Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Review/Giveaway: Out From the Underworld by Heather Siegel

Heather Siegel was six years old when her mother disappeared, sending her father into a tailspin that took Heather and her siblings down with him— from a comfortable suburban home to a barely habitable basement apartment, a dark world they soon found themselves fighting to return to from the exile of foster care, then fighting even harder to escape.

Forty years later, Heather Siegel tells the remarkable story of how she and her siblings, Jaz and Greg, banded together to find out what happened to their mother and fight their way Out From the Underworld with nothing but their wits, determination, unbreakable bonds and gifts for humor and compassion to sustain them. A wrenching, inspiring story filled with heartbreak, hope and love, Out From The Underworld will move you to laughter and tears. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review/Giveaway: Life Outside the Box by Marilyn R. Wilson

Real Stories about Real People to Entertain, Inspire and Challenge You.

Get inspired to step out of your box and into a world full of potential. From the corporate world, to the arts, to working with the disenfranchised – the message is clear. There is no such thing as a normal way to live your life and no one right solution to any problem. Selected from amongst over 100 interviews, the stories shared here open a window on the journeys of seven women and three men who have charted their own path, including Ruthie Davis – top U.S. luxury shoe designer and the winner of the 2014 AAFA Footwear Designer of the Year award – and Geir Ness whose perfume is a staple in Nordstrom, Disney World and on Disney Cruise Lines. Enjoy a glimpse behind the scenes into the unique ways these individuals chose to deal with life's challenges and how they define success in their careers.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Happy Book Birthday Giveaway! "Vote for Remi" by Leanna Lehman

Washington D.C turned upside down, but not by the usual suspects; would-be terrorists, a major government shut down, or another fiscal train wreck hurling the country toward economic collapse.  Instead, by a classroom of underachieving teenagers with nothing more on their minds than who posted what on Facebook (O.M.G!), their latest tattoo and/or facial piercing, and whether or not this black looks good with that black.

It never would have happened if their annoyingly passionate U.S. Government teacher, Remi Covington, didn’t poke, prod, and provoke them into giving a damn about politics, much less about politicians. Really, who believes all that idealistic crap she pours down their throats about the government, political courage, and the process anyway? Someone had to show her that she was wrong –that politicians are inherently corrupt, that the government doesn’t care about people like them, and their vote doesn’t really count, should they ever decide to cast it. What else could this class of slackers and hackers do, but strike back. How did they do it? By the method most favored by teenagers –they executed what might be considered the greatest practical joke of all time, or was it something else entirely?

Using the only available tools at their disposal, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, they announce their teacher’s intentions to run for President of the United States. Yes, for President, and completely without her knowledge or consent. Shocking even them, the news goes viral, and no one is prepared for what follows. Fortunately for Remi Covington, she has a few tricks up her sleeve as well. Too bad they backfire and she finds herself on the ballot, vying for the highest office in the land, with nothing but a closet full of skeletons and her renegade classroom of misfits to lead the way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Guest Post: Climax, parts I and II by Christina George


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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review: The Tell-Tail Heart by Monica Shaughnessy

The untold story behind Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Philadelphia, 1842: Poe’s cat, Cattarina, becomes embroiled in a killer’s affairs when she finds a clue to the crime – a glass eye. But it’s only when her beloved “Eddy” takes an interest that she decides to hunt down the madman. Her dangerous expedition takes her from creepy Eastern State Penitentiary to Rittenhouse Square where she runs into a gang of feral cats intent on stopping her.

As the mystery pulls Cattarina deeper into trouble, even Eddy becomes the target of suspicion. Yet she cannot give up the chase. Both her reputation as a huntress and her friend’s happiness are at stake. For if she succeeds in catching the Glass Eye Killer, the missing pieces of Eddy’s unfinished story will fall into place, and the Poe household will once again experience peace.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Teaser Tuesday - Rhyme of the Magpie by Marty Wingate

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Review/Giveaway: Oh Say Can You Fudge by Nancy Coco

Allie McMurphy is busy making yummy fudge for the summer holiday–until murder gives her something else to chew on. . .

Red, White, And Boom

It’s not Fourth of July on Mackinac Island without fireworks and fudge. The Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop is supplying the treats–and Allie has hired Rodney Rivers, the biggest name in aerial displays, to create an unforgettable spectacle. Unfortunately, Allie finds him dead, covered with screaming chicken fireworks, just before the entire warehouse of pyrotechnics goes up in smoke. Is it arson or is it murder? Allie and her bichonpoo, Mal, must sift through the suspects until the killer is caught and the island can enjoy a star-spangled celebration.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

#AtoZChallenge - All Gallow's Eve - T-Z



Troublesome Creek is another name given to the North Fork of the Kentucky River that runs through three counties in Eastern Kentucky.  So far I've adopted the name "Troublesome", possibly by itself or as part of the name "Troublesome Springs" for the name of the town in my WIP, All Gallow's Eve.

