February 17, 2019

Looking for a Beachy Book? Bethany Beach Books Should Fill That Need

When I travel, some of my favorite places to visit are the boardwalks and business districts.  In Bethany Beach, Delaware, you’ll find this charming bookstore on the boardwalk.

https://www.bethanybeachbooks.com is the link to click for more information. 


We are an independently owned bookstore, located only a few steps off the boardwalk in Bethany Beach, Delaware. The store was established in 1991 and currently occupies 2,000 square feet. In 2010, Bethany Beach Books was put up for sale, it was sold to its current owner in December of 2010.

We are a member of the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce. In addition to sponsoring monthly book clubs, Bethany Beach Books hosts numerous author signings & story times throughout the summer months. 
Bethany Beach Books is also the creator of The Book Drop, a monthly book subscription box service, which launched in February 2015.
We are open every day, year round! We hope to see you soon!

On a personal note:  In my community, there’s a farm that offers a weekly produce drop. They offer a season produce box.  Its convenient and fun.   I love the Book Drop program idea. I bet The Book Drop operates much the same. 
Leave a comment on this post to be eligible for the February Grand Prize drawing with a form of contact and thanks for visiting!    
(Info downloaded from website https://www.bethanybeachbooks.com)

February 10, 2019

Oh My! I Think I Love This Place in Connecticut: RJ Julia Bookseller: Madison, CT

Here’s what I took from RJ Julia Bookseller Website and I’ve got to go.  This story in itself makes me love the place.  It’ll be on my list of things to see in Connecticut for sure. 

Dear Reader,
Over the years, many many people have asked me why the store is named RJ Julia. The short answer is that it is named after my father’s mother. But this year, I’m going to tell you the long story, because this is the year my beloved, exuberant, wise, hard-working, curious, complicated, loving father died.

My father was born and lived in Hungary. As World War II approached, my grandmother-recently widowed-resolved that her song would finish high school. This was not easy at that place and time for a Jewish family without resources. But my grandmother was determined. She made the humbling decision to ask for help- to accept charity for my dad to finish school. Her commitment to my dad’s education, and her respect and awe for books and learning were her motivations.

She accomplished her dream. My dad finished high school in 1942, despite the odds. His life-long love of books and insatiable desire to read were launched. But within a year he was imprisoned in a labor camp and was a minesweeper for the Germans. My grandmother was deported to Bergen-Belsen and killed. My dad’s life was shaped by her love, and by her loss.

Thanks to her fierce love and resilience, he survived and made his way to America, had six kids, opened a string of bakeries and realized his version of the American dream. I’ve always wished that I’d had the chance to meet my grandmother, and to tell her that her son-my dad- had achieved so much. I think I was always looking for a way to honor her accomplishments, her strength and her indomitable spirit.

So when the time came to find a name for a building filled with books, I had no doubt where to look. The small gift I could give my dad was to name the store after my grandmother Juliska- Julia in English- to honor her dedication to learning and love, and to symbolize the enormous power of books and how they can change lives.  
Sometimes you look back on the past, and feel amazed at how your experiences seem as though they were designed to lead to a specific goal- even if your weren’t aware of it at the time. For me, the publication of The Book That Changed My Life feels like the inevitable objective of my years as a bookseller. In recognition of the power of books to literally change lives- my father’s being a dramatic illustration- we asked 71 authors who have visited the store over the years to write about the books that changed their lives. The result is this beautiful collection of essays that my friend, Joy Johannessen, and I edited.

And to complete the circle, the royalties from The Book That Changed My Life will go to Read to Grow, a nonprofit organization committed to bringing books and the power of early literacy to all of our children and their families- because everyone should have the opportunity to find the book that will change their life.

With love and thanks to my grandmother Julia and my father Emerich- who changed my life.

(All info downloaded from website https://www.rjjulia.com/)

On a personal note:  Tomorrow I'm giving up additional sugar for a month in support of my awesome Italian exchange daughter--she's basically tricked me with her awesomeness to go without added sugar and this bakery looks delicious.  
Leave a comment with a form of contact this week on this post to be eligible for the End of the Month Grand Prize! 

February 3, 2019

It’s Colorful Colorado with Colorful Angela Raines

It is called colorful for a reason. From the colorful history, to the stunning vistas, and the amazing sunrises and sunsets, Colorado is a feast for the eyes and the heart. It is the place that inspired early women authors Helen (Hunt) Jackson author of “Ramona”, Isabella Bird author of “A Ladies life in the Rocky Mountains”, and the essays of Grace Greenwood, to immortalize its beauty in words.
For those who look at a map they will see that the state is divided East and West by Interstate 25 running along the front Range. Interstate 70 and US Highway 50 are the main east-west West thoroughfares that bisect the state North and South. But Colorado is more than just bisecting interstate roads. It is a state that, to paraphrase the states first film Commissioner Karol W Smith, a place where filmmakers can literally re-create anyplace on earth.

