Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

2016 Book 205: STEPPING TO A NEW DAY by Beverly Jenkins

Stepping to a New Day by Beverly Jenkins 
ISBN: 9780062412638 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062412645 (ebook)
ASIN: B015MOJ95A (Kindle version)
Publication Date: June 28, 2016 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks



NAACP nominee and USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns to the town of Henry Adams with a story of family, friendship, love, and second chances.
In Henry Adams, Kansas, you can't start over without stirring things up . . .
Many a good woman has had to leave a no-good man, but how many of them took a back-seat to his 600-lb. hog? On her own for the first time, Genevieve Gibbs is ecstatic, even if certain people preferred the doormat version of Ms. Gibbs. Finding someone who appreciates the "new" her has only just hit Gen's to-do list when T.C. Barbour appears in her life. 
A tiny Kansas town is a far cry from his native Oakland, California, but it's just the change T. C. needs. While helping his divorced nephew acclimate to single fatherhood, T. C. lands a gig driving a limo for the most powerful woman in Henry Adams. It's a great way to meet people—and one in particular has already made the job worthwhile. All it takes is a short trip from the airport for Genevieve to snag T.C.'s attention for good. 
But it wouldn't be Henry Adams without adding more drama to the mix. When Gen's ex Riley returns with his hog in tow, it sets off a chain of events that can ruin everything—unless the residents pull together once again to save the day.


Imagine a small town established by freed Blacks in the 1800s. Imagine that same town in the 21st century, struggling to survive. Now imagine the town is posted on eBay and sold. The buyer is a wealthy Black American female and she's willing to put her money up to bring this poor rural midwestern town into the 21st century. The population is growing once again, there's a school, a recreation center, a church, a grocery store, a beauty salon, a recording studio, and more. Return to Henry Adams, Kansas in Stepping to a New Day, the latest addition in the Blessings series by acclaimed author Beverly Jenkins.

Genevieve Gibbs is a sixty-something-year-old woman finding her niche in life. She divorced her husband after he chose his hog Cletus over his wife and embezzled thousands of dollars from the monies left to her by her father. Adding insult to injury, her home had to be demolished due to the destruction wrought by her ex-husband's favored hog. Genevieve had begun to rekindle her romance with her high-school love, but he can't accept her new found spirit and free will. Enter the newest addition to the Henry Adams family, T.C. Barbour. T.C. had moved to Henry Adams on a temporary basis to help out his nephew. Within days he's obtained a part-time job as a chauffeur and found that small town life isn't as bad as he thought. T.C. has also finally decided to follow through on a promise he made to his dying wife, he's going to learn to read. Both T.C. and Genevieve struggle with their new lives, but one area that is struggle-free is their romantic interest in one another.

Stepping to a New Day is the seventh book in the Blessings series by Ms. Jenkins. I found it to be a fast-paced and engaging read. Just in case you couldn't tell, I really like the Blessings series and was greatly looking forward to this new addition and it did not disappoint me. Ms. Jenkins has provided a story about second chances in family, love, and life for a variety of ongoing characters, including Genevieve and T.C. We also see the ongoing struggles with the children of Henry Adams and other residents. These characters struggle with the normal day-to-day routines and more. It's been fascinating to watch the development of this town grow from an isolated small rural community to one that is basically an extended-family scenario. It's always a delight to read about the interactions of the Henry Adams natives, transplants, and visits from out-of-state friends and relatives. Ms. Jenkins has created a diverse, multicultural town that I'd be proud to call home. If you've never read any of the books in this series, then I strongly encourage you to begin reading it. Seriously, start with Bring on the Blessings and continue all the way through to Stepping to a New Day. This series provides tons of romance, family angst and drama, and highlights small town life as well as midwestern Black American history...a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Go, read, and enjoy! I look forward to returning to Henry Adams in the future. 


Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."



Beverly JenkinsAbout Beverly Jenkins


Beverly Jenkins has received numerous awards, including five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards, two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times Magazine, and a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer's Guild. Ms. Jenkins was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th century by AABLC, the nation's largest on-line African-American book club. She was recently nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature.

Find out more about Beverly at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter



This review is part of a TLC Book Tour.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Showcase: SOMEONE MUST DIE by Sharon Potts

Someone Must Die by Sharon Potts
ISBN: 9781503936676 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781522639381 (audio CD)
ISBN: 9781522639398 (audiobook)
ASIN: B01AUH9N46 (Kindle version)
Publication Date: June 28, 2016 
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer


When her six-year-old nephew vanishes from a neighborhood carnival, Aubrey Lynd's safe, snow-globe world fractures; it shatters when the FBI's investigation raises questions about her own family that Aubrey can't answer.
Aubrey picks apart the inconsistencies to expose the first of many lies: a ransom note—concealed from the FBI—with a terrifying and impossible ultimatum. Aubrey doesn't know what to believe or whom to trust. The abduction is clearly personal—but why would someone play a high-stakes game with the life of a child? The more she presses for answers, the more Aubrey is convinced that her mother is hiding something.
Desperate to save her young nephew, Aubrey must face harsh truths and choose between loyalty to her family and doing the right thing. And she'd better hurry, because vengeance sets its own schedule, and time is running out.


