Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2013 Wisconsin Setting

Special Guest Dan Chabot Author of GodSpeed – A Love Story (Giveaway too!)

special guest heart

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

When I “met” Dan and we discussed his book we both thought today was the perfect day to share his book with you. I was excited when he agreed to stop by today too.

Writing A Novel
by Dan Chabot

Dan chabot

The best thing about writing a novel is that you actually get to create people — a privilege normally reserved to a much higher power. You can create nice people, evil people, funny people, unhappy people, regular people, irregular people.

The second best thing about writing a novel is picking names for them. What should they be called?

One of the characters in Godspeed: a love story, is named Harold Dunser. A fairly common, solid name, you might think, except that Harold Dunser was the name of my imaginary childhood friend. He lives again!

godspeed

Another character is named Ossie Puddo. An unusual name, with an unusual pedigree: He was the imaginary friend of my older brother. I often wonder if Harold and Ossie ever met. After all, they lived in the same house…

Every author has his or her own favorite method for picking character names. Mine is to reach into my past and retrieve names that meant something to me. Sometimes I combine familiar names. And sometimes I just see a name in a newspaper or on the web that has a nice ring to it and borrow it for my story.

But possible character names can pop up just about anywhere. Out on the freeway, for example, I like to watch for the signs that tell the names of the towns coming up at the next exit. Some of them when used together have a distinctive ring. That’s how Dawson Steele became a character in my book.

My wife and I had three boys. We wanted a girl, too, but it was not to be. We even had a name picked out — Amedee. Our Amedee never arrived, but a fictional one did…

And if you’re a vindictive sort, you can get even with old adversaries. A very disagreeable character in the book has the same name of somebody who tormented me in the second grade. Take that, John!

Like characters, story ideas themselves can come from unlikely places. For example, the words funeral and love story are not often found together in the same sentence, but the idea behind Godspeed: a love story is based on a tragic real-life incident that had troubled me for years.

I was a young newspaperman when a good friend wound up in the situation that confronts Derry in my novel. My friend was engaged to a lovely young woman who was struck down without warning by ovarian cancer. She had no family to speak of, so it was left to him to make funeral arrangements. In his grief and the daze induced by tranquilizers, he watched helplessly as a shabby funeral home staged an embarrassing service. The rent-a-minister mispronounced her name, fumbled her biographical details, and in general presided over an ignominious travesty. Another friend, on leaving the humiliating ceremony, hissed in his wife’s ear, “Don’t ever let this happen to me.”

As I thought about my friend’s experience, turning it over in my mind and speculating on what I would have done in that situation, the idea for a novel began to take shape. I embellished and embroidered it considerably, added some interesting characters patterned after people I knew in the newspaper business, came up with some surprising twists, and created what I hope is an inspirational, sentimental story about the resilience of the human spirit, love beyond the grave, and a faith in tomorrow.

Because of the serious theme, I had to leaven the story with some doses of humor. Much of it was provided by Derry’s stable of eccentric newspaper colleagues. One of them relates how as a little girl she asked her father why people like Charlie Chaplin walked so jerkily in those old movies, and he told her it was because that’s the way people walked in those days. In another incident, when Derry invites Amedee up to his apartment, she makes friends immediately with his dog, who is scratching furiously at an ear. “Oh, now I get it,” she says impishly. “You lured me up here, an innocent maiden, to see your itchings.” And Derry’s encounter with an earthy, profane, inner-city minister also adds some counterbalance to the overall message

But writing the book took a while. I dabbled at it here and there, writing a chapter now and then, revising it, rewriting it, but the progress was pretty slow. Then one day I read a quotation that got my attention. It said, “Most people die with their music still inside.”

That comment inspired me to finally finish the book. I certainly don’t pretend to have written a symphony, but at least I whistled a little tune! And if any of you have an idea for a book, or a poem, or a song, or any kind of a project, my advice to you is: Get going! Go do it! Sing your song!

In this era of self-publishing it’s not difficult to turn your manuscript into a finished product. The hard part is getting it noticed, because you don’t have a big publishing house and its promotional resources behind you. After you tell your friends and family about your new adventure, you’re on your own to promote it.

That’s why a lot of authors turn to reviewers like Lori. You ask them to take a look at your book, and in a perfect world maybe they’ll like it and tell others about it. A lot of authors have been ignored by agents and the big publishing houses, and yet went on to write best-sellers because bloggers like Lori noticed their work and spread the word.

