May 17 New Book


White Hares and Midnight Dares

by Laura Strickland

Category: Romance / Paranormal

Series: Jelly Beans and Spring Things

Diana Gendarme has spent her life doing for others, so when she moves into her dream cottage, she’s ready for some “me” time. But the cottage is shabby and her new neighbors quite close. One of them makes a din in his blacksmith’s forge all day long yet has the nerve to complain about her beagle’s yodeling. He’s the last sort of man who should attract Diana. So why can’t she resist the absurd dares he persists in issuing?Reg Coltsfoot doesn’t plan on falling for his neighbor. A lifelong charmer, he’s used to women falling for him instead. There’s just something about Diana that has him longing to draw her out of her staid life and into his. Maybe it’s the magic of spring, but Reg will do all he can to persuade Diana she needs his laughter and his love to light her days.

ISBN: (digital) 9781509251353  

Available through these fine retailers…



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May 16 Writing

Birthdays: Eric P. Kelly (1884), Douglas Southall Freeman (1886), Gertrude Warner (1890), Margaret Rey (1906), Studs Terkel (1912), Adrienne Rich (1929), Robert Dallek (1934), Bruce Coville (1950),

Eric Kelly’s book “The Trumpeter of Krakow” won the 1929 Newbery Medal

Douglas Freeman won two Pulitzers for his biographies of Robert E. Lee and George Washington

Margaret Rey wrote the “Curious George” books with her husband H.A. Rey.

Studs Terkel won the 1985 Pulitzer for General Nonfiction for “The Good War”

Adrienne Cecile Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012) was an American poet, essayist and feminist. She was called “one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century”, and was credited with bringing “the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse.” 

Quote: “More and more we are into communications; and less and less into communication.” ― Studs Terkel

“Every book is like starting over again. I’ve written books every way possible – from using tight outlines to writing from the seat of my pants. Both ways work.” – Bruce Coville

Tip: In fiction writing, numbers under 100 are generally spelled out: fifteen, twenty-nine, etc. (Not always, though. After all, this is grammar and there are no absolutes.)

Jumpstart: You’re a master spy ala James Bond. What kind of interesting tools does Q provide you with? What are you going to save the world from?

Spotlight: Susie Black

Set in the competitive Los Angeles apparel industry, Death by Surfboard is the story of how one man’s life of lies, delivered by smoke and mirrors, cost him everything. No one is more stunned than Mermaid Swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik when a fisherman hooks her unscrupulous colleague’s battered corpse attached to a surfboard and hauls it onto the Washington Street Pier. The ME ruled Jack Tyne drowned, but “had help dying”, and Holly’s boss is wrongly arrested for the crime. To save the big cheese from a life behind bars, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur detective dons her sleuthing hat to find Jack’s real killer. But the trail has more twists and turns than a pretzel, and nothing turns out the way Holly thinks it will as she tangles with a clever killer hellbent for revenge.


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Susie Black biography

Named Best US Author of the Year by N. N. Lights Book Heaven, award-winning cozy mystery author Susie Black was born in the Big Apple but now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.

She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.

Looking for more? Contact Susie at:



Review: Witch Way to Vegas by Mark Rosendorf

WITCH WAY TO VEGAS by Mark Rosendorf

Fiction, YA Paranormal, 4th in series (286 pgs)


Blurb: The war with Wiccan vampire, Valeria, is over. Despite a battle that spanned multiple timelines and realties, fifteen-year-old witch, Isis Rivera, and teenage magician, Zack Galloway have survived. Along with Isis’ adopted family, they now reside in peaceful New Salem, a hidden community of witches. They should be living happily ever after, but the battle, along with memories from the original timeline fill Isis and Zack with emotional trauma that negatively affects Isis’ Wiccan power. A decision is made by the family. Before settling into New Salem, they will return to what is most familiar to them, the Vegas stage. But another show has already taken their place. The Wiccan Circus, a performance run by a powerful witch named Erisa Cross, is now number one on the Vegas Strip. But is there more to her than meets the eye? The Wiccan Circus’ teenage performers are headlined by Erisa’s daughter, Amelia Cross, a rebellious witch who is used to getting what she wants. And what she wants is Zack. Isis will find her relationship with Zack tested like never before. With her family’s lives hanging in the balance, can they discover the true agenda behind The Wiccan Circus before it’s too late?

Thoughts: This is a good addition to the series and leaves you with enough dangling threads to let you know more is coming (Yay!). This is the fourth book in the Witches of Las Vegas series – but… it is not a stand alone. You really need to read all four books in order so you know what is going on and why.

What I liked: Isis and Zack are back as teenagers with Sebastian, Sasha, and Serena. They go back to Vegas and to putting on their show, but there’s a new witch show in town and they mean business. Amelia goes after Zack with a vengeance whichh immediately lets us know that there’s something more going on. I even liked Simon (though his humor is definitely in need of help!).

What I didn’t like: There was an awful lot of shrieking/screaming/yelling/etc. in this story. To the point where it almost became distracting for me. I understand there was a lot of angst going on, but not everything has to be screamed.