Praise for Someone Must Die:

"Resourceful and emotionally strong characters boost this satisfying domestic thriller from Potts (The Devil's Madonna). At an amusement park in Miami, Fla., Diana Lynd, a retired physician, and her six-year-old grandson, Ethan, enter a fun house, but when Diana emerges from the dark building, there's no sign of Ethan. Diana soon finds herself at the center of the investigation into the boy's disappearance, surrounded by unfriendly FBI agents, Ethan's aloof and very rich maternal grandparents, an angry ex-husband, an unforgiving son (Ethan's father), and relentless, terrifying memories. The point of view alternates between Diana and her daughter, Aubrey, a Ph.D. candidate in social psychology at Brown, who recently broke up with her unfaithful poet boyfriend. Audrey flies to Miami, where she realizes that the only way to save her nephew is to uncover the truth about her parents' past. In the end, Aubrey faces a tough ethical decision. Readers will applaud her courage." — Publishers Weekly

"Diana Lynd is delighting in her first visit with her six-year-old grandson, Ethan—after an eight-year estrangement with her son, Kevin, the boy's father—when Ethan goes missing at a church carnival. Then a note arrives, with a warning not to notify authorities: Ethan will be returned unharmed if Diana kills her fiancĂ©, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Jonathan Woodward. The kidnapping seems intended to break Diana, by forcing her to choose between two people she loves, and she confides only in Aubrey, her daughter and sole ally in the situation. With hints of a possibly related incident 45 years in the past, Aubrey—a doctoral candidate in social psychology—delves into the previously undisclosed backgrounds of her mother and father, who left Diana years earlier for another woman. Potts vividly portrays the atmosphere of student protest in 1969-70 in a narrative in which secrets are buried and the desire for revenge festers over decades and turns pathological. Some contrivances aside, Potts provides a relentlessly readable plot featuring flawed, sympathetic characters, with retired physician Diana tops among them; readers will wish her well." — Michele Leber, Booklist

"The family dynamics that threaten irreparable harm to people who are supposed to love each other enhance the gripping plot of Miami author Sharon Potts' fourth novel. Someone Must Die is populated by strong, realistic characters who, for the most part, also are quite unlikable. But unpleasant characters have found a niche in mystery fiction—the key is that the author has to make them interesting enough for the readers to care what happens to them. And Potts more than succeeds in that aspect with the Lynd family of Miami." — Oline H. Cogdill, southflorida.com
 


Meet the author:


Sharon Potts is the award-winning, critically acclaimed author of five psychological thrillers, including In Their Blood—winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award and recipient of a starred review in Publishers Weekly. A former CPA, corporate executive, and entrepreneur, Sharon has served as treasurer of the national board of Mystery Writers of America, as well as president of that organization's Florida chapter. She has also co-chaired SleuthFest, a national writers' conference. Sharon lives in Miami Beach with her husband and a spirited Australian shepherd named Gidget.


Connect with the author:     Website     |     Goodreads 



This book showcase brought to you by Wunderkind-PR.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2016 Book 204: FIRST COMES LOVE by Emily Giffin



First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
ISBN: 9780345546920 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780345546937 (ebook)
ASIN: B014NZ4SXW (Kindle version)
Publication Date: June 28, 2016 
Publisher: Ballantine Books


In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads. Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond. Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend's daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she's always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands. On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she's married to a wonderful man, and together they're raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.  As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first. Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

When we first meet the Garland family, they seem to be a happy family with three adult children and no major worries in the world. Then tragedy strikes and the family is torn apart rather than brought closer together. Sisters Josie and Meredith have taken totally different paths over the past fifteen years and both feel as if there is something missing in Emily Giffin's latest, First Comes Love.

Josie Garland is the middle child and can't live up to her eldest brother's legacy of being super smart and kind. Her younger sister, Meredith, is making her own way in life by studying theater arts. When we meet Josie and Meredith, they are in their early twenties and still searching for their paths in lives. Their lives, indeed their entire family is turned upside down after the tragic death of their older brother in a car accident. Meredith graduates with a degree in Theater Arts but opts for law school. Josie graduates with a degree in education and becomes a first-grade teacher. Meredith winds up married to her brother's best friend and the mother of a four-year-old. Josie is living with her best friend, her male best friend, and still single. As Josie gets closer to her 38th birthday, she decides to pursue motherhood even if it means being a single mother. Meredith is having her own mid-life crisis, and wonders if she made the right decision to marry her husband and if she should stay married. She doesn't want more children and her husband wants at least two or three more. Both Josie and Meredith are dealing with a lot of stressors and sadly, they don't have one another to turn to as they epitomize sibling rivalry even in their adult relationship. Just when it seems like their relationship might wind up getting better, a secret is revealed that might tear them apart forever.  

