Monday, October 26, 2020


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Unique Guest
Post Shared by the Author, Author Bio & Giveaway~   


Slightly Murderous Intent: A Southern California Mystery by Lida Sideris


About Slightly Murderous Intent


Slightly Murderous Intent: A Southern California Mystery  

Traditional Mystery 4th in Series Publisher: Level Best Books (October 20, 2020)  

Print Length : 323 pages ASIN: B08J8C7YJY 


There's a shooter on the loose who keeps missing his target. But that doesn't stop him from trying again…and again. It's up to Corrie Locke, rookie lawyer and spunky sleuth, to find the gunman before he hits his mark, Assistant Deputy D.A. James Zachary, Corrie's hunky and complicated frenemy.

When Corrie is stuck with more questions than answers, she enlists a team with various strengths, from weapons to cooking skills, to help her find the shooter. Her computer whiz boyfriend Michael is onboard. So is former security guard Veera. Toss in an over-the-hill informant and a couple of feuding celebrity chefs and Corrie's got her very own A-Team. Okay, maybe it's more like a B-Team.

Can Team Corrie hunt down the shooter before he scores a bulls-eye?

About Lida Sideris

Lida Sideris is an author, lawyer, and all-around book enthusiast. She writes soft-boiled mysteries and was a recipient of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America scholarship award. Slightly Murderous Intent is #4 in her Southern California Mystery series, published by Level Best Books. Lida lives in the northern tip of SoCal with her family, rescue dogs and a flock of uppity chickens. To learn more, please visit:


By Lida Sideris

Writing is a passion of mine, which automatically equates to doing something fun and exciting, right? Not necessarily. It’s up to each writer to create and find the fun. Kind of like planning a party or a vacation or even teaching kids. Fun may run and hide once in a while, but we can gently reel it back where it belongs.

Remember your early school days? You probably had a stand-out teacher. Exceptional teachers aren’t born that way. They’ve got a few simple tricks up their sleeves, which we writers can borrow. A few suggestions to rev up the fun meter when writing:

– Read before you write. Not just anything, but something inspiring. Something you find well written that contains punchy words, lines and action. Sources might be a newspaper article, a book, a poem or even a quotation. Studying those individuals that you find talented helps to increase the flow of our own writing talent. 

– Take notes. Eminem provided this tip: collect bits and pieces of inspiration wherever you can find them, write them down and save them in a shoebox. Inspiration equals fun. Eminem shuffles through the box when he’s writing a song, and picks out words or lines that might lead him to an idea. I write ideas in a notebook as they pop into my head, and run through them once I’m done with the first draft. Reading these ideas inspires me to make the story shine.

– Don’t forget to do something fun that isn’t writing. We need down time to regenerate. If I don’t utilize downtime now and then, I feel like I’m studying for the Bar Exam…again. Which means there’s a possibility my head may explode. How fun would that be?

But there are deadlines that must be met. This is the part where you remind yourself there are carefree ways to write or rewrite that don’t involve sitting/standing behind a desk. In fact, it doesn’t involve a desk at all. I rework my writing when commuting to work, when watching TV, when walking or petting my dogs. Washing dishes is a great writing stimulator (and makes for clean dishes). Agatha Christie thought so, too. This desk-less writing allows for more relaxed thinking, leading to a flow of ideas. We don’t need to feel pressure while writing.

I remind myself often that I need to put the fun of writing in the forefront to keep that spark lit and find ways to restore the sheer joy of writing. That’s what we signed up for!


Author Links:  
 Purchase Link - Amazon  
October 19 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  
October 20 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST  
October 21 - Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW  
October 22 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW  
October 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – GUEST POST  
October 24 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST  
October 25 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST  
October 26 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST  
October 27 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST  
October 28 – Cassidy's Bookshelves – REVIEW  
October 29 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST  
October 30 – Here's How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT  
October 31 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT  
October 31 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT  
November 1 - Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book - SPOTLIGHT      
Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?  
# # # # # # # # # #

Sunday, October 25, 2020



 ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

This fun and interesting book presents the history of American pioneers by describing the quilts they made, linking common experiences they had with various quilt patterns. Projects that kids can make are also included - a great way to bring history to life!