Recommendation: As part of the series, this is a good addition to the story. But you definitely need to read the other books in the series to understand exactly what is going on and why. Overall, I recommend the series. Great imagination and interesting challenges that Isis and Zack face.

Disclaimer: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

May 12 New Jelly Bean Book


You See Me

by Gabbi Grey


Series: Jelly Beans and Spring Things

After a public breakup with my fiancée, I’ve retrenched in Vancouver, British Columbia, to lick my wounds and star in a movie. I’m acting as if everything is okay, but then I meet a woman who sees the real me. Dare I take a chance to find real love?


I’ve admired Elouise Hynes from afar for years. She’s recently come out of the closet and was dumped just a short time later. I want to offer comfort, but I’m a makeup artist on her movie crew. Can we really form a lasting bond when she lives in LA and I’m staying in Canada?

ISBN: (digital) 9781509247462  

Available through these fine retailers…



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May 11


Primrose and Promises

by Judy Lynn Ichkhanian

Category: Romance / Historical / Victorian

Series: Jelly Beans and Spring Things

When Sebastian Edgars, Viscount Trelawney, meets Miss Phoebe Carmichael at her father’s funeral, the ground shifts beneath his feet. Since he cannot court her during mourning, he does the only thing he might: he disguises himself as a servant in her home. Wealthy and impatient, cut by grief, Phoebe isn’t interested in marriage, but when she meets Sebastian, everything in her calms. He understands how spring’s promise will lead her back to life. As secret organizations and mad Assyriologists battle around them, will their love prove strong enough to overcome societal norms and those set against their union?

ISBN: (digital) 9781509249015  

Available through these fine retailers…



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May 10 – Review: Forward in Time with Jelly Beans


Fiction, Short Time-Travel Romance, Sweet, (101 pages)


Blurb: In 1932, Henrietta Hinchcliffe graduates from medical school and jumps on the opportunity to reopen a clinic with Dr. Iain Carter. After realizing her dream, Henrietta should feel fulfilled, but she longs for more–the kind of soul-deep love her brother and parents found. Fate intervenes when a magic box of jelly beans whisks her away to the future. Soon after arriving, she discovers her unborn nephew will die in 1932 if she can’t find a way to save him. To complicate matters, the answers she seeks may lie with a handsome doctor named Joshua Bingham.

Thoughts: This is the second in this series (See: Back in Time With Jelly Beans) and a perfect follow-up to that story. In this one, Henrietta is the main focus of the story as she jumps forward in time and meets doctor Joshua Bingham. Heart’s thump, but can these two from two different times find their way to their happily ever after?

What I liked: I enjoyed the family home still being in the family (and her clothes in the closet!) I loved the little girl letting things slip about the family secret (time travel). I loved the descriptions that put me in both times easily.

What I didn’t like: Nothing. I thought it was a cute story with a HEA ending that satisfies. And a great follow-up to the previous story (which you really need to read first in order to understand what’s going on in this one).

Recommendation: Definitely pick up – along with the first one. They’re both short, quick reads that will leave you smiling.

Disclaimer:  I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

May 9

Birthdays: J.M. Barrie (1860), Eleanor Estes (1906), William Pene Du Bois (1916), Richard Adams (1920), Mona Van Duyn (1921), John Middleton Murry Jr. (1926), Roger Hargreaves (1935), Charles Simic (1938), Jorie Graham (1950), Joy Harjo (1951)

J.M. Barrie was the creator of Peter Pan.

Eleanor Estes won the Newbery Medal for “Ginger Pye”

William Pene Du Bois won the Newbery Award and was a two-time runner up for the Caldecott.

Mona Van Duyn was US Poet Laureate from 1992-1993.

Charles Simic won the 1990 Pulitzer in Poetry for “The World Doesn’t End”

Jorie Graham won the 1996 Pulitzer in Poetry.

Quote: “The printing press is either the greatest blessing or the greatest curse of modern times, one sometimes forgets which.” – J.M. Barrie

Tip: Titles of books, TV shows, and movies go in italics, but not titles of individual songs. Those go in quotes. Titles of albums go in italics.

Jumpstart: What are three things your main character has never told anyone? Why?

May 8

Birthdays: Edward Gibbon (1737), J. Meade Falkner (1858), Edmund Wilson (1895), Irene Hunt (1907), Milton Metzer (1915), Mary Q. Steele (1922), Louise Meriwether (1923), Gary Snyder (1930), Thomas Pynchon (1937), Peter Benchley (1940), Pat Barker (1943), Roddy Doyle (1958), Robin Jarvis (1963), Naomi Klein (1970)

Mary Steele received a Newbery Honor for “Journey Outside”

Peter Benchley is best known for his novel “Jaws”

Quote: “If you are a writer, you’re at home, which means you’re out of touch. You have to make excuses to get out there and look at how the world is changing.” – Roddy Doyle

Tip: Conflict of some sort gives the best kind of story. Without it, the story is flat. Create conflict, but with a reason. Give your characters goals, then put them at odds with each other.

Jumpstart: You’ve just found out you’re a mutant, as in the X-Men. What is your mutation? Is it obvious or hidden? What can you do?