Saturday, December 28, 2019

New Waxwood story from Tam May

False Fathers: Waxwood Series: Book 2 by [May, Tam]

False Fathers, Waxwood Series book 2
Tam May

December 28, 2019
Dreambook Press

$11.99 Print
$.99 Ebook

Buy on Amazon

About the Book
Sometimes no father is better than a false father.

At nineteen, Jake Alderdice is shy, contemplative, and passionate about art. With the death of his grandfather, shipping magistrate Malcolm Alderdice, he becomes the new family patriarch and heir to Alderdice Shipping and Alderdice Luxury Liner. After two years of mourning, he is ready to add to the family honor just as all the Alderdice men have, but as an artist, not a shipping magistrate. His plans are delayed with his mother announces the family will be retreating to Waxwood, now a fashionable resort town favored by the San Francisco elite, for the summer, fulfilling her father's dying wish to "go back.” 

On the train, he meets Harland Stevens, an enigmatic but charming older man, who has come to Waxwood as chaperone and guide to his college-aged cousin Roger and Roger's friends. Mr. Stevens, or, as he tells Jake, "just Stevens", takes an interest in the young man's ambitions, and introduces him to the town's most prominent gallery owner. But when Jake takes his paintings for appraisal, the man delivers a fatal blow — Jake's mythology-inspired paintings are too original for the market of realistic landscape paintings favored by Gilded Age patrons.

Stevens seizes the devastated and wandering Jake and counsels him toward a more aggressive but moralistic path to manhood inspired by Teddy Roosevelt and Thoreau. Jake proves himself to be more studious and serious than Roger and his friends. Impressed with the young man's determination to take over his grandfather's business, Stevens introduces him to The Order of Actaeon, a secret society built upon those ideals favored by his idols.

But the path to emotional maturity and masculine identity is, Jake learns, a complex thing in the Gilded Age. Will his journey free him from the Alderdice family illusions, half-truths, and lies that have kept him a child, just as it did his sister Vivian's six years before? Or will it lead him into the world of Actaeon, where the hunter becomes the hunted?

My Review
Gilded and Privileged age slice of life

Tam May knows her stuff, and skillfully weaves a tale of, by today’s standards, a coming-of-age story near the early days of the twentieth century in America.

Once the reader gets past an expected but not always practiced two-year mourning period of a family member, the adventure begins. Genteel to the maximum, False Fathers is not an action adventure, but a thoughtful commentary on the last principled era.

After the lengthy period of withdrawal from society, the Alderdice family of San Francisco, shipping magnate, takes to the country for the summer. The male heir to the Alderdice business, Jacob, has reached, or nearly so, his majority, and must decide his future. He is a thoughtful, torn young man who would like to practice painting, to seek a profession as an artist instead of stepping into his familial shoes of business. His strong-willed mother, Larissa, is willing to let him explore this fancy. Jake’s older sister, Vivian, had her adventure some years earlier when she visited a friend of her late grandmother. With his mother and sister always in contention, Jake slides away from the tension and encounters a strangely compelling man chaperoning a group of university boys on a summer lark. Jake and the man, Stevens, begin a mentoring relationship which ends in a sobering, fate-changing reality in an otherwise unassuming summer.

Jake was raised by his late grandfather, and is subconsciously seeking another father figure who will guide him on his decisions for his future. What he learns is that everyone has secrets and failings. Even his family history is built upon secrets and failings and it is up to him to live up to his own principles.

Written primarily from Jake’s point of view, False Fathers is recommended for those who appreciate a little-explored period in American history. Those who love the story of Margaret Brown (“unsinkable” Molly Brown, without the music) or the era of suffrage, will enjoy Tam May’s Waxwood series.

About the Author
Tam MayTam May grew up in the United States and earned her B.A. and M.A in English. She worked as an English college instructor and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher before she became a full-time writer. She started writing when she was 14, and writing became her voice. She writes fiction about characters who find their future by exploring their personal past influenced by the time in which they live.

Her first book, a collection of contemporary short stories titled Gnarled Bones And Other Stories, was nominated for a 2017 Summer Indie Book Award. She is currently working on a Gilded Age family saga. She is also working on a historical mystery series featuring a turn-of-the-century New Woman sleuth. Both series take place in Northern California.

