The Mystery of Her – a Book Review

The Mystery of Her by Patricia CatacalosTitle: The Mystery of Her by Patricia Catacalos

Genre: Currently #2164 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Historical

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, LLC

Publication Date: May 2016

Source: Submitted by author for review

Title and Cover: The Mystery of Her – Cover hints at era

Lady Kiera Everett is pretty darned sure her father was murdered and how it could have been viewed as anything else, even in London in 1888, is beyond me given the nature of the manner in the first of the Zane Brothers Detective Series, “The Mystery of Her” by Patricia Catacalos. I’m a fan of historical fiction, particularly mysteries, and this was not my first rodeo, so perhaps my expectations were a bit high. Continue reading “The Mystery of Her – a Book Review”

A Far Road To Key West – a Book Review

A Far Road to Key West by Michael ReisigTitle: A Far Road To Key West – The Road To Key West Book 7

Genre: Currently #1 in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, Caribbean & Latin American AND

#3 in Books, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Men’s Adventure

Publisher: Clear Creek Press

Publication Date: June 18, 2017

Source: ARC from author

A Far Road to Key West – Cover continues the series brand

I became a solid and enthusiastic fan of Michael Reisig after reading “Brothers of the Sword/Children of Time.” The swashbuckler reaches back into time and secures and hides the treasure that following the split of the book into the Caribbean Gold series became “The Treasure of Tortuga” and “The Treasure of Time.” (Additionally, there is a third in the Caribbean Gold series.) The way this author reaches back into time and places you square in the middle of the action is riveting.

In the meantime, I’ve been privileged to become one of his pre-readers, a beta reader of the Key West series of novels, and with this, the 7th in the Road to Key West series, his characters remain those steadfast, but true, robust men brought forward with the same kind of spirit as the former. Continue reading “A Far Road To Key West – a Book Review”

Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams–A Book Review

Charbonneau-Man of Two DreamsTitle: Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams

Genre: Currently #3 in Best Seller’s Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoor, and Adventurers & Explorers

Publisher: Wordworx

Publication Date: September 2012

Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams – Dreamcatcher on Cover is a Nice Touch!

Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams by Win Blevins is a beautifully written story woven in and around Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, (variously known as Baptiste or Paump) born of Sacajawea and his French-Canadian father, Toussaint, at the Lewis and Clark winter camp, Ft. Mandan, ND in 1805. A fur trapper, Toussaint was far less support for the westward expedition of Lewis and Clark to the Pacific than was the better-known Sacajawea (a Lemhi Shoshone), who provided excellent trail guidance as well as interpretive services in dealing with the other tribes of the northwest. Continue reading “Charbonneau-Man of Two Dreams–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!

Gone on Sunday-A Cotton Lee Penn Mystery – a Book Review

Gone on SundayTitle: Gone on Sunday by Tower Lowe

Genre: Currently #10598 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Historical, Mysteries

Publisher: Create Space IPP

Publication Date:  January 2017

Gone on Sunday – A Cotton Lee Penn Historical Mystery – Cover conveys mood

Gone on Sunday by Tower Lowe attempts to give us two distinct murder stories within the same book separated as has been previously noted by 40 years. Continue reading “Gone on Sunday-A Cotton Lee Penn Mystery – a Book Review”

10 Amazing Sub-Genre’s in Historical Fiction

10 amazing thingsHistorical Fiction as a literary genre is generously broad and notoriously ambiguous in that the beginning of man can be included in the same spectrum of writing as our own recent Wild West. It was bound to happen then that sooner or later sub-genres would be broken out.

What is Historical?

In that it depicts and closely associates the period social conditions, manners, clothing, and environmental factors, the story can capture any century or millennia from the dawn of man. Generally, “historical” refers to publications written at least 50 years after the event. Considering an extended time frame, therefore, an author would usually be assumed to be writing from research rather than from experience. (In the relatively unusual case of my grandfather’s manuscripts, however, they were written some time shortly after his “sailing, mining, prospecting, and cowpoke days,” over 90 years ago but only recently published by myself.)

So if it’s all historical fiction, what are the ten sub-genres? Continue reading “10 Amazing Sub-Genre’s in Historical Fiction”

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington-Review

Maggie Elizabeth HarringtonMaggie Elizabeth Harrington by C. J. Swykert

Genre: Currently #3071 in Best Sellers Rank for Kindle ebooks, Literature and Fiction-Historical

Publisher: Cambridge Books

Publication Date: March, 2016

Submitted by author for review

Maggie Elizabeth HarringtonMaggie Elizabeth Harrington Two Covers–One for print and one for Kindle. The Kindle cover includes a wolf in the background, but a modern-day woman.

