Happy Swiss National Day!

The Swiss Chocolate Series

Wow wow wow! I’ve never done this before, but to celebrate Swiss National Day today, and through Friday of this week, you can download ALL THREE books in this series for……NOTHING!

That’s right, I decided to do a whopper of a promotion, and you can read this award-winning series for absolutely free. So go ahead and download the books – tell your friends! The bestselling series is set mostly in my beloved Switzerland, and is a family saga that spans decades. It’s classified as women’s fiction (although plenty of men have read the books, too).

Swiss flag
Photo courtesy of ejbartennl

I’ve written 10 books, and I want you to become a new reader. I think that if you enjoy this series, you’ll want to read more of my novels (hint: read Villa del Sol next).

Here’s the link: https://tinyurl.com/2r45mc3v

Happy Swiss National Day, or Schweizer Nationalfeiertag/Bundesfeiertag in German, or Fête nationale Suisse in French, or Festa nazionale della Svizzera in Italian, or Festa naziunala Svizra in Romansch!

Happy Pride Month!

“You know, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender – people are people.” (Judith Light)

This book of mine, pictured above, is FREE for the first five days of June, to celebrate people – everyone (click on the link right below the picture of the book). My character Joe Traversa was, I believe, the first gay character I wrote. He wasn’t the last, though. It’s important not to turn a fictional person into a caricature, and I hope I avoided doing so. Bits of Broken Glass was published in December of 2013 – over eight years and at least six books ago. It’s about an impending high school reunion (do those even take place anymore?) and four classmates who revisit their pasts as the reunion approaches. I created characters from what I call amalgams – bits of friends, and enemies – that I’ve known. No one character is solely based on one individual.

By making a book free for a few days, what I hope to do is attract a new reader or two. It’s hard for a stranger to take a chance on a new author. I know that. So you can download this book for nothing and see what you think. If you like the book, I’ve got plenty more!

Presently I’m working on my 11th novel, my 12th book. It’s pretty incredible sometimes when I think about it. And I do hope this one is the best yet (I say that about each of them). It will involve travel, and my recent trip to Portugal and Spain will provide some of the inspiration. But the book won’t be ready until late in the year, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait.

For those of you who are loyal readers, let me thank you again. I so very much appreciate your support and kindness over the years. I may never be a famous author, but that’s okay with me. I’m doing what I truly enjoy, and as long as you like reading my books, I’ll keep writing them!

Happy Pride Month!

Book Review Tuesday – Sheep Tales – #BRT

How cute is this book? And what a precious and wonderful gift the author gave to his granddaughter by writing this book. Seriously, she’ll have it forever.

Sheep Tales follows young Chloe and her smart Border Collie sheepherder dog, Tobey, on the family farm. Chloe’s parents have sheep and there is one little lamb named Ellie, who somehow gets away from the rest. Panic ensues! But never fear, for Tobey is there.

This book is a treasure, and would make a wonderful gift for any child, especially a little girl who loves animals. With beautiful illustrations from Jamie Forgetta, Sheep Tales warms the heart.

Want a copy? Great! If you’re local, you can find a copy at Stillwater Books in downtown Pawtucket https://www.stillwaterbooksri.com/ or online at Amazon. Copies are available in paperback or hardcover.

Book Review Tuesday – All the Rest of Her Days – #BRT

All the Rest of Her Days

Maggie is 16 years old and pregnant, a big problem in the 1960s. When she confesses to her parents, they make the decision to send her away to a home for unwed, pregnant girls, where Maggie will stay until she gives birth. Then, the baby will be taken and put up for adoption. She gives birth to a son and carries her secret with her for decades.

Thirty years later, Maggie receives a telephone call from a man who says he is her son. This is actually how the book begins – so the reader has a pretty good idea where it’s going. But this isn’t a mystery; it’s a story about loss and a mother’s never-ending love for her son.

The first seven chapters make up Part One, which focuses on Maggie Porter – her teenage pregnancy, her return to high school and college after giving up her baby, and her eventual marriage to a man named Joe. It ends with her pregnancy and the birth of a daughter.

Part Two begins in Ireland, with Julia O’Brien preparing to leave for America. She joins her brother there and meets a man she will eventually marry. But this couple finds themselves childless after a number of years, and decide to adopt. And yes, they adopt the little boy that Maggie Porter had put up for adoption.

From there the storylines move along – sometimes so quickly it’s hard to keep up – to the eventual point that begins the novel.

The author had a good plot and developed it thoroughly. However, this book was in desperate need of a copy editor. Spelling errors and in particular, the misuse and lack of punctuation mar an otherwise engrossing tale. Copy editors can polish a story and make it shine.

Many parts of this story seemed rushed. This is really more of a saga, spanning decades, but at times the author covers years in a single paragraph. Also, when shifting to a new scene (and a new time period), it’s a good idea to have a break, even with a symbol, to let the reader know. Otherwise, one is left wondering what happened, thinking something was missing.

