Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Shelf Control - Mar 19

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves sponsored by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. Here's how to jump on board:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • Link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…
Have fun!

It's been over a month since I participated in this meme. The workload has been tough. I'm doing my best to get back into the swing of things.

Today I will feature another freebie from my Kindle.

BLURB:  Purity, Courtney and Meg are the She Musketeers, until Alex and Bobby enter the scene. A twenty-seven day job interview, tingling kisses, and Pure's crazy ex make for a bumpy ride to Happily Ever After.

DATE BOUGHT: 10/19/11

WHY I BOUGHT IT: Absolutely no clue. Reading the blurb now, it doesn't even sound like something I would be interested in. I'm wondering if it was because of the reviews. I like to read something that has received more lukewarm reviews than stellar ones. Maybe I was going through  a tough time when I bought it and just wanted a light and easy book to dig into.

Have you ever grabbed a book and looked at it much later and wondered why you bought it?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Interview with Mike Martin, Author of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series is Darkest Before the Dawn.

Twitter: @mike54martin

Did you like mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels when you were growing up?

I loved the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, a British young boy's series that had lots of adventures and they always had a bag of sweets. Later, I loved Stephen King, until he scared me too much.

What was the first story in that genre that you wrote?

I never wrote horror, but mystery remained a favorite. My first mystery was The Walker on the Cape, the first book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series.

What is your favorite part of writing in this genre?

I love the idea of discovering a crime like a murder and then taking the time to not just solve the crime, but to explore why people do these kind of things in the first place.

What do you find most difficult about writing in this genre?

There are some general rules that you have to follow that sometimes stop the flow, but it's also that readers are very smart and point out any errors or mistakes that they find. You have to find a hook or something different every time you kill someone, especially in a series.

Is there an author in this genre that you admire most?

Louise Penny is an author that many of us admire and few of us can hope to live up to. She has created characters and a world that we would all like to live in.

What is up next for you?

I have started a new book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series and I'm also working on an audio book for The Walker on the Cape. Both will be out this year sometime.

Do you have anything to add?

Thank you very much for your interest. Keep reading and I will keep writing.

Monday, March 18, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Mar 18

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.

Sometimes Monday comes too soon. That's certainly the case today. After a tough weekend--you can read about that here if  you like--I'm going to work on catching up since I've been a bit distracted.

I just finished this Regency romance novella and my review appears here.

I am also continuing with  my Lenten devotional.

Next up I need to read this mystery.

Then these next two follow.

What's on your reading list? Any good books you could recommend from your recent reads?

Book Review: Finding Lord Farlisle by Cassandra Dean

Finding Lord Farlisle by Cassandra Dean is a passionate and touching story of past friends reuniting after years apart.

Lord Maxim Farlisle was shipwrecked and presumed dead more than a decade ago. Many of his memories lost, he always recalled a girl with golden hair. As his memories returned, he made his way back to his childhood home to find Waithe Hall shut and deserted.

Lady Alexandra Torrence mourned the loss of her childhood friend Maxim, but her fascination with spirits leads her back to Waithe Hall to investigate mysterious activities seen by the villagers. Long since shuttered, she is surprised to discover a ghost of a different kind...Maxim in the flesh.

Both scared by their time apart, they begin to reconnect and fill in the years that they lost, realizing that all along, they have only wanted to be together.

What a fascinating novella. Dean writes an intriguing story of two people unexpectedly brought back together again. The characters are well-developed considering the short length, and you can't help but root for them to find a way of getting beyond those miserable years where Maxim was assumed dead; when he struggled with finding his way in a world where he didn't belong, with many of his memories gone.

Alexandra is likable from the start. You admire her spunk and her uniqueness. She brings out something in Maxim he thought lost. She makes him see his truth worth.

Absolutely love how the author worked Maxim's disability into the story line and kept it real.

I'm eager to see what the next book is all about.


It was eleven years ago. The pain had faded, but had never truly left. Alexandra had thought
she’d learned to live with it. But now…now Maxim was here?

