Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Walk Your Way To Better: 99 Walks That Will Change Your Life by Joyce Shulman

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The key to a better life is explored through the use of walking in author Joyce Shulman’s “Walk Your Way To Better: 99 Walks That Will Change Your Life”. 

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The Synopsis

This is a book about walking your way to better. Everywhere you turn, people, podcasts and gurus promise a simple path to the life you want. But few of them work. Why? Because simply reading the words is rarely enough to call your heart and mind to action. This book is different. Each section provides a thought-starter, insight or story. But I don’t want you to just read it. I want you to read a section and then lace up your sneakers and head out the door. Because while walking, your brain processes in a unique way, enabling you to recognize the things that are truly holding your back and the changes you actually need to make. You will literally Walk Your Way to Better. Along the way, you will forge a powerful connection between your mind and your body. And bonus — you’ll feel better and become fitter.

The Review

This was a well written book. The author does an outstanding job of connecting with the reader on a personal level, telling a tale of honesty that gives a sense of authenticity to the author’s methods and wisdom imparted in the book. 

The author deals with the way walking opens up the mind and helps bring things into perspective. From making clear one’s goals in the here and now to not letting one failure define you as a failure yourself, the author makes good use of her own journey in life and business to get these ideas and lessons through to the reader. 

The Verdict

A memorable, short yet engaging read, author Joyce Shulman’s “Walk Your Way To Better: 99 Walks That Will Change Your Life” is a must-read book on improving your life overall and changing your outlook as well. It’s a book about making time for oneself to improve their life overall. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Walk Your Way to Better is available to purchase now on Amazon.com.

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About the Author

Joyce Shulman, founder and CEO of 99 Walks and Macaroni Kid reaches millions of moms each month with hyper-local and national e-newsletters and websites, social media content, video and her Weekly Walk podcast. Having created a one-of-a-kind digital platform, she connects families to the wonders of their own communities and inspires women to chase their dreams and crush their goals.

Her most recent endeavor, 99 Walks, is on a mission to combat loneliness and improve fitness through the simple act of encouraging moms to walk together. Her mission? Nothing short of getting a million women walking.

Throughout her two decades as an entrepreneur, Joyce has guided SAHMs, teachers and even MBAs to success. Joyce shares how moms need to “take care of mama bear” and avoid the “martyr mom syndrome.” Her experience in business and leading mompreneurs makes her a coveted speaker where she shares tactics for beating burnout, fueling creativity, goal crushing, how walking can fuel productivity and performance, and more.

Joyce received her Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Maryland and her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from St. John’s University School of Law. After law school, she spent more than a dozen years as a New York City lawyer where her practice focused on complex commercial litigation.

A self-confessed idea junkie, in 1998, Joyce abandoned law firm life to liberate her entrepreneurial spirit and focus on the things that are most important to her: family, community and empowering women to chase their dreams.

Find Joyce online at:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/joyceshulman

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH-NR50srbDzKdUBx5BPgQQ

https://www.instagram.com/joyce.r.shulman/

https://www.joyceshulman.com/

— Blog Tour Dates

May 25th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us in celebrating the launch of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

May 26th @ Karen Brown Tyson’s Blog

Stop by Karen’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman about how you become inspired to write a book.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

May 28th @ One Sister’s Journey

Visit Lisa’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://www.lisambuske.com/

May 30th @ One Sister’s Journey

Stop by Lisa’s blog again today where you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman where she talks about why do women need to take care of themselves. A timely post in this day and age!

https://www.lisambuske.com/

May 31st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 2nd @ Lady Unemployed

Visit Nicole’s blog and read Joyce Shulman’s guest post about beating brownout (the precursor to burnout).

https://ladyunemployed.com/

June 5th @ Wellness Connection Utah

Visit The Wellness Connection today and read thoughtful insights into Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://www.wellnessconnectionutah.com/blog

June 6th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Stop by Anthony’s blog again where you can read a guest post by Joyce Shulman on how walking can help with loneliness.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 8th @ Reviews and Interviews

Visit Lisa’s blog today and read her interview with  Joyce Shulman, author of the book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

June 10th @ Bookish Tay

Stop by Taylor’s blog today and you can read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://tayepperson.com/

June 12th @ The New England Book Critic

Visit Victoria’s blog today and read her insights into Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://www.thenewenglandbookcritic.com/

June 13th @ Simply Nourished Wellness

Visit Stephani’s blog today and you can read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://www.baconandwhippedcream.com/

June 15th @ Jessica’s Reading Room

Visit Jessica’s blog today and make sure you read her review of author Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://jessicasreadingroom.com

June 17th @ Bookish Tay

Visit Taylor’s blog again and you can read a guest post written by Joyce Shulman about how to keep fear from standing in your way.

https://tayepperson.com/

June 19th @ Coffee with Lacey

Stop by Lacey’s blog and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

June 19th @ Second Wind Leisure 

Stop by Terri’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better. You can also read a guest post written by the author about the power of yet.

https://secondwindleisure.com/

June 20th @ Cafeyre 

Visit Karoline’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://cafeyre.wordpress.com/

June 21st @ Simply Nourished Wellness

Visit Stephani’s blog again and you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman about the value of walking. Don’t miss it!

https://www.baconandwhippedcream.com/

June 22nd @ And So She Thinks

Visit Francesca’s blog today and read her interview with Joyce Shulman, author of Walk Your Way to Better.

June 23rd @ The Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

June 24th @ Cathy C. Hall Writes

Visit Cathy’s blog and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://c-c-hall.com/

June 25th @ D-Mom Blog

Don’t miss Leighann’s review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://www.d-mom.com/

June 26th @ Deborah Adam’s Blog

Stop by Deborah’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 27th  @ Deborah Adam’s Blog

Visit Deborah’s blog again today and you can read a guest post by Joyce Shulman about the commitment to women walking their way to better.

June 28th @ Bev A Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog today where she reviews Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

Posted in Blog Tours, reviews

The Colors of Me by Maya and Jello Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

It is a true honor to share with you all a rare treat, a review of an outstanding audiobook from Maya and Jello of the book of poetry, “The Colors of Me”. 

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The Synopsis

A Collection of Poems Welcome to The Colors of Me, a collection of poems based on inspirations gained from my life experiences. Read and enjoy. Then read again. Read and share the experience with your friends and loved ones. It is a journey you will not soon forget.

The Review

Beautifully narrated, the poems are written and read with conviction and heart, telling a story of growth, empowerment and hope. While some of the poetry does stem into some religious paths (something that is not my strong suit), the overall tone and power for which the poems were delivered made this a must listen/read book.

Themes of self-worth, the beauty of the world and finding hope in seemingly hopeless situations all play a role in the poetry of the author. The audiobook elicits great emotion and warmth within the reader/listener, giving the audience a voice to the emotions the author hoped to stir in them. 

The Verdict

A beautifully read, well narrated and incredibly written book of poetry, Maya and Jello’s “The Colors of Me” is a must listen audiobook everyone should hear for themselves. In an age when audiobooks are becoming more and more prevalent, this is a prime example of the beauty and emotion that this format can bring out in the wonderful words written by the author. Be sure to grab your own copies today!

Rating: 8/10

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Audiobook Blog Tour: The Colors of Me by Maya and Jello

Author: Maya and Jello

Narrator: Maya and Jello

Length: 53 minutes

Publisher: M&J Literary Works Inc.

