November 10, 2018

Virginia-Makes Stories Come Alive

Maggie King Shares Richmond, A Mecca for Writers:
If you’re a writer, Richmond, Virginia is the place for you! The city is a mecca for writers of all stripes, offering all you need to jumpstart your creative process: plenty of art and architecture to admire; wonderful coffee from local roasters; parks; great watering holes; schools like Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, and community colleges; world-class museums; and libraries. There are even affordable places to live!

Richmond boasts great indy bookstores like Fountain Bookstore, Chop Suey Books, and Book People. The owners are always ready to host author signings and events.
History abounds in Virginia’s capital city. And, if your interest is down-and-dirty politics, visit the General Assembly during their session each winter. You’ll get a wealth of writing material at the GA.
The Library of Virginia’s collection is the most comprehensive resource in the world for the study of Virginia history, culture, and government.

In Richmond, you will also have the company of other writers: David Baldacci, Mary Burton, Patricia Cornwell, Dean King, Mary Miley, Howard Owen, Virginia Pye, and David L. Robbins, to name a few.

Tom Wolfe, the renowned author and journalist who died earlier this year, was born and raised in Richmond.

Edgar Allan Poe spent much of his life in Richmond. The Poe Museum is in the heart of Richmond's historic Shockoe Bottom district. The museum documents Poe’s accomplishments with pictures, relics, and verse. Here you will find the world's largest collection of his original manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings. The museum also provides an overview of early 19th century Richmond.

Ellen Glasgow, the novelist and Pulitzer prize winner who wrote about the changing world of the South, was a lifelong resident of Richmond. A place to visit is the Ellen Glasgow House, where the author lived from the age of 13 and did much of her writing. Unfortunately, you can only view the house, as it isn’t open to the public.

As a writer, you will find in Richmond opportunities for networking, education, support, and improving your craft.

James River Writers offers literary salons and writing contests. Their annual conference is first-class. At their monthly Writing Show, authors and other literary professionals share their experiences with the craft and business of writing. Writers get to network, learn, and expand their writing horizons.
Sisters in Crime is an organization that has 3,600 members in 48 countries worldwide. The Central Virginia chapter is a good place for crime writers to network and get advice. At chapter meetings, you can learn from experts on such subjects as terrorism, forensics, and private investigation. A few years ago, we toured the city jail (quite an eye opener).

The chapter has published many anthologies, giving opportunities to its members.
Virginia Romance Writers is a chapter of Romance Writers of America. VRW offers networking opportunities, as well as programs and workshops on craft. The organization has a wealth of information about the ever-evolving publishing world.

At Richmond Young Writers, boys and girls aged 9-17 can take after-school workshops in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, journalism, comics, and other topics. In the summer, young writers can attend week-long creative writing camps.

Writers can take classes at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School; Visual Arts Center; Lifelong Learning Center; and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.
Agile Writers, Hanover Writers Club, Richmond Christians Who Write, Virginia Writers Club, and various Writers Meetups are available.

Convinced that Richmond, Virginia is a great place to be a writer? Of course, lots of places in Virginia can make the same claim, especially Fredericksburg and Charlottesville. I started writing when I lived in Charlottesville. When I moved to Richmond in 2002, I continued to hone my craft. Richmond is where I first published and continue to publish. I call this city my lucky charm!

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win an e-copy of Murder at the Moonshine Inn. Leave a form of contact so we can find you.

Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, including Murder at the Book Group and Murder at the Moonshine Inn. She has contributed stories to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthologies and to the 50 Shades of Cabernet anthology.

Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. She enjoys reading, walking, movies, traveling, theatre, and

Instagram: authormaggieking
Amazon author page:

(Images by Gamma Man and dgladfelter of VisualHunt; and Wikipedia All info provided by Author)

And John Rosenman’s Virginia:
Hi, I’m John B. Rosenman, a retired English professor. In 1982 I was out of work in North Carolina. Luckily, I found a job available at Norfolk State University fifty miles away (check out the administration building to the left). I called four days before the deadline, miraculously got the job, and moved there promptly with my wife and two children.

