.

I could go on.  (Just trust me on that one.)  But there is no easy answer.  I like to think I was a sensitive caring worker.  And a lightbulb moment came for me when I was giving one of the older residents (74 at the time) a bath one night.  My own mother was at a rehabilitation facility at the time (in another state).  I thought about how I would like her to be treated.

Maybe that's the key for all of us.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: MacDeath by Cindy Brown


Like every actor, Ivy Meadows knows that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm—not her flying caldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-wielding dictator of a director.

But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career—and her life.

Book Review/Author Interview/Giveaway: The Schwarzschild Radius by Gustavo Florentin


Title: The Schwarzschild Radius by Gustavo Florentin
Category: Adult fiction, 292 pages
Genre: Suspense / thriller
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Published: September 23, 2014
Available in: Print and e-book (mobi for Kindle) 
Content Rating: R (There are no explicit sex scenes and some graphic violence. There is significant violence that is referenced ( as in past police cases) and violence that is related by characters, second-hand. )

Heads Up Y'all:  If, after reading information in the content rating, you feel this story may not be your cup of tea, please skip down to the AUTHOR INFORMATION section.


Rachel, an 18-year-old Columbia University student descends into the netherworld of runaways and predators to find her sister, Olivia, who has suddenly disappeared. After getting a job in a strip joint where Olivia worked, then doing private shows in the homes of rich clients, Rachel discovers that Olivia has been abducted by a killer who auctions the deaths of young girls in an eBay of agony. As she closes in on the killer who has taken Olivia, Rachel becomes his next target.

Your Turn Challenge - Day 1

What to do When it's Your Turn is a book by Seth Godin.  It's been morphed into a writing challenge and you can click the book cover up there to find more information.


Day 1:  Why are you doing the Your Turn Challenge?

Why am I doing this challenge?

One of the earliest messages I can remember from my childhood is that I was not good enough.  My brother had talent in playing the piano.  My parents encouraged him, even to the point that he majored in music in college.  I don't really envy his talent or success; I'm very proud of his accomplishments.  The problem came in that I was interested in acting on stage from the time I was in grade school, if not before.  My mother and father did not have the same interest in live theatre that they did in music.  So I was encouraged to follow more academic pursuits.  I played the piano too but not as good as my brother.

I remember being in Trigonometry in high school and struggling with the course.  For one test I had studied especially hard and got 97 out of 100.  I proudly showed the paper to my father; he asked me what had happened to the other 3 points. *sound of air escaping from a balloon*

When I started college I majored in Musical Theatre.  By that time, I was so introverted that I found it difficult to audition, which as you can imagine created something of a problem.  At the end of the year, all majors had to pass an audition.  I did not.  One professor went so far to write on my review sheet that I should find something else to do, as I had no future in theatre.

For the next 10 years I believed him.  I started majoring in business, which pleased my mother to no end.  (My father had passed shortly before I graduated from high school.)  But my heart was not in it.  I fizzled out in my 2nd year in college and had odd jobs for the next 10 years or so.  On three occasions, my maternal uncle visited us in Salt Lake City.  The first time, I was working at a pizza restaurant.  He said I could do better than that.  The next time he visited, I was working in a credit card processing center for a local bank.  He and my mother got the nickel tour.  He said I could do better than that.  The third time, I had transferred to the International Department of the same bank and handled letters of credit for incoming and outgoing trade shipments.  As he had been in banking before he 'retired' and became a consultant, I thought finally he would be pleased.  As they left, he asked me to come out into the foyer with them, and told me I could do better than that.

So I went back to college because there was no moving up in that department and a lateral move was not what I was looking for.  I got a Bachelor of Science in Finance, which magna cum laude honors.  (My mother told me to be sure to ALWAYS add that bit in.)  But, I also auditioned for "The Importance of Being Earnest" and got the part of Lady Bracknell.   For the next 5-6 years I did about 30 plays, mostly acting but also various tech positions, and one directing stint.

Then came the children.  (I'll add here that I love each of my three children more than I can express, and I wouldn't trade the family I've got now for all the professional success in the world.)

