LASR Anniversary: Fleeta Cunningham

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

In the summertime when all the trees and leaves are green…

In the small town where I grew up, Summer officially started with the Old Settlers Dance on the Saturday after Memorial Day. It was held on the pavilion behind the Courthouse with a small local band playing all the old time favorites. “Over the Waves Waltz”, “The Maiden’s Prayer”, and my number one choice, “Put Your Little Foot”, always drew couples to the floor. Everyone danced, grandmothers with their first-grade grandsons, brothers with sisters, middle-aged married couples, and even young marrieds holding a toddler between them. I learned to dance standing on the toes of my granddaddy’s boots and holding on to his belt. I wasn’t quite three years old, but I knew a cowboy waltz meant a wonderful whirl around the floor with the best dance partner I ever had.

Everyone had a grand time. Admission was fifty cents for the gentlemen and a dollar for a couple. Kids and single ladies were free. On the sidelines, when anyone needed refreshment, soft drinks, cotton candy, and homemade ice cream were available.
It was a lovely time to be a child. No one thought twice about bringing the children. They were safely watched by everyone in town. Young couples courting weren’t about to do something that would disgrace the family—not with every widow and spinster scrutinizing every move to be certain. The music might have been home-grown, but everyone understood the words, felt the beat, and could dance the steps.

When I write about Santa Rita, for the time I’m engrossed in the story, I’m back in that small town. I can hear the cowboy waltz, feel the excitement of a Paul Jones round, and almost taste that homemade ice cream. I try to share those moments with my readers and re-create the charm of the time and the place. Drop by Santa Rita when you have a free afternoon. We’ll pour a sweet tea, sit on the porch, and visit with the neighbors as they walk by on their way to Piggly Wiggly or Arwine’s Drug Store. Happy Summer!

perf5.000x8.000.inddAt the height of World War II, Merline fled Santa Rita. Ten years later, when her sister is killed by a car, Merline returns to close the estate, hoping to avoid inevitable questions. Memories make painful companions as she clears the tag ends of their life in Santa Rita. Most of all, she remembers her beloved Paul, lost when his bomber crashed. Paul Winfield, rescued by the Resistance in France, has searched for his lost love, never found her or anyone to equal her, and is now Santa Rita’s high school principal. Knowing Merline will probably return for her sister’s funeral, he comes knocking on the door of her childhood home, but she sends him away. Paul survived the tragedies of war; he won’t let anything stand between him and Merline again, but they are different people than they were ten years before. Will a shameful secret and their own history keep them apart?

About the Author: Fleeta Cunningham is a fifth generation Texas and has lived in small towns all over the state. She writes about life and love against that background, including the nostalgia of the fifties–its fashions, fads, music and mores. When she’s not writing, she teaches Creative Writing, quilts, keeps house for her four feline roommates, and designs vintage gowns for 16 inch fashion dolls.

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LASR Anniversary: C.B. Clark

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Saskatoon Berries

Nothing says summer like the sweet aroma of a Saskatoon berry crumble baking in the oven on a warm July day. As a child, I spent many happy hours picking the small, succulent, purple berries. Some even made it into the bucket and into the kitchen.
Also called juneberry, pigeon berry and prairie berry, Saskatoon bushes are plentiful across the prairies and forested regions of Alberta and British Columbia, as well as parts of the United States. Saskatoon berries grow on trees that can reach more than twenty-six feet in height. The small white flowers are one of the first flowers of spring and fill the air with their heady, sweet, musky smell.

These colorful, flavorful and nutritious berries are versatile. Their sweet, nutty, almond taste has made them a staple in kitchens for centuries. The Cree First Nations people called them mis-sask-quah-too-mina and dried the berries, combining them with dried meat to make pemmican. At a mere thirty calories per half a cup, and packed full of fiber and antioxidants, the Saskatoon berry is a definite nutritional winner.

Today the berries are used in jam, pie, wine, cider and beer. One of the most unusual ways I’ve enjoyed Saskatoons is in a delicious and decadent concoction called Saskatoon poutine, served in Klondike Kate’s restaurant in Dawson City, Yukon.

