Posted in Reading and Reviewing

A New Audiobook and Producer, Darla Middlebrook

The Discombobulated Decipherers is finally out in Audiobook form. What a perfect time for a winter mystery and lots of fun. I feel privileged to have had Darla Middlebrook narrate and produce my book. She is an excellent voice person and adds many surprises to the narration. Wait until you hear her singing voice. I thought it was only fitting to introduce you to Darla and for all of us to get to know a little about her. After reading her interview I know I want to become better friends. Thank you, Darla, for taking us into the story of Jezabelle and Brilliant and leave us wanting more.

Darla MIddlebrook

Who is Darla Middlebrook in real life behind the voice and the acting?

Darla is a 68 years “young” retiree who works on audiobook recording 3 or 4 days a week and does volunteer readings at the local hospital and some of the local nursing homes. When did you realize you wanted to enter the world of acting and voice work or was it something you always knew and began as a child?

Audiobooks, audiobook narration and voice acting, in general, were not things I had heard of when I was a child.  I began to be interested in doing this right after I retired in 2009.  I thought it would be easy because “it’s just reading, heck I can do that!” (quoting my uninformed, July 2009 self)

How do you choose the projects you accept?

Most of us have heard that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  Well, that’s usually the first thing that grabs my attention.  Then I read the author’s take on the book, read the audition clip and go from there.  If I don’t like one or the other of these, I don’t audition for the book.  I have occasionally, been asked to audition because an author likes my voice.

The Discombobulated Decipherers has many characters. Is it hard to switch voices and how do you decide what inflection to put into each character?

I, usually, skim the entire manuscript to get a “feel” for the characters.  Then I have them talk to each other (in my mind).  I decide right away which characters are “villains” and why they are “villains”.  I do this by indulging in my “bad habit” of reading the last couple of chapters first.  I always make recordings of each character when s/he first occurs in the story and when s/he has emotional moments.  This way I can refer back to the recording to refresh my memory of how I made the character sound. This has helped me to keep the characters consistent if I end up being asked to do a series.

You previously were a Speech Pathologist. How does that career work into your career as an actor and voice professional?

I have more insight into the care of my instrument (voice).  I know what muscles to use and have a decent ear for vocalization.  I am more aware (I believe) of what types of voice(s) can be used when I work because I do not want to pick something that is going to tire or damage my instrument in the long run.  I can refer back to speech errors/problems that I can imitate which actually work as characterizations for voices.  I have also worked with a  professional singing coach since 1975.  This has helped me to use a wide pitch range when building character voices.  Often, a ¼ to ½ tone change in pitch can make all the difference in a character’s voice.

Tell us a little bit about AIRS-LA and why you chose to be a part of that venue?

AIRS-LA has a website which explains their goals and vision much better than I can.  I became involved with them through my first voice-over acting coach, Vanessa Hart (deceased).  She advised me to do as much reading as possible to improve my skills.  After I started with AIRS-LA, I was approached at a conference by Joe Jurca (who is heavily involved with AIRS-LA).  He thanked me for my contribution and praised my reading skills (made me glow, I tell you).  So, I have continued on with them.  Originally, I read CAT FANCY (now called CATSTER) magazine.  Then I suggested that I read the Canadian version of Reader’s Digest.  So, now I read from two magazines. (Did you know that Reader’s Digest is different in each country in which it is published?  Stories are related to the particular country, so Canada’s version has stories that you may not see in the US, British, or Australian editions)

In the Discombobulated Decipherers, you use your beautiful singing voice to add to the story. Do you have other releases or music that you have produced?

No, I do not have any professional music releases.  I have, however, sung in several musicals, operas, and operettas with a couple of semi-professional theatre group in Regina, Saskatchewan.  Regina is the capital of the province and is just up the road about 45 minutes from Moose Jaw, where I live.

     Please tell us about some of your other projects. What was your favorite and what was the hardest one and why?

My favorite project is always the one on which I am, currently, working.  The hardest one I have worked on required that I pronounce several Aztec and Mayan words.  But, in some ways that particular project was easy.  It happened to be a story based on an actual archeological dig in South American.  One of the things that I often do is refer to YouTube for pronunciations.  Well, when I was working on this project, I Googled the “The red Queen dig”.  Up popped a 2-hour National Geographic special about that particular dig!  Words were pronounced and spelled out on the screen!!  All I had to do was listen to them, repeat after the speaker and voila, I sounded like a genius!!  ☺ ☺

What advice would you give to authors or those wanting to go into your profession?