Anyway...since the youngest turns 12 in a couple of weeks, they can mostly take care of themselves now.  So, for a while I've kind of been at loose ends.  We homeschool, so that takes a lot of time, of course.

But, now I feel that as the rest of the family do not require so much of my attention (as they used to), that I am at loose ends.  I feel something is missing, and that somehow I am not at this point fulfilling my 'calling', or what I am meant to do with my life.

We live in a rural setting, and there are hardly any opportunities nearby to participate in regional theatre.  Through blogging (this blog was started in 2007) and writing book reviews over the past year, I have rekindled my interest in writing.

So, now it's my turn.  Watch out world, because here I come.

Book Review/Giveaway: Broken Trust by Thomas Maurin


Title: Broken Trust by Thomas Maurin
Category: Adult fiction,  285 pages
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Cultivating Change LLC
Published: November 2014 
Content Rating: PG-13 (There is only one sex scene and it isn't explicit.)


This is a story about three smart, successful people who were once fast friends in college and have now been thrust together again in an unlikely, multi-layered investigation with far-reaching international implications and billions of dollars at stake. One is a forensic accountant for the SEC, one beta tests hardware and software for the US Department of Defense and the UK Ministry of Defense, and the third is a wildly successful entrepreneur, software developer and venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.

They get caught up in the hunt for a corrupt Swiss banker intent on finally unloading the last of the gold stolen by his father in World War II; a violent, narcissist leader of a Mexican drug cartel making his move to take over as the head of all cartels in Central America; and the daughter of a murdered Bulgarian arms dealer making the deal that will give her mother financial stability and get them both out of the increasingly unstable arms business.

The plot unfolds as financial crimes committed by insiders put common criminal activities to shame in a world where technology has increasingly insinuated itself into our lives to good and bad effects. 

Book Review: Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker


When the Richmond police offer an exclusive in exchange for help with a case, nothing—not even a costume party—stops crime reporter Nichelle Clarke from making Manolo tracks to the crime scene. The hunt leads her to a televangelist’s compound in the Virginia countryside where the Reverend may be more interested in fat stacks of cash than he is saving wayward souls.

With two sexy guys tangled up in Nichelle’s story—and in her heart—work and love are on a crash course for disaster. Pressure pours in from every corner, including a faceless new competitor that means the deadline is always five minutes ago. As secrets threaten and the truth becomes her lifeline, Nichelle must unmask the killer and nail down the story before she’s snared in the carefully-constructed web.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review: The Brothers' Keepers by NLB Horton


A friend's deception. A family's dilemma.

While cataloging looted antiquities in Brussels, archaeologist Grace Madison discovers that her daughter has vanished in France, and her son's bride has been attacked in Switzerland. After the Madison family unearths a relic whose taproot pierces the Ancient Near East, they realize that before they can save themselves, they must rescue an old friend. If he'll let them. 

Because choosing what's right is all that's left. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Real Book Challenge

Real Book Challenge on Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare

Yes, I know.

I said I was going to limit my challenges.

Apparently, I fibbed, 'cause HERE I AM!  *LOL*  Why?

Because while I am a HUGE fan of ereaders and all the wonderful books I've been able to access for really very little money, there is still nothing like holding a real book in your hands.  (Not that I would refuse a real cup of tea and a real piece of chocolate to go with my reading.)

So, if you are a reader of books where you actually have to turn the pages, click the button above and join in with other real book lovers!

I'm starting at the lowest level:  1-10 Real Book Newbie


1.  Broken Trust by Thomas Maurin

A Winter's Respite Read-a-Thon (My Sign-up)

Seasons of Reading

How odd.  This won't let me go past the left or right margin of the graphic.

Anyway,  it's time again for the Winter's Respite Read-a-Thon, hosted at Seasons of Reading.   Click the button above to learn more about the event and to join in!

They do have a hashtag #WintersRespite and are apparently planning a to-be-scheduled Twitter chat at some time during the read-a-thon week.