This powerful story of thirteen year old Maggie Elizabeth Harrington was set in a copper mining town of Michigan in 1893. Maggie Elizabeth is the daughter of a miner who lives with her grandmother and her father (who against everything that Maggie Elizabeth believes in, drowns every new litter of kittens). Her mother passed in childbirth; the father barely speaks to her, the grandmother isn’t much better, and she attributes this to the death of her mother–which she considers must be her fault. Continue reading “Maggie Elizabeth Harrington-Review”

It’s Almost NaNo Time Again–Get Ready!

Nano CrestOn Sept 27, 2015, I wrote regarding my introduction to NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month website created by Chris Baty in 1999 and succeeded by Executive Director, Grant Faulkner in 2012. Think you still have a book in you? November is the month to find out. Just 50,000 little words, only 1,667 words per day in 30 days. Think you can do it? How about if you had help, a coach, or several coaches, hints, information, word count, encouragement, and other participants pushing to complete their book in the same month? It’s a band of engagement–join the fun!

National Novel Writing Month is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The experience is free–yes–they’ll accept donations and getting into the spirit of the thing, you can order NaNoWriMo mugs, clothing, books, and posters. And it’s so simple: Continue reading “It’s Almost NaNo Time Again–Get Ready!”

Successful Blogging – What Is Your Niche?

So much talent out there to help, mentor, encourage, and push an entrepreneur into successful blogging. Or from successful blogging to successful freelancing, promotion, or sales. I love writing–one thing it’s not–is boring. There are so many creative ways to exercise the expertise or talent. And it is always a resourceful and satisfying outlet. Fortunately, now you can find so many experts out there, there is little you can’t satisfy by researching successful bloggers. I have several “go-to” bloggers that seem to have no limits on topical advice.

 

The Take Action WAHM

One of my faves is The Take Action WAHM (work at home mom). I spend a LOT Of time reading–that is in addition to my review reading. Always something new to study–here it’s the “niche.” Goodness! I’ve read numerous articles on identifying my target audience and to be honest, it is not something I can zero in. If the goal is sales of historical fiction novels, my grandfather’s books seem to cross all boundaries. Women buy for the men. Men buy for their…sons(?) The young buy for their grandparents; the elder for their grandchildren. Only those who have to study it in school do not love history. And McShane’s stories are full-on Irish blarney–hard to separate fact from fiction.

 

 

Kelly writes for stay-at-home moms, the pearls and perils. She contributes to her family’s finances through affiliate marketing and freelance writing. She has a vast archive of information on her pins “Blogging A to Z.” Kelly found her niche. Continue reading “Successful Blogging – What Is Your Niche?”

Just Enjoy Reading or Bibliophile Qualified?

Just Enjoy Reading or Bibliophile Qualified?

There are usually one or more bibliophiles in your life–besides yourself! Whether they are out having fun, reading, or just too busy for interviews is another whole subject.Roberta

However, I did get a response from my former Yuma RV lot-mate, retired librarian, Roberta, who wrote, “I do love books, but I’m not a voracious reader. I probably read a few books a month on average.  I belong to a book group, so I read what we’ll be discussing each month.  Depending on how long that takes me, I’ll read one or two books that I want to read.  I listen regularly to NPR & it’s a great source of recommended books for me.”

Roberta enjoys her book group and actively participates at times leading a book discussion. As part of that responsibility, she admits to doing quite a bit of research on the author and topic. RobertaReading for her own enjoyment, she gleans books from all the major sources: public library, Kindle and Barnes and Noble online, although she admits to be more kinesthetic, as she prefers the “real books”, soft or hard cover to digital or eBooks. Roberta

Not wedded to any one genre, Roberta enjoys historical fiction, mysteries, family sagas and psychological fiction as well as travel. Extending into non-fiction, topics that hold her interest are history, biography, and the arts, and that incorporates many of her favorite authors, including Ivan Doig. She will follow some contemporary authors on Facebook, but does not join e-mail lists and although aware of Goodreads, doesn’t use it. The librarian in her still makes notes to herself about books that she’s read, although she does not rate or review them publicly.

