Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Book Review: Murder Gone Missing by Lida Sideris (Giveaway)

How do you protect your long time friend from a murder charge if the body he insists he saw has gone missing?

Corrie Locke, new law degree in hand, has decided to end her sleuthing days. Yes, she learned everything she knows from her late PI dad, and he was kind enough to leave her with a stash of great weapons, but she's happy to put aside solving crimes for a real day job.

But then her friend Michael stumbles upon the body of his dead boss...the same boss he had argued with earlier in the day. In a panic, he tampers with the crime scene, and it looks like if the police are called he will be their prime suspect.

Problem is, when Corrie and Michael arrive at the college, the body is missing. Corrie follows lead after lead--most coming to a dead end--in the hopes she can find the killer before Michael is arrested.

What a fun and engaging read this is. Murder Gone Missing by Lida Sideris has a contemporary feel with charm provided by Corrie's mom who thinks food and fashion can solve any problem. Corrie, Michael, James, Veena, Corrie's mom, and the entire list of suspects at the college are worth getting to know. As expected, Corrie' life is a little messed up: she's having romance issues; she's as different from her mom as day is to night, ensuring that her mother simply doesn't understand why she can't just head toward that respectable lawyer job instead of tracking down dead bodies; and there's that on-going feud with one of her friends. Simply put--there is plenty of conflict here to keep you turning the pages, even without a mystery to solve.

Speaking of the mystery, it's well-written with twists and turns in every direction. Just when Corrie--and the reader--thinks they have it solved, they discover another dead end. I was so twisted and turned that I even thought it would point to someone that would have destroyed my heart if that person was the killer. Phew!

This is a quick read with some action, romance, and humor mixed in. I'll want to go back and read the first book in the series, because Corrie and crew are people I want to know more about.

Series: A Southern California Mystery
Paperback: 262 pages
Publisher: Level Best Books; 1 edition (April 5, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1947915045
ISBN-13: 978-1947915046

I received a digital copy of this book from the author through Goddess Fish Promotions. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


I entered the dark office and heard a crackle beneath my sneaker. I turned on my penlight. A white envelope rested on the floor, the President’s name handwritten across the front. I picked it up. The scent of gardenias invaded my nostrils. Where had I smelled that before? I shoved the letter in my hoodie and quick-stepped toward the desk. A scratching noise stalled my next move. I spun around. I sucked in a breath and flashed my beam. The doorknob was twitching. In lightning speed, I stood next to the entry, back pressed to the wall, Taser in hand. Possibilities raced through my mind. Was it the killer? A random student?

Lida Sideris is the author of the Southern California Mystery series, the latest of which, MURDER GONE MISSING, was published by Level Best Books. She writes soft-boiled mysteries and was one of two national winners of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America scholarship award. To learn more about Lida, please visit www.LidaSideris.com.

Other Links:

Twitter: @lidasideris

Lida Sideris will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 27, 2018

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Brimstone by John Allen

Author John Allen has a theory about the creator of Sherlock Holmes:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not create Holmes. It was Doyle’s wife, Louise Hawkins Conan Doyle, who gave birth to the beloved sleuth.

Allen has put his beliefs to the test, writing and publishing the first of a projected 12-novel series of Holmes mysteries titled BRIMSTONE. His detective is Louise Hawkins Conan Doyle, and Allen names her as the author of the tale he presents, set in 1879 Bristol, England.

In a previous book, SHADOW WOMAN, Allen set out to prove that Louise was the true creator of Sherlock Holmes. The inspiration for his startling and controversial theory of authorship was a 1980s essay by Martin Gardner called “The Irrelevance of Arthur Conan Doyle.” Gardner claimed that Arthur was “too gullible and to easily duped to have created Sherlock Holmes.”

Allen determined that Gardner was correct, but Gardner identified no alternative author. Allen continues, “So I decided to give it a try. I came to suspect Louise as the actual author, but I lacked the knowledge and tools to make a solid case.”

Then the Internet came along, giving Allen a valuable research tool. He became convinced that Louise did in fact create Sherlock Holmes. Allen presented his case in SHADOW WOMAN, which was published in 2017. To further advance Louise as Holmes’s creator, to give her the credit he believes she is due, he is now featuring her in a series of mystery novels, the first of which is BRIMSTONE.

As if Allen hadn’t set the bar too high already, he has added a subtext to BRIMSTONE that explores contemporary wrongful convictions through his Victorian thrillers.

