Category Archives: Genre

The Whole Town’s Talking and Some at the Cemetery Are Too

The Whole Town’s Talking

By: Fannie Flagg
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 2016

Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” And this story is like that. It is an easy and fun read.

If you are a fan of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, well Fannie Flagg is the author of that book.  And you will love this one!

The story follows the town from the date it is established, 1880 to the year 2016, followed by an Epilogue of 2021. Characters live and characters die. Children grow up, get married, and have children of their own. Some folks are happy and some are miserable.

The Whole Town’s Talking takes place in the small town of Elmwood Springs, Missouri. It begins in 1880 with the founder, Lordor Nordstrom.  At age twenty-eight, Nordstrom left Sweden to travel to the United States. He settled in Missouri and cleared land for a farm.  Soon he advertised in the Swedish-American newspapers for young farmers to come and help him start a community.

By 1889, the community was growing and known as Swede Town, even though two Germans and one Norwegian lived there. It was this year that Nordstorm donated land for a cemetery. The cemetery was on top of a hill that overlooked the town and Nordstorm named it Still Meadows.

Nordstorm decided he needed a wife and with the lack of unmarried women in the community, he advertised for a mail-order bride. Katrina Olsen, a Swede living in Chicago, answered the advertisement and in 1890, the two got married.

While Nordstorm is a main character in the book, he and Katrina are by means the only ones. After all, there is a whole town!

As the years go by, the name of the town is changed to Elmwood Springs. Children are born and a school is built. In 1901, Miss Lucille Beemer is hired as the first school teacher.

Flagg’s colorful description of the small bucolic town puts the reader right there on the spot. She draws the reader into the lives of each character and shows how their lives are intertwined. Some characters are very likable and others not so much. Flagg keeps you guessing as to what is going to happen and to whom it will happen.

Some of my favorite scenes in this story take place at Still Meadows, the cemetery.

I invite you to read The Whole Town’s Talking and meet the Lordor and Katrina Nordstorm and their children. Get to know folks by the name of Swensen, Knott, Eggstrom, Tildholme, Shimfissle, Hendersen, Warren, and others. Meet Miss Beemer and Sweet Potato, the pig.

The book has sections titled such as, “And So It Begins…,” “The 1900s, a New Era,” “The Twenties, All the Wonderful Things in Store,” “The Thirties, The Show Must Go On,” and other amusing titles for each decade.

Chapter titles are just as much fun such as “A Change of Address,” “Reunited,” “More Good Friends,” “Fun at Still Meadows,” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing.”

Read this book to learn who goes off to war, who marries whom, who gets murdered and how the murder gets solved, and which colorful character meets Bonnie and Clyde and Harry and Bess Truman.

You will be pleasantly surprised as to how this story develops and ends.

 

Some other books by Fannie Flagg:

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café (1987)

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl (1998)

A Redbird Christmas (2004)

Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven (2006)

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion (2013)

 

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Book Review: Echoes of the Storm by Charlene Newcomb

New Release, Echoes of the Storm by Charlene Newcomb

A spell-bounding space saga…

Charlene Newcomb has found her niche: male/male romance whether it be historical fiction as in her Battle Scars series (12th Century) or this new sic-fi release, Echoes of the Storm. (24th Century)

Excerpt:

Is this how it ends?

Jack Gamble swiped away the dark stray hairs clinging to his forehead. This defeat by Galilei-unimaginable. His people-dead, wounded, gone underground. The only thing worse? Fleeing with a small band of resistance fighters when he should have stayed behind to pick up the pieces.

His stomach tightened with guilt. He stared out the viewport from the jump seas as Encompass veered toward clouds tinged red by Torredo’s rising sun. Far below, a column of armored vehicles smoldered on the roadside, twisted, blackened scraps of metal. Fires in the capital created an eerie show of shadows and light across the early morning skies. The ship jinked through black, acrid smoke, which splattered the reddish canvas of clouds like brush strokes, a death mark for Jack and his comrades.

Book Review:

If you are a fan of Star WarsStar Trek, Battle Star Galactica, etc., you will enjoy this book. If you are not familiar with these stories and shows you might find yourself wondering about some of the terminology and acronyms.

This book is for an older audience, not suitable for young children. It contains violence, although not overly graphic and some sexual content and suggestive sexual content.

