Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Single Girl's Guide to Conquering LA

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carla Roxanne will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Los Angeles can be a tough place for a single girl, especially for those who come on their own from other cities or small towns, with no family or friends living in the state of California, let alone Los Angeles. Many young girls have stars in their eyes when they land in LA, hoping to make it big in acting, modeling, or music. Unfortunately, a large number of them fade into oblivion without anyone ever even knowing who they are because they lack guidance, assistance, funding, and most importantly, knowledge. Well, if you're a single girl and you have your sights set on living in the 'City of the Angels,' there are a few things you will need to know before you make the move. Whether you come to LA to become a star, or if you simply want to enjoy living in a place with great weather year-round, a beautiful coastline, and some of the best-looking, fittest people in the world, this guide book will help you navigate your way through La-La Land. It will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that many people before you have fallen prey to, and if you play your cards right, before you know it, you will be living a lifestyle which will make your family and friends green with envy.

Read an Excerpt

The Who: In LA, almost everyone has a roommate. With the high cost of living in the city, it makes perfect sense to split the cost with someone else so you can afford to do something other than simply pay rent every month. A good roommate can be an asset, but it’s not always easy to find one. Living with a woman can be challenging, as women can be catty and jealous, and you don’t need that kind of drama in your life. Having a man live with you can be very beneficial. Men are a lot easier to get along with. They’re not hormonal like females, so not too many things bother them, and they generally have good attitudes. They’re also more prone to go out and about, so they will more than likely be gone frequently. If you find one who has a work schedule that is the opposite of yours, or who works all the time, you’ve got it made. Besides, there’s nothing like having a man around to fix things for you and to do some of the things you don’t want to do, such as taking out the trash. With housing being so expensive, having a roommate will give you disposable income, which will allow you to build a little nest egg for a rainy day.

About the Author: Carla Roxanne is a Senior Executive Assistant for one of the top insurance companies in the nation. She has spent many years in administration supporting and organizing some of the highest-ranking executives in Los Angeles. In her spare time, she writes poetry and short stories.

Blessed with the gift of the gab, she has the innate ability to draw people to her through her stories.

The Single Girl's Guide to Conquering LA is Carla's freshman project. Visit her website for details of her next book.

Born in White Plains, New York, Carla currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

The book is on sale for $0.99.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Dukes by the Dozen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC.

What's better than a dashing duke? A dozen of them! In this case, a baker's dozen--thirteen of your favorite historical romance authors have
come together to bring you more than a dozen tantalizing novellas, with one per month, for a year's worth of never-before-released romances.

Duke in Winter by Alyssa Alexander

February - The Difference One Duke Makes by Elizabeth Essex

March - Discovering the Duke by Madeline Martin

April - The Duke and the April Flowers by Grace Burrowes

May - Love Letters from a Duke by Gina Conkle

June - Her Perfect Duke by Ella Quinn

July - How to Ditch a Duke by May McGoldrick

August - To Tempt A Highland Duke by Bronwen Evans

September - Duke in Search of a Duchess by Jennifer Ashley

October - Dear Duke by Anna Harrington

November - Must Love Duke by Heather Snow

December - The Mistletoe Duke by Sabrina York

January - Dueling with the Duke by Eileen Dreyer

Read an Excerpt...

from Dueling with the Duke

by Eileen Dreyer


She had a face that was completely forgettable. At least that was the way Jamie had described her. A girl you might overlook if you weren’t careful, which Jamie had said would be a shame.

Jamie had been correct. If Adam had simply seen Jamie’s wife sitting at a desk, he would have walked right by. It was when she moved that she began to make an impression. She had a compelling grace, especially for a small woman. He would have expected her to, well, bounce like a small bird on a fence. She glided as if books rested on her head.

Of course, he thought almost smiling. A marquess’s daughter. She had undoubtedly balanced a goodly number of books on her head.

“How can I help you, Your Grace?” she asked, setting her glasses down on a table and rising to her feet. “I don’t believe we’ve met?”