She lives in Texas but calls San Francisco and the Bay Area "home". When she's not writing, she's reading classic literature and historical fiction, watching classic films, or cooking up awesome vegetarian dishes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Write Now Literary tour with Sonja Nwajei

Write Now Literary is pleased to be organizing a book tour for 26 Ways to Inspire Yourself by Sonia Nwajei. The tour will run November 18- December 18, 2019. Book your own tour here

Genre: Self Help/Non-Fiction

                      MEET SONIA
Sonia A Nwajei is the author of this wonderful book. She began her writing career only two years ago and had since published three non-fiction titles (including 26 Ways) to her credit. 

She is currently working to publish her first fiction, a murder mystery, which she hopes will captivate lovers of fiction/detective novellas. 
Sonia lives in Brisbane, Australia.
             ABOUT THE BOOK
26 Ways To Inspire Yourself - is a powerful self-help book, written with the sole purpose to motivate readers with ideas that'll enable them make positive changes in their lives. The book is packed full of insightful and encouraging messages for those seeking to improve themselves, rebuild their lives and achieve set goals. It's your ultimate self-guide to a Better New You. Get it now.

Chapter 9-Letter I-Inspiration:
Inspiration leads us to a course of action that tends to showcase a different and more creative side of us that people may not have noticed before.
Chapter 10 -Letter J-Jealousy:
Jealousy is an unpleasant feeling of low self-esteem mixed with insatiable desire to acquire the same material possessions as some else.

Chapter 13-Letter M-Mother:
Every child feels safe and happy when their mother is around. Every child craves the affections and support of their mother. Even adults run to their mothers when they experience difficulties in life. 

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Clear As Ice holiday novella review and a holiday recipe

Clear as Ice (Christmas Holiday Extravaganza)

Clear As Ice
Penelope Marzec
Holiday Extravaganza novella
Prism Lux, a division of Pelican Book Group
November 20, 2019
$3.99 ebook

Buy on Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Pelican Book Store

About the Book
When Ethan's prayers for his mother's life go unanswered, he abandons his faith, tossing it out with his mother's Christmas ornaments. The loss of his hope leaves him empty and he begins to shy away from relationships, but when his dog Rufus, a rescue from a shelter, develops a fondness for a woman skating on the frozen lake behind his house, he's annoyed. Not only does he resent her using his pond, he doesn't understand her fear of dogs.

Haylie, once an Olympic figure skater, is afraid of more than just Ethan's dog. She lives in constant fear due to threats from a stalker, but one day Ethan's dog chases the danger away, so Haylie decides to try to lose her fear of dogs...But then the stalker's plans expand to include revenge toward Ethan as well. If they are to remain safe and live to see a happily-ever-after, Haylie and Ethan must put aside differences and learn to trust each other. This Christmas season promises to be the most challenging and the most meaningful of their lives.

Penelope, tell us what you love about your new book.

There are two things which gave me endless hours of delight while writing Clear as Ice, my latest release. First, the book brought back all the good times I had when I was young while ice skating on the lake behind the house where I grew up. The cold didn’t bother me as I whirled around on the thin blades. I didn’t worry about falling down. I wound up on my behind hundreds of times—and I laughed. It was a joyful activity. Of course, there were dangers, but even at a young age I was aware of them. I saw kids fall through the ice, which was terrifying. So I always waited until the ice was thick enough before venturing out on it. But when it was good and solid, it was great fun.

The other aspect of Clear as Ice I enjoyed was writing about the antics of Rufus, the hero’s dog, who thinks he’s human—although maybe he’s better than human. In fact, Rufus might be smarter than his owner. Rufus certainly has his own opinions about things. He knows exactly who the hero should date and, of course, he’s right. I thought about my granddog as I wrote about Rufus. My granddog is a genius, of course.

The hero in Clear as Ice decides to skip Christmas. But it is specifically at holiday time when everyone is afforded a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with family traditions. One of the Christmas traditions we always enjoy at our house is Cape Cod Cranberry Pie. It is so easy but so delicious, too. I’ve made it every year since I first discovered the recipe, except for the year the oven died. I originally found the recipe in my New York Times Heritage Cook Book, but the recipe can now be found easily online.

While I enjoy it plain, ice cream or whipped cream on top is nice, too.


2 cups cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts.)
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Spread the cranberries in the bottom of a well-greased ten inch pie plate.
3. Sprinkle with one half cup of the sugar and the nuts.
4. Add the remaining sugar to the eggs, beating well. Beat in the flour, butter, and shortening. Pour over the cranberries.
5. Bake about 1 hour, or until crust is golden brown.

