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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ghosts: Witches: Ghosts of Witches: Is this a book for young readers? You Bet!!!

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe in witches? Do you believe in ghosts of witches? Is this a book for young readers? You bet it is!!!!
Ghost Prison is a fast paced, 'what's going to happen next' story. It hits the reader with a slamming ending, a wonderful ending in my mind, one that allows the reader to understand what happened without actually showing or telling it.

There is not a lot of flowery imagery in this story. Thank goodness for that was not necessary to see and feel the setting. Additionally, too much description would have slowed the fast pace, fast read of this story.

This is the story of a 15 year old boy who has a new job as a prison guard. Is he guarding prisoners or ghosts? Why, when so many others needed the job, was he chosen? The lead guard warns him of many things, but there is one thing he must NEVER do. Will he remember and follow the older guard's instructions?

Oh, yes...what is an abhuman?

Available Oct. 1, 2013.   I read it through Net Galley. Preorder now through Amazon.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Family history as basis for fiction

Family history stories told as fiction: I read earlier, many weeks ago, that several of you were interested in this topic.
As I see it, the beauty of using historical family fiction, family stories in fiction form, is that the writer may combine various branches of the family and change the sequence of events. That is what I have done in my Grannie Kate series. Grannie Kate is a combination of several grandmothers in our family and events that took place through many years.
I have done this as a way of preserving the love and goodness that flowed throughout our family. I urge everyone to do the same. As you can see, you can start with stories for the youngsters. They should know their family history and its characters!"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A mysterious woman, an ancient Native American Legend, and a modern girl...

For a young girl from Florida, a trip to snowy Colorado for a winter vacation promises to be full of wonder, and excitement. The adventure begins shortly before our Florida girl's plane reaches Colorado when a mysterious woman appears and recounts a tale of ice, snow, punishment and caring.  Set among the Fourteeners, the 14,000 ft. mountains of Colorado, the story spans mythological times, through early Colorado history, and into day's world.

Captivated by the ancient story and the mysterious woman who disappears as suddenly as she appears, Emily and her Dad soon begin their wondrous trek through the mountains.

The story is illustrated with beautiful winter scenes accompanied by historical photographs used to bring the story to life and deepen the reader’s imagination. One is left wondering, is the story of the Snow Angel really true? This is a classic tale of modern meets legend.

 Available at Amazon:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Where do your submissions go....... to the waiting room!

Great walk through of what happens to our manuscripts when submitted. This is from Peachtree Publishing in Atlanta, GA. They publish children's picture books, middle grade and YA books. Thought this might be interesting to some of you.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Someone is snatching all the bedtime story books!

What a premise for a children's book. The title would have frightened me as a child.  The Snatchabook is one of those quick reads, so the agony of worrying about losing my own book would have been short lived, but still...I'm not sure I want to recommend this book to all children.

Written in verse which makes the reading fast and fun with illustrations that are delightful. The story is saved when all ends well. Maybe that in itself can recommend the book for the lesson we learn is that while things seem to be out of our control, with a little understanding and love, we can make them better or right again.

Available Oct. 1 on

Book of Lost Things (Mister Max Book 1)

Early in the 20th century, a twelve year old boy, his theatrical parents, a loving but bossy grandmother...this is the family we first meet. Then, mysteriously the parents disappear and Max, a name he gives himself, and Gram search for clues. Meanwhile, it is time for him to get a job and start supporting himself. Jobs are scarce, and he finally invents a career for himself as the "solutioneer." He will solve peoples problems, mainly by finding lost things for them. Surprisingly, the problem he has yet to solve is the mystery of what happened to his parents. Since this book is part of a three book series, I'm sure we will someday learn the answer.
I am a big fan of Cynthia Voigt, but this is not one of my favorite books by her. While the writing is good, and descriptive phrases abound, the story was very slow to take off, and by then I really was not interested in Max or his solutions. Boys of MG age might
For better and lovely Voigh books try some of her early ones: Dicey's Song, Running, any of the Homecoming series and so many more. Sorry, Mister Max, you just didn't hold my interest.
enjoy this once they get past the initial, but I suppose, essential background. The unnecessary 'theatrical' mannerism of his parents were overdone for the point they made.

Available Sept. 10, 2013. Pre-order now.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Tuscany

Pienza, Tuscany, Italy...the beginning. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: My favorite red wine. Montepulciano, one of my favorite Italian hill towns. Emphasize the word HILL town. By now the author should have great legs and be in good shape. This lovely Tuscan area is the perfect setting for the friendly afternoon wine sessions with girlfriends...and apparently boyfriends.

At Least You're in Tuscany  This is a funny, warm, taste of  Italy summertime read. After many missteps, the author finally finds her place in this vineyard world. It is a dream of so many of us and this book puts the glamor  in's not all glamorous, but as she said least she's in Tuscany. I highly recommend this book for a light summertime, "I love Italy" read.  On the author's website there is a photo of a grappa soaked cake....oh my! Luciano of Pienza would be proud.
This will definitely be one of the Christmas gifts to my daughter...the author has lived her dream.

At Least You're in Tuscany:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Feathers in A Flap worth flapping about...

New children's author, Phillip Pollock, scored a hit with his recently released Feathers in a Flap. This engaging book is just right for snuggling up with a youngster and exclaiming over the events in the story and the illustrations. "Ohhh, why would that old  Mocking Bird do that?"  Oh, no, poor worm." or "Boy, he sure seems happy now, doesn't he."

