Book Spotlight

Another Tasty Idea and a Great Book!

Kitchen Brigade by Laurie Boris Dystopian novels have a long and popular history, from classics such as The Time Machine, Brave New World and 1984 to the more modern Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale and Divergent.  Some take place in a specific time and place and some are vague or fantasies. Some dystopian novels use unknown tyrants while others use current US rivals, such as the Chinese, Cubans or Russians. That is the route of The Kitchen Rivals by Laurie Boris, which uses a specific enemy, the Russians and their allies, the Cubans, as the tyrannical rulers who have taken over the eastern part of the US. Its setting is also specific, taking place in the Hudson Valley, where the author lives. Laurie skillfully places the main scenes in the kitchen, where main character Valerie, now called Three, with her fellow chefs, including Chef Svetlana, under whom she had previously studied at the Culinary Institute of America create meals for the general, his staff and visitors. Food is an important focus in the novel.  While the kitchen chefs are prisoners, food still provides joy, love and artistry. It is used as payment, as for chef Four, and used horribly, as when the child Tomàs is forced to taste food in case…

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A Thriller & a Burger (Vegan) – Perfect!

Of Half a Mind                                                                                                                                                                                                                            by Bruce M. Perrin Stanley Milgrom’s famous studies on obedience, prodded by bullying and authority, comes to life in Bruce Perrin’s Of Half a Mind. While both are ostensibly about memory and learning, they are in fact about submission and subservience to authority. Milgrom’s studies, of course, were at Yale with students who went home, disturbed after what they thought they had done. [No one was actually electrically shocked or hurt in any way.] Bruce commented, “Stanley Milgram’s studies in the 1960’s and 1970’s revealed an unexpected dark…

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Make a Cosmo, put up your feet and enjoy Been Searching for You!

  Nicole Evelina's Been Searching for You One might subtitle this book, “Searching for Romance in the Cold, Single World.” Each of Nicole Evelina’s characters handles being a singleton in individual ways. Annabeth Coe, the main character is a romantic, searching for “the head-over-heels heart-melting love,” while still recovering from a years ago disastrous boyfriend, Nick. Mia, her sexy good friend has no loyalties to her boyfriend or anyone else, we find. Miles, Annabeth’s best friend and work colleague, is Mia’s beleaguered boyfriend. Laine, Annabeth’s boss, is a career woman. Victor, a painter on the way to being discovered, seems to be a good fit until his career proves to need a more “perfect” partner. Alex, a literature professor, is still mourning his last girlfriend. Annabeth has a birthday tradition: she writes to her dream man and refuses to accept anything but her vision of a romantic partner. She’s pushed by friends and family to open herself to dating. “Where’s your boyfriend?” “You aren’t getting any younger.” “Tick-tock.” Like her main character, Annabeth, the author is in public relations and an historic fiction writer. Annabeth would rather stay at home with a good book and glass of wine rather than…

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Helen Hollick visits with Dr. Daniel M. Walker

NanoMorphosis by Marla L. Anderson In the year 2183, climate change ravages Earth, a man-made plague has forced millions into segregated camps, and the hope of expanding to a new world has withered from fear of another alien attack. At the age of ten, Daniel Walker witnessed first contact. The event left him orphaned, traumatized and reluctantly famous as the sole survivor. Driven to carry on the work of his parents, he puts his fame to use with the help of the woman he loves, and gains the financial and political support needed to colonize a new world. Unfortunately, in the process, he turns a potential ally, Cadmon Dhyre, into a determined foe. You can find Helen Hollicks interview with Daniel M. Walker at @ Novel Conversations Author Marla L. Anderson Learn more about author Marla Anderson at her website

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Sit down with Helen and Gina and a cup of tea

- A Novel Conversation with Bronwyn Elsmore’s Gina Gina, if that is her real name, wakes to an autumn morning and, against her better judgment, selects a light dress to wear to work. Deliberately, she misses the bus and walks into the city, then turns and walks back home. This is not a day for work. Tomorrow, in her navy pantsuit, she will be there. Today she will spend with a white dog and a remarkable man. Every Five Minutes is also about the color cornflower blue, beaches, parks, city streets, exotic places, coffee, flowers, polished stones, a unicorn and a swan, words, theatre, movies, music, and love. But most of all it’s about Gina, the dog, and the man. You can find Helen Hollicks interview with Gina at @ Novel Conversations   Bronwyn Elsmore Learn more about Author Bronwyn Elsmore and her books on her website    

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The Thrill of Mountain Climbing and the Delight of Home Cooking!