Released: Jan. 28, 2020

Genre: Poetry

A collection of poems. The critics are raving four/four stars. The Colors of Me is a collection of beautiful poems. The author’s creativity is amazing. It’s bold, sexy, spiritual, yet intriguing. Welcome to The Colors of Me. Each poem was written based on inspirations gained from my life experiences. Listen and enjoy. Then listen again. Listen and share the experience with your friends and loved ones. It is a journey you will not soon forget.
Buy Links
Buy on Amazon Buy on Audible
the Colors of Me is available for review from the Adopt-An-Audiobook program! Click here to claim your copy.
  Maya and Jello was born and raised on the beautiful island of Trinidad, the sister island of Tobago in the West Indies. She migrated to the United States as a young teenager. Her main objective was to obtain a great education in the hopes of affording a better life for herself, her family, and to be a blessing to those around her. This quest led her to attain a Doctorate in medicine. But she never let go of her passion for writing poetry. Her works have been published in various school publications under various pen names. During medical school she wrote a segment in the College newspaper under the pen name Sparkie. The poems in this collection were written over a span of 30 years. She hopes that you enjoy reading them, as much as she enjoyed writing them for you.   I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Maya and Jello. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it. Guest Post
Maya and Jello on why readers who love poetry will appreciate this the Colors of Me
If you possess a true appreciation for the art of poetry whether it be pros, verse, lines, or sonnets. Whatever format, whatever flavor. There is something in The Colors of Me written just for you. Each poem embodies the entirety of and experience. And all of the experiences are different. The poems are designed to open up like a flower in bloom and then if needs be fall apart petal by petal. It is in this that I’m able to take the hand of the listener and lead them down a path; meandering through the darkened corners of emotions that we so often hide. Each poem is chock-full of imagery. Who doesn’t have that Mother or Grandmother, Teacher or Preacher who made such a difference in their lives? Who hasn’t experience the wind being knocked out of their sails by betrayal or a lost love? If you’ve ever felt something, ….anything. Then you’ll certainly appreciate The Colors of Me. A good poet can make you cry but I pride myself in making you laugh, and moreover at yourself. The heartfelt romantic pieces are a melee of unbridled emotion. They would ignite the passions in your soul and rekindle what you have, take you back to a time or make you long for that perfect love. You’ll rise to the triumphs and sink in the squalor of inexplicable pain. But just as you think you are about to break, you’ll hear a poem, a message, seemingly straight from the heart of God himself that would lift your spirits, that would mend your heart. It would rekindle your passion for life and living. You’d feel empowered to dust yourself off and rise to the occasion. You’ll gain the strength to embrace your past and forge forward to bigger and better things. And who knows, with faith in your left pocket and hope in your right, you may even venture to love again.

Unstoppable– Koryn Hawthorne

It’s The God in Me– Mary Mary

Closer– Marvin Sapp

Not Lucky I’m Loved– Jonathan Reynolds

The Nearness of You– Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

One Look In Your Eyes– Luther Vandross

A Song for You– Donny Hathaway

That’s Life– Frank Sinatra

Keep Your Head Up– 2Pac

Mar. 22nd: Iron Canuck Reviews and More Willow Writes and Reads Books, Tea, Healthy Me Mar. 23rd: A Wonderful World of Words 4 the Love of Audiobooks Mar. 24th: Nesie’s Place Just Books 2 Girls & A Book Mar. 25th: Author Anthony Avina’s Blog Audiobook News Mar. 26th: Divas With A Purpose Super Booked! Mar. 27th: Jazzy Book Reviews Locks, Hooks and Books Mar. 28th: Sometimes Leelynn Reads Eileen Troemel

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.
Posted in Blog Tours, reviews

First Cut by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A medical examiner new to the San Francisco area finds herself embroiled in a harrowing case involving a murder to cover up the actions of a ruthless drug lord in authors Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell’s “First Cut”. 

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The Synopsis

Wife and husband duo Dr. Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell first enthralled the book world with their runaway bestselling memoir Working Stiff—a fearless account of a young forensic pathologist’s “rookie season” as a NYC medical examiner. This winter, Dr. Melinek, now a prominent forensic pathologist in the Bay Area, once again joins forces with writer T.J. Mitchell to take their first stab at fiction. 

The result: FIRST CUT (Hanover Square Press; Hardcover; January 7, 2020; $26.99)—a gritty and compelling crime debut about a hard-nosed San Francisco medical examiner who uncovers a dangerous conspiracy connecting the seedy underbelly of the city’s nefarious opioid traffickers and its ever-shifting terrain of tech startups.

Dr. Jessie Teska has made a chilling discovery. A suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister: a drug lord’s attempt at a murderous cover up. As more bodies land on her autopsy table, Jessie uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate network of powerful criminals—on both sides of the law—that will do anything to keep things buried. But autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she’s seen it all—even if it means the next corpse on the slab could be her own.

The Review

A brilliant read, this novel perfectly blends the expertise and gritty reality of forensic work and the work of the medical examiners office with the harrowing and heart-pounding action that comes with a good thriller. 

The story cuts into the complex web of lies uncovered by Jessie Teska, from drug kingpins and dirty lawyers to collegues she thought she could trust and beyond. Haunted by a painful past, Jessie finds herself fighting to uncover the truth behind a horrific crime, with only her brilliant mind and determination to aid her in her fight against politics, criminal empires and more. 

The Verdict

A fantastic thriller for anyone who enjoys a heavy mix of medical forensics and suspense, authors Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell have created a masterful story that will give readers a protagonist to root for, a story to engage with and a brilliant race to the finish that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of Final Cut today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Judy Melinek was an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco for nine years, and today works as a forensic pathologist in Oakland and as CEO of PathologyExpert Inc. She and T.J. Mitchell met as undergraduates at Harvard, after which she studied medicine and practiced pathology at UCLA. Her training in forensics at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner is the subject of their first book, the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner.
T.J. Mitchell is a writer with an English degree from Harvard, and worked in the film industry before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad. He is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner with his wife, Judy Melinek.

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SOCIAL:

TWITTER:

FB: @DrWorkingStiff

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BUY LINKS:

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

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EXCERPT

PROLOGUE

Los Angeles
May

The dead woman on my table had pale blue eyes, long lashes, no mascara. She wore a thin rim of black liner on her lower lids but none on the upper. I inserted the twelve gauge needle just far enough that I could see its beveled tip through the pupil, then pulled the syringe plunger to aspirate a sample of vitreous fluid. That was the first intrusion I made on her corpse during Mary Catherine Walsh’s perfectly ordinary autopsy.

The external examination had been unremarkable. The decedent appeared to be in her midthirties, blond hair with dun roots, five foot four, 144 pounds. After checking her over and noting identifying marks (monochromatic professional tattoo of a Celtic knot on lower left flank, appendectomy scar on abdomen, well-healed stellate scar on right knee), I picked up a scalpel and sliced from each shoulder to the breastbone, and then all the way down her belly. I peeled back the layers of skin and fat on her torso—an ordinary amount, maybe a little on the chubby side—and opened the woman’s chest like a book.

I had made similar Y-incisions on 256 other bodies during my ten months as a forensic pathologist at the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, and this one was easy. No sign of trauma. Normal liver. Healthy lungs. There was nothing wrong with her heart. The only significant finding was the white, granular material of the gastric contents. In her stomach was a mass of semidigested pills.

When I opened her uterus, I found she’d been pregnant. I measured the fetus’s foot length and estimated its age at twelve weeks. The fetus appeared to have been viable. It was too young to determine sex.

I deposited the organs one by one at the end of the stainless-steel table. I had just cut into her scalp to start on the skull when Matt, the forensic investigator who had collected the body the day before, came in.

“Clean scene,” he reported, depositing the paperwork on my station. “Suicide.”

I asked him where he was going for lunch. Yogurt and a damn salad at his desk, he told me: bad cholesterol and a worried wife. I extended my condolences as he headed back out of the autopsy suite.

I scanned through Matt’s handwriting on the intake sheet and learned that the body had been found, stiff and cold, in a locked and secure room at the Los Angeles Omni hotel. The cleaning staff called the police. The ID came from the name on the credit card used to pay for the room, and was confirmed by fingerprint comparison with her driver’s license thumbprint. A handwritten note lay on the bed stand, a pill bottle in the trash. Nothing else. Matt was right: There was no mystery to the way Mary Walsh had died.

I hit the dictaphone’s toe trigger and pointed my mouth toward the microphone dangling over the table. “The body is identified by a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s tag attached to the right great toe, inscribed LACD-03226, Walsh, Mary Catherine…”

I broke the seal on the plastic evidence bag and pulled out the pill bottle. It was labeled OxyContin, a powerful painkiller, and it was empty.

“Accompanying the body is a sealed plastic bag with an empty prescription medication bottle. The name on the prescription label…”

I read the name but didn’t speak it. The hair started standing up on my neck. I looked down at my morning’s work—the splayed body, flecked with gore, the dissected womb tossed on a heap of other organs.

That can’t be, I told myself. It can’t.

On the clipboard underneath the case intake sheet I found a piece of hotel stationery sealed in another evidence bag. It was the suicide note, written in blue ink with a steady feminine hand. I skimmed it—then stopped, and went back.

I read it again.

I heard the clipboard land at my feet. I gripped the raised lip of my autopsy table. I held tight while the floor fell away.


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Q&A with Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

Q: Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?

A:The idea for First Cut was prompted by some of Judy’s actual cases when she worked as a San Francisco medical examiner. She has real experience performing autopsy death investigation, and she also has the imagination to apply that experience to a fictional framework for our forensic detective, Dr. Jessie Teska. Judy invented the story, and together we worked it up as an outline. Then T.J. sat in a room wrestling with words all day—which he loves to do—to produce the first complete manuscript. That’s our inspiration plus perspiration dynamic as co-authors.