A thunderous scowl on his face, he made a noise of impatience. “I do not have the inclination for this, girl. Tell me why you have come.”

His voice crashed over her. That, too, had deepened with age, but it was him. It was him.

“It is you.” Joy filled her, so big it felt her skin couldn’t contain it. Throwing herself at him, she enveloped him in a hug.

He stiffened.

Embarrassment coursed through her. What was she thinking? Immediately, she untangled herself from him. “I beg your pardon,” she stammered. Always before they’d been exuberant in their affections. They’d always found ways to touch one another, even though that last summer, the one before he’d gone away, she’d begun to feel...more....

Clasping her hands before her, she brought herself to the present. Much had changed, now they were grown and he, apparently, had not died.

Maxim had not died.

A wave of emotion swept her, a mix of relief, joy, incredulity…. It buckled her knees and burned her eyes. He was alive. Maxim was alive.




Google Play



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

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Interview with Patricia Boomsma, Author of The Way of Glory

Patricia Boomsma grew up in a far southwestern suburb of Chicago, moving to Arizona to escape the brutal midwestern winters. She was a lawyer in Arizona for over thirty years, including six years as the Flagstaff City Attorney. Before going to law school, she studied medieval literature at Purdue University, and her first novel, The Way of Glory, is, in part, a reflection of her love for all things medieval. She recently earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her publications include poems in Haiku Journal and Indolent Press, a book review in New Orleans Review, an article in the Journal of Modern Literature, and short stories in The Vignette Review, Persimmon Tree, and Scarlet Leaf Review.


Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Palos Heights, a southwestern suburb of Chicago. It’s pretty built up now, but when my parents moved us there it was still a lot of farmland surrounded by forest preserve.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first “book” when I was nine. Pretty much all I remember about it is that it had shepherds and because I wrote it at the time Alan Shepard went into space I misspelled “shepherd” as “shepard” throughout. Luckily my grandma caught it. After that, I wrote the occasional poem or story, and did a lot of writing in my various jobs, but began writing my novel at age 59, after I retired from full-time work.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Mostly during the day, and usually in long spurts. I find life distracting and so don’t write every day, but once I start, I write for many hours at a time.

What is this book about?

Set in the 12th century, The Way of Glory follows Cate, a teenage girl from Bristol, England, her two brothers Sperleng and Willard, and her aunt Mary on an armed pilgrimage to save Jerusalem. On their way, the crusader fleet joins the Portuguese and Spanish Christians trying to expel the Moors ruling Hispania.

Cate’s life changes when she finds the body of a young boy, Oxa, along the banks of the Frome River. At Oxa’s funeral, the local priest encourages the mourners to punish the local Jews presumed to be Oxa’s murderers and join those who were soon leaving to fight the Saracens. Cate assumes all pilgrims have religious motivations, only to discover that most are men looking for adventure, wealth, and a free pass to heaven. Life on a battlefield strains the family’s closeness as they face the terror and contradictions of holy war. Cate and her Aunt Mary cauterize wounds and confront decisions of who should be saved, while Willard becomes increasingly zealous and hateful toward the women in the camp and Sperleng, a soldier, becomes more entrenched in his military code.

After the siege of Lisbon, the fleet is asked to continue fighting in Hispania. Willard and much of the fleet head toward Jerusalem, while Sperleng stays, seeing the land the Count of Barcelona has promised as a way to improve his tradesman status. Cate’s dreams of sainthood change to those of a husband and children as she falls in love with Egric, one of her brother’s archers. The battles continue even after Sperleng receives land, and Cate must find her place in a strange culture. Cate’s friendship with a conquered Moor forces impossible choices between family, betrayal, and the threat of losing of all she’s known.

What inspired you to write it?

After I retired, I took a trip to Spain and was amazed at the Moorish architecture and culture, so different from Northern Europe. I’d studied medieval English literature and history in graduate school, and couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like for someone from medieval England to come across medieval Spanish culture – if I was amazed, how much stranger it would be for them? So, I started researching whether that ever happened, and came across articles talking about Anglo-Normans settling in Spain after the Second Crusade. I used that as the historical context for a story about ordinary people confronting the mixed motivations of religious warfare and living among people from a very different culture.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I spent two years trying to find an agent or an independent publisher before deciding to self-publish my novel.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

The ebook is available from Amazon, but you can order a paperback from any bookseller, including online at IndieBound, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

What is up next for you?

