Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Fun!

Well, now, it's Friday. My fun for today is trying to read the German language. Some of my ancestors came to America from Germany. So it should be easy, right? There should be some memories way back in my brain. Or maybe the language is like Spanish. If so, I can deal with it. Although it's been years ago, (no, I'm not saying how many) I took Spanish courses in high school and college. I still have my Spanish books. Mmm, on a closer look the words are very different.

Okay, by now you're probably thinking I'm crazy. Could be I am. But it is Friday, so I'm having a little fun. What brings out the silliness in me, a normally quiet, serious person? I'll share with you. One of my older novels, Secrets I Have Kept, a mystery for teens, is now available in Kindle at Amazon in Germany. No, the story has not been translated, but is still in English. Part of the information is written in English, part in German. It's interesting trying to figure out what they say about the book. I'm going back later to read some more. 

Here's a little about my novel.

When a girl who plays classical music and rides a horse teams up with a boy who writes country ballads and rides a Harley to rescue her father that has been kidnapped, they make a remarkable discovery that can be man's greatest dream come true, or his worst nightmare.

Secrets I Have Kept
January 2006
179 pages, YA
Wings ePress, Inc.

Available at Amazon in Kindle and Trade Paperback.

Have a nice weekend.
Happy reading and writing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

More Good Reads

Quote of the Week:  We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love. Dr. Seuss

Recently, I've read a couple of books I'd like to share with you. I think you'll enjoy them too.

if i stay

Gayle Forman

Penguin Young Readers


ISBN:  978-0-14-241543-6

YA, 272 pages

I really enjoyed this book. It's sad, it's beautiful, it makes a person stop and think and be grateful for what you have. From the back cover:

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her.

I won't say any more, except this is one of those books that will stay with you for a long time.

Another book I just finished:

White Cat, the Curse Workers #1

Holly Black

Simon & Schuster Children's Publisher


ISBN:  978-1-4169-6396-7

YA, 320 pages

This story is quite different than if i stay. It's the tale of a family of curse workers that can change a person's emotions, their memories, their luck, simply by touching them. They're criminals because curse work is illegal.

Cassell tries to be "normal" but his dreams, his brothers' weird behavior, and secrets send Cassell in search of the truth. This story contains a lot of twists and turns that kept me reading.

So here you have some additional reads for your leisurely summer.
Enjoy. Happy Reading.

Friday, April 22, 2011


As another week winds down, I'd like to wish all my friends a wonderful weekend and a Happy Easter. May your lives be filled with love and joy.

Myspace Graphics
Myspace Graphics, Easter Graphics at

Here comes the Easter bunny, hopping down the bunny trail.

Myspace Graphics
Myspace Graphics, Easter Graphics at

Have a nice weekend.
Happy reading and writing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Movies and Music

Quote of the week:  Scarlett O'Hara ( Vivien Leigh - from Gone with the Wind:)

"I can't think about this now. I'll go crazy if I do. I'll think about it tomorrow."

Like all wars from the beginning of time, I suppose, many movies have been made and songs have been written about the American Civil War. Here are some of my favorites, and there are many I don't even know about.


Gone With the Wind: This movie gives us a look at the personal side of the war, how the men and women involved, either by going off to fight or staying home, praying for their loved ones to stay safe.  It is my favorite movie. Rhett Butler is such a scoundrel, but I love him anyway.

The Red Badge of Courage: This movie is also adapted from a novel. In this film we see the effects of war on young soldiers, whose experiences in battle will change their lives forever. It could very well apply to our young men and women in the military today.

Friendly Persuasion:  This movie is about how a Quaker family copes with the war.

Glory:  A great look at he freed slaves who served in the Union army. Denzel Washington won an Oscar for his role.

Do you have others that are your favorites?


Gone With The Wind: As good as the movie is, the book is even better.

There are too many books to be listed, so I'm just mentioning some on my shelf that are for young readers.

The Tamarack Tree by Patricia Clapp.

Vicksburg, the Battle that Won the Civil War by Mary Ann Fraser.

The Boys' War, Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War by Jim Murphy.

The Charleston Years by Nancy Rue. This is a series of six books plus a teaching guide where children can learn America's history.

Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines. Well, of course I have to mention my book.

Here's the video, just out. Kim McDougall's beautiful work:

What are your favorite Civil War books? And if you don't read history, once upon a time I didn't read it either. Then I got started in genealogy and discovered history was about people who really lived. I learned about my mother's past and how she rode an Orphan Train when she was nine years old. I also visited places like Charleston, SC, that are filled with history. History is about men and women, their families and the circumstances that change their lives forever.

Someday, we will be history. I wonder what our descendants will read about us.

Happy Reading and Writing

Friday, April 15, 2011

Infinite Space, Infinite God II

I am delighted to host award winning author and editor Karina Fabian today on her Virtual Book Tour for the anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God II.

Twelve science fiction stories featuring great adventure with a twist of faith, Infinite Space, Infinite God II spans the gamut of science fiction, from near-future dystopias to time travel to space opera, puzzles of logic to laugh-out-loud humor and against-the-clock suspense. A great read for any science fiction fan; a must-read for those seeking something new in their fiction.