Other than that, there are no real 'requirements'. You don't even have to have a blog; you can participate on GoodReads or some other similar spot (so folks can come and take a peek at your shelves)! *lol*

Anyway, I'm going for one book a day. but I really can't say which ones yet.  Sometimes I get a quick ARC to read and that throws schedules out the window, plus I'm trying to get my tour books reviewed and ready to post a week before hand this year.

But anyway:

January 26 - (to be added)
January 27 -
January 28 -
January 29 -
January 30 -
January 31 -
February 1 - 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Review: Dying Before "I Do" by Judy Fitzwater


Love and murder: two words that should never go together. But when Jennifer and long-time beau Sam Culpepper finally decide to tie the knot, murder rears its ugly head to intervene. Now Jennifer has more to contend with than choosing colors and flowers for the most important day of her life. She and Sam must thwart whoever is bent on keeping the secrets of an old kidnapping case. One man is dead, and young reporter Teague McAfee is next in line. Jennifer finds herself embroiled in a twisty tale of love gone wrong, while dodging her friends who are determined to give Jennifer and Sam the perfect wedding.

Review/Interview: Twisted Threads by Lea Wait


Returning to the quaint coastal town of Harbor Haven, Maine—a place she once called home—Angie Curtis finds her memories aren’t all quite pleasant ones…

After leaving a decade ago, Angie has been called back to Harbor Haven by her grandmother, Charlotte, who raised her following her mother’s disappearance when she was a child. Her mother has been found, and now the question of her whereabouts has sadly become the mystery of her murder.

The bright spot in Angie’s homecoming is reuniting with Charlotte, who has started her own needlepointing business with a group called Mainely Needlepointers. But when a shady business associate of the stitchers dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Charlotte and Angie become suspects. As Angie starts to weave together clues, she discovers that this new murder may have ties to her own mother’s cold case…

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Author Interview: Tessa Arlen of Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman


I'm so pleased to have Tessa Arlen (author of Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman) on the Back Porch today for a little Q & A!


1  What attracts you to the Edwardian Age?

The first decade of the 1900s was a completely different world from ours today, but it is extraordinarily accessible. My great-grandmother was Edwardian and I remember her quite clearly. She was in her late seventies when I was a little girl, always immaculately turned out and she was a stickler for little things like good manners, ‘being as quiet as a mouse’ and washing your hands (a lot!). Research for the era is rich in so many available sources so it is easy to be well informed about the time. I particularly appreciate that the age seemed to abound in eccentrics, people with strong characters and forceful personalities. Edwardians conformed to social convention very thoroughly, but were often flamboyant in their individuality. It was also an age of great change in literature, the arts and the performing arts.

2.  How was it living in all those countries at a young age?

Well it all seemed quite normal and every day to me! I had a very rich childhood, so far as memories go. Without divulging exactly how old I am, my parents lived in countries that have changed out of all recognition today from the way they were when I was a child. Beijing was fascinating when I was sixteen. The people all wore blue uniforms and biked everywhere or rode on the bus. A private car was a very unusual sight and usually belonged to a foreign diplomat or to several of the Chinese upper officials in government. The streets were lively and the old architecture with courtyard houses and moon-gates were everywhere (they have mostly gone now) and Beijing is an unrecognizable ultra-modern city. I even remember seeing elderly Chinese ladies with bound feet! Most Chinese from the country had rarely seen Europeans and were so curious about us, it was like being an alien!
I was born in the tropics, in Singapore and my parents returned there when I was eleven, it was a wonderfully vivid world to grow up in. When we came home on leave, and when I was put into boarding school in  England when I was ten, I hated it at first. In comparison it was very proper and rather dull – I longed for school vacations when I could join my parents wherever they were in the world. I had developed a taste for all sorts of different foods, and found the lumpy mashed potatoes and overcooked meat and vegetables in England very depressing, that and all the itchy woolen clothes we had to wear in those freezing cold houses! The last posting I joined my parents in was India, by this time I was about eighteen and it was a wonderful place for me to explore.