Feathers in a Flap tells the story of a man and the colorful birds in his backyard. One mean-spirited Mocking Bird, with his 'feathers in a flap' turns the birds against the old man who means them no harm. In a Lion's Paw turn of events, the backyard birds come to know the true nature of their human neighbor and all ends happily for everyone.

This is first and foremost a lovely story for children. Secondly, it is a bird book, and most of us, while not 'birders' are bird watchers. Thirdly it is a book with a softly given lesson for all. Fourthly it is a book with many well written descriptions and much figurative language so it is a pleasure to read.

Finally it is a beautifully illustrated book. Over twenty soft pastel watercolor illustrations, all painted by the author himself,  grace the pages of this book. Through these illustrations one gets the fear, sorrow, and joy of the characters, both man and bird alike.


After earning his Master of Science degree from the University of Iowa in 1972, the author was a graduate teaching assistant in the university's Museum of Natural History where he began studying birds. He served as director of two history and science museums soon after graduating.

Presently, he is the Web Administrator for the Office of the State Courts Administrator in the Florida Supreme Court. He is an avid writer, bird-watcher and watercolorist. Mr. Pollock has had several one-person shows in his community. He is also the author of an adult, non-fiction book titled: 300' x 35 Miles: Corridor to the Past.

*** Watch this blog for an interview with our new children's author within the next two weeks. For some of us it has been some time since the special intensity of 'my first book' was fresh. Share the fever once again with Phil.

Feathers in a Flap by Phillip M. Pollock

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sharing a read with Ellen Marie Wiseman, how cool is that?

It seems that Ellen Marie Wiseman, she of The Plum Tree, and I have found the same wonderful source for researching the lives of  patients admitted to 'insane' asylums in the early part of the 20th century, a short book entitled The Lives they Left Behind, Suitcases from A State Hospital Attic.  In my opinion it is a well written and factual book complete with photographs and heart wrenching stories. Most of the reviews on Amazon disagree with me, but it was exactly what I wanted at that time.  Ellen was able to interview Darby Penney the author involved with the uncovering of these treasures. What a treat that must have been. We will all have to wait for Ellen's book,  What She Left Behind, which is not available until December 31, 2013. I hate to wait that long, but will just consider it my birthday gift to myself. I am anxious to see how she develops her female character as my main character is also a patient in an asylum and is female. If her tale takes the same twists as mine will take, I have to claim Ellen Marie as a cousin for my story is based upon the 'incarceration'  for the last 20 years of her life of my own great-grandmother. I feel that I am in good company with Ellen Marie and G'Gran Mary Margaret. Check out Ellen's book yourselves....I've added it to my "want to read" shelf. Good Luck, Ellen.

BookHounds: Giveaway Excerpt AN INCURABLE INSANITY by SIMI K. @simikrao

BookHounds: Giveaway Excerpt AN INCURABLE INSANITY by SIMI K. @simikrao

Lovely blog...Lovely giveaway

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Now that I have been cleared to share the cover of my next children's book, I can't wait any longer. So here it is. Book is not available for another 2 weeks, I'll certainly let you know when it is, but here is the cover. Lovely photo from Clarissa Koshkina.
For anyone doing research of Elizabethan England, Ian Mortimer has given us a wonderful, easy to use resource. It is certainly not cover-to-cover type reading, but topic-by-topic. Easy research for your own books.

It is available at many private distributors , Barnes and Noble, and Amazon ...        

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Pagoda Tree and Martha's Vineyard. Wonderful. What's not to love? Great story, great locale equals wonderful. All these add up to a thoroughly delightful book. Beautiful.
The Tremendous Pagoda Tree   of Martha's Vineyard   by Amy MacDougall
I belong to a group of Children's Authors and Illustrators. Members share their works and their illustrations. Today illustrator Agy Wilson shared his cover for a new children's book. Take a look. Beautiful and so fitting to the story.
Through the days, I'll share other's art with you, just in case you ever need to find a talented illustrator. Of course, I have my own when I can coerce him into doing mine instead of his own.
See my Watermelons Under the Bed post from August 6 for example.

I Hate this book!!!

I'm reading a galley proof of a new book by Nick Cutter...The Troop. It is awful, awful, is making me squirm and squeal out loud in revulsion. Many times over... I LOVE IT!!!! Stephen King calls it the most terrifying book he has ever read....that gives you a clue. Great descriptive writing. Fast moving. I haven't finished, but love it. Maybe Donna, a reviewer on goodreads, says it best when she starts her review with "If Stephen King was a boy scout around the campfire, this would be his way of making sure you never slept at camp".
For my historical fiction friends: How old history books can add to your family story Recently I purchased my high school history teacher's reminiscences and history of my home town. The book was published in 1977 after his death. The history traces the entire history of our town, up until his death. These are short histories, almost vignettes. As I am reading these stories, many that I heard personally in several classes with the author, I suddenly realized that I was reading background for the stories that I had found while doing my ancestry research. I plan to use this background, and even some of the notable characters, combined with my notable characters, and write short stories about my family and my hometown. Isn't that what historical family fiction is all about? You never know where inspiration and research will take you.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I read earlier, many weeks ago, that of a growing interest in using personal family history as a basis for writing fiction. As I see it, the beauty of using historical family fiction, family stories in fiction form, is that the writer may combine various branches of the family and change the sequence of events. That is what I have done in my Grannie Kate series. Grannie Kate is a combination of several grandmothers in our family and events that took place through many years. See my webpage for more information on this go to I have done this as a way of preserving the love and goodness that flowed throughout our family. I urge everyone to do the same. As you can see, you can start with stories for the youngsters. They should know their family history and its characters!" Using personal family history as a basis for fiction is a great way to preserve family stories.