Monday, September 25, 2017

Mystery Monday: The Most Prolific Writer You’ve Never Heard Of

Mystery Monday: 
The Most Prolific Writer You’ve Never Heard Of

Since authors have been writing, there are those who choose to publish their work under a pseudonym for various reasons. Edith Caroline Rivett is one such writer. Between 1931 and 1959, forty-eight books were published under the name E.C.R. Lorac, and twenty-three books under the name Carol Carnac. Despite the prodigious number of books she released, she is one of the lesser known authors of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. (In fact, I searched long and hard, yet was unable to find a photograph of her.)

The Lorac books feature “London Scot” Detective Inspector Robert MacDonald, a bachelor with a penchant for long walks in the English countryside. The Carnac books feature three different protagonists: Inspector Ryvet, Chief Inspector Julian Rivers, and Rivers’ assistant Inspector Lansing.

Edith was a member of the Detection Club – a group formed in 1930 by British mystery writers such  as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Margaret Cole, and others. The first president was G.K. Chesterton who presided over dinner meetings where members helped each other with the technical aspects of their books.

Many of her books were set in London, about which she was quite familiar, having grown up there and being part of a family that had lived there for generations (with a short jaunt to Australia for her father’s health). After WWII, most of her books were set in the rural, north country of England. Never marrying, she passed away at a relatively young age (64). Speculation says, that if she had lived longer, she might have published well over one hundred books.

Charming, well-written stories, they are worth the effort if you can get your hands on any of them.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Selah Saturday: Take a Break!

Selah Saturday: Take a Break!

We all need a break, and what better way to take a breather than by curling up with a fabulous book. Beginning next week, I will be providing links to #freebies, #giveaways, and book sales so you can find lots of new favorite authors and books.

Stay tuned...!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

War Time Wednesday: Victory Cake

War Time Wednesday: Victory Cake

It was all about Victory during WWII. Victory gardens, Victory Youth Corps, and victory jobs. Advertisers were quick to use the phrase in their marketing materials in an effort to appeal to customers’ sense of patriotism. Many a recipe included “victory” in its title, and here’s just one version of a Victory Cake from The Modern Hostess Cook Book Patriotic Edition published in 1942. A housewife would have had to save her milk and sugar rations for this yummy dessert – it calls for a cup of sugar and a half pint of heavy cream.

1 2/3 cup cake flour, sifted
2 t baking powder
¾ t salt
½ pint heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 t grated orange rind
1 t grated lemon rind
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. White the cream until just stiff. Gradually add the sugar to the cream. Add the egg yokes one at a time while beating slowly. Fold in the dry ingredients a little at a time to the creamed mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff then fold into the creamed mixture. Add the grated rinds.

Grease and flour a 9 X 5 loaf pan and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Frost or sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mystery Monday: A One Hit Wonder?

Mystery Monday: A One Hit Wonder?

Over the years, there have been bands and soloists who record a song that shoots them to the top of the charts. Millions of copies are sold (or downloaded nowadays), but subsequent recordings of new material barely make a showing. The singers faded into obscurity. Here are just a few: “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Riders, “Take on Me” by A-ha, “Macarena” by Los Del Rio, and “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell.

There are authors who suffer the same fate, sometimes by fate, other times by choice. Alan Clutton-Brock is was born in 1904 in Weybridge, Surrey, England. In 1955, he inherited Chastlelton House, which turned out to be a financial burden. An artist, art critic, and professor at Cambridge, Clutton-Brock didn’t have the income to maintain the building. In an article in the Independent granddaughter Sarah Jewel tells how he was” more concerned about his painting or reading to keep the house tidy.”

Very involved in the art community, Clutton-Blake wrote a biography of William Blake in 1933 and later became trustee of the National Gallery. Widowed in 1936 after his wife died in a car accident, he married Barbara Foy Mitchell the following year. Reports indicate he was friends with T. S. Eliot and George Orwell. Is that why he wrote and published his one and only novel, a mystery, Murder at Liberty Hall?