My best advice to authors would be to “read your manuscript aloud to someone” so that you know whether or not it “flows”.  I think authors should do this even if they do not plan to have the book converted to audiobook format.  For those who want to go into Voice Over work, find a good, reputable coach.  DO NOT fall for any of the internet scams that tell you that you can become a voice-over actor in (pick a number) easy online quick lessons.  YOU CAN NOT!  I am lucky that I have had several very good coaches.  I met my coaches at valid Voice Over conferences, not online.  I have singing, acting and speech pathology background that has stood me in good stead, but even after doing this for 10 years, I still consider myself to be a newbie.

Is there anything you would like us to know about you that I haven’t asked?

I am (almost) a crazy cat lady.  Lots of cat-related clothing and knickknacks, but only one cat.  My cat can be a little monster at times and lets me know when (she feels) I have been in my studio for too long ☺

I always ask my guest for their favorite quote? What is yours?

This changes every day, but today’s quotes would be:  “No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot” – Mark Twain  OR  “Highly Illogical” – Mr. Spock (Star Trek)

Thank you Darla for taking the time to be here and answer my questions. Make sure you visit Darla’s site and links to see and hear her other work.

Darla’s Website:  https://www.darlasvoice.net/

Darlas’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/199095733771188/

Darla’s Voice Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/Darlas-Voice-246840192020028/

You can find the Discombobulated Decipherer’s Audiobook here along with the others from the series.

It is also available in print and e-book form from Amazon and also available at these ebook retailers.

Comment on this blog as I am giving away two free copies of the audiobook The Discombobulated Decipherers. Invite people over and let them sign up too. I can’t wait for your comments.

Posted in Characters from my books, Marvelous Guests, Reading and Reviewing

It’s Delightful Delight DeLure of Fuchsia Fame

Today I welcome Delight Delure, former owner of Ella’s Enchanted Forest and current owner of The Pink Percolator to my blog. Delight is one of Granny’s best friends and also is the niece of Jezabelle Jingle of Brilliant, MN. Let’s see what Delight has to say.

Wow, I can’t believe I am actually a guest on a blog. Usually it is Granny that gets that honor. Let me see, what can I tell you about myself?

I was the former owner of Ella’s Enchanted Forest. It was a bistro type experience. I served coffee, tea, my own made up concoctions and goodies to my customers. Trees and plants were a huge part of my business too. I was the go-to place for funerals, weddings and “just because”occasions. I actually had trees growing in my building with the ceiling extended so they could grow and thrive. But all that ended when Granny got me involved in a new investigation of hers. Someone stole my trees and planted them in Granny’s back yard. Then we found out the floor moved down into the underground streets. Gravy, that’s Gile Graves, owner of Graves Funeral Home, thought my building would be the perfect place to relocate his mortuary because when the weather was bad, they could transport the casket to the Mausoleum in the cemetery by way of the underground streets. The city thought so too so they gave me funds to build my own new coffeehouse so Gravy could move to my building.

You can’t miss the Pink Percolator if you drive into Fuchsia. It is shaped like a giant percolator, pink of course, attached to a teapot addition. In the middle is our patio with our whipped cream fountain. It really is a better place for me to create my concoctions.

I have a daughter and her name is Ella. She helps me with the coffee and tea along with falling in love from time to time with various men in this town. My husband is dead but that doesn’t mean I am not looking to replace him. Don’t tell Ella, that might upset her. My Aunt Jezabelle lives in Brilliant. She is more my age but she is still my aunt. I can’t mention her name in front of Granny because they are a little competitive. Jezabelle solves crimes too, and Granny doesn’t always approve of the way she does it. I think Granny is just being ornery and doesn’t want to admit that maybe together the two would be a dynamic duo. Just my opinion.

Folks in Fuchsia are friendly. I know most of what goes on. I eavesdrop on conversations and I have been known to mike a table so Granny and her gang can find out what the men are up to. They seem to think all we should do is knit. The last time Granny held a knitting needle she skewered someone.

I also have a van, although Granny finally added to her car collection with a van so I don’t always have to use my business van to drive us on our escapades. Her van is Fuchsia so it does get noticed, but then no one outside of Fuchsia suspects a group of little old ladies can be cunning and dangerous.