Q: What does the act of writing mean to you?

A: It is, and has always been, something we can do together, an important part of our marriage. We’ve collaborated as a creative team since we were in college together many years ago, producing and directing student theater. We’ve also spent twenty years raising our four children, and have always approached parenting as a partnership. We find it easy to work together because we write like we parent: relying on one another, each of us playing to our strengths. It helps that, in our writing process, we have no overlapping skill set!

 Q: Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?

A: Oh, yes! That’s our heroine, Dr. Jessie Teska. She has elements of Judy in her, and elements of T.J., but Jessie is a distinct individual and a strong-willed one. We’re often surprised and even shocked by the ways she reacts to the situations we put her in. There are times we’ll be writing what we thought was a carefully laid-out scene, and Jessie will take us sideways. She’s coming off T.J.’s fingertips on the the keyboard, both of us watching with mouths agape, saying, “What the hell is she up to?”

Q: Which one of First Cut’s characters was the hardest to write and why?

A: Tommy Teska, Jessie’s brother. He’s a minor character to the book’s plot, but the most important person in Jessie’s life, and he’s a reticent man, downright miserly with his dialogue. Tommy carries such great emotional weight, but it was hard to draw it out of him, especially because so much of his bond to our heroine is in the backstory of First Cut, not in the immediate narrative that lands on the page. We’re now working on the sequel, Cross Cut, and finding that Tommy has more occasion to open up in that story.

Q: Which character in any of your books (First Cut or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?

A: The late Dr. Charles Sidney Hirsch, from our first book, the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner. Dr. Hirsch is not just a character: He was a real person, Judy’s mentor and a towering figure in the world of forensic pathology. Dr. Hirsch trained Dr. Melinek in her specific field of medicine and imbued in her his passion for it. He was a remarkable man, a great teacher and physician and public servant—a person of uncompromising integrity coupled with great emotional intelligence.

Q: What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?

A: Judy’s father was a physician, and though she never wanted to follow in his immediate footsteps—he was a psychiatrist—she has always wanted to be another Dr. Melinek. T.J. has always been a writer, but also has theater training and worked in the film industry. As much as we enjoyed authoring the memoir Working Stiff, and as happy as we have been with its success, we are even more thrilled to be detective novelists.

Q: What does a day in the life of Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell look like?

A: Judy is a morning person and T.J.’s a night owl, so we split parenting responsibilities. Judy gets the kids off to school and then heads to the morgue, where she performs autopsies in the morning and works with police, district attorneys, and defense lawyers in the afternoon. T.J. takes care of the household and after-school duties. If we work together during the day, it’s usually by email in the late afternoon. T.J. cooks dinner, Judy goes to bed early, and he’s up late—at his most productive writing from nine to midnight or later.

Q: What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?

A: We go for a long walk together. Our far corner of San Francisco overlooks the Pacific Ocean, bracketed by cypress trees and blown over with fog, and serves as an inspiring landscape. We explore the edge of the continent and talk out where our characters have been and where they need to get, tossing ideas back and forth until a solution, what to do next on the page, emerges. Getting away for a stroll with our imaginary friends is always a fruitful exercise!

Q: What book would you take with you to a desert island?

A: T.J. would take the Riverside Shakespeare, and Judy would take Poisonous Plants: A Handbook for Doctors, Pharmacists, Toxicologists, Biologists and Veterinarians, Illustrated.

Q: Do you have stories on the back burner that are just waiting to be written?

A: Always! We are inspired by Dr. Melinek’s real-life work, both in the morgue and at crime scenes, in police interrogation rooms, and in courtrooms. Our stories are fiction—genre fiction structured in the noir-detective tradition—but the forensic methods our detective employs and the scientific findings she comes to are drawn from real death investigations.

Q: What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?

A: The hardest thing is juggling our work schedules to find uninterrupted time together to write. The most fun is meeting and talking to our readers at book events, especially those who have been inspired to go into the field of forensic pathology after reading our work.

Q: What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?

A: It’s all about connectivity. Linking up with other writers, readers, editors, and research experts is a crucial way to get your work accomplished, and to get it out to your audience. Yes, ultimately it’s just you and the keyboard, but in the course of writing your story, you can and should tap into the hive mind, online and in person, for inspiration and help.

Q: What was the last thing you read?

A: Judy last read The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington, and T.J. last read The Witch Elm by Tana French.

Q: Your top five authors?

A: Judy’s are Atul Gawande, Henry James, Kathy Reichs, Mary Roach, and Oliver Sacks. T.J.’s are Margaret Atwood, Joseph Heller, Ed McBain, Ross Macdonald, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Q: Book you’ve bought just for the cover?

A: T.J.: Canary by Duane Swierczynski. Judy: Mütter Museum Historical Medical Photographs.

Q: Tell us about what you’re working on now.

A: First Cut is the debut novel in a detective series, and we’ve recently finished the rough draft of Cross Cut, its sequel. We are in the revision phase now, killing our darlings and tightening our tale, working to get the further adventures of Dr. Jessie Teska onto bookshelves next year!

Posted in Blog Tours, Interviews

Interview Questions by Anthony Avina

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’m a Georgia girl married to a New Yorker. I have three children and seven adult grandchildren. After I retired from teaching thirty-one years, my husband accepted a promotion that took us from Atlanta to Shreveport, LA. I didn’t know anyone and did not want to be bored, so I enrolled in LSUS and took Fiction Writing from Sarah Hamer, who inspired her students to write. I was hooked.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

Ambition? Every writer wants to write a book someday. Three years after I stepped into my first writing class, I was invited to join eight other writers and publish an anthology of short stories based on one theme and location.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

The message in my book is that everyone has issues to overcome. My characters work through those obstacles and find resolutions. Often it is a matter of finding and knowing their own strengths.

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’m a fan of literary work rather than commercial fiction; therefore, my stories do not fit into the cookie cutter patterns of one genre, such as fantasy, mystery/thriller, romance, or science fiction.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

If I could ask one of my characters a question, I would ask Misty how she felt on holidays and her birthday all those years after her father disappeared?

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook has been a helpful media site, because most of my readers are active on Facebook. Some are not active on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

My advice to novice writers is: write most days, read in your genre, learn your craft by attending workshops, stay positive, join a critique group, get feedback, leave your ego at the door, and find a good editor. Write on! 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Future? My life will continue to center on my family, friends, and writing. I have two book on the horizon—Bittersweet, and Driven.

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Book Summary

Come visit Georgia within these pages as you read heartwarming stories shaped by local traditions and legends. The characters live life to the fullest through joys and hardships. Inhale the essence of Georgia’s revitalized small town squares while eating hand- scooped ice cream on a park bench. Each town has its own magic. Sometimes the most real things in life are things we cannot see but those that deeply touch us, as the folks in these tales learn. Share smiles and shed tears as you travel the curving road of life with these Georgia characters. Are you ready for an unforgettable experience of hope, faith, trust, reconciliation, and love?

Print Length: 259 Pages

Genre: Short Story Anthologies

Publisher: Touch Not the Cat Books

ASIN: B07FXVRZGG


Georgia Stories on My Mind is available to purchase on Amazon.com. 

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About the Author, Jackie Rod

“A good book transports me to another time and place. It lets me feel the sensation of heroes and heroines— dark loneliness, deep passion, a father’s pride and a mother’s grief.” Jackie Rod is a fiction writer, loving wife of a legal beagle, and mother of three children who has blessed her with seven fantastic grandchildren. After Jackie retired from teaching, her love of words and stories led her to begin writing fiction. Reading and traveling enrich her life and she jumps at the opportunity to teach a workshop or attend a writing conference. She belongs to five writing chapters/groups. Jackie’s work can be found in twelve published books on Amazon, in several Metro Atlanta libraries, and independent bookstores.

You can find Jackie at: 

www.facebook.com/JackieRod

www.Twitter.com/Softnsilk 

www.LinkedIn/com/in/jackie-rod-32bba255 www.Pinterest.com/JackieRod

www.JackieRod.blogspot.com 

www.Instagram.com/jackierod039

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— Blog Tour Dates

Today @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us as we celebrate the launch of Jackie Rod’s blog tour of her book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

January 14th @ Lori’s Reading Corner

Visit Lori’s blog today and read author Jackie Rod’s guest post about editing. You can also enter to win a copy of her book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

http://www.lorisreadingcorner.com

January 15th @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog

Visit Cathy C. Hall’s blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

https://c-c-hall.com/

January 16th @ Caroline Clemmons Blog

Stop by Caroline’s blog today and you can see a spotlight of the book and an interview with author Jackie Rod. Also win a copy of the book!

http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/

January 18th @ A Day in the Life of Mom

Visit Ashley’s blog today and you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about how time is limited and precious. Plus, you can enter to win a copy of the book!

https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

January 20th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Make sure you stop by Kathleen’s blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can also win a copy of the book!

January 21st @ Amanda Diaries

Visit Amanda’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

https://amandadiaries.com/

January 22nd @ Look to the Western Sky

Stop by Margo’s blog where you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about being a cheerleader for others. You can also win a copy of the book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Don’t miss it!

https://www.margoldill.com

January 22nd @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog

Visit Cathy’s blog today and reading Jackie Rod’s guest post about being a homegrown Georgia peach.

https://c-c-hall.com/

January 23rd @ And So She Thinks

Visit Francesca’s blog today where you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about the value of critique groups and writing groups.

https://andsoshethinks.wordpress.com/

January 24th @ Coffee with Lacey

Come by Lacey’s blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

http://www.coffeewithlacey.com

January 25th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Enter to win a copy of the book as well!

http://bookworm66.wordpress.com

January 26th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today and read Jackie Rod’s guest post about precious moments.

https://thefrugalistamom.com

January 27th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

http://www.12books.co.uk/

January 28th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdra at her blog today where you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about the importance of conferences.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

January 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today where he will be spotlighting Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories On My Mind.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

January 31st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog again where you can read his review of the book Georgia Stories On My Mind and you can win a copy of the book!

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 1st @ Ali’s Bookshelf Reviews

Come by Ali’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Plus you can win a copy of the book!

http://alisbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/

February 3rd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog where you can read an interview with author Jackie Rod and read her guest post about family and friends.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 4th @ Ali’s Bookshelf Reviews

Visit Ali’s blog today and read author Jackie Rod’s guest post about how reading changes your life.

http://alisbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/

February 6th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Stop by Kathleen’s blog today and read Jackie Rod’s guest post about the joys of life. Don’t miss this one!

February 7th @ The Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can also enter to win a copy of the book!

https://thefrugalistamom.com

February 8th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s blog again and you can read an interview with author Jackie Rod and read the author’s guest post featuring writing tips. Don’t miss!

http://bookworm66.wordpress.com

February 9th @ Leonard Tillman’s Blog

Visit Leonard’s blog and read his review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

February 10th @ Madeline Sharples Blog

Visit Madeline’s blog and read Jackie Rod’s guest post about marketing on social media.

http://madelinesharples.com/

February 11th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog again and you can read Jackie Rod’s touching guest post about wisdom. Don’t miss it!

http://www.12books.co.uk

February 12th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Visit Alanna’s blog where you can read a guest post by the author about faith, hope, and love.

https://itsalannajean.wordpress.com/

February 16th @ Joyful Antidotes

Visit Joy’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

https://www.joyfulantidotes.com

Posted in Blog Tours, reviews

Georgia Stories On My Mind by Jackie Rod Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

An anthology of life and life’s struggles through tales of the South bring a collection of stories and lessons together beautifully in author Jackie Rod’s novel “Georgia Stories On My Mind”. 

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The Synopsis

Come visit Georgia within these pages as you read heartwarming stories shaped by local traditions and legends. The characters live life to the fullest through joys and hardships. Inhale the essence of Georgia’s revitalized small town squares while eating hand- scooped ice cream on a park bench. Each town has its own magic. Sometimes the most real things in life are things we cannot see but those that deeply touch us, as the folks in these tales learn. Share smiles and shed tears as you travel the curving road of life with these Georgia characters. Are you ready for an unforgettable experience of hope, faith, trust, reconciliation, and love?

Print Length: 259 Pages

Genre: Short Story Anthologies

Publisher: Touch Not the Cat Books

ASIN: B07FXVRZGG

The Review

Beautifully written, heartwarming and personal brings this anthology to life perfectly. The author has found a way to connect with readers on a personal scale that showcases how connected we are to each other and our life as a whole. Stories of love lost and found again, of being honest with ourselves and speaking to the dead so that we may find a way to live fully and more make this anthology shine brightly. 

The characters are relatable and the story itself is evenly paced, with each individual story delving into local legends and myths of the area that locals will be able to identify with while giving new readers unfamiliar with the legends a fresh perspective on life overall. 

The Verdict

Finding one’s way in life is never easy, and most often experience something new and unique in their own way. This novel does an excellent job of creating a vast array of stories that readers will be able to recognize and identify with as the characters experience love, loss, heartbreak and connections that everyone is looking for in life. Brilliantly written and a truly powerful read, be sure to grab your copy of “Georgia Stories On My Mind” by Jackie Rod today!

Rating: 10/10

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Georgia Stories on My Mind is available to purchase on Amazon.com. 

About the Author, Jackie Rod

“A good book transports me to another time and place. It lets me feel the sensation of heroes and heroines— dark loneliness, deep passion, a father’s pride and a mother’s grief.” Jackie Rod is a fiction writer, loving wife of a legal beagle, and mother of three children who has blessed her with seven fantastic grandchildren. After Jackie retired from teaching, her love of words and stories led her to begin writing fiction. Reading and traveling enrich her life and she jumps at the opportunity to teach a workshop or attend a writing conference. She belongs to five writing chapters/groups. Jackie’s work can be found in twelve published books on Amazon, in several Metro Atlanta libraries, and independent bookstores.

You can find Jackie at: 

www.facebook.com/JackieRod

www.Twitter.com/Softnsilk 

www.LinkedIn/com/in/jackie-rod-32bba255 www.Pinterest.com/JackieRod

www.JackieRod.blogspot.com 

www.Instagram.com/jackierod039

— Blog Tour Dates

Today @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us as we celebrate the launch of Jackie Rod’s blog tour of her book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

January 14th @ Lori’s Reading Corner

Visit Lori’s blog today and read author Jackie Rod’s guest post about editing. You can also enter to win a copy of her book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

http://www.lorisreadingcorner.com

January 15th @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog

Visit Cathy C. Hall’s blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

https://c-c-hall.com/

January 16th @ Caroline Clemmons Blog

Stop by Caroline’s blog today and you can see a spotlight of the book and an interview with author Jackie Rod. Also win a copy of the book!

http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/

January 18th @ A Day in the Life of Mom

Visit Ashley’s blog today and you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about how time is limited and precious. Plus, you can enter to win a copy of the book!

https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

January 20th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Make sure you stop by Kathleen’s blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can also win a copy of the book!

January 21st @ Amanda Diaries

Visit Amanda’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

https://amandadiaries.com/

January 22nd @ Look to the Western Sky

Stop by Margo’s blog where you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about being a cheerleader for others. You can also win a copy of the book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Don’t miss it!

https://www.margoldill.com

January 22nd @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog

Visit Cathy’s blog today and reading Jackie Rod’s guest post about being a homegrown Georgia peach.

https://c-c-hall.com/

January 23rd @ And So She Thinks

Visit Francesca’s blog today where you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about the value of critique groups and writing groups.

https://andsoshethinks.wordpress.com/

January 24th @ Coffee with Lacey

Come by Lacey’s blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

http://www.coffeewithlacey.com

January 25th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Enter to win a copy of the book as well!

http://bookworm66.wordpress.com

January 26th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today and read Jackie Rod’s guest post about precious moments.

https://thefrugalistamom.com

January 27th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

http://www.12books.co.uk/

January 28th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdra at her blog today where you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about the importance of conferences.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

January 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today where he will be spotlighting Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories On My Mind.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

January 31st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog again where you can read his review of the book Georgia Stories On My Mind and you can win a copy of the book!

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 1st @ Ali’s Bookshelf Reviews

Come by Ali’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Plus you can win a copy of the book!

http://alisbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/

February 3rd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog where you can read an interview with author Jackie Rod and read her guest post about family and friends.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 4th @ Ali’s Bookshelf Reviews

Visit Ali’s blog today and read author Jackie Rod’s guest post about how reading changes your life.

http://alisbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/

February 6th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Stop by Kathleen’s blog today and read Jackie Rod’s guest post about the joys of life. Don’t miss this one!

