Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Blast: The Early Years by Rachel G. Carrington


Inside the Book:
The Early Years
Title: The Early Years 
Author: Rachel G. Carrington 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Biography 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Author Rachel G. Carrington lays no claim to lofty jobs, higher education, nor grand accomplishments except for a love-filled, multifaceted, family-oriented, poverty-to-plenty life. In The Early Years, the first in a series, she shares her story. As a young teenager, just entering high school in the small town of Denton, Kentucky, Carrington planned to attend college and become a teacher. With coursework geared toward college attendance, she was offered a lucrative scholarship that would help her to attain her goal. However, it took only a single event to send her down a different path. She met a returned World War II veteran who was attempting to pick up the pieces after finding his marriage in irreparable shambles and his children gone. As he struggled, Carrington was there, and they pulled together to clear the many hurdles before them. In this memoir, she tells the story of their journey and how their love and dedication for each other kept moving them forward. Filled with the joys, disappointments, and struggles of a couple, The Early Years narrates how the love of the heavenly Father was the continuous thread that bound Carrington's life together.  
Meet the Author:
Rachel G. Carrington, a transplanted Kentuckian, is a widow, mother of seven and grandmother to three generations. Included with her many other interests, she spends much of her time writing and lives in Hamilton, Ohio and in Honolulu, Hawaii.    


Rachel is  giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins October 24 and ends on November 4.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Novembe 5.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Feature: My Travel Adventures and Secret Recipes by Chef Wolfgang Hanau


Inside the Book:
Title: My Travel Adventures and Secret Recipes 
Author: Chef Wolfgang Hanau 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Cooking 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Chef Wolfgang Hanau, born and educated in Eastern Europe, learned to love good cooking from an early age, so it was only natural that he'd go on to become a world-renowned chef.

What isn't so natural, however, is his willingness to share the secret recipes he's learned over a decades-long career at some of the world's most exclusive restaurants, luxury hotels, and resorts.

In this memoir/recipe book, he revels in dishes with a French flair, Bavarian specialties from Munich's Oktoberfest, Switzerland's renowned international cuisine, and dishes from the many great places he's practiced his craft.

You'll laugh and smile as he enjoys camelback rides in the Sahara desert, cruises on luxury ocean liners, and meets celebrities at culinary destinations that offer sun, fun, and escapes from the ordinary.
Along the way, he shares recipes that will impress your relatives and friends, including German Warm Potato Salad, the Allenstein BBQ Recipe, Bearnaise Sauce, Rainforest Acai Berry Cookies, Amstel Light Portobello Gorgonzola Burger, Golden Apple Cheddar Pancakes, Apple Jam-Filled Cookies, and Apricot-Glazed Mushrooms over Mixed Baby Greens.

There's an exciting story and a tasty dish for everyone in this book of secret recipes and travel adventures.
Meet the Author:
Chef Wolfgang Hanau, a native of Bavaria, graduated with a bachelor's degree in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute in Munich. He has worked in Switzerland, Paris, and London and has practiced his craft at many popular hotels and resorts. He lives with his wife, Diana, in West Palm Beach, Florida.


Chef Wolfgang is  giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins October 24 and ends on November 4.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Novembe 5.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Cover Junkie with Suspense Author John DeDakis

John DeDakis is a novelist and writing coach living in the Washington, D.C. area.  He’s the author of four novels in the Lark Chadwick mystery-suspense-thriller series. John’s protagonist is a feisty young woman who finds her niche in journalism.  DeDakis is a former senior copy editor for CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”  During John’s 45 years in journalism (25 at CNN), he was a White House correspondent, reporter, writer, and editor. He also interviewed Presidents Reagan and Carter, as well as legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock.  DeDakis retired from CNN in 2013 to write full time.  He leads writing workshops around the country and abroad. He’s also taught journalism at the University of Maryland-College Park and at American University in Washington, D.C. 