I have Granny to thank for helping me have faith in myself too. My husband usually made all the decisions. I thought I couldn’t think for myself but with Granny’s help, I know I am a successful delightful woman. I like to giggle. It’s up to you to guess what I might be giggling about. I will tell you it might shock you.

It’s time to go. I need to come up with a new coffee drink. Granny made Mavis a drink, an alcoholic drink with coffee to make her quick blubbering. I need to mimic it but leave out the tequila, or maybe I won’t. Until next time. It’s been fun.

You can find Delight Delure most days in The Pink Percolator and getting in trouble with Granny from the Fuchsia, MN cozy mystery series. Or visiting her aunt in Brilliant in the Brilliant, MN series. Make sure you leave a comment or a tip on a new coffee drink or pastry delicacy that Delight can try.

You can find Delight and the books here.

Posted in Reading and Reviewing

Mabel, Murder & Muffins by Sharon Mierke

Mabel and Flori are not strangers to me. I became their fans when I read the previous books in the Mabel Wickles Cozy Mystery Series. Mabel is the main character in these series, an older woman, an amateur sleuth and a very interesting character. Flori, is her friend and gets dragged into Mabel’s sleuthing adventures.

This time they take themselves out of their comfort zone which is their little community of Parson’s Cove. They take a chance and travel to Yellow Rose, Texas. and an adventure where not only do they try to to track down a murderer, but meet new friends with cultural differences they are not used to. It makes for an interesting read and an even more interesting mystery.

The writing is superb in that it has more twists and turns and clever plots to keep a reader on their toes. I would definitely give this five stars. You won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait until the next book in this series.

Mabel, Murder & Muffins

In Mabel, Murder, & Muffins, Mabel and four other contestants win a trip to Las Vegas. When one of them, Grace Hobbs, is found murdered and left in the woods in Mabel’s hometown of Parson’s Cove, Mabel’s sleuthing instincts heat up. Along with her friend, Flori Flanders, and retired sheriff, Reg Snee, Mabel goes on a hunt for the killer. A search that will take her all the way to Yellow Rose, Texas. It’s then she realizes how complicated the mystery is when no one appears to be who they say they are. As Mabel says, ‘it’s like a story our of Alice in Wonderland.’

About the Author

“I’m not sure when someone decides to become a writer. I was once asked why I started and I said, ‘I got tired of reading so decided to start writing!’ Some dream about it but never do it and others are foolish enough to try. I have always loved Daphne DuMaurier’s quote: ‘Writers should be read and not seen or heard.’ I loved the thought of writing but having anonymity at the same time. I doubt that can be achieved in today’s world. I write to be true to myself. I share it because I hope others will find joy in reading it.”

As most writers, Sharon started writing short stories. After having several published and finding it hard to squeeze a story into only a few hundred words, she decided to follow her dream and write novels. 

Her book, VIRTUAL ENEMIES, is a mystery and introduces readers to Beryl Swallows, a retired police officer and now a private investigator. In this story, she is hired to solve a murder – by the victim herself. A mystery within a mystery. This is the first in the Beryl Swallows Mysteries. In the second, CASE CLOSED.not, Beryl finds one of her mother’s old diaries and it takes her back into a past she never knew existed. Was her own mother a murderer? 

Sharon has four current books in the Mabel Wickles mystery series: DECEPTION BY DESIGN, CALAMITY BY THE CAR WASH, COLD CASE CONUNDRUM, and FROZEN IDENTITY. Mabel is good at finding trouble; however, along with her friend, Flori, and other Parson’s Cove citizens, she always seems to find the way out. And find the guilty party!
Besides writing mysteries, Sharon writes historical fiction. Her first historical fiction, SARAH’S VALLEY, carries us on a journey from the east coast of the United States, through the Midwest, and up into Canada. The sequel, RETURN TO SARAH’S VALLEY, continues the story. Now it is Patrick’s turn to tell his life story to one of Winnipesaukee’s descendants. 
Her second historical fiction, THE WIDOW’S WALK, centers around life in the early 1800s on the Texas Panhandle and down to the island of Galveston. 
A poem written by the author’s mother, Ellen Bunse, in 1929, was the inspiration for Sharon’s latest book, OLD HOUSE. The house was built in the 1860s and through the next hundred years, you will read of all the people who found shelter within its walls, from a Texas cowboy with a bounty on his head, an old prospector, and a woman seeking refuge.  