 Karina and her husband, Rob, have put together an enjoyable read of short stories.
The Ghosts of Kourion by Andrew Seddon: A grieving professor escapes back in time to live among a doomed people.

Antivenin by Karina Fabian: Rescue Sister Rita takes on a ship full of venomous snakes in order to save a friend.

An Exercise in Logic by Barton Paul Levenson: How do you convince an infuriatingly logical race to stop an asteroid?

Cathedral by Tamara Wilhite: A genetically engineered human spends the last of her tortured days righting her wrongs.

Otherworld by Karina Fabian: Does sin really count when it's virtual?

The Battle of the Narthex by Alex Lobdell: An alien battle in a most unusual setting--tickles the funny bone and touches the heart!

Tenniel by Colleen Drippe': The battle for souls becomes a battle to the death.

Tin Servants by J Sherer: In order to serve his people, Paul becomes an android--but can he really care for them as a tin servant?

Basilica by John Rundle: Caprizo battles machines and thwarts an enemy armada to keep a doomsday weapon from their hands.

Cloned to Kill by D. Mak: How can a man of peace protect a clone designed to kill.

Frankie Phones Home by Karina Fabian: A sixteen-year-old alien abductee calls her family on the way back for official First Contact.

Dyads, Ken Pick and Alan Loewen: Enter the fascinating culture of the Thalendri in a story of intrigue, terrorist and religious tolerance.

I had the pleasure of reading Infinite God, Infinite Space II. Here is my review.


Karina and Robert Fabian, Editors

Aliens, ghosts, drones, and robots inhabit the pages of INFINITE SPACE, INFINITE GOD II, an anthology of short stories edited by Karina and Robert Fabian. In this book you’ll also read about asteroids, outer space, and genetic engineering. What a great combination. One thing that makes this anthology different to many others is that the stories have a Christian slant, specifically that of the Catholic Church.

Authors/editors Karina and Robert Fabian have put together a selection of stories to entertain you. Along the way you might even learn a lesson or two. I certainly did, particularly about the Catholic faith. I also met some interesting characters. For example, the first story, “The Ghosts of Kourion” by Andrew M. Seddon, introduced me to a man who traveled back in time to escape the pain of losing his wife and daughter. Then there’s Karina Fabian’s “Antivenin,” a tale of two nuns on a rescue mission to outer space. Mmm, if you’re squeamish about snakes, a warning: snakes are present in this story.

If you’re a fan of aliens, the story “An Exercise in Logic” by Barton Paul Levenson, where an asteroid is on a collision course with the planet New Canaan where a colony has been established and Sister Mary Julian, expert on alien religions and formal logic, must find a way to destroy the asteroid before it’s too late, may intrigue you.

The work scientists are doing today in genetic engineering fascinates me and Tamara Wilhite’s story, “Cathedral,” deals with that subject. One of the most touching stories, at least to me, was “Dyads” by Ken Pick and Alan Loewen that told a chilling tale of how Christian beliefs can go astray. Space does not allow me to mention all the tales in INFINITE SPACE, INFINITE GOD II, but the book is an entertaining read with twists and turns that will leave you thinking about the possible future of our world. So if you’re ready to travel to other times and places and to meet people that are not always what they seem, then I recommend this anthology. You might want to read some of the stories with the lights on and the doors locked, however.

Here are the links for purchase:

From Publisher:

From Barnes and Noble:

From Amazon:
E-book formats at Fictionwise:
Embed code:


So take a look. I think you'll like what you see.
Thanks for visiting my blog today, Karina. Enjoyed learning more about you and Robert.

Monday, April 11, 2011

150 Years Ago

Quote of the Week:  Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. Dr. Seuss.

On April 12, 1861, one of the saddest events in our history (in my opinion) took place. At 4:30 A M Fort Sumter, SC. was fired upon, beginning the American Civil War. Brother fought against brother, father against son. Lives were torn apart. Lives were lost. When the war ended in 1865, about 620,000 soldiers had been lost.

When I was a kid, history was one of my least favorite subjects. It was just a bunch of dates and names that meant nothing to me. As an adult I was too busy with my family to think about the past. But all that changed when I started doing my family genealogy with a dear second cousin who was in her 90s. The stories she had to tell were fascinating. The people who lived so long ago came alive for me. They were flesh and blood. They hurt, they cried, they laughed. Like I do today. So began my love of history.

The Civil War became a fascinating time period for me, one that made no sense. But then few wars do, I suppose. As Lizzie says in my CW novel, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, "The war confuses gentle Nat. He does not comprehend why men kill each other. Neither do I."

Anyway, to remember the brave souls on both sides who fought for their beliefs, I'm dedicating today to them. Right or wrong, they are our history. I have a whole library of books, both fiction and nonfiction, about the Civil War. Some of my favorites and my sources of research for my novel are the diaries of women who lived during the times. I was interested in how the families of the soldiers survived when their lives were torn apart. In her own words I met Sarah Morgan who lived in Baton Rouge, LA, during the war. Mary Chesnut's diary, The Private Mary Chesnut, gives great insight into the life of a Southern belle. Other journals and diaries showed me the fears, the joys, and the hope of the families left behind.

