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Authors We Lost in 2019.

Monday, December 30th, 2019


Authors We Lost in 2019.

By Vicky T. (VickyJo)

The end of a year is a time of reflection for most people. We think about the past year, the highs and the lows, and we look ahead to a new year full of promise and new beginnings. For me, as a reader, I have a tendency to look back on the authors who left us in the past year. 2019 was a rough year in that we lost some bright stars.

So, in alphabetical order, we must say goodbye to:

Dorothea Benton Frank (Sept. 12, 1951 – Sept. 2, 2019): I’m not sure South Carolina was even on the map before Ms. Frank came along and shared her love of this beautiful area with all of us. Her 20 novels bring to life Charleston and surrounding areas, and the families living there. Her last novel was Queen Bee, but she was also known for Plantation, Sullivan’s Island, and Shem Creek, just to name a few. Just by opening one, I think I can smell the sea and feel the sunshine of her beloved Lowcountry.

Ernest J. Gaines (Jan. 15, 1933 – Nov. 5, 2019) : Mr. Gaines wrote of the struggles of African-Americans in such novels as A Lesson Before Dying and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, focusing on a time before the civil rights movement in this country. He wrote eight novels and many short stories, and was honored with numerous awards, culminating in the National Medal of Arts bestowed on him by President Barack Obama in 2013.

Tony Horwitz (Jun. 9, 1958 – May 27, 2019): A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Mr. Horwitz authored several books, and is probably best known for Confederates in the Attic. He took us all over the world: Australia, Bagdad, the deep South, islands in the Pacific. His books embodied the best of armchair travel combined with history and a peek at various cultures, some foreign, and some perhaps very familiar.

Judith Krantz (Jan. 9, 1928 – Jun 22, 2019): She started out by giving us Scruples in 1978, and she really didn’t let up for almost 20 years. Her first novel was published when she was 50 years old, which should give every aspiring author a great deal of hope. She retired from writing at age 70, after the publication of Spring Collection.

Johanna Lindsey (Mar. 10, 1952 – Oct. 27, 2019): If you are of a certain age, I can almost guarantee you started your career in romance reading by picking up one of Johanna Lindsey’s 50 novels. She started with Captive Bride (1977) and not only gave us wonderful love stories set in various historical time periods, but who didn’t love the Fabio covers?? I remember my grandmother catching me reading one of Ms. Lindsey’s books—and after confiscating it, and reading it herself, asking me if I had any more.

Robert K. Massie (Jan. 5, 1929 – Dec. 2, 2019): My love of Russian history and the tragic story of Nicholas and Alexandra came directly from Mr. Massie’s powerful biography of the two doomed rulers. His biography Peter the Great won him the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1981, and his final book, Catherine the Great, earned him the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography.

Vonda McIntyre (Aug. 28, 1948 – Apr. 1, 2019): Ms. McIntyre began her career in the early 70’s, winning her first Nebula Award for Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand. This novelette soon expanded into the novel Dreamsnake (1978) for which she won both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards. She was a trailblazer in the field of science fiction, and is probably best known for writing several Star Trek and Star Wars novels.

Toni Morrison (Feb. 18, 1931 – Aug. 5, 2019): Words fail me here. From The Bluest Eye, her first novel, through her last novel,
God Help the Child, and up to her last book, a work of non-fiction titled The Source of Self-Regard: Essays, Speeches, Meditations, Ms. Morrison enriched our lives. The list of her awards is incredibly long and impressive. She will be missed.

Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (Nov. 12, 1928 – Mar. 12, 2019): Every beginning reader from the early 1970’s on has picked up a Nate the Great book and been thoroughly entertained by the boy detective. Ms. Sharmat is the author of over 130 books, and the Nate books alone have been translated into 24 languages.

Gene Wolfe (May 7, 1931 – Apr. 14, 2019): Not only was Mr. Wolfe an accomplished science fiction author, best known for his multi-volume work The Book of the New Sun, but he had an amazing life. He had polio as a child; he was a Korean War vet; he was an industrial engineer, and we can thank him for the machine that makes Pringles potato chips! His final novel, Interlibrary Loan, is due to be published in 2020. And of all the authors in this list, he has had the most books written about him.

Herman Wouk (May 27, 1915 – May 17, 2019): That’s not a typo. Mr. Wouk almost made it to 104, bless him. He gave us  The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and the sequel War and Remembrance, and several works of non-fiction. His final work was Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year Old Author (2015). Now that seems like a book worth reading, and it has been added to my TBR pile.

And so we say goodbye, and thank you. Thank you for the sound foundation of reading, for the history, the romance, the imagination and the glimpses into other cultures, other times, and other worlds. We will be forever grateful.

Winners! Derek’s Great Thanksgiving Escape

Friday, December 20th, 2019

The Winners of the Brand-New Book, Derek’s Great Thanksgiving Escape are:

 

Tracy K. (dixiegirl)

Ronni E. (rifkachaya)


Laurie H.

 

Congratulations to our Winners!

And thank you, Mr. Denert for sharing your book with us!

 

If you would like to read the author interview with
D.M. Denert, you can find it here.

Book Give-Away and Interview with Author D.M. Denert

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Mr. Denert for agreeing to this interview!
I’m glad to do it, thanks for having me.

First, please tell us a little about your book, Derek’s Great Thanksgiving Escape.
To be honest, it all happened quite spontaneously. I’ve been meaning to write some of the bedtime stories I’ve told my kids over the years, but never found the time.
Then one day, a bit out of nowhere, the idea to write a short story about Thanksgiving popped into my head. One thing led to another and I ended up turning the short story into a short book because I just had too much fun writing it.

It is a very amusing tale, told from the perspective of an 8-year-old boy trying to get out of spending Thanksgiving Dinner at the table with his relatives, including, his angry sister, weird cousins and kissing aunties whose kisses are inpossible to wipe off.
How much of this story is drawn from your experiences as a youngster?
I would say a great deal. However, it wasn’t just Thanksgiving as we tend to spend it with a small family group, so it wasn’t that bad. Other holidays and family gatherings were a whole different story, and often-included weird cousins and kissing aunties.
Those, I dreaded and tried to escape more than once, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Do any of your own children have plans to escape from Thanksgiving  dinner this year?
I don’t think so, but then again, they seem to enjoy family gathering more than I did when I was a kid.

There are some very handy tips in this book about how to avoid monsters, particularly attic monsters. Would you please share them here, just in case any of our members need to avoid attic monsters during the upcoming holiday season?
Sure, there are 3 key ones:
• Be super quiet. Monsters seem to avoid you if you’re staying silent
• Pretend you’re asleep. Closing your eyes seems to make them go away
• Have a clear path of escaping when the two above don’t work.
With that said, it’s probably best to avoid attics and basements when you’re alone in general.

Have you always been a writer and storyteller?
As a kid I was often told I have a very active imagination, I guess most kids do, but it seems I didn’t grow out of mine. With that said, I did write some fantasy as a teenager and young adult, but really got going as a storyteller when my first daughter was born.
I had to tell her at least 3 or 4 stories per night before she would let me go.

Do you have plans for publishing your next book?
Yes, I have a few in mind.
Two will be a continuation of Derek’s adventures. One about Christmas and the other summer vacation.
I’ve been also toying with the idea about writing a fantasy novel for children. Naturally, these will include dragons, fairies and monsters.

Did you have a favorite author growing up?

Growing up some of the earliest reading I did for fun, instead being forced to, were the Harry Potter books. The whole idea that there was another world paralleled to our one has really captivated my early years. Especially, how I was 11, the same age Harry is at the start, when the books were published in United States.

I think JK Rowling did a great job making it believable and I spend more than a few nights reading the series. Which also kick-started my passion for reading and later writing.

And now, do you have a favorite author?

One of my favorites, if not the favorite, author as an adult is Fyodor Dostoevsky. Others are Stephen King, Joe Abercrombie and of course Tolkien and CS Lewis, as both I discovered and enjoyed as an adult.

Now for some fun questions:

Stuffing or dressing?
Definitely stuffing, with bacon and mushrooms

Fresh cranberries or canned?
I think I never had fresh, so canned?

Apple or pumpkin pie?
Apple, while I enjoy pumpkin pie apple pie has always been my favorite.

Weird cousins or kissing aunties?
Weird cousins, nothing is worse than kissing aunties! I’m just kidding, but weird cousins seem to be a lot more fun. __________

Mr. Denert has generously offered to give away 3 copies of his book to PaperBackSwap Members who comment. Tell us who you would like to read his book to for a chance to win. We will choose 3 lucky winners at random from the comments we receive here on the Blog. Good luck to Everyone!

If you would like to learn more about Mr. Denert you can view is website at:  dmdenert.com

or follow him on Facebook here.

 

 

Mystery Series Spotlight – Kate Mulcay

Monday, April 15th, 2019

The Kate Mulcay Series by Celestine Sibley

By Cheryl G. (Poncer)

Celestine Sibley, one of the first female, and longest lasting journalists, she wrote for the Atlanta Constitution for over 50 years. When I lived in Atlanta, I remember when she passed away. Her life and career was celebrated for a whole week.

Recently I ran across her Kate Mulcay Mystery series here on PaperBackSwap and ordered the first book, Ah, Sweet Mystery. I enjoyed it so much I ordered the other 4 that were available.

The series spotlights Kate Mulcay, a journalist who works for an Atlanta newspaper (coincidentally enough). She is the widow of an Atlanta Homicide detective who finds herself in the middle of a murder in her neighborhood, north of the city, where there are still woods and wildlife.

Any author who can develop characters, tell a story and solve a murder within 300 pages is tops with me. There is no gratuitous sex or violence, but I would not call them cozy mysteries. There is enough reality in the pages to keep one’s interest. They are not cutesy, but they are very enjoyable.

With the help of Kate’s elderly neighbor Willie Wilcox, Kate celebrates doing things the old-fashioned country way. When Willie is accused of killing her son, Kate, with the help, or maybe hindrance of the police, figures out the real murderer.

Since Sibley started this series late in life, there are only 5 books. I am halfway through the fifth one, Spider in the Sink, and have slowed way down reading it, because I don’t want the series to end.

I suggest reading them in order, getting to know the characters as they are developed through the series. I highly recommend this series.

 

                     

 

 

 

Mystery Series Spotlight – Amelia Peabody

Monday, October 9th, 2017

The Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters

By Vicky T. (VickyJo)

What is it about a series that is so appealing? You would think that several books about the same person would get—if not boring—then at the very least, monotonous.  But for me, if I enjoy the main character, then I want to continue peeking into his or her personal life; I want to continue sharing adventures and finding out what comes next.  I’m obviously not alone in this, because more and more series are being written every day, especially in the mystery genre.   

Lately, I’ve been reading my way through a series written by Elizabeth Peters.  We are introduced to Amelia Peabody in the first novel, Crocodile on the Sandbank.  It’s 1884, and Amelia’s indulgent father has died, leaving her a very wealthy spinster.  Amelia decides to use her money to see the world, and heads to Egypt by way of Rome.  She comes across a young woman named Evelyn, who has been abandoned (and “ruined”) by her lover; Amelia takes her under her wing, making Evelyn her companion as they journey on to the archaeological wonders of Egypt.   

The two women run into very suspicious happenings, and it seems as though Evelyn is in danger.  Amelia fancies herself a sleuth and is determined to not only solve this mystery, but to help the eminent archaeologist she has just met, Radcliffe Emerson, and his younger brother Walter to…well, to do everything.  Men are not the most organized creatures, are they?   

This novel is such fun!  It’s presented to the “Dear Reader” as Amelia’s journal, and the mystery aspect takes a secure back seat to the cast of unforgettable characters.  While Evelyn and Walter fall in love, Amelia and Emerson (he hates his given name) clash repeatedly, and it’s a wonder no one gets throttled.  There is sly humor throughout, and one can’t help but admire Amelia (as she knew you would, of course). 

The author (whose real name was Barbara Mertz) had a PhD in Egyptology and she used her knowledge to give her novels a very authentic feel.  She also includes real people from the time, especially Howard Carter (who eventually discovers the tomb of King Tut) and other luminaries from the world of late Victorian archaeology.  (Emerson does not consider them luminaries.  He considers them bungling idiots who have no earthly idea how to run a cursed dig.)   

There are 20 books in the series, 19 of them by Elizabeth Peters, and one published in 2017 by Joan Hess.  (Elizabeth Peters died in 2013.)

If you’re looking for a fun mystery with engaging characters, an exotic locale and not much in the way of gory murder (although be prepared for mummies) this is the series for you! 

 

Amelia Peabody Series

1 – Crocodile on the Sandbank, 1975

2 – The Curse of the Pharaohs, 1981

3 – The Mummy Case, 1985

4 – Lion In The Valley, 1986

5 – Deeds of the Disturber, 1988

6 – The Last Camel Died at Noon, 1991

7 – The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog, 1992

8 –The Hippopotamus Pool, 1996

9 – Seeing a Large Cat, 1997

10 – The Ape Who Guards the Balance, 1998

11 – The Falcon at the Portal, 1999

12 – He Shall Thunder in the Sky, 2000

13 – Lord of the Silent, 2001

14 – The Golden One, 2002

15 – Children of the Storm, 2003

16 – Guardian of the Horizon, 2004

17 – The Serpent on the Crown, 2005

18 – Tomb of the Golden Bird, 2006

19 – A River in the Sky, 2010

20. The Painted Queen, 2017 (written by Joan Hess)

 

 

Author Spotlight – Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Spotlight on Author Nathan Dylan Goodwin

by Bon S. (bons)

 

As an avid reader for some 70 years, I often wonder where are we to find our next Agatha Christie-type writer? When will another Stephen King come along? Can we ever replace James Michener or James Clavell and his Saga Series like Shogun in our lifetime?
Perhaps we already have with the popularity of Nicholas Sparks from North Carolina or did you know that Nora Roberts has over 125 books to her name and even thinks it important to add a pen name of J. D. Robb?

For our parents and our grandparents who read, when time allowed, the girls had Laura Lee Hope and the Bobbsey Twins…for young boys it was C.S. Forester‘s Horatio Hornblower and the American boys read everything from Louis L’Amour to battlefield and war novels.

Later, in our 30’s, we read Danielle Steele or Janet Dailey from Missouri, or passed a Judith Krantz on to our daughters (if we were brave enough), but now there is no one in the wings.

We have come a long way BABY in book selections and we need greater challenges to satisfy our reading needs. The Harlequin phrase is over. And did you know that Barbara Cartland was really a good writer on her non-fiction but relied on 40 writer-bees helping her design and write her 750 romance novels? Plus she was Princess Diana’s Step-Grandmother?

Now we are more serious about our habits of books and we, the power women, now turn to Karen White, Nicholas Sparks, Alice Hoffman and so many other really good writers, who combine the art of love with the art of interesting stories and we buy and buy.

But wait…there just might be a new name to add to the fantastic list of good, interesting writers coming out of England and America and being acceptable for a light read.

Anyone who has ever loved his heritage or studied the ancestry of his family might find a new mystery fascination who has been writing since 2013 and his name is NATHAN DYLAN GOODWIN.
A nice fellow from England…who started out writing non-fiction on his own famous home town of Hastings, has established himself with three historical books on Hastings. UK.

He is knocking at our ‘reading door’ now with both fiction and non-fiction and has claim to nine books. He is marrying the mystery with the genealogy theme, and this stuff is not boring. He combines the Dr. Watson’s and Miss Marble’s very well in his own Morton Farrier novella’s.

His books are read in a series, so be careful NOT to spoil his plan of presenting them. Plan to read them in the series they were written and I plan to work him onto one of my shelves of personal reading pleasures.

The books listed here are from his mystery series of Forensic Genealogist.
Vol. 1: Hiding the Past
Vol. 2: The Lost Ancestor
Vol. 2.5; The Orange Lilies
Vol. 3: The America Ground
Vol. 4: Spyglass File
Vol 4-5: The Missing Man

 

              

I feel Americans will rush to the bookstores and add these books to Wish Lists here on PaperBackSwap.
Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s series of war and non-fiction was his FIRST BOOK and includes:
Hastings at War 1939-1945
Hastings: Wartime Memories and Photographs
Hastings & St. Leonards Through Time

His latest book, from what I can tell is an ebook, A Very Old Man.  I do not know how this fits into his plan of series but it is sure to be popular and I WANT IT!

And the Winner is…..

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

 

 

Jennifer F. (jfarr5)

Congratulations Jennifer! Your books will be on the way to you soon.

Thank you Mary Potter Kenyon for your interview and for providing the books for this give-away!