Set in a co-educational school (considered VERY progressive) shortly before the war began in the 1939, the book was hailed as a “gleefully cerebral thriller” by New York Times critic Kay Irvin. Popular with readers in the UK and the US, the book sold well. The sleuth, scientist James Hardwicke, is an amateur and is at the school to investigate a case of pyromania among the students. Within a short time of his arrival, a murder occurs and it is up to Hardwicke to find the culprit.

Full of dry humor and political commentary, Murder at Liberty Hall isn’t fast paced like today’s thrillers, but it will keep you turning pages.

Do you have a favorite one-hit-wonder author?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Author Amber Schamel

Talkshow Thursday: Author Amber Schamel

Today I am sitting down with my good friend and fellow writer, Amber Schamel. I'm excited to be part of getting the word out about her latest release, Solve by Christmas. It's Amber's first crack at writing a mystery, and it's a good one! Draw up a chair and meet Amber!

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. You recently published your first mystery, Solve By Christmas. What made you decide to write in that genre? What was your inspiration for the plot?

Amber: I needed a story idea that would be of shorter length. I had already determined that I wanted to make it a Christmas story. As I was thinking about that, I wondered about plots with a deadline of Christmas. By Christmas...that was intriguing. As I made a mental list of different story lines one came to mind about a detective who had to solve a case by Christmas. I liked that idea, because I’ve always had a fascination with detectives and mysteries. Then the though popped into my head, what if the case the detective had to solve wasn’t a “case” as he thought? And there’s where it began.

LM: Do you anticipate more adventures for Detective Hollock?

Amber: I don’t know yet. We’ll see how this first book is received. Since it’s my first mystery I am TOTALLY nervous. LOL. But I have been thinking about a story line involving Jasper and the boys from the orphanage.

LM: You have published several books. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Amber: Creating with the Creator. There is no feeling like crafting and writing a story where God whispers into your ear. So many times I have not been able to solve a story issue until He drops a thought in there that fits perfectly. And I’m sitting there thinking, “Where did that come from?” Jasper’s story idea was kinda that way.

LM: Which of your characters, if any, are inspired by real people (including yourself!)?

Amber: Well, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. And then Jasper would surely find me out, so let’s just keep that secret under wraps. ;)

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Amber: I open my faithful laptop Qwerty, plug in my headphones and turn on a soundtrack playlist. These are about my only rituals since I have to write in a lot of places. In the car on road trips, in hotel rooms, on airplanes, in a ranch in the Ozarks, and in our home in Colorado.
I choose a different soundtrack playlist for each story that I write. For Solve by Christmas a majority of the playlist came from the Titanic soundtrack since the disaster took place in the same timeframe as Jasper’s story.

LM: You live in Colorado, a beautiful area of the U.S., but if money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Amber: Somewhere with LOTS of history and endless opportunities for museums and fellowship with local believers. And if I can see beautiful scenery along the way, I’m a happy gal.

LM: What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Amber: You’re as bad as Jasper, probing for all these secrets! LOL. Let’s see. I once scared myself with my own shadow. I have done some TOTALLY stupid looking things to make my little sister laugh. Mostly strange expressions.

LM: What is your next project?

Amber: I have a Civil War novel that I’m working on editing and hope to pitch soon. But as far as what first draft I’m writing next...It’s a WWII love story. I don’t want to give it all away, but let’s just say it has to do with this question: What if your best friend died and you fell in love with their fiancĂ©, only to find out your best friend was still alive?
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Amber: Everywhere! Well, almost. ;) Check out the links below and be sure to sign up for my newsletter (


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Blog Tour: Wheresoever They May Be

Blog Tour: Wheresoever They May Be

 Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book title: Wheresoever They May Be  
Author: Terri Wangard  
Release date: August 31, 2017
Genre: Historical – World War II

Lily Swanson longs to be a mother. Soon Frank should be home for good and they can furnish a nursery. Maybe even find a bigger house. Joe Gallagher grew up in a small house with plenty of siblings. He loves the solitude of flying, but the war has dragged on for so long. He’s ready to go home. Susan Talbot has a bad attitude. She’s estranged from her family and she doesn’t attract friends. But war can bring out the best in people and Susan’s surprised to realize she’s happy. They all do their part in striving for victory in World War II. Sometimes, though, the danger can be hard to identify.