“To my eternal regret,” he said, “we have not met before now. I should have begun at the beginning. I am Adam Marrick, Mrs. Grace. Jamie’s cousin.”

And there it was, he thought. The reason Jamie had fallen in love with Georgina Wyndham in the first place. That smile. Wide, bright, warm, all-encompassing, as if she embraced not just him but the world. Before he knew it, Adam was smiling back.

“He loved you very much,” he said.

Her eyes glittered with welling tears, but that smile held. “I know,” she whispered. “I loved him dearly. I am so very glad to finally meet you. He spoke of you as well, of course. You were quite his hero. Hussars, wasn’t it?”

“It was.”

She invited him to sit, where they enjoyed a bit of society over tea.

“Lully,” he blurted out, appalled at his own clumsiness. “I’m really here for her.”

His words were met with a rather stark silence. “Pardon?”

He nodded, setting down his saucer. “I am actually here to bring her some news.”

Again Georgie tilted her head. “Lully is four, Your Grace. What news could you have to give her?”

This wasn’t going the way he’d planned. He should have believed Jamie from the start. Maybe his reaction to Georgie wouldn’t have knocked him so off-center.

“I need to take her to Scotland.”

“I beg your pardon?”

He tried briefly closing his eyes. “She is needed there.”

She was staring at him as if he’d begun to bark like a dog. “In Scotland.” Suddenly she was getting to her feet. “Are you feeling perfectly well, Your Grace?” she asked. “I can call for the local physician. He is old, but….”

He should have known this would be her reaction. “No,” he said, There was no avoiding it. He had to get to his feet as well. “No,” he said, grabbing his cane and hoisting himself up, his knee protesting like an unoiled hinge. “I am not ill. I was coming to see you anyway. I promise. Not only because I wanted to meet the woman who had stolen Jamie’s heart, but because I made a promise to him.”

“That is lovely.” Her voice didn’t sound like it. “But not to the point.”

He nodded and took another breath. “There is news,” he repeated. “Jamie’s mother has died.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

She neither sounded nor looked like she meant it. Having known Jamie’s mother well, he couldn’t really blame her. “If we could sit...”

Giving him a chagrined nod, she sat after him. “How can that concern us?” she asked. “Jamie’s family made certain we knew we were not welcome.”

“Well, since Jamie is…gone, it means that Lully has inherited. I need to take her with me to accept.”

Adam didn’t think you could see fire in the color green. He certainly could now.

“Inherited? Inherited what? Jamie was disowned.”

“You cannot disown a title, Mrs. Grace.”

“A what?”

“She is no longer simply a little girl,” he said as gently as he could. “She’s a duchess.”

She seemed to glide up to her feet, rising to her full height, which suddenly seemed not so insignificant. Following to his own feet, Adam wondered suddenly how anyone could possibly think she was forgettable. She was Boedica, Titania, Maeve. He had the oddest feeling she was looking down at him, instead of standing at his shoulder.

And then she closed the conversation.


About the Author:
New York Times Bestselling, award-winning author Eileen Dreyer has published 40 novels and 10 short stories under her name and that of her evil twin, Kathleen Korbel in contemporary romance, paranormal romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, mystery and medical forensic suspense. A proud member of RWA's Hall of FAME, she also has numerous awards from RT BookLovers and an Anthony nomination for mystery. She is now focusing on what she calls historic romantic adventure in her DRAKE'S RAKES series. A native of St. Louis, she still lives there with her family. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.







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Monday, April 15, 2019

Discussion of a Decent Dream

Dark Fantasy
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. E. Curtis will be awarding $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

See below to read an excerpt and sign up for the GIVEAWAY

In the fall of 1789, on the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales, a dense, persistent fog enshrouds the village of Ingleton. Shadowed spirits hide in the mist and bedevil the townsfolk, heralding a tragedy that has befallen one of their own.

