Friday, December 9, 2016

Because They Were Southerners - Spotlight

Because They Were Southerners
Philip Harris
Available on Amazon
December 5th, 2016

Why did they answer the call by the thousands? Why did they join the Confederate cavalry to face the unknown? What motivated them to ride straight into the barrels of cannon?

Hugh Sinclair, a young Georgian, was one of those who joined in 1861 when his beloved South went to war with the Union.

Soon Captain Sinclair was riding with the elite cavalry unit of his hero, General JEB Stuart, attacking the enemy across blood-soaked battlefields. Although he and his closest friends, Andy Johns and Wayne Deadwyler, understood the realities that meant the war would end in defeat, they were willing to fight to the bitter end. The three young cavalrymen became known for their daring and willingness to tackle any mission thrown at them by their commanders, no matter how unexpected.

They found themselves sent on spying campaigns into the heart of enemy territory—Washington—where Hugh and Wayne barely escaped hanging. In Charleston, S.C., Andy and Hugh were caught up in another strange quest—helping to identify the mysterious “thing” that seemed to be diving underwater to damage blockade-running ships.

Back in Richmond, they continued their regular duties with their cavalry units, until they were summoned for another operation, which could be the most perilous of all. In disguise, they would have to infiltrate a Union fort and get a close look at a powerful, deadly new weapon that the North reportedly had. Could they get away with their own audacious plan—and steal the weapon out from under the Yankees’ noses?

Theirs is the story of the men in gray, who turned out to fight for the Cause. Why did these men, many of whom never owned a slave, show up bravely to do their part? Why did they willingly take on assignments they had no idea they could carry out—and then do so? Why did they do all those things mostly without question? Why were they willing to lose everything—even their lives?


Because they were Southerners, that’s why.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Forty Autumns - Spotlight Autumns
Nina Willner
William Morrow
October, 2016

Click Here to read a sample chapter.

Forty Autumns is illustrated with dozens of black-and-white and color photographs.

About the Book

In this illuminating and deeply moving memoir, a former American military intelligence officer goes beyond traditional Cold War espionage tales to tell the true story of her family—of five women separated by the Iron Curtain for more than forty years, and their miraculous reunion after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Forty Autumns makes visceral the pain and longing of one family forced to live apart in a world divided by two. At twenty, Hanna escaped from East to West Germany. But the price of freedom—leaving behind her parents, eight siblings, and family home—was heartbreaking. Uprooted, Hanna eventually moved to America, where she settled down with her husband and had children of her own.

Growing up near Washington, D.C., Hanna’s daughter, Nina Willner became the first female Army Intelligence Officer to lead sensitive intelligence operations in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War. Though only a few miles separated American Nina and her German relatives—grandmother Oma, Aunt Heidi, and cousin, Cordula, a member of the East German Olympic training team—a bitter political war kept them apart.

In Forty Autumns, Nina recounts her family’s story—five ordinary lives buffeted by circumstances beyond their control. She takes us deep into the tumultuous and terrifying world of East Germany under Communist rule, revealing both the cruel reality her relatives endured and her own experiences as an intelligence officer, running secret operations behind the Berlin Wall that put her life at risk.

A personal look at a tenuous era that divided a city and a nation, and continues to haunt us, Forty Autumns is an intimate and beautifully written story of courage, resilience, and love—of five women whose spirits could not be broken, and who fought to preserve what matters most: family.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Meantime - Shout Out


Claire Hood has never had a typical upbringing. When she was nine, her father fell in love with a married woman, and the two households agreed to live under one roof. Nicknamed "the Naked Family," they were infamous in the community for their eccentric, free-spirited lifestyle. Now, Claire and her stepsister Nicole are both in their thirties and living in San Francisco. Nicole has set her mind to having a baby on her own, and Claire's husband, Jeremy, longs to start a family as well. But Claire wants to avoid an ordinary existence at all costs.

When Jeremy becomes seriously ill, his high school sweetheart, Gita, is a bit too eager to lend a hand in his recovery. As Claire's suspicion of their relationship grows, she feels increasingly distant not only from the people she loves, but also from the kind of person she'd imagined herself to be. Faced with Nicole's impending motherhood and Jeremy's increasing closeness with his ex, Claire must resolve lingering childhood hang-ups and decide what she's willing to sacrifice for independence.