BRIMSTONE brims with appeal to multiple audiences, from lovers of detective stories to those interested in justice for the wrongfully convicted. Sherlock Holmes would be proud.



Judge Blair modified the contempt penalty imposed on Louise to time already served. Detective John Reeves, eager to inform her that she was free, was surprised when she insisted on serving the entire seven-day sentence. He hesitantly asked if she would mind him calling on her, once matters settled, but she did not respond. He reproached himself for such an untimely and selfish intrusion, and vowed to never again disturb her, to spend his time instead searching for the man with the dent in his forehead.

Upon learning of Louise’s lack of appreciation for his mercy, Judge Blair declared her in trespass of Crown property and ordered that she be removed, with force if necessary. Three jailers tried, but she thrust her arms between the bars and interlocked her fingers. As the two men pulled Louise from behind, the matron attempted to pry apart Louise’s fingers, but stopped in horror at the snap of a knuckle and a scream of pain.

Dr. Daniel Weston arrived within the hour. After removing his silk-lined bowler and installing his pince-nez spectacles upon the bridge of his nose, he examined Louise’s injuries. He set the obviously dislocated small finger of her right hand, splinting it and taping it to the two adjoining fingers. He applied an ointment to the burns on her left hand, then rebandaged it. He told her that her ankle was healing more slowly than expected, that she might have broken a bone, and he wrapped the ankle tightly for her, advising that her foot should be in a cast and that she should keep off it as much as possible.

Her nose was definitely broken and must soon be set, he said, lest it be deformed forever. Informing her that the procedure would be quick but painful, he offered several doses of laudanum, which she accepted. Despite the sedative and her resolution to be stoic, she screamed for a second time when the doctor put his hands on either side of her nose and snapped it left, then right, to reset the bone and cartilage.

“It will be nearly perfect when it heals,” he told her. He suspected the renewed bruises around her eyes would be spectacular for several weeks.

Purchase here!

John Allen was born in Long Beach, CA. An engineer “by education, training, and experience,” he describes himself as “a recovering engineer.” He left engineering to become the junior partner in Allen & Allen Semiotics Inc., a corporation that his wife, Lynn, launched for their diversified home business. Their projects include designing databases for mid-sized companies. John Allen holds a BS from the United States Air Force Academy, an MS from the University of Southern California, and an MA from the University of California, Riverside.

You can visit his website at http://louiseconandoyle.com/

John Allen is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms and Conditions:
• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter
• This giveaway ends midnight July 27
• Winner will be contacted via email on July 28
• Winner has 48 hours to reply


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

First Chapter Review: The Freedom Club by Cindy Vine

Today I am reviewing the first chapter of The Freedom Club by Cindy Vine as part of her virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

“We could be anybody and everybody. A group of high school stereotypes with one thing in common. Every one of us has a story.”

Every high school has the bullies, the freaks, and the weird kids that make you feel uneasy. Rourke High has more than their fair share. A few months before the end of their senior year, a group of seemingly mismatched kids get together to form The Freedom Club, hoping that they can support the victims of bullying, before they graduate. As they uncover secrets and lies they plot revenge - and discover love, friendship and truths about themselves, building up to a shocking climax that will leave you reeling.
Do you ever really know the person next to you?

COVER: Scary, but appropriate. This is what high schoolers deal with every day. The dark cover could symbolize the dark subject or the dark nature of journeying through the halls feeling alone and disliked for one reason or another.

FIRST CHAPTER: Maddie recalls a fifth grade school project, how it changed her way of thinking, and how important it has become to her as a senior in high school.

KEEP READING: Definitely! I already went ahead and read the next chapter. First of all, I have two high school students at home. One of them has dealt with ridiculous forms of bullying over the last few years, which prompted my interest in the book. There is also my own personal history of being teased profusely in school to draw me in. The author brings you right into those high school days when we all just wanted to fit in. It looks like there will be multiple points of view in this novel, so I'm hoping each of the main character's personality and voice shines through. I'm eager to read more.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.



Cindy Vine was born in South Africa and has lived and worked in many different countries as a teacher.  Cindy is currently living and working in Norway. She has three adult children who have all inherited her love of traveling and who all live in different countries.  Cindy likes to write about the difficult subjects that make you think.  Besides writing and traveling, Cindy loves cooking and fixing up houses.