February 7th @ The Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can also enter to win a copy of the book!

https://thefrugalistamom.com

February 8th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s blog again and you can read an interview with author Jackie Rod and read the author’s guest post featuring writing tips. Don’t miss!

http://bookworm66.wordpress.com

February 9th @ Leonard Tillman’s Blog

Visit Leonard’s blog and read his review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

February 10th @ Madeline Sharples Blog

Visit Madeline’s blog and read Jackie Rod’s guest post about marketing on social media.

http://madelinesharples.com/

February 11th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog again and you can read Jackie Rod’s touching guest post about wisdom. Don’t miss it!

http://www.12books.co.uk/

February 12th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Visit Alanna’s blog where you can read a guest post by the author about faith, hope, and love.

https://itsalannajean.wordpress.com/

February 16th @ Joyful Antidotes

Visit Joy’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

https://www.joyfulantidotes.com

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events

Spotlight: Georgia Stories On My Mind by Jackie Rod (Blog Tour)

Hello everyone. Today I am happy to share with you this special spotlight on the novel Georgia Stories on My Mind by author Jackie Rod. First, here is a little bit about the book itself.

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Book Summary

Come visit Georgia within these pages as you read heartwarming stories shaped by local traditions and legends. The characters live life to the fullest through joys and hardships. Inhale the essence of Georgia’s revitalized small town squares while eating hand- scooped ice cream on a park bench. Each town has its own magic. Sometimes the most real things in life are things we cannot see but those that deeply touch us, as the folks in these tales learn. Share smiles and shed tears as you travel the curving road of life with these Georgia characters. Are you ready for an unforgettable experience of hope, faith, trust, reconciliation, and love?

Print Length: 259 Pages

Genre: Short Story Anthologies

Publisher: Touch Not the Cat Books

ASIN: B07FXVRZGG


Georgia Stories on My Mind is available to purchase on Amazon.com. 

About the Author, Jackie Rod

“A good book transports me to another time and place. It lets me feel the sensation of heroes and heroines— dark loneliness, deep passion, a father’s pride and a mother’s grief.” Jackie Rod is a fiction writer, loving wife of a legal beagle, and mother of three children who has blessed her with seven fantastic grandchildren. After Jackie retired from teaching, her love of words and stories led her to begin writing fiction. Reading and traveling enrich her life and she jumps at the opportunity to teach a workshop or attend a writing conference. She belongs to five writing chapters/groups. Jackie’s work can be found in twelve published books on Amazon, in several Metro Atlanta libraries, and independent bookstores.

You can find Jackie at: 

www.facebook.com/JackieRod

www.Twitter.com/Softnsilk 

www.LinkedIn/com/in/jackie-rod-32bba255 www.Pinterest.com/JackieRod

www.JackieRod.blogspot.com 

www.Instagram.com/jackierod039

And now, I am happy to share with you all a wonderful guest post from the author herself, Jackie Rod.

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Family and Friends

Faith, family, friends and purposeful work are the blessings of life. Today we will focus on family and friends, major components of our lives. They can bring us our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows. Usually it falls somewhere in between. We tend to apply our values and viewpoints to our family and friends, even if their perspectives may not be in line with ours. 

Most of the time we identify with friends who hold similar values. In times of trouble we can turn to them for solace and comfort. In times of triumph we celebrate together. 

Family members, on the other hand, may have viewpoints diametrically opposed to ours. Often arguments can last for years and affect participation at holiday gatherings and other family events. Some people had rather miss an event than have to deal with their anger and feelings of hostility toward others. 

Over the years the actual differences of opinion may be forgotten, but the hard feelings remain and are never addressed. Folks can be stubborn. Of course, these same things might hold true for friends and neighbors with whom you disagree. We could write them off and discontinue any relationship rather than address the issue and try to work it out.

Some people are toxic and need to be eliminated from our circles so that our zin is not out of balance. Perhaps a good therapist would offer techniques and strategies for us to get over our hurt feelings and anxiety.

In the end, we all get on with our lives and make allowances for those we love and overlook the failings of best friends, at least the ones we continue to talk to.

Addressing the misunderstandings can begin a process of healing. Put away the pettiness. Forgiveness is a powerful force. 

Remember the joy you receive each day from a wonderful family and friends. Notice the light in their eyes when you flash your beautiful smile. Stay bonded, stay thankful, and stay blessed.


— Blog Tour Dates

Today @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us as we celebrate the launch of Jackie Rod’s blog tour of her book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

January 14th @ Lori’s Reading Corner

Visit Lori’s blog today and read author Jackie Rod’s guest post about editing. You can also enter to win a copy of her book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

http://www.lorisreadingcorner.com

January 15th @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog

Visit Cathy C. Hall’s blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

https://c-c-hall.com/

January 16th @ Caroline Clemmons Blog

Stop by Caroline’s blog today and you can see a spotlight of the book and an interview with author Jackie Rod. Also win a copy of the book!

http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/

January 18th @ A Day in the Life of Mom

Visit Ashley’s blog today and you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about how time is limited and precious. Plus, you can enter to win a copy of the book!

https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

January 20th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Make sure you stop by Kathleen’s blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can also win a copy of the book!

January 21st @ Amanda Diaries

Visit Amanda’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

https://amandadiaries.com/

January 22nd @ Look to the Western Sky

Stop by Margo’s blog where you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about being a cheerleader for others. You can also win a copy of the book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Don’t miss it!

https://www.margoldill.com

January 22nd @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog

Visit Cathy’s blog today and reading Jackie Rod’s guest post about being a homegrown Georgia peach.

https://c-c-hall.com/

January 23rd @ And So She Thinks

Visit Francesca’s blog today where you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about the value of critique groups and writing groups.

https://andsoshethinks.wordpress.com/

January 24th @ Coffee with Lacey

Come by Lacey’s blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

http://www.coffeewithlacey.com

January 25th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Enter to win a copy of the book as well!

http://bookworm66.wordpress.com

January 26th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today and read Jackie Rod’s guest post about precious moments.

https://thefrugalistamom.com

January 27th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog and read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

http://www.12books.co.uk/

January 28th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdra at her blog today where you can read Jackie Rod’s guest post about the importance of conferences.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

January 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today where he will be spotlighting Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories On My Mind.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

January 31st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog again where you can read his review of the book Georgia Stories On My Mind and you can win a copy of the book!

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 1st @ Ali’s Bookshelf Reviews

Come by Ali’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Plus you can win a copy of the book!

http://alisbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/

February 3rd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog where you can read an interview with author Jackie Rod and read her guest post about family and friends.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 4th @ Ali’s Bookshelf Reviews

Visit Ali’s blog today and read author Jackie Rod’s guest post about how reading changes your life.

http://alisbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/

February 6th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Stop by Kathleen’s blog today and read Jackie Rod’s guest post about the joys of life. Don’t miss this one!

February 7th @ The Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can also enter to win a copy of the book!

https://thefrugalistamom.com

February 8th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s blog again and you can read an interview with author Jackie Rod and read the author’s guest post featuring writing tips. Don’t miss!

http://bookworm66.wordpress.com

February 9th @ Leonard Tillman’s Blog

Visit Leonard’s blog and read his review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

February 10th @ Madeline Sharples Blog

Visit Madeline’s blog and read Jackie Rod’s guest post about marketing on social media.

http://madelinesharples.com/

February 11th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog again and you can read Jackie Rod’s touching guest post about wisdom. Don’t miss it!

http://www.12books.co.uk/

February 12th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Visit Alanna’s blog where you can read a guest post by the author about faith, hope, and love.

https://itsalannajean.wordpress.com/

February 16th @ Joyful Antidotes

Visit Joy’s blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod’s book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

https://www.joyfulantidotes.com

Posted in reviews

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A chilling death takes readers into the mysterious and secretive world of a prestigious prep school in author J.T. Ellison’s novel “Good Girls Lie”. 

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The Synopsis

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.

The Review

A fantastic thriller that does an excellent job of taking readers through an underutilized setting and explores the lies, deceit and horrors that come often to those enrolled in the life of the wealthy and elite. A shocking death takes readers through a harrowing story of a young woman escaping her past, only for it to come back and haunt her in unexpected ways. 

As her past catches up to her, the secrets she has been hiding begin to unravel the other secrets the school has to offer, and those who reside in it. A story of family, lies and love turns into a chilling mystery that will leave the students and faculty alike of this prestigious school shaken forever. The novel’s plot is what takes center stage in this carefully crafted novel, bringing the tale of this inexplicable death to life as the truth becomes stranger than the fiction the characters were telling themselves. 

The Verdict

A must read thriller of 2020! A brilliant, evenly paced read that thoroughly explores the background of the school and the lives of the cast of characters, this novel will keep readers on the edge of their seat and will shock everyone as the final pages play out the story of the novel’s protagonist in an unexpected way. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of J.T. Ellison’s “Good Girls Lie” today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 novels, and the EMMY-award winning co-host of A WORD ON WORDS, Nashville’s premier literary show. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 26 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @thrillerchick

Facebook: @JTEllison14

Instagram: @thrillerchick

Goodreads

BookBub

Q&A with J.T. Ellison

• Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?