Here’s a recipe I found in my mother’s 1940 Home Economics manual. It’s never-fail and easy to make. Try it and you too will become a fan of this wild berry.

Saskatoon Berry Brown Betty

3 cups ripe Saskatoon berries ¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup butter 2 cups soft bread crumbs (whole wheat crumbs – healthier option substitute
2 Tablespoons lemon juice ½ cup cold water
a pinch of salt

1. Melt butter and stir in bread crumbs.
2. Grease a baking dish, and put in one-quarter of the crumbs and one-half of the berries. Sprinkle with one-eighth cup of sugar.
3. Add another layer of crumbs, berries and sugar. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top.
4. Add water and bake at 350 degrees F. for forty-five minutes until the Saskatoon berry mixture is bubbling and the crust is brown.
5. Set the baking dish on rack to cool for ten minutes before serving.

Delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

MyBrothersSins_w9906_750Ryan Marshall’s kid brother had always been trouble. Now, his brother wants Ryan, ex-DEA agent, to protect the woman he loves from a notorious, Mexican drug cartel.

The second Ryan lays eyes on Hallie Harkins, he knows he’s made a mistake. Hallie’s blonde beauty and stubborn grit tempt him like no woman ever has. It’s all he can do to keep his hands off her…and his heart intact.

Hallie’s worst fears are realized when the man she expects to meet, vanishes. In his place, a disturbingly attractive stranger appears, claiming he’s been sent to protect her. Can she trust him? Or is he working with her pursuers?

Following an attempt on Hallie’s life, she and Ryan join forces, embarking on a perilous mission of danger and desire taking them from rural Montana to the sunny shores of Acapulco Bay, and into the clutches of a ruthless killer.

Will they survive the mission together and find love in each other’s arms?

About the Author: C.B. Clark has always loved reading, especially romances, but it wasn’t until she lost her voice for a year that she considered writing her own romantic suspense stories. She grew up in Canada’s Northwest Territories and Yukon. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology, she has worked as an archaeologist and an educator, teaching students from the primary grades through the first year of college. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with her husband and dog near her home in the wilderness of central British Columbia.


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LASR Anniversary: Jaye Watson

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Watson Cherries

Cherries are in season right now, so I baked a cherry pie, the first of several fruit pies I’ll bake this summer.

The recipe for traditional cherry pie is easy: fresh (or frozen) tart cherries, sugar, cornstarch, and butter, and a crust to put it in, another to cover it. Some recipes call for vanilla or almond extract to be added, because they enhance the cherry flavor.

But almonds are poison.

Well, actually, wild almonds are poison, but the tame variety, the ones we eat, aren’t. But the almond extract is derived from the bitter ones. Carefully. A handful of nuts from a bitter almond tree, ingested all at once, could kill you. If, that is, you actually ate them. They are reputed to be extremely bitter.

I needed a murder weapon for my first try at mystery writing and it had to be a plant poison. Because I detest the scent of almond extract/bitter almond oil, it was an easy choice. Every mystery fan knows the symptoms of arsenic poisoning, and most could probably tell you how to test for the presence of arsenic in a nearly empty coffee cup. But who would suspect a cherry pie?

After that the story’s title was obvious.

But back to almonds. And their relatives, all members of the rose family (which includes apples, prunes, almonds, and cherries and a bunch of other delicious summer fruits). Most of their seeds contain hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Cyanide, in other words. And it’s a pretty potent poison.

Since that first mystery I’ve learned a lot about plant poisons. Especially the unsuspected ones, the ones that hide in common fruits and vegetables, just waiting for someone to prepare them incorrectly, or perhaps add more than a recipe calls for. Summer, with its abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, offers all sorts of possibilities. Green rhubarb stalks, for instance. Potato sprouts in a salad. Hmmm.