My Thoughts

Wheresoever They May Be is a well-written, powerful, and sometimes gritty book about realities of life during WWII. The novel follows four people whose lives intersect off and on at home and abroad. Author Terri Wangard has obviously conducted extensive research about the era, the factory work, and the military. Although sometimes overwhelming, I loved learning about aspects of the time period I was unfamiliar with. Several things also intrigued me enough to conduct my own research to learn more. Her characters are so real I found myself emotionally responding to the rude and unlikeable people and rooting for the “good guys.” The chapters alternate between Points of View creating page-turning suspense. There were several incidents which made me laugh out loud, and others which made me gasp. I love all of Terri’s books, and this is another great read. I didn’t give Wheresoever They May Be five stars because of the violence, but that is personal taste and not a criticism. The novel is, after all, about wartime. Highly recommended.

I received this book for free from CelebrateLit Publicity, and a favorable review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Guest Post from Terri Wangard

After eight years of thinking, breathing, researching B-17s, I was ready to disembark and concentrate on something else. But what? I had a vague idea of three friends who joined the WAC, the WAVES, and the WASPs, but nothing crystalized. Except for the WAC. I didn’t want to completely turn away from flying, and I prefer topics that aren’t commonly known. How about a grasshopper pilot? My second character was on board. I had toyed with the idea of a family generational series. A World War II story paired with a World War I story. But no, too unwieldy. The WAC could have a sister, though, who stayed on the home front and did factory work. Oh, dear. I couldn’t completely stay away from B-17s. She’s building them. She also needs a husband. He’ll be in the navy, and not on an aircraft carrier. A destroyer! (This was in the works before Sarah Sundin signed a contract for her just-concluded series about destroyer men. I checked with her: She was writing about the Atlantic war; my guy’s in the Pacific. No problem.) I studied the list of Pacific destroyers and, oooh, the Spence. All kinds of possibilities there. So there I had it: a sailor, his Rosie-the-Riveter wife, her WAC sister, and a grasshopper pilot. They’re all doing their part to help win the war, but sometimes the enemy isn’t obvious.

Blog Stops

Here are the rest of Terri's Tour Stops:
September 11:  Daysong Reflections
September 11: Pursuing Stacie
September 12: God's Little Bookworm
September 13: Blossoms and Blessings
September 13: Mary Hake


To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away:
Grand Prize of $25 Amazon Gift Card 1st Place prize of the Wheresoever They May Be – eBook
and 2nd Place prize of the Wheresoever They May Be – eBook!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Blog Tour: Will Not See

Blog Tour: Will Not See

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book title: Will Not See  
Author: Chautona Havig   
Release date: August 29, 2017  
Genre: Christian Fiction / contemporary / suspense (light)

When Vikki Jeffries wakes up in a Rockland hotel with no idea of who she is and why she can’t remember… well, anything, the Rockland medical community begins to take a closer look at what may have happened to cause a second case of inexplicable amnesia. But for Vikki, this is more than a medical anomaly–it’s her life. What is she doing in Rockland, thousands of miles away from her home in Apache Junction, Arizona? Who is she? Why is no one looking for her? Or are they? Will Not See: Not everything is as it seems.