I found First Comes Love to be a fast-paced and engrossing read. I was intrigued by the relationship between Josie and Meredith, as they both seemed to constantly find fault with one another no matter the situation. The relationship between these two sisters was probably more realistic than not, as not all siblings like each other even if they do love one another. As someone that has had to deal with the death of a sibling in adulthood, I was interested to see how the evolution/devolution of the family would play out. I liked both Josie and Meredith, especially Josie's extroverted nature compared to Meredith's introverted nature. Although Josie and Meredith don't seem to get along due to their entrenched sibling rivalry, jealousy seems to be at the heart of their problems with each other. First Comes Loves spans only a few months in the adult lives of Josie and Meredith, but there's a lot crammed into those few months. Ms. Giffin has crafted a story that provides tragedy, turmoil, drama, hints of romance, and a sense of hopefulness throughout it all. If you want to read a realistic story about siblings and family that has a hopeful ever after thread woven throughout, then you'll definitely want to grab a copy of First Comes Love. I recommend waiting until you have the weekend to binge read this book because you won't want to put it down.

Disclaimer: I received a print advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."



2016 Book 199: FIELD OF GRAVES by J.T. Ellison

Field of Graves by J.T. Ellison 
ISBN: 9780778318927 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781459294165 (ebook)
ASIN: B016UEJGM2 (Kindle version)
Publication Date: June 14, 2016 
Publisher: Harlequin/MIRA


All of Nashville is on edge with a serial killer on the loose. A madman is trying to create his own end-of-days apocalypse and the cops trying to catch him are almost as damaged as the killer. Field of Graves reveals the origins of some of J.T. Ellison's most famous creations: the haunted Lieutenant Taylor Jackson; her blunt, exceptional best friend, medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens; and troubled FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin. Together, they race the clock and their own demons to find the killer before he claims yet another victim. This dark, thrilling and utterly compelling novel will have readers on the edge of their seats, and Ellison's fans will be delighted with the revelations about their favorite characters. 

I became hooked on the Taylor Jackson series after reading All The Pretty Girls back in 2007. Taylor Jackson is a kick-ass cop with a host of personal problems. It's been fascinating to watch her journey as a police officer, not to mention follow her romance with Dr. John Baldwin. I won't even get into all of the drama with Taylor's BFF, Samantha Owens... Guess you can tell that I really enjoy this series (Thank you, Ms. Ellison, for crafting such amazing characters and storylines). Needless to say, when I found out there was going to be a prequel released, providing us with more of the backstories for Taylor, John, and Samantha I was beyond delighted. After reading Field of Graves, I'm even more enamored with this series. Yes, there is murder, mayhem, and mystery involved, but we also get to see a more fragile side to both Taylor and John, as well witness the beginning of their romantic relationship. If you haven't read any of the books in the Taylor Jackson series, start with Field of Graves and you'll be hooked. If you're already a fan of the series, then this is one book you want won't to miss. 

Download a suspense fiction sampler that includes a chapter from Field of Graves.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Book Excerpt & Giveaway: THE SPACE BETWEEN SISTERS by Mary McNear

The Space Between Sisters (The Butternut Lake Series #4) by Mary McNear
ISBN: 9780062399359 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062399366 (ebook)
ASIN: B015MOJ70C (Kindle edition)
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks


Return to Butternut Lake with the newest from Mary McNear, whose heartfelt and powerful stories have made her a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Here, the complicated bonds of sisterhood are tested, long-kept secrets are revealed, and love is discovered…all during one unforgettable summer at the lake.
Two sisters couldn't be more different. Win organized and responsible; Poppy impulsive and undependable. Win treads cautiously and plans her life with care; Poppy bounces from job to job and apartment to apartment, leaving others to pick up the pieces. But despite their differences, they share memories of the idyllic childhood summers they spent together on the shores of Butternut Lake. Now, 13 years later, Win, recovering from a personal tragedy, has returned to Butternut Lake, settling into a predictable and quiet life. 
Then, one night, Poppy unexpectedly shows up on Win's doorstep with all her worldly possessions and a mysterious man in tow. And although Win loves her beautiful sister, she wasn't expecting her to move in for the summer. Still, at first, they relive the joys of Butternut Lake. But their blissful nostalgia soon gives way to conflict, and painful memories and buried secrets threaten to tear the sisters apart. 
As the waning days of summer get shorter, past secrets are revealed, new love is found, and the ties between the sisters are tested like never before…all on the serene shores of Butternut Lake.


Read an Excerpt:

