The B.R.A.G.Medallion

Sharing a wonderful romance book with friends – and a yummy Peach Cobbler!

Olive Witkins was sure she had her days planned out. At 35, she was a spinster, worked at a Philadelphia library and took care of her parents’ house. She kept her hair in a tight bun, wore black clothes and kept herself all buttoned up. Then life intervened. With the death of her brother and his wife in 1891, Olive travels to the wilds of Spencer, Ohio to save their two children, fantasizing about the culture and family legacy she would bestow on Mary and John, how she would teach them and they would love her. Her dream shattered when she saw the hovel where her drunken brother had kept his family, not fit for human habitation. What her brother and his wife put their children through “rubbed raw all that she knew to be true…” With great difficulty, Olive rises to the occasion, mothers her niece and nephew with the help of her brother’s neighbor Jacob Butler. She begins to mother his 3 children as well. Despite her lack of experience and being used to Philadelphia life, “Olive felt more alive, more focused than she ever had before in her life…. I am done letting life go by.” Farm…

Read More

Drift away to Montreal in the 1950’s and enjoy a French delight!

  Author David Riese was having coffee one morning in his usual café when Riva Weiss, an older woman author Dave Riese had spoken to from time to time came over, sharing a story about a passionate love she had when just 18. Building on what Riva had told him, Dave expanded the bones of her story to a novel of a wonderfully poignant romance. Being built on a true story adds to the depth and interest of this work. To this day, Dave is still in touch with Riva, who turned 88 this year. In 1951, the fictional Rebecca Wiseman meets and falls in love with Sol Gottesman at a YMHA dance. Despite coming from different social classes and families, the two are passionate in this first love. Based on a true-life romance, Dave writes a very romantic novel with a clear understanding of how both young men and women react to a first love. Sol woos Rebecca with beautiful flowers, fancy restaurants and whispered phone calls. Rebecca dreams of Sol, calls him frequently, quite forward for a young woman of that time, and even is the aggressive one romantically. Dave said that his ideas about romance did not…

Read More

Can you imagine anything better than a good mystery and sweet rolls?

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre of novels & memoirs filled with stories and recipes Join Susan as she shares he reviews and fantastic recipes! Hush Girl by Gloria Zachgo is a well-written novel so intimate it reads like a memoir.  After the death of her father, memories and nightmares begin to re-emerge for main character Nicole Reed.  These caused panic attacks, an inability to speak, mood swings and loosing of her grasp on reality. But what was her childhood reality? That is what Nicki both needs and fears to find. Nicki and readers doubt her sanity as Gloria blurs memory, visions and nightmare. At the same time as the author takes us back into Nicki’s abusive past, we are led through her healing through counseling and family support. Although a long and difficult process, we see the healing value of counseling. Nicki is a writer within the novel, writing a mystery within a mystery, her writing modeling the author’s own writing process. As a retired principal, I encountered children who had been abused.  As difficult as it was for me to learn what had happened to them and then report to the proper agencies, there was much more anguish for these…

Read More

A Proper English Lunch and a Great Mystery!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre of novels & memoirs filled with stories and recipes Join Susan as she shares he reviews and fantastic recipes! Have you ever walked into a room and think, “I’ve been here before,” or met a person and feel, “I’ve met this person before,” but you haven’t.  Yet that connection remains. And that is how the novel, When the Clocks Stopped begins. This is not your typical time travel novel, but rather the creation of a ”chat room” between eras, where characters do not go back and live in another time, but nonetheless through multi-layered and intertwined time lines, interact together. Hazel Hawkins lives in 1976, Annie in 1747. Both live in Cottage House on Romney Marsh.  We know from the beginning of the novel that this house is special. “I think this house likes us,” Hazel’s husband Bruce says to her, as if the house has a personality or is a character in itself. Author Marion (M.L.) Eaton told me, “Rose Cottage is based on the cottage that my Australian husband and I bought in Lydd (thinly disguised in the novel as Rype) in 1975… Rose Cottage not only had its own character, its atmosphere was truly…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

It’s a Tough Market for Authors

                          Florence Osmund                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Author and Contributor When it dawned on me last year that I was making less money but spending more time promoting and marketing my books than I did three years earlier when I had fewer to offer, I decided to take a break from writing and focus on what I was doing wrong. Since my marketing strategy hadn’t changed during these years, I was pretty sure it was the industry that had changed around me, and I had to understand this in…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Most Shared Posts

Most Discussed Posts