I’m editing my second novel now. It’s a very different novel, set in the present and focusing on the strained relationship between a mother and daughter after the daughter goes to college and joins what her mother fears is a cult.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: The Way of Glory by Patricia J. Boomsma

Publication Date: November 14, 2018

Edeleboom Books
eBook & Paperback; 390 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Cate, a teenage girl from twelfth century England, joins her brothers and aunt on a crusade to save Jerusalem that stops in Hispania to battle the Moors. Life on a battlefield strains the family’s closeness as they confront the terror and contradictions of holy war. Cate’s dreams of sainthood change to those of a husband and children when she falls in love with a soldier, but she finds no peace even after the family settles on land taken from the Moors. Cate’s friendship with a conquered Moor soon leads to impossible choices as she faces the cost of betrayal and the loss of all she’s known.

Praise for The Way of Glory

"One of the many impressive things about The Way of Glory is how lightly it wears its scrupulous research. This fine novel invites you to lose yourself to the compelling character and tumultuous life of a young woman trying to find God and love at the heart of a crusade rooted in greed and hate. This is a remarkable debut by a writer to watch." -Naeem Murr, author of The Perfect Man

"The Way of Glory convincingly portrays a place, a time, and a people vastly different from our own. Historical fiction is a fantastically difficult genre to get right, but Pat Boomsma manages it with aplomb." -Pinckney Benedict, author of Dogs of God

"The Way of Glory is a riveting read from first page to last, as it expertly traces the trajectories of several compelling characters caught up in the Crusades. As the protagonist, Cate will steal your heart; she's as complex a fourteen-year-old as you will ever meet, and the fate she struggles against is a complicated and often frightening vortex of forces, made ever richer by the intense evocation and very thoughtful depictions. This is a remarkable novel." -Fred Leebron, author of Welcome to Christiania

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

I grew up in a far southwestern suburb of Chicago among the trees and sloughs of the Cook County Park District, then attended college in Michigan. After graduating, I dreamed of an academic life teaching English literature and began a Ph.D. program at Purdue University. There I concentrated on medieval studies, receiving a Master's and continuing on for four more years before realizing that no one I knew was finding a permanent, let alone tenure-track, position. So, instead of writing my dissertation I went to law school. I moved to Arizona to escape the brutal midwestern winters and have been practicing law there for over thirty years. My first novel, The Way of Glory, is, in part, an extension of my love for all things medieval.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, March 15
Interview at The Book Connection

Saturday, March 16
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Monday, March 18
Guest Post at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, March 19
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, March 20
Guest Post at Among the Reads
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, March 22
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Saturday, March 23
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Monday, March 25
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, March 26
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Thursday, March 28
Feature at Passages to the Past

Saturday, March 30
Review at Impressions In Ink


During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a paperback copy of Brandon-Tudor Knight! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on March 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Way of Glory

Monday, March 11, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Mar 11

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.

It's hard to believe two weeks has passed since I last posted this meme. Time slips away faster as we head toward the spring market. That's part of why we snuck away for a little R&R this weekend. I didn't even bring my laptop; so rare in my world that the children thought I had gone crazy.

Thanks to our time away and the time in the car, I was able to finish The Morning Mind. It wasn't quite what I expected, but it was extremely interesting.

I also polished off The Last Fifty Pages

I'm reading this devotional for Lent, which began this past Wednesday. 

Next up are these ones:

As of right now, that's it for books I must review. I would really like to read The Liberty Bride after that. I think this is my favorite cover of the series so far. 