Why don’t you come over for a snack one of these warm afternoons?

cansheba_epubEmaline has been taking care of her elderly, cranky grandfather for so long, she wonders if she’ll ever have a life again. When he demands a sumptuous meal, she obliges, even baking him his favorite pie. It’s Johnny Banister’s last meal, but the medical examiner finds nothing suspicious. So why does Emaline seek a way to dispose of the almond extract bottle? And why does she worry that Detective Harry Jordan wants more than the pleasure of her company when he asks her to dinner?

About the Author:Jaye Watson is the alter ego of a sweet little old lady who doesn’t want her grandchildren to know what dark and bloody thoughts she harbors in her heart of hearts. She would rather write about serial killers than romantic lovers, and much prefers a good treatise on deadly poisons to any collection of homestyle recipes. For amusement, Jaye plots new and different ways to kill off the people who cut in front of her in grocery lines and crowd her on the freeway.


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LASR Anniversary: Shakyra Dunn

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I can still remember the scent of gunpowder drifting along the crisp summer air as I gazed out of the window. It was my eighteenth Fourth of July; my last in my hometown before I would take off and go to Houston for college in a month.

I don’t know what provoked me to want to stroll down the Chicago streets to the bridge a few blocks away. But I knew that there was a strong chance that I wouldn’t get to see the sight of the blooming fire-flowers again anytime soon. At least not with my closest friend.

How would I forget the last Fourth of July that I would ever spend with my mother?

The streets had been dully lit to keep from overpowering the fireworks. Popping echoes encircled the entire block. Children dragged their parents along the sidewalks in a frenzy, all to reach the barbeques taking place at the park or the bridge to cross over to the lakeside view of the annual show.

The scene was typical. We had gone through this same situation every year for at least a month after the day itself, listening to fireworks being set off, having to endure laughter late into the evening. But now time was setting in, and those bountiful days of youth were coming to a steady end.

Maybe that had been why I desired to spend one last moment watching the show with her.

The bridge was abundant in noise, and several bodies littered the area like flies. It was too much of a hassle for either of us, so after ten minutes, we ended up walking back. We roamed the local track across the street and spoke of future goals. I would be leaving for college—my mother would finally have the chance to live her own life now that her work was coming to an end, her only child leaving to become an adult and make a place in the world.

Or so we had both wished. It was something neither of us realized would never be upheld.

The night in itself had been simple… but far from then did I realize that such a night would hold such meaning in my memory.

A few more fireworks of that final summer.

Left Behind 3.1Many generations have passed since the Guardians crafted the world of Nimestria, planted underneath the aurora of seven moons. Great power courted even greater enemies. It was a trumpet’s blow heralding the arrival of the Creator. Within the realm of Fracturis, a fleet-footed rogue named Frayle and his best friend Relek journey west when they’re set upon by a man vehemently riding a Behemoth. After a narrow escape, the two continue their route to seek guidance away from a roving band of beings called Savages. The Church before them lies in ruin, but this only belies the true mystery. After unspeakable events unfold before his eyes, Frayle is thrust twenty years in the past to right the wrongs of his splintered time. Wandering the thin lines of fragmented memories, a Time-Jumper named Nova Avery whisks Frayle through the windows of the Phantasm and together they unearth the mystery of the Guardians and the origins of the Creator in the first installment of the series.

About the Author: Shakyra Dunn has been bound with chains to a life of fantasy. What was the crime? She couldn’t stray away from the impression that there is always an adventure down every corner! When she isn’t playing the role of the Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town.

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LASR Anniversary: Mary Patterson Thornburg

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How to Get Over on a Mango

To me, one of the greatest tastes of summer belongs hands down to a mango – the tropical fruit, that is, not the bell pepper that some folks in the American Midwest inexplicably call “mango.” Mangoes can go in smoothies or be baked in sweet breads, they can top ice cream, or best of all they can be eaten raw. I’d describe their taste as something like a cross between a bright peach and a smooth cantaloupe, with a little extra magic that nothing else but a mango possesses.

But really, how do you get to that taste? No doubt the best way to eat a mango is naked, in the shower, first peeling the thing with a sharp knife and then eating it like an apple right down to the ridiculous seed, at which point you’ll be covered with sticky mango juice and can discard the seed and turn on the shower.