Virginia Beach was like a rocket boost to my creativity. To date I’ve published about 300 short stories and two dozen books, most in the SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror areas. What is there about coastal Virginia that jump-started my writing?  Part of it was that about this time, I discovered the small and independent press which encouraged writers. I also discovered the Ocean Front Writers Group. I was a member for 20 years and sold many stories and novels thanks to the critiques of my new friends. Then there’s the excitement and freedom of the Tidewater area with the Virginia Beach coastline and annual Neptune Festival, featured below.  Watch out for those waves!      


I am the author of the ongoing Inspector of the Cross science-fiction / adventure series, featuring an elite agent who fights for over 4000 years to save humanity from aliens. Below to the left is the cover for The Turtan Trilogy, the first three books in the series. If you want a condensed power pack of the kinds of things I write, The Amazing Worlds of John B. Rosenman is featured to the right. It’s a kind of boastful title, but don’t hold it against me.  My publisher picked it.                                                   
Click to Buy: Amazing Worlds
Click to Buy: Trilogy

Virginia has so much to offer.  Thomas Jefferson, our third president, founded the University of Virginia, and Jane and I visited his stately home at Monticello. We’ve toured such scenic and historic places as Jamestown, Shenandoah National Park, and Skyline Drive. One of my favorite places is Woodstock Park. It’s just a mile from our home, and below is a photo of Jane and me at Woodstock to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We also like Luray Caverns, just west of Luray.  This cavern system is magnificent, especially if you like stalactites and stalagmites. 

I think Virginia’s variety has contributed to the variety of my fiction. For example, I worked at an historically black university for 29 years, and partly because of the school’s influence, I wrote an African SciFi novel, A Senseless Act of Beauty. I got the title off a car bumper! My young adult novel, The Merry-Go-Round Man is semi-autobiographical and features three boys growing up in the 1950s. One of them is me.            

Click to Buy: A Senseless Act of Beauty
      Click to Buy: The Merry-Go-Round Man

Click to Buy: Steam Heat
In case you think I’m a solemn and stuffy English professor, one of my novels was very controversial and cost me two jobs. I also write all kinds of weird humor as well as erotic horror.  Here’s the cover for Steam Heat, which is more than a little steamy.

Thanks for reading!  Here are some of my links. If you have any questions, e-mail me at

Visit his website at
Facebook Author Page:   
Check out one of his interviews at

JOHN B. ROSENMAN is a retired English professor from Norfolk State University. He has published three hundred stories in Weird Tales, Whitley Strieber's Aliens, Galaxy and elsewhere.  He has also published two dozen books, including SF novels such as Alien Dreams and A Senseless Act of Beauty (Crossroad Press) and The Merry-Go-Round Man, YA (also with Crossroad Press).  Other SF novels include Speaker of the Shakk and Beyond Those Distant Stars (Mundania Press), and the Inspector of the Cross series with MuseItUp Publishing. John’s time-travel story “Killers” received Musa Publishing’s 2013 Editor’s Top Pick award, and “The Blue of Her Hair, The Gold of Her Eyes” won Preditor’s and Editor’s Readers Poll award for SF/F short fiction in 2010. Some of John’s books are available as audio books from 
Two of John’s major themes are the endless, mind-stretching wonders of the universe and the limitless possibilities of transformation—sexual, cosmic, and otherwise, as portrayed in his short story “Dark Angel”. He is the former Chairman of the Board of the Horror Writers Association and the previous editor of The Rhetorician and Horror Magazine.

Want More?  I offer one of the books featured in my part of this post-- participant's choice-Just comment and leave a way of contact. 

And that’s not all:
Subscribe to my Newsletter & receive a free short story (click tab on my website & follow instructions:
(All info provided and released by authors)

November 4, 2018

Vermont’s Easy to Use Online Library:

The Vermont Online Library (VOL) is a curated collection of online information resources covering a broad range of subjects – made available to Vermont citizens and students by the Vermont Department of Libraries. The information resources are produced by known and trusted publishers, with content of interest to both generalists and specialists. The Vermont Online Library is available to Vermont citizens and students at no cost.

