Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Land Girl Author: Allie Burns

War changes everything…

The Land Girl 

Emily has always lived a life of privilege. That is until the drums of World War One came beating. Her family may be dramatically affected but it also offers her the freedom that she craves. Away from the tight control of her mother she grabs every opportunity that the war is giving to women like her, including love.

Working as a land girl Emily finds a new lease of life but when the war is over, and life returns to normal, she has to learn what to give up and what she must fight for.

Will life ever be the same again?

Where I get my writing inspiration

I am always getting new ideas for novels and short stories which I become immediately obsessed with and want to write straight away. So that I don’t get carried away, and to keep me focussed on one writing project at a time, I write the new ones down in the Ideas Book that I keep by my bed. Most of ideas are just that, an interesting person, or setting and the execution will take a lot of planning and teasing out from that initial germ of an idea, and that can take time, sometimes years.

Here are some of my common sources of inspiration:

1.               Family history. Every family has folkloric tales of drama and history. For the Land Girl, I was interested in the story of my two German great-great grandfathers and what it must have been like to live in Britain during the war.

Another book idea I have draws on a family mystery that caused a lot of upset and left many unanswered questions. By the time some of the truth emerged (some forty years later) the family member shrouded in mystery had died and so no one could ask them why they did what they did. In the future, I hope to attempt to imagine the answers and give that relative a voice and a chance to explain themselves.

2.               Objects. I have started to work on my third book and this story was inspired by a pair of evening gloves that belonged to my great aunt. By finding out the story behind the gloves I’ve discovered that the aunt enjoyed an interesting career which has inspired both my setting and my protagonist.

3.               Photographs. When I’m at the planning stage and I have developed the idea of a character’s personality, but I can’t quite visualise them, I use photographs for inspiration. When writing historical fiction, I find photographs so useful for helping me feel as though I’m at an exciting event and they provide me with the little details and touches that help to evoke the atmosphere.

4.               Reading.  I read so many books, fiction and non, newspaper archives and I also watch lots of films and listen to audio. For a writer on a budget, books and films are the perfect way to travel anywhere, and open me up to the experiences of others, without ever having to leave the house.

5.               Relationships. We all read fiction to help us to learn a little bit more about the world. Friendship is an important and recurring theme for me in my writing and reading, and I’m often inspired by the things my friends do and say, or the lifecycle of a particular relationship. Family dynamics are interesting too. In The Land Girl the mother-daughter relationship is challenging – for many young girls the war presented them with opportunities, while the older generation hankered for a return to normality. I read many first-hand accounts of mother-daughter relationships to help me understand why Emily’s mother controls her in the way she does.

This list of inspiration is by no means exhaustive, and the wonderful thing about creativity is that we all find inspiration in different ways. Hopefully it has given you an insight into my own creative processes and it might give you some ideas to use yourself.

About the author:

Text Box: Allie lives in Kent with her family and two tortoises. When she's not writing for business or penning her women's historical fiction, Allie enjoys swimming and yoga. She has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and The Lido Girls is her debut novel. She is currently working on a second interwar years novel, which is due for publication in the summer of 2018.


This book was available on Netgalley but I was not chosen.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Chosen Ones by Margery Miller-Mondragon

The Chosen Ones
by Margery Miller-Mondragon
Genre: Medical Thriller

New Thriller has Sharp Medical/Political Edge
Readers who love smart thrillers won’t want to miss The Chosen Ones – Thy Will Be Done, written by author Margery Miller Mon-Dragon. Set in the high-intensity and politically diverse area of Washington, D.C., this clever new release hits the mark for suspense, action and social commentary – exploring the question of why we seem to be failing to engage in reasonable advances in medicine for all citizens. Within this book the reader will find themselves dealing with modern medicine and the issues of genetic restructuring, donor procurement, terminal illness and death and dying in our society.
The Chosen Ones – Thy Will Be Done, is a riveting thriller about a woman’s fight to uncover the genetic code to life itself and to bring to the world The Book of Man. Mara McClurg has been missing for five years. She leaves behind two daughters who have grown into young women beneath a blanket of lies and secrecy. When the US government discovers that a private sector research facility (GenTech) has broken the genetic code, Mara is sent to recover the book of man.
With a shrewd cast of characters, and a plot that moves quickly, readers will be engrossed while they absorb new knowledge and discover that the series is not just fiction but lies on the edge of what every human being can physically touch, his health and immortality.
Reviewers are calling the book, “…intelligent and compelling.” The paperback and ebook version are available on and the audio book is presently in production with a release date set for fall. The Chosen Ones – Thy Will Be Done is the first in a series of four books with They Walk Among Us, The Sword of Damocles and The River of Destruction to follow.