"Look, there's a driveway," Poppy said. "And there's a cabin at the end of it, too. You can see its lights through the trees."
"All right," Everett said. "But if my car breaks down, I'm not knocking on that door. I've seen that movie, too. We spend the night there, and when we wake up in the morning, we discover that our kidneys have been harvested."
"Ugh," Poppy said, wincing. "I had no idea you were so dark, Everett."
"No?" he said, with a trace of a smile. "It's amazing how much you can learn about someone on a two-hundred-and-forty-mile drive."
"That's true," Poppy mused. "So, what have you learned about me?" she asked. She wasn't being flirtatious. She was just curious.
"I've learned . . ." He looked over at her, speculatively. "I've learned that you think corn nuts are revolting."
"That's because they are revolting."
"Corn nuts," Everett said, concentrating on another turn, "are the ultimate road trip food."
"Not even close," Poppy said. "Because that would obviously be Red Vines."
"Yeah, I don't think so," Everett said. "I mean, they have, like, zero nutritional value, unless you count whatever's in the red dye, and—"
"Oh, my God, look," Poppy said, excitedly, of the driveway they were passing. Beside it a large sign with a wintery pinecone painted on it spelled out white pines.
"What's that?" Everett asked.
"It's a resort, and it means that we are now exactly three miles away from my grandparents' cabin. I mean, my sister's cabin," she amended, feeling that familiar jab of resentment she felt whenever she was reminded of the fact that this beloved piece of family real estate had been passed down to Win, and only Win, three years ago. This resentment was part of the reason that Poppy had avoided coming to Butternut Lake since Win had moved here year-round a couple of years ago. But if there was any comfort to be found inWin being the one to own the cabin, it was in knowing that she would never sell it; it meant as much to her as it did to Poppy.
Poppy and Win had spent all of their childhood summers here until Poppy was sixteen and Win was fifteen (they were thirteen months apart), and Poppy, who was just shy of thirty, could still remember every detail of the cabin. It stood on a small bluff, just above Butternut Lake, and its dark brown clapboard exterior was brightened by cheerful window boxes that overflowed with geraniums. And the homey touches continued inside: colorful rag rugs, knotted pine furniture, red-checked slipcovers on sofas and chairs. The living room, everyone's favorite room, was as comfortable as an old shoe, with its fieldstone fireplace, and its old record player and collection of albums (some of which dated back to the 1950s). In one corner, there was a slightly wobbly card table for playing gin rummy, and on the shelf next to the table, a collection of hand-painted duck decoys. Mounted on the wall above the mantelpiece was the prized three-foot walleyed pike that had not gotten away from their grandfather. The living room windows looked out on a flagstone patio, their grandmother’s begonia garden, and a slope of mossy lawn leading down to the lake. And the kitchen . . . Poppy remembered it as though it existed in a perpetual summer morning: the lemon yellow cup- boards, the row of shiny copper pans hanging on the wall, and the turquoise gas stove, a monument to 1950s chic.
"Do you think you should give your sister a call now?" Everett asked, interrupting her reverie.
"Why?"
"To tell her that we're almost there."
"Oh," Poppy said, momentarily at a loss. And then she tossed her long blond hair. "No. I'm not going to tell her," she said. "I thought we'd surprise her."
Everett stole a quick look at her. "But… she knows we're coming, right?"
"Not exactly," Poppy said, feeling a first twinge of nervousness.
Everett was quiet. Then he asked, "Does your sister like surprises?"
"Not really," Poppy said, and there it was again, that nervousness. She tamped it down, firmly, and said, "But what are sisters for if they can't just . . . drop in on each other?"
"'Drop in'?" Everett said, after another pause. "It looks like you've got a lot of your stuff with you, though, Poppy. Isn't it more like, 'move in'?"
Poppy ignored this question. Harder to ignore were her suitcases, wedged in the trunk of Everett's car, or her boxes, stacked on the backseat beside Sasquatch's pet carrier. And it wasn't just a lot of her stuff, as Everett had pointed out. It was all of her stuff. Though, truth be told, that wasn't saying much. It had taken her less than an hour to pack everything up. Traveling light was a recurring theme with Poppy, and a necessary one, too, since her peripatetic lifestyle was the norm.
"Sisters don't have to call ahead. They're there for each other," Poppy said now, though she was annoyed by the defensiveness she heard in her own voice.
"But do you think your sister—Win—will be home right now? It's ten o'clock on a Saturday night."
"Oh, she'll be home. If I know her, she's probably . . . alphabetizing her spice rack," Poppy said, "or color coding her sock drawer." As soon as she said this, though, she felt disloyal. "Actually, she's a sweetheart," she said, turning to Everett. "And I don't blame her, at all, for being a little . . . neurotic or controlling, or whatever she is. I told you about what happened to her, didn't I?" And Poppy pictured Win as she'd been the last time she'd seen her, her dark blond hair pulled back in a ponytail and her girl next door approachableness only slightly tempered by the wistful expression on her face.
"Yeah, you told me what happened to her," Everett said. It was quiet in the car again as he negotiated another sharp turn, and as Poppy watched the car's lights skim over an entrance to an old logging road. She smiled. She and Win had driven down that road as teenagers, looking for bears at dusk.
"All right," she said, after a few more minutes, "we're getting close. After this next curve, it's the first driveway on the left." And, suddenly hungry, she added, "Here's hoping Win's got some leftovers from dinner."
"Yeah, and here's hoping she's in a good mood," Everett added wryly.

From The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear. Copyright © 2016 by Mary McNear. Published on June 14, 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Excerpted by permission.



Meet the author:



New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary McNear is a writer living in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung, minuscule white dog named Macaroon. She writes her novels in a local donut shop where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly-made donuts. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the Northern Midwest.


Connect with the author:

Website      |     Facebook       |     Goodreads       |      Twitter 








Enter to win 1 of 10 copies of The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear. Giveaway is organized and sponsored by William Morrow Books. 

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Guest Post: Fran Lewis, author of HIDDEN TRUTHS AND LIES

I am always thrilled when an author decides to stop by The Book Diva's Reads and share their thoughts. Today I welcome Fran Lewis, author of numerous books including Hidden Truth and Lies. This morning Ms. Lewis will be discussing steps to overcoming writer's block as well as tips on starting the writing process. 