What have you been reading? Are you caught up on reviews? Are there any spring and summer releases you're looking forward to?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

New Poetry Collection: There Are Girls Like Lions by Karolin Schnoor

For mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, partners, and friends, here are 30 stirring poems about the experience of being a woman. Rousing and empowering, There Are Girls like Lions is a celebration of womanhood in all its dimensions, including love, beauty, friendship, motherhood, work, aging, and much more. Packaged in an attractive case with foil stamping and featuring striking illustrations in metallic ink throughout, this powerful collection will resonate as a gift for any modern woman.

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (March 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1452173451
ISBN-13: 978-1452173450

Purchase at:

Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Guest Blogger: Andrea Thome, Author of House of Belonging

Renowned chef Laina Ming walked away from the culinary spotlight and an unhealthy relationship—one that still haunts her a year later. She’s trying to start fresh in the Rocky Mountains, opening a concept restaurant on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, where she hopes she’ll be able to express her passion for food and bury her heartache.

Horse rancher Logan Matthews moved to Aspen to be near his sister and her husband, grateful for his newfound family. Since a chance meeting with Laina the previous summer, Logan’s been enchanted. But she doesn’t want anything to do with him—which makes her all the more appealing.

Despite Laina’s efforts to protect her heart, Logan has been on her mind, too—and he has a way of turning up in the most unexpected places. Can they learn to trust one another and finally find the sense of belonging they’ve both been searching for?


I love writing. More than I love most things—with the exception of my family and travel—both of which play a huge part in my writing. There is nothing better than taking readers on a journey to a place that is special to me, or introducing them to characters that have the potential to make them contemplate more deeply their own life choices.

What I don’t love about being an author is the need to have my work “categorized,” so that it neatly fits into one specific genre. Each of my three books—Walland, Seeds of Intention and House of Belonging— have been classified as “romance novels,” but I hope and believe that they are so much more.

I’m very fortunate to have recently had the first book in my award-winning Hesse Creek Series selected for a traveling exhibit of books, art, and music called The TRIO Project. Walland was one of about a dozen books paired with a songwriter and a visual artist, each of whom created a corresponding song as well as a piece of art that were inspired by reading the book. The TRIO exhibit will travel to independent bookstores across the South throughout 2019. (You can see the art created for Walland by Robert Oren Eades and hear the song written and performed by Sarah Aili on my Facebook page, linked below. If you live in the South, I hope you’ll check my website for dates and stores that I’ll be visiting during the year. Please come and say hi!)

The kickoff to this very special traveling exhibit was in late January in Charleston, South Carolina. During my short opening remarks, I made reference to the fact that my books—while they are love stories—don’t fit within the confines of the genre that most people associate with “romance.” In short, they aren’t bodice-rippers. As I told the audience that night, “They're more fifteen shades of taupe, than Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The women in my books don’t need saving. They’re already enjoying rich, complex lives, so they aren’t actively looking for anyone to complete them. My female characters are confident and strong while maintaining a vulnerability that just so happens to leave the door open to invite love into their lives. The men in my books aren’t brooding or angry. They are thoughtful and kind, with quiet strength and a depth of character that is much more attractive than the forceful affection found in many (but not all!) romance novels, at least in my humble opinion.

Can a book can be sexy and classy at the same time? I think so. I believe that we all could use a little more love and light in our lives these days. If you’re looking to read stories that will take you on a journey to the moody Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, or to the cozy-but-ultra-chic Rocky Mountain town of Aspen, while also leaving you feeling hopeful about love—then the Hesse Creek Series is for you. When I’m pressed to describe my books for blogs such as these, I always say that they are destination love stories. I’m grateful to readers who choose to take the journey with me. I hope you’ll enjoy reading Walland, Seeds of Intention, and House of Belonging as much as I’ve loved creating them. My gratitude for readers, bloggers and reviewers knows no bounds. Thank you for considering my work.

Peace and Love,

Andrea Thome, Author

To purchase The Hesse Creek Series:
Whenever possible, please purchase from an Independent Bookseller. To find one near you, click the IndieBound link on my website’s purchase page under the book of interest.

