Friday, 16 December 2022

Seasonal Mysteries Spotlight: Fiona Quinn Mysteries by C.S. McDonald / Mac Faraday Mysteries by Lauren Carr

Book Details:

Book Title:  Merry Murder:  A Fiona Quinn Mystery #2
Author:  C.S. McDonald
Category:  YA Fiction, 219 pages
Run Time: 4 hours, 51 minutes
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  McWriter Books
Release date:  Sep 16, 2016
Content Rating:  G (The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are for everyone--adults love the books and they are appropriate for teens and tweens too!)

Enjoy an early Christmas gift!
will be FREE on Amazon November 21-23
It will be offered at a reduced price of .99 cents
until January 1st

Book Description:

The cookies are baked. The tree is trimmed. The shopping? Well, it's almost done, and Fiona's parents have finally returned home for a holiday visit - along with some unexpected unruly friends. Yep, Fiona's perfectly planned Christmas is coming together, but how could've she planned for her favorite uncle's murder? Who could possibly kill a sweet old man who's played Santa at the local mall every year without fail? Fiona's boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry, is determined to find out - before Christmas day arrives. There's only one problem: Nancy Quinn. Fiona's mom is just as determined as the detective to catch the murderer, and she isn't shy about getting the job done - even if it includes breaking a few pesky laws! Will Fiona and her mother find the killer first or will the killer find them?

Audible ~ Amazon ~ B&N
Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Book Title:  The Christmas Cameo:  A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery
Author:  C.S. McDonald
Category:  YA Fiction, 32 pages
Length: 1 hr, 16 minutes
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  McWriter Books
Release date:  November 13, 2019
Content Rating:  G (The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are for everyone--adults love the books and they are appropriate for teens and tweens too!)

Book Description:

​A lovely cameo brooch is discovered in Fiona’s late Uncle Wilbur’s house two days before Christmas. The pin bears a romantic Christmas message from Wilbur for his new wife with the initials, D.A.S.
How very strange! To the family’s knowledge, Uncle Wilbur had never been married. So, who is this mysterious woman? Now, Fiona is on a holiday mission to locate D.A.S. and deliver the belated gift. 
Question is, what happened to the marriage? Is D.A.S. still alive after all these years? And if so, can Fiona find her before Christmas?
Meet the Author:

For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries includes nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg.

Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh and the female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Nest Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy!

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister. 

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook ~ Instagram

Thursday, 15 December 2022

The Young Federalists by Abigail Readlinger


Book Details:

​Book Title:  THE YOUNG FEDERALISTS by Abigail Readlinger
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  72 pages
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:  Dec 2022
Content Rating:  G
Book Description:

Ever heard of The Federalist Papers?
(Awaiting your confusion . . .)
Probably not, huh?
​That’s alright! Not many kids do! But I promise, this book is setting out to change that.
Join the three Kennedy siblings as they travel through the portal of American history to discover the importance behind the first Federalist Papers and its connection to the Constitution of the United States! Look out for ways that the first Federalist Papers might apply to our world today. Who knows, maybe it could help just as much now as it did back then! Oh! And watch out for a special guest appearance from . . . Alexander Hamilton!
​Mascot Books
Amazon ~ B&N
Meet the Author:

Abigail Readlinger is a current high school junior at The Wilberforce School, located in Princeton, New Jersey, where she enjoys participating year-round on both the sport and debating teams. Homebound during the pandemic, Abigail was inspired to create her first draft of The Young Federalists. Almost two years later, she is thrilled to have her whim become a reality and hopes readers will enjoy the lives of Reagan, AJ, and Dolley as much as she enjoyed creating them. In her free time, Abigail enjoys horseback riding, creative writing, and rereading all of her favorite Agatha Christie novels. She has two younger siblings named Sarah and Doc, as well as an honorary third sibling―her yellow lab, Daisy.

connect with the author: twitter facebook ~ instagram

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

In The Daze of My Youth: A Memoir by Joshua Kraushar

 Book Details:

​Book Title:  In the Daze of My Youth: A Memoir by Joshua Kraushar
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  160 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:  December  2022
Content Rating:  PG-13 + M: Parts of the book talk about illegal drug use 
Book Description:

Hello! I’m Josh―and with the exception of friends, family, former colleagues, and students, you don’t know me from Adam. This autobiography is a down-to-earth, intimate memoir of my life, spanning the bulk of the 1950s through 1970s. Since I’m almost seventy now, my life today has zero resemblance to that of the person I’ve written about. The drugs I partake in today, like Lipitor and Flomax, don’t seem to be as much fun as acid and mescaline were many decades ago. Nonetheless, my memories of youth are vivid and amusing. Many of the vignettes that I have incorporated into the book are true-to-life anecdotes that I have related over the years at dinner parties to amuse my friends. Having taught high school for thirty-five years following the events of this book, I intentionally neglected to relate any of the stories to my students knowing full well that I would be fired on the spot. Since I am now very happily retired, I have absolutely no fear of retribution from irate parents or Board of Education members. In the Daze of My Youth traces my life from good Jewish boy to New York City checker cab driver to degenerate druggie to world traveler. Even though I’m a happily married dad with grown children who are infinitely more responsible than I’ll ever be, I sometimes still feel like the wild man I was many years ago . . .
​Mascot Books
Amazon ~ B&N
add to goodreads
Meet the Author:

​Joshua Kraushar is a former history teacher, cab driver, and New York City tour guide. He received numerous awards during his 35-year career in education, including New Jersey Humanities Teacher of the Year. He was inspired to tell the story of his formative years by friends who generally found his anecdotes related to taxi driving and world travel to be compelling and particularly funny. He also wishes to give anyone who was born during the last forty years a good sense of what it was like to grow up in the ’60s and ’70s and to freak out his former students who assumed he was reasonably sane. Joshua and his wife Terri currently live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with their incredibly hairy golden retriever, Khaleesi, and are the parents of two sons, Jeremy and Zack. 

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Needles the Forgotten Christmas Tree by Richard Wagner + Guest Post

Book Details:

Book Title:  Needles the Forgotten Christmas Tree by Richard Wagner
Category:  Children's Fiction (ages 3 to 7), 32 pages
Genre:  Children's Book
Publisher:  Mascot
Release date:   Mar 7, 2023
Content Rating:  G.  Suitable for everyone.
Book Description:

The world is not always perfect. A scraggly little tree named Needles must endure taunts, criticism, and setbacks to realize his goal of becoming a beautiful Christmas tree.

​This is a story of hope, dreams, desires, determination, and never giving up. It also offers the observation that what others think is beautiful may not really matter. Beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder . . . and paired with the spirit of Christmas, maybe we can make the world just a little more perfect!
Buy the Book:
(release date March 2023)
(pre-order now)
Amazon ~ B&N
Guest Post by Richard Wagner
Do I have another profession besides writing?
Yes.  My “real” career has been in commercial real estate development.  I worked in all fields of the industry including entitlements, finance, construction, leasing, sales, design, marketing, feasibility analysis and disposition.  In addition, I have been an investor, both passive and active.
My career has included design, development and construction of industrial parks and buildings, retail shopping centers, hi-rise and mid-rise office and multi-use projects, multi-family, custom homes, and several hundred cellular, paging and multi-use antenna sites.  I also provided site search and feasibility analysis services for retailers and developers building projects in border states with Mexico, and throughout all of Mexico.
Since 1990 I have formed three separate companies with each having a separate defined profit center.  As of today, I am semi-retired from the development business which has given me the time to finally write this book that I have had in mind for almost 50 years.
Meet the Author:
Wagner grew up in Southern California. When he was 14-years old, a business friend of his father’s had a small Christmas tree delivered as a thank you. Their family already had a large tree decorated in the house. Not being able to find anyone who needed a tree, that small Christmas tree stood outside by itself for the remainder of the Christmas holiday.
Author links: Website

Enter the Giveaway:
Win a signed copy of NEEDLES THE FORGOTTEN CHRISTMAS TREE (USA only) (ends Dec 20)

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Delaware Before the Railroads: A Diamond Among the States by Dave Tabler

Book Details:

Book Title:  Delaware Before the Railroads: A Diamond Among the States by Dave Tabler
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 100 pages
Genre: American History, Colonial
Publisher: Dave Tabler
Publication Date: Nov 2022
Tour dates: Nov 25 to Dec 16
Content Rating: G. None needed. Works for all audiences.

"Tabler debuts with a visual feast introducing readers to the First State before the golden age of the railroad. Drawing on photographs of locations, reconstructions, and historical objects, together with brief captions and rigorous notes, Tabler weaves a rich tapestry of industry, politics, and faith. He organizes the photographs roughly chronologically, tracking Delaware’s development from Swedish settlers to American independence, and dedicates space to images that reflect Delaware’s Native American history, as well as tracing the impact that enslaved people had on the state’s historical development." Booklife

"If you think you know Delaware, think again. Pirates? Quakers fighting with Pennsylvania? Towns so ugly no one would settle there? With stunning pictures and straightforward storytelling, Dave Tabler opens hidden passages and describes defining moments in this founding American colony. Telling this small state's story gives you a sense of the big picture in American history. Enjoy this fresh look at Delaware through Dave Tabler's eyes." -- Wendy Welch, author The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap
"Whether discussing the colored spear tips that showed the community if a person had been found guilty or not, to the stones that identified the Mason-Dixon Line, Dave Tabler's book on colonial Delaware offers the reader a smorgasbord of interesting stories and photos of its early years. This is another book to add to collections about the beginnings of our country." -
- Sheila Ingle, winner, South Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution Historical Preservation Award for four of her young reader novels about South Carolina heroines during the Revolutionary War
"Thoroughly researched and well-written, Delaware before the Railroads offers a glimpse into the past through a present lens. Respected historian Dave Tabler utilizes colorful and intriguing photographs to tell Delaware's foundational stories." 
-- Jan Loveday Dickens, Tennessee author and educator
"Dave Tabler's impeccable research and clearly written descriptives tell a truthful and provocative story for anyone interested in the subject or doing research for other works covering the same period. The colorful and informative photographs tell the story of not only Colonial Delaware residents from 1638-1832 but our American forefathers in general. We learn about every aspect of their way of life during the most critical time of our country's history." 
-- Lisa Soland, author, and senior editor of Climbing Angel Publishing

"Dave Tabler has crafted a concise and fascinating photographic account of early Delaware. "Delaware Before The Railroads" is definitely a book that should be in the collection of anyone interested not only in the history of Delaware but also in the history of colonial America." -- Steve Gilly, "Stories, A History of Appalachia" podcast
"Beautifully illustrated and presented in a unique format, 'Delaware Before the Railroads' is an easy and informative read-sure to appeal to Early American and Delaware history buffs." -
-Amelia E. Miller, Tennessee author and historian

"Tabler's purpose, indeed, his mission, is to create a tribute to the culture and history of Delaware before the coming of the railroad. Consequently, he not only rediscovers the past, he also preserves and celebrates it with a montage of vivid images and an insightful narrative.-- Gary Carden, author, storyteller, playwright

Book Description:

Delaware before the railroads arrived in 1832 was hotly contested real estate. Circle back to 1610 for a ride that takes you through culture clashes, colonization, revolution and beyond.
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N
Indiebound ~ BookShop 
add to goodreads

Author Interview with Dave Tabler
What made you write a book about Delaware’s early history?
I’m not a Delaware native. Before I decided to move here, I became curious to know how friends and acquaintances viewed the state. Most thought right away of the beaches, but after that the room got pretty silent. I have a degree in photo-journalism, so I’ve always had a habit of investigating new places with an eye toward how to tell their story visually. Delaware bills itself as the ‘First State.’ I’d heard the phrase in school, but wasn’t completely clear on the why of the tagline. And the desire to answer that for myself sent me down a fascinating rabbit hole! Delaware’s early history is in fact a miniature version of America’s early history. I think it’s very relatable to any reader who’s drawn to our country’s colonial era.
What is your next project? 
Now that I’m hooked on Delaware’s past, it feels only natural to pick up the storyline where ‘Delaware Before the Railroads’ leaves off. Because Delaware’s land mass is historically heavy coastal marshes and dense backcountry forests, early travel was extremely difficult. The railroads opened up the peninsula’s interior, and new towns sprung up along the rail lines. The recently developed mode of travel completely changed the culture. It should make for an absorbing book two in what I see as a three book series.
Do you write every day? 
Absolutely. I think non-writers often assume that writers sit around idly waiting for the muse to speak, and then scribble away furiously only when that voice appears. That would not work at all in my case. For me, writing is a discipline. I get up before dawn, when I’m fresh and distractions are few. I write two hours before breakfast. Some days the words flow, and some days I’m stuck. But I put in the time either way. Depending on the rest of the day’s demands, I’ll usually tuck in at least another four hours throughout the day.
What is the last great book you’ve read? 
“The Art of Worldly Wisdom” by Baltasar Gracian. This book has been described as ‘Machievelli without the evil bits,’ and that feels honest to me. Gracian was a 17th Jesuit priest living in Spain during the Inquisition. So the need to be aware of how the world truly functions, and to navigate through personal, social, and political interactions intelligently, was for him literally a matter of life and death. His insights on the human condition ring as true to me today as they must have to his very first readers.
If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be? 
That I’m passionate about history. I want readers to feel right there in the moment with me as I’m sharing a narrative. I hope they’ll experience the events I’m describing not as dusty old dates and mind-numbing facts, but as compelling stories about people who, despite the odd clothing or ways of speaking, jolt them into thinking “Oh! I know someone like that!”

