Home Is Where the Bark Is – #BookBlitz

I am super-excited today to provide a #BookBlitz stop for Home Is Where the Bark Is by Stella St. Clair on Sage’s Blog Tours blog blitz.

Sage's Blog Tours - Book Blitz

Book Details 

Home Is Where the Bark Is (Paws Fur Play Mysteries Book 1)

Cozy Mystery
First in Series
Published July 2, 2018
Digital ASIN: B07F7KQ7WY  

Purchase Link: http://mybook.to/PawsFurPlay1

Book BlurbHome is Where the Bark is

All Willow Wells wanted was a fresh start. After a divorce that left her a dog trainer with no dogs to train, inheriting her Aunt’s property (complete with a downtrodden dog gym) seemed like the answer to her prayers. That is until the first day of excavation uncovers a dead local real estate mogul, and pins her current contractor as the lead suspect. 

With his funds frozen, and with no way to return Willow’s money, contractor Griffin Maynard has no choice but to join forces with his high school crush who also happens to be his current client—new arrival Willow Wells. Together they must find the real murderer and get construction back underway before both of their businesses go bottom up.

But as they follow the trail of town gossip, Willow and Griffin discover more buried secrets than they first thought, and time is running out to solve this murder before they lose everything.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

Stella St. Claire - author(From Goodreads Author page) Stella lives and breathes cozy mysteries! With her head always buried inside these books, it’s no wonder that she would put pen to paper to bring her own cozy mysteries to life. The words flew onto the page, and she’s already teeming with ideas for the next series.

With her trusted canine by her side, it seemed only natural to be inspired by her beautiful beagle Doogle and the many hours they spent walking through scenic New England villages. When Stella’s not reading books, she’s off on road trips, exploring every nook and cranny in neighboring towns, seeking inspiration for her next book.

She’s keen to see what her fellow cozy critics think of her “The Happy Tails Dog Walking Mysteries,” so leave a review and share your thought at http://www.StellaStClaire.com or her Facebook http://www.facebook.com/stellastclaire and her Newsletter: http://stellastclaire.com/newsletter

Thank you for visiting my stop on the Book Blitz! Sage's Blog Tours

And thanks to Sage’s Blog Tours for the opportunity to share the happiness!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

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#ThrowbackThursday – The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode

#ThrowbackThursday

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

OMG, I can’t believe I’m just getting to this particular author and his book, The Dirty Parts of the Bible for a Throwback Thursday!

I previously mentioned it in an article I wrote regarding historical fiction. Sam Torode has written other stand-alone books, along with such co-authors as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oscar Wilde, and James Allen. I reviewed The Dirty Parts of the Bible on Goodreads. This novel was self-published in March 2010. Torode garnered an amazing 2,109 reviews of which more than 1,000 were five stars and was a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Amazon classifies the novel as literary fiction, humor and satire, coming-of-age.

Originally posted April 27, 2016

Book Blurb:

The Dirty Parts of the Bible is a humorous adventure across America during the Great Depression–a rollicking tale of love and liquor, preachers and prostitutes, trains and treasure, sure to appeal to fans of O Brother Where Art Thou?, Water for Elephants, Mark Twain, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash.

Publishers Weekly says:
“While the title suggests a raunchy read, this rich and soulful novel is actually a rather well-done bildungsroman [coming-of-age story] steeped in wanderlust and whimsy that at times recalls The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and at others a tamer On the Road. The story begins in 1936 as 19-year-old Tobias is thumbing his way from Remus, Mich., to his uncle’s farm in Glen Rose, Tex., to find a hidden bag of money, after his father, a Baptist pastor, drunkenly slams his car into the church and is removed from the parsonage. The author does an excellent job in making well-charted territory (riding the rails; scavenged campfire meals under the stars) seem vibrant and new. Snippets of scripture, Southern spirituals, and folk ballads lend context and flavor to the text. Most impressive are the jangly dialogue and the characters’ distinctive voices, which are authentic and earthy but not remotely hoary. When Tobias finally arrives at his uncle’s, the surprises that await him are more than enough to keep his–and readers’–interests piqued.”

Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode”

What is the Fascination of the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son? Do Seven Daughters Count?

