My Moonbeam Book Award Winner!



I’m happy to announce that Intrigue in Istanbul: An Agnes Kelly Mystery Adventure is a 2016 Moonbeam Book Award winner!

Here is Moonbeams press release!

Books to Inspire Children to “Read Early and Read Often”

(Traverse City, MI – Oct. 13, 2016) The results of the 10th Annual Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards contest have been announced, and this year’s medalists make up an outstanding and diverse reading list. The contest was founded on the notion that childhood literacy and lifelong reading are vital to help children thrive in a rapidly changing world — or to borrow an election season cliché: “Read Early and Read Often!”

The Moonbeam Awards recognize the year’s best children’s books and are chosen by judging panels of book reviewers, librarians, teachers, and students. “This year’s winners are more diverse than ever, with inspiring messages that encourage kids to be kind, courageous, and to live healthy lives,” says Awards Director Jim Barnes.

See the complete results listing here:

The medal-winning books came from authors young and old, such as Little Leaf, by Lily Mae, a 4th grader from California, whose Zen-like exploration of an oak tree’s life cycle won the Best Book by Youth Author gold medal. In contrast, the Best Picture Book Series gold medalist features a new approach to old classics — “early-learning guides” to the likes of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’sand Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

This year’s winners are also a very geographically diverse group: medals went to books from 35 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces, and six countries overseas. Each of the 159 medalists possesses a distinctive quality that motivated the judges to award them amongst fierce competition, 1,500 entries in all.

Picture Book bronze medalist Nothando’s Journeyis by teacher and yoga therapist Jill Apperson Manly, and uses vivid, handmade paper collages by Alyssa Casey, who studied with papermaking masters in Spain, Italy, Brazil and New York. Health Issues category silver medalist Lisa Maxbauer Price took photographs at farm markets and garden centers to illustrate Squash Boom Beet: An Alphabet for Healthy, Adventurous Eaters.

Non-Fiction Picture Book category gold medalist, The Invisible You, by the father/daughter team of NFL Hall of Famer Alan Page and his daughter Kamie Page, portrays multicultural children moving into and adjusting to new neighborhoods. A judge exclaimed, “Every student has the potential to achieve — kudos to the Page Education Foundation for helping all kids succeed.”

Kudos to all of this year’s winners for their dedication to children and literature!

Learn more about the Moonbeam Awards at

For more information about the Moonbeam Awards and the winning books, or to interview their creators, contact Awards Director Jim Barnes at 1-800-644-0133 x 1011 or

Edgar Allan Poe: Death in a Gutter

Image result for gif of a raven

I thought you-all might like to know a bit more about Mr. Poe on this blustery, October day!

On the 7th of October 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore, America. He was one of the world’s most renowned crime and horror writers, credited also with inventing the detective and science ficti… Source: Edgar Allan Poe: Death in a Gutter | A R T L▼R K

(the gif was taken from

via Edgar Allan Poe: Death in a Gutter | A R T L▼R K — First Night Design

Published in: on October 7, 2016 at 11:26pm10  Comments (3)  
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Speakers of the Dead by J. Aaron Sanders

Speakers of the Dead (Walt Whitman Mystery #1)

This was a new audio book in my library and since I writing a mystery (Book II in my Agnes Kelly Mystery Adventure Series), I am “reading” mysteries to keep my head in the game, so to speak.

Stats: Published March, 2016, Audio book is 7 discs, approx. 9 hours, print 307 pages

Blurb: (Goodreads) Speakers of the Dead is a mystery novel centering around the investigative exploits of a young Walt Whitman, in which the reporter-cum-poet navigates the seedy underbelly of New York City’s body-snatching industry in an attempt to exonerate his friend of a wrongful murder charge.

The year is 1843; the place: New York City. Aurora reporter Walt Whitman arrives at the Tombs prison yard where his friend Lena Stowe is scheduled to hang for the murder of her husband, Abraham. Walt intends to present evidence on Lena’s behalf, but Sheriff Harris turns him away. Lena drops to her death, and Walt vows to posthumously exonerate her.

Walt’s estranged boyfriend, Henry Saunders, returns to New York, and the two men uncover a link between body-snatching and Abraham’s murder: a man named Samuel Clement. To get to Clement, Walt and Henry descend into a dangerous underworld where resurrection men steal the bodies of the recently deceased and sell them to medical colleges. With no legal means to acquire cadavers, medical students rely on these criminals, and Abraham’s involvement with the Bone Bill—legislation that would put the resurrection men out of business—seems to have led to his and Lena’s deaths.

What I liked: I could tell Sanders did his homework when researching this book, and he even tells some more about his research and what he “played” with as far as historical facts as an author. I always appreciate this since I like history and historical fiction. I don’t know enough about Walt Whitman to have any preconceived notions about his life so having him working on a mystery wasn’t too hard to wrap my head around. Sanders does make you believe most of his characters are real, putting them in real situations for the time, 1843 New York. The story flows and has good dialogue other than what I mention below. Sanders artfully addresses Whitman’s sexual preferences so as not to offend or ignore what is know, which I appreciate as a writer.

What I didn’t like: It really wasn’t much of a mystery. The Whitman character is trying to find out who killed and framed his friends but the answer seems to obvious early on (once you learn about all the characters involved). It was also irritating how many times Sanders – through his characters – talks about the how the use of dead bodies is needed to advance medicine. Since we live in a time when we know this is true, beating this idea into the readers heads is not needed. I understand the characters of the time would be thinking otherwise, but there are other ways to get that point across than say the same thing over and over. No complaints with Mark Bramhall’s performance. He does a wonderful job portraying the male and female characters alike.