Every writer experiences this. This is not a permanent solution to the problem these are just suggestions. What do to when you have the DREADED
WRITER'S BLOCK!

Have you ever had a great idea for a short story or an article and sat down to write and could not think of one single thing to put on the paper? You know this idea is great and yet you have no idea how you want to begin your writing, the feature statement to start the article or the hook to get everyone reading. Well, you might have what many writers do, the dreaded Writer's BLOCK! The good news it is definitely curable and only lasts as long you let it. 

Don't fret. Here are some tips to cure this dreaded problem and get on with your life and your writing. Remember, these are my tips for overcoming this problem you might have your own that you might want to share with us too.

Step One: List all of your thought on the topic and your ideas on a piece of paper. You can create a graphic organizer, you can just list everything that you want to put in your article, and novel or just do a brief chapter outline, which is how I started by fourth children's book. I decided to create the chapter titles and then go from there. You can always rearrange them and put them in a different order when you are finished writing. Remember, this is your book and you need to create it your way.

Step Two: Always have at least three pens and a pad or notebook with you so that if an idea, thought, word, sentence or anything comes to mind you can write it down. If you forget to bring these tools I often list ideas in the
notepad in my cell phone and add them to my pad or my outline on my computer later on.


Step Three: Always write about what you know. If you have no idea where to begin, ask yourself or write down some questions that you want answered in your article, or short story. What is it you are trying to say in your article? What is your theme or central thought? What is the message you want to convey to readers in your article? Do you need to research it first?

In a novel, who is your main character and what are the traits you might want this character to have? What problems will you create for this person? Who is the enemy or villain? Who are your minor characters and what role will they play in your book?

Here We Go! YOU CAN DO IT!

Step One: 

Choose one area that you want to begin with and start writing. Do not worry about the quality of your writing or think about editing. Decide whether you want to use dialogue, narrator or what voice you want to use when writing later on. Set aside a set amount of time daily to write. Write phrases, fragments, clauses anything to start writing. You can polish and edit later.

At least 15 minutes a day should be set aside to start your writing. IF you can work it up to 30 minutes that would be great. Do not overwhelm yourself with taking on too much too soon. Find your own starting point and just write. You do not even have to reread what you wrote. Add ideas each day until you have created your own design or plan for what you want to say and write.

Step Two:  Just start to write and free flow it as I call it. Just write whatever comes to mind and you want to say in your article or short story. If it is a novel, you might want to outline chapter one and go from there.

Step Three:  Take a break

Step Four: Read what you wrote and see what you want to use and what you might use in a different article or not at all.

Create your outline or paragraph plan. What do you want to say in you first paragraph and see if you can write your opening hook, feature statement or word that will capture the attention of the reader? Ask yourself if you were reading an article or short story with this beginning would you continue on or not bother?

Step Five: Write your rough draft of your article or your short story. Do not read it over. Walk away and come back to it later on in the day or the next day. Look at your outline and see whether what you wrote coincides. If not, decide if what you wrote is really what you want to say or use your original ideas in your outline.

YOU ARE ALMOST THERE!

Finish your short story or article. Take a break before reading it over.

When you are sure that you love and feel comfortable with your piece, edit it slowly. Do what I do, get another pair of eyes to read it. We all miss typos and another person might see something we did not.

When I wrote my first children's book each chapter was really a separate short story. Read your article or story out loud and listen carefully. Tape it so that you can actually hear what you wrote and decide if you were listening to this piece being read would it keep your attention. Finally, complete it and decide where to get it published or posted. You might even share a chapter, section or piece of the article or story to get some feedback from other authors.

REMEMBER, there are many people who will give you negative feedback that is not constructive. IGNORE IT! I DO!

Feedback should deal with how to make your piece read and sound better and how you might develop the information you are writing about or your short story in a more meaningful way.

GO FOR IT! UNCLOG YOUR WRITING ARTERIES AND WRITE!

NO PRESCRIPTION NEEDED!

Fran Lewis



Author Bio:


Fran Lewis

Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters Degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who's Who of America's Teachers and Who's Who of America's Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children's books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer's disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure. The title of my new Alzheimer's book is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer's Journey: Ruth's Story and Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs: Which Describes Your Brain? Fran is the author of 13 titles.




Catch Up:



Fran Lewis's website Fran Lewis's twitter Fran Lewis's facebook


Hidden Truths and Lies by Fran Lewis
Each story in this series teaches a lesson the person behind the stone should have learned before committing crime, hurting someone else, or generally failing at life.

We're about to enter Golden Stone Cemetery, where these unfortunate people are buried so deep you can barely find their markers. Their crimes are so heinous and their deeds so cruel that family members buried them here because they want to forget they ever existed.

Enter at your own risk.