The Seventh Son of a Seventh Son - Is it Magic?

Yes! The fascination of the seventh son of a seventh son! Is it more than folklore? More than the 1988 Iron Maiden album that stemmed from the folklore? I suspect there may have been more seventh sons born last century than this, but still, it conjures powerful visions of mystical or even biblical significance, doesn’t it? According to Wikipedia, it can go so far as to be broken down by regions:

  1. Ireland – believed to be a healer
  2. France – believed to have curative properties
  3. Latin America – believed to be a werewolf
  4. Italy – believed to be a charmer of snakes
  5. U.S. – believed to garner riches

Well, that last was borne of a book written in the year 1807-08 by Edward Kendall regarding his visit to the Newgate copper mine. Indeed, a radio drama aired in 1980 on the CBS Mystery Theatre called “The Iron Horse” by Sam Dann played off that account of mining discoveries. Jimmy Stewart starred in a 1940 movie called “The Philladelphia Story” that noted the legend and as recently as 2014 the fantasy-adventure film Seventh Son has as the main character a seventh son of a seventh son that featured Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore. (Gees, never heard of it!)

Theatrical poster for Seventh Son from Wikipedia

To be authentically a seventh son of a seventh son, however, there must not be a female sibling separating the numbers. (Therefore, singer Perry Como could not legitimately claim the distinction. Lyle Lewis Aley, radio announcer was an unproven seventh, and Len Dawson, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs claimed the distinction without acknowledging where his dad stood in the family line. Como, however, could make musical magic with the best of them.)

Still, there are many books written that include the folklore theme as a plot–all fiction in the fantasy or science fiction genres, so who is to say it may or may not magically bestow super-human properties, cause I could find no non-fiction references.

Several popularly noted fiction books with the theme include:

harry potterAnd, of course, the granddaddy, blockbuster of them all–the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowlings, including Deathly Hallows (#7) 2009, which includes the 7th child of the 7th child (Ginny Weasley), a girl! (And the females have magical powers of their own.) These books were written for the 9-12 years age group. That’s fine–it got ALL ages to reading again!

  • And if you really want to have some goosebumps, try Comic book superhero Johnny Thunder who obtained his magical birthright by virtue of being the seventh son of a seventh son and was also born at 7 am on July 7 (the seventh day of the seventh month), 1917. Unfortunately, it didn’t have quite the fire of the Potter series.

With all the time and research, however, I was not able to find one non-fictional account of a real seventh son biography, memoir, or story. Still, we do love our folklore and stories handed down and wonder how the stories got started. If you’ve come across some true accounts, I’d love to hear them!

©2018 V Williams (Photo attribution for title pic: Pexels, Theatrical poster for Seventh Son from Wikipedia)V Williams

Unique Blogger Award

The Unique Blogger Award

I am thrilled to be nominated for a second award by Nina over at The Cozy Pages and so appreciate the shout out. Nina never fails to like and comment on posts, though I’ve no clue where she gets the time–she is a very busy mother of three and a professional outside her home. She posts very insightful and detailed reviews and always balances her posts with what she found that was good and what didn’t work so well. If you haven’t already, check out her blog, please.

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

The Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-12 people for the same award.
  • Ask them 3 questions.

Nina’s Questions:

1) You are in the bookstore and you see someone walking around for an hour looking at all the books looking lost. Finally, you decide to ask them if they need help. They admit they have no idea what book to read next, what book would you recommend?

Book tastes vary so greatly from person to person and age to age, it’s fortunate we have so many to choose from!

  1. Orangutan by Rita GoldnerFor a very small child, any book that offers large, colorful pictures and very short, simple descriptions that can be shared, such as my Phoenix author buddy Rita Goldner’s book Orangutan.
  2. My generation grew up on Nancy Drew for tweens and teens. Clean, imaginative, and resourceful, but these days the go-to book is Harry Potter.
  3. Adults: Anything from cozy mysteries to tear-jerking literary classics such as from author John Steinbeck. I’ve not yet begun to compile a “favorites” list this year, but if I knew a person’s taste, I might refer to the variety of great books from my 2017 list. These include a range of genres from historical fiction (Stone Song by Win Blevins), a travelogue (Dining and Driving with Cats by Pat Patterson), an anthropomorphic tale (Telemachus), to legal thrillers and men’s adventures (anything by Michael Reisig), even the enigmatic Dean Koontz (The Whispering Room).