Links to your website and social media:
Twitter: @johnDeDakis


Tell us about your book, Bullet in the Chamber! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
Bullet in the Chamber is about journalistic integrity – and skullduggery – at the highest level: covering the President of the United States.  My protagonist, Lark Chadwick, is at the pinnacle of her career as a White House correspondent for the Associated Press, one of the nation’s leading wire services.
Professionally, Lark’s immediate supervisor seems to be trying to undermine her at every turn. Personally, Lark’s love life is in peril.  It’s her first day on the beat when the executive mansion is attacked. As Lark scrambles to cover this deadline-a-minute crisis, a mysterious tipster puts her on the trail of the real story.
As much as possible, I try to draw on personal experience for my inspiration.  In the case of Bullet in the Chamber, I drew upon my own experience as a White House correspondent covering the last three years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. 
I also draw upon my grief following the fatal heroin overdose of my youngest son, Stephen, 22, in 2011.  The book’s title and the cover image of a bullet in a syringe reflect my belief that a pusher who sells a fatal dose of heroin should be charged with second-degree murder because it’s like selling a pistol with one bullet in the chamber to a person who will use it to play Russian roulette.

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
The journey toward publication was long and arduous at first because I was feeling my way. I didn’t know anything about writing fiction because my entire career had been spent doing just-the-facts-ma’am journalism. I read books about writing, experimented by writing short stories, then began writing my first novel, Fast Track.
While I was working on writing the novel, I went to writers’ conferences where I learned about craft and the publishing industry from agents, editors, publishers, and authors. I met Barbara Casey, the woman who would become my agent, at the 2004 Harriette Austin Writers Conference at the University of Georgia in Athens.  By this time I’d been working for ten years on perfecting Fast Track. The manuscript went through fourteen major revisions and Barbara is the 39th agent I queried.
For me, self-publishing was going to be a route of last resort because I wanted my writing to be valued by professionals, not simply by friends and family who might be prone to say they like my writing just to be nice.  So, I was pleased and relieved when Barbara not only fell in love with my work, but got me my first book deal within two weeks after signing me.
Barbara and I have been together ever since.  She tells me Bullet in the Chamber, my fourth, is by far my best.

How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing the story, or did it come later?
I came up with the title and the cover image of a bullet in a syringe within a day or two after my son, Stephen, went missing.  It had only been a month earlier that he revealed to me that he’d been using heroin, so I strongly suspected his disappearance was related to his heroin use.
I didn’t actually start writing the novel until eight months after Stephen was found dead in my car. The cause of death, according to the coroner: “heroin intoxication.”  But my grief was still too raw and I abandoned the project for nearly two years before trying again – and succeeding.

Who is your cover designer for your current book, Bullet in the Chamber, and how did you find him/her?  Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
The bullet in the syringe image stuck with me ever since my son Stephen went missing.  Finally, when I neared the end of the writing process, I turned to my cousin Christine Ganas, an illustrator in Chicago, and asked her to take my description and turn it into an image.

How was your experience working with Christine?
Christine was fantastic to work with.  I’ve known her since she was born, so we’ve got a great rapport.  She took my initial idea and played with it, giving me a variety of images to consider.  Some had art only, others added text.

I gave her feedback on the adjustments I wanted her to make.  For example, I didn’t like all the blood because I felt that was an over-dramatization that detracted from the bullet in the syringe concept. 
I asked Christine to add images of the White House and a drone because those images give a prospective reader additional strong visual cues about the novel.  I then submitted them to my agent, who passed them on to the publisher. 

I assumed that the publisher, Ron Chepesiuk, and his art department, would, once again, come up with their own idea, but I at least wanted to give Christine’s efforts a fighting chance. 

Christine and I were both surprised and pleased when Ron chose Christine’s entire cover.  He only added “A Lark Chadwick Mystery” at the bottom.

What has been the readers’ response to your cover?


What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?

Check out Christine Ganas. She’s awesome! 
Here’s her website:  and her blog:
She’s in the process of revamping her cyber presence, so if those links don’t work, Google “Christine Ganas Illustrator” to find her.

Anything else you’d like to say about your book?

  1. Even though Bullet in the Chamber is part of a series, it’s written to stand alone.
  2. I hope people will come away from it with a better understanding of the heroin addiction scourge, especially that even good people like my son can get caught up in it.
  3. I hope people come away with a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes in journalism. Some people might be surprised to learn how much journalists struggle to be fair and accurate.
  4. And I hope people like Bullet in the Chamber. But even if they don’t, I hope they’ll let me know why so I can improve as a writer.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America's First Witch Hanging Book Blast!