November, 2016

Idgie Says: 
I LOVE the cover!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Great Christmas Gift Book Ideas from Dutton, Penguin Random House!

Idgie Says:

Dutton recently sent me a pile of books that released in October and I picked out four that I think are perfect  presents for under the tree.  I believe you will find something for everyone. 

Below you will find a funny as hell DIY book by Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec), a great book for animal lovers describing the lives of Secret Service dogs, a racy novel featuring three sisters working their way through life and love, and finally, a sweet historical Christmas story.

I plan on browsing through all of these books myself - thank you Dutton, for MY early Christmas present! 



Thursday, December 1, 2016

Walk Into Silence - Spotlight and Q&A Into Silence by Susan McBride (December, 2016; Thomas and Mercer)
When Patrick Dielman shows up at Detective Jo Larsen’s desk insisting that his wife, Jenny, is missing, Jo wonders if it’s a case of a bored housewife running away.

But as she digs deeper into Jenny’s life, Jo learns that Dielman keeps a stranglehold on the family finances, down to the last nickel, and that Jenny’s first marriage dissolved following the death of her young son. By all accounts—including her doctor’s—she never recovered from the loss. Between a controlling husband, a tragic past, and a callous ex-husband, Jo can’t be sure if she should suspect foul play or accept that the woman may have wanted to disappear.

For Jo, whose own demons are shadowing her every step, finding Jenny becomes more than the typical protect-and-serve.

Susan McBride is the USA Today bestselling author of the Debutante Dropout Mysteries and the River Road Mysteries. She has won a Lefty Award, been twice nominated for the Anthony Award, and received the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Amateur Sleuth. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and daughter.

Q & A with Susan McBride

1.     What was the inspiration behind Walk into Silence, a suspenseful, investigative thriller?

I was reading FBI files of unsolved cases online many years ago, and I stumbled upon one that stuck with me: a woman who had disappeared and been found in a quarry. I don’t remember too much more about the case than that, but it was all I needed. I started thinking about this woman, who she was, what her background was, and what might have happened that caused her to meet such a tragic end. This woman became Jenny Dielman in Walk Into Silence.

2.     You write both women’s fiction and award-winning mystery novels, and have also penned several series.  Do you prefer series or stand alone novels?  Which genre do you prefer to write and why? 

I started out writing mysteries, and I’ve always loved them. As a kid, I was a huge Nancy Drew fan (and still have my collection with the yellow spines that I plan to give my daughter someday!). In college, I got caught up in Sue Grafton’s series with Kinsey Milhone. So it felt really natural to craft mysteries. Doing a series is very comfortable, as you really get to know the characters. You watch them grow and change, and they feel a bit like family. On the other hand, writing stand-alones is a lot of fun, too, and a great challenge. With my women’s fiction, I had stories to tell that I could complete within 400 pages. I knew how they started and how they would end, and I didn’t really see them moving beyond that. Once I told those tales, I felt complete, like I had happily waved “goodbye” to those people and didn’t need to revisit them. Honestly, I just like to write. My husband calls me “Crazy Brain,” as my imagination just won’t quit (and it freaks him out a little!). If I had to pick a favorite genre, it would probably be mystery. Even the women’s fiction books all have mysteries running through them!

3.     Jo has many skeletons in her closet which sometimes get the best of her and become her greatest weakness.  Why did you choose to have a flawed character?  What do you think is Jo’s greatest strength?

I don’t believe there’s a human being on earth who isn’t flawed. So I can’t fathom writing a character—particularly a main character—who hasn’t been damaged, or at least dinged, in some way. Jo’s experiences have made her the person she is, and I see her as stronger because of them. She understands and empathizes with victims in a way that others cannot. She fights for them wholeheartedly because no one fought for her, so she’s determined not to let them down. She’s often called “dogged,” and that is definitely one of her strengths. Jo is a seeker of truth. She wants to believe in justice. If she’s on your side, you’re damned lucky. If she’s against you, you’re screwed.