So thank you, Lori, for the chance to put my book out there before your many followers. I hope they come away from it with both a smile and a tear.

~Dan

Dan, you are so welcome!! Now let me tell you more about this book!

godspeed

Godspeed: A love story
Self Published (June 20, 2012)
Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Paperback: 306 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1477435366
E-Book File Size: 469 KB
ASIN: B009JLYDDQ

Godspeed: A Love Story

Derry and Amedee meet during her first day on the job at the Milwaukee Ledger. Their love affair is intense and pure and should last forever. Life throws us curves and Derry receives a big one. Will he survive? 

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I purposely gave you a very short synopsis. I think the reason I such a powerful reaction to the story was because I read it cold, with only scant details of where the story would lead.

It is a love story of an enduring love, told in a ingenious way that really leaves the reader solving a bit of a mystery. A rich tender story filled with emotion but tempered with humor and uplifting moments that balance out what could have turned this into a very heavy story. There is a message  –  an inspirational one  –  but this really is a story about life and how one man deals with the cards he is dealt.

Beautifully written, clever characters and the stories within the story, the testimonials,  really moved me. My only criticism was when the author tried to take this old fashioned love story to a steamy place for a few paragraphs.  The story is so strong he really didn’t need to go there at all.

Have some tissues handy,  pour a nice glass wine and curl up with Godspeed. It is a love story you will truly love.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


About This Author
Chabot spent 35 years in the newspaper business as a writer, editor and columnist, so he is comfortable writing about big-city newsrooms, the primary setting for his inspirational tale of love and loss, despair and redemption.

He grew up in Ontonagon, Michigan, and worked for several newspapers before joining the staff of the Milwaukee Journal. For many years he was the editor of the Journal’s popular and beloved Green Sheet feature section.

Chabot and his wife, Mary Ellen, now reside in Florida. They are the parents of three grown sons and just recently welcomed a fifth grandchild.

For more information check out his webpage www.godspeed-lovestory.com

 

 

Would you like to win a copy of Godspeed?

I am giving away my review copy!!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS

Leave a comment for Dan for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 28, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. 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.”

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Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Reviews 2013

Review: It Takes Two To Strangle by Stephen Kaminski

two to strangle

It Takes Two to Strangle:
A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery

First In Series
Cozy Mystery
Published by Cozy Cat Press (September 26, 2012)
Trade Paperback: 230 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0988194311
E-Book File Size: 389 KB
ASIN: B009F0TE0I

It Takes Two to Strangle

The carnival has come to Hollydale and as head of the citizen’s association Damon Lassard is the local liaison to make sure that event goes off without a hitch. When one of the owners of the carnival is found dead with two separate and different ligature marks Damon steps in to help his friend Detective Gerry Sloman solve the case and catch the killers.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This was an interesting debut with quite a few red herrings.

Damon just can’t help himself, he gets right into the middle of the investigation. Detective Sloman gives him an inch and he takes a mile and gets himself in a couple of dicey situations. He is also a very typical man when it comes to women, thankfully his mother is around to point out things that are clear to everyone except Damon himself. Kaminski has written some very likable characters.

The mystery is complex with plenty of suspects and I must say I was surprised by one of the culprits. He was totally off my radar until the evidence was spelled right out for me.

I will be looking forward to more adventures with Damon Lassard and Detective Gerry Sloman. Damon needs Gerry to save him from himself and the criminals.

just you and a friend
4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

STEPHEN KAMINSKI is the author of It Takes Two to Strangle, the first book in the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School. Stephen has practiced law for over a decade and currently serves as General Counsel to a national non-profit organization. He is a lifelong lover of all types of mysteries and lives with his wife and daughter in Arlington, Virginia.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. 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.”

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Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Literary Escapes Reviews 2013

Review: Playing With Poison by Cindy Blackburn

playing with poison

Playing With Poison
A Cue Ball Mystery
First in Series
Cozy Mystery
Self Published (October 31, 2012)
Paperback: 250 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1480092686
E-Book File Size: 428 KB
ASIN: B009D99R0I

Playing With Poison

Jessie Hewitt is a pool shark that usually can run the table and knows where the balls will fall. She had no idea that a body would fall on her couch or that a cop would show up in her kitchen and accuse her of murder. How is she going to get out of this mess?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Best first line ever: “Going bra shopping at age fifty-two gives new meaning to the phrase fallen woman,” I announced as I gazed at my reflection.