Arguably the most Appalachian area of the state, the 'hollers' of eastern Kentucky inspired the song, "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive", featured in the TV show "Justified".  Part of the chorus of the song, written by Darrell Scott, says that Harlan is a place where, "the sun comes up about ten in the morning and the sun goes down about three in the day".  It's a hard-scrabble, coal mining life in 'them thar hills'.

Coal companies came in, took the resources and left when the profits did.   One way they increased their profit was to have substandard mining safety.  (Even in the not-too-distant past, there have been news items about mine cave-ins.)  They had company towns and paid the miners in scrip, which could only be used at the company store, where the prices were artificially inflated.

Little wonder that there is a deep distrust of 'outsiders' in the area.



I looked this one up.  It is a real word, not one I've made up.  I believe if you look up the term 'unurban' in a encyclopedia there will be a map of Eastern Kentucky.  Many people grow up there (here?) and want to leave.  I started out in a small town, moved to a city, moved to an even bigger city, then moved back to Appalachia.  Guess that makes me an 'unurbanite'.  (Ok, maybe I made that one up.)



Another word for 'food and drink'.

There are a series of guides put out by The Foxfire Fund, Inc., over the past several decades where students went around amongst the older folks in the Appalachian area and attempted to document the way of life.  There were few stores.  If people wanted food, they grew it, raised it, and slaughtered it themselves.  Shoes were repaired at home until they literally could not hold together anymore.  If someone wanted a musical instrument, they made it themselves.  But I digress.

There were plenty of 'old recipes' in the guide I read about Appalachian food ways.  Biscuits and gravy was an unknown combination to me until I moved to Texas.  (In the ensuing years, I have become a serious fan.)  Corn bread & pinto beans, various types of 'greens', chicken & dumplings, squirrel dumplings (yeah, I'm not going to try that one, but I've heard it's good)



Here in Kentucky, we'll celebrate just about anything!  In 2015, the World Chicken Festival will run September 24 - September 27 in London, Kentucky.  Why celebrate the chicken, you ask?  Well, both Harlan Sanders (Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken) and Lee Cummings (Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken) have ties to the area.

We went for the first time last year and much of the downtown proper is roped off and cars are not allowed.  They do run free shuttles from outlying parking lots of local businesses, etc.  The walk wouldn't really be too bad, but they want you to walk around the exhibits, contests, performances, eateries and vendors, and not get tuckered out just getting there.  I had my first ever (and only so far) deep fried candy bar - it wasn't half bad!  The point is that we had fun - the whole family together - and we are planning to go again this year.



-an unreasonable fear of that which is foreign or strange.

The farther you go back in the hills and hollers, the smaller the circle of 'the known' becomes, and thus the more and more gets added to what is 'foreign'.  For those living in a town, it may be someone from outside the county.  For those living in surrounding rural areas, it could also include the people from the town.

As stated before, the locals had/have little reason to trust a big coal company.  Many turned to making moonshine as a way to make money; then came the 'revenue-ers' - usually Feds who wanted to crack down on this 'illegal' trade because they were missing out on their tax fees.  Many people in the area see outsiders as someone who wants to take out of the area, without fair compensation.  Nonetheless, folks will usually give a stranger the benefit of the doubt, until either trust is established or broken.

And folks around here will give you the shirt off their back.  In the 24 hours following my FIL's house burning down last week, I can't tell you the number of people that stopped by our house to offer help in any way they could.



A few months ago, I got chatted up by an older gentleman while waiting in line at a WalMart.  He was from Yosemite, KY.  I specify the state, because there is also a Yosemite in California - but theirs has four syllables and is pronounced YO-SEM-IT-EE,  The one here is pronounced YO-SE-MIGHT.  It was named by the daughter of a logger who thought the area here reminded her of the valley out in California.

As you can imagine, mispronunciation of this unincorporated town's name will earn you the tag of 'outsider' faster than greased lightning.



Both Zachariah and Zoe are unincorporated areas in Lee County in Eastern Kentucky.  Zachariah has had a post office on several occasions, the last close to a century ago.  Zoe, although unincorporated, still has a post office.

I was born in a little town in Pennsylvania.  Well I call it a town.  Back then it was more like a wide spot in the road.  But I fear urban sprawl has plagued the area - as it now has TWO post offices.  Probably has traffic signals too.

No wonder we live out in the middle of nowhere.


I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of Kentucky and the information about my WIP.  Thank you to everyone who has visited this month, and left comments and encouragement.  Please click the sunflower button at the top of the post to visit the 2015 A to Z Challenge participation list.  You will find a wide variety of excellent posts on many topics.