3.  What is one place in the world you would like to visit (that you haven't already)?

Japan. A friend of mine recently toured Japan and said the temples were exquisite! I love Japanese art and textiles and the culture has always been fascinating to me.

4.  If you could invite any writer from throughout history to dinner and conversation at your house, whom would you choose and why?

What a great question! And how can I possibly answer it?  I love so many writers.  But I think as a dinner guest I would pick P.G. Wodehouse – though he does have a bit of a reputation for being a bit of a grump, he was also very funny and extraordinarily intelligent. I have been a lifelong fan of his – whenever I feel low I pick up a Jeeves and Bertie novel. My favorite Wodehouse quote is on writing.  When asked how he went about it he said “I just sit down at the typewriter and curse a bit!”

5.  How did the one character come to have a last name of Lambert-Lambert?

I am so glad you asked me this!  I went to a very proper boarding school in England (not all of my childhood was larking about the world). One of my teachers was called Miss Lambert-Lambert. She was quite batty in a very nice way and I can’t remember what she taught – handwriting or something silly! She made us sit with our hands lightly clasped on the desk in front of us, so that we kept the energy circulating in our bodies! Can you imagine how much we giggled? She was very much a ‘spinster ‘of the old school, rather prim and very proper, she always wore a suit and blouse. When I was writing Lucinda’s character the name just popped into my head after all those years! Lucinda Lambert-Lambert has a good ring to it!

6.  How was it working on the committee for the Los Angeles Olympics?

Horrible! It was my first job in America and I was very young and inexperienced and horrified at how early Americans went to work! At your desk at 8:00 a.m. seemed insane – in London we sat down to work at 9:30 a.m. had a full lunch at the pub and were leaving the office at 4:30 p.m. It was also an extraordinarily cut-throat environment – everyone was making a ‘career’ there. I worked in H.R. and interviewed my future husband for a job. He ended up as Venue Coordinator for the Rose Bowl for soccer which was a demonstration sport in ‘84. I think I fell in love with him immediately! Anyway, it was the longest interview on record in H.R., we had such a great long conversation and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! When he came to work at the LAOOC we started dating. This was considered to be a ‘conflict of interest.’  by the Chairman Peter  Ueberroth, which he told me quite clearly could lead to dismissal! Peter had the most spectacular temper and was quite a dramatist. He fired people at the drop of a hat. He used to say “This is a fast train and so and so just fell off.” Chris and I got married after the Games were over!

7.  Any look ahead at the next book (since your website mentions a series)?

The next book A PARTY FOR WINSTON comes out January 2016. It features Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson in the Montfort’s London House in 1913. There is a birthday dinner party for the young Winston Churchill, and at that party something happens that causes the hostess colossal embarrassment; her house is in disarray and  the following week she is throwing a huge charity gala at her house. Lady Montfort ‘lends’ her Mrs. Jackson to help organize things, and with Mrs. J. firmly planted in situ is able to unravel the mystery with her help.

8.  Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have a pretty little Pembroke Welsh Corgi, she is very gentle and in her own quiet way quite a character. Her name is Daphne and she keeps my company when I write. I have a bad cat called Wulfi (who eats too much and who thinks he is a dog) and a good grey girl cat who never does anything wrong and her name is Biba. Daphne fully in charge of the cats.

9.  Do you have any hobbies?

Yes! We live in the northwest with a climate very similar to England, and I garden. I love to garden. It’s perfect for writing because you can mutter away to yourself as you weed and dig, and organize things. I also love to cook! And of course like most writers I enjoy reading. I am never without two or three books all going at the same time.

10.  What advice would you give young (student) writers?!

Read. Read widely. And read like a writer. This means read slowly and consciously as if you have written the book you are reading. Notice the writer’s style and what sets them apart from other writers. Critique everything you read. When you write, be courageous! Take risks. The more you write the better you will become. And if you want to be published never give up.