I knew I was going to like Jessie right away! She is smart and fun and I would love to hang out with her and shoot a little pool. She is also a romance novelist and her work as Adelé Nightingale is steamy but told to us readers in the most hilarious way. Her agent Louise is “fantastical”! These characters are a hoot!! and their dialogue is at times side splitting.

A good plot, a fun setting and engaging characters come together to make the a lighthearted cozy that will put a smile on your face. A very entertaining debut! I am looking forward to Double Shot and Three Odd Balls.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Cindy Blackburn has a confession to make-she does not play pool. It’s that whole eye-hand coordination thing. What Cindy does do well is school. So when she’s not writing silly stories she’s teaching serious history. European history is her favorite subject, and the ancient stuff is best of all. The deader the better! A native Vermonter who hates cold weather, Cindy divides her time between the south and the north. During the school year you’ll find her in South Carolina, but come summer she’ll be on the porch of her lakeside shack in Vermont. Cindy has a fat cat named Betty and a cute husband named John. Both are extremely lovable. When Cindy isn’t writing or grading papers, she likes to take long walks or paddle her kayak around the lake. Her favorite travel destinations are all in Europe, her favorite TV show is NCIS, her favorite color is orange, and her favorite authors (if she must choose) are Joan Hess and Spencer Quinn. Cindy dislikes vacuuming, traffic, and lima beans.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. 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.”

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes Reviews 2013

Review: The Artist’s Inheritance by Juli D. Revezzo

artist inheritance

The Artist’s Inheritance:
Antique Magic series (Volume 1)

Fantasy/Paranormal Fiction
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 24, 2012)
Paperback: 198 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1479188970
E-Book File Size: 432 KB
ASIN: B008XL82IU

The Artist's Inheritance (Antique Magic, #1)

Trouble only a witch can solve…

Settling into a new home, Caitlin notices changes coming over her husband. When nightmares deepen and ghosts begin lurking–Caitlin knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair her husband’s carving, she’s sure. Could it be just what it seems: a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces–the forces she suspects drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide?

Armed with a handful of allies–a coven of helpful witches–she must proceed with caution against the hellish forces besieging her family. If she fails, she may lose forever the one thing she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What a creepy story! It took me a chapter or two to get used to the author’s storytelling style and fantasy/paranormal is not my usual genre but I did enjoy this story.

I did have a problem with the character of Cait. I know she loves her husband and he definitely was behaving strangely but I just didn’t feel a connection with her. Trevor on the other was frightening and scary and I found myself empathizing with him and all his family had suffered.

The plot is very interesting and by the end of the book I was satisfied with the outcome. It left me wondering where the author will taking these character as this is the first book in a series.

still at the beach but not as tranquil

3 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About This Author
Juli D. Revezzo has long been in love with writing, a love built by devouring everything from the Arthurian legends, to the works of Michael Moorcock, and the classics and has a soft spot for classic the “Goths” of the 19th century, in love of which she received a Bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of South Florida. Her short fiction has been published in Dark Things II: Cat Crimes, The Scribing Ibis, Eternal Haunted Summer, Twisted Dreams Magazine and Luna Station Quarterly. She also has an article and book review or two out there. But her heart lies in the storytelling. She is a member of the Independent Author Network.

//

Amazon.com WidgetsDisclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. 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.”

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E-Book Challenge
E-Book Challenge

1st in a series

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: The Book of Sylvia by Michael Scott Miller

The Book of Sylvia
Mystery
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 18, 2012)
Paperback: 294 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1477653432

The Book of Sylvia

London streetwalker Sylvia Smith is under suspicion for abetting a robbery. She doesn’t know where to turn. Frightened and alone, she ends up at St. Alban’s Church. The officiant, Father Christopher is going through some turmoil of his own. He is filled with self doubt and he tries to resurrect his dying church.

On odd friendship forms and they work to help each other. He helps her track down a clue so she can find and return the stolen money. She brings him out of shell to be more outgoing in his sermons and with his parishioners. Sylvia is walking a tightrope because as she guides the priest he seems to getting farther away from his church instead of closer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

God does work in mysterious ways. Sylvia noticed the “stone gable with a double bell cote projecting above all the nearby buildings” from her seat on the train. She hasn’t set foot in a church since she was a teenager but it felt “the right place for her to be right now”. That was how she ended up at St. Alban’s. She needed guidance as did Father Christopher. 