The story is set in the 24th Century. Jack Gamble’s home planet Torredo has been invaded by Galilei, and more specifically, Ari Norse, who wants to rule the galaxy.  Norse and Gamble were lovers. For Norse, it is all about power. For Jack is was about love. Now his mission is to free Torredo from the grasp of Galilei.

Newcomb does a good job of placing the reader inside the story. The characters and scenes come alive and the pace keeps the reader turning the pages. The story is filled with love, betrayal, secrets, politics, power, violence, death, destruction, and friendship.

About the author:

Charlene Newcomb lives, works, and writes in Kansas. She is an academic librarian by trade (recently retired), a U. S. Navy veteran, and has three grown children. Newcomb loves to travel and enjoys quiet places in the mountains or on rocky coasts. But even in Kansas, she can let her imagination soar.

Newcomb is also the author of the Battle Scars Series – Men of the Cross, For King and Country, and Swords of the King – about three knights in King Richard the Lionheart’s army.

 

*Note – I received an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) for an honest review.

 

 

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Released Today! Red Zone by Luke Murphy

Title: Red Zone

By: Luke Murphy

Publisher: ANM Books

Published: 15 July 2020

 

Back Cover Text:

The prodigal son…

Calvin Watters hasn’t been back to USC since the day his scholarship and humility were stripped from the former running back. Calvin had cut all ties to the school but now finds himself pulled back when a woman’s dead body is found on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum football field.

returns home

Detective Charlene Taylor’s new homicide case, a freshman cheerleader’s murder at USC, is complicated. Charlene knows that the USC football team is a close-knit family, and getting inside the trusted circle, as a cop, is unlikely.

Calvin Watters is a game-changer…

When Calvin and Charlene meet up on the Coliseum turf, Charlene sees an opportunity to use Calvin to penetrate the Trojan family circle. Little does the detective know, Calvin is now an outsider at USC, no longer welcome–with many who will go a long way to see the former football star fail.

Can Calvin and Charlene work together to uncover the truth, or will their egos interfere with what could be a powerful partnership?

 

Bio

Luke Murphy is the internationally bestselling author of two series.  The Calvin Watters Mysteries: Dead Man’s Hand (2012) and Wild Card (2017). The Charlene Taylor Mysteries: Kiss & Tell (2015) and Rock-A-Bye-Baby (2019).

Murphy played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. His sports column “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec and won the award in 2009. He has also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7).

Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec, Canada with his wife and three daughters. He is a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude).

Red Zone is Murphy’s fifth novel.

For more information on Luke and his books, and to sign up for his newsletter visit:

www.authorlukemurphy.com

‘Like’ his Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/AuthorLukeMurphy.

Follow him on —

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/AuthorLMurphy 

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/AuthorLukeMurphy

Be the first to know when Luke Murphy’s next book is available! Follow him at:

www.bookbub.com/authors/luke-murphy to receive new releases and discount alerts.

 

 

 

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Filed under Authors, Book Launch, Books, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Genre

Pre-Order Red Zone by Luke Murphy today!

Pre-Order RED ZONE ebook today!  Ebook Release date: July 15, 2020.

Back Cover Text:

The prodigal son…

Calvin Watters hasn’t been back to USC since the day his scholarship and humility were stripped from the former running back. Calvin had cut all ties to the school but now finds himself pulled back when a woman’s dead body is found on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum football field.

…returns home

Detective Charlene Taylor’s new homicide case, a freshman cheerleader’s murder at USC, is complicated. Charlene knows that the USC football team is a close-knit family, and getting inside the trusted circle, as a cop, is unlikely.

Calvin Watters is a game-changer…

When Calvin and Charlene meet up on the Coliseum turf, Charlene sees an opportunity to use Calvin to penetrate the Trojan family circle. Little does the detective know, Calvin is now an outsider at USC, no longer welcomed—with many who will go a long way to see the former football star fail.

Can Calvin and Charlene work together to uncover the truth, or will their egos interfere with what could be a powerful partnership?

