Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thou Shalt Not Kilt - Book One

Book Spotlight

1)     What is the title of your book?
Ø  What is the story about?
·     Thou Shalt Not Kilt is a modern take on classic age murder mysteries. It is set in modern-day North Carolina among the families who immigrated from Scotland centuries ago and settled along the Cape Fear River.
Ø  Who is the main character?
·     Elle Cunningham Mackay is the protagonist. She is a recently single, recently unemployed and recently homeless author who lands a freelance research gig at an old gothic estate on a tiny island just down river from Wilmington, NC. Her host, a former flame, has invited her to research the Scottish clans who are starting to disappear after centuries of settling the region.
2)     What inspired this tale?
Ø  How did the story come to you?
·     When not writing, I am a specialist in Victorian-era Scottish silver jewelry. Most weekends, I attend Highland games and Scottish festivals around the U.S., researching, buying and selling antique kilt pins, agate jewelry, memorial jewelry and sterling accessories. The families and characters portrayed in the book are very much my family, my friends, my customers and my colleagues.
·     My grandmother, now a 103-year-old Cunningham matriarch, first got me interested in reading mysteries by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and others.
·     This book was a chance to combine two things I love.
Ø  Did you have to research for this novel, and if so, what and why?
·     Most of my research focused on the geography of the area — for example, where to situate the fictional town of St. Andrews — and anything I could find on extinct clans, Scottish family names that have died off due to too few heirs.
Ø  If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn, and why?
·     In Scottish tradition, each family or clan has a number of distinct, identifiable marks that are often unique to that clan. For example, clans typically have a specific Tartan pattern on file with the Scottish Register of Tartans, a crest, a motto, a clan seat, a clan badge and so on.
·     I was curious what happened when a family name disappeared — if there were no sons across too many generations or the clan changed its name or the family folded into a larger clan. What happens to these registered tartans for clans that no longer exist? Is there any record of these extinct clans? After a great deal of research, I could only come up with a single mention of this idea in one book. Nothing else. It’s something I plan to return to in the future as an actual research project.
3)     Do you feel your character is relatable for readers of all ages?
There is nothing too shocking, outside of the murder(s), so it should be appropriate for ages teen and up.
Ø  Is your protagonist anything like you personally?
ü     If yes, then how?
o  Elle and I are very different people. She tends to jump first then worry about where to land later. I, on the other hand, am a planner who can get too involved in the process making the decision to actually ever make the decision. Writing from Elle’s perspective is very liberating as it gives me the chance to throw caution out the window. And I never have to deal with the consequences.
Ø  What made you write this character; were they based on a real person or something that inspired you?
·     Elle is based on many of the people in my life. I surround myself with people who are a bit more direct than I am (I’m a good yin to their yang), so there is a little of each of them in Elle.
ü     What should readers know about your protagonist?
o  She knows she has screwed up. Whenever she was sure she’d finally hit bottom, she’d find another hole and jump in. That hasn’t gotten her very far in life, and she is finally learning to face her issues, lean on the people who care about her and climb up.
ü     Why are they important to you?
o  We all make mistakes. Mistakes are one of the best things about being human because each time we screw up, we have the chance to learn something about ourselves and make a change for the better. Right now, Elle is all about making that change.
Ø  Do you consider the main character to be good or bad, and why?
·     She’s good person at heart. Closing in on 40, she’s finally growing up and making her own path to a better future.
Ø  What’s the objective of your character?
·     She is working hard to learn from her past mistakes. It’s not going to be an easy trip and she has a long way to go, but it’s a start.
4)     Is there anything specific you’d like readers to know about this piece of work?
If you love the old murder mysteries of Agatha Christie or more modern works by P. D. James, I hope you find something to like here.
Ø  Is there a moral or idea you’re trying to convey – if yes, what and why?
·     It’s never too late to make a change for the better. And murderers always get caught in the end.
5)     Is this novel a standalone?
No, I have three or four more mysteries planned for Elle over the next two years.
Ø  If it is included in a series or collection, what is the name and which installment is it?
Ø  If it is the first installment of a series or collection, when can we expect to see the next book published?
·     The second title, Off Scot Free, will be available later this summer.
Ø  If it is a part of a book series or collection, can it be enjoyed as a standalone novel or must it be read sequentially to experience the full realm of the tale?
·     Each of these mysteries can be enjoyed alone. There are threads that connect the books, but you won’t have to have read one to enjoy another.
1)    Where can readers connect with you and purchase your book? 
      You can find the book on Amazon


Happy Armed Services Day Book Lovers!

Celebrating The History Of Military Service

Armed Forces Day occurs during May - National Military Appreciation Month - when we also celebrate five other military appreciation holidays.  These include Loyalty Day (May 1st), Public Service Recognition Week or PSRW (first week of May - 5/3/2020 until 5/9/2020), Victory in Europe Day or V-E Day (May 8th), Military Spouse Appreciation Day (traditionally celebrated the Friday before Mother's Day, so May 8th this year), and Memorial Day (observed the last Monday in May, which is May 25, 2020).

Showing love and respect for the dedication, selflessness, and sacrifice of those who gave themselves in service to our country, here are some books I hope will help to bring honor to them:

Happy Mother's Day!

Showing Mom Love Bibliophile-style

Mother's Day is celebrated in the United States on
Sunday, May 10th, 2020 this year.
If  you are looking for a gift to show your (grand) mom (s) you love them, perhaps I can help with a few ideas.