Rating: -3/5

Published in: on September 26, 2016 at 11:26pm09  Leave a Comment  
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26 Books That Will Change The Way You See The World

stack460Erin La Rosa has put together an interesting summer reading list – I know it’s fall, but I just refound this so I wanted to share it. I have read a few on her list but not many.  I’ll have to check a few of them out.

26 Books That Will Change The Way You See The World.


Published in: on September 23, 2016 at 11:26pm09  Leave a Comment  
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CIA shares low-tech artifacts to make your inner spy swoon

I have to think of a way to use some of this stuff in my Agnes story. Too cool!

CIA shares low-tech artifacts to make your inner spy swoon.


Published in: on September 14, 2016 at 11:26pm09  Comments (5)  
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The Serpent On The Crown by Elizabeth Peters

I have not read any of Elizabeth Peters’ books before, but I like mysteries, so I thought I’d give this one a try.

Stats: First published in 2006, print is 496 pages, audio is 11 discs or 12.25 hours. Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat.The Serpent on the Crown (Amelia Peabody, #17)

Blurb: (Goodreads)

The Emersons have returned to the Valley of the Kings in 1922 and Amelia Peabody and her family look forward to delving once more into the age-old mysteries buried in Egypt’s ever-shifting sands. But a widow’s strange story — and even stranger request — is about to plunge them into a storm of secrets, treachery, and murder.

The woman, a well-known author, has come bearing an ill-gotten treasure — a golden likeness of a forgotten king — which she claims is cursed. She insists it has taken the life of her husband and unless it is returned to the tomb from which it was stolen, more people will die.

Amelia and her clan resolve to uncover the secrets of the statue’s origins, setting off on a trail that twists and turns in directions they never anticipated — and, perhaps, toward an old nemesis with unscrupulous new designs. But each step toward the truth seems to reveal another peril, suggesting to the intrepid Amelia that the curse is more than mere superstition. And its next victim might well be a beloved family member … or Amelia Peabody herself.

What I liked: The ending was quite good, though it took a long time to get there. Each mystery was revealed slowly in the end, which was fine, but I got confused about what character had done what because of how it was drawn out.  I really enjoyed the narrator, Barbara Rosenblat. She was a perfect choice for a story about an English archaeologist family in Egypt. I don’t know how many different voices she did, but there were many and all done well. The writing was good, and as a reader, I could visualize the area and situation.

What I didn’t like: It’s a bit slow – the whole way through, from the question of where the statue came from to when the dead body showed up and who the murder was. If you’re looking for a slow, entertaining summer read, this would be it. If you want a fast-pasted mystery, pick some up something else.

Rating: 3.5/5 (a bit too slow for my taste)

A Peek at My Collection of Antique Books

Do you have an old book collection? I have a few.

The Page Turner

There is one thing that I absolutely love, and that is books.  Old books, new books, hardback, and paperback. My dearest love is my collection of antique readers and story books. I have one bookcase devoted to them. Today, I took them down lovingly, one by one and took their pictures.  Some are faded and their color lacking, others you can see the original colors and the images inside.  I am not a professional with the camera, so these might not be the best quality photos, but they serve their purpose.  So without further ado, I present, shelf one of my antique book collection.


These first two books are some of my oldest. One is a phonetic’s book from 1855  and the other is a Children’s Reading Primer published in 1935.


My two Frank Baum books, just make me happy and smile when I look at them. So detailed and so…

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Published in: on August 31, 2016 at 11:26am08  Leave a Comment  

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4)I had read this book quite a while ago so when I saw the audio version in the library, I picked it up and so glad I did.

Stats: First published in 1926, 299 pages. Audio is 6 CD’s, 7′ 3″, narrated by Robin Bailey

Blurb: (Goodreads) Roger Ackroyd was a man who knew too much.
He knew the woman he loved had poisoned her first husband. He knew someone was blackmailing her ― and now he knew she had taken her own life with a drug overdose.
Soon the evening post would let him know who the mystery blackmailer was. But Ackroyd was dead before he’d finished reading it ― stabbed through the neck where he sat in his study…

What I liked: I really enjoyed the voice work of Robin Bailey. He did a wonderful job with the different voices, treating each voice as a distinct person with distinct vocal characteristics, even the women. I also enjoyed the story, of course. I have yet to read a Christe story I haven’t like, though I haven’t read them all, so who knows. Agatha does an exceptional job of making it hard to know who the true murder is. Even though I had read this in the past, I didn’t remember and was surprised once more🙂 Old age does have some advantages. I also enjoyed her intro for Hercule Poirot (or HP as my daughter and lovingly call him) into the story: he is throwing “vegetable marrows” as I think she refers to them, over his neighbor’s fence and onto his neighbor. One example of Christie’s subtle wit.

What I didn’t like: Um…I’d have to think a bit on that one. I won’t give details so as not the spoil the story for any reader, but Christie lets the murder off (sort of) and in a interesting way. As a writer, it’s a cleaver ending, something different than the usual. As a reader, I’m not so sure I liked it.

Now you have to read it! Better yet, get the audio with Robin Bailey as the narrator. Worth the listen!

Rating: 4+/5

Published in: on August 30, 2016 at 11:26am08  Comments (3)  
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Old Tune Tuesday – Staple Singers

Happy Tuesday!

I dare you not to move to this.

I like the young man with the purple shirt and red pants, and how about those fuzzy pigtails!

Published in: on August 23, 2016 at 11:26pm08  Leave a Comment  
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Goldilocks Author’s Birthday

Today is the birthday of The Story of the Three Bears author, Robert Southey, born August 12th, 1774  in Bristol, England, died in 1843.

He was poet laureate for 30 years. He was also a scholar, historian and biographer. It is said that he corresponded with Charlotte Bronte and told her at one point: “Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life.” Good thing she ignored him!

Interesting that such a learned man is best known for a children’s story (at least in this country).

No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.

                                             Robert Southey