2) Imagine you get the opportunity to go back in time, maybe a mad scientist has figured out the technology, who knows? Anyway, the only thing is you need to feed the contraption a classic book and you travel to the time that it was written. What book would you feed that machine?

Rosemary's Baby by Ira LevinThat’s a pretty funny question since I just finished a book about that very thing (time travel), Valley of Time by Jeremy D Holden. But no, I don’t want to go back to 1974. I would feed the contraption Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin, 1967. Rosemary’s Baby came out after we were married and possibly thinking about a family. It scared me to death.

3.) You are in the library and you see someone reading at a table. Then you see the worst thing imaginable…. they are doing your bookish pet-peeve. What are they doing to that poor book?!

I have seen people dog-ear or fold the page in half–(even ripping a page out–but no–the worst? Writing in the margins.

My questions for you:

1.      When was the last time you bought or borrowed an audiobook, what was it, and was it as rewarding as reading would have been?

2.      The beginning of the year, there are myriad lists of reading challenges. Do you add challenges, find they increase your reading, or diversify your reading choices? Or not.

3.      It’s easy to come across little sayings in each book we read, something memorable. Have you begun to collect quotes, and if so when was your last, and what was the book and author?

Disclaimer: I’d love it if you would respond to this tag with your answers, but we are all busy. If you do, however, please link back to share your answers.

My Nominations:

CathyRy

Yesha

Kerry

Alysha

Jessica

Nicole

Cathy

Have a super week everyone! I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

The Blogger Recognition Award

Blogger Recognition AwardI am thrilled to announce that I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award before Christmas by The Cozy Pages.  Surprise Christmas gift, thank you! The Cozy Pages enjoys reading, writing, coffee in the morning, and mysteries! And she posts about her odyssey on her dynamic website. She is also open to review requests, but you should check out her Review Policy to see that your genre is one she accepts. You will love her blog; read and follow.

So what’s this Award about?

Blogger Recognition Award

Once you are nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award, if you wish to accept your nomination, you must follow these rules:

  • Generate a post about the award.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a brief story about how your blog began.
  • Provide two pieces of advice to newbie bloggers.
  • Select 15 blogs to nominate.
  • Comment on each nominee’s blog and provide a link to the post that you created about the award.

How My Blog Began

As most of you know, I began my blog as a way to create a social media presence following the publication of my grandfather’s manuscripts. With no clue what I was doing, it took me several years to gear up and find a niche, although it seems the niche found me. I was getting a lot of free books from BookBub, but so many of those books already had a large following. Joining author groups, I was able to participate personally with debut authors. As a side benefit from participating with authors, I began receiving review requests. My posts shifted specifically to #bookblogging, #bookreviewing, and all things books from #blogtour to #booklaunch.

Blogging Advice from Me:

I continue to get more review requests than I can manage to read, and have much to learn in the way of social media promotion. Computers remain a mystery to me, but there are so many sources of information on so many platforms, that (thankfully) it’s easier than ever to find answers.

  1. The biggest education in my growth goals was membership in the Phoenix Book Marketing and Promotion Meetup in Phoenix, Az. Laura Orsini always had wise words for us newbie bloggers, the biggest of which was to blog early, often, and intelligently, introducing us to the 30-day challenge and blog prompts. It’s tough to get your website out there. Competition is extreme. Expect to give it a lot of dedicated time and effort. Hang in there–it’s worth it!
  2. The other two most helpful sources of growth for me has been Twitter and now Instagram (Bookstagram), replacing Facebook, where I never really caught on and probably blew my initial setup. There was more than enough push to participate in Pinterest, but that never got me any traffic and I’m still scratching my head over what the whole thing is about.
  3. Seek other bloggers in your niche and cultivate followers or subscribers. They can teach you so much! Find a platform you can work with and search for bloggers with whom you can exchange information, guest posts, or sources of photos or graphics. You’ll need them.