The pie goes fast--so you better make two of them.

Lisa's Review
When a thoroughly traumatized former Olympian must face all of her fears in the space of a few days, it takes an embittered EMT and his dog to bring back the joy of Christmas.

Set in east central New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy, ice skater Hailey revisits the site of her former home which had been destroyed in the storm. She is surprised by a visit from an overly friendly and protective, playful dog, companion to Ethan, the owner of a new house on the lake where she enjoyed ice skating in the winter. Ethan, a former wild teen, now a humbug who’s been disappointed by unanswered prayer, and Hailey, a young woman of great faith, now a physical therapist, continue to run into each other. Ethan’s dog, Rufus, decides Hailey needs him as much as Ethan does and does what he can to take care of her.

Hailey and Ethan team up when Hailey’s past problems terrorize her. Somewhere in their developing relationship, Rufus decides to practice a little matchmaking in between his protection detail. Hailey is willing to take steps toward conquering her fears, but will Ethan crawl out of his well of misery and meet her partway?

Ethan may have thrown over his late mother’s faith when God let him down, but he’s smart enough to realize that Hailey holds the keys to healing grace. He’s not about to let another good thing get away, bah humbug or not. But Hailey’s problems may be more than he wants to deal with. 

Clear as Ice is a sweet and short holiday romance told from both Hailey’s and Ethan’s viewpoints as they maneuver around each other and everything Christmas. Those who enjoy feel-good stories featuring lovable dogs will love Marzec’s inspiration story.

About the Author

Penelope Marzec grew up along the Jersey shore. She started reading romances at a young age and fell hopelessly in love with happy endings. Two of her inspirational romances won EPIC’s eBook Award and another was a finalist in that contest. Her paranormal, Irons in the Fire, was a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award. Visit her website at for more information.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Carol James and her new Christmas story

The Unexpected Christmas Gift

The Unexpected Christmas Gift
Carol Wilson James

White Rose Publishing, a division of Pelican Ventures, Inc.
December 1, 2019
Holiday extravaganza inspirational romantic novella

113 pp

Buy on

About the Book
Eli Walker is a fun-loving entrepreneur. His job is to advise and restructure struggling companies. Holly’s mission is to save the company she works for by finding new customers at a trade show in Dusseldorf.

But when she fulfills her promise to her boss to visit the cathedral in Cologne, her quest changes.

Filled with twinkling lights and snowflakes Christmas markets and a romantic Ferris wheel Eli and Holly’s time together in Germany is an unexpected gift. But when they return home Eli must make a decision that could cost him what he wants most in life...Holly.

My review
This sweet little inspirational romance has all the very best parts of holiday reads. I adored it all, the absolutely charming setting of Germany, the sweet characters with their foibles, the love at first scent, and even the disaster of a Jurassic-sized conflict. My inner editor totally went to sleep. I want to be Holly’s parents. They’re so cool. I want to go to…oh, wait. I’m getting ahead of myself.

When two lonely strangers on an international trade show trip accidentally, coincidentally, wind up sharing all kind of marvelous adventures in Germany, of course it’s natural to fall into each other’s arms. Been there!!! It happens. And when they’re both on the same page, reveal their deepest fears and dark secrets and vow to stay in touch when they’re back home in Texas…and everything is going so well…the perfect Bam! threatens to erase the magic. How these two work out the unresolvable problems is a lovely, lovely thing.

Great characters and an adorable storyline will charm the Christmas Grinch. Take a couple of hours and steal away to Germany for a lovely little bite-size holiday read.

About the Author
Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. ​She lives in Lilburn, a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist” named Zoe. An English/education major, she has taught students as young as kindergarteners and as old as high school seniors. 

Having always loved good stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing as a ministry––to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction. 

Retired from her "real" job, she enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, volunteering at and serving on the board of a nearby Christian school, and serving in the production department at her church. She is also a soccer fan extraordinaire and keeps her DVR busy recording Atlanta United and English Premier League games. And, most days in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Johnny Rocker Dead with Lillian Duncan

All I Want for Christmas is Johnny Rocker Dead

Lillian Duncan
Christmas Extravaganza Holiday novella
Pelican Book Group
December 1, 2019
$3.99 ebook

Buy on

About the Book
Johnny Rocker believes he's doesn't need anyone or anything—especially God because after all he is a rock & roll god. When the floor beneath his feet crumbles—literally—he hurtles toward a different truth.