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

What a neat topic this week. We are talking about books that are linked to very specific memories for you. Some ideas are: books you read while on vacation, books that you read while you were eating, books you read at work/at a family or social event/on the train or plane, or books you’ve buddy read with loved ones. If you think about it, this is pretty flexible.

I'll work on ones that make me think of home.

When I was growing up, my sisters and I enjoyed playing games on the front porch. This book also reminds me of what it's like to work together as a family.

I swear, this is how my house looks lately. Trying to move part of one house into an already overloaded one is not easy. There are piles everywhere. 

I can't tell  you how many nights I spent in front of the TV watching Downton Abbey on my DVR. I'm glad they are working on the movie.

Just like we did to our mother, the girls keep track of sayings I use all the time (usually to torment me with them later). They actually have a list of quotes they keep on their phones from our vacations.

This is a fun book for kids with a great lesson tucked inside. My son broke his leg in two places during a hockey game freshman year and I remember him looking pretty much like this when he returned to school. For the record, it's also agony getting up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday to get to a hockey game. 

I can't think of anything Christmas without thinking of home. It's my favorite holiday and I decorate like crazy...though the past few years that has been scaled back a bit. It's always been important to me to share with the kids the true meaning of Christmas as well.

We used to eagerly await the new release of one of these books each year..well, the girls did. I kept hoping Greg would grow up and stop acting so selfishly. These remind me of the many nights I spent reading to the kids when they were younger.

This was my first Karen White book. I fell in love with her writing very quickly. The novel is about a woman who, after the death of her grandparents, seeks to discover more about the grandmother she never knew. Because my father was much younger than his siblings, I lost both grandparents by the time I was 12. My maternal grandparents had died before I was born. Books about family histories, especially where there are such strong ties between past and present, make me think of those early days growing up and my curiosity over the lives my grandparents had lived. 

Nothing makes me long for home as much as the holiday season. When I am busy with work around the holidays, all I want to do is drive home and bake cookies or cook for my family. It's also a time I spend renewing and refreshing my relationship with the Lord as I prepare my heart for the coming of Jesus. There are still times when I think about our troops stationed far away and whenever I hear, "I'll Be Home for Christmas," my eyes start to fill with tears. Christmas and home just go together.

On the other side of the coin are those days I feel so exhausted with everything that needs to be done that I want to give it all up and go on strike. Let someone else cook for a change. How about someone else do the laundry or empty the cat litter. This book was so hilarious. Any overworked mom will totally love this story.

What are some books with sensory reading memories for you? 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Under the Radar by Dee J. Adams Teaser & Giveaway

Two brothers. Two best friends. One robbery gone wrong.

With a court date looming, a near-fatal car accident, and a house invasion, the four surviving witnesses to an armed robbery know they are targets. In a desperate attempt to stay safe, they take matters into their own hands and go off the grid a week before the trial.

Danny St. John was stuck in a dark place of guilt and regret after a personal tragedy. On the run from violent criminals, he is forced to spend time with the one woman who makes him feel too much. Victoria Lopez needs to protect her heart, but she also misses the guy Danny used to be and thinks she might be able to bring him back. Now, evading gunmen together in Sequoia National Forest, Vic will risk everything to keep Danny safe.

Eric St. John isn’t a big fan of his sister-in-law-to-be, Zoe Turner. Sure, she’s beautiful, but also bossy and brash. When Eric and Zoe are forced to rely on each other for survival, he sees a side to Zoe he never anticipated, a side he definitely likes. But as the two grow closer, so do the men hunting them down.

Time nearly runs out as each couple must not only brave the perils of the wilderness and their growing feelings for each other, but also outwit their pursuers in a deadly game of cat and mouse.


“What if I kissed you right now?” Her voice—back to normal—was an aphrodisiac all by itself. Soft, inviting and enough to knock him on his ass if he hadn’t been in the water.

But dammit he didn’t want to cave to her. He could see himself moving too fast just like he used to and he didn’t want to be that guy. “What if you didn’t?”

She stroked a soft finger along his bristled jaw and the gentle touch only made him harder, which he didn’t think was even remotely possible. He purposely hadn’t touched her. Knew if he did that he’d crumble like a cheap building in a big earthquake because he was a weak son of a bitch.