Wake Forest, NC
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

ANDREA THOME is a former broadcast journalist, having covered both sports and news during her career. In her novels, she explores some of her favorite travel destinations, from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains to the Colorado Rockies, painting rich backdrops that become characters themselves. Thome lives in Chicago with her husband—a retired Hall of Fame baseball player— their two children, and two spoiled cats. She spends her spare time traveling and pursuing her other passions—photography and environmental advocacy. The Hesse Creek Series can absolutely be read as stand-alone novels, but are best enjoyed in order, as a series. See a sampling of her photography and learn more about her books at

Monday, March 4, 2019

Interview with Andrea Thome, Author of House of Belonging

ANDREA THOME is a former broadcast journalist, having covered both sports and news during her career. In her novels, she explores some of her favorite travel destinations, from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains to the Colorado Rockies, painting rich backdrops that become characters themselves. Thome lives in Chicago with her husband (a retired Hall of Fame baseball player and their two children. She spends her spare time traveling and pursuing her other passion—photography. See a sampling of her photography and learn more about her books at “House of Belonging” follows “Seeds of Intention” and “Walland” in the award-winning Hesse Creek Series.

What will fans of “Walland” and “Seeds of Intention” like about “House of Belonging?”

I’m hopeful that fans who’ve read the first two books will enjoy revisiting some of their favorite characters, while learning a little bit more about Logan and Laina, who they’ll get to know in this third book. I’m excited about how the series as a whole comes together in this story.

What do you want new readers to know about your books?

I write my books for my friends. Which means I write them mostly for readers who are looking for an escape and want to spend the precious free time available to them with compelling characters in beautiful places. And it’s no secret at this point that I love a happy ending. I’m hoping to balance out some of the negativity in the world with something that makes people feel good.

Why did you decide to set your newest book in Aspen, Colorado?

I consider all three of the books in the Hesse Creek Series to be destination love stories. The locations are as much characters in the book as the people are. I hope I was able to express my love for the beautiful, cultured, and still wild town that is Aspen. It remains one of my favorite places in the world.

One of the main characters in “House of Belonging,” Laina Ming, is a chef. Are you a foodie?

I’m not really a huge foodie, but I fancy myself someone who appreciates art, and in this case, food as art. My husband and I had the pleasure of experiencing Aspen’s Food and Wine event last summer, and I was blown away and obviously inspired by what the chefs created. It was fun to write about the food that Laina creates, and a blast to write my first “restaurant review.”

You’re the photographer behind all of your book covers. Where was the image of “House of Belonging” taken?

The image on the front cover of “House of Belonging” was actually taken in Tennessee a long time ago. It’s a nod to the genesis of the series having been set there. I thought it bookended the series nicely, and the symbolism of the single empty swing juxtaposed perfectly with my characters finally finding their sense of belonging as a whole.

“House of Belonging” is the third and final book in the Hesse Creek Series. Is this an emotional finale for you?

Yes and no. I’ve loved living in the world of Walland for these three books, but I’m excited to have the freedom to create something new. That said, the Hesse Creek Series will always hold a very special place in my heart, no matter how many books I go on to write.

Which character will you miss writing about the most?

I could never pick just one; I’ve loved them all so much!

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a brand new series, set in the Pacific Northwest. It centers around three brothers, and they are pretty interesting guys, so far. I can’t wait to see where this first story leads me!


Interview with Planaria Price, Author of Claiming My Place

Planaria Price went to public schools when the San Fernando Valley of Southern California was still a rural suburb. She had a fairly sheltered happy childhood. After graduating from Berkeley and earning a master’s degree in English Literature from UCLA, she followed her passion and started teaching English to adult immigrants in the public schools of Los Angeles. While teaching for forty years, she wrote several ESL books about American culture, folktales and myths and has lectured at more than a hundred conferences and schools. In addition to this, she has worked with her husband to save and restore over thirty Victorian and Craftsman homes in a historic Los Angeles neighborhood. Claiming My Place is her first book for young adults. Her website is and her Instagram is @planariaprice. She is on Facebook as Planaria Price.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California.

When did you begin writing?