Since the death of Maddie's family, she's run from life and love and become the best bodyguard she can be. But, with God's help, she's ready to step out of her comfort zone and into a different life. When her boss asks—no begs—her to take on one last job, she finds it hard to refuse. Someone is trying to kill mega-star Johnny Rocker. It's Maddie Cotton's job to make sure that doesn't happen.

Even under Maddie's protection the threats continue. As Christmas approaches the danger escalates—someone doesn't want Johnny Rocker to see the new year, and they are willing to kill Maddie as well. Johnny and Maddie will have to set aside their differences and learn to lean on each other and God if they want to see Christmas day.

My Review
Duncan’s contribution to the 2019 Holiday Extravaganza is an inspirational tale of two people with vastly different lifestyles, but at the same place in life. Zeb Walker, aka super rock legend Johnny Rocker, is tired of being constantly “on,” and hounded by a voice he doesn’t understand. Maddie is tired of being on constant alert in her work as a bodyguard. She is retiring from the company, like now…only her boss has one more job. The paycheck is too good to pass up, and she is intrigued by the aspect of investigating a mystery along with the protection detail. She reluctantly agrees to be Johnny Rocker’s temporary bodyguard, especially since her special relationship with Jesus makes it clear Johnny needs more than physical protection.

When Maddie can’t protect Zeb anyplace where his crazed fans can find him, one of whom is obviously trying to kill him, she takes him to her secluded Colorado cabin. As they get to know each other, they become more open to the promptings of the Voice Maddie knows and Zeb longs for. The threats against Johnny’s life escalate until Maddie, too, is drawn into danger.

The story is an exciting and entertaining read with loveable characters at a crossroads. I enjoyed their personalities as both Zeb and Maddie got a kick out of pushing each other’s buttons. Told with enough danger through a light touch to keep the reader turning pages, and through both Zeb and Maddie’s perspectives, readers who enjoy inspirational romantic suspense in short form will find much to love in All I Want for Christmas is Johnny Rocker Dead.

Learn More about the Duncans

Murder, Mayhem & Christmas?

Murder, Mayhem & Christmas? Really?
On the surface, it may seem that murder and mayhem doesn’t necessarily go with Christmas, but I love weaving a Christmas story in with suspense and romance. I have several Christmas stories available—The Christmas Stalking; The Christmas Angel Thief; No Home for the Holidays; and A Christmas Stolen.

My new Christmas novella is ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS JOHNNY ROCKER DEAD! How’s that for a title filled with murder, mayhem, & Christmas?

I won’t tell you the plot but I will tell you the story is about how much God loves each of us—no matter what we’ve done. And isn’t that what Christmas is really all about?

Speaking of Christmas, one of the things my husband and I do every Christmas is to clear out our enclosed porch and then we put up Christmas trees. Yes, I said trees as in many trees.

Last year, we had 15 trees up. In all sizes and shapes— even a snowman tree. We don’t have any young children or grandchildren around, but that doesn’t stop us from celebrating the season and honoring Jesus’s birthday.
Merry Christmas to all!

About the Author
Lillian Duncan…turning faith into fiction.
Even though her books cross genres, they have one thing in common, faith-based stories that show God’s love—and lots of action. OK—that’s two things. She believes in the power of words to change lives, especially God’s Word.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Waltzing Matilda Christmas Read from Clare Revell

Will anyone go a’waltzing this Christmas or is the ball over before it’s begun?

About the Book:

As head of the festival committee it falls to Tilly Sullivan to organise the annual Christmas Ball each year. However when the venue burns to the ground with only four days to go, she’s left with a huge task, and it looks like an impossible one as everywhere else is booked solid.
Leo Keely has the only place big enough to host the party, however he has a huge issue with Christmas and Australian women whose surname is Sullivan.
A winter storm, fallen trees, and a corrupt mayor all conspire to make certain that this the year the ball doesn’t happen. However Tilly isn’t a woman to give up. And if it means convincing Leo that his is the only venue left in town, that’s what she’ll do.