This book was published seven-and-a-half years ago – it would be my recommendation to have it professionally edited and re-release it.

You can get a copy of All the Rest of Her Days in digital or print versions here: https://www.amazon.com/All-Rest-Days-Jane-McCarthy/dp/1495287661/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “F” is for “For Your Eyes Only”

I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

Written for the James Bond film of the same name, “For Your Eyes Only” is sung by the Scottish singer Sheena Easton (best known for her snappy “Morning Train (Nine to Five)” hit). The songwriter, Bill Conti (Providence native!), wrote the film’s song with Donna Summer or Dusty Springfield in mind, but the film studio had noticed Easton after her “9 to 5” hit and suggested her. The song was released in June 1981 and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Here is Sheena Easton singing “For Your Eyes Only” live:

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “D” is for “Don’t Stop Believin'”

I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

Released in October of 1981, this is Journey’s biggest hit, and recognizable instantly from its keyboard intro. It was a Top 10 worldwide hit in 1981, and became the best-selling digital track of the 20th century, with over seven million downloads.

The song has endured for decades, even making it onto the hit TV show “Glee” as its own anthem. And fans of “The Sopranos” will remember it being played during that iconic final scene. It’s frequently played during Detroit Red Wings hockey games and other Detroit-based sporting events. You’ll hear “Don’t Stop Believin'” played during the eighth inning of every San Francisco Giants home game, because Steve Perry is a season ticket holder. And it was used as a closing number in the musical Rock of Ages.

Trivia: There is no actual “South Detroit,” at least no actual place known as South Detroit, but co-songwriter Steve Perry liked the way it sounded, and it stuck.

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “B” is for “Bette Davis Eyes”

I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

I can’t ignore the song that was #1 for the year, even if I’m not crazy about it. Kim Carnes sounds like she’s smoked a carton of cigarettes before she recorded it. What I didn’t know was that the song was actually written in 1974 by Jackie DeShannon (“What the World Needs Now is Love” and “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”). DeShannon recorded it, but who remembers that? No, it was a huge hit for Kim Carnes, who was a songwriter and session background singer for years, until Kenny Rogers commissioned her in 1980 to co-write songs for his new album. She recorded a few other songs, including a duet with Rogers (“Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer”). Actually, Kim Carnes has had a pretty impressive career, and you can read about it here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Carnes

Here’s the video:

I am going to give a mention to the song I would have included, if it weren’t for the fact that “Bette Davis Eyes” couldn’t be ignored.

“Being with You” by Smokey Robinson – runner-up!

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “A” is for “All Those Years Ago”

I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

Why not begin with my favorite Beatle? Here is George Harrison’s May 1981 release, a tribute to his fellow Beatle John Lennon, who had been murdered in December 1980 outside his apartment. What I love about this song, besides the lyrics, is that Ringo Starr plays drums and Paul and Linda McCartney fill in background vocals.

I’m shouting all about love
While they treated you like a dog
When you were the one who had made it so clear
All those years ago

I’m talking all about how to give
They don’t act with much honesty
But you point the way to the truth when you say
All you need is love

Living with good and bad
I always looked up to you
Now we’re left cold and sad
By someone the devil’s best friend
Someone who offended all

We’re living in a bad dream
They’ve forgotten all about mankind
And you were the one they backed up to the wall
All those years ago
You were the one who imagined it all
All those years ago

All those years ago
All those years ago

Deep in the darkest night
I send out a prayer to you
Now in the world of light
Where the spirit free of lies
And all else that we despised

They’ve forgotten all about God
He’s the only reason we exist
Yet you were the one that they said was so weird
All those years ago
You said it all though not many had ears
All those years ago
You had control of our smiles and our tears
All those years ago

Book Review Tuesday – Treading Water #BRT

In author Belle A. DeCosta’s debut novel, we meet thirtysomething advertising executive Caroline McMerritt, whose place among the ambitious, driven Manhattan ad execs is threatened by her own self-destructive behavior. Forced into a leave of absence by her employer, Caroline heads to Maine, to a family cabin on a lake, where she reluctantly adapts to her new surroundings. There she discovers an old journal left behind by her now-deceased mother, and that journal provides much of Caroline’s self-healing. DeCosta deftly transitions between entries from the past and Caroline’s present-day musings.

Add in some well-developed characters and a potential love interest and we’ve got ourselves a story! Truthfully, this is a very well written tale of redemption and second chances. DeCosta uses language in a beautiful way, painting with words, and this reader rooted for the protagonist.

There are some blips that I, as an editor, can’t help but see (you ‘pedal’ a bike – to ‘peddle’ a bike is to sell one on a street corner, and the misuse of lie/lay and farther/further could be fixed by a good copy edit), but otherwise this is a most enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more of DeCosta’s work.

Get a print or digital copy of Treading Water here: https://tinyurl.com/yckpp63t