{from the Educational Resources Information Center @}:

The uses and techniques of quilt making are presented in this book which focuses on the quilt patterns as allegory for pioneer history. Pioneer experiences are described and linked visually with appropriate quilt patterns. An activity accompanies each pattern presentation. The work is organized into 10 chapters: (1) "Quilts and History: A Simple Nine-Patch Collage"; (2) "Saying Good Bye: Quilt- Block Bookmarks"; (3) "Going West: Broken Dishes Puzzle"; (4) "Building the Cabin: House-On-A-Hill and Pine-Tree Border"; (5) "Inside the Cabin: Shoofly Box"; (6) "Work to Do: Bear's Paw Greeting Card"; (7) "Food and Clothing: Corn-and-Beans Recipe Folder"; (8) "Special Occasions: Dresden Plate Punch Work" (9) "Weather: Sunshine and Shadows Weather Diary"; and (10) "Following a Star: Hanging Windmill Star." The book concludes with suggestions for further reading and an index.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR, JAN DAVEY ELLIS {from the Charlesbridge Publishing website}:

Jan Davey Ellis is a native of Ohio. She received her B.F.A. in Painting from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Jan spent most of her childhood reading. She pored over the illustrations of her favorite books, studying the intricate drawings. She took art lessons at the Cleveland Museum of Art, moving from gallery to gallery with a little collapsible canvas stool and drawing boards, in order to sketch different works of art.

When her children were small, Jan would help them to make little pop-up books with secret flaps that lifted up to reveal surprises. She painted her daughter's bedroom with a well-sized mural of a pastoral farm scene. The mural became the basis of a business that she started in collaboration with interior designers to paint walls and furniture. A friend saw her work and convinced her to illustrate her first children's book, MUSH! Across Alaska In The World's Longest Sled Dog Race, by Patricia Seibert (The Millbrook Press).

Jan is the illustrator of Turn of the Century by Ellen Jackson. She says that during her art lessons at the Cleveland Museum of Art, her favorite area was the hall of medieval armor and weaponry. Jan remembers this room as "pivotal in her appreciation and yearning for the images of other times and places." While illustrating Turn of the Century, Jan had the chance to draw and explore 1000 years of history for children.

When she is not busy drawing and painting. Jan enjoys gardening, tennis, jogging, animals, and daydreaming. She has taught after-school enrichment classes and she once built a thirty-foot Chinese dragon with one of her classes.

EXCERPT {Courtesy of the Publisher}:


This book was published in 1995 while I was teaching primary grades. I used this book in my classroom as a read-aloud and also as a social studies thematic supplemental text because of the pioneer movement and how it brought many new citizens to our state, California.
Besides being filled with excellent historical information, one of the features of this book which I really enjoy is the way in which it is organized. The ten chapters are listed in the above 'About the Book' section of this post from the entry I found on ERIC. (The link is to this post is also provided above.)

The illustrations and activity sheets (blacklines are provided in the book) are very well done. The drawings of the quilt blocks, the chapter headings, and other drawings that present the book's historical text visually enrich the information presented by the author.
The activities are varied and interesting. The projects can be made with a minimum of expense because students can used crayons, paint, or colored pencils to complete their quilt projects rather than fabric. I have been sewing for many, many years, so I had a lot of scraps of cotton available. I used to prepare a culinating quilt project from this book by cutting enough scraps for every student to have a fabric project to take home. It was great fun!

I highly recommend this book for teachers, librarians, scout leaders, youth group leaders, day camp leaders, and especially families. Children love to make projects based on a book they have enjoyed, so this gem is the perfect recipe for a successful learning experience--in my humble opinion.

# # # # # # # # #

Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.


Find the links to more great 'It's Monday! What Are You Reading?' (#IMWAYR) posts for children's and Young Adult books over at the Unleashing Readers website.