Sharon’s books contain no graphic violence, sexual content, or coarse language.

Sharon Mierke and her husband live in Manitoba, Canada, where the summers are hot and the winters, cold. Their second home is Galveston, Texas, where they have established many friendships over the past twenty-some years. They have four grown children and four grandchildren. Sharon’s hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, and photography.

Join Sharon on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin.
www.sharonrosemierke.weebly

Posted in Reading and Reviewing, Releases

Deadly Flip by M. E. Bakos

I am an M. E. Bakos fan. I will let you in on a secret. I actually know her in the flesh, not just online. Having said that, those of you that know me and the books I review are aware of the fact I only review books I like. I can’t see any reason to give someone a bad review. If you are reading my reviews know that I give four and five stars and if I don’t like a book, you will never know I read it.

Amazon

Having got that out of the way Deadly Flip was a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading. This is the second book in the series. A hidden diary, a house flip, a quirky ex-husband, a hunky sheriff and main character who is a great amateur sleuth without becoming annoying, all come together in a mystery which weaves an interesting story with an ending which will surprise you. What more can you want? When a cozy mystery makes me feel that I want to settle in to the community and become a friend of the characters it is a winner with me, and this book does all of that and more. Definitely a Five Star mystery.

About the Author

I have published several short stories in national women’s magazines. My love of mysteries has led to writing cozies. My first mystery short story, “Carpe Diem or Murder at the Carp Fest” appeared in the Festival of Crime, a SINC Anthology. My second, “Perfect Storm. . . Perfect Murder” is in Dark Side of the Loon, also a SINC Anthology. 

     As an enthusiastic fan of home improvement shows, I have done numerous projects through the years. A fun fact: As an intern with a Minneapolis non-profit housing agency, I researched, wrote and edited a monthly home improvement newsletter. 

     I am a member of Twin Cities Sisters in Crime, the SINC Guppies Group, and an alumna of the University of Minnesota. DEADLY FLIP is my latest Home Renovator Mystery. FATAL FLIP is my first cozy mystery novel. Published by Cozy Cat Press.

     I am a lifelong resident of Minnesota and reside in Minneapolis with my husband Joe Sebesta, and our spoiled Morkie.

Deadly Flip

Flipping houses can be deadly!
Katelyn takes on a home renovation in Hiptown, Minnesota, that “has history . . . a murder” at BFF Myra’s urging. What was she thinking? Besides the young woman being killed by the home’s prior owner, she learns the girl didn’t get the justice she deserved. Because of a double jeopardy ruling, the killer got away with murder! 
Katelyn finds a hidden diary, foils an intruder, and discovers more secrets while delays and expenses escalate as she renovates the house. Could the victim’s restless spirit be haunting the house, making it the rehab from hell? Can she find peace and justice for the dead woman? To get the renovation back on track, Katelyn, Myra, ex-hubby Eddy (it’s complicated), and handyman Wayne hold a séance and bring in paranormal investigators. Will this finally rid the house of bad karma? 
To top it off, Eddy is acting just plain weird, and hunky Sheriff Don Williams is a puzzle. Nosy neighbor, Mrs. Gilman, and Boots, the rescue cat, add to the fun in the second Home Renovator Mystery.

Find Mary at:

Website

Facebook

Just a little reminder from all of us authors to all our readers. Reviews help so if you like our books please leave a review wherever you bought it.

Posted in Reading and Reviewing, Releases

Granny Is Back!

Did you hear her yell the words “I’m Back?” Yes, Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt is back.

From a water-skiing mishap where she finds a dead body to a trip to the Mall of America — have you seen Granny’s freeway driving — the Ecstatic Emporium is being reopened as an escape room venue and Granny’s granddaughter, Angel, thinks she needs to be like Granny. What more could you ask for in the sixth book in the Fuchsia, Minnesota Cozy Mystery Series?

Not only is it now available on Amazon on Kindle and also in print, but it is available on KOBO, Nook, at BarnesandNoble.com, on Overdrive for Libraries and other venues.

Granny, Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt, is dear to my heart. When I began the Fuchsia Series I wasn’t sure where it would go. I had intended to end it at the fourth book but my readers wanted more, and so hopefully I can keep up the momentum.