Edmond continues to search for Alexandra, his fiancée, who disappeared the same night that the mist set upon their town. Presumed dead by all others, he visits Alexandra's empty grave, desperate for any hint of what has become of her. Weary from the sleepless nights on his quest, no longer able to stay awake, Edmond falls into a dream before her headstone and there obtains clues from Alexandra as to her whereabouts.

Haunted all the while by a malevolent spirit, Edmond follows the trail that Alexandra left for him and enters the underworld, only to learn that he has been there before, and in fact, quite often. But more, he discovers how he is to blame for Alexandra's disappearance.

A dark literary novel rich in imagery, Discussion of a Decent Dream unearths the consequences of a child's decision to surrender his heart in exchange for unholy power and transcendent knowledge.

Discussion of a Decent Dream is a Finalist in Britain's Wishing Self Book Awards in the Adult category.

Read an excerpt...

I had seen in dream that which appeared before me, a gloriously lined whirlwind of black. It exhibited itself as odd, twitchy, yet with cohesion, both beautiful and horrible at once, as if the core of this being eclipsed an otherwise unseen dawn. The vapor then solidified and took the form of a man, though its feet made no impression in the sand.

It warmed to me, expressing in that charred face such familiarity and delight. Even for my instinctive recoil, I made no real retreat, for I again wanted to hear it speak.

Read an interview with E. Curtis:  Click HERE

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

E. Curtis draws on personal experiences of the otherworldly for his writing. Through dreams, visions, and waking encounters, his exposure to darkness has motivated him to detail what he has come to know of the preternatural. While a few short pieces have been published on an online literary magazine, Discussion of a Decent Dream is his first novel.

The book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour.

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Empty Handed by Jo Hiestand

Rumors swell like tidal waves: did his ex-wife or his fiancée’s father kill this likeable young man? Or was it simply a case of jealousy by the village’s other artist? Now, two years later, Craig’s fiancée hopes ex-police detective Michael McLaren can find out.

From speaking to villagers, McLaren quickly realizes that what appears to be a straightforward investigation is fast becoming as tangled as fishing lines. Are the fish poaching incidents, the reappearance of the local ghost, and assaults on him merely to muddy the investigative waters, or are they connected to Craig’s death?

McLaren has his hands full. They become even fuller when a nemesis from his past appears one night, bent on revenge. And the inevitable struggle opens a new future for one man…and leaves the other empty handed.

Watch a Trailer here





Barnes & Noble

Visit Jo at:

Learn a little about Jo...

What advice would you give to fledgling authors?

Getting your book read by reviewers and bought by the public is harder than writing it.
There are hundreds of books published each day in the U.S..  Fighting your way through that stack for recognition seems daunting. It will take time to find an audience and to develop a following, but don’t give up. Each new book written not only hones your skill but it also garners you more loyal readers. Hang in there; keep trying. You’re in this for the long term.

Have you ever taught anyone to write?

Actually, a friend and I teach a continuing education class three times a year at the community college. She’s also a St. Louis mystery author. The class is four-hours long and we cover plot, characters, clues, setting, and other parts of the mystery novel writing process.  One woman in the most recent class said she took the class because she’d taken one of my classes on designing book covers, and she learned so much that she came to this mystery writing class.  So, that was a nice confirmation that at least one person got a bit of useful knowledge from a subject I taught.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Most any of my hobbies. I love to sit on my back deck in the spring and autumn, where I read and watch the birds. One of those activities usually runs a poor second to the other, however. But I do love to read (mysteries, British history from the medieval through the Tutor periods, WWII code breaking accounts, most things about nature and the solar system).  And I like to watch birds at the feeders. I love to bake, which I do mainly during the winter. I especially like to make bread—either yeast or quick—and I like making cookies. I’ve created cake and cheesecake recipes, and most are successful the first time, though I’ve produced some major flops! I love music, whether playing my guitar or listening to CDs.  Favorite music is early (medieval and renaissance), Baroque, American and UK folk, bluegrass, and Dixieland.  Walking through the woods and taking photographs is an enjoyable pastime. I used to make patchwork quilts (sew the top and do the hand quilting) but I don’t have my quilting frame anymore, so that’s a former hobby now.  I did crewel embroidery, too. In fact, my Jacobean tree of life still hangs on my living room wall. But, like quilting, that’s relegated to the past: how many pictures or vests can a person use?  A new activity that fascinates me is ancestral research. I’ve traced branches of my family back to Pict kings of Scotland and discovered some interesting relatives throughout the centuries.  Unfortunately, quite a number were murdered or executed—during the tumultuous Scottish clan clashes, Scotland/England battles, or via Henry VIII’s reign.  All in all, I keep busy even when I’m “relaxing.”