$3.99 Ebook
White Rose Publishing
Buy on Amazon US 
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy from the Publisher

My review:
Revell’s latest addition to her wide repertoire is an utterly charming quick holiday read with all the right Bridget Jones goofiness romance readers love, minus the naughtiness.
When the acting mayor of a small English town does a suspicious reverse on the beloved traditional community Christmas ball, aided by the torching of the venue, it’s up to event organizer Tilly Sullivan to sort things out. Four days until Christmas seems like enough time to switch venues but for one problem after another. At her last possible chance venue for the dance, an old manor house with a crotchety owner in residence, a storm takes out the power, her car, and she later learns, her apartment.
What could get worse?
Falling for the crotchety owner, of course! Twisted family history, secrets, a wise aunt and giddy youthful sister add to the fun of this story. Tilly, as you can probably guess, is an Australian transplant. Reminding Leo Keely, the bitter manor owner, that bah-humbugging Christmas is passé, Tilly, Leo’s little sister Arabella who has her own reasons to demand the ball must go on, and Aunt Mildred stir up Christmas cheer. In the meantime, Tilly, who’s also a city council member, helps to expose as many secrets as there are days until Christmas, and is unsurprisingly “rewarded” for her efforts. Leo, who’s been biding his time as a Luddite, wakes up more than his latent Christmas spirit.

It’s cheers and cheesy holiday sweaters, or jumpers—what a hoot—all around as the community faith is restored in time for a memorable Christmas. I loved this lighthearted romantic tale.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The phone continued to ring. Curiosity got the better of her. Without opening her eyes, she reached out and grabbed the handset. “Matilda Sullivan speaking.”
“Have you seen the news?” Millicent Awning, her best friend and her personal assistant, spoke quickly and without preamble.
Tilly sighed. “No.” She wasn’t going to ask why, she could guess. “Why are you phoning me from the room next door?”
“I’m not. I’m currently stuck in traffic on the bypass. The Birches is on fire although you probably already know that. It’s all over the radio and probably the TV as well.”
“What channel?” Did she really want to see how bad the fire was? Yes. She had to know. She rose and crossed the room to the TV and reached for the remote control.
“Try the BBC first. But I imagine it’d be on all of them. It’s one massive fire. Twenty pumps in attendance at the last count.”
Tilly flicked on the TV and turned to the news channel. Shock ricocheted through her as she stood transfixed in front of the box. Flames surrounded the historic eighteenth century building, leaping from every window, licking up all four sides. An aerial view showed the roof had collapsed. It was worse than the initial phone call had made it seem.
A tiny squeak escaped and Tilly dropped to her knees on the cold office floor. What was she going to do now? A small fire they could have worked around, but this…?
“What are you going to do?” Millicent’s voice dragged Tilly’s attention back to the phone. The same thought she’d had, the same question she was now going to be asked a million times from several different people. Over and over again.
“I have no idea. I’ll see you when you get in.” Tilly ended the call and dropped the handset to the floor beside her. “Maybe.” She blinked hard and rubbed her hands over her face.
All her hard work gone. She’d spent the better part of the last week helping the owners of the gorgeous hotel decorate the ballroom and entrance hall to match her theme. Each year was different. This year, they told her she had excelled herself. Her best yet. The ball had sold out weeks ago. Now she’d have to refund all three hundred tickets. Not to mention compensate the caterers, musicians…
She broke off the thought. Guilt ran rampant. What if someone was hurt? Surely that should have been her first concern, not the fact her planning was now literally in ashes.
She groaned again. Rolling off her knees, she lay face down and gave into the urge to scream and hit the floor. It didn’t help. She sucked in a deep breath. She could almost hear her mother’s voice. “Pride cometh before a fall, Matilda, and a haughty spirit before destruction.”
She closed her eyes. Was it a sin to take a modicum of pride in her work? It’s not like she was doing it for herself? OK, she’d get as much fun out of the ball as the next person, but she was doing it for the town. It wasn’t Christmas without the ball. And now for the first time in the years she’d been doing the job, there would be no ball.

About the Author:
Clare Revell
Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. They have recently been joined by Hedwig and Sirius the guinea pigs. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.

Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.

Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American in some of them, the books contain British language and terminology and the more recent ones are written in UK English.

The first draft of every novel is hand written.