The Altitude Journals by David Mauro One would never have picked David Mauro, author of The Altitude Journals to climb the major 7 mountain peaks in the world. Not only wasn’t he a climber, he wasn’t even a hiker. He was down on his luck, living in his sister’s spare room while going through a divorce. Then, he received an invitation from his brother-in-law to climb Mount Denali. And that was the turning point. The Altitude Journals are about his journey, through mountain climbing, with its adventures, its difficulties and its redemptions.  I climbed each mountain with David, routed for him and read every word in his retelling of this journey. David’s sense of humor is evident throughout. When I asked him what he had initially thought when Thai asked him to join him climbing Denali, the highest point in North America, he told me, “My initial thought was, ‘Well, I'm not even a mountain climber so that sounds like a bad fit.’  By the end of the journey I had come of age as an altitude climber, so I understood clearly what I was getting myself into with Everest. I liked my chances of success, which I placed at 30%.” Hiking and climbing…

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“Reconstructing Jackson”- Heartbreak, Love and good food for Valentine’s Day!

  Holly Bush’s Reconstructing Jackson. The year is 1867. The Confederates have lost and the South is bitter, much in ruins.  Throughout the US, the former slaves are free yet most remain fearful, unable to exercise the freedoms they have been given. Enter Reed Jackson, lawyer, handsome and defeated Confederate officer. One leg amputated during the war, the other said to be too weak to use, Reed is in a wheel chair, angry, hopeless and uncertain about his future. His plantation and financé have been given to his younger brother and Reed is sent to the Aimes cousins in Missouri. Holly told me, “He knew the South could not support slavery forever, he knew his father was a cruel man, he knew that good people existed (his mother), he fought in a war he did not support but was expected of him, and he knew that the law must be followed blindly to begin our crawl out of our national conflicts.” So begins the historical romance written by Holly Bush. Reed is confronted with the historical reality of his era. His cousins own a boarding house and employ Beulah, a free Black manager, a bright, educated former slave. She is also a teacher, who elevates…

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In Praise of indieBRAG – S. R. Zales

  Hello indieBRAG, In 2013 I was awarded a Gold Medallion by Indie B.R.A.G. for my Juvenile Book "Jenny and the Hummingbird Faeries". First off I cannot thank your group enough for the honor.  I did receive some Medallions and used them on the books I sold. I wanted to let you know that they were a great asset in selling by book. The book has continued to sell in the hundreds and I believe you were instrumental in making that happen. I have a number of venues coming up in the next several weeks and months where I will be selling even more books. The problem is that I have used all, yes all, the Gold Medallions and am desperately asking to purchase from you 200 more. Is that possible? It would be a marvelous if you could send them as soon as you can. Thank you  in advance. Keep up the tremendous work you all have been doing. S.R. Zales Jenny and the Hummingbird Faeries Find this award winning book HERE Author S. R. Zales https://www.srzales.com/

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In Praise of indieBRAG – Christopher Holt

Gate Keepers  For more than a century the only “gate keepers” for writers have been literary agents and publishers. This arrangement worked reasonably well until new technologies  made it possible for hundreds of thousands of new authors to present their work direct to the public without recourse to gate keepers at all.  At present the market suffers from an over-abundance of fiction, much it of it, let’s be honest, pretty mediocre. Publishers are wary of taking on new writers. Most play safe, concentrating on a pool of proven commercial authors. This is understandable. The industry sails in stormy seas. A few years ago Geri Clouston had the foresight and boldness to introduce Indie- B.R.A.G.  as a third gate-keeper, one willing to seriously evaluate every book that was offered .The B.R.A.G. Medallion is now a vital and much needed addition to the world of books and writers. Indie BRAG is as generous as it is unique. As far as I can see, there is no other organisation in the world like it.  Geri and her team are tough. When they turned down my first book, I knew I had to raise my game. When, eventually, my latest novel was awarded a…

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Civil War Mystery nourished with a Civil War favorite – Fried Apples!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Time Expo Time Exposure by Lynne Kennedy In Time Exposure, Lynne Kennedy makes Civil War photography the lens of her novel. “Photography hugely impacted the way society viewed the war….I combine my love of history and science with my penchant for mysteries!” Lynne does a superb job—an intriguing mystery, wonderful characters and exciting history.  All make this a fabulous read. Lynne Kennedy's Time Exposure.     Buttery Fried Nutmeg Apples During the Civil War, favorite sweet side or dessert was Fried Apples. In the field, it was typically made in a cast iron pan over a fire and worked well with tart apples. A variety of sweeteners could be used from honey or brown sugar, more available than white at the time. The Gibbs Museum in Charleston, South Carolina mounted an exhibit of Civil War photographs, which I went to see a few years ago. The black and white photographs were clear and surprisingly modern. There was the heroic; there were also the photographs that were brutal, unnerving and full of war’s agony. There was the view of Robert E. Lee’s home, with Union soldiers on the porch, his property…

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