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Money or Men

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. David Burnett will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Love or loot?

Erin must choose between the money of which she has long dreamed and the man who she has loved. Eight years ago, she chose “loot” when Chris, her former husband, competed for her hand against the god of money. Now, with a promotion within reach, she is poised to take her place among the elite of Wall Street. She will soon be working twenty-four-seven to reorganize a failing company, and she has been ordered to find someone to care for her children.

She has few options, and she reluctantly concludes she must beg Chris for help. She has not talked with Chris, written, texted, friended, private messaged, or tweeted Chris since leaving him, but if he will not keep their children for the summer, she will lose her promotion, and her dream of wealth will vanish.

Opposites had attracted when they had fallen in love. Erin remembers a Chris who was laid-back, satisfied, and, worst of all, unambitious. He seems not to have changed. He lives on a small island with no home mail delivery. He had been an author, but Erin can find nothing he has published since their split.

But Chris’s photo is the one personal item on Erin’s desk, and she still dreams of him when she sleeps. She fears if she asks Chris to care for their children for the summer, she will be drawn back into his world. She will choose Chris over money, “love over loot,” lose her drive to succeed and everything for which she has worked. Her promotion will be denied – and lightning will not strike a second time. How can she send their children to live with him without becoming entangled herself?
Read an Excerpt

Why was her former husband invading her dreams? They had parted ways eight years ago, had laid eyes on each other exactly once since then. They had nothing at all in common. He was a stranger to her now. If her unconscious was insisting she still cared one whit for Chris Stephens then her unconscious needed serious help, because it was distorting her thoughts, urges, and wishes totally beyond recognition.

Why were her father’s sermons echoing in her mind? She had renounced his religion long ago. Beyond that, why was what she was doing so very wrong? She didn’t sleep around. She’d used sex to obtain information, yes. She had gone to bed with men for a good time, as she had tonight, yes. But no one, neither she nor the men involved, had any illusions about love or caring. She didn’t destroy marriages. She didn’t break hearts. No one was hurt. She was more chaste than almost any unmarried woman she knew and more so than a third of those who had husbands.

Her eyes narrowed. Neither of those men would control her, and she knew one sure way to drive them out of her thoughts.

She retraced her steps and stood beside the bed. Their clothes lay discarded on the floor where Tim had tossed them several hours earlier. He lay on his back, asleep, a white sheet covering the lower half of his body, his breathing low and regular, the hint of a smile on his face.

Earlier, Tim had played the hunter, while she had been cast as his prey. Nothing wrong with that game, but if she wanted to control the men in her mind, she must also control the one in her bed.

She would change the rules.

Careful not to wake him, Erin sat on the bed beside Tim and placed her hand on his chest. It felt hard and sculpted, the chest of a body-builder. He had bragged he could lift her weight with a single hand and bench-press three hundred pounds.

With one finger, she traced the outline of his muscles, “pecs,” they were called, pectoral muscles, round, hard muscles that covered the upper part of his body.

Her hand crept lower, slipping across his flat stomach. As the muscles tightened under her touch, Tim’s eyes opened. He placed one hand on Erin’s right arm and raised his shoulders as if he wanted to sit.

Erin gently pushed him back onto the bed. A woman in charge. He would have at least one thing in common with the data analyst.

“I thought you were leaving,” he whispered.

“Just a bad dream. And I’m thinking that if my dreams are going to be bad, then I should find something better to do with my time.”

He smirked. “My thoughts, exactly.”