Both. Sometimes the story just unfolds, and sometimes I have to relentlessly work on themes and turning points and characters’ points of view. Every book is different, every book has its own unique challenges. I’m always thinking about what’s next, and sometimes even what’s after that. But when it comes to actually sitting down to write, I like to let the story unfold a bit, let it stretch its wings, before I try to lash it to the mast and conform it to my vision.

• What does the act of writing mean to you?

It’s a sacred contract with me and a mythical “someone” who might read the words at some point in the future and find them entertaining or moving. It’s sheer magic on my end, creating, and sheer magic on the readers’ end, when they get to experience what was in my head as I was writing. It’s the most incredible mystical experience out there.

• Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?

All the time. Oh my gosh, all the time. Honestly, if the character doesn’t run away with things, I know there’s a problem. Ivy, n LIE TO ME, is a particular favorite. She’s just so nasty…

• Which one of Good Girls Lie’s characters was the hardest to write and why?

Ash, for sure. She was so elusive and aloof with me. The Britishisms, the secrets, the lies, she was always just out of reach. Of course, that was because I’d written her in third person. When I switched her to first, she wouldn’t shut up. 

• Which character in any of your books (Good Girls Lie or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?

Oh that’s an impossible question. Taylor. Sam. Sutton. Vivian. Ash. Aubrey. Ivy. Juliet. Lauren. Becca. Gavin. Baldwin. Xander. They are all me, on some level, whether it’s a fear or a triumph, a flaw or a heroic action. A moment of love or a moment of animosity. It’s like asking me to choose among my children, which one is my favorite. (I don’t have kids, by the way, but I couldn’t pick my favorite of my kittens, either.)

• What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?

I desperately wanted to be Colorado’s first female firefighter. When that job was taken, I cast about. Doctor. Lawyer. Fighter Pilot. Spy. International business maven. Olympic swimmer. Poet. In the end, being a writer was my only choice. That way, I get to experience all the lives I could have led.

• What does a day in the life of J.T. Ellison look like?

It’s rather blissful. It starts rather lazily, with the cats cuddled into my arms and the newspaper on my iPad, then progresses to kicking the lazy beasts out, pouring a cup of tea and handling email. I am not a morning person, so I tend to do business in the morning and writing in the afternoon, when I’m sharper. I’ve always wanted to be the writer who gets up at 5 am to write whilst the birds chirp and the house sleeps, watching the sun rise and running five miles before the rest of the world is awake, but alas, it was not meant to be. You need to go to a concert that starts at ten p.m., I’m your girl. 

• What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?

It depends. If it’s a genuine block, a I’ve lost faith in myself and my work block, I will step away from the manuscript entirely, read, walk, golf, yoga, go out for margaritas with my husband, anything to remove me from the situation. But 90 percent of the time, it’s just a story issue, so I work it out with some of my creative partners. Lots of texting and phone calls and what ifs, until it shakes itself free. 

• What book would you take with you to a desert island?

Hmmm… my knee jerk is the Harry Potter series – I know, I know, that’s seven books, but I’m sure there’s an omnibus edition somewhere. The fight for good and evil never ceases to amaze and comfort me. Knowing love conquers evil is a big deal in this world. And Hermione kicks ass. If I’m forced into a single title, Plato’s Republic. I’ve been obsessed with the allegory of the cave my entire adult life. 

• Favorite quote?

“Do. Or Do not. There is no try.” – Master Yoda

• Coffee or tea?

Loose leaf earl grey. Making tea is a meditative experience for me.

• Best TV or Movie adaptation of a book?

Clueless, hands-down the best adaptation of Austen’s Emma ever, and I’ve been enjoying A Discovery of Witches, based on the fabulous books by Deborah Harkness. Outlander isn’t bad, either. And Game of Thrones… obviously, I don’t include anything past the second episode of the final season of that, though I did enjoy the whole Deanarys-Drogon airborne apocalypse. I mean, talk about a girl who had reason to be aggravated with society.

• Do you have stories on the back burner that are just waiting to be written?

So. Many. Stories. I will never get to them all. At last count, there are 49 in my “Story Idea” folder, with several more floating around in my head. 

• What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?

The hardest is staying in the game, juggling the necessary mix of creativity and business, finding new paths to reach readers and leveling up the writing so it’s possible to grow my career. It was much easier to write, to focus, before our constant connections to the internet consumed us. The most fun is that email from a reader, when something I’ve written strikes a chord with them and they write to tell me they love a story, or a character, or an ending. It doesn’t get better than that. 

• What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?

Stay as much in a vacuum as you can while writing. You don’t need a platform, you need an excellent, groundbreaking book. And read everything. Everything you can get your hands on. You learn writing through osmosis as much as writing the books themselves. Find your writing habit and hold it sacred. If you respect your work, your people will, too.

• What was the last thing you read?

I just finished Holly Black’s THE QUEEN OF NOTHING, the finale of her Folk of the Air trilogy, and just finished listening to BAG OF BONES by Stephen King. Both were exceptional.

• Your top five authors?

Diana Gabaldon

JK Rowling

Deborah Harkness

Leigh Bardugo

Sarah J. Maas

• Book you’ve bought just for the cover?

That’s how I found the Holly Black trilogy – I adored the cover of THE CRUELEST PRINCE.

• Tell us about what you’re working on now.

 I’m writing a novel about a destination wedding that goes very, very wrong. It has loose ties to Rebecca, and it titled HER DARK LIES. 

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, Guest Post

Guest Blog Post: Publishing Anthologies by Barbara Barth

As part of the amazing new Women on Writing Blog Tour for author Barbara Barth’s novel “The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later”, I am honored to shared this guest blog post from the author today on writing anthologies. I hope you all will enjoy this as much as I did.

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     I wish I planned better. I’ve always jumped right in doing something without much thought to it. The idea I can do this always crosses my mind first and then I ask myself, what was I thinking? Publishing anthologies (now I have done two with a third on its way early 2020) has been a learning process for me. I’m delighted to say you can teach an old dog new tricks and I’ve made progress in the planning department.

     The first two anthologies A Cup of Christmas (2014) and A Cup of Love (Valentine’s 2018) were beasts to conquer in a short timeframe. I contacted writers I knew, sent guidelines for stories and formatting. I didn’t want to hinder anyone’s style, so I was open to memoir, fiction, recipes, and poetry. Some great things came in, some not so great. Some of the best writers sent in first drafts, not finished projects. I’m not an editor for punctuation, I’m more about continuity. The good news, many flushed out their stories, and for those that didn’t, well I did my own haphazard editing. The anthologies were to benefit a charity, First Book that does wonderful things for children in need with reading and learning materials. The writers pulled together and both anthologies, last-minute ideas, were completed in six weeks each. An awesome task but we got it done. I also have a wonderful book designer, my sister, who knows how to knock it out of the park with a fabulous looking product. Those two anthologies were eBooks only.

      I joked, if I ever do this again, I’d call it A Cup of Cyanide. I was over all the work I’d brought on myself with the others, and you get my drift with the cyanide! Never crack a joke like that with a group of writers. They loved the title, and so a third anthology is in the works. A bit of murder and mayhem. This time it’s being done differently. It’s our Walton Writers project. We’re taking our time. The group members will design the cover and interior, edit the stories, and learn the book formatting process. It’s the focus of our monthly meetings. This anthology is a grand way for everyone to be involved, make the decisions, and ultimately have a book (both paper and eBook) that is their product. Our non-profit this time is The Monroe-Walton Center for the Arts, where we meet each month. We plan to have a big launch party at the Art Center when we finish.

      The bottom line, it’s all been great. The writers (from never published to award-winning) gave freely and quickly to the first two anthologies. Writers giving back. I love that. And the excitement of our writing group for the new anthology is infectious. I learn something new myself at every meeting, because it’s all a learning process, to be better writers.

      So, if you think you want to publish an anthology and don’t know how, I didn’t either. Don’t let that stop you. 


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The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later

Tour Begins November 11th

Book Summary

Picking up where The Unfaithful Widow ended, Ten Years Later continues the author’s journey from widow to a slightly askew woman. A memoir written with warmth and candor on being single again, aging, and finding a creative path surrounded by dogs, friends, laughter, and a bit of craziness. Barbara Barth shares stories on the adventures that followed her first year alone as she moved headfirst into a new life, listening to her heart, sometimes not so wisely, but always full speed ahead. Join her on the ride of her life, from owning an antique shop to moving to a Victorian cottage outside of Atlanta, and all the follies in between. Going into the next decade with six dogs by her side, the author proves you are only as old as you feel, and happiness begins with a grateful heart. A funny and engaging memoir for anyone who wants to be their own superhero facing life’s good and bad moments.