This tour is still going on until February 6, so click the button to see the tour schedule and find reviews, more interiews, guest posts and giveaways!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: Big Mojo by Jack Getze


Wall Street’s miasmal garbage washes up on the Jersey Shore when a small time broker falls in love: Is he attracted to the beautiful lady — or her brother’s inside information? Held spellbound by a steamy, auburn-haired woman with a questionable past and a get-rich-quick, insider trading scheme, Austin Carr knocks down a beehive of bad-acting Bonacellis, including the ill-tempered Mr. Vic Bonacelli, who wants his redhead back, and local mob lieutenant Mama Bones Bonacelli, architect of a strange and excruciating death trap for the fast-talking stockbroker she calls smarty pants. 

To survive, Austin must unravel threads of jealousy, revenge and new affections, discovering the fate of a pseudo ruby called the Big Mojo, and close the lid on a pending United States of America vs. Austin Carr insider trading case. Can Austin and his Jersey Shore mouthpiece possibly out maneuver the savvy U.S. District Attorney from Manhattan? Does anything matter for Austin again if Mama Bones flips that switch?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Winter Mini-Bloggiesta Jan 17-19 Sign-up Post

Bloggiesta was started in 2009 to give bloggers (noobs and old-timers) a forum in which to work with and along side other bloggers to improve their online presence.  Kind of like NaNo for blogs.

So, what projects will be on my Back Porch for mini-Bloggiesta?

1.  Complete 3 book reviews (hopefully the ones for the following week - Jan 20 - 27)
***updated 1/17 11:42 pm**
MacDeath by Cindy Brown (live at 08:30 eastern US on Monday 1/19)
The Schwartzschild Radius by Gustavo Florentin (live at 04:30 eastern US on Monday 1/19
Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker (live at 00:30 eastern US on Monday 1/19)

2.  Add new reading challenges to my 2015 RC page.
**updated 1/18 12:02 am Eastern US time**
luckily, I was only one behind on this goal - "The Real Book Challenge" is now on the 2015 challenges page.

3.  Make sure various RC links are up to date.

**update 12:10 am Su 1/18**
all links from graphics on 2015 RC page to individual sign up posts checked.  The only one that needed adjusting was for the Women Authors challenge.

a.  Link from review to individual RC sign-up post
***update 3:08 pm Su 1/18**
a total of 36 links made on 6 different review posts

***update 4:37 pm Su 1/18***
at least 36 MORE links going from the individual. challenge sign-ups back to the relevant reviews

b.  update of numbers on 2015 RC page
***update 5PM Sun 1/18***
numbers and graphs updated

c.  anything else I might have forgotten (I'm doing this during a UK (U Kentucky) basketball game and my concentration is a little spread out. :O)
***updated 5PM Sun 1/08***
NEW:  Will need to recheck the links for "Kill 'Em With Cayenne" because it appears they are partially done

NEW:  Also noted that the Ethereal and Gentle Spectrums challenges to not start until February so will need to re-adjust those numbers then.

4.  re-arrange and update my sidebars

5)  Maybe change the colors or layout

6) Do at least one mini-challenge.
***updated 6:39 pm Sun. 1/18***
completed the email marketing mini-challenge at Book Bumblings

I'm sure that's more than enough to keep me busy for the three day event.  If you've got the time (or even just some of the time) come join in!  Learn things you don't know and share things you know so we can all provide better posts for our readers!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Book Review: Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa Arlen


Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months, and with scrupulous care. Pulling together the food, flowers and a thousand other details for one of the most significant social occasions of the year is her happily accepted responsibility. But when her husband’s degenerate nephew is found murdered, it’s more than the ball that is ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry, driven by petty snobbery and class prejudice, is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect.

Taking matters into her own hands, the rather over-imaginative countess enlists the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case, track down the women that vanished the night of the murder, and clear her son’s name. As the two women search for a runaway housemaid and a headstrong young woman, they unearth the hidden lives of Lady Montfort’s close friends, servants and family and discover the identity of a murderer hiding in plain sight.

In this enchanting debut sure to appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, Tessa Arlen draws readers into a world exclusively enjoyed by the rich, privileged classes and suffered by the men and women who serve them. Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is an elegant mystery filled with intriguing characters and fascinating descriptions of Edwardian life—a superb treat for those who love British novels.