So what makes this state both unique and colorful? You could start with this colorful history, beginning with the volcanoes which created much of present-day Colorado, the dinosaurs, the native peoples, the early pathfinders/mountain men, prospectors, to present day technology.

In the northwest corner of the state you have the Dinosaur National Monument, and the southeast part of the state with its petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks in the Comanche National Grasslands. The southeast corner has the Pawnee National Grasslands with the Pawnee Buttes, while the southwest corner of the state has many early native peoples sites, including Mesa Verde. In between is areas full of so many possibilities for a writer to tap into.

Colorado in elevation is the highest state in the lower forty-eight The highest mountain peak is mount Elbert at 14,439 feet, to the lowest spot in the southeast portion of the state which is at an elevation of 3,315 feet. (Which is higher than eighteen states highest points.) Those same mountains brought the mountain men into the area in the 1820s. Those mountain men and the businesses they generated created many of the early fur trading forts, the most famous of which is Bent’s Fort along the Arkansas River.

Of course we cannot forget the ‘Fifty-Niners’, who braved the high elevation in search of the elusive gold, silver and other minerals. Those same gold seekers ended up creating the ‘World’s Greatest Gold Camp’ in 1891 when gold was found in the cripple Creek mining district. (As a side note there is still an active gold mine in that region, still extracting gold from that region.) It is probably because of all that early volcanic activity that Colorado has been such a rich area for the extraction of gold and silver. But one must not forget the gemstones that are also mind in the state of Colorado. For those who wonder, the area north and west of Pike's Peak, including Mount Antero are a treasure trove for those who wish to extract those precious colors from the mountains. And yes there are even those who find gemstones on Pike's Peak itself.

Even today Colorado is an exciting and colorful state. From the many wonderful places to visit such as the Royal Gorge Park and Bridge, Pike's Peak, Mount Evans, along with all of the preserved history sites to include Mesa Verde and Bent's Fort, Colorado offers so much. The eastern plains with its ranches and early railroad history, to the Western's slope with the towns like Fruita and Palisades and the amazing wines that are created from the orchards there, to the cattle ranches and farming communities on both the eastern and western slopes, a person will always find something to inspire their eyes and imaginations.

It is this rich history that I mine for the historical fiction I write. From the imaginary town of Agate Gulch in the mountains, which in this has inspired the Agate Gulch novellas, to the eastern plains and the fictional town of Kiowa Wells and the novels from that town, Colorado, ‘Colorful Colorado’, has been an inspiration.

Recently, the state looked at the uniqueness of the various areas across the state and created a colorful map to help people visualize how rich and beautiful state is. If you ever visit the state, just know not only will you be walking in the steps of those adventurous people who came before, but your eyes can feast on the beauty that is ‘Colorful Colorado’.

From those who comment here, I will be offering either the e-books set of my Agate Gulch stories or an e-book of choice from the two Kiowa Wells novels that are out, or if you wish to wait and e-book copy of the upcoming Kiowa Wells novel "The Outlaw's Letter" due this coming April.
You’re comment also enters you into the monthly grand prize contest so, leave a comment and an avenue of contact so we can find you if you’re the winner!

About Angela Raines
Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Doris is an author, historian, performer, speaker and poet. She moved from the historically rich region of West Central Illinois to the equally history rich Colorado. Many of her works focus on the history that has surrounded her all her life. An avid reader Doris also loves to spend time in history archives, either online, in history centers, or local libraries, looking for small, unknown pieces of history. Usually these found gems are in her books, short stories, blogs and non-fiction papers written for publications. She also has a continuing project of documenting the women doctors who lived, studied and worked in Colorado prior to 1900.

Doris writes in both the Medieval and Western Romance, along with the Western genre. All have a extraordinary histories that just beg to be told. Sometimes Doris thinks the 'muse' may be asking too much, but then smiles and digs right in.

Visit Dori McCraw writing as Angela Raines here https://www.amazon.com/Angela-Raines/e/B00N0HJOVG

January 27, 2019

A Wide Scope of California Talent

Patricia Dusenbury’s California Noir: 
Winter is a good time for an indoor road trip. Get comfortable, grab a cup of something warm, and join me on a classic mystery tour of California.

We’re in the Golden State, a land of sunshine and blue skies, but sunshine creates shadows, and in those shadows, lies menace. Glittering cities have a dark underbelly. The very ground beneath our feet is unstable. Fault lines shift, causing mini-jolts, while working up to the next big one. Tough guys - and gals - keep moving. So, let’s go.

