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A Great Thriller and Apple Tarts – Oh My!

Jennifer Alderson has created a fast paced and suspenseful historical novel about art theft In the Netherlands. Two time lines connect the plot. In the contemporary time line is the feisty Zelda Richardson, intern for an Amsterdam museum’s exhibition of still unclaimed artwork once stolen by the Nazis. Trouble begins when two women claim the same painting.  Zelda and her friend Friedrich become detectives in what becomes a dangerous game worth millions in artwork and a cover up of murders. During the Nazi occupation time line, priceless artwork was stolen from Jews, gays, dissidents and other victims by the Nazi government and too with the assistance of officials and citizens of the occupied countries. Arjan van Heemsvliet is an art dealer trying to protect his artwork from the greed of the Nazis and at the same time, hide his homosexuality, a “crime” which could send him to a concentration camp. Jennifer has pulled together all of this data into an exciting and suspenseful historical novel. Zelda, our modern sleuth, is impulsive, courageous and smart as Sherlock Holmes in sniffing out clues. I immediately liked her!  Jennifer told me, “Zelda’s intellect is driven by her endless curiosity, a deep-seated need to…

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IT’S YOUR BOOK LAUNCH…PARTY IF YOU WANT TO

 Lorraine Devon Wilke- Author There are lots of rules in the writing game. LOTS. Ask anyone in the biz for advice, do a little research on norms and protocols, get active in social media groups on the topic, and you’ll be bombarded with generalized and specific do's and don'ts, articles with titles like, “the 10 most important rules of writing,” debates around, “are you an author or a writer?”, and certainly lists of what to avoid, what to absolutely avoid, and how to “do things right.” In the swirling eddy of contradictions and occasional hits of inspiration you will likely get… exhausted. But take a deep breath and know that, in the midst of all that information, you can glean enough good advice and worthwhile input to create your own set of protocols and preferences to fit your style, while still getting the job done. Here’s the trick: You have to be selective. You have to curate that advice. You have to experiment on your own to discover what you agree with, what you don’t. Let’s take the “book launch.” Now, there’s a topic that inspires prodigious amounts of opinion. Just this week I read a lengthy blog filled with…

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More Thoughts on the Newsletter Rage-

  A reader’s thoughts First of all, let me say that, at times, I like getting newsletters from my favorite authors- but it can be over done! Most of the time I am the one who seeks out subscription on their newsletter but I am definitely not a fan of being “forced” to sign up when visiting a website. Pop ups that require you to sign up for the newsletter to allow you onto the website really annoy me – not what an author wants!  I actually think this may discourage some people who are just browsing and getting to know you as an author.  Getting an email for your list is not as important as winning a fan!  I have found that sometimes I sign up just to get a look at the authors website  and his/her books and then when the emails come pouring in, I unsubscribe, and I am sure I am not alone. The big question is Do Newsletters turn into sales?  I’m not sure.  I don’t think that forcing subscribers to sign up for your subscription is helpful and too many emails is soon considered spam.  Where I do think it is helpful is when…

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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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A Wonderful Book, A Lovely Playground and a Snack- what could be more Fun!

Dana Deserves a Playground Too by Yael Manor Sometimes you just fall in love with a book, the illustrations, the characters and the story.  And that is what has happened here. Yael Manor has written a story for children that needs telling.  Dana is a young girl with a loving family and friends. She goes to the playground where her friends are playing happily. Dana is in a wheelchair and there is nothing there that she can do.  Not the swings, not the carousel, not the slide or the climbing equipment. Yael’s point is that Dana is not alone. Most community or school playgrounds simply do not welcome children who are physically challenged. Children like Dana are excluded from playing with friends. She told me how she was inspired to write this story.  “One day, I came across a story on Facebook about a woman who met a father and daughter at the playground. Due to a disability, the girl was confined to a wheelchair and unable to enjoy any of the playground facilities. All she could do was put her doll in the swing and push it, which caused great sorrow for her and her father. This story gave me the inspiration to write…

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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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A Novel conversation with Gwenna – From Wales to New Zealand!

  A Novel Conversation with Vicky Adin's Gwenna Against all odds, the plucky sweet maker refuses to relinquish her dreams. Amid the bustling vibrancy of Auckland’s Karangahape Road, Gwenna Price’s passion is making sweets. Her pa had great plans for the family confectionery business when they emigrated from the valleys of Wales looking for a new life, but he died all too soon. Gwenna promised she would bring his dreams to life instead – and she would, if it wasn’t for her domineering stepbrother, Elias. With him in charge, it would be a matter of time before the business collapsed. Falling in love with the cheeky and charming Johnno opens up other opportunities, but every step of the way Gwenna is thwarted. If not by Elias, then by Johnno’s father and the restraints of a society with strict Victorian values, but Gwenna is irrepressible. Nothing will stand in her way. Throughout the twists and turns of love and tragedy, Gwenna is a young woman with uncommon courage, determination and ambition in an era when women were expected to stay at home. There are people who love her and those who are willing to help her achieve her goal but, blind…

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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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An Irish Tale and Guinness Chili- ready for St. patrick’s Day!

Secrets of the Apple Tree Tavern: The Making of an Irish Godfather (Irish Fires Book 1) by Mary Ellen Gavin   In The Secrets of the Apple Tree Tavern, Mary Ellen Gavin writes movingly and deeply about the Irish in New York and in Dublin. Raised in an Irish family, she shared, “The joys and sorrows of family are taught to the Irish from birth. All good and all bad can only come from your Family. A brother who succeeds in life is your joy ... a sister who births a sickly baby is your sorrow. The Irish build strong family ties and know how to wield guilt. It is the way I was raised. I thrived from it and I cried from it ... more than some other families.” Life is seen through the eyes of Frances Fleming, an orphan of Irish immigrants during the Depression, then adopted by a tavern owner. Like the author, family becomes extremely important to him.  At a young age, he is put to work, gladly on his part for his new “family.”  His childhood is happy and his years filled with stories of Ireland and the “old ways.” So many of us are enchanted…

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