The Vermont Department of Libraries works with a committee of librarians from Vermont public, school and academic libraries to select the Gale Cengage databases included in the Vermont Online Library.
The Department also purchases annual subscriptions to HeritageQuest and Universal Class for all Vermont public libraries, using a combination of state and federal LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) funds. All 183 Vermont public libraries are able to offer them free to their cardholders. is where to click to learn more. 

(All info downloaded from Vermont Online

October 28, 2018

Utah's Online Library System

What is Utah's Online Library? 

Utah's Online Library is a collection of electronic resources. It provides statewide access to newspaper articles, magazines, professional journals, encyclopedias, video, photographs, maps, charts, and graphics. 

This is the home page of Utah’s Online Library system.  Available to Utah residents-students-educators.  Click on the sidebar and you’ll find access to lots of resources.  The site is put together well and links work slick!
More info, just click on the homepage.

Utah citizens, educators, and students can access several Utah's Online Library resources from home:
Utah Citizen/Public Library Patron
Utah's public libraries provide patrons in their communities access to Utah's Online Library from home. Please contact your local public library for specific home access information.

Utah Higher Ed Faculty and Students 
Utah's colleges and universities provide their students and faculty access to Utah's Online Library from home. Please contact your institution’s library for specific home access information.

Utah K-12 Educators and Students 
Utah’s kindergarten through 12th grade educators can access Utah's Online Library from home with their registered UEN log-in name and password (register at

Utah students can access Utah's Online Library from home using a log-in name and password provided by their teacher or school librarian: Utah K-12 Student or Teacher Log-in

(all information downloaded from

October 21, 2018

Sounds Cliché but All in Texas Means Big—So Go Big with Texas Talent

Nancy G. West Novels with Texas Settings: Aggie Mundeen Mysteries

As is true in many parts of our beautiful country, various landscapes in Texas affect the people who live there. I choose specific areas of Texas where Aggie Mundeen, a Chicago columnist transplanted to Texas, can react to people in different locales who have quirks and customs unique to the area. Her ability to solve the mystery can depend on her understanding the idiosyncrasies and mannerisms of people she meets. 

For example, in Fit to Be Dead, Aggie decides that since she writes about strategies to stay young, she better get in shape before people in San Antonio read her column. So she joins Fit and Firm Health Club, but stumbles into murder. The suspects are fitness groupies who relate to each other Texas style, even while they exercise. 

Lefty Award Finalist

In Dang Near Dead, Aggie and friends vacation at a dude ranch near Bandera, Texas, dubbed the Cowboy Capital of the World. Surrounded by dudes, wranglers, ex-cons, sharp-shooters and critters, what could go wrong?   
Chanticleer Award Finalist-Mystery/Suspense.

In Smart, But Dead. Aggie, approaching forty, is terrified of slip-sliding into middle age. She returns to college to study the genetics of aging, learns about the Human Genome Project and DNA, and discovers a dead body. The San Antonio detective tells her to steer clear of the investigation. But dangerously curious and programmed to prod, she races to solve the crime and stirs up the academics. She winds up prime suspect and is on target to become next campus corpse.  

Short-listed, Mystery/Mayhem Award.

Having helped solve crimes at a Texas health club, a dude ranch and a university, what other Texas location could Aggie explore? The River Walk. The winding river running beneath San Antonio’s streets with its unforgettable sights, sounds and ambiance, is the perfect place for Aggie Mundeen and Detective Sam to vacation. Away from crime, they might improve their dicey relationship. But crime never sleeps, even in River City. In the midst of Fiesta, Aggie and Sam face challenges in River City Dead.                                                                    
Winner: Raven Award for Mystery/Suspense                             

Nominee: Killer Nashville Award                                             

Like every state, Texas has unpredictable weather and natural disasters.  What if Aggie and Sam, despite their different approaches to crime solving, make progress toward improving their relationship only to be caught up in a natural disaster?  
With over 5600 square miles of inland water, copious amounts of wind and rain can produce widespread calamity across Texas. 

The calmest river can be placid, with hints of Utopia then the sky can turn ominous.  
In The Plunge, gale force winds and massive rainfall turn the lazy meandering Guadalupe River into a raging force. As darkness descends, lightning highlights two people arguing on a dock across the river. When lightning flashes again, they are gone. Do Aggie and Sam witness an accident? A drowning? A murder?
The river rises higher and higher, creeping across land and into houses. Aggie and Sam are caught in disaster. They question their stamina, their abilities, their significance, their priorities, and their fate.
The Plunge infects readers with the threat of looming tragedy and the helplessness of plunging into a rampant river and being swept by an untamable force. Do survivors really survive if disaster changes them forever?

Have you been swept up in a disaster in your state? How did the experience change you?
I’m offering a print copy of THE PLUNGE-my new release and you can be one of the first to get one right here! Just leave a form of contact to enter.                                         

James R. Callan Brings MORE Big to Texas:
I was born in Texas. But living other places has given me a chance to understand what people love about this state.  My family spent several years in Oklahoma while I was in a Ph.D. program. Oklahoma is an interesting state and despite being one of the youngest states, has a very interesting history. Connecticut was our home for twenty years. What a lovely place. The new England foliage in the fall is truly inspiring. But in a good year, the east Texas foliage rivals Connecticut's.

There was always the call to return to Texas.  Why?  For one thing, it has just about everything.  It is large and you can travel, take vacations, study dinosaur tracks without ever leaving the state.  Although many think of it as a lot of flat land, Texas has the highest mountains east of the Rockies.

If you like the beaches and the salt water, Texas has 367 miles of coast line with the Gulf of Mexico.  It has the advantage of being warm water, thus ready for vacationers  year round. There are dissolute dunes, and vibrant marshes, the untouched sands along Padre Island, and the quiet backwaters of Laguna Salada.

Big Bend is an immense and amazing national park.  It has the largest protected area of Chihuahuan desert topography in the United States. It ranges in altitude from 1,800 feet at the Rio Grande river to Emory Peak at 7,832.  It is one of only ten sites in the world certified for dark-sky stargazing. There are deep canyons, hiking and backpacking trails, and more than 450 species of birds.
The Palo Duro Canyon, located in the Texas Panhandle, is second only to the Grand Canyon in size.

Then there are major metropolitan areas that provide all the "city features" one might want.  The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has a population of about seven and a half million.  The Houston metropolitan area is seven million.  San Antonio metro population is two and a half million.
We live in East Texas. Unlike the plains of Texas featured in old western movies, East Texas gets rain, and is home to a large lumber industry.  Of course, oil and cattle are still very important industries.

Texas has produced many great writers. Among them are Larry McMurtry, James Michener, Molly Ivns, Cormac McCarthy, Elmeer Kelton, Joe Lansdale, John Erickson, Rick Riordan, Wendy Davis, Janet Dailey, J. Frank Dobie, Jodie Thomas, Caleb Pirtle III, and Willie Nelson (who wrote so many great songs).

If you haven't been to Texas, it's worth a visit. Or maybe several.

My books are generally set in Texas. Metro Dallas and rural East Texas are close enough I can utilize both easily, thereby incorporating the sophisticated big city people and the unpretentious rural folks. It works well. In my latest novel, Political Dirty Trick, a highly educated Dallas woman and a country sheriff join forces to solve not only the fake news that is changing a gubernatorial election, but also a major art theft, two murders and several attempted murders.  Political Dirty Trick is available in digital, paperback, hardcover, and audio formats.

I’m offering a copy of Political Dirty Trick.  Just leave contact information for your chance to win this brand new release!  

My website:
My Blog:
My Author Page:

Author Bio
After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He has had four non-fiction books published.  He now concentrates on his favorite genres, mystery/suspense/thriller. His twelfth book released in May, 2018.