August 31

Birthdays: William Saroyan (1908), Kenneth Oppel (1967), DuBose Heyward (1885), G. Willow Wilson (1982), William Shawn (1907), Stephen Coonts (1944), Blake Nelson (1965)

Tip: When you get to the point where you’re doing book signings, some places you’ll be sitting there twiddling your thumbs and at others, you’ll have a line. Even if all you get asked at the dead one is directions to the bathroom, be nice. Smile. Engage the person as you point to the restroom sign. Perception is everything and if you come across as a curmudgeon, you’ll get a bad reputation.

Thought for the day: “For me the hard part of writing isn’t coming up with ideas — it’s shaping and developing an idea into a good story. I find writing very hard work, and I write and rewrite my stories many times before I’m happy with them. I think inspiration is a small part of the writing process; perseverance is equally, if not more, important!” – Kenneth Oppel

Jumpstart: What kind of garden would a vampire plant? What about an evil magician?

Spotlight: Wendy Stetson

When Tessa’s big-city plans take the A Train to disaster, she lands in her sleepy hometown, smack in the middle of the most unlikely love triangle ever to hit Pennsylvania’s Amish Country.

Hot-shot Dr. Richard Bruce is bound to Green Ridge by loyalty that runs deep. Deeper still is Jonas Rishel’s tie to the land and his family’s Amish community. Behind the wheel of a 1979 camper van, Tessa idles at a fork in the road. Will she cruise the superhighway to the future? Or take a slow trot to the past and a mysterious society she never dreamed she’d glimpse from the inside?

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Wendy Rich Stetson is a New York City girl who still considers the Central Pennsylvania countryside to be her home.  She grew up road tripping in a 1979 VW camper van, and she keeps a running list of favorite roadside attractions from coast to coast.  Now an author of sweet, small-town romance, Wendy is no stranger to storytelling.  She’s a Broadway and television actress, an audiobook narrator, and a mom who likes nothing more than collaborating on children’s books with her teenage artist daughter.  Wendy lives in Upper Manhattan with her family of three and rambunctious Maine Coon kitty.  Follow Wendy’s journey at

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August 30

Birthdays: Mary Shelley (1797), Virginia Lee Burton (1909), Helen Craig (1934), Camilla Lackberg (1974), Guy Kawasaki (1954), N.H. Kleinbaum (1948), Theophile Gautier (1811)

Tip: “Try and” vs. “try to”: “try and” do something is incorrect grammar. The correct usage is “try to” do something.

Thought for the day: “I’ve always viewed myself as a brand. When I started 10 years ago, that was very controversial. ‘Marketing’ and ‘PR’ were dirty words for the literary world, but that has changed. Once the book is finished, I want as many people as possible to read it.” – Camilla Lackberg

Jumpstart: He smiled sadly as he looked at the picture she held. “That was taken when we…”

August 28

Birthdays: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749), Sir John Betjeman (1906), Janet Frame (1924), Rita Dove (1952), Robert Duvoison (1904), Allan Say (1937), Tasha Tudor (1915), Jack Vance (1916), Robertson Davies (1913), Leo Tolstoy (1828), Vonda McIntyre (1948)

Tip: Learn what a contraction is and how to use apostrophes with them: it’s (for it is) vs. its (possessive form – belonging to it).

Thought for the day: “The less a writer discusses his work and himself the better. The master chef slaughters no chickens in the dining room; the doctor writes prescriptions in Latin; the magician hides his hinges, mirrors, and trapdoors with the utmost care.” – Jack Vance

Jumpstart: If you think this place is all happiness and smiles, you’re so wrong… so, so wrong. Appearances can be very deceiving. Let me tell you…

August 27

Birthdays: Theodore Dreiser (1871), C.S. Forester (1899), Ira Levin (1929), William Least Heat-Moon (1939), Lisa Yee (1959), Suzy Cline (1943), Ann Rinaldi (1934), Sarah Stewart (1938), Antonia Fraser (1932), Jeanette Winterson (1959), Jill Lepore (1966)

Tip: Learn about singular, plural, and possessive nouns: The cat scratched at the door (singular). Three cats showed up on our porch (plural). She was playing with the cat’s toy (single possessive). She was playing with the cats’ toys (plural possessive).

