Reviews Published

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The tale of one woman and her G&T

I have a live-in babysitter this week, which means - potentially - 6 glorious evenings of carefree going out with the father of my children in an attempt to reconnect as a couple.

Night 1, Sunday: all the good restaurants are closed. Movie-wise, my husband is not keen on "Sex and the City", while I'm not keen on "Prince Caspian". We could go to a bar for a drink, but it's raining, so I pour myself a home-made G&T.

Night 2, Monday: Ditto for restaurants and movies. Besides, I'm exhausted and I have a novel to edit. I pour myself a home-made G&T.

Night 3, Tuesday: My monthly book club meeting. By the time I get home, I pour myself a home-made G&T.

Night 4, Wednesday: The school's Board of Trustees meeting. I pour myself a home-made G&T before I leave the house.

Night 4. Thursday: The restaurant I really really really want to go to is fully booked today and tomorrow. And I'm heartily sick of G&T.

Friday, June 20, 2008


"DEATH OF A BAWDY BELLE" by M.E. Kemp is a very special book to me. First of all, because my blurb made it to the cover :-) and secondly, because it's such a good book.

Believe me, I know what I'm talking about. I've had my share of put-downable books lately. My book club is currently reading an Irish literary novel whose every page is as beautifully written as it is depressing... I'm about half way through it, and if I read any more of it, I will hold up the nearest pharmacy for a triple dose of Prozac, especially as my alternative reading is another lierary prize winner whose "smiling suns" title belies its contents. Why, oh why, is all literary fiction so morbid?

But let me not digress. "Death of a bawdy belle", although a murder mystery and therefore not, by definition, a happy topic, is nevertheless a wonderful, fun and uplifting read.

Salem, Massachusetts, 1692: Arabella Edwards, a mysterious beauty, is found hanging from the Salem gallows, yet the courts had nothing to do with her death. It is up to Hetty Henry, a wealthy widow past 25 years of age, to help with the inquiries. The first thing Hetty notices is an expensive lacy shift hidden beneath the plain clothes of the victim. The second thing she notices is what should be there but isn’t: a hood to cover her hair, a travel cloak, a chain of household keys....

Publisher: Hilliard and Harris
Year: May '08
ISBN: 1-59133-235-

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bloodstone Castle

(If you comment on this post, you will be automatically entered in the Bloodstone Castle book giveaway contest.)

Today I invite you to visit medieval Italy with Mirella Patzer, author of Bloodstone Castle, released earlier this month. Mirella brings romance, adventure, murder, hidden treasure and much more.

Q: Mirella, your book sounds like a treasure hunt crossed with a whodunnit. What is the main premise?

A: Bloodstone Castle is a romantic suspense set in medieval Italy. It is the story of one woman pursued by two men. It is a story about duty and love, desperation and honor. At the root of the story is an ancient Roman treasure lost centuries earlier and believed to be buried somewhere beneath the heroine's castle, Bloodstone Castle.

Q: The book is set in Italy. Do you have a connection to that country?

A: My parents immigrated to Canada from Italy in the 1950's. I've been to Italy to visit my relatives several times and I am in love with the country, the people, and its rich history.

Q: How can people get hold of the book?

A: My book is currently available at Amazon and is available to all book sellers. In addition, the ebook version will soon be available on Fictionwise, Amazon, and other major retailers. I am currently recording the unabridged audio book version and hopefully this will be available late in 2008.

Q: Is there a sequel in the making?

A: At this time, I'm not contemplating writing a sequel to Bloodstone Castle. Instead, I'm currently working on two novels. The Orphan in the Olive Tree, another medieval romance actually written in the medieval times by a French queen. I'm expanding the story into novel length and placing my personal stamp on it by developing the characters and changing the setting to Italy. At the same time, I'm working on the first book in a series pertaining to the women of the Ottonian Empire. The first book is called A Crimson Mantle. It is complete in first draft format.

Q: What is the WORST piece of writing advice you've ever heard?

A: I once heard that the best way to write a book was to spew it out and clean up the mess later. That advice may work for others, but it does not work for me. I am more thoughtful and meticulous when writing. I take a great deal of time to develop the plot or to research. I also polish a chapter as best as I can before moving on to the next. And then after I have a first draft, I run each chapter through my critique groups to ensure the chapter doesn't have any major plot holes or problems. It is amazing how much better a chapter becomes with feedback from fellow critique partners.

Q: You're an editor for a publishing house. How did you land the job?

A: I became an editor through a stroke of good luck. I own and operate a critique group at: and I belong to: a group owned by Anne Whitfield, a fellow author of historical fiction. She began working at Enspiren Press. The Owner of Enspiren Press was looking for people willing to learn to become editors. Their main requirement was experience in critiquing and a strong willingness to learn to edit. Anne thought I fit the bill exactly and recruited me. I jumped at the offer because it is the kind of work where one will always learn. As I had just retired from a 28 year career as a manager for a local police department, the timing was perfect and I could devote the time to learn.

Q: What do you do when you're not reading a book or writing one?

A: I take care of my two year old grandson while my daughter is in law school. In between, I blog and write book reviews. I also love to cook for my family. I've never been happier with my life.

Thank you very much for such an enjoyable interview.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

What's new in the world of books (Part I)

"GlassWorks" by Melody Knight

(Red Rose Publishing*, June 2008)

BLURB: Cate Rothgard doesn't like what she sees when she looks in the glass…literally. While other people view only reflected images, Cate sees far more of the past than she can sometimes bear.


Cate picked up the slab of glass from its tilted resting spot. It had dropped nearly intact. Her fingers shook as the first tracings of shimmery silica began to move beneath the surface. All those crystalline lattices somehow rearranging themselves…
She froze, her breath frosting the glass from the sudden chill. Gooseflesh rose on her skin as the air around her grew cold.
It had never happened this way before.
The man was lying there, in the glass, his body sprawled with the indignity of all things dead and unburied. Cate's breath caught in her throat, the unspent fog almost choking her. Oh, God!

It wasn't here—hadn't happened here—but it was happening now.

GENRE: Mainstream Romance, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery, Action/Adventure
ISBN: 978-1-60435-077-7

Says the author: "GlassWorks initially grew out of my interest in retrocognition, even though it's more a story of clairvoyance. I wondered what would happen if memories could be trapped within a pane of glass, rather like time travel for the susceptible."

(*Red Rose Publishing is a house that I'm watching with much interest. Its sales are going from strength to strength, its promo includes gorgeous earrings and they are about to get serious media exposure.)