That soft finger worked its way across his lips and he closed his lids. If he didn’t look into her eyes, he wouldn’t see everything she wanted. But closing his eyes was a mistake, because a second later, her lips replaced her finger and she smoothed that soft mouth across his in a feather-light touch that nearly stopped his heart.

He stayed stone still. Didn’t move, didn’t breathe. Nothing deterred her. She kept nibbling at his mouth, soft strokes, long glides with plush lips. The moment she brushed her tongue across his lower lip was when he lost the battle. He folded like he knew he would and he despised himself for it. Even as he took her kiss and gave back, he hated the mistake.

Book Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Under-Radar-High-Stakes-Book-ebook/dp/B07CKHRMFQ/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/under-the-radar/id1375727139?

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/under-the-radar-dee-j-adams/1128543190

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/under-the-radar-22

After graduating high school in Texas, Dee J. moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. For twenty years, she acted in television and worked behind the scenes as an acting/dialogue coach for sitcoms. Writing happened accidentally after a vivid dream and the urging of her husband to “Just write it down.” Three weeks, fourteen hours a day, and four hundred and fifty (long hand) pages later, she had her first novel. Dee J. loves writing books filled with action, mystery and love. (Not necessarily in that order.) Her experience in show business led to her narrating many of the books in the Adrenaline Highs series for Audible.com. She is the wife of a wonderful man and mother to a fabulous daughter. She’s a dog lover all the way, with a fondness towards Boxers and Pit Bulls. She is a member of several organizations, including Romance Writers of America and SAG-AFTRA.

Author links:

Website: http://deejadams.com/
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/DeeJAdamsAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/DeeJAdams
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5107047.Dee_J_Adams
Instagram: http://instagram.com/deejadams

Authorgraph: https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/DeeJAdams

Dee J. Adams will be awarding a 
$10 Amazon/BN GC to a 
randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - July 23

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Happy Monday! Hope last week was a good one. I spent two days filling a dumpster. Doesn't that sound exciting? The Lil' Diva had her photo session for her senior class photos and the Lil' Princess took off on a trip with a friend to NJ. They are having rip currents and storms, so hopefully the weather gets better.

In my reading world, I've slowed down on the reading. My brain goes a bit dead after playing catch up during vacation.

Posted my review of this one yesterday:

Been trying to read this one, but not fully invested in it yet (probably more me than the book):

I'm breaking off to read this one for a book review due at the end of the month:

Next up will be these two:

What's going on in your reading world? Any good recommendations for me? 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Book Review: The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

The Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with this next exciting installment, The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse.

Faith Lytton Jackson is a friend of George Washington and staunch supporter of the Patriot cause. Living in Boston, she is holding meetings with like-minded women when the British invade. Little does she know that when she agrees to help the cause in a more meaningful--and dangerous--way, she will meet someone who makes her think she could love again.

Matthew Weber is friends with Ben Franklin and his son William, which makes him privy to information on both sides of the conflict. Acting as a spy, Matthew meets his messenger, Faith, and is quickly taken with her.

What will these two people sacrifice for the sake of their fledgling country? Can they find love despite the conflict?

The Patriot Bride is my favorite of the series so far. Woodhouse brings her masterful storytelling back for the fourth book set between 1774 and 1775 when the First Continental Congress has already met but prior to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. She brought her characters to life against the backdrop of a war that would change everything for the Colonies as the people tired of being ruled from across the pond. Next to the Civil War, this is my favorite time in American history, so it was a thrill to read this novel.

As with the other books in The Daughters of the Mayflower series, the main character is a strong, independent woman who defies conventions in one way or another. The pace of the novel is closer to romantic suspense than the typical romance novel, which may entice different readers. It does, however, stay true to its romance genre as the reader watches Faith and Matthew's relationship unfold. I must applaud the author for creating such fascinating ties for her characters to two of America's Founding Fathers. It's really quite clever.

With every book The Daughters of the Mayflower series gets better. History, faith, romance and adventure are the perfect combination. You can read only The Patriot Bride, but I encourage you to start at the beginning and go from there. You won't be disappointed.

Series: Daughters of the Mayflower (Book 4)
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books; Gld edition (August 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1683226062
ISBN-13: 978-1683226062

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Book Trailer Blitz: Nailed: Resort to Murder Mystery II by Avery Daniels

Julienne is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will.
Julienne LaMere gets to attend a Resort Management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado Mountains. What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard.