Print Length: 374 pages

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, LLC

ASIN: B07YBNHXZG

The Unfaithful widow Ten Years Later is available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.com

About the Author, Barbara Barth

Author, blogger, sometimes antique dealer, dog hoarder, bedazzled by life. Widowed ten years ago, Barth writes about finding a creative path back to happiness. Her recent move to a 1906 historic cottage brought many surprises, including discovering the Monroe–Walton Center for the Arts where she started the monthly Walton Writers group and is on the MWCA Board as Literary Arts Chair. Barth is a contributor to Walton Living Magazine and a former blogger for The Balancing Act, Lifetime Television’s morning show for women. Currently she lives with six dogs, rescue dogs that rescued her. 

Visit her website at https://www.barbarabarthwriter.com/, follow her on Twitter @writerwithdogs, and follow her Amazon author page.

— Blog Tour Dates

Today @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us in celebrating the launch of Barbara Barth’s new book The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

November 12th @ All Things Audry

Author Barbara Barth is a guest writer over at Audry’s blog today and will be talking about women friendships.

http://allthingsaudry.blogspot.com/

November 13th @ Words from the Heart

Stop by Linda’s blog and you can read a guest post by Barbara Barth about publishing anthologies.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

November 14th @ Thoughts in Progress

Visit Mason’s blog today and you can read Barbara’s guest post about starting a writing group. Don’t miss it!

https://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/

November 15th @ The World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog and read her review of Barbara Barth’s book The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

November 16th @ Lori Duff Writes

Stop by Lori’s blog today where you can read her interview with Barbara Barth and read her review of Barbara’s book The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later.

https://www.loriduffwrites.com/blog/

November 16th @ Jill Sheets Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today and you can read Barbara Barth’s guest post about self-publishing.

https://jillsheets.blogspot.com.

November 17th @ A Storybook World

Be sure to stop by Deirdra’s blog today and check out her spotlight of the book The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later and enter to win a copy of the book!

http://www.astorybookworld.com

November 18th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Be sure you visit Bev’s blog and read Barbara Barth’s guest post about starting over at 70. You won’t want to miss this!

http://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

November 19th @ Look to the Western Sky

Be sure to visit Margo’s blog and read her interview with author Barbara Barth. Don’t miss it!

https://margoldill.com/blog

November 20th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog

Make sure you visit Anthony’s blog today and read Barbara Barth’s guest post about publishing anthologies.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

November 21st @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Stop by Cassandra’s blog today and read her review of The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later. You can also enter to win a copy of the book as well!

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

November 22nd @ Karen Brown Tyson’s Blog

Join us at Karen Brown Tyson’s blog where you can read a guest post about self-publishing by author Barbara Barth. Don’t miss it!

November 23rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog again and you can read her review of Barbara Barth’s book The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later.

http://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

November 24th @ Choices

Be sure to stop by Madeline’s blog and read Barbara Barth’s guest post that will be talking about women friendships.

http://madelinesharples.com/

November 25th @ Wild Woman Writer

Visit Anne’s blog today and you can read Barbara Barth’s blog guest post about starting over at 70.

https://wildwomanwriter2018.blogspot.com/

November 26th @ Life Like A Galaxy Girl

Stop by Alanna’s blog today and you can read her review of Barbara Barth’s memoir The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later.

http://lifelikeagalaxygirl.com/

November 27th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Visit Lisa’s blog today and you can read her interview with author Barbara Barth and find out more about this incredible author!

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

November 28th @ Bibliotica

Stop by Melissa’s blog and make sure you read Barbara Barth’s guest post about grief over the years and finding happiness again.

https://www.bibliotica.com/

November 29th @ Stranded in Chaos

Visit Sara’s blog and you can read her review of Barbara Barth’s book The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later.

https://strandupdate.blogspot.com/

November 30th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog again and read his review of Barbara Barth’s book The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 1st @ Words from the Heart

Visit Linda’s blog and read her review of Barbara Barth’s book The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later. 

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com

December 2nd @ Women’s Writing Circle

Stop by the blog Women’s Writing Circle and you can read a guest post by Barbara Barth about adopting dogs while all her friends are having grandkids. Don’t miss this one!

http://www.susanweidener.com/


Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

The Princess Plan (A Royal Wedding #1) by Julia London Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A visit from royalty turns into a tragic mystery as the stubborn Prince of a visiting nation teams up with a driven young woman who runs a local gazette in London society in author Julia London’s novel “The Princess Plan”, the first in the A Royal Wedding Series. 

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The Synopsis 

Princes have pomp and glory—not murdered secretaries and crushes on commoners

Nothing gets London’s high society’s tongues wagging like a good scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefitted from an anonymous tip about the crime, prompting Sebastian to take an interest in playing detective—and an even greater one in Eliza.

With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more salacious than a prince dallying with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And when things heat up behind closed doors, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.


The Review

A well written, character driven narrative, author Julia London soars as this novel brings historical fiction, romance and mystery to life. The chemistry between Eliza and Prince Sebastian was the immediate draw of this romance tale, as Sebastian’s temper and Eliza’s independence clashed immediately, but soon led to a friendship and something more as time went on. 

What the author did an excellent job of however was expertly exploring the roles of men and women in society, those that are expected versus the roles we seek to create for ourselves. Also exploring social class and how status can sometimes impede life choices, it was fascinating to see the characters struggle against these roles thrust upon them by others when trying to find their own way themselves. Something quite difficult when caught up in a murder mystery, pending trade agreements and a brewing romance that puts Sebastian in the hot seat as he must choose between love and his duty. 


The Verdict

Engaging, entertaining and explosive, author Julia London has created a smash hit with The Princess Plan. A story of society’s expectations versus our own, love and overcoming the odds to maintain that love, and battling those who conspire against you behind your back, this was a truly tantalizing read that readers will not be able to get enough of. A lengthy read, the book is equal parts mystery, romance and historical fiction, creating a book that many different readers can enjoy. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of Julia London’s “The Princess Plan (A Royal Wedding #1)” today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Julia London is a NYT, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance. She is a six-time finalist for the RITA Award of excellence in romantic fiction, and the recipient of RT Bookclub’s Best Historical Novel.

SOCIAL LINKS:

 www.julialondon.com/newsletter

 www.facebook.com/julialondon

 www.twitter.com/juliaflondon

 www.instagram.com/julia_f_london

BUY LINKS:

Harlequin

Amazon

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Google Play

IndieBound

Kobo

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The Princess Plan Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

London 1845

All of London has been on tenterhooks, desperate for a glimpse of Crown Prince Sebastian of Alucia during his highly anticipated visit. Windsor Castle was the scene of Her Majesty’s banquet to welcome him. Sixty-and-one-hundred guests were on hand, feted in St. George’s Hall beneath the various crests of the Order of the Garter. Two thousand pieces of silver cutlery were used, one thousand crystal glasses and goblets. The first course and main dish of lamb and potatoes were served on silver-gilded plates, followed by delicate fruits on French porcelain.

Prince Sebastian presented a large urn fashioned of green Alucian malachite to our Queen Victoria as a gift from his father the King of Alucia. The urn was festooned with delicate ropes of gold around the mouth and the neck.

The Alucian women were attired in dresses of heavy silk worn close to the body, the trains quite long and brought up and fastened with buttons to facilitate walking. Their hair was fashioned into elaborate knots worn at the nape. The Alucian gentlemen wore formal frock coats of black superfine wool that came to midcalf, as well as heavily embroidered waistcoats worn to the hip. It was reported that Crown Prince Sebastian is “rather tall and broad, with a square face and neatly trimmed beard, a full head of hair the color of tea, and eyes the color of moss,” which the discerning reader might think of as a softer shade of green. It is said he possesses a regal air owing chiefly to the many medallions and ribbons he wore befitting his rank.

Honeycutt’s Gazette of Fashion and Domesticity for Ladies

The Right Honorable Justice William Tricklebank, a widower and justice of the Queen’s Bench in Her Majesty’s service, was very nearly blind, his eyesight having steadily eroded into varying and fuzzy shades of gray with age. He could no longer see so much as his hand, which was why his eldest daughter, Miss Eliza Tricklebank, read his papers to him.