She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Wonderful memoir from Amy Laundrie

Laugh, Cry, Reflect: Stories from a Joyful Heart

Laugh, Cry, Reflect: Stories From a Joyful Heart
Amy Laundrie

HenschelHAUS publishing
June 1, 2018
200 pages
$9.98 Ebook
$14.95 Print

Buy on Amazon

About the Book
Laugh, Cry, Reflect: Stories From a Joyful Heart is a collection of short yet powerful personal stories. Some will make you laugh—like when you find out why the author’s 12-year-old daughter requested a home pregnancy test. Other stories may tug at your heartstrings—like when you learn what item was placed on a beloved relative’s casket. Many of these poignant essays will prompt you to reflect on moments from your own life. All are offerings of hope, wonder, and joy.

My Review
When an author begins her memoir with an apology to a police officer, you know you’re in for a treat.

Written mostly as essays and pieces for her local central Wisconsin newspapers, Laundrie’s reflections from a lifetime of being married, of teaching public elementary school, and being a parent emphasize finding moments of joy and memories to treasure and pass on.

These poignant and humorous vignettes range from finally accepting one’s attributes to exploring how to grow wings with her grandchildren. Laundrie offers an outlook on how to interpret the dizzying lifestyle changes across generations as well as shares precious lessons in lists garnered from her patience with fourth-graders, from raising ducks, and from sitting quietly for fifteen minutes outside on a beautiful morning.

“Who cares about matching outfits,” she says of marriage, “when you find a mate who knows where your stressed muscles need massaging, or just the right words to lift your spirits.”

Who else but an intensely curious soul would wonder if her dust rag held asteroid or mummy particles? And then shake them loose outside to resettle elsewhere? Or why you should bite the tail of the minnow?

These simple but powerful imaginative, heart-warming bits of life are warmly accompanied by photographs illustrating many of the pieces. When is the right time to write a memoir? When you have something to say. Laundrie’s memoir will help you seek and find the joy in those important, quiet moments between breaths.

If you possess even a single sentimental skin cell, you’ll want a tissue box handy as you read this memoir. Better yet, buy one for a friend.

About the Author
A retired fourth-grade teacher, Amy Laundrie began writing personal essays because of a desire share some of her favorite stories and connect with others. Readers have called her stories poignant, humorous, and heartfelt testimonials to a woman's life. They have universal truths and emotions that speak to a wide reading audience. She considers herself a goal setter and is proud of finishing a half-marathon, surviving two wilderness backpack trips, and earning a black belt. She enjoys playing tennis, cross country skiing, hiking with her dog Josie, and raising pet ducks.

Amy continues to write a weekly column for her hometown newspaper, The Dells Events, and work on various children's books.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Jody Day and Joy Express

Book 3 in the Express series

Joy Express
Pelican Ventures LLC, Harbourlight Books
November 8, 2019
Christmas inspirational fiction

Buy on Amazon

About the Book:
Nearly a year has passed since Scott and Bailey’s Christmas wedding. Now they are expecting joy in the form of twins! The day arrives for the opening of Barkley House, a missionary retreat provided by Bailey’s inheritance, but an unspeakable evil descends upon Bailey as she awaits...
Shocking revelations accompany Bailey's ordeal. Will she ever find joy again?

My Review:
The third book in the series set in Texas, in this story we are re-introduced to Bailey and Scott West, and literally come in the middle of frightening action and dreadful secrets.        

Told in alternating first person, Bailey and Scott, who married a year earlier, are expecting their first baby…babies…like, any second. Complicating the matter is Grandpa Brown, on the lam with embezzlement charges on his head and serious anger issues, has a strange way of “just trying to talk” to his oldest daughter for the first time in twenty years. There’s much more to his story, and Bailey comes to learn just how dark the world can be, but also how big her heart can grow. With Bailey at such a desperate place, Scott fears not only for her, but worries over his own abilities to be the husband of strength and faith she can rely on.

As we come in the middle of a traumatic event, references to friends and family, an inheritance, settlement, and a dedication of a missionary retreat are somewhat vague in the early going. I recommend reading the stories in order to get the full picture.

Joy Express is a sweet, detailed episode in the Wests’ lives as Bailey faces peril and then she and Scott learn about parenthood and reliance. Set during Bailey’s favorite time of year, Christmas, Joy Express is a warm Texas holiday treat of a read.