 

Review Blurbs:

“Luke Murphy ramps up the thrill factor with RED ZONE—an awesome, gotta-know-what-happens-next thriller.”—Linda Castillo, NYT & USA Today bestselling author of the Kate Burkholder series

“Well-drawn characters and an interesting premise—Luke Murphy is a mystery writer to watch.”—DV Berkom, USA Today bestselling author of the Leine Basso series

“Red Zone is another winner for Murphy! Thrilling…riveting…a stay-up-all-night-read.”–Kim Cresswell, bestselling author of Deadly Shadow

“Luke Murphy creates a gritty and compelling murder mystery with ‘Red Zone’.”—S.L. Shelton, bestselling author of the Scott Wolfe series

“Richly developed characters, snappy dialogue, and a plot to keep the reader guessing.”–Peter Clement, bestselling author of the Earl Garnet series

 

Bio:

Luke Murphy is the International bestselling author of two series. The Calvin Watters Mysteries: Dead Man’s Hand (2012) and Wild Card (2017). The Charlene Taylor Mysteries: Kiss & Tell (2015) and Rock-A-Bye Baby (2019).

Murphy played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006.

His sports column, “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec and won the award in 2009. He has also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7).

Murphy lives in Shawville, QC with his wife and three daughters. He is a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude).

Red Zone is Murphy’s fifth novel.

For more information on Luke and his books, and to sign up for his newsletter, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com

‘Like’ his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AuthorLukeMurphy.

Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AuthorLMurphy and Instagram: www.instagram.com/AuthorLukeMurphy.

Be the first to know when Luke Murphy’s next book is available! Follow him at www.bookbub.com/authors/luke-murphy to receive new release and discount alerts.

 

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Filed under Authors, Books, e-books, Fiction, Genre, Thriller

Hello, Summer!

I have not posted since March.  Blame it on the pandemic and the fact that I was placed on Administrative Leave for almost three months before I began working from home.

The Administrative Leave time gave me lots of time to do home projects and little else.

I hope everyone is well and has many projects you are working on.

Here are a couple of upcoming new releases:

Luke Murphy, a former hockey player and writer, has a new release coming out soon titled Red Zone.  I will have a post about this in the next few days.  For now, know that the Ebook pre-order date is July 1, and the Ebook release date is July 15.

Charlene Newcomb is a retired librarian and author of the fantastic historic Battle Scars series has a new book, Echoes of the Storm that will be released on July 26.  While the Battle Scars series is about knights in King Richard the Lionheart’s army, Echoes of the Storm will take us to the stars.

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Filed under Authors, Books, Fiction, science fiction

Is your book about a virus or pandemic?

The World Health Organization announced the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a global pandemic.

When I first heard about COVID-19, my thoughts went immediately to the movie Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman.

Does your book deal with a virus, a pandemic, a plague, etc.?  If so, brainstorm ways you can tie it to COVID-19.

Is your book categorized as a health genre? Can you tie it to COVID-19 and what people should be doing to prevent the virus?

Maybe you wrote a zombie story. Did zombies come about because of a virus?

While this pandemic is not something to celebrate, it is at the forefront of customers’ minds.

Just sayin’…

 

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Filed under Authors, Books, Fiction, Genre, Non-Fiction

The Legend of Valentine’s Day

Tomorrow, February 14th is Valentine’s Day and I wanted to share the legend with you before the big day arrives!

 

In the days of ancient Rome, the fourteenth-day of February was a pagan holiday that honored Juno. Juno was the queen of the Roman gods as well as the goddess of women and marriage. The next day, the fifteenth was the first day of the festival of Lupercalia. This festival honored Juno and Pan who were two Roman gods. Fertility rituals were held on this day. On the night before the festival started, it was customary for the names of the Roman girls to be written on slips of paper. These slips were then placed in a container and then each boy drew the name of the girl who he would be coupled with for the entire Lupercalia festival.

Rome was under the authority of Emperor Claudius the Second, and he was a vicious warrior, not to mention the fact that he was insane. His armies lacked the sufficient number of soldiers it needed, and Claudius could not figure out why more young men didn’t want to go to battle. Finally, he determined that the young men didn’t want to leave their wives, families, and girlfriends. In order to remedy this, the Emperor instituted a new law and canceled all of the marriages and engagements in Rome.

In the meantime, there lived a priest in Rome by the name of Valentine. He did not believe in the Emperor’s new law, and he refused to abide by it. He continued to perform wedding ceremonies in secret. He lived in constant fear that he would be caught by Emperor Claudius’s soldiers, but he persisted in doing what he knew was right. Finally, the day did come when Bishop Valentine was caught uniting a man and a woman in the bonds of holy matrimony. The soldiers dragged him to stand before Emperor Claudius’s throne. The Emperor condemned the Bishop to be put to death for his violation of the law.