In addition to attending the conference, dodging a smitten teen boy, and seeking clues among the gossiping - and increasingly tense - guests, her best friend’s heart has warmed to an unlikely man and may get broken. As if her mind isn’t already fully occupied, Julienne and her new boyfriend Mason are skiing down troubled slopes in their relationship. Will Julienne put the scant clues together and unveil the culprit before a murderer gets away?


Alpine Sun Resort had touches of the classic white exterior with alpine timber framing and balconies fitted with window boxes for flowers in spring and summer. Aspens and evergreens surrounded the sides and back where a stream meandered past. The research I’d compiled hadn’t done it justice. I felt like I’d been transported to a luxury version of a Brothers Grimm fairytale.

To the right of the entrance driveway stood a large snowman around six feet tall sporting a top hat, with a tree branch speared through its head, and a bright blood red scarf around its neck greeted me. It seemed gruesome to me and a feeling of dread washed over me.
“A slice of Germany. Feels quaint and cozy, don’t you think? Hope they have a German hunk available.” Porsche smiled.

“If there’s one on this entire mountain, I’m sure you’ll find him.” Porsche attracted men with her sense of assurance and she changed boyfriends as often as her nail polish.

“With any luck.” She winked. “You know me, I’ll find a diversion. Don’t worry about me entertaining myself.”

A uniformed valet was opening my car door before I could register his presence. At the entrance, I turned and drank in the view with a deep breath tinged with the scent of pine. The snow-draped ski slopes to the one side and the quaint town on the other were idyllic.
The ominous sky, roiling gunmetal and smoky gray clouds choking out the sun, was the only blemish in the lovely tableau stretched before me. This storm system was setting up to give us a good dump of powder and the skiers would be thrilled. I wasn’t too concerned. The roads were usually the main issue. Colorado is fortunate to only occasionally experience road closures.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Avery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. She volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Interview with Bishop Ken Giles, Author of Prayer, Marriage and the Leadership Roles of the Husband and Wife

Bishop Ken Giles began full-time ministry in 1993 as an inner-city Missions Leader in Dallas, Texas, while at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship under Dr. Tony Evans. He later served there as Assistant Executive Director of their nonprofit corporation. In 1998, he returned to his hometown of Beaumont, Texas, and served as Pastor of Outreach at Cathedral of Faith Baptist Church and Executive Director of their nonprofit corporation. In 2000, Lincoln Bible Church was planted in the Beaumont/Port Arthur area and is now located in the Greater Houston Texas area where Bishop Ken Giles and his wife, Pastor Sheila Giles provide servant leadership. Bishop Giles has a Master of Education Administration from Prairie View A&M University and a Master of Theology from Southeast Texas Theological Seminary.


Where did you grow up?

Beaumont, Texas

When did you begin writing?

In May 2005

What inspired you to write your book?

The Lord directed me to write the book as I was preparing for a Mother's Day message.

How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?

It is similar to other books, in that it addresses the topical area that is absent in many pulpits and churches. It is different, in that it extrapolates in an expository fashion the God-given identity and roles of the man and woman.

Additionally, it gives clarity to the Lord's expectations and requirements necessary to secure His blessings in the marriage, family and generations.

What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?

How to and why to pray, and how to position themselves, their marriage and family for the blessings the Lord has reserved for them in Christ Jesus.

What is up next for you?

More writing and speaking events.

Is there anything you would like to add?

My wife and I share a burden and passion from the Lord to bring Him glory and bless His people.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Interview with Mary Lawlor, Author of Fighter Pilot's Daughter

Mary Lawlor is author of Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War (Rowman & Littlefield paperback 2015); Public Native America: Tribal Self-Representation in Casinos, Museums and Powwows (Rutgers UP, 2006); and Recalling the Wild: Naturalism and the Closing of the American West (Rutgers UP, 2000). She lives in Allentown, PA and Gaucin, Spain.

Thank you so much for this interview, Mary. Can we begin by having you tell us why you wrote your book, Fighter Pilot’s Daughter?