Thursday, October 22, 2020


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Author
Bio, Unique Author Interview, Link to a Favorite
Recipe of the Author's Family & Giveaway~

Softly Blows the Bugle Blog Tour 


Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Softly Blows the Bugle by Jan Drexler, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!




Softly Blows the Bugle
TitleSoftly Blows the Bugle 
Series:  The Amish of Weaver's Creek #3 
Author:  Jan Drexler 
Publisher:  Revell 
Release Date:  October 20, 2020 
Genre:  Christian Historical Amish Romance 

Welcome back to the Amish community at Weaver's Creek, where the bonds of family and faith bind up the brokenhearted. 

When Elizabeth Kaufman received the news of her husband's death at the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863, she felt only relief. She determined that she would never be at the mercy of any man again, even if it meant not having a family of her own. Then along came Aaron Zook . . . 
Despite the severity of his injuries, Aaron has resolved to move west and leave the pain of the past behind him. He never imagined that the Amish way of life his grandfather had rejected long ago would be so enticing. That, and a certain widow he can't get out of his mind. 

Yet, even in a simple community, life has a way of getting complicated. Aaron soon finds that while he may have left the battlefield behind, there is another fight he must win--the one for the heart of the woman he loves. 

"Isn’t it about time your Elizabeth married again?" Salome’s voice took on the wheedling tone that set Elizabeth’s teeth on edge. "She’s been a widow far too long."

"I’m not concerned," Mamm said. "The Good Lord knows what Elizabeth needs, and he will provide."

"Now that she has repented of her unfortunate marriage to that outsider and has joined the church, my Levi might consider marrying her." Salome sniffed. "The Good Book instructs widows to marry, and your daughter has many good childbearing years ahead of her."

"Abraham and I will let Elizabeth make her own decisions concerning her future." Mamm’s voice had an edge to it that told Elizabeth she was trying to hold her temper.

Salome grunted. "You should have reined that girl in years ago, before she ran off and married that reprobate. If she was my daughter—"

"She isn’t your daughter, Salome," Mamm broke in.


Jan Drexler
Photo Credit: Roaming Reflections Photography

Jan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband, where she enjoys hiking and spending time with her expanding family. She is the author of The Sound of Distant ThunderThe Roll of the DrumsHannah's ChoiceMattie's Pledge (a 2017 Holt Medallion finalist), and Naomi's Hope, as well as several Love Inspired historical novels. 

JUNE:  Welcome to Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic, Jan. We are pleased to have you as our guest to discuss your latest book and a few other topics.

JUNE:  I have had the pleasure of reading and enjoying a couple of your Love Inspired historical novels, 'A Mother for His Children' and 'The Amish Courtship'. The vast majority of your books are Amish fiction. Do you have a desire to write in other genres in fiction? Are you interested in writing non-fiction? If yes, what subject would you write about?

JAN:  My first love is historical fiction with Amish characters, but I enjoy all historical fiction. I have several ideas bouncing around for Amish and non-Amish stories, so we’ll see what comes from those! I’ve also taken some time this year to delve into the world of cozy mysteries, and that has been a lot of fun.

I haven’t thought about writing non-fiction, but if I did I’d probably write about some aspect of Amish life or history.

JUNE:  What types of research did you perform for your newest release, 'Softly Blows the Bugle'? Is researching a task you work on before you sit down to write a story, or do you research topics as they come up in the story? Please feel free to offer any research tips you may have for those of us who also write historical fiction.

JAN:  I do a lot of research as I’m developing my story ideas, even before the characters appear on the scene. For this series, The Amish of Weaver’s Creek, I spent several weeks researching the Civil War and how it affected the Amish before I wrote a rough outline for all three books.

Once I decide on a setting and general story idea, I start looking for source materials to give authenticity to the story. A great resource are newspapers that have online copies of past issues. For Softly Blows the Bugle I found that there were two newspapers at the time of the Civil War in Millersburg, Ohio, and I poured over the news stories from the war years. I also read reprinted diaries from soldiers on both sides of the conflict and memoirs written by veterans.

