Monday, 26 September 2016

An Invitation from the New York Journal of Books

Recently I was approached by the New York Journal of Books to join their staff as a featured reviewer of new Mystery & Thriller publications. I'm pleased to be joining this well-known online source of quality book reviews, whose panel includes "bestselling and award-winning authors, journalists, experienced publishing executives, tenured academics, as well as highly experienced professionals across a number of disciplines and industries."

For my review of the Swedish crime fiction novel THE VANISHED by Lotte and Soren Hammer, please click here.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A Thorny Dilemma

We have quite a few wild apple trees on our property. None of them are really very old, but for the past few years they've been producing small, often very tart fruit that the deer and squirrels enjoy during the winter.

I've begun to trim the ones closest to the house so that they will look and behave a little more like domesticated trees than wild ones. My thinking has been that if I cap the growth of their upper branches, suckers and so on, they'll concentrate more on fruit production.

This particular tree, photographed above, has had its first summer of absolutely phenomenal production. Its boughs are loaded with bright, colourful fruit for the very first time.

Unfortunately, paper wasps chose this year to build their nest right in the middle of all that good food. In past years I've treated paper wasps as feared enemies and wiped out their nests whenever I found them. Every year, it seems, they build right around the house. We're not allergic to bee venom, thank goodness, but no one likes being stung by these nasty pests.

When I spotted this nest, my first thought was to destroy it, as I have with all the others. Then I began thinking about the changes I've noticed over the past several summers on my property. The monarch butterflies used to return to our back yard in droves to breed, but this summer the milkweed I allow to grow for their use is untouched by monarch larvae. I haven't seen a single one, caterpillar or adult. As well, I've only seen a few bumblebees and honey bees around this summer. Our ecosystem is in serious trouble, and it worries me.

So the paper wasps stayed. We learned to walk around that particular tree, rather than right past it as we usually do when we take the dogs out back. Recently I snuck out after dark, when the bees were sleeping, to try a few of the apples. Oh my, they're delicious. A sleepy warrior stuck his head outside the hole to see what was disturbing the branches around its nest. I backed away, apple in hand, willing to leave him the field of battle until another day.

I find myself now on the horns of a thorny dilemma. I'd like very much to pick all the apples on that tree before they're too soft to use, but the wasps....... 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Arts in the Park 2016

It's been a quiet summer for me this year, so I was very happy to participate in this year's Arts in the Park festival in Stittsville. After several days of steady rain a nice day squeaked in just in time for me to get out and sign a few books, chat with people, and enjoy the fresh (humid) air.

Thanks to Doug Sutherland and the Stittsville Village Association for organizing the event, and thanks to everyone who came out. I'm looking forward to seeing you again next year!

Monday, 18 July 2016

A Perfect Summer Afternoon

Yesterday was a perfect summer afternoon here in eastern Ontario to spend outdoors. I was fortunate to have a chance to participate in the celebrations marking the tenth anniversary of the Terrace Green Bed & Breakfast, a beautiful property just outside Winchester, Ontario on Highway 43.

Annette and Jim Angus, owners and operators of the B&B, threw a big lawn party complete with entertainment and a fashion show. As you can see, I was able to set up my canopy under two enormous silver maple trees. It was a perfect spot to listen to the music and chat to people about book writing, reading, and many other things.

Thanks to Annette for a great afternoon!

Monday, 11 July 2016

A Review of Welcome to the Show by Frank Nappi

Once again  The Overnight Bestseller is pleased to host a stop on the Tribute Books blog tour. This time we welcome Frank Nappi with his sports juvenile novel Welcome to the Show.

Book Summary and Buy Links

It’s 1950 and Mickey Tussler—the now-famous pitching prodigy with autism and a golden arm—is back for another baseball season in this third installment of Frank Nappi’s critically acclaimed Legend of Mickey Tussler series. Talk of Mickey’s legendary exploits on the field has grown since his improbable debut two years prior, as have the fortunes of Murph and the rest of the lovable ragtag Brew Crew. Now Mickey, Murph, and Lester find themselves heading to Bean Town to play for the Boston Braves.

The call up is sweet, for all of them have overcome insurmountable odds to get where they are. But life in the major leagues is filled with fast-paced action both on and off the field. The bright lights of Boston hold a new series of challenges, hardships, and life lessons—especially for Mickey, who finds himself a long way from throwing apples into a barrel back on the farm. The three newest Braves have each other to lean on, as well as a new group of fans who are swept away by pennant fever, but balancing everything this new world has to offer may prove to be the greatest challenge of all.