About the Author:
We recently moved to our new home near Charleston, South Carolina. Four of my books are set in Charleston, and I’ve always enjoyed the Carolina beaches. I now have the opportunity to walk on the beach almost every day and to photography the ocean, the sea birds, and the marshes that I love.

I love photography, and I have photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. My wife and I have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During trips to Scotland, we visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen, and Kismul Castle on Barra, the home of my McNeil ancestors.

I went to school for much longer than I want to admit, and I have degrees in psychology and education. In an “earlier life” I was director of research for our state’s education department.




Amazon Author Page:


Buy link:

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Edger Lives

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. David Beem will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Our dork of destiny rides again!

Edger is falling for Mary, his bodyguard, kick-ass spy, and cover wife. But she’s so hopelessly out of his league, it’s clear someone’s going to get hurt. Less clear? That someone may be the Prime Minister of Australia.

When Mary confesses her desire to kill the world leader whose assassination Edger’s supposed to prevent, Edger’s superpowers pick the worst time to stop working. Without a fully functional psychic superhero, their team of spies can no longer order him to probe Mary’s mind for ill intent. The stage is set for a confrontation that threatens to strip a defenseless Edger of his loyal protector just when he needs her most.

Return to the Collective Unconscious, this time with Listerine-chugging stoners, Hollyweirdos, commie-alien-kung fu robots, one space gorilla-unicorn, and an exceedingly lovesick Vladimir Putin.

Mind your fingers and toes on page 270. Those skydiving mind-control monkeys have been known to bite!

Read an Excerpt:

Google the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan and you’ll learn this single-engine turbine-powered plane is among the most popular jump aircrafts in the world. The Grand Caravan model, with its 675 horsepower, has a good climb and typically seats nine passengers plus the pilot, but with the FAR Part 23 waiver, the number of passengers tops out at fourteen. The wingspan is fifty-two feet. A full tank of fuel gets you a range of 1,232 miles. The cruise speed is 214 mph. All this is Googleable. Less Googleable: the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan is exceedingly popular with the Russian skydiving mind-control chimp crowd.

These adventure-seeking chimps love the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan for its high wing and large exit door. They love to jump up and down in the back and fling poo while shrieking at the tops of their lungs. Most of all, they love the complimentary Chiquita bananas.

This group of mind-control chimps, like the others flying over northern Indiana, are wearing yellow-and-purple spandex onesies and Q-32 Thinking Caps replete with fancy blinking lights and telescoping antennas. They are well-mannered monkeys, despite their predilection for flinging poo, who’ve been taught it’s poor form to arrive at a party without a gift. For this reason, they have brought some five hundred pendant medallions between them, medallions identical to the ones adopted as the symbol of the Church of the Ladder Day Dudes.

The squadron of Cessnas banks two miles above sleepy South Bend, Indiana, in preparation for its pass over the Notre Dame campus.

About the Author: David Beem loves superhero movies, taekwondo, and flossing. He lives in Djibouti with his family and crippling self-doubt. To help actualize David’s inner confidence, visit his website and buy all the stuff:

Amazon author page: .

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Green Soldier

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J. Edward Gore will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

See below to read an excerpt and sign up for the GIVEAWAY

John Gore is eighteen years old in 1862 rural Kentucky. He has struggled his entire life with stuttering and the ridicule associated with it. Unable to speak well, he has focused on writing. Seeing the opportunity for advancement in the military—and with it, respect—John joins the Union army. Unfortunately, his stuttering prevents him from warning a friend of an enemy attack and John watches his friend die. He is racked with guilt and the fear that others saw him fail at the key moment . . . a fear that proves prescient.

John soon meets a girl but they must forge a friendship and then courtship through letters, allowing him to express to her what he can’t say in person. Meanwhile at home, John’s impetuous younger brother causes trouble with garrisoned Union troops angry at Southern sympathizers.

