Friday, October 29, 2021

The Secret of Snow (+ Halloween & More)

It’s a pleasure to tell you about USA Today and internationally bestselling author Viola Shipman's new novel THE SECRET OF SNOW which just hit stores everywhere this week, as well as in my mailbox!

Reading Viola Shipman’s novels is like talking to your best friend and wanting never to hang up the phone.”—Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author

This fascinating new tale comes from the author of The Summer Cottage  

The forecast is calling for a reluctant homecoming and regrettable decisions with a strong chance of romance… 

Sonny Dunes, a SoCal meteorologist who knows only sunshine and seventy-two-degree days, is being replaced by an AI meteorologist, which the youthful station manager reasons “will never age, gain weight, or renegotiate its contract.” The only station willing to give the fifty-year-old another shot is one in a famously non-tropical place—her northern Michigan hometown. 

Unearthing her carefully laid California roots, Sonny returns home and reacclimates to the painfully long, dark winters dominated by a Michigan phenomenon known as lake-effect snow. But beyond the complete physical shock to her system, she’s also forced to confront her past: her new boss, a former journalism classmate and mortal frenemy; more keenly, the death of a younger sister who loved the snow; and the mother who caused Sonny to leave. 

To distract herself from the unwelcome memories, Sonny decides to throw herself headfirst into all things winter to woo viewers and reclaim her success. From sledding and ice fishing to skiing and winter festivals, the merrymaking culminates with the town’s famed Winter Ice Sculpture Contest. Running the events is a widowed father and Chamber of Commerce director, whose genuine love of Michigan, winter, and Sonny just might thaw her heart and restart her life in a way she never could have predicted. 

Meet the Author: Wade Rouse/Viola Shipman

Wade Rouse is a popular award-winning memoirist and internationally bestselling author of twelve books, which have been translated into twenty languages and selected as Today show Must-Reads, Indie Next Picks, and Michigan Notable Books.

Rouse writes fiction under his grandma’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms inspire his writing. Rouse said, “Her heirlooms, life, lessons and love not only inspire my fiction but also inspired me to become a writer and, I hope, the person I am today. She taught me that the simplest things in life – family, friends, faith, fun, love, and a passion for what you do – are truly the grandest gifts. My fiction is meant to honor the elders in our lives whose sacrifices and journeys helped make us who we are today. I couldn’t be prouder of my novels, which I hope reconnect you to your own family’s stories, heirlooms, histories and traditions.”

He lives in Michigan and California, and hosts “Wine & Words with Wade, A Literary Happy Hour,” every Thursday live on the Viola Shipman Facebook page


I want to say thanks to everyone who stops by to read my sporadic posting of late. There’s no excuse other than I’ve just been sidetracked doing other things.

When I look at the calendar today, I realize that Sunday (Oct. 31) is not only Halloween (Happy early Halloween by the way), but also the anniversary of this blog. It’s hard to believe this all started 12 years ago. A lot has changed in 12 years. One of the best things I can say about the ride is that it’s been a wonderful place to “meet” new friends and discover some amazing books to read.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings. I’m not making any promises of posting everyday like I have in the past, but I will try to get back to a schedule of sorts soon. A huge THANK YOU again to everyone. Y’all are awesome. Be safe, have fun if you’re out trick or treating, and take care of yourself.

Now, doesn’t THE SECRET OF SNOW sound intriguing?


Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Music Stalker

Today I’m delighted to share with you the release of THE MUSIC STALKER, the second novel by award-winning author Bruce Berger. The Music Stalker, from Black Rose Press, closely examines how genius and love might survive in a close-knit family torn by trauma, insanity, and jealousy.

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Publication date: October 28, 2021
Format: Paperback
Page count: 336
Price: $20.95
ISBN: 978-1-68433-791-0

Two decades after his family suffers trauma, Max, the loving but remorsefully jealous older brother of a musical genius, chronicles the story of his dysfunctional family.

In mid-1970’s New York City, Max’s sister, Kayla, vaulted to fame as a piano prodigy, holding both audiences and her family in awe with her uncanny musical ability and warm smile. But deep within her lie the seeds of destruction: the paranoid fear of being stalked by a murderous fan.

This mystery explores themes of family dysfunction, mental illness, and the long-term effects of family secrets going untold

A trailer of The Music Stalker can be enjoyed here. The Music Stalker is available here.

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Bruce, who joins us today to answers some questions about his book and writing. Welcome, Bruce.

What drove you to write about these characters, who also appear in The Flight of the Veil?


Some of these are characters – Nicky and Adel in particular – are characters that I’ve lived with and been fascinated by since my first published short story in 2009, “Nate and Adel.” They appear in a 16-story sequence of linked stories, many of which were published in literary magazines. They led complicated lives prior to their marriage. Adel – an intelligent girl who abused by her mother, who suffers from schizophrenia, and who struggles to make her way in the world as an orphan. Nicky – a Holocaust survivor who fought against the Germans in Greece during World War II, who immigrated to America, who entered the medical profession and became a psychiatrist, and who never quite dealt with the enormous guilt he feels for his survival. When they marry, how could they not have a fascinating – and deeply troubled – family? 