We begin in 1940s Los Angeles where Raymond Chandler lived and worked. His first novel, The Big Sleep, introduces hardboiled detective Phillip Marlowe in a complex mystery with multiple twists and turns. Amongst them, an alert reader might find plot holes, including one unexplained murder, but tension is high, and the pace carries us along.

Written later but set in the 1940s, James Elroy’s The Black Dahlia is based on a real-life murder that revealed extensive police corruption. The murder remains unsolved, although Elroy provided a fictional solution. Or did he get it right, and the cops messed up/covered up?

A two-hour drive north on the 101 takes us to Santa Barbara, AKA Santa Theresa. This scenic coastal city with its red-roofed white-stucco downtown is home to Lew Archer. Ross Macdonald’s detective is as hard-boiled as Marlowe but has a more nuanced character. (Many consider MacDonald the all-time best American crime writer and one of our best novelists, period.) Before we leave Santa Barbara/Theresa, let’s move ahead several decades and walk where Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone has walked. It’s her city, too.

Traveling further up the 101 and to the present day, we reach our last stop, San Francisco. The City by the Bay takes its noir heritage seriously. The apartment building where Dashiell Hammett lived and wrote the Maltese Falcon still stands at 891 Post Street. The Tenderloin is still seedy and, perhaps, nowhere to be after dark. Near Chinatown, a plaque marks the spot where Brigid O’Shaughnessy gunned down Sam Spade’s partner Miles Archer.

We end our tour with a drink at John’s Grill, Sam Spade’s favorite watering hole, which looks about the way it did when Dashiell Hammett was trading meals for mentions in his stories. Cheers. I hope you enjoyed the trip.

Patricia Dusenbury is the author of the award-winning mystery trilogy A Path Through the Ashes, which includes A Perfect Victim; Secrets, Lies & Homicide; and A House of Her Own. She also writes short stories and has been a Derringer finalist. Although Patricia lives in San Francisco, her mystery novels are set in pre-Katrina New Orleans, another great venue for dark doings. You can learn more about Patricia and her writing at Patricia Dusenbury.com  

Michele Drier Presents a Terrible Beauty:
Yeats wasn’t thinking about California when he wrote Easter, 1916 about the fight for Irish independence.

But, like the poem, California has both a breathtaking and a heartbreaking beauty.
At the least, it’s the only state that has a designated Fire Season.
I’ve lived in many places in the state and the one that’s in my consciousness much of this fall is the Sierra Nevada foothills.
My family came to San Francisco in 1849, spending vacations and summers in the Sierra near and in Yosemite. My grandmother had a friend from school who built a summer home on Bass Lake, in the foothills half-way between Fresno and Yosemite. As a child we lived at Bass Lake and in nearby Oakhurst, a small mountain town on Highway 41.

This is an area of wooded hills climbing up to the High Sierra. Within a few miles, we could spend days picnicking in Alpine meadows or driving across the scary Tioga Pass built into the face of a mountain. It was on a winding two-lane road with an almost 2,000-foot drop to the valley below.
At the pass, 9,943 feet high, we’d stop for its stunning view of granite mountains and lush valleys ranging to the horizon. If we sat still enough, marmosets would appear, singing their distinctive whistle before scurrying back to their burrows.

The woods rising up the foothills are primarily pine—ponderosa, sugar pine, yellow pine—with swathes of manzanita and madrone. The air smells good enough to eat and the dust, finely ground granite, puffs between your toes, soft as talc.  It’s no wonder people, a lot of people, want to live in these wooded areas, away from the coastal crush of several million residents.
The upside of beauty and rural living has a terrible downside, though. Fire.

As a kid, we’d watch summer lightning storms boil up in the high mountains, crossing our fingers there would be rain because a dry storm meant the possibility of a lightning strike fire. They happened but were usually out before doing too much damage.

That was years ago, and things have changed. The climate is drier, several years of drought have sucked the moisture out of the woods and an infestation of bark beetle has killed millions of trees. And more and more people have moved into the foothills, attracted by the beauty, the rural living, the cheaper cost of living.

Now fire season has taken on an ominous definition—wildfires that start by something manmade and that rage out of control across thousands of acres.

The fall of 2018 saw a fire in in the foothills of Northern California that razed the entire town of Paradise in a few hours. I’d been to Paradise. I had friends living in Paradise. One friend lost everything. Her home, her animals and her business, including a collection of typewriters amassed over years of loving printed words.

Living in California is understanding the terrible beauty of this land. From the mountains to the beaches, fire can wipe out homes, businesses, towns in a heartbeat. This fall, while the fire in Paradise raged, another friend living in the San Fernando Valley was evacuated and a fire that started in the chapperal above Malibu burned to the ocean, taking out billions of dollars’ worth of exclusive homes.