My Review...
If you think the description of this book sounds as if someone just stuck together a book of Civil War letters, you are mistaken. This is a heart-warming, heart-wrenching story. With an historical fiction genre, it is often my nature to look up dates mentioned. Not to check anyone’s accuracy since it is fiction, but I like to see if the events involved are approximate. Especially when a story includes the events of the Civil War. Even though this is fiction many of the statements are factual, the battle dates, the looting, the poverty, the atrocities committed by some people and the goodness of others.  I want to add that I don’t think I would call this the YA genre. It was thoroughly enjoyable and as I have said before, I’m an adult as often as I must be, and it never lost my interest.

To give you an idea of this story…this is a group of letters between a soldier and his younger brother. He did not want to try and keep a diary so asked his brother who was too young and still at home on the farm, to save everything so that he had something in writing of his picture of the war. While this may seem like I am describing a diary, it’s format also looks that way. But looks can be deceiving and this book has so much more. It points out the many hardships that the Civil War brought to both enlisted men and to their families. There’s some history, some lessons to be learned, and some thought-provoking ideas. All these letters really make a small history book. If you get the impression that I really felt this was non-fiction it’s because it was so very lifelike that I forgot it was a story, a good story but what seemed almost biographical. That makes J. Edward Gore a pretty good storyteller doesn’t it?

Gore’s presentation of the letters made his characters real. It became the story of what must have been the true thoughts of both a soldier away from home and a young boy living a childhood, missing his brother. This story doesn’t always turn out the way we might want stories to, and it is most certainly full of some ugly violence; not graphic, just ugly truth.  It is however full of verbal pictures of many facets of the Civil War. Things in my opinion we shouldn’t forget.

Read an excerpt...

It was just a couple of days before meeting Annie that Sergeant Hickman gave us our gear. You’d have thought he was handing out gold. We’ve been eating, sleeping, and marching like soldiers, but still wearing our same old farm clothes. Now we look like soldiers. Our pants are gray wool, scratchy but warm. The coat is blue and thick. Women from a few surrounding counties made them. I traded around for a couple of days before finding ones that fit. The boots were stacked in a heap so we spent almost an hour trying them on. Scrap said he could tell a left shoe from a right, saying these were some of those, “crooked shoes,” but for me it was like sexing a frog.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Edward purposely avoided history classes in college because he felt they were boring. Years later he read the Shaara trilogy, opening his eyes to how fascinating the Civil War could be. He recalled as a boy his grandmother telling him of his ancestor, John Gore, who fought for the Union. Visiting battle sites and participating in reenactments has made the Civil War more than just pictures and words. Instead he could feel the fear, excitement, grief and anger.
Born and raised in central Kentucky, not far from John’s birthplace, Edward currently lives outside of Nashville, TN with his wife, two kids and a goldendoodle.

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Monday, April 8, 2019

The Becoming and The Virgin Club

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lilith Thorn will be awarding $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

To read an excerpt and sign up for the GIVEAWAY 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kayley Wood will be awarding $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

To read an excerpt and sign up for the GIVEAWAY 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Velvalee Dickinson

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Casey will be awarding $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

See below to read an excerpt and sign up for the GIVEAWAY

Velvalee Dickinson was born in Sacramento, California, graduated from Stanford University, married three times, and then in the early 1930s moved to New York City where she eventually opened her own exclusive doll shop on the prestigious Madison Avenue. It was there that she built her reputation as an expert in rare, antique, and foreign dolls. She traveled extensively around the country lecturing and exhibiting her dolls while building a wealthy clientele that included Hollywood stars, members of high society, and other collectors.

When medical bills started to accumulate because of her husband’s poor health and business started to fail with the onset of World War II, she accepted the role as a spy for the Imperial Japanese Government. By hiding coded messages in her correspondence about dolls, she was able to pass on to her Japanese contacts critical military information about the US warships. After surveilling Velvalee for over a year, the FBI arrested her and charged her with espionage and violation of censorship laws. She became the first American woman to face the death penalty on charges of spying for a wartime enemy.