As with The Cozy Pages, I feel 15 is more than I can manage with my current schedule, so I’ve provided these few below in no particular order. These are all excellent #bookbloggers who provide excellent reviews. Check them out and follow!

Adventures of a Bibliophile

Book Journey

Books Beyond the Story

Books Teacup and Reviews

Chat About Books

Clues and Reviews

Novel Gossip

The Geeky Bibliophile

I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

 

Outside the Wire – a Book Review

 

Outside the Wire by Patricia SmileyTitle: Outside the Wire (a Pacific Homicide #2) by Patricia Smiley

 

Genre: Currently #4329 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, and Police Procedurals

 

Publisher: Midnight Ink

 

Publication Date: To be released November 8, 2017 – Happy Release Day!

 

Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley

 

Title and Cover: Outside the Wire – Love the cover–striking colors

 

Outside the Wire features Davie Richards as a LAPD Homicide Detective. At last–a female protagonist not damaged beyond saving or sporting model-like height and classic features! Her Kung Fu will worry no one, but she is packing. This lady sounds real and with her years on the force as an officer and detective, she has history. This is the sophomore release of this series by Ms. Smiley and is an intelligent, thoughtful, and reflective narrative on our military back from ‘Nam. (Some fared better than others. Few were exempt from memories best left in the jungle.) Continue reading “Outside the Wire – a Book Review”

Of Ashes and Dust – a Book Review

Of Ashes and Dust by Marc GrahamTitle: Of Ashes and Dust by Marc Graham

Genre: Currently #54444 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Literary (Historical)

Publisher: Five Star Publishing

Publication Date:  March 2017

Of Ashes and Dust – Cover conveys roughly the subject of the second half of the book.

In this debut novel by Marc Graham, he has created a heart-rending, soul-searching story of a man reflecting on his life as it literally ebbs away.

Of Ashes and Dust follows James (JD, or Jade) Robbins as the son of a poor sharecropper, more comfortable with the Negro slaves in the fields of Arkansas in 1846 than that of his close, but upper class landowners.

Growing into his teen years, he falls hopelessly in love with the daughter of the owner of the land on which his family works, and gives his heart and soul to her, pledging his undying devotion until they are split by the Civil War. He is forced to leave his family and his love, finally changing from a beautiful, passionate young man into a world weary, combat wounded veteran. The emotionally charged descriptions of the Civil War battles stab at the heart and cries with the protagonist, until he is finally mustered out to heal and rejoin his love. But things have tragically changed back home as well.

Graham poignantly paints a deeply ravaged person mourning the loss of his soul mate to another, reducing the reader to helpless tears.

Seeking to leave that grief behind, Jim Robbins finds work and leaves the state with his buddy Dave to join the railroad expansion effort toward the west. He and Dave continue their work toward the Pacific after they successfully join the rails at Promontory Point.

The author provides rich descriptive detail of the struggle laying the rail west with unerring historical accuracy, the interaction and tragedy of confronting native peoples, and the immigrant Chinese working the railroad; human lives deemed expendable. It is out west that Robbins eventually finds another love with whom he believes he can share a mutual passion and life philosophy, but it seems that Robbins is again to be denied an enduring love. Dave forces him to go on and together they sail for Australia to help complete railroad construction there.

The characters are fleshed out so well, you ache to have them somehow survive–where is my “happy ever after?” Jim Robbins is immensely empathetic. The dialogue is so natural; the author might have taken it from civil war reports or newspaper accounts along the way.

This story grabs you by the collar from the beginning, and inexorably builds upon itself until, while you know what is going to happen, don’t know exactly how until the end…and then it’s soul crushing. Sometimes you read a book that stays with you after “the End.” This is one of those.

Bullseye!I was given the book in exchange for an honest review. It is packed with intense sensitivity, love, power, loss, regret, and triumph. Recommended for anyone interested in a book that won’t let you go.