Not all mothers are biological.  A mother's love is unconditional and never-ending.
I, myself, have a biological mom, stepmom, mother-in-law, honorary mom, and grandma.
I'm, also, a mother and grandmother to both human and fur babies.

Cinco de Mayo for Book Lovers

Readers Celebrating History

Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla.
It is celebrated in honor of Mexican heritage.
Learn more HERE.

Happy Star Wars Day Book Lovers!

May Is Filled With Many Things For Bibliophiles!

I remember the excitement I felt first seeing the original Star Wars trilogy...  Hold on - I am about to age myself - I was in the second grade when I attended a matinee for Return of the Jedi in celebration of a boy's birthday whom I liked.  It was thrilling enough to be at a boy-girl party, but all that faded in comparison to tauntauns, galactic battles, and a beautiful, intelligent ass-kissing princess, named Leia!  And, don't get me started on ewoks...
Star Wars is an amazing universe, which can be enjoyed in a variety of media formats.  However, we all know cinema, though fantastic, pales when compared to a book.  Therefore, I'd like to offer some great ways to enjoy the franchise and May the 4th for book lovers of all ages:

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Star Wars Day 2020


9 Hilarious 'Star Wars' Day Memes in Honor of May the Fourth

9 Hilarious 'Star Wars' Day Memes in Honor of May the Fourth

Star Wars: 25 Skywalker Family Memes That Will Make True Fans Laugh

Happy Father's Day, Darth Vader! Friday Frivolity Link Party ...

Happy Star Wars day - Meme Guy

Liam Ashe's Protagonist • Elle Cunningham McKay


1.   Tell us about your story:
o   What is the name of your book?
o   When and where is your tale set?
·   Along the Atlantic coast in modern day North Carolina
2.   Who are you?
o   What is your name?
·   Elle Cunningham McKay
o   Are you a fictional or historical character?
·   I am fictional
o   Are you a human, animal, alien, robot, or something completely different?
·   I am human
o   Are you good, bad, or indifferent?
·   I think I am just fine J
3.   What do we need to know about you?
o   What is your personal goal?  I mean, what do you ultimately want?
·   I have had a tough few years. . . got a divorce, lost my job and too many other troubles to list. My goal right now is just to get back to normal, whatever that may look like. Things are looking up, though. I just landed a freelance research job on an amazing island estate on the Cape Fear River. It includes a stipend and a roof over my head, so things could be much worse.
o   What is standing in your way?  What conflict(s) do you face?
·   I am now paying for a couple of years of not thinking about the consequences. Sometimes it’s too easy to act before I think, and when that happens (all too often) I can be my own biggest hurdle.
o   What motivates you?
·   I know I can do better.
·   I’m also lucky that I have an older sister who believes in me, friends who are willing to support me and a mother who is all too willing to point out each time I make a mistake.
o   If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be, and why?
·   I wouldn’t mind having a job or a love interest or even a place of my own. Most of all, though, I need to think first, act second. That would solve SO many of my problems. And if I can’t have that, maybe I could be a few inches taller.
4.   How do I get a copy of your book?
o   Is it available now, or when can we expect to see it released?
·   My first adventure, a murder mystery, came out in March. You can find me on Amazon. I’ve already got a second book in the works, Off Scot Free, which should arrive later this summer.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Kristina Rienzi's WINTER ROAD


Chris Ciulla, Winter Road’s seasoned audiobook narrator, has narrated over 133 books on Audible, and is also an established actor, voice actor, and host.

What Readers Said about Winter Road: 

"Loved this book. It started straight away with love excitement,thrill. This book kept you reading till the end. I would recommend this book."

"A grip your seat quick read!"

"Well this was quite an action packed little gem! You know a book is good when immediately upon finishing it - you head over to Amazon and add every other book the author has written to your wish list!  This story puts you on the edge of your seat every page of the way with its excellent character development and very suspenseful, exciting plot. A quick, easy read, but well worth it. Trust me, if you are a mystery or suspense fan, you don't want to miss this one!"

"WOW! What a great quick read! Kristina Rienzi will keep you on suspense, the pages kept turning to see what was going to happen next!”

eBook                               Audiobook                         Paperback

Other Works By Kristina Rienzi:


Thursday, April 23, 2020



There are so many things in life that we take for granted.  Things that once eluded the average person, yet today, are commonplace.  One such thing is the pen.
Why do I care?
First off, I love history.  I love science.  I am fascinated by invention.
Oh, yeah, and I am a writer, so...  there's there.

Pens were originally invented in Ancient Egypt because scribes were trying to find a better method for  replacing the cumbersome stylus and clay tablets.  That is what brought the amazing reed pen.  These were made from single pieces of straw.  A straw reed would be sharpened at one end and a slit would be applied to allow the pigment (or ink) to flow down for marking the papyrus.
BENEFITS: not heavy or brittle like clay and more transportable.
CONS: they didn't say sharpened long and too rigid.

The rigidity and inability to remain sharp lead to quill pens (whose only lacking was that they didn't have an ink reservoir - first mention of one is 973 in Northwest Africa).  These were made from the feathers of large birds of flight that were sharpened to a point.  They were popular because they could maintain their points and remained so until steel points replaced them.

Really, innovation occurred in the 19th century.
Dip pens and pens with reservoirs were known and used before then, but the fountain pen (created by German inventor Daniel Schwenter) and ballpoint (patented 1888 in America) came in the 19th century along with modifications that made them more user-friendly and practical.  
Japan brought fiber adn felt-tipped pens in the 1960's, which developed into markers and highlighters.