A Party for Winston, the second book in the series to be released in January 2016.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Book Review: Murder in the Arboretum by Christa Nardi


Another murder in small town Cold Creek has tensions rising. Clive Johnson, the groundskeeper at Cold Creek College, is a convenient scapegoat for a police chief who seeks an easy solution. Convinced Chief Pfeiffe has it all wrong, professor and psychologist Sheridan Hendley sets out to help prove Clive’s innocence. But not everyone is pleased by her enthusiastic search for the truth. Just as her life is looking up personally, it looks like she might be the next victim.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Review: Kill 'Em With Cayenne by Gail Oust


A brand new finger-lickin’ good mystery featuring small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott, a smart and spunky amateur sleuth.

Spices are flying off the shelves of Spice It Up!, and Piper Prescott couldn’t be happier. It’s that time of year again—time for the annual Brandywine Creek Barbecue Festival. Soon contestants and BBQ aficionados from all over the Southeast will converge on the town. Many of Brandywine Creek’s citizens plan to participate in the week-long festivities and are busily concocting savory rubs and sassy sauces. Among the locals vying for the grand prize are Becca Dapkins and Maybelle Humphries. The women have been arch enemies ever since Buzz Oliver dumped Maybelle after a thirteen-year courtship and started seeing Becca.

When Becca’s body is found near one of the festival booths, bludgeoned by a brisket, Maybelle becomes one of Chief Wyatt McBride’s top suspects. Determined to help clear her friend’s name, Piper begins her own investigation, much to McBride’s consternation. As the festival draws closer, will Piper and Reba Mae be able to find the real killer and clear Maybelle’s name? Will Piper make it to the annual shag contest with Doug Winters, the mild-mannered vet she’s been seeing? And, who will win the BBQ cook-off?

Book Review: A Grave Inheritance by Kari Edgren


Selah Kilbrid may descend from the goddess Brigid, but her heart beats—and breaks—the same as any human. Yet enduring the scorn of London’s most noble lords and ladies is a small price to pay for a chance at true happiness. Selah would endure much more for love, and her betrothed, Lord Henry Fitzalan, is prepared to challenge anyone foolish enough to stand in their way—even another goddess born.

But when a captivating young gentleman draws Selah into a world shadowed by secrets, she is forced to confront her darkest fears. What if some differences are too great to overcome and a future with Henry is doomed from the start?

With these doubts threatening her impending marriage and the very last of Brigid’s fire draining from her soul, a violent attack on an innocent child pushes Selah to the very edge of her power. She must find a way to cross into the Otherworld and regain her strength—or forfeit the streets of London to death and disease.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Review - Heir to a Prophecy by Mercedes Rochelle


Shakespeare’s Witches tell Banquo, “Thou Shalt ‘Get Kings Though Thou Be None”. Though Banquo is murdered, his son Fleance gets away. What happened to Fleance? What Kings? As Shakespeare’s audience apparently knew, Banquo was the ancestor of the royal Stewart line. But the road to kingship had a most inauspicious beginning, and we follow Fleance into exile and death, bestowing the Witches’ prophecy on his illegitimate son Walter. Born in Wales and raised in disgrace, Walter’s efforts to understand Banquo’s murder and honor his lineage take him on a long and treacherous journey through England and France before facing his destiny in Scotland.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Write Tribe 100 Words on Saturday - Tea Leaves

100 Words on Saturday - Write Tribe

(click the button up there to see more "100 Words" entries and/or to join in)


I stumbled bleary eyed into the kitchen at the end of a very long day.  I had planted hundreds of vegetables and fruits and now I wanted to curl up on the couch with a nice cup of tea.  While yawning and rubbing my eyes, my feet hit a pan that was on the porch earlier in the day.  What in the world?  My fully open eyes beheld utter chaos.  When had the tornado come through and why did I not find out until now?  The tea leaves told the story:  keep the catnip tea in the freezer!