Fiction titles:

Michael Shaara's novel, The Killer Angels, gives a close look at the war on both sides.
The Tamarack Tree, YA by Patricia Clapp, tells the story of Vicksburg.
Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, YA by Beverly Stowe McClure (of course I have to add my book. It is being carried by a couple of the Civil War parks bookstores.) shows what life was life when Vicksburg was under seige for 47 days.

Some nonfiction books that give good accounts of the war and were very helpful in my research are:

Grant Wins the War, Decision at Vicksburg, by James R. Arnold.
The Boys' War, Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War, YA by Jim Murphy.
Vicksburg, the Battle that Won the Civil War, Children's nonfiction by Mary Ann Fraser.
Gettysburg, by Stephen W. Sears

There are so many more books that I used for reference, but no time to list them all. Do you have any favorites that you've read? Most of us, if we check our ancestors, will find someone involved in the war.

Next time we'll look at movies about the CW and places to visit to learn more.

Until then, happy reading and writing.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Fun

It's Friday already? Where do the days go? Today, I'd like to spotlight a couple of books I read recently, for younger children.

Are you a soup lover? Whether you are or not, I think you'll enjoy reading Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan. Jama is the winner of the first New Voices, New World contest, Little Brown and Company held in 1990. They received over five hundred manuscripts from all over the world. They chose Jama's lovely story about a young Asian-American girl and how she and her family celebrate the New Year.

From the book cover:
Jama Kim Rattigan is a third-generation Korean-American, born and raised on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The illustrations by Lillian Hsu-Flanders give the reader a wonderful glimpse into a new way to celebrate the New Year.

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 1, 1998)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0316730475

ISBN-13: 978-0316730471

I was fortunate to win a copy of Dumpling Soup when Jama held a contest recently. An added bonus was the recipe for Jama's Dumpling Soup at the back of the book. I also now have a cute "No Soup for You" T-shirt.
This book would make a great read to show children that there's more than one way to celebrate a holiday.
The second book I'd like to talk about is also a book I won in a contest. Yes, I know. I'm a contest junkie. Love to enter them. And surprisingly, I sometimes win. Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night, by Christy Baldwin, Illustrated by Sarah Barnes, is a story about "nine great things that happen when the sun sets for the evening." This is a short story of how God created the Earth.
At night Nathan sees stars. He sees nocturnal animals and so much more, but I won't give away what all he does see. A verse of scripture goes with each image of God's beautiful world. A nice quiet read to show the beauty around us.
Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 24 pages

Publisher: Tribute Books (April 1, 2005)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 9780976507215

ISBN-13: 978-0976507215

ASIN: 0976507218

From the Cover: Christy is a stay at home mom with plenty of time to write (ha,ha). She writes stories she thinks her two children will love, and she sometimes even writes about them.
For a quiet little story to remind us of God's work, Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night is a good choice.
Happy reading.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Favorite Band Does Not Exist Review

Quote for the week:  I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do. And that enables you to laugh at life's realities. Dr. Seuss

The fifth book I've read for the YA Debut Author's Challenge is My Favorite Band Does Not Exist by Robert T. Jeschonek.

Reading level: Young Adult

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books (July 11, 2011)
ISBN-10: 054737027X
ISBN-13: 978-0547370279

Here is my review:


By Robert T. Jeschonek

Imagine thinking that you’re trapped in a book and when you reach chapter 64 you will die. Scary, huh? Or weird? Anyhow, sixteen-year-old Idea Deity believes just that.

Robert T. Jeschonek’s debut novel, MY FAVORITE BAND DOES NOT EXIST, follows Idea’s adventures when he encounters Eunice Truant (a girl who wears a face on the back of her head), while he’s running home to stop his parents from killing themselves on the Internet. Alternate chapters introduce us to Reacher Mirage, lead singer in the band Youforia, which incidently happens to be the band Idea invented but that does not exist except on the Internet. Now, it seems the band is quite popular and they’re even having a concert.

In the meantime, both Idea and Reacher are reading FIRESKULLS REVENANT, where chapter 64 will be the end of their lives. The author’s book is filled with humor, adventure, battles, kidnappings, twists and turns, and even a little romance. At times I was a bit confused with so many characters and plots merging together. The titles at the top of each chapter helped. This is a good read for anyone who likes a fast paced, fun story with characters you root for to win and villains you hope get what they deserve. A good read for teens and upper middle grade.

ARC Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. and Net Galley

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Free Book Friday

Hi, friends,

Just wanted to let you know I'm the Indie featured author this week on Free Book Friday. If you've never been to their site, what are you waiting for? Free books, people. What more could readers and writers want? :)

Here's the link: Free Book Friday. I'm giving away three copies of Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines. See you there.

Have a lovely Sunday. Happy reading and writing.