My Thoughts

Will Not See is a suspenseful mystery based on a fascinating premise – what if someone suffers amnesia, but the only people from her past to look for her are those who want her dead. The book starts off with a bang; I was drawn in from the very first sentence. I enjoyed following the clues to solve Vikki’s case, and the period scenes from the villain’s point of view ratcheted up the suspense. I liked and could relate to Vikki, Ella, and Brandon, but would have liked to see more of Ella’s husband David. He seemed to be a great guy with some substance, but he only shows up periodically. The book is heavy on dialogue, and as someone who likes to visualize the setting and characters, I would have liked more description. Vikki’s case is solved, but the book is not tied up in a neat, little bow, which I would have preferred. Will Not See was an enjoyable read.

I received this book for free from CelebrateLit Publicity, and a favorable review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

The circle of death swirls on the screen and it shifts. The bank balance appears, and with it, my heart sinks. It’s been a tough few months, financially. The bottom line proves it. My reaction? Inhale. Exhale. “Okay, now we know the worst. We can do something about it.” My husband, on the other hand, suffers a definite blow. Kevin might not sleep that night. Instead, he’ll mull over what we could have done differently, how we can make changes, if he’s a failure at this thing called life. He’ll pray—for hours. They say ignorance is bliss. And sometimes, that’s true. It’s also a personality thing, I think. I tend to be a “let me have your worst” kind of gal. But when the negative arrives, I also tend to want to shield Kevin from it all. I don’t know how he can worry so much. He can’t fathom how I can turn it off. But sometimes those personality things go deeper—into what can be serious faults. It has been said, “There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.” Or, in the words of Jeremiah, “Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear.”

What does this have to do with not seeing?

As I work on the Sight Unseen series, one recurring theme happens, of course. Memory loss—the removal of all insight into one’s past. You can hear who you were, be informed of what you did and why others think you did it, but you can’t know your own self the way you once did. It’s a fresh slate, and it can be a good thing in some respects. Those around you can now see the difference between habits and personality traits—true dislikes and those conditioned by life. What might have been a fear once could be gone if the cause of that fear is blotted out. But even for these fictional characters, truth doesn’t change. In None So Blind, Ella takes her memory loss and uses it as an opportunity to reinvent herself, if you will. And you know what? If you asked her family about it, they’d tell you that it fits her personality. That take-charge, gotta get ’er done attitude Dani may have used in different ways, but both “manifestations” of the woman had those qualities. Sure, Ella’s was tempered by recent experience, but not much.

Vikki Jeffries, is almost the antithesis of Ella in that respect.

The past is in the past. It scares her. Is it because she doesn’t know it? Because she’s frightened by the unknown? We don’t know. But what we do know is anything associated with that past, even the few very personal items she finds, she rejects. It’s as if ignorance of them will protect her from them. Where Ella runs to face her problems, Vikki runs from them. But despite those differences, I find it interesting that both women did the same thing, basically—just at different times. Before her “episode,” Ella chose to blind herself to her faults. She knew them. Lived with them daily, but couldn’t face or address them. So, she “refused to see.” Vikki—we don’t know. But I think the story shows that she couldn’t blind herself to truth before her episode. As much as she might have ached to, she just couldn’t. Now that the opportunity is here, however, she grasps it and if she insists on squeezing her eyes shut indefinitely, it may cost her everything—her life. Her soul.

Philippians 4:8, “…whatever is true.”

They say ignorance is bliss. Well, “they” also say, “Truth hurts.” And sometimes it does. But so do the consequences of that ignorance. I guess the next time the bank balance dips low, I won’t be handling the fallout alone. Then again, one can always pray that it doesn’t dip low! I think we’ll start there.

Blog Stops

Here are the remaining stops in Chautona's tour:

September 8: Pause for Tales
September 9: Blossoms and Blessings
September 10: A Baker's Perspective
September 10: Pursuing Stacie
September 11: His Grace is Sufficient
September 11: Reader's Cozy Corner


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize of the None So Blind Paperback, the Will Not See Paperback, a Journaling Bible (Choice of KJV or NLT), Prismacolor Pencils, and a Christian Hymns Album!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!