About the Book:

Title: One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging
Author:  Beth M. Caruso
Publisher: Ladyslipper Press
Pages: 358
Genre:  Historical Fiction

Alice, a young woman prone to intuitive insights and loyalty to the only family she has ever known, leaves England for the rigid colony of the Massachusetts Bay in 1635 in hopes of reuniting with them again. Finally settling in Windsor, Connecticut, she encounters the rich American wilderness and its inhabitants, her own healing abilities, and the blinding fears of Puritan leaders which collide and set the stage for America's first witch hanging, her own, on May 26, 1647. 
This event and Alice's ties to her beloved family are catalysts that influence Connecticut's Governor John Winthrop Jr. to halt witchcraft hangings in much later years. Paradoxically, these same ties and the memory of the incidents that led to her accusation become a secret and destructive force behind Cotton Mather's written commentary on the Salem witch trials of 1692, provoking further witchcraft hysteria in Massachusetts forty-five years after her death.   
The author uses extensive historical research combined with literary inventions, to bring forth a shocking and passionate narrative theory explaining this tragic and important episode in American history. 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Excerpt:


The infant was soon to enter the world. Alsie’s increased labor pains and a sudden wave of panic made a swift announcement of her baby’s imminent arrival. Gwendolyn, the midwife, motioned with a wise smile and nod to Alsie’s cousin. Mrs. Mary Merwin Tinker and her daughters were to make the final preparations for the newborn. The lines embedded under Gwendolyn’s eyes, eyes still bright after many years of life, were a testament to her wisdom and experience.
“Girls. It’s time. Quickly...Sarah, bring the rest of Gwendolyn’s supplies to the bedside table. She’ll need the string and knives shortly. Little Mary, come and support Alsie’s back. You too, Ellen. Assist Mary. Margaret, make sure the linens are warmed and everything else is ready for the babe! We must all give our support to cousin now,” spoke Mrs. Mary Tinker, their mother.
“Yes ma’am,” they replied in unison as some sisters hurried about making sure everything was in place for the birth, and the remaining sisters stayed at Alsie’s side to comfort her.
Despite the excitement inside, a branch softly and hypnotically continued to hit the leaded glass window of the thatched cottage in a steady cadence. Alsie had already been in a trance for the past hour, the trance a woman’s body and soul become held in toward the end of labor. 

About the Author

Beth M. Caruso grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and spent her childhood writing puppet shows and witches’ cookbooks. She became interested in French Literature and Hispanic Studies, receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati. She later obtained Masters degrees in Nursing and Public Health.
Working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, she helped to improve the public health of local Karen hill tribes. She also had the privilege to care for hundreds of babies and their mothers as a labor and delivery nurse. 
Largely influenced by an apprenticeship with herbalist and wildcrafter, Will Endres, in North Carolina, she surrounds herself with plants through gardening and native species conservation.
Her latest passion is to discover and convey important stories of women in American history. One of Windsor is her debut novel. She lives in New England with her awesome husband, amazing children, loyal puppy, and cuddly cats. .  