Meet the Author:

Ten year old Dave Tabler decided he was going to read the 'R' volume from the family's World Book Encyclopedia set over summer vacation. He never made it from beginning to end. He did, however, become interested in Norman Rockwell, rare-earth elements, and Run for the Roses.

Tabler's father encouraged him to try his hand at taking pictures with the family camera. With visions of Rockwell dancing in his head, Tabler press-ganged his younger brother into wearing a straw hat and sitting next to a stream barefoot with a homemade fishing pole in his hand. The resulting image was terrible.

Dave Tabler went on to earn degrees in art history and photojournalism despite being told he needed a 'Plan B.'

Fresh out of college, Tabler contributed the photography for "The Illustrated History of American Civil War Relics," which taught him how to work with museum curators, collectors, and white cotton gloves. He met a man in the Shenandoah Valley who played the musical saw, a Knoxville fellow who specialized in collecting barbed wire, and Tom Dickey, brother of the man who wrote 'Deliverance.'

In 2006 Tabler circled back to these earlier encounters with Appalachian culture as an idea for a blog. today reaches 375,000 readers a year.

Dave Tabler moved to Delaware in 2010 and became smitten with its rich past. He no longer copies Norman Rockwell, but his experience working with curators and collectors came in handy when he got the urge to photograph a love letter to Delaware's early heritage.

connect with the author:

Win a paperback copy of Delaware Before the Railroads: A Diamond Among the States (one winner) (USA only) (ends Dec 17)

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Run with the Hare, Hunt with the Hound by Paul M. Duffy

Book Details:

Book TitleRun with the Hare, Hunt with the Hound by Paul M. Duffy
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +), 342 pages
Genre:  Medieval Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Cennan Books of Cynren Press
Release date:   October 2022 
Content Rating:  R. The book does involve medieval warfare in a fair amount. There is limited profanity and some quick sex scenes that mention the penis, etc. There is also some mention of vaginas. These are not like hard-core sex scenes, but body parts are mentioned (e.g., a woman disguised as a man is hanged and the onlookers realize the person has a "cunny" -- and are shocked that she is not the male they thought she was).
Book Description:

On a remote Gaelic farmstead in medieval Ireland, word reaches Alberic of conquering Norman knights arriving from England. Oppressed by the social order that enslaved his Norman father, he yearns for the reckoning he believes the invaders will bring—but his world is about to burn. Captured by the Norman knight Hugo de Lacy and installed at Dublin Castle as a translator, Alberic’s confused loyalties are tested at every turn. When de Lacy marches inland, Alberic is set on a collision course with his former masters amidst rumours of a great Gaelic army rising in the west. Can Alberic navigate safely through revenge, lust and betrayal to find his place amidst the birth of a kingdom in a land of war?

I'm a big fan of historical fiction, but I haven't read many novels set in this turbulent period of European history, especially not ones so obviously well researched and authentically grounded in the societies of the time. In Run With The Hare, Hunt With The Hound I was flung right into the midst of an English invasion of Ireland, albeit one where the English are a mix of Saxons and Normans. I appreciated Paul Duffy's centering his story on a displaced person, the young Alberic, who is a Norman-English speaking slave in Gaelic Ireland, his enslaved father having been kidnapped years before from Chester Shire in what would become England. It was interesting to see the 'Engleis' differentiating themselves from the Gaels by abhorring slavery, the practice being against their Christianity, especially as I know how enthusiastic many of their descendants would be to enslave African people some five centuries in the future.

Alberic's sharp wit and flair for languages makes him useful to his Gaelic masters so his travels with them allowed me to see different Irish social groupings varying from isolated farmsteads to the bustling city of Duiblinn. I did sometimes lose track of exactly who was who within the large cast of characters, but I loved learning about the historical aspects of this period especially the minutiae of everyday life which Duffy vividly evokes. Run With The Hare, Hunt With The Hound was a fascinating read for me and one I would highly recommend to fans of literary historical fiction and medieval European history.