Prices/Formats: $9.99 ebook, $9.99 paperback
YA, Sports, Special Needs
April 19, 2016
Sky Pony Press

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Author Bio

Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty-five years. His debut novel, Echoes from the Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a movie adaptation of the touching story "A Mile in His Shoes" starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder. Nappi continues to produce quality work, including Sophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much-heralded original story and the thriller, Nobody Has to Know, which received an endorsement from #1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille. The third installment of Nappi's Mickey Tussler series, Welcome to the Show, was released April 2016, and he is currently working on his next thriller, As Long As We Both Shall Live.
Nappi lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.

The Overnight Bestseller's Review of Welcome to the Show 

Baseball, as America's national pastime, has always been an effective metaphor for the challenges, frustrations, and triumphs of our everyday lives.  

 Frank Nappi's Welcome to the Show is the third in a series of novels set in the 1950s and featuring Mickey Tussler, a young pitcher dealing not only with the challenges of competitive sport but also of autism. To have such a character in a lead role is refreshing.

In this novel, Mickey has now moved up to the Big Leagues with its additional stressors. Nappi skilfully combines historical detail and fiction while fleshing out his story with a well-developed cast of characters.

You do not have to be a baseball fan to enjoy the Mickey Tussler series—although if you are, you'll certainly appreciate the historical references to the game. You just need to enjoy a good story!

A final note: Although the Amazon listing for this novel says it is appropriate for middle-graders (12-year-olds), I found it would be more suitable for young adult readers aged 17 and up because of the mature themes.

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Monday, 13 June 2016

Review of A Loaded Gun by Jerome Charyn

Once again The Overnight Bestseller is pleased to host a stop in the Tribute Books Blog Tour and to review a work by Jerome Charyn.

Book Summary and Buy Links

We think we know Emily Dickinson: the Belle of Amherst, virginal, reclusive, and
possibly mad. But in A Loaded Gun, Jerome Charyn introduces us to a different Emily Dickinson: the fierce, brilliant, and sexually charged poet who wrote:

My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun—

Though I than He— may longer live
He longer must—than I—
For I have but the power to kill,
Without—the power to die—

Through interviews with contemporary scholars, close readings of Dickinson’s correspondence and handwritten manuscripts, and a suggestive, newly discovered photograph that is purported to show Dickinson with her lover, Charyn’s literary sleuthing reveals the great poet in ways that have only been hinted at previously: as a woman who was deeply philosophical, intensely engaged with the world, attracted to members of both sexes, and able to write poetry that disturbs and delights us today.

A Loaded Gun Excerpt One:

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Prices/Formats: $11.99 ebook, $19.95 paperback
Genre: Literary Criticism
Pages: 256
Release: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Bellevue
ISBN: 9781934137987

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Author Bio

Jerome Charyn was born and raised on the mean streets of the Bronx. He graduated cum laude from Columbia College. He has taught at Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, Rice, was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the City University of New York and is currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the American University of Paris. Charyn is a Guggenheim Fellow and has twice won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His stories and articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Paris Review, Esquire, American Scholar, New York Review of Books, New York Times, Ellery Queen and many other publications. Charyn's most recent books are The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, I Am Abraham and Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories. His latest book is A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century.

Our Review of A Loaded Gun

Jerome Charyn is an innovative writer whose passion for his subject matter--whether it be his native Bronx, Abraham Lincoln, or Emily Dickinson--is expressed in a style inimitably his own. In A Loaded Gun, as in I Am Abraham, Charyn has conducted extensive archival research to provide his own sense of the inner life of a gifted individual.  Rather than accepting what has been the conventional view of Emily Dickinson as an isolated woman crippled by agoraphobia and manipulated by a dominating father, Charyn sees her as a woman of passion and imagination who was very much in control of her own life. He describes her variously as "an alchemist," "an enchantress," and "a mistress of her own interior time and space".

A Loaded Gun and Charyn's previous work, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, are not only fascinating in their own right, but provide an opportunity for a new generation of readers to discover the poet and her impressive work.

A Loaded Gun will appeal not only to readers of poetry, biography, and literary criticism, but also to all those seeking a refreshing read on a "conventional" life.

For previous reviews of Jerome Charyn's works in this blog, please see Bitter Bronx , I Am Abraham, and Under the Eye of God.

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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Dying to Be Beautiful Blog Tour

Once again The Overnight Bestseller is pleased to host a stop on a Tribute Books blog tour. This tour features the "Dying to Be Beautiful" mystery series by M. Glenda Rosen.