Book Details:


Genre:  Horror; Paranormal Suspense
Published by:   Fideli Publishing Inc.
Publication Date:   April 7th 2016
Number of Pages:  98
ISBN:   1604149124 (ISBN13: 9781604149128)
Series: Hidden Truths and Lies is the 4th book in Fran Lewis's FACES BEHIND THE STONES series of stand alone novellas.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Showcase: HIDDEN TRUTHS AND LIES by Fran Lewis


Hidden Truths and Lies


by Fran Lewis


on Tour June 13 - July 31, 2016





Synopsis:


Hidden Truths and Lies by Fran Lewis

Each story in this series teaches a lesson the person behind the stone should have learned before committing crime, hurting someone else, or generally failing at life.


We're about to enter Golden Stone Cemetery, where these unfortunate people are buried so deep you can barely find their markers. Their crimes are so heinous and their deeds so cruel that family members buried them here because they want to forget they ever existed.

Enter at your own risk.



Reviews:



"The stories in this collection by Fran Lewis are gripping in suspense and demonstrate a vivid imagination. I picked them up planning to read for a few minutes and couldn't stop until I had finished the last story. Fran understands well and expresses the dark side that many people have. Motivated by greed or self-interest, some in these stories who seem like people we encounter every day are willing to undertake terrifying actions. It makes for an excellent read." — Allan Topol, author of The Italian Divide and The Washington Lawyer


"Hidden Truths and Lies is a compilation of stories told from beyond the grave each one filled with terror as the character faces his or her own fate. The final two stories are pure science fiction and will hopefully allow readers to see the magnitude of this talented writer." — Susan Ross, Board Of Education, NYC



Book Details:


Genre:  Horror; Paranormal Suspense
Published by:   Fideli Publishing Inc.
Publication Date:   April 7th 2016
Number of Pages:  98
ISBN:   1604149124 (ISBN13: 9781604149128)
Series: Hidden Truths and Lies is the 4th book in Fran Lewis's FACES BEHIND THE STONES series of stand alone novellas.
Purchase Links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble Smashwords Goodreads


Read an excerpt:



Introduction


Each story in this series teaches a lesson the person behind the stone should have learned before committing crime, hurting someone else, or generally failing at life. We're about to enter Golden Stone Cemetery, where these unfortunate people are buried so deep you can barely find their markers. Their crimes are so heinous and their deeds so cruel that family members buried them here because they want to forget they ever existed.

Welcome to Golden Stone Cemetery, where the voices of these unfortunates can be heard loud and clear. Learning what they did and what their fates became will make you shudder. When you find out just how cruel they were in life, you’ll be glad they're gone. You’ll be relieved that their families made sure the spirits of each of these nefarious characters will never rise again.

Who lies behind these unmarked stones? Let their stories unfold...

© Copyright 2016 Fran Lewis All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.


Author Bio:


Fran LewisFran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters Degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who's Who of America's Teachers and Who's Who of America's Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children's books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer's disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure. The title of my new Alzheimer's book is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer's Journey: Ruth's Story and Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs: Which Describes Your Brain? Fran is the author of 13 titles.


Catch Up:



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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Book Spotlight: ALL THE MISSING GIRLS by Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda 
ISBN: 9781501107962 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781501107986 (ebook)
ASIN: B0176M3UJW (Kindle version)
Publication Date: June 28, 2016 
Publisher: Simon and Schuster


Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda's novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.
It's been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne's case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne's boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic's younger neighbor and the group's alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic's return, Annaleise goes missing.
Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor's disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.
Like nothing you've ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you're walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.


Praise for All the Missing Girls:

"Fiendishly plotted thriller…Miranda convincingly conjures a haunted setting that serves as a character in its own right, but what really makes this roller-coaster so memorable is her inspired use of reverse chronology, so that each chapter steps further back in time, dramatically shifting the reader's perspective." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A darkly nostalgic adult debut sure to draw new readers and please her YA base…Miranda takes a risk by telling the story backward, but it pays off with an undroppable thriller, plenty of romantic suspense, and a fresh take on the decades-old teenage-murder theme." Booklist
"All the Missing Girls is a smart, suspenseful, and emotionally complex thriller. Told in reverse, this story will make you want to lock the doors, turn off the phone, and read until the last satisfying page." Alafair Burke, New York Times bestselling author of The Ex
"As original as it is addictive, this story puts a knot in your gut from the opening pages. Then, through the wizardry of its unconventional structure, that knot tightens and tightens and will not let go until the final pages—and even then the story continues to haunt you. Vividly rendered, psychologically complex, and narratively acrobatic, All The Missing Girls is, above all, totally gripping." Tim Johnston, New York Times bestselling author of Descent
"Megan Miranda's utterly gripping and original All the Missing Girls keeps you off balance in the most perfect way. I was held hostage by the book from the first page to the stunning conclusion. This literally backward tale is a winner." Lisa Lutz, New York Times bestselling author of The Passenger and How to Start a Fire
"In All the Missing Girls Megan Miranda leads readers back through the past of a small southern town, enfolding them in a slow, tense nightmare of suspicion, menace, and tangled motives. A twisty, compulsive read—I loved it." Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood


Meet the author:



Megan Miranda is the author of the young adult novels Fracture, Hysteria, Vengeance, and Soulprint. Her next young adult novel, The Safest Lies, published by Crown BFYR/Random House on May 24th, 2016. Her first novel for adults, All the Missing Girls, will be published by Simon & Schuster on June 28th, 2016. Megan has a degree in Biology from MIT and currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and two children.