I thought about writing a memoir during the last several years I was teaching at Muhlenberg College. I’d long since gotten used to the fact that I had no place to call home and to not knowing where in the world I belonged, but I felt that writing the story of all the moves my family made would help me better understand my roving girlhood. Therapy, talking to other military kids, and finally settling down in one place helped, but not quite enough. I needed an account, a narrative, of what had happened to me and my sisters during all that shifting around. Our father was away for long periods of time, in very dangerous situations. Our mother was always worried. These weren’t easy things to live with. I felt if I could write out the sequence of moves and try to get back inside the feelings that came with them I might be able to make better sense of what being an Army kid did to and for me.
During my last few semesters at Muhlenberg I taught a course on the literature and film of the Cold War which brought the idea to the foreground. Partly this came from the questions students asked and my efforts to get back inside memory to answer them as clearly as I could. But it was also driven by all those questions I’d lived with for so long. So I sat down one summer and wrote the first sentence. The story kept going, and I didn’t want to stop. Even when it was finished I kept going back into that past. It was a very good experience for me to write the book.

What was it like being a military brat?

Almost every day we saw soldiers doing drills and marching along the roads that ran through the posts where we lived. You could hear ordinance explosions in the distance.

Dark green army school buses picked up my sisters and me and a lot of other kids every day to take us to the Catholic school we attended off post. They would bring us back home and leave us in the housing areas where we all lived. All of us went to the same movie theater, bowling alley, teen center, swimming pool and so forth because there was only one of each.

But the sense of class difference was very strong: enlisted and officer corps families lived in separate housing areas, belonged to different clubs, and tended to socialize separately.

Children were expected to behave very well, and parents were expected to discipline them. So my sisters and I and all the other kids acted and spoke and probably thought as we were supposed to. If you were out of line, your father had to answer for it and could be demoted. Kids knew that. You felt like you had a responsibility to not let your father look bad.
So there was a lot of following the line that was drawn for you, and then knowing who you were in the pecking order.

My sisters and I were close and liked being with each other. That was a good thing because all the moving meant we didn’t have any other friends. At new places we’d meet new people, but soon enough they or we would move and we’d never see each other again. Sometimes we’d write letters but that didn’t usually last very long.

It was in many ways a lonely experience, but it was also very, very interesting. You never knew where you were going next or what the new assignment would be like. New places meant new landscapes, sometimes new languages and totally new things to do. We moved from Alabama to California to Germany and many other places. Although we were strangers, life was always exciting.
Of all the places you lived out of the U.S., what your most memorable and why? What was it like?
Mary: I loved living in Paris during my first year of college. It was my first time away from home; my first chance to make myself someone apart from my intensely close family. And the city was so unbelievably beautiful. It was incredible to be eighteen and have that at my doorstep. I met wonderful young people that winter and spring and the following year. Hemingway called Paris “a moveable feast,” and he was right. To get to live there when you’re young is a great gift that stays with you ever after.

You call yourself a warrior child. Why is that?

Growing up as a dutiful, devout daughter in an Irish Catholic, military family I had my life mapped out in detail for me by my parents, the Church, and the patriotic military culture. When I got to college and met people who had other perspectives and different ideas for the future, I was very amazed and fascinated–by what they said, the books they were reading, and the politics they were involved in. Soon I joined them and had to face the resistance of my family to the changes I was going through. I had to “fight” my parents’ will to bring me back home, so to speak, and think again like they did. It wasn’t easy. The tension between us lasted a long time. I had to fight with myself too, because my parents’ vision and ideology were deeply ingrained in me: just because I was attracted to other peoples’ politics and philosophies I couldn’t simply chuck all the ideals I’d been nurtured by. Those battles and the ambiguities that fueled them raged throughout my late teens and through my twenties. I made peace with my parents before they passed away. I like to think I’ve made a few treaties with myself by now, but new fights do turn up to take the place of the old ones. I struggled for a long time to give up academic writing and start producing the fiction I wanted to write since I was very young. I’ve finally done that but new challenges come with the new kind of writing. I have to keep soldiering on.

Demonstrating during the Viet Nam War was a given being as most of America were enraged we were involved in a war that was killing our young men and women in the military, plus it became something that left a bad taste in our mouths. What was the part you played in the demonstrations? How did your family feel about that?

Yes, fifty-eight thousand Americans died in the Vietnam War, but in 1995 Vietnam released the totals of Vietnamese dead: two million civilians, 1.1 million soldiers of North Vietnam, and (the US estimate) between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers. It was a huge nightmare for the Vietnamese people and fueled a raging civil struggle in the US. I was fairly oblivious to the horrors of the war although I should not have been. My father was fighting in it. There was no good reason for me to have been as ignorant as I was of what the war meant, even though much of what my Dad was doing was officially secret. I could have had a better picture of what was going on if I’d taken the trouble to read the newspapers and pay closer attention to the nightly TV news. But I wasn’t interested; and in our family we didn’t talk about these things.