While the priest was imprisoned, waiting for his execution, many young couples threw notes of thanks along with flowers and other gifts into the window of his cell. Among these young people who admired the priest for doing the right thing was the prison guard’s own daughter. Her father allowed her to visit Bishop Valentine in his cell. During these visits, the two would talk and laugh and share each other’s thoughts. Finally, the day arrived when Bishop Valentine was scheduled to die. It was the fourteenth of February in the year 270 A. D. While he was waiting for the soldiers to come and drag his away, Bishop Valentine composed a note to the girl telling her that he loved her. He signed it simply, “From Your Valentine.”

Finally, in the year 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius did away with the pagan festival of Lupercalia, citing that it was pagan and immoral. He then chose Bishop Valentine as the patron saint of lovers, who would be honored at the new festival on the fourteenth of every February.

Over the years, Valentine’s Day has evolved into a holiday when gifts, cards, flowers, and candy are given to the ones we love or would like to start a relationship with. And it is all because of a brave, righteous man named Valentine.

 

While the above legend depicts Valentine as all love, Lisa Bitel, historian of Christianity, tells us that it all just a legend. Bitel wrote, “…I can tell you that at the root of our modern holiday is a beautiful fiction. St. Valentine was no lover or patron of love.”  In her article “The Gory Origins of Valentine’s Day,” Bitel stated, “Valentine’s Day, in fact, originated as a liturgical feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. So, how did we get from beheading to betrothing on Valentine’s Day?”

To find out the answer read Bitel’s article here.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!

 

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Filed under Authors, Holidays, Religious, Romance, Valentine's day

Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens!

I share a birthday with Charles Dickens!

 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of time…” is probably one of the most recognizable quotes in history.  The author of that quote was one of the greatest English novelists.

Charles John Huffman Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, at Landport, Portsmouth, England.

In 1836 Dickens wrote about dinner in  “Sketches by Boz.”    He wrote, “A Christmas family-party!  We know nothing in nature more delightful!”  Christmas was Dickens’ hobby – Christmas, food, and drink.

When you hear the name Charles Dickens you may immediately think of his book turned movie, The Christmas Carol.  A book and movie about Christmas, food, and drink.

Dickens often had evening parties at his home in London.  Among his frequent guests were Mark Lemon, journalist, humorist and editor of Punch; William Wilkie Collins, novelist; Clarkson Stanfield, a marine painter; John Forster, author of the first important biography of Dickens; and possible every artist of the time.  At these parties, Dickens served what he called punch.

Dickens died on June 9, 1870, at the age of 58.

While this day is not part of the Christmas Holiday Season, it is a day for remembering one of the greatest English novelists.  Have a cup of “punch” to celebrate Charles Dickens!

Recipes:*

Champagne Cup

4 lumps sugar

Thin rind of 1 lemon

½ cup boiling water

1 bottle (4/5 quart) champagne

1 ½ cups sherry wine

2 strips ( 5 – ½ inches) cucumber rind

18 ice cubes

 

Combine sugar, lemon rind, and boiling water.  Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in champagne, sherry, cucumber strips, and ice.  Remove cucumber after 10 minutes.  Yield: about 6 cups.

This recipe should not be made more than 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

Claret Cup

6 lumps sugar

Thin rind of 1 lemon

½ boiling water

½ cup brandy

1 bottle (4/5 quart) claret wine

2 cups club soda

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

18 ice cubes

 

Combine sugar, lemon rind, and boiling water.  Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in brandy, claret, soda, nutmeg and ice.  Yield: about 7 cups.

This recipe should not be made more than 20 minutes before serving.

Recipes are from Dickens’s personal papers at New York University, The Fales Library, and Special Collections.

 

 

 

 

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Do your write nonfiction?

The Writer magazine is now taking submissions for its 2020 Essay Contest.

Submit your best essay in 2,000 words or less. Any topic or subject is fair game as long as your submission is a work of nonfiction.

Entry Fee: $25

Deadline: March 3rd, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EST
Grand prize: $1,000 and publication in our magazine
Word count: 2,000 words or less

 

The web site urges Please read all rules and guidelines before submitting or your work may be disqualified.

You can find the rules and guidelines on the website.

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Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809-October 7, 1849)

Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday.

Here are some Edgar Allan Poe quotes.

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary.”

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”

“Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence.”

 

Sign up for my newsletter today.

 

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Filed under Authors, Books, Genre, poetry