Mystery with a message. Great character development. Well paced, in fact I wish it would have ended so soon. I would love to read the next part of these character’s journey. 

My only flaw in this story is that the British snippets of language seemed forced. The setting worked wonderfully for the story but the dialogue needed a bit of alteration.

This was an enjoyable read. I read it all in one sitting. A nice escape.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Michael Scott Miller works with numbers by day in the business world and with words by night. He began writing shortly after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and has had his work published in the Welcomat (now Philadelphia Weekly) and wrote music reviews for the Wharton Journal while his wife was getting her degree there. He has written two novels, Ladies and Gentlemen…The Redeemers, and The Book of Sylvia, both works of contemporary fiction with strong emphasis on their characters. Miller grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and now lives in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania with his wife and three children.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. 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.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Reviews 2012

Review: Where’s My Son? by John C. Dalglish

Where’s My Son?
(Detective Jason Strong Novellas, #1)

Paperback: 156 pages
Genre: Suspense
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 18, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-1470098728

Where's My Son?

Micheal Barton comes home to find his wife asleep and their son missing. Detective Jason Strong leads the investigation to find the missing infant. There are no clues and the police have no suspects. Strong befriends Michael as he checks in year after year with no progress in the case.

Michael’s wife passes away after a short battle with cancer and he promises her he will find their son. Jason starts to worry about Michael as he starts to escape into himself and a dark frightening frame of mind. Jason is in a fight against time to save not only Michael but anyone that steps into his path as he frantically searches to find his son.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

How far would you go to save your child?

Dalglish takes us down a road of the unimaginable journey of Michael Barton’s life. He has lost his child and then his wife and he is full of anger. He stumbles upon a clue to the kidnapper and he just snaps. He has to get his son back, no matter the cost.

At 156 pages this is a fast read made even faster by the suspense and drama driven by this story. I was unable to put it down and read late into the night to the final word. The thunderstorm outside my window added another element to the story as if it wasn’t gripping enough.

This is the first Jason Strong novella and I am ready for the second, the third and more. A fabulous debut! Watch this author. I know there are some full length suspense novels in his future!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Click Here To Find Out More About This Author

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. 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.”


Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2012

Review: Firefly Beach by Meira Pentermann (Giveaway too!)

2012 self published mystery

Firefly Beach
Published by CreateSpace

Firefly Beach

Beth is having a terrible time. Her 40th birthday is quickly approaching, her mother died the previous December from a heart attack, right before Christmas, and her husband asked her for a divorce in January.

The divorce was finalized in May, her husband moved out months ago. Beth was boxing up her things to move to an apartment when she came across several paintings. Paintings she had done when she was a junior in high school. She had planned to go to an art college in Boston, maybe moving to a small town in the northeast and painting the rocky coastlines and lighthouses. Sometime her senior year these dreams were forgotten and she went to the University of New Mexico to study economics. She met her husband, got her MBA and moved up the corporate ladder.

There really was nothing keeping her in New Mexico. Is it too late to follow her dreams? She grabs an old atlas, closes her eyes, aims for the east coast and she lands on Virginia Point, Maine. A small town with a population of just over 1500. She spends a couple of days on the internet and finds a cottage to rent. Then she sets off for Maine.

She wants to just be alone and paint but something mysterious changes her plans. The spirit of Firefly Beach takes her on an adventure.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I sat down with this book one night last week. I planned to read just a few chapters before bed. The next thing I knew it was just past 1 a.m. and I had finished the book. The book had me in a trance, time had passed but was actually hours seemed like minutes. I had been tired but don’t recall yawning one time. I finished the book and felt refreshed. Yes the clock said go to sleep but my mind was still wrapped up in this story.

Meira’s writing has almost a tranquil lyrical flow. The characters are extremely engaging, the mystery creative and the setting idyllic. If you could read a painting this is the story it would tell. The whole story is absolutely magical.

Beth is on a journey, an emotional journey. The people she finds in her path are quirky, lovable, flawed and real. Her character evolves as do all of the others.

I write all about “Escaping Into A Good Book”. This is a book that is beyond the perfect escape. Book your passage now, this is a trip you will not want to miss. This book should be on everyone’s summer reading list. Escape into Firefly Beach.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
The author is giving away 1 copy of this wonderful book!!
U.S.  RESIDENTS
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.Contest Will End June 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. 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.”