Thought for the day: “The clue to book jacket photography is to look friendly and approachable, but not too glamorous.” – Antonia Fraser

Jumpstart: It’s the future and everyone has a “gem” embedded in their wrist. It monitors your movements, your health, everything about you. Green is perfect; yellow is a problem; red is serious. Yours suddenly turns black…

Spotlight: Olga Swan

Title: The Meleke Stone 
Author: Olga Swan
Series: Standalone Title
Genre: Fiction, Historical 
Publisher: Self Published 
Release Date: June 29 2021
A meleke stone from the ancient plains of the Dead Sea is passed down by generations of females through four thousand years.
In 2019 Sami, the son of Egyptian immigrants in Toulouse, is traumatized by the family’s hardships in France and plots revenge.
Menes, Sami’s father from Cairo, had emigrated to France in search of peace. An unlikely friendship forms with Holocaust-survivor Moshe, each recognizing their past struggles.
Suddenly, a terrorist bomb explodes in a Toulouse synagogue. Moshe asks his son Simon to produce a film showing the true history of his people from the time of Sodom and Gomorrah.
What will happen to Moshe’s and Menes’ special relationship when an intrepid French detective’s efforts to find the terrorist reveal the horrifying truth?
In a soul-searching conclusion in Jerusalem, having no female descendant to whom to give the meleke stone, there’s only one thing that Simon can do to maintain the survival of his people for all eternity.
…..are you ready for the four thousand year journey of the meleke stone?”
Continue reading “Spotlight: Olga Swan”

Spotlight: Jeny Heckman


Dee Walker can kick your ass. At least she thinks so and isn’t afraid to say it.

A no-nonsense spark plug, Dee keeps everyone around her hopping. When she meets fellow field hand, Arthur Taylor, her colorful world becomes even brighter when she makes him an offer he can’t turn down.

However, this story of a bright explosion of color in a monochromatic world isn’t what you might imagine, as Dee’s life doesn’t exactly turn out like she thinks it will.

This novella is the life story of Dee Taylor, the feisty and eccentric grandmother of Finn in the Heaven & Earth series. Her bright colorful muumuus and big floppy hat are her trademarks, and this story will tell you how it all began. She also has this little ability to see future developments. Oh, and commune with the greatest Greek family in history, but she just doesn’t know it… yet.

Jeny Heckman is an award-winning fantasy paranormal romance author best known for her Heaven & Earth series, an award-winning fantasy-paranormal series. Jeny loves working with her charities, which include Hospice of the Northwest, the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation, the Seattle Children’s Hospital, and the American Cancer Society. Jeny lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over twenty-eight years.

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Character Interview: Youtube 


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August 23

Birthdays: Curtis Sittenfeld (1975), Edgar Lee Masters (1868), Nelson DeMille (1943), William Ernest Henley (1849), Willy Russell (1947), J.V. Cunningham (1911), Norbert Blei (1935), Robert Irwin (1946), Melanie Rae Thon (1957)

Tip: A metaphor compares two dissimilar things, but utilizing the word “like”: He was shaking like a leaf in a windstorm.

Thought for the day: “Writing doesn’t leave much time for hobbies, unless you consider that I began writing as a hobby and have made the hobby into a profession.” – Nelson DeMille

Jumpstart: He stared at the bodies in the room – there were at least a half dozen. In the corner, she stood watching him, wiping her blade on her shirt. “You’re late…”

August 22

Birthdays: Annie Proulx (1935), Diane Setterfield (1964), Dorothy Parker (1893), Kate Christensen (1962), Peter James (1948), Ray Bradbury (1920), Kurt Anderson (1954)

Tip: A simile is a figure of speech where two very different things are compared to each other, usually denoted by the word “as.” For instance: She had a heart as big as Texas.

Thought for the day: “What I find to be very bad advice is the snappy little sentence, ‘Write what you know.’ It is the most tiresome and stupid advice that could possibly be given. If we write simply about what we know we never grow. We don’t develop any facility for languages, or an interest in others, or a desire to travel and explore and face experience head-on. We just coil tighter and tighter into our boring little selves. What one should write about is what interests one.” – Annie Proulx

“You fail only if you stop writing.” – Ray Bradbury

Jumpstart: The storm rattled the windows, slashing at them as if trying to get past the thin glass to the inside. I knew if it did…

New Reviews

Under “Romance”, Wendy Stetson has a new book “Hometown” – a 4 Sparkler sweet romance with an Amish twist and a surprise ending.

Teresa has two new book/movie tie-in reviews:

The Spider’s Web (1960). A standalone with Glynis Johns
The Cornish Mystery (1990). A David Suchet Poirot.