Jody Bailey DayAbout the Author: I am an author who looks at life through love-colored glasses. My passion is inspiring people to live a life that embraces who they are in Jesus Christ. I write poems, articles, devotionals, and novels from West Texas, where I am President of the Fort Stockton area writers group called Critique Café. I am a member of ACFW and My debut novel, Washout Express, and the sequel, Wedding Express are published by Harbourlight Books/The Pelican Group. My poems and articles have appeared in Mature Living, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine,, and I'm published with Pelican Ventures under the imprints of Harbourlight and White Rose.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Suspense in Colorado High Deceit by CE Waterman

High Deceit (Pinion Creek)

High Deceit
CE Waterman

Harbourlight, a division of Pelican Book Group
September, 2019

273 pp
$5.99 Ebook
$15.99 Print

About the Book
Robin Clayton gets the worst phone call of her life. Mark, her police detective husband, has been shot in the line of duty. Or was it? A young woman is dead, and Mark lies in a coma. While he remains helpless and unaware, Internal Affairs builds a case that threatens to tear Mark and Robin apart. Mark's gun is missing, and a briefcase full of money has appeared in Robin's house.

Has Mark been leaking information to his girlfriend as IA claims? Did he kill the woman?

When someone sneaks into the hospital with one purpose--to kill Mark--Robin and her friends fight to find answers before it's too late.

My Review
A drug cartel hidden in plain sight. When a small town Colorado detective gets a tip about a potential drug bust from an amateur sleuth with a passion for saving kids, everything goes wrong. Someone in the police department is lying and it’s up to the detective’s wife and friend to get to the bottom of mayhem in Pinion Creek.

High Deceit is the story of a fight against illegal drug trafficking, suspicion out of control, and ethics. There are quite a few threads running through the story, which is told in multiple viewpoints. High Deceit is part of a series, so all of the threads don’t wrap up neatly in this book.

I found it interesting and enjoyed working with Robin, the detective’s wife, as she and her friend tracked down suspects and went through their own angst about who to believe. Those who enjoy suspenseful, inspirational mystery series with large casts will enjoy these tales.

About the Author
C.E. Waterman is an avid mystery reader. Starting with The Boxcar Children, followed by Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, on to Agatha Christie and then Mary Higgins Clark, she has always loved a good mystery. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Christmas romance from LoRee Perry

Christmas 'Couragement

Christmas ’Couragement
LoRee Perry

December, 2016
Pelican Ventures Holiday Extravaganza ebook

Buy on Amazon US

About the Book
Liam once approved of helping others, but not anymore. He lost his mother due to a crazed street person, and he's hardened his heart. Now a successful photographer, he's returned to set up shop in his hometown--directly across the courtyard from his sister's best friend. Zoe runs an outreach center and encourages the homeless and needy, especially at Christmas. Nursing a soft spot for Liam that started as a girlhood crush, she sets out to help him by creating her unique brand of encouragement cards. Her hope is to reignite the fire and love for Christmas and God, which Liam once had. The cards and ornaments countdown to Christmas, but what if Liam doesn't want to be one of Zoe's projects? What happens when her crush grows into something more? What if they both receive more than expected?

My Review
Opening in the past, youngster best pals Zoe and Meredith put their youthful faith in action by crafting beautiful Christmas cards for the downtrodden of their hometown, Lincoln, Nebraska. The girls have their own traditions and secret codes, including a special word, ’couragement, a two-fold term meant to instill courage as well as inspire encouragement. Fast forward to adulthood. The pals have lost touch. Zoe has grown up, but harbors a dark secret she covers with an unshakeable faith and service, still to those in need in her home community.

When Zoe spies her kid crush, Liam, Meredith’s big brother, returned to Lincoln, she soon learns he has as much need of her special brand of ‘couragement as those who don’t hide their neediness.

Liam sees Zoe for the first time as an adult and realizes she holds the key to his broken spirit, but he strongly disapproves of her open door service to the down and out and needy. Zoe does all she can to restore his faith, but can she get past his walls? Sharing the events of her life, the good and the dark, since he and Meredith left Lincoln, is one way to reach him, and so are the Christmas cards and ornaments she gives him that explore the gospel through holiday traditions.

As Liam’s despair lifts, he still struggles with Zoe’s work until one day he’s given cause to change his heart.

I listened to the audio recording of this story. The male narrator used a softened voice when reading the female characters which was a distraction. Just reading naturally would have been fine. Throughout this book, the author reveals the stories behind our US Christmas traditions. Her holiday tale is highly inspirational with many prayers and Scriptures. Zoe is a wonderful role model, if somewhat naïve, and puts her faith in action. Recommended for those who love very sweet, religious romances.

About the Author
LoRee PeeryChristian author LoRee Peery wrote fiction for many years before her first novella was published in 2010. She smiles as she remembers that initial contract arrived on her birthday. She thrills at the writing process when ideas, words, or character voices resonate in her mind. Jotting notes in the middle of the night or trailing toothpaste across the floor on her way to pen and paper, get her pulse pumping. She often notices character quirks and conversation while she’s out and about, and is invigorated when she spends time outside.

LoRee is drawn to reunion stories for two reasons. She believes God is a God of second chances, and the past often needs to be dealt with before anyone can move on in life. Moselle’s Insurance is her first publication, where Frivolities is a crafty, kooky shop in a small fictitious Nebraska town. Her Frivolities Series and other publications are available from Pelican Book Group.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Grace stories and a novella from Dan Burns


Grace by Dan Burns

Chicago Arts Press, October 2019
195 pp
Available in 4 formats:
Ebook, paperback, harcover, and audible

Buy from the author 

About the Book
“We’re all flawed and confronted daily with sometimes slight but often apparently insurmountable challenges. But if we dig deep, what we unearth from the depths of our souls, if we’re lucky, can allow us to overcome and carry on to live another day with an untortured heart.”

This is the sentiment Dan Burns explores in his exciting new collection. Five stories and a novella highlight Burns’s range as a storyteller and his ability to see life and all its emotions through a unique lens. This collection features his most personal and insightful stories to date.
Redemption—In a quiet Montana town, an aging writer and his nephew are forced to weave the past and the present into a future of more significant meaning.

The Plight of Maximus Octavius Reinhold—In the new story featuring private investigator Sebastian Drake (from the novel A Fine Line), the local patrons of a rural Wisconsin town test Drake’s resolve as he stares into the barrel of a .44 Magnum revolver.

Hardwired—A dying man contemplates the end of his life while hoping to pass along a secret legacy to his family.

Adrift at Sea—To fuel his creative desires, a seabound journeyman leaves behind the anchor of distraction in pursuit of a natural world.

The Final Countdown—In the year 2110, the Earth struggles to survive, ravaged by overpopulation and greed. Food is scarce, and the youth-run government has no choice but to implement a plan devised decades earlier: deport the elderly population to a remote outpost—on the moon.

Grace: A Novella—A story of impaired love, betrayal, and redemption as realized by characters who experience life through the perception of liquor-bottle glasses. Life is never what it seems. Everyone has secrets. The question is whether the skeleton key of alcohol will open the closet door and let out the hidden truths.

The collection includes notes about the thoughts, ideas, and inspiration behind the stories, offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes perspective of the author’s writing process, along with twenty-six illustrations by artist Kelly Maryanski.

Enjoy the trailer

My review
Burns’s new collection of stories is a pleasant and poignant read, with a delightful flow from peaceful and magnanimity to evocative to noir. My favorite story, Final Countdown, channels our mutually admired author, Ray Bradbury. Simple pencil drawings add an extra level of revelation in each story.

Beginning with a past meets present tale set on a Montana ranch, family relationships tying youth and age, love and lust, is the thread woven throughout the book.

Burns proves his versatility with genre, moving adeptly along western, gunslinger, detective noir, old man and the sea-type plots, futuristic, and his specialty of stage writing with ease. The first story features a tenderness of two-way grace when a lonely old man gets a surprise visit from his nephew in need. By the time we get to the last short story before we reach the centerpiece, the novella of the title, we have traversed through time and geography to a future glut of septuagenarians. In Grace: a novella, the reader is drawn back around to reconsider family through the eyes of a bitter wife and her sometimes humorous attempt to deal with her perceived problems.

The cover is an intriguing tumble of letters over the ghostly image of hands and face reaching out, or perhaps breaking through. Readers who enjoy shorter slices of story dealing with the challenges of family secrets, family love and war, and family adrift, will enjoy this book.

Dan Burns 
About the Author
Dan Burns's new story collection is Grace: Stories and a Novella. He is the author of the novels A Fine Line and Recalled to Life and the short story collection No Turning Back: Stories. He is also an award-winning writer of stories for the screen and stage. He resides with his family in Illinois and enjoys spending time in Wisconsin and Montana, where he stalks endless rivers in pursuit of trout and a career as a fly fisherman.