Second best is like this:

1) Buy a ripe but not too ripe mango, about the softness (or firmness) of a ripe but not too ripe avocado. Color doesn’t really matter too much… a little red, more green, works fine. But maybe it’s all green or all red, or even yellow if it’s a “champagne mango.” Color is kind of arbitrary – it’s the feel of not-too-firm firmness when you squeeze it that counts.

2) Get a bowl to catch some juice and the mango pieces. Have the bowl handy.

3) Over the sink, slice off the little stem thingy and then score the peel with a sharp knife in six or seven cuts from top to bottom. Grab one end of each resulting peel section and pull it down and off the fruit, helping it off with that knife if it resists being pulled. Throw away the peel.

4) Holding the naked fruit in one hand, score the fruit itself top to bottom in similar sections, cutting clear down to the seed, which is more or less oval and flat, kind of bulging on two sides and kind of sharp all around the edge. Do this over your bowl, so extra juice can drip into that.

5) Reposition the fruit and score it all around horizontally the same way four or five times, so you end up with the fruit still whole and more or less together but with checker-board type cuts, down to the seed, all over the surface.

6) With knife and fingers, starting just about anywhere, pull and cut the sections of fruit away from the seed and drop them in the bowl. At this point you’ll have a bowl full of pieces, more or less equal in size, and you’ll be holding that big flat seed, still juicy and dripping.

7) Chew and suck on that seed until you’ve got all the fruit you can off it and you’re going “mmmm” with pleasure.

8) Throw away the seed, rinse your hands, wash your face, and do whatever you wish with the pieces of fruit in the bowl – use them in a fruit salad, mix them up in the batter of mango bread, serve them as a sweet garnish with roast pork, toss them in the blender with yogurt and whatever for a smoothie, chop them up and put them in your mango chutney or mango salsa… or just get a spoon and eat them on the spot. Yum!

I’m convinced it wasn’t an apple that Eve fed to Adam to get them kicked out of Eden – it was a mango. And she knew exactly how to peel and cut and serve it. Maybe the serpent whissssspered the instructions to her…

glimmero_200Vivia has guile. Using only the power of her mind, she can make water boil, heal the sick, create illusions, and even transform herself into a bird or a pirate. But guilish folk are considered witches by most people, and that frightens them.

Her first teacher taught her healing arts, and after that she studied with Taso Raym, the most powerful male witch in the land. He taught her many things, and not just guilish skills. Unfortunately, neither Vivia nor Raym could ignore their attraction to each other, and intimacy between them would have meant the end of her guile. So she joined Ladygate, an all-female community, and accepted that love was not for her.

After a while, though, she realizes Ladygate is not where she belongs either. So she accepts the task of investigating the disappearance of a lord’s son, kidnapped, it seems, by the malevolent witch Orath. Her guilish training is not quite complete, and she hopes Raym can help her.

But Raym has also disappeared. Vivia is on her own, with a task to do—one that now touches her heart. She’s almost sure she has the necessary strength and skill…

…unless Raym and Orath are in league with each other?

About the Author:Mary Patterson Thornburg was born in California, grew up in Washington State, moved to Montana when she was 18, and spent many years in Indiana, where she studied and then taught at Ball State University. Her dream was always to write fantasy stories and novels, but she didn’t get started until she and her husband moved back to Montana in 1998. When she’d finished her first story and it was published, she took off running and never looked back. Two of her short stories earned honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (2006, 2008), and “Niam’s Tale,” in the July/August 2010 Cicada, won the SCBWI 2011 Magazine Merit Honor Certificate. Her first fantasy/romance/adventure novel, A Glimmer of Guile, was published by Uncial Press in 2014. Her second book for Uncial, The Kura, came out in April, 2015.