Sunday, October 16, 2016

Book Review: ‘The Stranger’ by Anna del Mar

the-stranger-final-coverThe Stranger is the second book in Anna del Mar’s Wounded Warrior series. However, each book is standalone with new, different characters.
Having read the first book, The Asset, all I can say is that The Stranger is another tour de force from del Mar. Once again, she delivers an addictive romantic suspense read with a compelling, emotionally charged plot and engaging, likable characters whom you will root for—not to mention an explosive, passionate love story filled with dangerous twists and turns.
Treacherous circumstances related to the fact that her sister has gone missing bring sassy, hot-tempered architect Summer Silva to the Alaskan wilderness, only to end up freezing and stranded in the middle of a fast-approaching snowstorm.
Enters former military pilot Alaskan native Seth Erickson, who happens to be passing by in his truck on his way to his cabin when he spots Summer and comes to the rescue. However, it isn’t that easy. From the minute our alpha hero speaks with her, he becomes suspicious of her presence there, and quickly assumes she’s been sent there to spy on his family business. But he’s found a match in Summer, for she’s as quick to deliver comebacks as he is…and as quick to surprise him, too. That same night, as a result of her rare “condition,” Seth ends up having more than he bargains for. Soon after, Summer discovers that someone is trying to murder her.
The Alaskan wilderness, a cold-blooded killer on the loose, and murder bring them together, but they will need to trust each other if they want to get of this alive, something that doesn’t come easy for either of them.
This was a fabulous fast-paced read, simply addictive. Sexy, with a touch of darkness, and humor to boot! But the best are the strong, sympathetic, multi-dimensional protagonists and the way their love evolves. If you haven’t discovered Anna del Mar’s books yet, you’re missing something.
Cover art published with permission from the author. 
Originally published in Blogcritics.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Book Cover Junkie Interviews Suspense Author Gabriel Valjan

Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing as well as numerous short stories,. Born and raised in New Jersey, his education took him from California to northern England, with time spent in several European countries. Gabriel has worked in diverse fields such as consulting, engineering, information technology, and healthcare. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats, Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.

·       Twitter: @Gvaljan
·       Facebook:

Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?

Bianca, a forensic accountant on the run from her former employer, is back in Boston. She is there to help an old friend who suggests that Rendition is involved in a murder. Bianca will find misdirection and confront her nemesis, while befriending a new ally, who forces her to face unresolved emotional issues. Corporate Citizen, the fifth book in my series, will unveil major revelations for readers of the Roma Series.

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?

Winter Goose Publishing is an indie press. WGP and the writer work together on editing and cover art design. Before I hand WGP my manuscript I have two friends, Dean Hunt, who does copy-editing and proofing, and Claudio Ferrara, a native Italian does cultural editing. Editing is a very different process for me because I already know the story, but I have to revisit the text as if I were a different person. Challenging.

How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing the story, or did it come later?

The term ‘corporate citizen’ is a new term that ascribes personhood to a company, which means that a company has a social obligation to the community in which it resides, and an employee is a representative of the company. Inherent to the description is an idea that a company has an objective other than profit. Idealistic? Realistic? I don’t know, but I find the practices of some transnational corporations troubling. I began Corporate Citizen with the title in place. The novel deals with a changing of the guard. Bianca has to make a choice.

Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?

In my experience, every corporation has a ‘look and feel.’ I guess the proper term is ‘brand.’ I’ve also heard the word ‘culture’ used to describe the workplace. When it came to designing the cover, I thought of bees because worker bees literally work themselves to death for the sake of the hive. Hence, there are honeycombs on the cover. The color blue always seemed to me to be an executive color. The background map of Boston is a recurring image from the cover art for Wasp’s Nest (Book 2). Corporate Citizen is Bianca’s second visit to the city.

Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?

Winter Goose Publishing has its own designer, so I didn’t need to hunt for one.

How was your experience working with the designer?

Positive. There were exchanges for minor tweaks on font size and choice, but overall the creative process and collaboration has been smooth for all my Roma Series books. Corporate Citizen is Book Five.

What has been the readers’ response to your cover?

Readers of the ARC liked the shade of blue and the cool (as in cold) appearance of the cover. I have also received compliments on the paper quality and the choice of font, which combine well for readability.

What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?

Spend the time and effort to find a graphic designer. Look to art schools and ‘word of mouth’. Ask to see a portfolio. I know that there are vendors who have premade cover art, but strive for something original that represents you and your story. If you are doing a series, then think about a set palette of colors, consistent font for both the cover and the inside of the book because each book should be instantly recognizable. Think of the artwork for Hunger Games. Wouldn’t you recognize the color scheme and the Mockingjay image from across the room?

Anything else you’d like to say about your book?

I realized after writing the novel that going forward that it will be hard for me to write the Roma Series as stand-alone books now because of the major revelations in Corporate Citizen.
Please visit Winter Goose Publishing’s website and sign up for their newsletter and you’ll receive a free novella that I wrote. Throughout the year, I will be providing Winter Goose with a novella about one of the Italian characters in the Roma Series. Each story visits a different part of Italy and predates Roma, Underground.