This all changed very soon after I arrived in Paris. New roommates and new friends my age were all talking about the war. Everybody was against it. They were reading political theory and philosophy and spiritual books that helped shape their arguments. I was impressed and influenced by them. In the winter of that year, we met a group of young men who had just come to Paris from Madison, Wisconsin. They were nineteen and twenty years old and had fled the country to avoid the draft. At that time Charles de Gaulle, President of France, was granting political asylum to US resistors. France had its own history in Vietnam, and de Gaulle had reason to sympathiz with the young Americans who did not want to go there to fight and possibly lose their lives. The Madison guys formed a union and got a lot of support from political figures and intellectuals in Paris. I was very moved one night when Jean Paul Sartre, the great philosopher of existentialism, came to one of their meetings and claimed they were all vraiment existenialistes. Their bravery—for all they knew they were never going to be able to go home—was quite startling, and I found myself immensely impressed. I joined them along with other friends in the demonstrations that spring that became know in history as “May ’68.”

After writing your book on your experiences, what was going through your head?

Lots of things were on my mind at that moment. The process of writing it was like an experience in self-therapy. When Fighter Pilot’s Daughter was finished I felt like I knew a lot more about myself and my family than I had before writing it. I worried about whether my sisters would be offended by anything I had written in the book. I sent them the manuscript and told them I’d be interested in their thoughts, but they objected to nothing and in fact were terrifically supportive. I also worried about whether the book would have any appeal to people outside my own family and perhaps some of the military kids I knew. As it turned out the book did rather well and came out in paperback two years later. I’ve had lots of good feedback from people of my generation who told me they recognized themselves and the world in which they grew up in Fighter Pilot’s Daughter.

As soon as I finished writing the book there were business matters I had to think about. I needed to find an agent—that was very much on my mind. It took several months, but I was very happy to sign with Neil Salkind. He placed the book quickly with Rowman and Littlefield, a great publisher to work with. My editors there and the vice president, Jon Sisk, were very helpful.

What’s next for you?

Since Fighter Pilot’s Daughter I’ve been writing fiction. My first novel, The Time Keeper’s Room, is in the hands of an agent in London right now. It’s set in Spain (where I live half the year) and focuses on a young woman who’s half-American, half-Spanish. She’s trying to find her identity and stumbles into a kind of visionary history in interesting, dramatic ways that help her come through many challenges she faces.

At the moment I’m working on another novel, as yet untitled, set in the 12th century, about a monk who walks to Spain from England to learn Arabic so he can read Arab star lore and the wisdom of ancient Greece. He has to dodge the Church, which watches his moves with suspicion and jealousy. I won’t say more, but it’s a combination of literary fiction and thriller.

Monday, July 16, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - July 16

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Welcome back to Monday. We are home in Massachusetts and glad to be here. Lots of reading happened while we were away and you'll find several reviews were posted.

A review was posted at the tale end of our vacation for this one too.

I just finished this book yesterday, so look for my review this week.

I'm still reading the following books:

I started this one last night...

I'm not sure what's up next, but probably these two because reviews are coming up for them. 

What are you reading right now? Should I be adding any new books to my wish list? 

Musing Monday - July 16

Musing Monday is hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker It is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK'S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you ever get teased or looked at oddly for reading?

We are back to Monday and back to life in Massachusetts. We arrived home Saturday. As grateful as I am to spend time on vacation, it is always wonderful to be back to the normalcy of home. My work schedule started yesterday with an open house, but today is the first full day back to the regular grind.

As you can tell by the reviews I posted over the last two weeks, some reading got done while we were away. Thank goodness. If I am good and don't request too many new books to review, I might even make a dent in that TBR pile.

This week's question is an interesting one. I've never really thought about it. I'm probably like most bookworms--it's rare I don't have a book in my bag when I go anywhere. I've even learned to listen to books since I am on the road a lot these days. The one thing that comes to mind, though, is the strange look that comes my way when I say I don't watch television because I prefer to read. From time to time I'll find something I want to watch, but other than Downton Abbey, Cedar Cove, and Mercy Street, which are all off the air now, I don't turn the TV on except for the Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas.

Do you watch TV? What are some of your favorite shows? Do you prefer to read or watch TV?