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LASR Anniversary: Lesley A. Diehl

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The Perfect Summer
By Lesley A. Diehl

Summer is my favorite time of year and always has been. As a kid, it was when school was out, although there was always Vacation Bible School which was less about studying the Bible and more about getting ice cream after the morning study let out. That was two weeks of trying out every flavor of ice cream provided by our local dairy store, and Mom let me have a cone every day. After those two weeks, the summer stretched ahead with seemingly endless possibilities of playing with my friends, wandering the pastures and fields of the farm or, when I was older, going to a local lake to swim. Fourth of July brought firework displays and a carnival to town. It seemed everyone in the area went to the carnival. As teenagers, my girlfriends and I would sneak peeks at the young men who worked the rides. And they ogled us in return.

When I was in college the summers meant working in the local printing plant to earn money to pay tuition. One summer I worked as a “stripper,” not the enticing job you might think. I stripped the covers off paperback books for a company who bought he books from vendors such as drugstores and department stores then sent the stripped covers back to the publishing for a percentage of the face value of the book. The books were taken to the dump and discarded, which seemed criminal to me, so although we were not supposed to take the books once the covers were removed, we all did. Aside from the pay check for the work, those books were the best thing about the job. The books weren’t always good literature, but they were great summer reading. I must have gone through over a hundred of them in those three months.

Those college summers began a transition from being connected to my hometown to becoming an adult with another place I called home. My friends from high school felt this too as friendships seemed to slip away to be replaced by new ones.. Graduate school meant classes continued through the summer months, and with my first position as a college professor, the summers from my hometown life became mere memories.

Yet I was lucky, able to recapture some of the nostalgia of the summers of my childhood and adolescence. My contract at the college was for teaching two semesters with the summers off. I taught summer sessions for several years, but soon the number of students attending decreased as tuition costs meant they were forced to seek summer employment. I didn’t mind having the summer months stretch before me. I lived on a small lake and spent the sunny days down on my dock, you guessed it, indulging my love of reading.

I switched positions late in my career and became a dean and vice president at the university level. The pay was substantial compared to that of a professor, but there were no summers off for administrators. I still can’t figure out why they needed to “administrate” for the three months when there were no students attending classes. I found I missed being in the classroom with students, couldn’t tolerate the politics of administration and, boy, did I miss those summers.

When I returned to the classroom, I began to spend my summers writing, so that when I finally retired, I had begun a career as a mystery writer. Again my summers stretch before me filled with reading as before, but now I get to create my own stories. It’s fun watching the fireworks and thinking about how I’m going to murder someone in my next book. This is indeed the perfect summer.

sporting_murderIt’s smooth sailing for Eve Appel and her friend Madeleine, owners of Second to None Consignment Shop in rural Florida’s Sabal Bay, land of swamps, cowboys, and lots and lots of ’gators. Eve and her detective boyfriend Alex have joined Madeleine and her new beau David Wilson for a pleasure cruise on his boat. But cloudy, dangerous waters lie ahead. A near fatal encounter with Blake Reed, David’s supremely nasty neighbor, is soon followed by a shooting death on the dividing line between David and Blake’s land. Both men run sport-hunting reserves, but Blake imports “exotics” from Africa and promotes gator killing, while David stays within the law, pointing clients toward the abundant quail and turkey as well as the wild pigs that ravage the landscape. Nevertheless, when a mutual client is killed, it is David who is arrested and charged with murder. Blake’s nastiness is only exceeded by that of his wife, Elvira, who forces Eve and Madeleine out of their shop, intending to replace it with a consignment shop of her own. It seems that bad luck looms over them all, even Eve’s brawny and hard-to-resist Miccosukee Indian friend Sammy, whose nephew has disappeared. As the case against David grows stronger and his friends’ misfortunes multiply, Eve and her strange and diverse group of friends, including her ex, a mobster, her grandma, and Sammy’s extended family, band together to take on the bad guys. But the waters are getting muddier and more troubled, and Eve and Madeleine may end up inundated in every sense of the word. Book 3 in the Eve Appel Mystery series, which began with A Secondhand Murder and continued with Dead in the Water.

About the Author: Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is the author of a number of mystery series (Microbrewing Series, Big Lake Mystery Series, Eve Appel Mystery Series and the Laura Murphy Mysteries), a standalone mystery (Angel Sleuth) and numerous short stories.

