Featured Quotes from Authors and Books

“Then you have to remember to be thankful; but in May one simply can’t help being thankful . . . that they are alive, if for nothing else. I feel exactly as Eve must have felt in the garden of Eden before the trouble began.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Book Review of Irish Parade Murder by Leslie Meier

I truly don’t know where to begin. This Lucy Stone Mystery, Irish Parade Murder by Leslie Meier is a masterpiece containing all the things I’ve wanted to say about happenings of the past year. Everything that’s been in the news and in my thoughts. Well, except for COVID.

Yes, it’s a mystery, but it’s also a bit of a commentary. The plight of newspapers in today’s times. The DNA tests that discover unknown siblings. Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements (Don’t all lives matter?” asks Lucy’s daughter.)

The newspaper happenings and a new staff member have Lucy and Phyllis, her co-worker a bit upset, though thankfully the paper is kept alive by the new arrangement. Corruption in law enforcement is an issue that creates risk when Lucy and the new reporter investigate.

Bill, Lucy’s husband’s father passes away. His mother makes a trip to Maine. An unfamiliar, apparent family member appears to complicate matters.

A man dies in an accident/murder. Lucy investigates. Eventually, she finds herself in a precarious situation. Will there be a Cinderella ending? Or are there too many complications?

Leslie’s Lucy Stone books just keep getting better. I thank her for putting my thoughts into words at so many spots within this book.

Tell a Story – To Build a Brand or to Entertain . . .

I’m studying content marketing. After becoming successful at content writing, I decided I needed to expand my knowledge of the broader topic of content marketing. I still pursue fiction writing, but for the time being, must focus on writing which brings more immediate profit. I truly enjoy helping businesses build brands through well-researched creative writing.

The first lesson in my content class, via Hubspot, was actually focused upon the topic of storytelling. What better way to build a brand than to tell a story. The focus is on reality rather than fiction, but the key is still to entertain – to capture attention, captivate the reader in order to cultivate engagement.

How appropriate that at a time when I’m so focused on the art of story-telling, I discover the existence of National Tell a Story Day – A day to read a story from a book, tell one from memory, create one from your imagination. 1425 was the year the term story was first used to mean a fictional anecdote. The account I read didn’t say what the title of the story was.

But it did share a fascinating bit of trivia:

The first novel written on a typewriter is said to be Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. Though further research says it was “Life on the Mississippi”.

And a cute joke accompanied the account:

The gossipy bank employee was a real story teller. (No groans please – we all need to enjoy a bit of innocent humor now and then.)

Celebrating National Telephone Day

I’m so attached to real books and adore old school phones . . . are these preferences simply due to childhood memories – or is their allure due to a different factor?

There’s something about holding a real receiver in one’s hand that’s so relaxing . . . Maybe it just evokes the spirit of the 1960s – a time when worries, at least in my community, were less.

Anyway, today celebrates the invention of the telephone, when Alexander Graham Bell, when he summoned his assistant Watson to the telephone, the first “official” communication recorded for posterity. Bell was a teacher at a boy’s boarding school. – something of which I was not aware.

Also not widely publicized – is the fact that several others submitted patents for telephones shortly after Bell’s – but Bell’s was the first. He later became a benefactor and friend of the remarkably resilient Helen Keller.

I’m not a fan of smart phones, so far carrying my computer and a flip – researching and typing on a tiny touch screen just doesn’t work for me. And the new phones are too large to fit easily in a pocket.

And 24/7 availability isn’t healthy.

But it is difficult to imagine life without phones of some sort. Access saves lives, connects friends who live at a distance, makes many things more convenient.

Celebrating National Rubber Eraser Day

Does this have anything to do with the tradition of tax deadline day?

I recently read that today is the day we celebrate the rubber eraser that appears on the top of the number 2 pencil. And larger rubber erasers too, I presume?

Here are a few fun facts about this day much appreciated by writers before the era of word processing technology.

  • On April 15, 1770, Joseph Priestly used pieces of vegetable gum imported from Brazil to remove pencil marks. He dubbed the substance “rubber”.

Cool – I didn’t know that’s how rubber got its name – but it makes sense.

  • In 1770 Edward Nairne developed the first marketable rubber eraser.
  • In 1858 – Hyman Lipman of Philadelphia patented the pencil with an eraser at the end.

There’s a day for everything – some for reasons quite puzzling. But the eraser has received accolades from every writer from first grade student to Pulitzer Prize winner – because we all make mistakes – but each of us deserves a second chance!

Book Review of The Angels’ Share by Ellen Crosby

Some mystery series’, as some television shows, lose the interest of readers/viewers over the years. Plot concepts become less compelling, more unrealistic. Not so with Ellen Crosby’s Wine Country Mysteries.

The Angels’ Share, the tenth in the series is the most captivating of them all, in my opinion. A lesson in history, food for thought regarding some intriguing controversies, in addition to a compelling murder mystery.

A local mega-wealthy nonagenarian art and artifact collector is murdered shortly after conversing with Lucie Montgomery, Virginia winery owner and main character. The conversation occurred privately, at an annual event at his expansive estate.

Was the culprit a member of the aging man’s family? A Washington Tribune associate upset with his plans to sell the paper? Someone from the community with an unknown motive? Lucie, as usual, must solve the mystery, as she and her family, fiancee’ and winemaker, Quinn, brother Eli and his family, and the winery staff prepare for the holiday season.

The dead man was a Freemason, who planned to share a history shattering revelation at an upcoming meeting. During his conversation with Lucie he made a request she was unable to fulfill, due to lack of knowledge of the location of a historic item reportedly owned by Lucie’s ancestors.

The most fascinating part of the story is Lucie’s pursuit of the truth regarding the question of whether Shakespeare or Francis Bacon was responsible for the writings attributed to Shakespeare.

Her quest for hidden papers which might reveal the truth about the mystery lead her to a lockbox, at the local bank, and a search of local historical sites. She also engaged in conversation with researchers at Historic Jamestowne and at the Folger library, where many original copies of Shakespearian plays are located.

The Dust Bunny Project, and the fact that Shakespearean classic, The Tempest may be based on the wreck of The Sea Venture, a ship on its way to Jamestowne, are fascinating. As the future advances, we gain more tools for learning about the past.

I do hope Shakespeare really did write “Shakespeare”, not Francis Bacon. The name “Shakespeare” sounds much more literary. I do believe in revealing the truth if it’s proven beyond doubt, but it’s sad so many cherished beliefs have been blown to bits in recent times.

History buffs, mystery lovers, wine aficianados, will find something to love in this story. The relationship between Quinn and Lucie continues to develop, delighting fans of romance, also. Can’t wait for the next book.