The smell of coffee fragrantly filled the house.  It was enough to wake Carol and lure her to the top of the stairs.  “Stokes,” she yelled.  “Is that you? Are you making coffee?”
“It sure the hell is,” he replied. “Get the girls and c’mon down.”  The girls were already wearily trailing behind her.
“My God, Stokes!” said Carol.  “You certainly have out done yourself.”
“Thank you very much,” said Stokes.
“I must tell you,” continued Carol.  It’s a nice treat to have someone, a male someone, cook for us.   And, yes, I would like it daily.”
“Well,” said Stokes, with the class of a fine southern gentleman. “It’s not every day a man gets to have breakfast with three beautiful ladies.”
“Enough, enough already,” said Mimi.  “I’m getting sick.”
Jaye joined her sister in the AM bashing.  “Yeah, it’s really getting kind of thick around here.”  Mimi continued to hold her head with her elbow firmly planted on the table.  Her eyes were still half closed.  Carol was becoming agitated with her.
“I hope coffee is the treatment you need Mimi.”  “If you’re not awake soon, you’ll miss the whole story.”
“No, I won’t!  Aunt Carol,” she moaned.  “That’s a tale I’ve been waiting to hear for a very long, time.”  She shook her head.  The long blonde hair blew from her face as if a strong wind had hit.  Then she jumped from the table and began to do jumping jacks.  Fifty pushups followed.  All marveled at Mimi’s strength and resilience.
“Not me,” said Jaye, “Not me.”
“Well, I’m sure awake now,” said Mimi. “Let’s eat!”
Stokes couldn’t have made a finer breakfast.  Scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and English muffins graced the table.
“Stokes, I need to thank you again.  This was very nice.   Nice that we have this chance to sit together and just enjoy.”
“You’re welcome Carol, I enjoyed it.  It’s a real nice change for me too,” said Stokes.
“Yes,” she thought quietly to herself,   “especially considering what lies ahead of us today.”   The girls were preoccupied.  Who wouldn’t be when faced with their situation?
“Girls, we have a lot to cover with you today,” said Carol.  “So, I thought it might be a good idea if you did the dishes and took your showers.  This will give Stokes and me a chance to organize our thoughts before we begin.”
They rolled their eyes and in unison chanted, “Dishes!”
“C’mon,” said Stokes.   “Don’t give Carol trouble this morning.  Let’s just move right along so we can get started.  I don’t have much time to spend here and I need every minute to count.”   A silence swept the room.
The sound of dishes loudly shrieked against each other.  Stokes placed himself comfortably on the sofa next to Carol.
“Well Carol,” he said, with a grin on his face.  “Today is the day!”
“It certainly is,” she replied.  “You know Stokes, I’ve waited so long for this day to come that I’m overwhelmed.   I don’t know where to start.”
It was nearly 1:00 PM.    Everyone perched in the living room waiting D-day.   “God!” said Stokes.  “This is what we’ve all been waiting for.   It’s not so bad.   So don’t look so doomed.  Now, once upon a time,” he teased.
“Oh Stokes!” shouted Mimi.  “Let’s get real”.
“No really girls,” said Stokes.  “I think the best way to do this is to start from the beginning, from the divorce.   It’s going to take some time but then you will understand her a bit better.  If there is one thing I don’t want it’s for either of you to be angry with her.  She was a great humanitarian and her work is responsible for saving us … from a catastrophe.   I want you to be proud to be her daughters and I want you to know that she gave her life.... I mean her....   “I want you to know that she sacrificed herself and her family for the betterment of mankind.”
“It’s Ok,” said Jaye.  “It’s Ok Stokes.  I understand.   Mimi and I aren’t babies anymore.  We’re capable of comprehending the intensity of emotion.   I’m glad you loved my mother.  Maybe all of our lives would be different today if you had married her.”  Silence overcame them, like a swift blanket of cold arctic air.
Then Mimi broke in with her usual antics.  “Yeah Stokes!  “Would you have played ball in the back yard or are you more into doll houses?”
“No,” he said.   “It would have given me the authority to kick your smart ass when you needed it.”  Then he grabbed her in a headlock and wrestled her to the floor.  “Please,” she cried aloud.  “Please don’t tickle me anymore.   I’ll be good, honest.”
It was plain to see he loved them, thought Carol.   He probably would have been a wonderful father.
“C’mon,” said Carol.  “We’ll be here for a week.”
“Yeah!” said Stokes. “She’s right.   We’ll start with the plane trip and the escape from Pittsburgh.”   “Then we can play those tapes Mara left with me for safe keeping.”  Both girls looked at him with a perplexing eye.
“What tapes?” said Mimi.
“We weren’t aware of any tapes,” said Jaye.
Stokes disappeared from the living room.  It wasn’t long before he returned with a steel box.  He sat down in his previous spot and began touching it in a strange and methodical sequence.
“I hope it’s not rigged to blow,” he said.  Then he laughed aloud and went on to say, “I don’t think your mother would endanger you that way.”  After four unique sequences, the tumblers clicked and the unusual steel box opened.  Inside were sixteen videotapes.  The girls jumped from their seats to handle each one.  They were numbered in sequence and on the bottom of the box there was a note.