In this book Granny is a tiny bit more serious. She is getting older, aging is a fact of life in our real lives but should we address it in he cozy mystery series? Do you all feel that’s a no-no? I haven’t decided. What I do know is that Angel is getting more like her step-grandmother every day and maybe she will have to step in and learn from Granny and her friends.

Granny’s life has not always been easy. She was forced as a teenager to quell her wild ways, get married to a wonderful man but one who felt women should do what they are told, and she tried to comply, raising her children the way society felt she should. As she got older she realized she has to be who she is which is witty, silly and unconventional. It is a lesson for all of us on living our life.

Fuchsia is a fictional Minnesota community. I never mention where it is, just like I never mention Granny’s age. I like to leave that to the readers imagination. I made Fuchsia non-conforming too. Our communities have become clones and we are restricted on what we can do with our yards and even the color of our homes.

I grew up in a time where the restrictions were less and we could be creative on our properties. I did grow up in a pink home, two of them in fact. Neighbors maybe didn’t always agree with what we did, or what we had in our yards, but people were respectful of each other and they weren’t so much into the perfect yard. I happen to love dandelions and so did my mom.

That’s it in a nutshell. I hope you enjoy the journey of Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt and her family and friends, and the community of Fuchsia where wacky rules. Laugh, enjoy and get away from reality for a smidgeon of time. While you’re at it, don’t forget about the Brilliant Series. It is brilliant.

You can find Granny Bricks A Bandit at these two links:

Kindle

Kobo, Nook and others

Posted in Book Reviews, Reading and Reviewing

Death By Chocolate by Sally Berneathy

Sally Berneathy was a new author for me. Death By Chocolate was the first book I read by this author. At the same time I bought this book another friend of mine, Twin City Sinc President and Member, Timya Owen posted about it on her Facebook page. I knew I was on to something because Timya reads only the best.

I love this author’s writing style and the book. It drew me right into the story, was a little quirky and had characters I could relate to. It was a refreshing fun mystery that is well written and keeps you wanting more. And more I will get because this author is now on my list of favorites. I will let the blurb on the book explain the mystery but take my word for it, if you are a cozy fan you will want to pick up a book by Sally Berneathy. Just because she is new to me doesn’t mean you might not already be reading her books because she is a USA Today Bestseller, I am happy I found her.

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Chocolate-Sally-Berneathy-ebook/dp/B004LX0FYS

Death By Chocolate

Lindsay loves chocolate. It tastes good, it makes her feel good, it never cheats on her like her almost-ex-husband. It’s her best friend. But someone wants her dead and uses her weak spot—chocolate—to try to murder her. 

Lindsay’s only secret is the recipe for her chocolate chip cookies, but she is surrounded by neighbors with deadly secrets. Suddenly she finds herself battling poisoned chocolate, a psycho stalker, and a dead man who seems awfully active for a corpse. 

Her best friend and co-worker, Paula, dyes her blond hair brown, hides from everybody and insists on always having an emergency exit from any room. Secrets from Paula’s past have come back to put lives in jeopardy.

Determined to help Paula, Lindsay enlists the reluctant aid of another neighbor, Fred, an OCD computer nerd. In spite of his mundane existence, Fred possesses tidbits of knowledge about such things as hidden microphones, guns, the inside of maximum security prisons and how to take someone down with a well-aimed kick to his chin. 

As Lindsay battles the elusive stalker, poisoned chocolate, and the dead man, she will need more than a chocolate fix to survive. But that’s always a good start.

About the Author which I took from her Amazon page. I hope she doesn’t mind.

I grew up in a small rural town in Oklahoma where our favorite entertainment on summer evenings was to sit outside under the stars and tell stories. When I went to bed at night, instead of a lullaby, I got a story. That could be due to the fact that everybody in my family has a singing voice like a bullfrog with laryngitis, but they sure could tell stories–ghost stories, funny stories, happy stories, scary stories. 

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a storyteller. Thank goodness for computers so I can write down my stories. It’s hard to make listeners sit still for the length of a book! Like my family’s tales, my stories are funny, scary, dramatic, romantic, paranormal, magic. 

Besides writing, my interests are reading, eating chocolate and riding my Harley. 