I had always been an avid reader. I clearly remember a day when I was eleven. I suddenly threw down the book I was reading and decided I was going to write a book, too. I got out a blank notebook and started writing.... maybe a sentence or two. Then realized, to my utter surprise and sadness, that I had no clue what to write about; I had no plot. I had only an imagination that went nowhere. Throughout school, especially middle and high school, I excelled in English and often won prizes for my imaginative writing. But, alas, all my school papers were imaginative re-tellings of the lives of famous historical characters. I have now accepted the fact that I am solely a nonfiction writer and of my seven published books all are nonfiction. But hooray! I now have a genre classification: creative nonfiction.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Alas, my writing has landed at the bottom of the to-do pile.   Life keeps getting in the way. When I am able to grab unbroken spaces of time, I write………. whenever I can “sneak” in a few moments”.

What is this book about?

Claiming My Place is a unique Holocaust biography because my subject, Barbara Reichmann, had such an incredibly vivid memory from the time she was three. Therefore, the book is not just about that horrible time when the Nazis took over Poland in 1939. I was able to write a book that encompasses her whole life. It is the full picture of what normal middle-class Jewish life was like in Poland in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Barbara is an extraordinarily smart and feisty child, a thinker, a doer. The book details her life from kindergarten, describes Jewish traditions, normal family life, her teen age years with her friends and boyfriend Heniek, as well as her university life. When the war comes, it details what happened to the Poles and the Jews as the Nazis arrived, the labor camps, ghettos, the deportations. Barbara was able to escape just before the deportations……. she had false papers and was able to “pass” as a Polish gentile. The book then details her life in hiding, getting a job in Germany as a “Polish” worker, the liberation in 1944 and her life in America as a refugee. It runs the whole gamut so that the reader gets a chance to meet a fascinating person and at the same time the reader learns about that time in history. Reviewers say that the book is unique, a riveting and fast read that seems like fiction but is 100% true.

What inspired you to write it?

As I describe in the preface, it was truly a dark and stormy night in April 2005. My husband and I were eating dinner at the bar at Nepenthe in Big Sur, California. For some reason, (neither Helen nor I remember why) the woman sitting next to me, Helen West, turned to me and started telling her mother’s Holocaust story. It was so incredibly unique and fascinating, I urged her to write it down. She said she was a psychotherapist and not a writer. My husband said “Planaria’s a writer” and I gave her my card. She evidently googled me and a few months later emailed “Let’s do it”. In October 2005, I flew to Washington DC, stayed with Helen for a week and interviewed ninety-year-old Barbara Reichmann for five days. She was such a delightful vibrant woman with the clearest of memories that went back to when she was three. The collaboration process was that I would be the writer and Helen would be sure that everything included in the book was 100% accurate. Wanting Helen to be a major part of the process, I ended my part when Barbara got to America and asked Helen to write the afterward about her memories of their life in the USA from 1951 until the death of Barbara in 2007.

The fact that Barbara’s memory of her childhood was so fascinating and vivid made me realize that I had the makings of a totally unique book about the Holocaust. No other Holocaust book that I have read follows the protagonist from peacetime early childhood to the onslaught of the Nazis and describes the refugee experience as well. I realized I had a wonderful medium to show readers what normal middle class Polish Jewish life was like in the 1920’s-1930’s. I knew it would be a marvelous educational possibility as well as emotional—to portray the tragedy of what has been lost.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I started writing the book in 2005. I finished the first draft within 3 months and spent 2006 re-writing and re-writing. From the beginning I wanted a real publisher so that this story would get out, especially to schools and libraries. I am hopeless and helpless at self-marketing, so not interested in self-publishing. I had sent a chapter of the book to about 50 literary magazines and it was published in two. From 2007 to 2015 I queried 87 agents and of the few who actually wrote back, they were rejections. I attended writing conferences and joined the SCBWI.

I was not going to give up, but it was so depressing and hard. Finally. In 2015, query #88 to the Deborah Harris Agency got a nod. Within a few months’ time it had been sold to Farrar Straus Giroux. The editing process took about two years, but since I have six other published books, I expected the frustrations of that process.

