Guest Author: Kathleen Marple Kalb

BLURB:  Come back to Gilded Age New York with Ella Shane, an opera singer who’s part Beverly Sills, part Anne of Green Gables, and part Errol Flynn – but entirely herself! In her debut, Ella, an Irish-Jewish Lower East Side orphan made good, is singing Romeo when her Juliet dies onstage after drinking real poison. She thinks it’s a tragic mistake until the girl’s cousin, a genuine British Duke, comes to New York to find out what really happened. Right away, the Duke insults Ella — so she makes him fence with her. Despite the rocky beginning, Ella, her cousin Tommy, a former boxing champ and “confirmed bachelor,” and the colorful cast of characters get drawn into the case. Soon, Ella and the Duke find they have an undeniable and quite possibly unresolvable attraction. No spoiler (just tease!) it all culminates in a catwalk duel with the killer – with Ella handling swordplay while the Duke waits in the wings.


In their first meeting, the Duke comes to Ella’s rehearsal studio to ask about his late cousin…saying he wants to know what she was doing with “theatre people.”

I offered a cool response as my sympathy for the Duke of Something died an early death. “Theatre people?”

“She was a gently-brought-up young lady who did not belong in that world.”

Well, aren’t you the precious one. I took a breath, and tried to tamp down my Irish temper.  I explain – if not excuse – my next action as an effort to do something other than slap the judgmental scowl off his face. I grabbed Tommy’s foil. “How’s your fencing?”


“My practice time is limited, and we theatre people have to stay sharp to earn our keep. I’ll talk to you while we spar.”

Gilbert Saint Aubyn’s stern face softened a bit. “All right.”

He took off his immaculately tailored coat and suit jacket, with a black armband still on the sleeve, no doubt for poor Violette or whatever her name really was. I had no compunction about taking a good look at him, and was not disappointed with what I saw. I may be a proper maiden lady, but I do appreciate the well-assembled male form, especially in a nicely fitted gray waistcoat, neat white shirt and dark trousers. I tossed him the foil, and he dropped it.

“Good thing we’re fencing and not playing baseball,” I observed, carefully not snickering, in case it were a feint.

Saint Aubyn, who would have now been the late lamented himself if this were an actual duel, gave me a wry, and rather appealing, shrug. “I have not been on the field of honor in a while.”

BIO:  Kathleen Marple Kalb grew up in front of a microphone, and a keyboard. She’s currently a weekend morning anchor at 1010 WINS New York, capping a career she began as a teenage DJ in Brookville, Pennsylvania. She worked her way up through newsrooms in Pittsburgh, Vermont and Connecticut, developing her skills and a deep and abiding distaste for snowstorms. While she wrote her first historical novel at age sixteen, fiction was firmly in the past until her son went to kindergarten and she decided to try again. She, her husband, the Professor, and their son the Imp live in a Connecticut house owned by their cat. 



Instagram: @kathleenmarplekalb

From Kensington:



Guest Author: Amber Polo

What if Cleopatra faked her death and escaped on a pirate ship? While her sister sailed for The Pharaoh and the Librarian coverWales with the most valuable ancient books from her Library of Alexandria? And they both landed in an imagined new world filled with crypto-creatures and historical humans?
Trekking the desert of 1st century New Mexico, Cleo from the Yucatan and Alex from Nova Scotia, they’d need bravery and help from friends and lovers to evade inner demons and determined villains across an uncharted wilderness.


About the author:

amber-polo-207x300Amber Polo, constantly asking “What if…?” has a hard time writing in one genre at a time. Best known for The Shapeshifters’ Library urban fantasy series which asked what if librarian dog-shifters faced book-burning werewolves, she shares her love of libraries and fascination with creatures and places, real and not-so-real in The Pharaoh and the Librarian.

Author of award-winning fantasies and Arizona romances, Amber relaxes stressed writers and readers. Her book, Relaxing the Writer offers a catalog of suggestions and simple exercises while her calming CDs help almost anyone relax and find restful sleep.

Find her at

New Reviews

I have been really busy with reviews the past few days. So here’s what’s new:

Under “Mysteries

VARNISHED WITHOUT A TRACE by Misty Simon. This won’t be out until Sept. 29, but be sure to put this fun cozy on your “to be read” pile. 5 Sparklers.

Under Nonfiction:

THE EASY BAKED DONUT COOKBOOK by Sara Mellas – 4 sparklers for this delicious cookbook

FAMILY TREE WORKBOOK by Brian Sheffey – 5 sparklers for this excellent way to organize your search for your family

THE ESSENTIAL SELF-COMPASSION WORKBOOK FOR TEENS by Katie Krimer – 5 sparklers for this how-to book on getting yourself together – and not just for teens

DAIRY-FREE MEAL PREP by Silvana Nardone – 3 sparklers for this cookbook. Some really good stuff in here, but still too dairy-centric even with substitutes

ACTUALLY, THE COMMA GOES HERE by Lucy Cripps – 4 sparklers for this good reference book on basic grammar

INNER PEACE: A Guided Meditation Journal for Beginners by Jordana Reim – 5 sparklers on this book to help you find peace and calm


Guest Author: Maria Imbalzano

TheBlueberrySwirlWaltz Cover300[144830]

Today, I welcome Maria Imbalzano who will tell us about her new book: The Blueberry Swirl Waltz.

The setting of this story is my grandmother’s ice cream and confectionery shop in Roebling, NJ in the ‘50’s and the heroine is based on my mother’s job as a ballroom dance instructor at Arthur Murrary’s.  I interviewed my mother about the shop and her dance career and those interviews are on my blog at


After a family crisis, Katie Hathaway must return home to help out in the family’s ice cream shop. She leaves behind her dream job of teaching ballroom dance to spend her summer scooping ice cream and mixing milkshakes.