Currently I have written six Death by Chocolate mysteries: Death by Chocolate; Murder, Lies and Chocolate; The Great Chocolate Scam; Chocolate Mousse Attack; Fatal Chocolate Obsession; and Deadly Chocolate Addiction as well as four Charley’s Ghost mysteries: The Ex Who Wouldn’t Die; The Ex Who Glowed in the Dark; The Ex Who Conned a Psychic; and The Ex Who Saw a Ghost. More in each series will be released as soon as I can copy them from my brain to the computer! 

I have sold fifteen romance novels ranging from comedy to dark suspense under the names Sally Carleen, Sally Steward and Sara Garrett. For these novels, I won several awards including National Readers’ Choice, Romantic Times Best Silhouette Romance and two Rita finalist slots. Most of the Silhouettes are available as e-books, and I have e-pubbed six of the out-of-print single titles. 

Contact information is available on my website. I love to talk to readers! Okay, I just plain love to talk! 
http://www.sallyberneathy.com

Posted in Reading and Reviewing, Releases

It’s A Fuchsia, MN Cozy Mystery Day!

I am excited. Finally, after over a year I will have a new book out. In fact, it has been almost two years since you have heard from Granny aka Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt Crickett.

I wanted to share with you the new cover for Granny Bricks A Bandit. My publishing company tells me it is close.

Here is the scenario: Granny and her cohorts are at it again! When Granny and her neighbor Mavis, go water-skiing and discover a dead body, Granny’s sleuthing instincts take over! She is determined to identify the corpse and find the killer. But wait! No sooner are Granny and her cohorts on the murderer’s trail, then Mavis’ husband George suddenly disappears!  Could he be the killer’s next victim? Or could he be the killer? When the gals take a side trip to the Mall of America, they find a man fell to his death on a climbing wall––and Mavis is certain she spots George nearby! What does it all mean? Will Granny get to the bottom of it, with the help of her entourage of buddies and pets?

In case you haven’t read the others in the Fuchsia Series for one more week the rest of the series will be on sale on Kindle for $.99.

My new newsletter will be out the first part of March with the details and also I will highlight a little of what I have been doing during the snowy exile we have had in Minnesota. Be sure to get on the mailing list.

I am also in the process of writing reviews for a couple of the books I have read so watch this site for those reviews.

Until we meet again in Granny Bricks A Bandit….

Posted in Book Reviews

Shout From A Rooftop by Bart Gilbertson

I became aware of Author, Bart Gilbertson and his books a few years ago when he joined the publishing company that publishes my Fuchsia, Minnesota Cozy Mystery Series. His first book was Deathbed and Breakfast. I loved the book and he quickly became a friend. Bart took a few years off for some personal business and now he is back. Not only did he author the first chapter in the new group mystery, Wheel of Death by Cozy Cat Press,  but his new short story will get your attention.

Shout From A Rooftop is based on a true story and takes place in Corpus Christi, Texas. Who knew a girl’s slumber party could turn into a mystery that will keep the community on edge and a reader turning the pages in anticipation of the next words or twist and turn in the story?  Bart’s writing has only gotten better. You will want to read this short story and his book, Deathbed and Breakfast. I look forward to the next book in his journey as an author. Five stars and that is not because he is my friend but because he has earned it.

Shout From A Rooftop

In 1961, the only thing that might save your life is a Shout From A Rooftop.
Based on a true story.

Late one night in Corpus Christi, Texas, a teenage girl pajama party is crashed by an uninvited guest – a man with white hair and pink eyes. What began as a night of fun, games and music turned into a nightmare that none of them would ever be able to forget. You won’t believe what your eyes are reading as a crazed maniac pursues them to all ends … even if it means going all the way to the top of the roof.

This is his best work yet!” – Jean Hendry, Reviewer
At times I even felt like I was the one in danger.” – Billie Jenrette, Reviewer
I couldn’t put it down. It was captivating!” – Emillie Leaver, Reviewer

Bart Gilbertson

Taken from Bart’s Author page on Amazon.

WELCOME and thank you for stopping by my Author Page. So, who am I? Well, I guess I’m just your average person pursuing his dream. I love a good fiction novel. A mystery, epic fantasy, adventure, or comedy…I love it all. With my own writing, I want to put a good quality story on the shelf…something that I would like to read. Something I think that you’d like to read.

Things I like (but am not restricted to): Positive, upbeat people. Smiles. A hot cup of coffee. Flannel shirts. Sports (mainly football and basketball). Music … love music.