Fire is a constant in California, and there is almost no “fire season” now, it’s a year-round possibility. The state is changing.
There’s the beauty and now some fear.

 Michele Drier is a fifth generation Californian. During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.
She is the past-president of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime, the past-president of Guppies, the online chapter of Sisters in Crime and co-chair of Bouchercon 2020.
In addition to writing at least two books a year, she teaches private writing classes, does free-lance editing and doesn’t clean her house.

Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death. Additional books are Ashes of Memories, and first book in a new series, Stain on the Soul.

Her paranormal romance series, The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, won awards from the Paranormal Romance Guild. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights, SNAP: All That Jazz, SNAP: I, Vampire and SNAP: Red Bear Rising.
Visit her facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMicheleDrier, or her Amazon author page, http://www.amazon.com/Michele-Drier/e/B005D2YC8G/ or contact her at mjdrier@gmail.com

And you saw it here first!! 
Snap: Red Bear Rising is now officially released and here are the links to get the newest      https://bit.ly/2GTqnXg  (B&N)      https://bit.ly/2SF5eS8  (Kobo)

Lofty Goals and Common Scents Presented by Sue Owens Wright

I was born in Sacramento, the City of Trees on the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers. I’m a valley girl, but my heart has always been in the high country of the Sierra Nevada. California’s capital is only 100 miles from mountains or sea, but I am drawn to beautiful Lake Tahoe. Located in the Sierras at 6,224 feet above sea level, Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. The lake is so deep you could stand the Empire State Building in it and not see the top. Every summer of my childhood, Dad loaded us and the family dog into our Rambler Classic station wagon and drove up scenic Highway 50 to vacation at the lake. Before my parents could afford to purchase a cabin of their own, we rented private Tahoe cabins or stayed at rustic Camp Sacramento a few miles from the lake. I was inspired by Lake Tahoe’s grandeur and intrigued by the history and folklore surrounding the Lake of the Sky, or Da Ow A Ga (Hokan translation: edge of the lake), as the indigenous Washoe Tribe call it. That is why I chose it as the backdrop for the Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series.

As a child, I loved reading and writing. Besides dog stories, my favorite books to read were Judy Bolton mysteries, similar to the Nancy Drew series. I have since collected them whenever I can find them. When I was eight years old, I tried writing a mystery novel of my own. I scribbled a few pages in a notebook but never finished the story. The notebook was lost, but I’d love to see what I wrote back then.  Fortunately, I have gotten better at keeping my notes and finishing writing books, which thus far includes five mysteries, a historical thriller, and two nonfiction books on dog care.
One thing all my books have in common is dogs. I love dogs, especially basset hounds. I’ve had a barker’s dozen dogs of various breeds in my life, eight of them bassets, seven of which were rescued.  Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates this French breed’s unique traits, which is why the dogs often end up in shelters. I adore those long-eared, low-slung hounds, in spite of their drool and stubbornness. When out in the field tracking a scent trail, as bassets were bred to do, they are tenacious and never give up the hunt for their quarry. With scenting skills second only to a bloodhound’s, the basset hound seemed like a perfect sidekick for my fictional sleuth. Thus, I penned the Beanie and Cruiser mysteries, featuring Elsie “Beanie” MacBean and her canine crime-buster, Cruiser, plus his troublesome new pack mate Calamity, another rescued basset introduced in book four, “Braced for Murder.”
My combined passion for dogs, mysteries, and Lake Tahoe has brought me great joy and purpose in life. I took the road less traveled to follow my dream of becoming an author, which has culminated in many honors, most notably two Maxwell Awards from the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) for the best writing on the subject of dogs. I recently received my twelfth Maxwell nomination for book five in the Beanie and Cruiser series, EARS FOR MURDER. I’m hoping for a third win on February 10, when annual competition results are announced at the DWAA awards banquet in New York City. Whatever happens, I am content in the knowledge that, like a basset hound tracking rabbits on a woodland trail, I followed the right path.
Sue Owens Wright is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. She is an eleven-time finalist for the Maxwell, awarded annually by the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) to the best writer on the subject of dogs. She has twice won the Maxwell Award and earned special recognition from the Humane Society of the United States for her writing. She writes the acclaimed Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series, including Howling Bloody Murder, Sirius About Murder, Embarking On Murder and Braced For Murder, which is recommended on the American Kennel Club’s list of Best Dog Books.
Visit Sue Owens Wright at all of these great sites:

Leave a comment on this post to be entered in the drawing for the Grand Prize at the end of the month.  Remember to leave an avenue of contact so we can find you if you win!  Enjoy the ride of California and please take a minute to visit the contributor websites in this post.  Have a great 2019!  
(All info provided and released by Authors)