Marc Graham - authorRosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars

The Author: Marc Graham is an “actor, singer, bard, engineer, Freemason, and whisky aficionado.” If he is not actively hiking the Colorado’s Front Range with his wife and dog, he is either on his computer or on the stage. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Infographic for Click to Tweet Guidelines for WordPress

How to Add a Click to Tweet LinkMea culpa, and by the way, that is directly from the Oxford Dictionaries that I was so busy posting about on my blog Friday. Yes, I was trying something new, and as always with this old dog, graphic tricks don’t come easy. So apologies to all who received multiple updates as I doggedly tried again to create a “Click to Tweet” to my post. This is a free basic plan–there are paid upgrades (aren’t there always?). You’d think these things would be easier than they are, but apparently everything has to be tantamount to learning Photoshop. I seem to be the last one to figure these things out–or maybe not–if you haven’t tried it lately, perhaps this could help?

Just in case you could use a short Infographic on the whole Click to Tweet thing, I created this one and hope that it helps sufficiently that you will try it, if you aren’t indeed way ahead of me already. Click to Tweet

Continue reading “Infographic for Click to Tweet Guidelines for WordPress”

Which Side of the Oxford Comma War Are You On?

Oxford CommaThe Oxford University Press sparked a war back in 1892 that continues to this day with as many on both sides of the line protesting their side as the right one.

The Oxford comma (also referred to as a serial comma, or even the Harvard comma) is that “comma before the conjunction at the end of a list.” The Oxford University Press style guidelines touched off the conflict back when Horace Hart, controller of the University Press, organized a set of rules for the Oxford Press employees.

While the anti-comma faction would eliminate the second comma, the pro-comma faction would add it, sure that it provides clarity. The “pro’s” are more commonly found in the U.S. (I wouldn’t be without mine!) Only journalists forced to use the AP style generally omit it, but that was originally a bid to save space! The anti-comma people hold sovereignty in the U.K., except, of course, for Oxford University–go figure.

Why all the fuss over bell, book, and candle? Aren’t we invoking the Oxford comma for purposes of clarity?  Click to Tweet

And doesn’t that really promote consistency of comma use? Apparently not in some scholars eyes. The article by Warren Clement to The Globe and Mail noted this example: “She invited her father, a tuba player and several ballerinas. It is clear that she invited her father, the musician and the ballerinas.(?Is it?) Now insert the Oxford comma: She invited her father, a tuba player, and several ballerinas. Suddenly the father has become a tuba player.(Really?)

Hmmm…You say to-may-to and I say to-mah-to…

And we’ve been at this 125 years? So I’ll submit to you one final argument illustrated in riveting detail that you may or may not have seen before: “We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin.” I rest my case.

Illustration-Oxford comma
Illustration by AE Ferg-Offered by Stephen Tall

 

I’ll stick to my Oxfords, but I’d be interested to know if you do. Do we have a majority? ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Pokémon GO May Not Be Senior Friendly

Pokemon GOWhat is all this hullabaloo about Pokémon GO? Are you one of those “10 years and older” willing to see what the uproar is about? This is not the first time I’ve tried to catch up to the latest craze. Pokémon GO has now hit more than “21 million active daily users.” You’d think there would have to be something really captivating about it. Turns out, it’s Augmented Reality. (That’s AR to anyone older than 10 years.) A few days ago, I wrote about AI (Artificial Intelligence). This game appears to be a long way from intelligence of any kind. TPokemon Go Ballhe whole point seems to be that of throwing a virtual ball at a virtual creature.

Pokemon Pikachu
Pikachu

Being such a progressive older person, however, I do have a smart phone. And this game is free. (They always start out that way.) But then, here is the catch–there are no instructions. What little print is included must be at 6 pt–WAY too small to read.  I assume that’s because Pokémon is totally familiar to our younger generations who still have good eyes (the original Nintendo game is 20 years old), and they are well acquainted with the annoying little yellow creature and need no instructions.

Pokemon turtleBut Pokémon GO was only released July 6th and this version is specifically designed for mobile application, Apple iOS and Google Android devices. The game was developed in San Francisco by Niantic and uses the phone’s own GPS to appear in gamers physical locations. WHOA! (That’s the “augmented reality”!) Using the device’s camera, different monsters pop-up, who can range from dragons to crabs (I “caught” one yesterday). They all have these amazingly unique names; don’t ask me what the crab was called. Continue reading “Pokémon GO May Not Be Senior Friendly”