I live in Nebraska, am the father of two and now the grandfather of two. Amazing how the time flies…

If you like my stories, please remember to leave a review.

Visit Bart at his Website

Facebook Page

Posted in Book Reviews, Guest Authors

Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook

It is no secret 26047381_10155060885697611_5873356279400153772_nAuthor Claire Cook is one of my favorites, so I was over the moon when I won her book “Best Staged Plans.”51u6AWVTKNL._SY346_ It  was autographed too. Can you feel my excitement? Her books seem to fit where I am at this stage in my life. The first book  I read by MS Cook was “Never Too Late Your Roadmap for Reinvention.” After that I devoured the books my library had and now I am into buying her books to keep forever. This doesn’t happen very often for me except with Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison. I actually gifted “Never Too Late Your Roadmap for Reinvention to a couple of my best friends.

Best staged plans never usually work out for me and the road is bumpy right now for the main character, Sandy Sullivan. She wants to let go of her house and reinvent her life but the other members of her family who  share her life can’t seem to get on the same page. Her husband and son seem to tune her out when she needs help staging the house for sale. She is a professional and stages houses for a living so she knew what needed to be done to sell her house and to move on so she and her husband could become empty nesters.  Frustrated with the progress she accepts a job out-of-town and leaves a list to be finished while she is gone. Does it happen? Does she find what she is looking for while she is on a designing journey? You will have to read the book to find out.

I happen to be on this frustrating journey right now. I would love to sell our four bedroom home and let go of all the maintenance that comes with an older home freeing us the responsibility that home ownership requires.  I too have a husband who is dragging his heals.  I resonated with Sandy but I must admit I love the premise of the main character staging homes. I am a HGTV lover and wannabe home stager in my dreams.

I would definitely give “Best Staged Plans” five stars.

About Claire Cook taken from her Amazon author page: Thanks so much for discovering my books! Reinvention is the story of my books and my life. I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of my second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. I’m now the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of 18 books. It’s Never Too Late to Shine On!

I’ve reinvented myself again by turning Must Love Dogs into a series and writing my first nonfiction books Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (#1 Amazon Bestseller Women’s Personal Growth!) and Shine On: How to Grow Awesome Instead of Old to share everything I’ve learned on my own journey that might help you in your own.

Some of the nice things that have been said about my work: “The exuberant and charming Claire Cook is one of the  and funniest creators of contemporary women’s fiction,” according to The Times-Picayune. People magazine said my writing “goes down as easy as it sounds,” Good Housekeeping called it “laugh-out-loud,” Redbook “gleefully quirky” and the Chicago Tribune “funny and pitch perfect.” Shelf Awareness said, “Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs) has built a brand writing light-hearted women’s fiction blending kernels of the absurd and comedic in compulsively readable combinations.”

I was a teacher for sixteen years before writing my first book. I was born in Virginia, and lived for many years in Scituate, Massachusetts, a beach town between Boston and Cape Cod. My husband and I have recently moved to the suburbs of Atlanta to be closer to our two adult kids, who actually want us around again!

I have the world’s most fabulous readers, and I’m forever grateful to you all for giving me the gift of this career.

Be the first to hear about new releases, giveaways and insider extras at ClaireCook.com/newsletter. Hang out with me on Facebook (ClaireCookauthorpage), Twitter (ClaireCookwrite) and Pinterest (ClaireCookwrite).

Best Staged Plans

Sandy Sullivan is a professional home stager who lives and works in the Boston suburbs. So getting rid of her own house and downsizing should be a breeze, right? Well, best staged plans and all, Sandy’s husband, Greg, is dragging his feet and their son, Luke, has returned home and moved into the “bat cave” in the basement. Sandy reads them both the riot act and takes a job staging a boutique hotel recently acquired by her best friend’s boyfriend. The good news is that she can spend time in Atlanta with her recently married daughter, Shannon. The bad news is that Shannon soon receives a promotion and heads back up to Boston for training, leaving Sandy and her Southern son-in-law, Chance, as reluctant roommates. And Sandy finds herself in another delicate situation when she suspects her best friend’s boyfriend may be seeing another woman on the side. Fixing up houses may turn out to be easier than fixing up lives.

You can find Clair Cook at:

Amazon

and her website: Claire Cook

 

Happy Reading! And thank you Claire Cook for entertaining us with your writing.