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LASR Anniversary: Amy Hahn

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Summer Favorites

Loving summer! A few of my favorites (in no particular order):

1. Dancing fireflies
2. An evening serenade by crickets and frogs
3. A honeybee’s soft buzz
4. The gentle thrum of a hummingbird’s wings
5. The scent of fresh cut grass
6. The fragrance of flowers
7. The rumbling of distant thunder as a summer storm approaches
8. The glow of a bonfire
9. Aroma of food cooking on the grill
10. Roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over the an open fire
11. Harvesting the garden: fresh basil, cilantro, onion, carrots and tomatoes
12. Fourth of July
13. Fireworks
14. Parades
15. Minnesota lake cabins
16. A loon’s call
17. Gorgeous sunsets
18. Perfect evenings
19. Relaxing walks
20. No mittens, hats or gloves!
21. Outdoor living
22. Bright flowers
23. Horseback riding
24. Animals grazing in clover-strewn pastures
25. Stalks of corn shooting up towards the sky
26. Baker’s Square Key Lime Pie
27. Lazy days curled up on a deep-cushioned patio chair with a new book
28. My red and white polka-dot rain boots
29. A walk in summer rain
30. BLTs (bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich)
31. A cool and refreshing glass of moscato
32. Lemonade
33. Sweetened iced tea
34. Strawberry shortcake
35. Happy, dancing, gorgeous sunflowers
36. Cornflower skies filled with fluffy white clouds
37. Outdoor restaurant seating
38. Small town festivals
39. A visit to the farmer’s market
40. Lush fields

There’s something to love about every season. I’m happy to live in Minnesota – most well known for its cold and snow – where I’ve learned to appreciate the unique beauty and simple pleasures of all four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.

PandorasPassionBOOK-199x300Pandora fought through the centuries to win the heart of Prometheus, but he refused to forgive her for past wrongdoings. He adores humankind and gave them the gift of fire. She nearly destroyed mortals when she opened The Box.

After centuries of trying to make amends and gain his forgiveness, she said goodbye. Now he’s back and his sudden appearance on her doorstep awakens deep emotions. They can’t resist each other. They never could.

But the arrival of the infamous Gorgons endangers them and places human hope in jeopardy. They are forced to confront their past amidst the danger of the present and forgive each other, finally tearing down the walls of resistance and surrendering to their immortal love.

About the Author: Amy Hahn grew up in a small town located in the beautiful Historic Bluff Country of southeastern Minnesota. Her first romance stories were jotted down in three-subject notebooks, which accompanied her everywhere. She misses pen to paper creation, but has adapted to a computer and keyboard. She has worked as a television news producer, college instructor, magazine writer, and as a patient education editor for one of the world’s top medical organizations.

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LASR Anniversary: Heidi Wessman Kneale

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Summer Wear

What you should wear this summer:

• Sundress
• Floppy hat
• Sunglasses
• Sunscreen/bug repellant
• Sandals

What your ebook reader should wear this summer:

• Zip-locked bag

I love summer reading on my ebook reader. Yet everywhere I go, my poor ebook reader is in danger of… well… everything. For all the fun places I love to read during the summer, there lurks perils that threaten the safety of my ebook reader.

To keep my ebook reader safe so I can enjoy the latest book, I’ve clothed it in a zip-locked bag.


I love to read by the pool. Back in the Good Old Days, the worst thing you had to worry about was ruining your paperback if you dropped it in the pool. Today, drop your ebook reader in the pool and there goes about eight hundred books. Thus, the zip-locked bag.


Nothing like going to the beach in summer. Sure, you can stay as far away from the water as you want, but then there’s the sand. That stuff gets into everything! The last thing you need is your USB charger port plugged up with sand. Thank goodness for zip-locked bags.


