Guest Blog Post

Heifer Procurement

July 22, 2014

Our guest blogger is Pamela Fagan Hutchins author of several books including Saving Grace (Katie & Annalise Bk #1, 4.5 stars, 377 reviews, $0.00).

If this doesn’t make you laugh until you pee, you have the sense of humor of a rock. And I mean that in the best possible way.

Our house has been all about heifer procurement lately–show heifers, that is, big beautiful bovines with limpid eyes and calf-bearing hips. You see, our 16-year old daughter traded swimming for FFA–Future Farmers of America–and her project for the next two years is to be a heifer.

We’ve scoured websites for weeks. Shorthorns, Brangus, Brahmans, Polled Herefords. Ah, the possibilities. Susanne regaled us with the relevant facts on each breed. “Brahmans are a little big, Mom, and I’m a first-timer.” “I don’t like Brangus.” “”Shorthorns are so cute.”

We had one month within which to buy one so that Susanne and the as-yet just dreamed of heifer would be eligible for 2014 shows.  She and her FFA sponsor had their eyes on an auction in Dallas, and Susanne glued herself to their website. It was like for livestock-obsessed teenagers. She narrowed it down to three potentials: two Chianinas and one Polled Hereford. Her sponsor recommended the one she favored, Lot #4, a fawn-colored Chianina, which he called a Chi and pronounced “Key.”

“He said that she’s real gentle, that a ten-year old trained her on the lead. Her hair is easier to manage than a Hereford. I’m going to call her Dixie,” Susanne breathed.

“I’m going to call her Filet,” Eric said.

We ignored him. “She sounds perfect,” I said.

“If her price goes over my budget I’ll pay the extra out of my Christmas and birthday money. I don’t need any Read more »

Just for Fun: TV Mysteries With Ties To Books

July 15, 2014

Our guest blogger is Pamela Fagan Hutchins author of several books including Saving Grace (Katie & Annalise Bk #1, 4.5 stars, 377 reviews, $0.00).

Just for Fun: TV Mysteries With Ties To Books

9. Spenser for Hire: The novels were better, but aren’t they always? Robert B. Parker is the bomb. Robert Ulrich did him proud. (And so does Tom Selleck in the Jesse Stone movies)

8. Hart to Hart: A married crime-fighting team. They made it work, without illicit sex. Hats off to them. Novelist Sidney Sheldon wrote the original script upon which the series was based.

7. Remington Steele: All hail the Irish! The series in which we learned to love female detectives and Pierce Brosnan, pre-Bond. OK, this is a stretch, but the Bond books were written by Ian Fleming. Yeah, I didn’t promise the ties would be direct, y’all.

6. Moonlighting: Yeah, yeah, you youngsters don’t remember it. But I dream of demanding someone shooting my life in soft focus now that I’m in my forties. Cybil Shepherd is my hero(ine). The show was inspired by The Taming of the Shrew, written by a fellow called William Shakespeare.

5. Magnum, PI: Makes you want to time travel back to Hawaii with Tom Selleck, circa 1980. Or anytime. Magnum lived in the Robin’s Nest, the home offictional writer of lurid novels, Robin Masters.

4. The Rockford Files: His car. His wit. His rugged good looks. James Garner. And then there was The Notebook. Sigh. And Nicholas Sparks wrote the Notebook. (This is turning into Six Degrees of Separation With Kevin Bacon, but it’s working for me. How’s it working for you??)

3. Bones: Because what author wouldn’t love a series about their real life? Especially one with crispy corpses and crumbling cadavers. Way to go Kathy Reichs, author of the “Bones” series!

2. Castle: Because what author wouldn’t love to be that big goofball Castle? Love the cameos. Love that the series spawned books by an author whose real identity is not Rick Castle, but is a mystery:

1. Justified: Timothy Olyphant, black humor and gore, and did I mention Timothy Olyphant? I’m a sucker for larger-than-life setting and characters. You had me at hello, Elmore Leonard.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Katie & Annalise series next :-)

Which of your favorite mystery series on TV with literary ties did I leave out?

The Bravest of the Brave

July 3, 2014

Our guest blogger is Margaret Tanner author of several books including Allison’s War.

The Bravest of the Brave

Have you ever met a real life character, someone so different to your preconceptions?

I certainly have, a few years ago I met a real-life hero, and I would have passed him in the street and never have known that he had performed a feat of valour that won him the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for bravery on the battlefield in the Australian and British army.

In 1854 during the Crimean War, The Victoria Cross came into being. It was named for Queen Victoria and was the highest award for valour. The medals were struck from a bronze Russian cannon captured in the Crimea.

