Spotlight: D.V. Stone

Jordan Vasilakis is on the run, living under an assumed name. After a disastrous marriage to a notorious Greek business tycoon, she flees to the States and starts rebuilding her life. But her ruthless husband is determined to destroy her…once he finds her. Michael Machau is drawn to the new singer at Jazz House restaurant, but the guarded woman is harboring dangerous secrets. The dedicated police officer may have to risk more than just his heart to forge a connection with the woman he knows as Madeline Cielo, especially when he discovers she’s living a lie. Worlds collide. Lies entangle. Survival, much less love, is in question. They must quickly distinguish friends from enemies or risk losing everything—including a future together.

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I love to read books of all kinds. This passion began at a very early age. My mom will tell you I never played with toys like dolls or blocks. Toddling around there was always a book in my hand. From the Little Golden books of childhood I grew into children’s literature like Heidi and Black Beauty. Then came the horse books. Seabiscuit and War Admiral. Misty of Chincoteague was a particular favorite. Animal books have always been one of my go-to genre. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot started me on a series that I still return to from time to time.  J. R. R. Tolkien is one of my inspirations as a fantasy author along with C. S. Lewis. But in my heart, I love romance in all its sub-genres. I found these gems in my late teens when I passed a bookstore on my way to work from high school in Minnesota. Living on a dairy farm was tough. My dad had a heart condition and died of cardiac arrest when he was 37 years old. I was 17. My mom and I had to run the farm and take care of the younger kids. We didn’t make a lot of money farming. I had a part-time job to help make ends meet. Romance novels became my escape. They always had a happy ending and took me away from the troubles of life.  Through the years books have been my constant companions and I often revisit my old friends, as well as make new ones. My dream is that you will find the same things in the books I write.
Life is tough. Love can be hard. But with hope, we can get through.

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Around the Fire with D.V. Stone 

August 30 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Mary Shelley (1797), Theophile Gautier (1811), John Gunther (1901), Virginia Lee Burton (1909), Laurent de Brunhoff (1925), Helen Craig (1934), Donald Crews (1938), Robert Crumb (1943), N.H. Kleinbaum (1948), Guy Kawasaki (1954), Judith Tarr (1955), Camilla Lackberg (1974),

John Gunther is best known for his work “Death be not Proud”

Virginia Lee Burton won the 1943 Caldecott Medal for “The Little House”

Laurent de Brunhoff was the illustrator for the “Babar the Elephant” series, which his father Jean de Brunhoff wrote.

Donald Crews was a two-time winner of the Caldecott Medal

Quote: “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

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.” ― N.H. Kleinbaum, Dead Poets Society

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

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

August 29 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: John Locke (1632), Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809), Anna Ella Carroll (1815), Maurice Maeterlinck (1862), Marquis James (1891), Preston Sturges (1898), John E. Williams (1922), Rene Depestre (1926), Thom Gunn (1929), Gillian Rubinstein (1942), Sue Harrison (1950), Karen Hesse (1952), Michael Kube-McDowell (1954),

Maurice Maeterlinck won the 1922 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Marquis James was a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

John Williams won the 1973 National Book Award for “Augustus”

Karen Hesse won the 1998 Newbery Award for “Out of the Dust”

Quote: “Deep feeling doesn’t make for good poetry. A way with language would be a bit of help.” – Thom Gunn

Tip: Like vs. as if – everyone overuses “like” but in a lot of cases, it can be changed to a different word. For instance: He looked at her like she was a drink of water and he was dying of thirst. (In this case, like can be changed to ‘as if’: he looked at her as if she…)

Jumpstart: She settled the mask over her face. “Are you ready for this?” He nodded and put on his mask as well…

August 28 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749), Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe (1864), Robert Duvoison (1904), Sir John Betjeman (1906), Robertson Davies (1913), Tasha Tudor (1915), Jack Vance (1916), Jack Kirby (1917), Janet Frame (1924), Allan Say (1937), Leo Tolstoy (1828), Vonda McIntyre (1948), Rita Dove (1952),

John Betjeman was the British Poet Laureate from 1972 until his death in 1984.

J.W. von Goethe was most known for his work “Faust”

Mark Howe won the 1925 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for “Barrett Wendell and his Letters”

Jack Vance won his first Hugo Award in 1963 and his most recent in 2010.

Jack Kirby was the co-creator of the Captain America character.

Allen Say won the Caldecott Award for “Grandfather’s Journey”

Vonda McIntyre won the Nebula Award in 1997 for “The Moon and the Sun”

Rita Dove was the US Poet Laureate from 1993-1995 and won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Quote: “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

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).

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 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Theodore Dreiser (1871), C.S. Forester (1899), Ira Levin (1929), Antonia Fraser (1932), Ann Rinaldi (1934), Sarah Stewart (1938), William Least Heat-Moon (1939), Suzy Cline (1943), Lisa Yee (1959), Jeanette Winterson (1959), Jill Lepore (1966), Thando Mgqolozana (1983)

Ira Levin’s 1954 book “A Kiss Before Dying” won the Edgar Award for best first novel.

William Least Heat-Moon is best known for his book “Blue Highways”

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

“A book you read when you were a child will read differently when you pick it up later.” – Thando Mgqolozana

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).

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…

August 26 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: John Buchan (1875), Guillaume Apollinaire (1880), Eleanor Dark (1901), Caroline P. Miller (1903), Christopher Isherwood (1904), Julio Cortázar (1914), Irving R. Levine (1922), Barbara Ehrenreich (1941), Will Shortz (1952), Nikky Finney (1957), Stephen J. Dubner (1963), Paula Hawkins (1972)

Caroline Miller’s first novel “Lamb in His Bosom” won the 1934 Pulitzer Prize for Literature.