Saturday Morning, 6:00am

The head in the sink stared up at her. Darcy Monroe, the owner of a popular, chic hair salon was used to this. Only this time, the head was there without a body.

Chapter One: The Murder

As a Private Investigator, Jenna Preston had been hired to help solve murders, insurance fraud, cheating spouses and more. This was a new one for her.

She received what could only be described as a hysterical call from Darcy Monroe, owner of a popular, upscale hair salon in The Hamptons. A head without its body was rolling around in one of her shampoo basins.

Almost five-feet, five-inches tall, always looking taller in her two- or three-inch heels, Jenna had long red hair, blue eyes and was often seen driving around the East End in a white jeep, and in recent years, with her Irish setter sitting next to her.


Chapter 1
The Murder

Saturday, 6:10 A.M.

As a Private Investigator, Jenna Preston had been hired to help solve murders, insurance fraud, cheating spouses and more. This was a new one for her.

She received what could only be described as a hysterical call from Darcy Monroe, owner of a popular, upscale hair salon in The Hamptons.

A head without its body was rolling around in one of her shampoo basins.

Almost five-feet, five-inches tall, always looking taller in her two or three-inch heels, Jenna had long red hair, blue eyes and was often seen driving around the East End in a white jeep, and in recent years, with her Irish Setter sitting next to her.

As a well-respected private investigator in the area, she told the salon owner, “I’ll be right there, and don’t touch anything until the police arrive.”

Jenna knew they needed to secure the business as a crime scene and Coroner Doc Bishop and Head of Forensics Lara Stern had to be brought in as well.

“Troy, someone left a head, without the body, in a shampoo bowl at Darcy’s Salon. I’ll be there in about ten minutes.”

”Damn it, Jenna, I nearly spilled my coffee listening to this bizarre message. I’ll be there within the half hour. Meantime, I’ll ask Lara to get over there to check the crime scene for prints and other possible evidence and for Doc to arrange to bring the head to the morgue. We’ll want to look at it there, after he’s had a chance to determine how it was cut off and anything else he might find.”

Detective Johnson hung up.

He and Jenna had worked together and known each other for a long time. They clearly trusted each other. He knew she would follow police protocol at the crime scene.

Saturday, as always was an exceptionally busy day, “in season” at Darcy’s Salon, which is why she had gotten there so early. She always wanted the salon looking perfect, ready for stylists and clients, who this day had appointments beginning at 7 am.

Located off the main avenue of this posh resort at the East End of Long Island, less than ninety miles from Manhattan, the salon was known for catering to the rich and famous, as well as some of wanna-be customers, primping for weekend parties and fundraising events.

The salon was truly beautiful with warm color tones and soft matching leather client chairs facing gold (well, fake gold), trimmed mirrors. There was a reception area with the latest issues of fashion magazines from Paris and Rome, and a few of the more popular Hampton rags, like Dan’s Papers were spread out on a marble table, next to it a coffee machine offering gourmet flavored coffee and teas.

Most of the women who came to Darcy’s Salon had plenty of money, some from their own success, although others were arm candy for much older, wealthy men. Sometimes one of them would joke (maybe not) that they were “Dying To Be Beautiful” like some of the famous models and celebrities, many of who summered in the Hamptons.

“Jenna, you’ve seen how difficult and fussy they can be, and their egos—they’re constantly seeking confirmation of how beautiful they look. They want to come to a high- end salon, expecting to be treated like royalty. And believe me, we do.”

Darcy Monroe was only too glad to charge megabucks for her services since it included a whole lot of catering to their whims and demands. Beauty could indeed be expensive in The Hamptons. The chatter amongst the clients, the eight hair stylists, three manicurists and several assistants meant gossip was a basic ingredient of conversation. The story about the body without a head, and the head found in the salon, was sure to explode through The Hamptons. It certainly had all the elements of a soap opera.

“My god, Jenna, the gossip about this mess is going to be like a volcano spilling over this town.”


Dying to Be Beautiful: Without a Head can be purchased at:
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runs June 1-30, 2016 

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 140
Release: February 1, 2016
Publisher: Lulu
ISBN: 9781483445304
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Monday, 6:45am

Kevin Larson swam in his pool nearly every morning. Going on sixty-five, he prided himself on being in good shape.

Walking toward the small pool house, off to the left of the pool, he noticed a light was on. He was certain he turned it off the night before. Strange, he thought.

Even stranger, lying in a different sort of pool—blood—was his long time friend and lover, fashion designer Andre Yellen. Yellen was stuffed into one of the gowns he had designed and a wearing a blond wig.

The gown had been auctioned off the night before at a huge Hamptons fundraiser.