It read very simply, “Watch them in sequence, and then you will know.”
Marg Miller-MonDragon is local to the Pahrump area. Before becoming an author, her career spanned thirty years as a nurse and medical educator. She has spent many years acknowledging the medical, ethical and legal issues surrounding healthcare. One of her greatest desires is to have her readers become invested in the dilemmas, evaluate solutions and then have strong opinions on this subject that will hopefully inspire change. She stated that she is looking forward to writing this series for the readers and that it is her greatest hope to inspire a culture where healthcare becomes a right for all citizens.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Sipped - Release Blitz by Kate Collier

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Mystery (Cozy/Traditional)
Date Published:  June 2018

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After a rough semester, Professor Lyssa Pennington just wants to post her grades and join her husband, Kyle, in Cornwall for Christmas. First, though, she’s expected to host an elegant dinner for Emile Duval, the soon-to-be Chair of Languages at Tompkins College.

Too bad no one told Lyssa murder is on the menu. And, by the way, Emile Duval is an imposter.

Who is he really? And who wanted him dead? Without those answers, the Penningtons can kiss Christmas in Cornwall goodbye.


Trooper Moran tapped his pen. “Let’s talk about the person you saw leaving the kitchen, the one who delivered the wine. Do you remember her coat?”

“I was fixated on her gloves.”

“Cloth coat? Down?”

“It was the kind of dark winter parka anyone would wear on a cold night, but that doesn’t tally with the classy gloves.”

“Did you see the woman’s footwear?”

“No, just the gloved hand.”

He chuckled. “Tell me about the glove.”

Lyssa’s cheeks were hot. “I was memorizing every detail to tell Kyle, because I really really wanted a pair just like them for Christmas.”

He shook his head.

“So I’m not a trained detective,” she joked. “I noticed some other detail, but I can’t grab hold of it right now.”

“Her head popping back for a look?”

Lyssa shook her head. “This woman didn’t second-guess anything. She’d worked out every detail.”

Not having read the previous books in this series, I was able to follow this story quite well. It is a complicated, complex murder mystery. There are some adult subjects or themes, but all is tastefully presented. Unlike many mysteries, while relationships are discussed, and make significant difference to the story, I would not say there is a romantic element to this book. It is strictly a crime novel.

The main story takes place on a college campus with plenty of rivalries and academic political confrontations and disagreements. When a department chair is found dead and a replacement must be assigned in short order, tensions run high. Secrets are revealed. Friendships and loyalties are tested.

An intense read with plenty of surprises.
About the Author

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C. T. Collier was born to solve logic puzzles, wear tweed, and drink Earl Grey tea. Her professional experience in cutthroat high tech and backstabbing higher education gave her endless opportunity to study intrigue. Add to that her longtime love of mysteries, and it’no wonder she writes academic mysteries (The Penningtons Investigate) that draw inspiration from traditional whodunits.


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Airships, Crypts & Chocolate Chips: A Cozy Witch Mystery (Spells & Caramels) by Erin Johnson

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 6th in Series 
Self Published 
Publication Date: June 23, 2018 

A bewitched prison. A brother with a deadly request. Can a magical baker launch a jailbreak and still keep her prince in the process?
Imogen’s magical bakery is thriving and she loves the company of the Water Kingdom’s dashing prince. But she’s not so enamored with the time she’s forced to spend with his awful Royal Family. She also can't help but worry that the increased media scrutiny could reveal her secret contact with the Royal Family’s sworn enemy: her own brother.
When her sibling shows up and demands Imogen spring his cronies out of jail, she flat out refuses. But when he threatens to hurt the ones she loves the most, she balances her allegiance to the prince with her plan for a covert prison break. Can Imogen keep up family appearances and avoid betraying the kingdom or will her pie-in-the-sky scheme become a recipe for disaster?
Airships, Crypts & Chocolate Chips is the sixth standalone book in a clever paranormal cozy mystery series. If you like crafty witches, charming romances, and fabulous French settings, then you'll love Erin Johnson’s enchanting adventure.

 This magical fantasy series is all about family and power and creativity.
The characters are unlike anyone you have met before. Each has their own endearing quality while hiding secrets. There is a shadow to every one. 
Imogen's relationship with Hank is moving forward, but she is still getting used to her unusual position between the classes. She is also still getting a handle on her swallow magic.
Hank, while better versed in his magic, is still in the dark about his powers, and has some insecurity issues. Iggy, does not struggle with ANY insecurity ideas.
Imogen's brother, Horace, is not gone from the picture, even though everyone feels he is the worst monster they've come across. Certain truths will be revealed before the book ends.

I felt the beginning was a bit slower than I cared for, but the exciting finish more than makes up for it. The bakers, as a group, face an impossible task, and bring social injustices and government conspiracies to light. All of which leads to one huge cliffhanger ending!

About the Author

  Erin Johnson is a native of Tempe, Arizona.  Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh.
In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).
Twitter: @EJohnsonWrites

  Purchase Link - Amazon 

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