Connect with the author:

Website    |   Facebook    |   Goodreads    |   Instagram    |   Twitter 



Thursday, June 16, 2016

Book Blast: DYING TO BE BEAUTIFUL series by M. Glenda Rosen



Dying To Be Beautiful is about the billion-dollar world of beauty, a mystery series that take place in "The Hamptons," where the murdered and suspected murderers are often arrogant and obnoxious with a sense of entitlement. Private Investigator Jenna Preston and her long-time friend, Detective Troy Johnson, work together to solve these murders and other crimes. These cases lead Jenna to philosophical perspectives, danger, romance (thanks to her dog, Watson) as well as secondary stories of human behavior and life in The Hamptons. Intriguing and fascinating stories of bad behavior, they recount mistakes and misdirection because in the billion-dollar world of beauty there are those who are literally...dying to be beautiful!


Dying to Be Beautiful: Without A Head by M. Glenda Rosen 
ISBN: 9781483445304 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781483445311 (ebook)
ASIN: B01BTMZA16 (Kindle version)
Publication Date: February 1, 2016 
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services


Saturday Morning, 6:00am
The head in the sink stared up at her. Darcy Monroe, the owner of a popular, chic hair salon was used to this. Only this time, the head was there without a body.
Chapter One: The Murder
As a Private Investigator, Jenna Preston had been hired to help solve murders, insurance fraud, cheating spouses and more. This was a new one for her.
She received what could only be described as a hysterical call from Darcy Monroe, owner of a popular, upscale hair salon in The Hamptons. A head without its body was rolling around in one of her shampoo basins.
Almost five-feet, five-inches tall, always looking taller in her two- or three-inch heels, Jenna had long red hair, blue eyes and was often seen driving around the East End in a white jeep, and in recent years, with her Irish setter sitting next to her.



Read an excerpt from book 1, Dying to Be Beautiful: Without A Head

Chapter 1The Murder
Saturday, 6:10 A.M.
As a Private Investigator, Jenna Preston had been hired to help solve murders, insurance fraud, cheating spouses and more. This was a new one for her.
She received what could only be described as a hysterical call from Darcy Monroe, owner of a popular, upscale hair salon in The Hamptons.
A head without its body was rolling around in one of her shampoo basins.
Almost five-feet, five-inches tall, always looking taller in her two or three-inch heels, Jenna had long red hair, blue eyes and was often seen driving around the East End in a white jeep, and in recent years, with her Irish Setter sitting next to her.
As a well-respected private investigator in the area, she told the salon owner, "I'll be right there, and don't touch anything until the police arrive."
Jenna knew they needed to secure the business as a crime scene and Coroner Doc Bishop and Head of Forensics Lara Stern had to be brought in as well.
"Troy, someone left a head, without the body, in a shampoo bowl at Darcy's Salon. I'll be there in about ten minutes."
"Damn it, Jenna, I nearly spilled my coffee listening to this bizarre message. I'll be there within the half hour. Meantime, I'll ask Lara to get over there to check the crime scene for prints and other possible evidence and for Doc to arrange to bring the head to the morgue. We'll want to look at it there, after he's had a chance to determine how it was cut off and anything else he might find."
Detective Johnson hung up.
He and Jenna had worked together and known each other for a long time. They clearly trusted each other. He knew she would follow police protocol at the crime scene.
Saturday, as always was an exceptionally busy day, "in season" at Darcy's Salon, which is why she had gotten there so early. She always wanted the salon looking perfect, ready for stylists and clients, who this day had appointments beginning at 7 am.
Located off the main avenue of this posh resort at the East End of Long Island, less than ninety miles from Manhattan, the salon was known for catering to the rich and famous, as well as some of wanna-be customers, primping for weekend parties and fundraising events.
The salon was truly beautiful with warm color tones and soft matching leather client chairs facing gold (well, fake gold), trimmed mirrors. There was a reception area with the latest issues of fashion magazines from Paris and Rome, and a few of the more popular Hampton rags, like Dan's Papers were spread out on a marble table, next to it a coffee machine offering gourmet flavored coffee and teas.
Most of the women who came to Darcy's Salon had plenty of money, some from their own success, although others were arm candy for much older, wealthy men. Sometimes one of them would joke (maybe not) that they were "Dying To Be Beautiful" like some of the famous models and celebrities, many of who summered in the Hamptons.
"Jenna, you've seen how difficult and fussy they can be, and their egos—they're constantly seeking confirmation of how beautiful they look. They want to come to a high-end salon, expecting to be treated like royalty. And believe me, we do."
Darcy Monroe was only too glad to charge megabucks for her services since it included a whole lot of catering to their whims and demands. Beauty could indeed be expensive in The Hamptons. The chatter amongst the clients, the eight hair stylists, three manicurists and several assistants meant gossip was a basic ingredient of conversation. The story about the body without a head, and the head found in the salon, was sure to explode through The Hamptons. It certainly had all the elements of a soap opera.
"My god, Jenna, the gossip about this mess is going to be like a volcano spilling over this town."
***



Dying to Be Beautiful: Fashion Queen by M. Glenda Rosen
ISBN: 9781483449159 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781483449142 (ebook)
ASIN: B01G2F91WE (Kindle version)
Publication Date: April 18, 2016 
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services

Monday, 6:45am
Kevin Larson swam in his pool nearly every morning. Going on sixty-five, he prided himself on being in good shape.
Walking toward the small pool house, off to the left of the pool, he noticed a light was on. He was certain he turned it off the night before. Strange, he thought.
Even stranger, lying in a different sort of pool—blood— was his long time friend and lover, fashion designer Andre Yellen. Yellen was stuffed into one of the gowns he had designed and a wearing a blond wig. 
The gown had been auctioned off the night before at a huge Hamptons fundraiser.
People in The Hamptons were certainly dying to be beautiful.


