Monday, 29 September 2014

The Button Legacy: Emily's Inheritance by Ginger Marcinkowski

In August 2012, The Overnight Bestseller featured a guest post by Ginger Marcinkowski. At that time, Ginger had published her first novel, Run, River Currents, which was a  semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis Awards, and a 2013 Kindle Book Award Finalist. We're pleased to review Ginger's most recent novel, The Button Legacy: Emily's Inheritance.

Book Summary

Growing up, Emily Evans of Run, River Currents had always shared a special understanding with her grandfather, John Polk, even when she couldn’t fully see beyond the darkness of her father’s abuse. Yet John looked to the future in faith to what his God could do.

Years after her grandfather’s death, the unexpected delivery of the decorated tin, still brimming with odd-colored buttons, unlocks the joyous memories and lets Emily realize she has finally discovered the secret her grandfather promised lay within the stories of the worn button box.

Told through the eyes of a devout grandfather, The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance laces together a godly heritage and the power of one man’s prayers, offering a lesson of how God’s grace can be seen even in the simplest thing—a button. This novel shares even more stories from The Button Legacy, a novella of Emily’s favorite stories.

Buy Link

 Author Bio

Ginger Marcinkowski was born in northern Maine along the Canadian border, a setting that plays a prominent role in her writings . Her debut novel, Run, River Currents, was published in August 2012. The Button Legacy, a novella, was published in June 2013, and was written as a prequel /sequel to Run, River Currents. The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance published in June 2014, is the full story of the Polk family's journey of faith told through buttons collected over generations.

Ginger has been a public speaker and visiting lecturer for many years. She has been a professional reader for the James Jones First Novel Award ($10,000 prize), and a judge for the ACFW ‘s prestigious Carol Awards. She is actively involved in the Hampton Roads Writers Association and is a member of the ACFW and Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and a columnist for Book Fun Magazine.

Our Review of  The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance

In Run, River Currents, we met Emily Evans, a victim of abuse by her father. In The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance, we learn the history of the preceding generations as we hear stories of her great-grandparents, grandparents, mother, and aunt. The author uses a simple narrative device to great effect. As a family member chooses a button from an antique tin, the story behind that button is told, and the history of the Polk family is revealed against the backdrop of a simple New Brunswick community. This is a story of faith maintained in the face of hardships and despair with the help of family and friends and the belief in the grace of God. This novel will appeal to readers of Christian fiction of all ages. Ms. Marcinkowski's elegant prose style engages the reader as we move effortlessly through the span of decades to hear the stories of a family that survives through the power of faith.

Related Sites

Goodreads Giveaway: For a chance to win a free copy of the novel, please click here.

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Monday, 22 September 2014

Georges Simenon and the Maigret Novels

I noted in an earlier blog that Georges Simenon's Maigret novels are being reissued by Penguin on a monthly basis. Six of these new editions of the Maigret novels have been issued to date

Julian Barnes has an interesting article in the Times Literary Supplement on Simenon and the Maigret novels. Barnes points out that Simenon's work was admired by such writers as Andre Gide and T.S. Eliot, among others. He suggests that Simenon's books were popular with "literary" writers both because of the positives of his writing--things he was able to do very well--and the "enviable" negatives-- things he got away with doing that other writers could not.

For the positives of Simenon's writing, Barnes cites his "swiftness of creation; swiftness of effect; clearly demarcated personal territory; intense atmosphere and resonant detail; knowledge of, and sympathy with, les petites gens; moral ambiguity; [and] a usually baffling plot with a usually satisfactory denouement." Among his enviable negatives were his simple prose (Simenon had a vocabulary of 2000 words), his brevity, his lack of rhetorical devices, and the lack of subtext in the novels. Simenon designed the Maigret books to be read in one sitting and made the vocabulary accessible to the general reader.

The article also contains some interesting anecdotes about Simenon and his work. For example, when the BBC re-created the Maigret stories on television, a local temperance group and Anglican bishop implored the producers to be less faithful to detail in portraying Maigret's daily alcohol consumption.

For the full text of the article, please see

Monday, 15 September 2014

Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn's thriller Gone Girl, published in 2012, was critically acclaimed and became a NY Times bestseller. It tells the story of two out-of-work writers, Amy and Nick Dunne. Flynn used her own experience as a laid-off writer for Entertainment Weekly in developing the characters. (She is now among the world's wealthiest authors.)

Amy disappears and the reader is uncertain whether her husband has murdered her. The novel relies on unreliable narration, plot twists, and suspense to engage the reader, while exploring the psychology of long-term relationships.

If you enjoyed the novel, the film version will be released on October 3, 2014. Flynn wrote the screenplay.

To view the trailers for the movie, please see

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Perfect Crime Story

Crime fiction writer Niall Leonard, who writes television scripts and books for teens and young adults, has some interesting advice on how to write the "perfect" crime story.

Photo courtesy of  The Guardian
First, he suggests starting with a story that fascinates you as a writer so you can convey this enthusiasm to your readers. Second, he recommends a lot of research so your stories will ring true to life and be "far more interesting than anything you could dream up at your desk". His third point is not to drown your story in details. Remember that you're entertaining, not lecturing your reader. His other points include the importance of a protagonist in unraveling the crime, and the identification of motive(s). Also, he suggests that the killer should operate in plain sight of the reader from the beginning of the novel. He or she may have a rock-solid alibi, but it's through the actions of the characters that the mystery should be revealed rather than through the introduction of the killer at the end of the story like a deus ex machina. It's the writer's job, he contends, to hide the clues leading to the ultimate revelation of the killer as the book progresses.

And his final word of advice? " Perseverance, patience and resilience are essential." Even the most successful of today's crime novelists, he notes, took years to establish their reputation.

Leonard's advice is, of course, commonsensical, but it never hurts to remind ourselves of the basics of crime fiction writing.

For the full text of the article, please see

Monday, 1 September 2014

I'm Back!

Thanks, everyone, for sticking with me while I took the summer off to write. I'm pleased to say that I have finished the first of my new crime fiction series set in Canada. It was quite a learning curve for me because there are so many differences between U.S. and Canadian criminal investigation procedures. At the same time, I enjoyed developing two new characters, Kevin Walker and Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police. The draft of the novel is with an OPP subject matter expert who so kindly agreed to allow me to pick his brain for this new series. Stay tuned for more information on the new novel, and rest assured that you also haven't seen the last of Donaghue and Stainer.

Now that The Overnight Bestseller is up and running again, I will be talking about the latest book news, especially new crime fiction. If you have a particular topic that you'd like to see covered in the blog, please be sure to let me know.