If I can, I visit the area my story is set in and spend time driving through the countryside and going to local museums. There is nothing like standing where my characters would have lived.

One interesting line of research for Softly Blows the Bugle was to learn about medical procedures, methods of amputation, and what to expect during recovery from a wound of that kind. I also researched the development of prosthetics during the war, and how most survivors dealt with their loss.

And yes, I do research things as they come up in the story. One of the characters in Softly Blows the Bugle is a harness maker, so in the middle of writing I took a day to learn how harnesses were made in the mid-19th century. YouTube is a great resource for that kind of education!

JUNE:  Is there a time period in history you would like to write about in the future? Is there a place in the United States or somewhere in the world that you would like to write about in the future?

JAN:  I’m fascinated by the Colonial Era and would love to write about the first Amish settlements in Pennsylvania in the early 1700’s, using my ancestor’s experiences as the basis.

I’d also like to write about Holmes County, Ohio, in the early 1800’s, when the Amish first started settling in that area.

Another favorite time period is the second half of the 19th century in the West. We live in the middle of an area full of history here in western South Dakota, and one of the stories I’m developing right now takes place in the early days of ranching in this area.

JUNE:  You contributed a novella to the 'An Amish Christmas Kitchen' collection entitled, 'An Amish Christmas Recipe Box'. This year it will be released as an ebook. I noticed you have a page on your website entitled, 'Favorite Amish Recipes'. Do you enjoy baking for the Christmas holidays? If yes, do you have a favorite family recipe you would like to share with us here?

JAN:  When our four children were all still living at home, I probably baked too much for the holidays! Christmas has always been a special family time for us, and the foods that surround that season are some of my favorites. Now that we’re older, I make as many savory snacks as sweet ones, but they are still special.

Here’s a link to one of my favorites, and it’s so easy to do, too!


The post is from seven years ago, and I still make these every year.

JUNE:  You mention on your website that you love needlework. As a stitcher myself, I would love to hear about what types of needlework you enjoy. Do you make needlework gifts for your family and friends? Have you made a lot of Christmas ornaments or Christmas decor? What was one of your favorite projects you stitched?

JAN:  I do love needlework. I tell my husband that it keeps me sane!

I am addicted to counted cross stitch. I enjoy making things for our home, but I have also made Christmas stockings for each of our family members. We just added a new daughter-in-law this summer, so as soon as she chooses her pattern, I’ll be starting on that project.

Knitting is another favorite. I make knit lace sweaters for new baby gifts, and I recently started making bunny toys for the families who already have one of my sweaters. The bunnies are playable and come with a couple outfits. They are so cute!

And then there is smocking. I wish I had more time to spend on it because the finished product is so beautiful.

JUNE:  What is your favorite thing about being an historical fiction author?

JAN:  My favorite thing is having an excuse to spend hours and hours researching. I love to research so much that I’m often in danger of never starting the story! There is always one more place to visit or one more book to read.

JUNE:  Thank you very much for sharing some of your valuable time with us here, Jan. Best wishes for a successful book launch and for blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays shared with loved ones.
CONNECT WITH JAN: Website | Facebook | Instagram


(1) winner will receive a Softly Blows the Bugle prize package including: "The Amish of Weaver’s Creek" three-book series (The Sound of Distant Thunder, The Roll of the Drums, and Softly Blows the Bugle), Winter Mug & hot cocoa packets, Lavender Hand Lotion Bar from Fairchild Lamb & Wool (Canby, Minnesota), “One Minute with God” perpetual calendar, Thanksgiving Turkey shelf sitter, Laura Ingalls Wilder notepad, Jan Drexler sticky notes, bookmarks, and pen!

Softly Blows the Bugle JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour as well as our Softly Blows the Bugle Takeover Tour (October 28-30) for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 19, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on November 4, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.



Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.