Will Shortz, since 1993, is the crossword puzzle editor for the New York Times.

Nikky Finney is the winner of the 1022 National Book Award for “Head Off & Split” poetry.

Quote: “The novel wins by points, the short story by knockout.” – Julio Cortazar

Tip: Don’t give your reader a laundry list of things: She went to the store, then to the doctor’s, then worked out at the gym… Break things up with something more interesting.

Jumpstart: I was just so done with everything. With life. I wanted to scream. But that’s not proper. Not polite. So I…

August 25 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Bret Harte (1836), Paul H. Buck (1899), Leonard Bernstein (1918), Brian Moore (1921), Thea Astley (1925), Patrick McManus (1933), Charles Wright (1935), Virginia Wolff (1937), Frederick Forsyth (1938), Margaret Maron (1938), Howard Jacobson (1942), Charles Ghigna (1946), Martin Amis (1949),Ian Falconer (1959), Lane Smith (1959), Taslima Nasrin (1962)

Paul H. Buck won the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for History for “The Road to Reunion, 1865-1900”

Charles Wright won both the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Charles Ghigna, a children’s book writer, goes by the name “Father Goose”

Quote: “As a novelist nowadays, you have to assume that everything you say will be, for some reader somewhere (and maybe for hundreds of them), something they know a lot about. And they do not forgive slovenly descriptions riddled with errors.” – Frederick Forsyth

Tip: A fragment is a sentence that is missing something, usually the subject, as in: “And do it now.” In this fragment, the subject is implied. But a fragment can also be a single word: “Now!” They can be used to a good effect, but don’t overuse them or they lose their impact.

Jumpstart: You walk into English class in school. Everyone’s staring at you… why? Are you a student? Or a teacher? What’s happening?

August 24 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Max Beerbohn (1872), Jean Rhys (1890), Malcolm Cowley (1898), Jorge Luis Borges (1899), James Tiptree, Jr. (1915), Howard Zinn (1922), A.S. Byatt (1936), Susan Sheehan (1937), Paulo Coelho (1947), Alexander McCall Smith (1948), Oscar Hijuelos (1951), Orson Scott Card (1951), Stephen Fry (1957), Ali Smith (1962), Yrsa Siguroardottir (1963), John Green (1977),

Susan Sheehan won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for “Is There No Place on Earth for Me?”

James Tiptree, Jr. Is the pen name of science fiction writer Alice Bradley Sheldon – who broke down the barriers of women writing science fiction vs. men.

Oscar Hijuelos was the first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. 1990 for “The Mambo Kings Play songs of Love.

Quote: “I really think that reading is just as important as writing when you’re trying to be a writer. Because it’s the only apprenticeship we have. It’s the only way of learning how to write a story.” – John Green

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” – Paulo Coelho

Tip: Logical order: unless you’re writing a time travel story or your character is a precog, events should follow a logical order. For instance: “She jumped out of the way, realizing the car was going to hit her.” This isn’t logical. She’s jumping before she’s realizing. It should be: When she realized the car was going to hit her, she jumped out of the way.

Jumpstart: Your obsession with (what) is starting to worry me. Why?

Spotlight: Andrew Grey

Title: The Doctor’s Wish 
Author: Andrew Grey 
Series: Carlisle Medical Book 3 
Genre: LGBTQ+/Gay Romance/Contemporary Romance/ M/M
Publisher: Self Published 
Release Date: Aug 16 2022
Edition/Formats: Kindle

General practitioner Dustin Avarilla has been on the job for a few years—long enough to find out that some doctors, especially his boss, don’t see things the same way he does. Dustin believes that the patients come first, but his boss is more concerned with the bottom line. When Charles Morton brings his very sick niece in right at closing time, Dustin’s care starts trouble with his boss, but touches Charles’s bruised heart.

Charles is nearly frantic when his niece becomes ill. He’s had custody of Anna for only six months, following her parents’ sudden death, and he might be in over his head. Dustin is gentle and caring, which is just what his little patient and her Uncle Cheesy need. Charles feels his focus has to be on Anna, and the last thing he’s looking for is love. Dealing with a new job and town, along with becoming a parent, is almost more than he can handle.

Charles and Dustin meet again at a friend’s party, with heated attraction drawing them closer. One dinner leads to a date, with chemistry building by the second. But Charles’s mother, who feels Anna should be left in her care, and Dustin’s boss, who decides their relationship isn’t up to the family image of the practice, form an unlikely alliance that threatens to pull their budding relationship apart. While alone, they are vulnerable, together they might just get everything they desire.

Continue reading “Spotlight: Andrew Grey”

New Reviews!

Under Romance:

GOD OF SUMMER by Kat Chant – 4 Sparklers for this Irish mythology-based story of gods, goddesses, and mortals.

Under LGBTQ+ for adults:

THE DOCTOR’S WISH by Andrew Grey – 4 Sparklers for this gay romance

Under Mysteries:

SIX FEET DEEP DISH by Mindy Quigley – 4 Sparklers for this pizza restaurant-based mystery (with yummy recipes!)

A TREACHEROUS TALE by Elizabeth Penney – 5+Sparklers for this story within a story mystery

DEVIL’S DELIGHT by M.C. Beaton – 3 Sparklers for this British-based mystery