Like the American Medal of Honor, only the bravest of the brave receive this award.

The first war in which any Australians won the Victoria Cross was in South Africa (1899-1902), six were awarded. In the 1st World War sixty four Victoria Crosses were won by Australians, in the 2nd World War the number was twenty. Four were awarded for The Vietnam War, and four Victoria Crosses have recently been awarded to Australian soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. In some instances the medal was awarded posthumously.

I had always thought of heroes as young, tall, strong and virile looking, always confident, sometimes brash even (like the heroes in my wartime romances). Of course, the heroes from Afghanistan are young men, the same ages as my Read more »

The Free Wee Library

July 1, 2014

Our guest blogger is Evie Gaughan author of The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris.

The Free Wee Library

Not only is this the cutest little invention I’ve ever seen, but also the most innovative. The brainchild of Geraldine Timlin, who took her inspiration from similar schemes in the States, Free Wee Library is a book swap ‘hutch’ that operates on an honesty policy. Members of the public can borrow a book, as long as they replace it with another one. The result is a veritable hodgepodge of books – with everything from rare poetry books to children’s classics.

There are five of these little bird-house-like beauties scattered around the scenic environs of Buncrana, County Donegal and have proved a real success with natives and visitors alike. There are plans to develop the idea, and hopefully spread the concept throughout Ireland. It’s a volunteer effort to build the libraries, stock them and keep a watchful eye on them, while members of the public donate books on a regular basis so the books on the shelf are always changing.

I absolutely love this small yet mighty idea, not only because it encourages reading and literacy, but it’s getting books out into the community. Having these little libraries by the sea or on a country walk is the perfect excuse to sit down on a bench and pick up a book. In this modern age, we have lost the time or inclination to just sit and be Read more »

I Inherited a Publishing House

June 24, 2014

Our guest blogger is James Vescovi author of Eat Now; Talk Later: 52 True Tales of Family, Feasting, and the American Experience.

I Inherited a Publishing House

The will was probated, the paperwork complete. It was all official; I’d inherited a publishing house.

I was hardly ecstatic knowing that, with computer technology, more and more books were being birthed annually. Nearly 400,000 new titles were self-published in 2012, according to R.R. Bowker. The figure represents a 59 percent increase over 2011.

The publishing house was left to me by my friend and co-author, Frances Diane Robotti, who died at 93.  It is called Fountainhead.  Haven’t heard of it?  It closed its doors in 1976, probably before many current editors at Hyperion and Penguin could ride a bike. Fountainhead (FH) was established in 1960 (a year when 15,000 books were published, according to Bowker) in New York City and put out 2-3 titles per year, none bestsellers. Among them: Crucial Moments of the Civil War by Willard Webb; The Gift of Laughter and Nineteen Other Short Stories by Alice Maxwell; and Fairy-Lamps: Evening’s Glow of Yesteryear by Amelia MacSwiggan. A fairy-lamp is a candle with a colorful glass dome that gives off a twinkling light. They were popular in the late 19th century and today are collector’s items. For more info, check out, a site run by Read more »

Boots and Glass Slippers

June 22, 2014

PictureOur guest blogger is Jamie Le Fay author of Ange’el (Ange’el Series) ($0.99).

Boots and Glass Slippers

From as young as I can remember, I have soothed myself to sleep by imagining epic stories of heroes, heroines, sorceresses, dragons, angels, and devils. I based my stories on the books and movies I was watching and the narratives that moved and inspired me.

I was as excited and delighted with Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre as I was with Battlestar Galactica (the original TV series). The Mists of Avalon, an Arthurian legend retelling from the point of view of the female characters, had as much effect on me as Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

I imagined myself occupying the boots of the hero as much as I occupied the glass slippers of the damsel in distress. The first one was what I wanted to be; the second was what society wanted me to be, and I believed them, for a little while.

Unfortunately, at that time, all the really interesting heroes were mostly male. There were very few interesting female characters on TV. I remember Charlie’s Angels (the original TV series). I used to play with tree miniature Read more »

What is Punk Fiction?

June 12, 2014

Our guest blogger is Charles Cornell author of several books including DragonFly Part I: To Hell and Back.

What is Punk Fiction?

Punk fiction is not graffiti sprawled across walls and rail cars by gangs of underemployed, disgruntled youth wearing hoodies. It is a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy that has many sub-sub-genres like Steampunk, Dieselpunk, Atompunk, Cyberpunk, Teslapunk, Petrolpunk, Biopunk, Elfpunk, Magicpunk, and more. By now, you might be thinking… this is too much of a ‘Punk-of-the-Month’ PunkClub kind of fad to be treated seriously. But you would be wrong. Very wrong.

Now, my opinion is just my own and I’m going to link you to other viewpoints as best as I can. So if you see a change in font color in this post, and in the others that follow, don’t be afraid to click on it and see where it takes you.

The punk fiction genres have been growing in popularity in terms of authorship and readership since the term steampunk was coined in 1987, the anecdotal birth year of the steampunk genre movement in fiction. But the term ‘punk’ goes far beyond just relating to books or graphic novels. Punk is also a popular sub-culture and has many other creative and social dimensions.

As a dieselpunk author, I’m often asked by readers… ‘what is punk fiction?’. Somehow I need to do more than just reply… ‘Try it, you’ll like it’ or… ‘If you like science fiction, fantasy or alternative history you’ll probably like Read more »

Paper Dolls

June 7, 2014

Our guest blogger is Darrell Case author of Slaugh.

Paper Dolls

Remember when you, your sister, or a friend played with paper dolls. Their clothes changed depending on the task or activity. However, their expression always remained the same. They were always happy, smiling no matter what the circumstances. They were never worried, sad or fearful. They were fun to play with. No sorrow affected them. No tragedy touched them. You could leave a paper doll for a day, a month or a year. When you decided to play with them, again they always had the same expression.

Sometimes we as writers have a problem creating believable characters. The ones creative in our writing can be paper dolls or cardboard character. Having no depth no real feelings. A person’s childhood colors how they react to a situation. Past failures made them cautious of making decisions. They ache for love yet are fearful of rejection. Are they driven by a desire for wealth or power? How does this affect their family life? Are they addicted to drugs and long to be free? Are they hiding something in their past, terrified this indiscretion will be exposed. Do they weep in the middle of the night when no one hears. If they are fired, lose a child or go through a divorce do they react with the same feelings as your next-door neighbor. As you write, do their emotions touch you? Do tears come to your eyes as they weep at the casket of their loved one? Do you rejoice with Read more »

Do Paranormal Investigators Really Find Ghosts?

June 5, 2014

Our guest blogger is Colleen Collins the author of several novels, as well as a participating author in the new boxed set Love is a Mystery: Six novels of love, laughter and lawbreaking.

Do Paranormal Investigators Really Find Ghosts?

For a decade, my husband and I co-owned a private detective agency in Denver, Colorado. During that time we had a few people call who said they thought a ghost was haunting their house and could we investigate it? We always declined, explaining that we were not paranormal investigators. Which is a good place to start this discussion – who are these people who specialize in hunting ghosts?

What Is a Paranormal Investigator?

ghost hunter

Most paranormal investigators are people who are certified in parapsychology or who have studied paranormal investigations. Their goal is to help people in need, and often paranormal investigators do not accept money for their services (although they may accept donations for travel, lodging and expenses). Some paranormal investigators make money through writing books, conducting “ghost tours,” giving workshops, or even starring in Read more »

The First U.S. Female Private Eye: Kate Warne

June 2, 2014

Our guest blogger is Colleen Collins the author of several novels, as well as a participating author in the new boxed set Love is a Mystery: Six novels of love, laughter and lawbreaking.

The First U.S. Female Private Eye: Kate Warne

Kate Warne is viewed by many to be the first female private detective in the U.S. Perhaps a better way to say it is, she’s the firstofficial female private detective, as she was the initial woman hired by the established Pinkerton National Detective Agency, the nationally recognized private detective agency in the United States, which was founded in 1850.

But I say official because there were other gutsy, tenacious and creative women who conducted investigations prior to Kate.

Kate’s Tough and Talented Predecessors

There were women going back to the American Revolution who had the savvy to run reconnaissance as well as outwit, out-investigate and outmanuever their opponents. Women like Emily Geiger who, in 1781, stepped forward to be a messenger for General Nathaniel Greene who needed an operative to slip a message past the British to General Thomas Sumter. Emily, caught by the British while on her way to Gen. Sumter’s headquarters, ate the secret message, but had memorized its contents, which she later verbally related to General Sumter.

There’s also Prudence White who directed other women in her town to go undercover. Dressed as men, they Read more »


***1 Week Sale *** Only $0.99!

Sex, drugs and pianoforte music

Weekly Featured “Great Reads”

A FREE listing service
provided for authors
featuring highly reviewed books with a great price.
(4 stars or greater).

3.9 stars – 142 reviews
Daimones: Daimones Trilogy, Vol.1

4.9 stars – 39 reviews
Chasing the Lion

4.8 stars – 34 reviews
What Laurel Sees

4.4 stars – 136 reviews
No Cry For Help