Ah, camping! Nothing like it. No pool water, no beach sand. Lazing about in the Great Outdoors while the kids go for a hike in the woods is the perfect time to catch up on your summer reading. However, one should not take one’s ebook reader naked while camping, especially if you have a campfire. Smoke is perilous for electronic equipment. Not a problem for the well-dressed ebook reader sporting the latest in zip-locked bags.

Sporting Events

No pool, no sand, no smoke. Just good honest sport. However, unless you keep your ebook reader separate from the sports gear, it is at risk of moisture damage from spilled water bottles and sweaty towels. You might be wearing Nike, but your ebook reader is wearing Hefty.

Go ahead and enjoy your summer reading and your summer fun. Just as you slip-slop-slap on protection from the sun, consider slipping your ebook reader into a zip-locked bag for its protection from everything else.

Heidi Kneale
Author of “Her Endearing Young Charms”
Available from Amazon and wherever all good ebooks are sold.

HEYC paperback cover_200Miss Merribelle Hales spent years imbuing a silver locket with man-attracting charms. On her way to her first London Season, her locket is stolen–along with a kiss–by a highwayman. Her only clue to his identity: a pair of intense eyes. This vexes her. Without her best charm, how will she ever be able to compete on the Marriage Mart? It would be so much easier if she didn’t have to compete at all.

Lord Alexander Rochester has worries aplenty. His ailing father’s estates are woefully in debt, so he must seek a wealthy wife. His courtship of Miss Hales goes terribly awry with a simple kiss that leads to his slapped face and an accusation of theft.

It’s a case of mistaken identity. Alexander knows and fears the real culprit. He faces the loss of his father, his estate and Miss Hales–whom he’s loved since childhood–by the hands of the Handkiss Highwayman.

About the Author: Heidi Wessman Kneale is an Australian author of moderate repute. By day, she wrangles computers as a way of supporting her educational and musical habits. By night she stares at the stars in the sky.

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LASR Anniversary: R.J.Hore

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Memories of Summer

Somewhere our family caught the sailing bug, and every summer since 1986 we’ve owned a sailboat. In the summer of 1997 we bought our third boat, a 26 foot craft that the brochure said slept six. One of the reasons we upgraded was my crew. My father was 97 and my granddaughters were 14 and 11. We needed a bigger boat.

Fortunately the next year the sailors at our harbor decided everyone should learn how to use their vessel for serious cruising. We joined in.

With the bigger boat we started making a one or two week long trip north each year, into the wilderness islands beyond our old day-sailing waters. As the girls grew older, and other matters took their interest, their mother, our eldest daughter, often replaced them. I didn’t mind. She was far more useful. I no longer had to do all the cooking on our one burner galley.

I remember the start of one trip. It was the first day and we were heading up the lake with a fleet of a dozen boats. Late in the day we were caught in a sudden squall, heavy rain and wind. We started losing contact with the fleet. On this trip my crew consisted of my daughter and her youngest. They were both down below with the hatch closed. I remember yelling at them that if the boat started going in circles I’d gone overboard. As usual they ignored me. We were still a long way from our intended anchorage for the night when we heard friends on the radio in a nearby boat were breaking off and heading for a closer port. We decided to join them.

We made harbor safely but the granddaughter had had enough. She phoned her father the next day and he drove the three hours with my wife to pick her up. Fortunate for her, because that was our last stop at civilization where they could have made a connection. My daughter and I continued on for the rest of the week but I don’t remember anything else about that particular trip. They all start to blur together after a few years.

I do remember one trip looking out the window while at anchor and watching a bear wandering on the shore. I do recall eating dinner in the cockpit while a moose feasted not too far away. Then there was the evening we drifted in a quiet remote bay watching a half dozen young eagles practice aerobatics. There were the parties in out-of-the-way locations, the laughter and the magnificent sunsets, and some fearsome thunderheads. The eldest granddaughter even swears she saw a ghost ship in the middle of one night while we were moored on a rocky beach.

Of course there were also the far too-exciting times: when the steering broke two days from home, the two thunderstorms experienced in the middle of the lake, and the one wild trip when my crew had to make it back to work the next day and I vowed never to do something that stupid again.