Roberta is married, has grandkids in another state and enjoys an active life outdoors including traveling, hiking, cycling, Jeeping, cooking, writing in her journal and keeping up with personal letters. While she is not sure she qualifies as a true bibliophile, I’m not sure there is an absolute number that would elevate you to the category. However–three or four books a month?? There are people who haven’t read anything since high school! I’d say she does very well!Virginia WilliamsResource Box

 

The Happy Surprises in Publishing

Day 17 Prompt: What has been the biggest surprise about writing/publishing your book? What has been the most enjoyable or most memorable aspect?

What has been the biggest surprise? Way too easy! As most people know by now, I’ve published my grandfather’s manuscripts who wrote under the pen name of Stanley McShane. He also painted and sold various paintings with some dubious success under both his pen name and that of J. Wesley Rose. The paintings I have on little pasteboard 8″ x 10’s” were meant to illustrate his books.

  1. Discovering that my mother really knew little about her father’s life; nor had been sufficiently interested enough to ask or get some of the most basic facts.
  2. Reading and writing his manuscripts, discovering the tale we grew up with (that of his being born on board his father’s ship the “Marguerite” off the coast of New York) may not have been wholly true. MargueriteIndeed, in succeeding manuscripts, he offers two additional accounts of his birth–including the one of his birth in a maternity home in New York while his father’s ship was being loaded as it was mentioned more than once that his mother always sailed on the Marguerite (which was named after her) with her husband, the captain. There are no birth records.
  3. Stumbling over 90 year old English common of the day and sailing jargon also common during the turn of the 20th Century as he claimed to have sailed into the early 1900’s.
  4. Walking in his shoes through streets still dusty from the choking red clay powder surrounding ghost and near-ghost towns where he sought riches. Rhyolite Casino
  5. Among the most enjoyable or memorable aspects would have to be the people; those who’ve bought and shared their stories; authors with whom I’ve created a rapport. Among the latter, I would have to note Michael Reisig, who wrote the Road to Key West series as well as my favorite historical swashbuckling, page-turning adventure, the Caribbean Gold series.

But the most amazing and happy surprise?

Sole SurvivorThe discovery of a fella named Gary Long, coincidentally from Idaho where I published the books; claimed he had been in the possession of a McShane painting with one of his poems on the back. The poem stuck with him the rest of his life, although unfortunately the painting went missing. He had apparently been researching the name on the internet and wrote me. I was totally astonished and asked if I could use some of his story in the anthology I’ve been working on. I’ll be sending him a copy that includes his story when I complete and release Sole Survivor“, due out in a few days.

This writing thing–sure opens up the world to you–doesn’t it.

Virginia Williams

What Was The Research Process?

Day 10 of the Author Blog Challenge: What was your research process?

More than likely, even the most prosaic of fiction books will require at least a modicum of research. Historical fiction probably requires scads of investigation.

Sailing into “Cocos Island Treasure,” the first manuscript chosen for publication, I spent a LOT of time researching the internet, first discovering there really was such a place!

The journey has been fascinating because unfortunately he passed away before I could ever pick his brain about his youth; his sailing adventures, his mining or exploration adventures, or his actual birth location for that matter.

I would have benefited hearing about all these exciting tropical locales wherein he apparently enjoyed some pearl diving as well as hunting for pirate treasures. As I recently posted regarding pirate treasures on Cocos Island, William Thompson purportedly loaded one of the largest pirate treasure troves aboard the Mary Dear in Peru in 1820. He and his crew killed the Spanish guards and buried the treasure said to be worth well over $160,000,000 (now known as “The Loot of Lima”).Goldfield Consolidated

Each book after that, because they are classified as historical fiction, mandated many, many hours of research, either because of the location of adventures, the names contained in the plots, or the procedures or practices of his day–especially with his narration of the capture and rendering of whales.

Probably the most time spent researching was the fourth book, “Hot Air Promotions,” which involved the penny mining stocks of the twenties and thirties. It was HUGE! The language of the stock market, the mines, the business practices and papers, and the people–how could you ever win? And I quote, “When you win, you lose.”

The most fun, however, in the examination of the chronicles of the mines was chasing down the locations–many now ghost towns–some still thriving with history reading stranger than fiction. You can’t make this stuff up! I discovered that the University of Nevada, Reno, maintains a massive library containing the history of gold, silver, and mineral mines of the west–where they gladly accepted a copy of the book. Goldfield, (NV) a former mining town, enjoys many a chilling ghost story that contains notorious names included in the book as well. Belmont Metals

The odyssey has been a lesson in history: Of places, people, and practices. As the saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Virginia Williams