Editors will remove your favorite words, sentences, topics. You will fight back, sometimes you will win. After our back and forth, I was able to have them put back a lot of my favorite parts. They were absolutely right when they took out my excessive adverbs and excessive melodrama. In truth, the editing process with FSG was lovely and they helped with quite a lot of research and finding photos. They edited it with a fine tooth comb, for sure.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Actually, no. I learned there is a hard world in publishing out there and finding the right agent is an often-insurmountable task. I can’t think of anything I could have done to have made the process go easier or faster. Maybe I should have eaten more dark chocolate.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

The book is available on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble and at a lot of Independent book sellers.

It’s also available on Macmillan’s website.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Don’t quit your day job, but never give up

What is up next for you?

I’m currently working on a YA travel memoir called Before McDonald’s Ate Europe. I feel quite hopeful about this one because I think my 88th agent will love it.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Just thanking you for considering Claiming My Place.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Pre-order Deal: The Aviary by Emily Shore Only 99 Cents!

Serenity wakes to find she's be sold into The Aviary—an elite museum where girls are displayed as living art by day and cater to the lascivious whims of the highest bidder by night. In this elaborate and competitive world, girls go by names like Raven and Nightingale, and will stop at nothing to become top Bird. To escape would mean losing her parents, but to stay means losing herself.

File Size: 6017 KB
Print Length: 346 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing (March 5, 2019)
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

Pre-order here!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Book Blast and Giveaway: Piracy by L. P. Maxa

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. L. P. Maxa will be awarding a copy of Royalty + Legacy to 2 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

No one has more fun than Jett Matthews, and he intends to keep it that way, but he has to convince the girl of his dreams, Devin King, that Jett's brand of fun means forever.


My plan for this upcoming takedown was to wait in the dark until I saw her stumble into the building. And then, I’d follow her stealthily into the classroom. Stalking probably wasn’t the number one way to get a girl, but it was all I had at the moment. I didn’t know her name, which was my bad, so I couldn’t look her up on social media. And I hadn’t seen her around campus that morning, so I hadn’t been able to accidentally “bump” into her.

Thus, the shadows.

I chuckled quietly when I saw her enter the building, instantly dropping her cell phone on the hard laminate flooring. This chick. I shook my head and left my hiding place, falling in step behind her and trailing her into the classroom. Then down the steps and across five people to sit smack-dab in the middle of the row. I had to make people move down so I could get a seat right next to her. And through it all, she never turned and noticed that I was behind her. Not once did she glance over her shoulder. She was completely unaware of her surroundings.

I pulled out my tablet and then watched as she once again set up her desk with more supplies than she’d need for the whole semester. I waited patiently, hiding my smirk behind my hand while she fumbled a pen and sent it sailing two levels down.

“Hi.” I spoke close to her ear, but not so close that it would be considered “rude.”

She jerked away from my lips in surprise and turned to glare at me. “What are you doing here?” I found that I enjoyed the flare of irritation in her eyes as much as I’d enjoyed the blush on her neck the first class we’d shared.

I raised an eyebrow, pointing to my tablet. “I’m in this class.”

Her eyes narrowed even further, and her lips made that straight line for a moment. “Yeah, but why are you here, next to me?”


L.P. lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter, three rescue dogs, four chickens, two dwarf goats, and one adopted cat. The fish died. She is a full-time writer, and part time business owner. L.P. says she loves to read as much as she loves to write, and reading a good book is her reward after writing one. In her spare time, she fosters puppies for a rescue organization based in Austin.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Book Review: People Skills 101 by Kerry C. O'Hallaron

Looking to improve your people skills? Hoping to find some tried and true principles to lessen the conflicts in your life and have better relationships? Eager to find ways to have more friends? Then People Skills 101 by Kerry C. O'Hallaron will be a great resource.

No matter where you go in life, people skills are important. In this engaging and informative book,  O'Hallaron shares his 21 "GoldenRules." Each chapter focuses on a specific "GoldenRule" and there is a neat bonus section at the end.