So far I have drawn on my sailing experiences to write one short story. There are probably more plots lurking out there.
But now my crew and I are getting to the point when we wonder how much longer can we do this? Maybe it is time to part with the good ship Legacy and dig out the lawn chairs. But I really hope we will always have those memories.

AlexWanderland-Ebook Cover ArtAlexis is tired after a long day at work and her husband Alexander is being more annoying than usual. Their lives might not be perfect, but at least their relationship was something almost approaching normal, that is until his new toy landed both in an alternative universe.

How would you feel if you were considered to be the latest saviors of the land, with subtle hints of a slow and painful death as your ultimate reward? A married couple find themselves on a not-quite-typical quest. All they have to do is fulfill a ridiculous ancient prophecy. Their travelling companions: the priest, the protector, and the thief, are suspect, and everyone else seems out to stop them from reaching their ultimate goal. Of course, if they reach the end safely…
A tale of adventure and romance, filled with pitfalls and leering villains. Did anyone mention there might be hungry dragons too?

About the Author:After winning a Canadian Authors national contest with a ghostly tale, Ron connected with Champagne Books of Alberta to complete “The Dark Lady” high fantasy trilogy, followed by “The Queen’s Pawn” trilogy, and his fantasy detective effort represented by a series of seven novellas: “The Housetrap Chronicles.” His latest novel with Champagne, blending modern with Dark Age, is “Alex in Wanderland.”

Ron recently signed on with a second publisher, eTreasures Publishing of Florida. His first novel there is, “We’re Not in Kansas,” a near future thriller. A what-if trilogy, “The Toltec Series,” is nearing completion with the first book due out shortly.

In his spare time he reviews genre novels for an on-line magazine and is a member of several writing groups.
Ron lives in Winnipeg with his understanding wife and a large demanding cat. On rare occasions he escapes to his sailboat on Lake Winnipeg.

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LASR Anniversary: Elaine Cantrell

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

We Couldn’t See Them Coming

Picture this. The sun is shining like golden fire in a cloudless, Carolina blue sky. The ocean sparkles, and waves break on the sand around the feet of delighted, screaming children. Gulls cry overhead, adding their voice to that of the sea.

But it’s getting a little warm under your beach umbrella, so you slather on some sunscreen, SPF 100, and wade out into the water. It’s wonderful! You and your daughter-in-law hang from the side of a surfboard talking while you lazily float over perfectly sized waves.

Your shoulder starts to itch under your bathing suit strap so naturally you scratch it. It itches worse. You scratch it again, but nothing stops the itching. In fact, it’s getting worse and worse. You get out of the water as fast as you can and run to the outdoor shower where you rinse yourself thoroughly, allowing the water to run all the way through your bathing suit. Before you get finished your daughter-in-law shows up. “I’m itching to death!” she cries.

She sure is. She has allergic whelps all over her, and her lips are starting to swell. Quick! Let’s run to the store for some Benadryl. She takes it, and some of the blotches start to fade. What in the world happened?

Fast forward one day. Same scenario. Guess we won’t be getting back in the water even though nobody but us has the problem.
I just described my vacation in July of 2011. The people who owned the condo where we were staying said that every few years microscopic jellyfish migrate up the coast from Florida. The itching we felt was the jellyfish stinging us. Since they are microscopic it wasn’t painful, just itchy. Some people are affected, and some aren’t. They were getting trapped inside our bathing suits, and when they stung us they were trying to escape. We had never heard of such a thing, but since we’re going back to the same place this year I hope they’re through with their migration. I promise this is a memory that will stay with us for a long time.

CC front coverSusan English can’t stand Robin Lanford! She’s so full of herself she irritates everyone on the faculty of Fairfield High. When Robin bets Susan fifty dollars that she can’t get a date with Kurt Deveraux, the head football coach, Susan jumps at the chance to put the little heifer in her place. She had no idea that teaching Robin a lesson would irrevocably change her life, strain treasured friendships, and throw two families into chaos.

About the Author:Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University. She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators and Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest. When she’s not writing or teaching, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.

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