Eliza had enlisted the help of Poppy, their housemaid, who was more family than servant, having come to them as an orphaned girl more than twenty years ago. Together, the two of them had anchored strings and ribbons halfway up the walls of his London townhome, and all the judge had to do was follow them with his hand to move from room to room. Among the hazards he faced was a pair of dogs that were far too enthusiastic in their wish to be of some use to him, and a cat who apparently wished him dead, judging by the number of times he put himself in the judge’s path, or leapt into his lap as he sat, or walked across the knitting the judge liked to do while his daughter read to him, or unravelled his ball of yarn without the judge’s notice.

The only other potential impediments to his health were his daughters—Eliza, a spinster, and her younger sister, Hollis, otherwise known as the Widow Honeycutt. They were often together in his home, and when they were, it seemed to him there was quite a lot of laughing at this and shrieking at that. His daughters disputed that they shrieked, and accused him of being old and easily startled. But the judge’s hearing, unlike his eyesight, was quite acute, and those two shrieked with laughter. Often.

At eight-and-twenty, Eliza was unmarried, a fact that had long baffled the judge. There had been an unfortunate and rather infamous misunderstanding with one Mr. Asher Daughton-Cress, who the judge believed was despicable, but that had been ten years ago. Eliza had once been demure and a politely deferential young lady, but she’d shed any pretense of deference when her heart was broken. In the last few years she had emerged vibrant and carefree. He would think such demeanour would recommend her to gentlemen far and wide, but apparently it did not. She’d had only one suitor since her very public scandal, a gentleman some fifteen years older than Eliza. Mr. Norris had faithfully called every day until one day he did not. When the judge had inquired, Eliza had said, “It was not love that compelled him, Pappa. I prefer my life here with you—the work is more agreeable, and I suspect not as many hours as marriage to him would require.”

His youngest, Hollis, had been tragically widowed after only two years of a marriage without issue. While she maintained her own home, she and her delightful wit were a faithful caller to his house at least once a day without fail, and sometimes as much as two or three times per day. He should like to see her remarried, but Hollis insisted she was in no rush to do so. The judge thought she rather preferred her sister’s company to that of a man.

His daughters were thick as thieves, as the saying went, and were coconspirators in something that the judge did not altogether approve of. But he was blind, and they were determined to do what they pleased no matter what he said, so he’d given up trying to talk any practical sense into them.

That questionable activity was the publication of a ladies’ gazette. Tricklebank didn’t think ladies needed a gazette, much less one having to do with frivolous subjects such as fashion, gossip and beauty. But say what he might, his daughters turned a deaf ear to him. They were unfettered in their enthusiasm for this endeavour, and if the two of them could be believed, so was all of London.

The gazette had been established by Hollis’s husband, Sir Percival Honeycutt. Except that Sir Percival had published an entirely different sort of gazette, obviously— one devoted to the latest political and financial news. Now that was a useful publication to the judge’s way of thinking.

Sir Percival’s death was the most tragic of accidents, the result of his carriage sliding off the road into a swollen river during a rain, which also saw the loss of a fine pair of grays. It was a great shock to them all, and the judge had worried about Hollis and her ability to cope with such a loss. But Hollis proved herself an indomitable spirit, and she had turned her grief into efforts to preserve her husband’s name. But as she was a young woman without a man’s education, and could not possibly comprehend the intricacies of politics or financial matters, she had turned the gazette on its head and dedicated it solely to topics that interested women, which naturally would be limited to the latest fashions and the most tantalizing on dits swirling about London’s high society. It was the judge’s impression that women had very little interest in the important matters of the world.

And yet, interestingly, the judge could not deny that Hollis’s version of the gazette was more actively sought than her husband’s had ever been. So much so that Eliza had been pressed into the service of helping her sister prepare her gazette each week. It was curious to Tricklebank that so many members of the Quality were rather desperate to be mentioned among the gazette’s pages.

Today, his daughters were in an unusually high state of excitement, for they had secured the highly sought-after invitations to the Duke of Marlborough’s masquerade ball in honor of the crown prince of Alucia. One would think the world had stopped spinning on its axis and that the heavens had parted and the seas had receded and this veritable God of All Royal Princes had shined his countenance upon London and blessed them all with his presence.

Hogwash.

Everyone knew the prince was here to strike an important trade deal with the English government in the name of King Karl. Alucia was a small European nation with impressive wealth for her size. It was perhaps best known for an ongoing dispute with the neighboring country of Wesloria—the two had a history of war and distrust as fraught as that between England and France.

The judge had read that it was the crown prince who was pushing for modernization in Alucia, and who was the impetus behind the proposed trade agreement. Prince Sebastian envisioned increasing the prosperity of Alucia by trading cotton and iron ore for manufactured goods. But according to the judge’s daughters, that was not the most important part of the trade negotiations. The important part was that the prince was also in search of a marriage bargain.

“It’s what everyone says,” Hollis had insisted to her father over supper recently “And how is it, my dear, that everyone knows what the prince intends?” the judge asked as he stroked the cat, Pris, on his lap. The cat had been named Princess when the family believed it a female. When the houseman Ben discovered that Princess was, in fact, a male, Eliza said it was too late to change the name. So they’d shortened it to Pris. “Did the prince send a letter? Announce it in the Times?”

Caro says,” Hollis countered, as if that were quite obvious to anyone with half a brain where she got her information. “She knows everything about everyone, Pappa.”

“Aha. If Caro says it, then by all means, it must be true.”

“You must yourself admit she is rarely wrong,” Hollis had said with an indignant sniff.

Caro, or Lady Caroline Hawke, had been a lifelong friend to his daughters, and had been so often underfoot in the Tricklebank house that for many years, it seemed to the judge that he had three daughters.

Caroline was the only sibling of Lord Beckett Hawke and was also his ward. Long ago, a cholera outbreak had swept through London, and both Caro’s mother and his children’s mother had succumbed. Amelia, his wife, and Lady Hawke had been dear friends. They’d sent their children to the Hawke summer estate when Amelia had taken ill. Lady Hawke had insisted on caring for her friend and, well, in the end, they were both lost.

Lord Hawke was an up-and-coming young lord and politician, known for his progressive ideas in the House of Lords. He was rather handsome, Hollis said, a popular figure, and socially in high demand. Which meant that, by association, so was his sister. She, too, was quite comely, which made her presence all the easier to her brother’s many friends, the judge suspected.

But Caroline did seem to know everyone in London, and was constantly calling on the Tricklebank household to spout the gossip she’d gleaned in homes across Mayfair. Here was an industrious young lady—she called on three salons a day if she called on one. The judge supposed her brother scarcely need worry about putting food in their cupboards, for the two of them were dining with this four-and-twenty or that ten-and-six almost every night. It was a wonder Caroline wasn’t a plump little peach.

Perhaps she was. In truth, she was merely another shadow to the judge these days.

“And she was at Windsor and dined with the queen,” Hollis added with superiority.

“You mean Caro was in the same room but one hundred persons away from the queen,” the judge suggested. He knew how these fancy suppers went.

“Well, she was there, Pappa, and she met the Alucians, and she knows a great deal about them now. I am quite determined to discover who the prince intends to offer for and announce it in the gazette before anyone else. Can you imagine? I shall be the talk of London!”

This was precisely what Mr. Tricklebank didn’t like about the gazette. He did not want his daughters to be the talk of London.

But it was not the day for him to make this point, for his daughters were restless, moving about the house with an urgency he was not accustomed to. Today was the day of the Royal Masquerade Ball, and the sound of crisp petticoats and silk rustled around him, and the scent of perfume wafted into his nose when they passed. His daughters were waiting impatiently for Lord Hawke’s brougham to come round and fetch them. Their masks, he was given to understand, had already arrived at the Hawke House, commissioned, Eliza had breathlessly reported, from “Mrs. Cubison herself.”

He did not know who Mrs. Cubison was.

And frankly, he didn’t know how Caro had managed to finagle the invitations to a ball at Kensington Palace for his two daughters—for the good Lord knew the Tricklebanks did not have the necessary connections to achieve such a feat.

He could feel their eagerness, their anxiety in the nervous pitch of their giggling when they spoke to each other. Even Poppy seemed nervous. He supposed this was to be the ball by which all other balls in the history of mankind would forever be judged, but he was quite thankful he was too blind to attend.

When the knock at the door came, he was startled by such squealing and furious activity rushing by him that he could only surmise that the brougham had arrived and the time had come to go to the ball.

Excerpted from The Princess Plan by Julia London, Copyright © 2019 by Dinah Dinwiddle. Published by HQN Books.