Chaz Hollander, Katie’s high school crush, has also returned to town to work in his family’s business. After Katie treats him to a blueberry swirl sundae, he invites her to the town’s upcoming dance. The only problem is he has two left feet.

When Katie starts giving Chaz dance lessons, their chemistry ignites, and the postponement of her dream doesn’t seem as ominous. But financial woes and a suspicious business deal cast a shadow on their budding relationship.

MPI PHOTO IMG_0675[32263]BIO

Maria Imbalzano is a retired matrimonial lawyer who now writes full time. Instead of drafting motions, legal memoranda, and briefs, although fascinating, she now spends her days creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys through her contemporary romance novels.

In addition to writing fiction, Maria is on the Friends of Thomas Edison State University Foundation Committee and is still involved with Dress for Success Central Jersey, having been a founding Board member. She also serves on the finance committee for The Present Day Club. She has received the distinguished Family of Edison Award for her work with The Thomas Edison State University Foundation, the Iron Mike Professional Achievement Award from Trenton Catholic Academy and was inducted into the Italian American National Hall of Fame.

Her novel, “Unchained Memories,” won the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers’ Award and the ACRA Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence Award. “Sworn to Forget,” the first of the four-book Sworn Sisters Series was a finalist for the illustrious RONE award as well as the Book Buyers Best Award.

Visit Maria at


As his silence stretched on, her angst kicked in. Maybe he was here to break off their relationship. If they even had one.

“What’s wrong?” she rasped.

“Why would you think something’s wrong?”

Because I’ve studied you in every light imaginable. I know when you’re happy, sad, surprised, disturbed, or distracted. It’s in your eyes, your lips, your body. The flex in your jaw, the tenor of your voice.

But she didn’t say any of that. “You’re usually more talkative when you come in after work.”

Buy Links for The Blueberry Swirl Waltz


Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Apple Books


Guest Post: J. Arlene Culiner

The Turkish Affair: another look at Romantic Mystery

perf5.000x8.000.inddDon’t the words Romantic Mystery conjure up stalkers, a serial killer or two, car chases, shoot-outs, and gun-packing superheroes and heroines? Well…I must admit I prefer reality, even when it comes to romance. If I were in danger, could I really count on the sudden appearance of some gorgeous, sexy, very hot secret agent who instantly puts a villain out of commission? Of course I couldn’t. Therefore, in my books, you’ll find none of that.

What I do like describing is that first, very tentative gentleness, and those early stirrings of love. But I also enjoy transporting my readers to unusual places, and giving them unconventional heroes and heroines who refuse the roles society sets out for them.

In The Turkish Affair, My heroine, Anne, is a former American journalist who, after a scandalous affair with the wrong man, lost her job and her reputation. For the last ten years, she’s been in hiding, living in backwoods Turkey, working as a translator. My hero, Renaud Townsend is an archaeologist. He’s passionate about his work, about ancient history, about discovery, and about keeping his independence.

My inspiration for this book? Once upon a time, I also worked in Turkey as a translator, and, just like my heroine, I also lived in a small, restrictive community. The police were aggressive and corrupt, there was political unrest, and life could be frankly dangerous. I also spent much spent time on archaeological sites. And one day, I briefly caught sight of a lean and elegant man heading toward a jumble of smashed pillars. He was the inspiration for Renaud Townsend.

The Turkish Affair: Love and Danger at the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu

Priceless artifacts are disappearing from the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu in Turkey, and the site director has vanished. Called in to solve the mystery, archaeologist Renaud Townsend is hindered by both his inability to speak the language and the knowledge that the local police are corrupt. His attraction to translator Anne Pierson is immediate, although he is troubled by her refusal to talk about the past and her fear of public scandal. But when murder enters the picture, both Anne and Renaud realize that the risk of falling in love is not the only danger.


A delicious breeze tickled the air, and the little boat rocked gently. A fine line appeared between Renaud’s brows, and his blue eyes were, once again, serious. “I need your help.”

Anne stared. “My help? With what? Translating?”

“No. With something else. I have to find out who is behind the thefts at Karakuyu.”

The feeling of dread returned, but she forced herself to sound casual. “How could I possibly help you with that?”

“I don’t know.” He sighed. “I just don’t want to feel that I’m alone in this.”

What could she say to that? Tell him she was the last person he should team up with? That long ago, she’d escaped arrest by the skin of her teeth? If she did so, this splendid moment would be over. The silver-foil glimmer of romance would be tarnished forever. He’d row back to shore, drive back to Gülkale, get rid of her as quickly as possible.

“Anne?” He reached out to caress her bare arm. “Come back from wherever you are.”

“You know nothing about me,” she said jaggedly.

“Nothing,” he agreed.

She swallowed. “I could be involved in the thefts for all you know. Why ask for my help? Why choose me?”

He smiled faintly. “A good question. I suppose, quite simply, I need—or want—to trust you.”

She felt utterly miserable. Why was life always like this? Wanting someone and not being able to have them? Wanting trust, but seeing it snatched away before it came close?

Buy Links:

Amazon:          Barnes &Noble:          Apple:      Kobo:

Trailer:           Storytelling Podcast:

Author Bio:

Author Photo 5Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner (Jill Culiner) was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She normally resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.

Web sites:


Goodreads:      Twitter:      Facebook Page:    Pinterest:    Instagram: