Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Greeks of Beaubien Street by Suzanne Jenkins REVIEW

 The Greeks of Beaubien Street

**Warning, please read the entire description.
Contains a graphic depiction of rape.**

The first volume of a series of three books.

Nestled below the skyline of Detroit you’ll find Greektown, a few short blocks of colorful bliss, warm people and Greek food. In spite of growing up immersed in the safety of her family and their rich culture, Jill Zannos doesn’t fit in. A Detroit homicide detective, she manages to keep one foot planted firmly in the traditions started by her grandparents, while the other navigates the most devastated neighborhoods in the city she can’t help but love. She is a no nonsense workaholic with no girlfriends, an odd boyfriend who refuses to grow up, and an uncanny intuition, inherited from her mystic grandmother, that acts as her secret weapon to crime solving success. Her story winds around tales of her family and their secret laden history, while she investigates the most despicable murder of her career.

The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a modern tale of a family grounded in old world, sometimes archaic, tradition, as they seek acceptance in American society. They could be any nationality, but they are Greek.

Repeat,contains a depiction of rape, so please don't read this book if you will be horribly upset by a depiction of rape and murder

I fell in love with Suzanne Jenkins writing while reviewing her book series (A must read!) Pam of Babylon. So when I had the opportunity to read this one, I of course- jumped at it ;)
The main character, Detective Jill - I really liked her. She's strong, independent, sexy and down to business. I love how as the story unfolds you also get a deeper look into Jill's family history. I so loved that the shocker, the big twist, I did not see coming and I love it when a book isn't predictable.
Suzanne Jenkins has reestablished why I fell in love with her writing. Her stories are explicit at times' realistic, the characters grab can't wait to turn the page and find out...why?!

I highly recommend this book

I received this book for review from the author 

This Möbius Strip of Ifs by Mathias B. Freese REVIEW

This Möbius Strip of Ifs

In this impressive and varied collection of creative essays, Mathias B. Freese jousts with American culture. A mixture of the author's reminiscences, insights, observations, and criticism, the book examines the use and misuse of psychotherapy, childhood trauma, complicated family relationships, his frustration as a teacher, and the enduring value of tenaciously writing through it all. Freese scathingly describes the conditioning society imposes upon artists and awakened souls. Whether writing about the spiritual teacher, Krishnamurti, poet and novelist, Nikos Kazantzakis, or film giants such as Orson Welles and Buster Keaton, the author skewers where he can and applauds those who refuse to compromise and conform. A psychotherapist for twenty-five years, Freese conveys a unique combination of psychodynamic thinking and Eastern philosophy while examining Existentialism, alternative education, and Jewish values. His award-winning novel, The i Tetralogy, is a groundbreaking contribution to Holocaust literature and a critically acclaimed work of "undying artistic integrity." His short story collection, Down to a Sunless Sea, was published in 2008. At the core of these essays is the author's struggle to authentically express his unique perspective, to unflinchingly reveal a profound visceral truth, along with a passionate desire to be completely alive and aware.


Möbius strip

noun Geometry .
a continuous, one-sided surface formed by twisting one end of a rectangular strip through 180° about the longitudinal axis of the strip and attaching this end to the other.

 *                                *                              *
This is the first book of essays that I have read, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I admit, I was thinking based on the idea of growing up in school, not wanting to write essays even though I have always enjoyed writing, but on a topic I enjoy; not forced - that I may find this book dry or boring. So naturally I was apprehensive if I'd enjoy this collection. I was delightfully surprised when I read this.  Mathias was able to capture my attention from beginning to end.
Mathias Freese is a former psychotherapist and teacher, in this book he shares some of his experiences but this is by no means a boring, dull or dry book. This book is full of emotion, stories, dreams, ideas, outlooks, and memories. 
This book makes you think. And I like that. I feel I read enough books that are meant for joys as it is, whether it be comedy, thriller, romance, etc. So it is a nice change of pace to read something like this. To get something from it as well as make you think and enjoy it on top of it all. In telling us about his own life, he encourages us to look at our life.

I recommend this book to all


                                                                         I received this book from the author for review

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pam of Babylon by Suzanne Jenkins #1 REVIEW

Pam of Babylon

**Warning readers! Mature content. Please read the entire description.**

The first in a series of four books.

Pam Smith lives an idyllic life on Long Island, waiting for her husband to return home each weekend from the city, until she gets the phone call every wife dreads. Jack's had a heart attack on the train. She rushes to his side only to discover he's dead, and his girlfriend got there first.

Jack Smith's death opens up a Pandora's Box of secrets and lies, the worst not his infidelity. Themes of sisterhood and sexual abuse run through the book 

 When I first read the synopsis of this book, I couldn't wait to get it into my hands. Because it was about a woman who deals w grief then more turmoil with a few wrenches thrown in. You would have thought that it was enough grief to get a call that your husband just had a heart attack only to get to the hospital and find out the worst. But the worst doesn't stop there.
And I loved that that Pam didn't react or treat the situation as I might have. Which is something I love about reading, it opens your eyes to other perspectives and new/different ways of thinking. With all the crap that is thrown her way, she handles it with forgiveness and compassion. I wanted her to scream and at times I was mad at her for how she handled it...because she didn't handle it the way I would have.  
And they strength this woman has, she herself doesn't realize what she is capable of doing or handling. She has to come to terms with so much and seems to do it with an at times quiet grace.

I could not wait, to get a hold of the rest of the books ;) I highly recommend this book, it's a great anytime of the year book.

                                                  I received this book for review from Pump Up Your Book/The Author

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Woman of Clay: A Journey of the Heart by Linda Caddick

Woman of Clay : a journey of the heart
 Young, wild and wilful, Shushana's burning quest for fulfilment entices her down a slippery byway of self-deception, passion and turmoil.

Escaping her father's oppressive rule, she travels the ancient paths of Judea to Galilee during the time when a controversial young rabbi is making his own way around this remarkable land. But in striving to find her life, she stands to lose it.

Forced to reap the consequences of her choices, she faces the final test - her will or God’s will? Only self-denial and sacrifice can lead her towards the home she is so desperately seeking - a home in another’s heart and a home in heaven.

This young girl, Shana is only sixteen. But she is acutely aware of her role as a woman. Obedience to the man is extremely importance. You obey without question or hesitation. But she is just stirring inside. Like a volcano ready to erupt. 
Shana's father has informed a young man, Raphael that he can wed his daughter. Shana shouldn't be surprised by this since they have been friends since they were small children. But- to everyone's shock and surprise, Shana rebels.
In turn, her parents send her away to her cousin and aunts to help out with household duties and in hopes to change her mind on the marriage. But Shana was not planning on developing a crush on her married cousin. 
She ends up seeking help from the Rabbi, who calls himself the Messiah. She wants to hear for herself what he is saying to everyone else.
What she comes to find out is she must lose herself to find herself. But can she do that? 

I loved how easy this book was to follow, as well as the biblical facts that were in this novel. It was fun to read a book where plot was modern but was from the biblical days. I'm not much of a fan of historical fiction or non fiction but I have read and enjoyed a few, am open to reading them; this was one where I was glad I gave it a shot. I don't regret it and I would read this book again :)
I was really glad to see Shana break out of her mold and finally think for herself and break away from her controlling father.

I recommend this book


                                                                                        I received this book from the author for review

Book Excerpt - Murder in Silence (book 1) by Gary Kassay

Murder in Silence (Duke Becker, #1)Title: Murder in Silence (Murder, Book 1)
Author: Gary Kassay
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Length: 100,000 words
Genres: Mystery/Thrillers/Suspense (Non-Romance)

Available at:
Sapphire Star Publishing (Coming Soon)

Two police officers have been brutally killed by having their throats ripped out, but the wound appears to have been done with surgical precision. With no witnesses, no forensic evidence, and two bizarre clues to follow, the case falls to Inspector Duke Becker, head of the high profile Special Investigations Unit, Homicide.

Becker and his squad must find the killer before more cops are murdered. The case will lead Becker on a wild chase through the streets of New York City, back over 15 years into the past and to a cover-up that will rock City Hall.

Along with his brash, wildly dressed young partner, Jimmy Nova, the beautiful Michelle Goldman, Augie “Doggie” Rivera, and the Mutt and Jeff team of Bobby Green and Joe Robinson, Becker will need to enlist his boyhood friend in charge of CSU, Manny Velez.

Add a ruthless newswoman known to the NYPD as “”Wicked Witch Wilson” and a new love interest for Becker in the gorgeous and brilliant Dr. Elizabeth Cunningham, Becker is about to embark on the most difficult and dangerous case in his 20 plus years. Will Becker and his squad be able to catch the killer before more cops die or will the killer have the last laugh?

Monday morning.

Walking into One Police Plaza, I had a smile on my face and a snap in my walk. I even stopped to tell Chuck a joke. As I rode up in the elevator, I felt that things would start to break soon. Then Liz and I could maybe take some time off together and really get to know each other.

I opened the door to the conference room. Jimmy and Augie were on the phone. They were hitting redial over and over again, slamming the receivers down and then picking them up again. Joe, Bobby, and Harry were yelling out orders to a couple of uniforms that just kept nodding and then ran from the room. Harry’s hair was all mussed. All of them were pale, as if they had just seen a ghost. I tried to hear what had happened, but I couldn’t get the jist of it from all the commotion. Something bad had happened, and I finally had had enough of trying to figure it out by just standing there.

Hey, guys, what’s going on?” I asked, but no one stopped to answer me. I tried again, but it was as if I wasn’t even there. Getting a bit peeved, I put two fingers in my mouth and let loose with a long, loud whistle. They all stopped what they were doing and looked at me as if I had just entered the room.

Maybe someone would like to tell me just what the hell is going on around here?” I asked loudly.

There was another murder, Duke, Saturday night,” Harry said.

Saturday?” I asked incredulously. “Why wasn’t I told about it immediately?”

With everything going on with the funeral, I never even checked in here as I usually do. . I never even turned on the news all day Sunday. I, uh, was nursing a hangover. I also spoke to the detectives who caught it, they had been of town, training, so they hadn’t heard about the cops being killed. They notified me a little while ago I guess I fucked up.”

Thinking back to the day I had spent with Liz, I realized that I hadn’t checked in or looked at the news either.

So no one in the squad knew about this murder until this morning?” I asked.

It looks that way, and I promise it will never happen again.”

Looking around the room at the others, I said, “Okay, everyone, seems we all fucked up. Brief me on what we have, Harry, and…where the hell is Michelle?”

Harry looked down and then slowly raised his eyes. “Uh, we’ve been trying to reach her. She’s not answering her cell or home phone…and um…we just dispatched a car to her house and her mom’s.”

The whole team had the saddest look on their faces that I could imagine.

I felt my stomach do flip-flops as I asked Harry, “What exactly is going on here, Sergeant. Who was killed?”

All we know right now is that a young woman, mid-thirties, blonde, athletic build, with no identification was killed, her throat and face destroyed. Her body was discovered outside the Ultimate Gym. Michelle belonged to that gym.”

My mind began whirling, thinking a million thoughts at one time. A blonde woman, athletic, killed outside the gym where Michelle worked out. I remembered Augie saying that Michelle was going to work out on Saturday, after the funeral. I couldn’t help but picture her lying in the street, the blood flowing from her throat. My heart was racing, but I needed to stay in control, so I took a deep breath and began. “Augie, Jimmy, who are you on the phone with?”

I keep trying her cell, Duke,” Augie answered.

I’ve been trying the home phone,” Jimmy said.

Hang up now,” I said. “Jimmy, get on the phone with the M.E.’s office. I want a full description of that victim and I want it now! They should be able to get prints, and have them sent over to Manny to see if they match…Michelle’s. Augie, get in touch with the gym, see if they have video surveillance and if anyone there can ID the victim. Harry, see if that squad car is at Michelle’s mom’s yet, and if not, find out why the hell not!”

Nothing was going to prevent me from catching this psycho before, but if Michelle was dead and it became personal, this asshole had no fucking idea who he was about to deal with.

For the next ten minutes, I paced around the room, feeling helpless while my guys made their calls.

Augie hung up. “The gym has surveillance, but not at the front door where the attack took place. There are two detectives from Midtown North there right now, taking statements and getting the video ready. The victim was wearing one of those sport tops and shorts. The only thing on her was a key.”

Jimmy hung up right after. “The M.E. has no ID on her yet, but he’s 100 percent certain it is our guy’s handiwork. He found more steel slivers and sent those, the fingerprints, and some samples over to Manny. The description that he gave me, as poor as it is…it matches Michelle.”

A hush fell over the room, everyone stopping what they were doing and looking down.

Snap out of it, guys!” I yelled. “We don’t know that it was Michelle yet, and until we do, we need to stay focused and find out. Jimmy, you and I are going up to that gym to look at those tapes. Everyone else, keep cracking.”

Jimmy jumped up, and I opened the door, running directly into Michelle, who happened to be carrying a cup of coffee that she spilled all over me. I ignored the hot coffee burning my chest, grabbed her, and hugged her, pulling her into the room.

Wow, Duke,” she said, “if I knew being late would get me a reception like that, I’d make it a habit.”

About the Author:
Gary Kassay, author of the Duke Becker Series, is a former member of the NYPD Transit K-9 Unit. Besides a career as a Police Officer, he has been the owner of a commercial photo company, an X-ray tech for humans and animals, and a TSA employee. He now resides in Casper, Wyoming with his wife Raella, three dogs, and one black cat.  

When Gary is not working on the next installment of his Duke Becker series, he enjoys spending quiet times with his wife, reading, and when there isn't snow on the ground, a good round of golf.

Book Excerpt - Holiday Affair by Annie Seaton

Holiday Affair”
by Annie Seaton
Published by Entangled Publishing
Contemporary Romance

 Holiday Affair


Nothing more than a holiday fling…until he moved in next door!

Staid professor Lissy McIntyre believes that choosing a mate should be based on common sense, not runaway passion. And Lissy would certainly never pick a rolling stone like Nick Richards for long-term love. But a red-hot, tropical romance? Oh, yeah. He’s got a body just made for sinning and his sizzling kisses leave her senseless.

When Nick blows into town, he’s stunned to discover that his no-nonsense new neighbor and co-worker is the same sultry creature he seduced for one night of forbidden island pleasure. He’s unaccustomed to staying in one place for long, but he just can’t seem to keep his hands off the multi-faceted Lissy. Will Nick break loyal Lissy’s heart or will she be the one woman he simply can’t walk away from?


Hi, Tom. Hi, Nicky. Hi, lucky ladies with Tom and Nicky,” a giggly champagne-fueled hiccough escaped her lips and Jenny dragged her into the rest room.

Melissa!” exclaimed Jenny. “The professor is a hunk. Tell me all…you called him by his first name. Have you been out with him, or do you just know him from work?”

Nuh, juss from work,” slurred Lissy. “He’s a nightmare to work with, very full of himself…not very nice at all.”

What about Tom? Are you still seeing him?”

Huh—” said Lissy “—thought he was different, but they are tarred with the same hairbrush.”

Jenny burst out laughing. “Oh, you are so funny with a few drinks under your belt. You mean brush, not

hair brush!”

Lissy tried to be serious for a minute, and had to hang on tightly to the basin to keep her balance. She squinted into the mirror and saw that her curls were out of control.

Woo…a bit giddy,” she said. “And I’m hungry.”

Jenny pulled a chair over and sat her down in front of the mirror. “Okay, let’s fix you up.” She stood behind Lissy and tried to tame her curls down with her hand. “Speaking of hairbrushes, did you bring yours, hon?”

Lissy fumbled in her bag and tipped it out onto the bench. The contents of the bag rolled around and fell over the edge, just as the two glamorous women who were with Tom and Nick entered the restroom. She dived to the floor to catch lipstick, brushes, keys, and coins as they hit the floor.

Oh, hello,” she said giggling. “Your legs match the rest of you.”


She put her tea on the windowsill and looked outside for a long moment. The sun was dropping behind the trees and the late afternoon sunlight darkened the room, making it difficult to see his expression.

Why…why? I came to you last Saturday and you threw my feelings back in my face.”

I was ashamed of my behavior all week. I was scared you would take it as a commitment if I responded to you.”

Did I ask you for commitment?” she asked, her voice frosty. “Me. This is me. Remember, I don’t do commitment, Nick. You know how I feel about that. I don’t believe in the sort of physical attraction we seem to have for each other ending up in any long lasting relationship.”

I know,” he replied. “But I didn’t trust you. I thought I could avoid hurting you, but I think I did the opposite.”

He watched as she wrapped her arms around her chest and appeared to go into self-preservation mode.

Not at all. I barely gave you a thought. I was busy all week with the research. It’s not long till we go the Cook Islands and I have a heap of writing up to do. I will admit I was a little embarrassed about my behavior at the restaurant, so I kept a bit of a low profile at the university.”

He knew she was not being honest with him and it amazed him how well he could read her, but he didn’t want to push his luck and upset her even more. She turned away from him and looked out the window, her arms still crossed in front of her. There was also no way he was going to let her know that all he wanted to do was come over and hold her. Not sex, just comfort.



Barnes & Noble:


Annie Seaton lives on the edge of the South Pacific Ocean on the east coast of Australia. Recently retired from the world of full time work, she is fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing, and has had instant success! Her first two books were both published on the same day.

She writes across genres: steampunk, historical and paranormal romance, romantic suspense but her favorite genre is contemporary romance

She lives with her own hero of many years. Their two children are now grown up and married, and two beautiful grandchildren have arrived. They share their home with "Bob" the dog and two white cats, Boycat and Girlcat.

Annie’s working life was spent in education from early childhood through to teaching trainee teachers at university. She has worked as librarian, teacher, technology consultant and university tutor. She has now retired and spends her days writing down all the stories in her head.

When she is not writing she can be found in her garden or walking on the beach... or most likely on her deck overlooking the ocean, a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc in hand as the sun sets.

Twitter: @annieseaton26

Book Excerpt - The Quintessential Gemini by Linn B. Halton

The Quintessential GeminiTitle: The Quintessential Gemini
Author: Linn B. Halton
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Length: 305 pages
Genres: Contemporary Romance

Available at:

For twenty-one years, the focus of Katherine Dale’s life has been her work. Love interests and hobbies came and went, but what has always been there for her—her only constant other than her cat delightfully named No. 4—was her nine to five habit. Until she’s replaced.

With her confidence dented, Katherine is angry at life and at herself.

She’s ignored hints of “changes to come” in her horoscope forecasts, written by the wonderful and renowned astrologer, Mark Ainsley-Thomas.

Mark is now an “A” list celebrity in the UK and his new Agent is determined to raise his profile in America, so he has to take on the new, but talented, astrologer James Kingman to help him run his web-site.

Katherine lives her life according to her daily horoscope. When Katherine finds James has been writing her daily horoscopes rather than Mark, Katherine’s life explodes in confusion and, unexpectedly, love as the three lives become inextricably tangled. Insecurity, self-doubt, guilt, stress, and frustration, coupled with village gossips and merciless reporters wanting eye-catching headlines leave Katherine feeling vulnerable and in need of guidance.

Now Katherine has to learn that the stars might be telling her that love is going to feature in her life, but when Katherine finds herself implicated in the headlines ‘Mystic Love Triangle Surprise’ she’s just as surprised as everyone else! None of the men in her life are love interests – so what exactly does fate have in store?

My life is falling apart. I knew it, Mark isn’t writing the forecasts and a guy named James has now admitted this to me. I don’t have a problem with that at all, but what I need at this particular moment in time is Mark’s insightful guidance. He seems to be able to tap into the very essence of my life and give simple, yet incredibly relevant, clues. James, on the other hand, is probably catering for the masses; hence, I’m finding I can’t relate to anything he says. It took me all day yesterday emailing James, whom I assumed was Mark, to get to the bottom of the problem. Today is Wednesday and the talk is on Friday evening. Everyone in town is buzzing about it and this could be major humiliation. What should I do?

I finally emailed James, asking very politely for Mark’s personal contact details. He came back with a standard, “Mark unfortunately isn’t available to…” I didn’t panic, just took a deep breath and turned to the internet. I found an interesting article about Mark and learned that he gives personal readings. Yes. Thankfully, the email address is different to the one on the Website. I dashed off a few words, asking whether he was available, and what I needed to do. That was four-thirty yesterday and I haven’t had a response yet.

I was up at six this morning and have been frantically checking my emails virtually every ten minutes. It’s now eleven thirty and the strain is beginning to tell. I can’t write, can’t eat, and can’t think straight. If Friday night is going to be a flop, then I need advance warning so that I can cancel. I’m having problems thinking of an excuse that doesn’t sound lame. If I say I’m unwell, it probably means leaving it to the last minute and then I’ll be scrutinized and will have to hide for a week. If I say something like “I’m too busy” or even tell the truth, that I’m really just a novice myself, the locals will probably think I’m not taking them seriously. In my defense, I never said to Tom I was a writer, I just said I was writing a novel. The problem is that Tom seems to be basking in some sort of local glory for being in the know and, I hear, regularly having coffee with our famous local writer. This I found out when I was in the library the other day and overheard two women talking. Everything is getting out of hand and I don’t know what to do next.

No. 4 flounces into the room with a loud meow, walks around the kitchen table twice, and then just as quickly disappears. Even he can sense the tense atmosphere that hovers like a rain cloud in the room. Suddenly I spot a flashing icon on my screen and I dash over to the table and sit down. It’s from Mark, well his representative, the person who books his personal appointments.

From: Kate on behalf of Mark Ainsley-Thomas

To: Ms K Dale

Dear Katherine

Unfortunately, Mark is touring this week, attending a number of book signings around the country. He is sorry that he is unlikely to be able to commit to a personal sitting for at least three months due to his unusually busy schedule.

I am able to offer you an individual, full chart reading service, which Mark oversees personally, and I can arrange this upon receipt of the detailed information listed on the attachment. This service is available at a cost of £19.95.

Thank you for contacting Mark and please do not hesitate to let me know if you would like the full chart reading service.

Yours sincerely
Personal Assistant to Mark Ainsley-Thomas

I suddenly feel like I have a lifeline.

About the Author:
Linn B Halton lives in the UK, in the small Gloucestershire village of Arlingham, on the banks of the River Severn with her adorable husband and cat with attitude – Mr Tiggs! She writes romantic fiction with a psychic or astrological theme and many of the paranormal events that feature in her books are real life experiences.

Linn is also a featured new Author on and Editor of the feature ‘Author & Associate Catch-Ups’ including ‘Reader/Author Team Reports’ on the website’s magazine-style blog.

Twitter Account @LinnBHalton:
Facebook Author Linn B Halton:

Guest Post with Gary Kassay

I would like to thank Elisha at Rainy Day Reviews for inviting me to the blog. It is an honor to be included here and I thank you for posting my guest blog.
The first of the Duke Becker series, Murder in Silence, is being released on 07-05-12. Let me give you a little background on myself and the inspiration for Inspector Duke Becker. Back in 1982 I was in training with the New York Transit Police Department for the Canine Unit. The training was intense and probably the best time I ever had. One day an event occurred and I immediately thought to myself what a great plot for a book! (No, I am not going to tell you what that event was…it would spoil everything.) In any case, I thought about that book till 2004, 22 years of developing the plot, characters and dialogue. The result is Murder in Silence and the sequels that will follow. Here is a small sample from Murder in Silence…I hope you enjoy it!

Murder in Silence (Duke Becker, #1)The dimly lit room may have been cold, but sitting behind my battered
desk, I didn’t feel a chill. On the contrary, I felt flush with excitement.
Malcolm White had paid for his sins. Everything had gone exactly as
planned, just like it always did.
I looked down at the list of names, bold red lines obliterating the
first three cops and that bitch Wilson. Three more to go, unless…
I recited the three remaining names, over and over, and then picked
up the thick red marker and lowered it to the list. I wanted to draw lines
through their names but could not. I threw the marker across the room.
Too soon! Too soon!” I cried out.
I slowly retrieved the marker and then placed it back on the desk
next to the list. There’s still so much to do tonight.
Walking from the room, I turned right and went further down the
long hall, my feet kicking up small clouds of dust from the hard-packed dirt
There, at the end of the hall, I entered another room. In the
blackness, nothing could be seen, but I knew what was in there. There was
silent power there, a longing to be released, and an urge to kill.

Guest Post with David N. Walker

WANA: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
When I first heard Bobbie Gentry sing "Ode to Billie Joe," I immediately fell in love with her voice, but for some reason I missed "Fancy" when she recorded it in 1970. The first time I recall hearing it was when Reba McEntyre's version came out in 1990.
Normally, I don't care for songs I can't sing along with, and this one moves too fast for me, but I loved it from the first time I heard it. I had just begun writing novels about that time—you'll probably never be exposed to my first couple of attempts—and I started thinking about taking the words of the song, changing the era from modern to the Civil War, and writing a novel about it.
When I originally wrote it, Fancy's mother made her a red dress, just as in the song, and gave it to her just before she died, telling her to be nice to the men and they'd take care of her. Along the way, she gave up prostitution and began earning her living by playing poker, but the prostitution part always bothered me.
Somewhere along the way—and I've written this story so many times I don't remember when I decided this—I changed it and let her take up poker, which she had learned from her father, without ever going through the prostitute stage. When I did this, I like the story much better, but it still had problems.
Geographically, it moves from Alabama to Seattle with numerous stops along the way, and chronologically, it goes from 1861 until around 1876 or so. Everything I read or heard about novel-writing said a good novel had to have AN antagonist to move the story along. Try as I might, I couldn't figure out how to have a single antagonist start off in Northern Alabama in 1861 and interfere with Fancy's life and plans across a 2500 mile stretch covering 15 years or so of her life.
A couple of years ago, I gave up on this story. In fact, I gave up on novel-writing. I'd been turned down by so many agents and publishers, I decided I didn't want to fight that battle any longer.
Then, a year or so ago, my friend Jillian Dodd and I were having coffee together, and she started talking about how well her self-published book That Boy was doing. I still thought self-publishing was an ego thing for writers who didn't care whether or not their books sold, but she opened my eyes that morning.
A week or two later I mentioned to her that I thought Fancy would work as a series of novella and that in that way I could get around the distance and time problems. She had read one of my versions of the book and was somewhat familiar with the story, and she immediately started telling me that's exactly what I should do. I didn't realize there was a market for novellas, but she assured me there was.
At that point I was already working on my devotional, Heaven Sent, but as soon as I finished it I started working on Fancy.
Volume 1, simply titled Fancy, went on the market in August. Volume 2 - Fancy: The Search - just went on the market. Volume 3 is in editing now, and I'm about 25% of the way through Volume 4.
Following in an excerpt from Fancy - Volume 1:
Clara Faye “Fancy” Greene stopped for a moment to wipe her brow. She pulled her hat off to fan herself with it, revealing a head full of rich, thick red hair. She’d helped her father with the plowing for several years, but he’d always take the reins back from her after a few minutes.
Now that he was gone to help the army defend the Confederate States of America, it was all on her fourteen year-old shoulders to run the farm and see to her four year-old sister Darlene Danielle, whom she called Danni. She couldn't afford to stop her work.
She stared up at the deep blue sky, uncluttered by cloud. The sun beat down on her like fire from heaven, causing sweat to pour from every pore in her body.
Although the war had only broken out a month ago and her father had only been gone for three weeks, it seemed like eternity. She knew she had to get the cotton planted soon or it would be too late, so she worked from dawn til dusk in the field, stopping only to share a lunch with Danni, who played nearby. After lunch she warned Danni as she had several times before not to mess up the seeds she’d planted.
As she looked beyond the plowhorses, she saw two men in the distance, sitting their horses and watching her. Pastures and woods abutted her land on three sides, but these men sat between her farm and that of her neighbor, Sylvester Fochs. Everyone called him Sly, and she'd always figured it was a name he deserved. She couldn't tell whether he was one of the men or not at that distance, but she dismissed them from her mind to concentrate on the plowing at hand.
* * * * *
Sylvester “Sly” Fochs sat patiently watching Fancy follow her plow back and forth across the field, his foreman at his side. “Good land there.” He swept his hand across the vista. “Make a nice addition to my place.”
He'd had his eyes on the Greene farm ever since he settled nearby. He'd already bought up all the good farmland in the area, and this farm represented his only avenue of expansion. The land around him in other directions was too rough for farming and had been left in pastures and woods.
The foreman nodded. “Sure would. Too bad you couldn’t get Tom Greene to sell it to you before he left.”
Fochs jerked his head around. “Who told you he didn’t sell it to me?”
Well, I thought you . . .”
Don’t think.” The boss sounded angry. “You’re not paid to think. You’re paid to run my farm for me.”
Sure, boss.”
Fochs realized he was being a bit hard on the man. “See that house over there?” He pointed to the Greenes’ home.
Yeah. Old Tom build a nice place for himself. Not near as big as yourn, but nice.”
Yep.” Fochs nodded. “It is a nice place. Maybe I’ll let you move into it when I get the place.”
Used to living in a bunkhouse with the rest of the hands, the foreman perked up with immediate interest. “You mean you really did buy the place?”
I ain’t sayin’ I did or I didn’t.” He turned his horse’s head. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”
David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot, a would-be Nashville star, and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states.
He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Two of his books, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats.
David is currently working on a series of novellas taking over where Fancy leaves off early in the Civil War and following her life over a period of the next twenty years or so. Fancy: The Search - Vol 2 is now out, and others will follow every couple of months or so.