People in the Hamptons were certainly dying to be beautiful.


Chapter 1

Monday, 7:30 a.m.

Detective Troy Johnson was at Larson’s house when Jenna arrived. He had covered the victim with a large beach towel until the coroner and forensics arrived. [deleted “He and”] Sergeant Stan Miller, who had taken the call, accompanied him and was presently attempting to hold back the media. They had heard about Yellen’s death on the police scanner, and in no time, the active crime scene was quite a wild sight.

It was 6:30 A.M. when she had received the call from Johnson that he was on his way to Kevin Larson’s house: “Jenna, there’s been a murder. Designer Andre Yellen, the Fashion Queen, was found dead this morning at the home of movie mogul Kevin Larson. He gave her the address and exactly where it was located, “past the windmill at the edge of Southampton.”

“More like the situation was at the edge of reason,” Jenna thought.

“Jenna, they’re acting like a bunch of hungry vultures. Help! These are your people. Well, they’re reporters like you used to be. The homeowner is either in shock or just completely uncooperative except for telling me where and when he found Yellen’s body.”

Jenna sighed, “Sure, I can’t say no to such a lovely invitation.”

The death of Andre Yellen was big news.

Andre Yellen was squeezed—really, truly squeezed—into a beautiful ocean blue, sleeveless, silk gown he had designed and donated for a fundraiser the evening before. The size-8 dress was torn at all the seams. Yellen, in his early fifties, 5’9” and clearly out of shape, was more like a size-18-plus, and stuffed into a dress way, way too small for him.

As a designer for major celebrities for nearly twenty-five years, Yellen was a man about town who loved both the ladies and the men, or so it had been gossiped around the East End of Long Island, also known as The Hamptons.

After all, this is THE HAMPTONS, and all sorts of lifestyles are accepted, where choices are supposedly not judged, and relationships are not restricted by conventional boundaries. Unfortunately, there are always those determined to exercise their own brand of severe judgment.

However, there was no evidence this murder had anything to do with narrow minds. Not yet, anyhow. In fact, it wasn’t clear at all what this murder was about—or who had committed it.

Private Investigator Jenna Preston was familiar with many celebrities who lived or vacationed on the East End. Before becoming an investigative reporter, she was entertainment and social events reporter for the local daily paper and had interviewed quite a few of the “anointed” as she had once called them. Gossip columnists covered the rest.

Jenna was regularly hired by law firms, insurance companies and businesses for corporate fraud issues. She also had an arrangement and relationship with the local police—especially when it came to murder investigations. Some of the people she had once written about also tried to hire her for personal investigations and for, what she considered, ridiculous reasons. Such complaints included some new fence being too high or people walking on the beach in front of someone’s home.

Most of these cases she didn’t accept.

“For me, it’s about justice. We all have reasons, even life experiences motivating our passions. I have mine for what I do,” Jenna told a local reporter whose paper was doing a story on crime in The Hamptons.

Jenna had a solid reputation for being smart, resourceful and most definitely charming—without an attitude—which was different from many of the people who summered in The Hamptons.

She did love nice clothes, including the red shoes or red boots she almost always wore.

“Hey,” she laughed once when Troy made fun of her red shoes, “you wear a cowboy hat most of the time, so don’t make fun of me, Tex.”

Jenna and Troy worked together professionally almost as soon as she had become a licensed private detective. It was a small police force, often stretched thin during the summer season. Because they actually had few experienced investigators, he had requested and been given approval by his captain to use a discretionary fund to hire Jenna on an as-needed basis. She was often a member of his investigative team, usually for murders.

Lately, there didn’t seem to be any shortage of them.

Slender and almost 5’5,” yet always looking taller in her two- or three-inch heels, Jenna had long red hair, sometimes pulled back in a ponytail when she was working. She also had deep blue eyes. With more than a hint of spunk and mischief about her, she was definitely considered attractive.

Jenna’s new romance, Dave, thought so!


Dying to Be Beautiful: Fashion Queen can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble


runs June 1-30, 2016 

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 132
Release: June 1, 2016
Publisher: Lulu
ISBN: 9781483449159
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

M. Glenda Rosen is the author of The Woman’s Business Therapist: Eliminate the MindBlocks and RoadBlocks to Success, and award-winning My Memoir Workbook. For over fifteen years, she helped numerous authors develop and market their books, and presented writing programs in New York, The Hamptons, New Mexico and Carmel, California, on “Encouraging and Supporting the Writer Within You!” She's the founder and owner of a successful marketing and public relations agency for twenty-five years.

Links to connect with M. Glenda Rosen:

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