Read an excerpt from book 2, Dying to Be Beautiful: Fashion Queen

Chapter 1THE GOWN
Monday, 7:30 a.m.
Detective Troy Johnson was at Larson's house when Jenna arrived. He had covered the victim with a large beach towel until the coroner and forensics arrived. Sergeant Stan Miller, who had taken the call, accompanied him and was presently attempting to hold back the media. They had heard about Yellen's death on the police scanner, and in no time, the active crime scene was quite a wild sight.
It was 6:30 A.M. when she had received the call from Johnson that he was on his way to Kevin Larson's house: "Jenna, there's been a murder. Designer Andre Yellen, the Fashion Queen, was found dead this morning at the home of movie mogul Kevin Larson." He gave her the address and exactly where it was located, "past the windmill at the edge of Southampton."
"More like the situation was at the edge of reason," Jenna thought.
"Jenna, they're acting like a bunch of hungry vultures. Help! These are your people. Well, they're reporters like you used to be. The homeowner is either in shock or just completely uncooperative except for telling me where and when he found Yellen's body."
Jenna sighed, "Sure, I can't say no to such a lovely invitation."
The death of Andre Yellen was big news.
Andre Yellen was squeezed—really, truly squeezed—into a beautiful ocean blue, sleeveless, silk gown he had designed and donated for a fundraiser the evening before. The size-8 dress was torn at all the seams. Yellen, in his early fifties, 5'9" and clearly out of shape, was more like a size-18-plus, and stuffed into a dress way, way too small for him.
As a designer for major celebrities for nearly twenty-five years, Yellen was a man about town who loved both the ladies and the men, or so it had been gossiped around the East End of Long Island, also known as The Hamptons.
After all, this is THE HAMPTONS, and all sorts of lifestyles are accepted, where choices are supposedly not judged, and relationships are not restricted by conventional boundaries. Unfortunately, there are always those determined to exercise their own brand of severe judgment.
However, there was no evidence this murder had anything to do with narrow minds. Not yet, anyhow. In fact, it wasn't clear at all what this murder was about—or who had committed it.
Private Investigator Jenna Preston was familiar with many celebrities who lived or vacationed on the East End. Before becoming an investigative reporter, she was entertainment and social events reporter for the local daily paper and had interviewed quite a few of the "anointed" as she had once called them. Gossip columnists covered the rest.
Jenna was regularly hired by law firms, insurance companies and businesses for corporate fraud issues. She also had an arrangement and relationship with the local police—especially when it came to murder investigations. Some of the people she had once written about also tried to hire her for personal investigations and for, what she considered, ridiculous reasons. Such complaints included some new fence being too high or people walking on the beach in front of someone's home.
Most of these cases she didn't accept.
"For me, it's about justice. We all have reasons, even life experiences motivating our passions. I have mine for what I do," Jenna told a local reporter whose paper was doing a story on crime in The Hamptons.
Jenna had a solid reputation for being smart, resourceful and most definitely charming—without an attitude—which was different from many of the people who summered in The Hamptons.
She did love nice clothes, including the red shoes or red boots she almost always wore.
"Hey," she laughed once when Troy made fun of her red shoes, "you wear a cowboy hat most of the time, so don't make fun of me, Tex."
Jenna and Troy worked together professionally almost as soon as she had become a licensed private detective. It was a small police force, often stretched thin during the summer season. Because they actually had few experienced investigators, he had requested and been given approval by his captain to use a discretionary fund to hire Jenna on an as-needed basis. She was often a member of his investigative team, usually for murders.
Lately, there didn't seem to be any shortage of them.
Slender and almost 5'5", yet always looking taller in her two- or three-inch heels, Jenna had long red hair, sometimes pulled back in a ponytail when she was working. She also had deep blue eyes. With more than a hint of spunk and mischief about her, she was definitely considered attractive.
Jenna's new romance, Dave, thought so!
***



Meet the author:

M. Glenda Rosen is the author of The Woman's Business Therapist: Eliminate the MindBlocks and RoadBlocks to Success, and award-winning My Memoir Workbook. For over fifteen years, she helped numerous authors develop and market their books, and presented writing programs in New York, The Hamptons, New Mexico and Carmel, California, on "Encouraging and Supporting the Writer Within You!" She's the founder and owner of a successful marketing and public relations agency for twenty-five years.

Connect with the author:  

Website      |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Goodreads



NOTE: The Dying to Be Beautiful ebooks are available for $0.99 throughout the month of June.







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