What drove you to write in such detail about a piano prodigy and about mastering classical music at a professional level?


No surprise, but I started at the piano much as Max does in this story, making it my instrument and beginning lessons at four. I gave Kayla the talent and drive that I didn’t have and wanted to see how she would progress with these attributes. I listened to classical music throughout the drafting of this novel, in its many versions. So, part of me is in Max and part of me is in Kayla. I’m pleased that early readers knowledgeable in music feel that the musical aspects of this novel are right on target.  

Are you continuing to write about these characters? If so, will you ever decide to write about new characters?


Yes, as a sequel to The Flight of the Veil has been begun. Upon completion, it would be the third in chronological time of the trilogy that begins with The Music Stalker. The tentative name of this third book is To See God. 

But yes, I expect in the fullness of time I will write about new characters. There will come a time when Nicky Covo, his daughter Kayla, and all their loved ones will need to exit the stage and go on to live their lives without my intervention.     

Explain how Judaism affects the story, i.e. why this theme of close observance of Judaism is critical to your characters. 


The parents in the Covo family have very strong opinions or beliefs about God. Nicky is a confirmed atheist, which he became as he realized that his family was murdered at Auschwitz. Adel, in part because of her mental illness but also in part because of her author’s devices, is convinced that God is a middle-aged male writer of fiction. Neither of these approaches to God is sufficient for Kayla, who earns for a spiritual world that goes beyond her magnificent ability to make music. When she stumbles upon the Chabad way of life, she finds something that will sustain her when she can no longer pursue her music career. So, the close observance of Judaism is critical to her survival as a functioning human being.  

Bruce, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight into your writing.

Now for those who aren’t familiar with Bruce, here’s a bit of background on him

Following a 40-year career as a trial attorney in Washington, DC., Bruce J. Berger turned fulltime to writing, earned a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from American University, and now teaches there.

His first novel, The Flight of the Veil, is a sequel to The Music Stalker and achieved critical success, winning a Bronze Award in General Fiction from Illumination Christian Book Awards.

Kirkus Reviews called The Flight of the Veil “A well-crafted tale about trauma and miracles. Get it.” He has also published more than 50 stories and poems in a wide variety of literary journals.   

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you think being a prodigy would have more cons than pros or would the good outweigh any bad?

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Dinner on Primrose Hill

It’s always a delight to share a new book by bestselling author Jodi Thomas, especially when it is part of her fascinating Honey Creek series. Her newest book, DINNER ON PRIMROSE HILL, hits bookshelves today.


By Jodi Thomas
Zebra Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp.
On Sale: October 26th, 2021
Trade Paperback Original Contemporary Romance
$15.95 ($21.95 CAN)
ISBN: 978-1-4201-5134-3

A slice of Americana delivered with her characteristic warmth, endearing characters, and authentic Texan flair, the third Honey Creek novel by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas takes readers to Clifton Bend, Texas, a small college town where two very different scientists must team up on an experiment on “The Chemistry of Mating.”

Can these two opposites attract and quantify the science of love? The author of over 50 novels with millions of books in print, Jodi is truly the queen of creating small towns which readers want to revisit over and over again – in fact the Honey Creek series has become her best-selling series in trade paperback in her storied career!

Jodi welcomes readers back to the picturesque Texas valley that cradles the town of Honey Creek—a place where friendship and warm welcomes can be relied on, and love always finds a way . . .

Benjamin Monroe is pretty sure how his life will play out. He’ll continue teaching chemistry in his small college and spend his free time biking through the valley. Eventually, he’ll retire to putter around in his garden and greenhouse.

His colleague, Virginia Clark, is not one for routines. She’s chatty, spontaneous, and bubbly, and before Benjamin realizes what happened, she’s talked him into collaborating on a research project—studying the mating habits of college students. Virginia knows her desire to work with Benjamin is motivated by more than the potential prize money . . . and hopes he might not be quite as indifferent as he seems to be.

Ketch Kincaid, one of Benjamin’s star students, returned to college after serving in the army. He needs something to get his mind off his recent breakup and collecting research data might do it. And there’s another distraction on the horizon—a woman who looks like she, too, knows about heartache. Soon enough, their project, “The Chemistry of Mating,” is gaining notoriety. Friends, neighbors . . . the whole town has become involved. But no matter what the data determines, one conclusion seems inescapable: love follows its own rules . . .


Jodi Thomas is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA® Award-winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written over 50 novels with millions of copies in print.

Jodi lives in Amarillo, Texas, and can be found online at Visit Jodi Thomas online at:

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Don’t you just love stories that take you to a small town and draw you in so you feel you know everyone?