Broken down into five sections, the tips are simple, while the reward can be great. From something as easy as genuinely smiling to the more complex concept of finding a way not to complain, applying these concepts can improve your life. The author teaches you about what he calls the Conversation Funnel to be considered a brilliant conversationalist. He encourages the reader to practice connecting with others.  O'Hallaron also shares tips when you're communicating in a variety of mediums.

There is much value to be gained in reading People Skills 101. The best part is that these evergreen concepts will never go out of style and will be effective with a variety of people. Pick up a copy today and see what a difference it can make.

Series: New for 2019 (Book 1)
Paperback: 301 pages
Publisher: Movement Publishing (December 17, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1513641174
ISBN-13: 978-1513641171

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Believe in Me by Ella Quinn

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ella Quinn will be awarding a $50 gift card - Amazon or iTunes (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Even the Worthington least likely to wed may find her perfect match

. . .

Marriage has worked out quite nicely for her older sisters, yet Lady Augusta Vivers is certain it would end her studies in languages and geography, and stop her from travelling. But when her mother thwarts her plan to attend the only university in Europe that accepts women—in Italy—she is forced to agree to one London Season. Spending her time at parties proves an empty diversion—until she encounters the well-traveled Lord Phineas Carter-Wood. Still, Europe awaits . . .

Phineas has studied architecture all over the world, yet Augusta is his most intriguing discovery yet. How can he resist a woman who loves maps and far-off lands? But her longing for all things foreign hinders any hope of courtship. When he learns her cousins have offered a trip to Europe, he secretly arranges to join their party. For he is determined to show Augusta that a real union is a thrilling adventure of its own. And when their journey is beset by dangerous obstacles, he gets far more opportunity than he bargained for . . .

Read an Excerpt

He reached out his hand as if to touch her, then dropped it. “Please don’t be. I do know how much planning goes into a journey.” He grinned at her. “Even if you are not making all the preparations, you still have a great deal to do and many decisions to make. I apologize for not thinking of that.”

“Well, thank you, again.” She would miss him when she was gone, but she was glad he understood. “If we do not see much of each other over the next few days, good luck with your hunt for a wife.”

“Your wishes are appreciated.” The corner of his mouth cocked up into a crooked smile. “Not that I blame you for having your ambitions, but your leaving has made my search much harder.”

“Yes, well.” She brushed back a curl from her face. “Perhaps you will find a lady whom you can love.”

Taking her hand, he kissed it, and the warmth of his lips radiated up her arm. Good Lord, she’d forgotten neither of them wore gloves. Augusta became acutely aware of the strength in his lightly calloused hands, and removed her fingers from his grip. “I shall see you this evening.”

“Until then.” He inclined his head before taking his hat and cane from Thorton and strolling out the door.

She stared at Phinn until Thorton closed the door. Perhaps, after this evening, she should eschew entertainments altogether.

“Augusta,” Grace said, “you must decide if you’ll take Zephyr with you. Hector needs to know.”

“I do wish to take her with me.” She was leaving so much behind, but not her horse.

“Very well. I’ll send him a message. Please be ready to go in a half hour.”

“I will.” Phinn had more than surprised her this morning. If he loved her— No! She was not going to think about that. Allowing herself to fall in love with him would only lead to heartache.

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About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Ella Quinn's studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a Great Dane. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat. After cruising the Caribbean and North America, she completed a transatlantic crossing from St. Martin to Southern Europe. She's currently living in Germany, happily writing while her husband is back at work, recovering from retirement.

Ella loves when readers connect with her.

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Monday, February 25, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Feb 25

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.

Not only has Monday come again, so quickly, I can't believe we are at the end of February already. Am I getting old? :)

I've got a busy week coming up, so I took most of the weekend off. We set up the Lil' Princess' new bedroom furniture and I've got contractors quoting out some new floors and painting. Twenty years is enough with the old stuff. I don't know why I ever put carpets in this house. I'll be so happy when they are gone.

In  my reading world, you'll see I finished The Cumberland Bride and posted my review. Right now, I'm reading this book:

The month of March reviews looks like this:

I need to squeeze in these ones soon too:

What is on your list to read this week?