Velvalee Dickinson: The “Doll Woman” Spy is a carefully researched glimpse into the “Doll Woman’s” life as a collector of dolls, and as the highest paid American woman who spied for the Imperial Japanese Government during World War II.

My Review
This is a difficult book to describe; not a bad book at all, just hard to verbally describe. Let me start out by saying that at first it was not what I expected. I had in my convoluted brain that it would be more story like. A story about a woman spy who liked dolls. And it was that. It is exactly what it says it is, biographical. But as I continued through the book, I found that Barbara Casey had a way of flowing from facts to an interesting piece of descriptive writing. Really sort of back and forth, creating a nice flow for reading a non-fiction book.

The above may well be the style of the author as I have not read her other books. It is better researched than any dissertation. It is laid out beautifully. Every source, every credit and an Index to die for. Being a retired librarian, I tend to go to the back of the book first. I was overwhelmed at the work and organization. This isn’t just well-written, it is a book which obviously involved a LOT of time and work.
Having said the above, I want to say that this book does encompass true crime, biography and of course non-fiction. It is also a history lover’s read. The people and the places as well as the instances are all here, but as I said earlier it seems to flow well and read easily.

In looking at previously published works by Barbara Casey I found all have very good reviews. Obviously, a good author to check out.

Read an excerpt...

As intrigued as Eunice (Kennedy) was of these three women—Iva Toguri D’Aquino, Mildred Elizabeth Gillars, and Lilly Stein—Eunice was especially drawn to Velvalee Dickinson, now 56 years old and 29 years her senior—the former owner of a prestigious collectable doll shop on Madison Avenue in Manhattan who had been convicted of spying for the Japanese during the war. By the time Eunice met Velvalee, the “Doll Woman” had already been at Alderson a little over four years, spending her time writing letters to her brother, Oswald, and asking him to send her things like “bobbie pins,” reading the publication Cathedral Bulletin, learning how to play the electric organ, writing magazine articles, and reading books such as Citidal by A.J. Cronin and The Razors Edge by Somerset Maughan. She also took care of a yellow male cat “which will soon be a father,” she wrote to her brother.

It is ironic that on the very day Velvalee was given the maximum sentence of ten years in prison at Alderson and a $10,000 fine for violation of the censorship laws, J.P. Kennedy, Jr., son of ex-ambassador Joseph Kennedy and Eunice’s brother, was killed when a Navy bomber he was piloting exploded in flight. And only a year earlier, in August 1943, another brother, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had been seriously injured by the Japanese in the Solomon Islands, an injury that caused him chronic back pain for the rest of his life.

Some speculate that Eunice felt sympathetic toward Velvalee because she, like Eunice, had graduated from Stanford University. In fact, by strange coincidence, Velvalee belatedly received her degree the same year that Eunice graduated from Stanford. Or maybe it was because she believed Velvalee’s story that it had been her husband, Lee, who spied for the Japanese and not her. So many of the women Eunice had met and counselled through her work in social services, after all, had gotten into trouble because of their controlling and manipulative husbands or boyfriends. Or it could have been that Velvalee had worked in social services for a time while living in San Francisco, an interest and passion that Eunice also shared.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, as well as book-length works of nonfiction, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Her nonfiction true crime book, Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly, has been optioned for a major film and television series. Her nonfiction book, Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave, is under contract for a major film. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency. Established in 1995, she represents authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2018 Barbara received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband, and three pets who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix; Reese, a black cat; and Earl Gray, a gray cat and Reese’s best friend.

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Characters I Never Want to Meet

Not quite so hard this week to think of a few people I'd just as soon never know personally. 

Wicked Witch of the West
     To begin with she's GREEN. Who wants to meet a green, bad witch with flying monkeys? 

Sometimes I am her anyway!

Norman Bates
     Because of Norman and Psycho I will never be totally comfortable in my shower again.

Hannibal Lector
     Wonder if I'd be the entree or dessert.

Dr. Jekkyl  
     Evil intersperses cruelty with kindness.

Adolf Hitler
     True Evil.

How about you??????????? Anyone Special?????????