Saturday Snippets – John Culpepper the Merchant

5-star-largeJohn Culpepper the Merchant just received a 5-star review from Readers’ Favorite!! You can read it HERE.

I can’t tell you how much reviews mean to us indie authors…especially good reviews. We often learn something from the bad reviews, but mostly not. Good reviews sell books. Period. So for every book you like by ANY author, please leave a review. We all appreciate it.


The Merchant ebookAnyway…back to the matter at hand.

John Culpepper the Merchant is the second book in the Culpepper Saga. The first book is about John’s childhood. In this one, he’s all grown up. His family remains in England while he fulfills his childhood dream of sailing back and forth between London and Virginia. Seems peachy, yes? I’m sure it would have been if the king wouldn’t have been angering the masses. A deadly civil war breaks out in England, and John always seems to be on the wrong side of the ocean at the wrong time. By the end of the war when the royalists (yes, John’s family) have been defeated, John’s ship becomes the only lifeline to save the Culpeppers from certain beheading.

Somehow, between the war and the merchant business, John and his wife managed to raise a family. Here’s a snippet of John taking his four boys upstairs to meet their newborn brother.



Following a hearty breakfast, John climbed the stairs, followed by his rambunctious sons, all wanting to see the new baby. He cracked the door open and found Mary sitting up in bed holding the newborn, her brown hair cascading over her shoulders. Her color was much better after a good night’s sleep.

“Your sons want to see the baby,” John whispered almost apologetically.

“Of course they do. Bring them in.”

John opened the door and the group ran toward the bed. Mary grinned at them and patted the bed for Robbie to climb up. John thought his wife was a saint, or at least had the patience of one.

All the boys looked like their father, but none more so than the new baby. The boys cooed over the infant, and John reminded them repeatedly to keep their voices down. It was a wasted request.

“He looks like you!” Denny exclaimed, looking at Henry.

“What are you saying? That I look like a baby?” Henry challenged.

The baby scrunched up his face at the sound of the voices.

James laughed. “I’ve seen you make that face. He does look just like you.”

Henry punched him in the arm and James punched back.

“Stop it,” John scolded.

Mary looked down the row of children lining her bedside. “Well, I think all my boys look like their handsome father.”

“You’re handsome,” teased Denny, punching James in the arm.

“No, you’re handsome,” James punched back.

“All right, let’s go and let your mother rest.” John picked up Robbie and coaxed the rest of the herd toward the door. Denny and James began poking each other. John handed three-year-old Robbie to Henry and grabbed both misbehavers by their hair.

“Ouch,” they squealed in unison.

“I told you to be quiet and stop acting like…”

“Acting like what?” Denny said in defiance.

“Well…boys. Stop acting like boys.” John laughed at his own lack of parenting skills. Four years of law school, a momentary career as a lawyer, and a decade of commanding a boisterous crew on a merchant ship were no preparation for raising high-spirited boys. He thought about it for a moment and realized that besides his younger sister Frances, who was now a thirty-six-year-old married woman, he had always been the youngest of his generation. He’d never had any younger brothers or cousins to mind. One thing was for certain—Mary had her hands full during John’s lengthy absences, and he suddenly understood why she often pleaded with him to remain home for longer stretches of time. He was exhausted and it was only nine o’clock in the morning.


The first three books in the Culpepper Saga are available at Amazon. The fourth book will be released October 2015.

culpepper saga-001


It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This week I read “Cades Cove: The Curse of Allie Mae” by Aiden James.

One of my favorite places on Earth is the Smoky Mountains, and sitting in a hollow in the mountains is Cades Cove. I’ve been there many times and was excited by the sheer name of this book.

51P1FVNRxPLCades Cove: The Curse of Allie Mae is a ghost story written in current times with bits of history, tradition, and ancestry thrown in.

David and Miriam Hobbs venture to a secret place in Cades Cove that is reportedly the 1800’s version of Lover’s Lane. They see hearts and names carved on the old trees, and one of the names is Allie. Later they find an old treasure bag with Allie’s name embroidered on it. David takes the bag home to Denver and the ghost story begins. Allie turns out to be a hateful poltergeist that terrorizes David’s family. Of course you’ll keep reading to find out how they get rid of her and who she is. The family connection at the end between Allie and David is intriguing.

When the family can’t take any more of Allie’s deadly mischief, David takes Allie’s bag back to Cades Cove and enlists the help of a Cherokee Indian guide and his shaman daughter to get rid of Allie. After intense spells and a flashback to Allie’s gruesome death, the story ends, and all is well.

At that point, I would have given the book lots of stars for the good plot, but it doesn’t end there. Once David returns to Denver, he receives a letter from the Indian stating they have exhumed Allie’s remains and given her a proper burial. I wish the book would have ended there, but at that point Allie reappears in the family home, making the dog bark and making me feel like I just wasted two days of my life reading a book about how they got rid of her. The story apparently segues into a sequel.

If you like ghost stories, this one is for you!

Check it out on Amazon HERE and take a peak at Aiden James’s website HERE.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This week I read the thriller “Seven Unholy Days” by Jerry Hatchett.

81qe5Xi64JLSeven Unholy Days is about the collapse of the modern-day world at the hands of a mad man. It follows Matthew Becker, the contractor for America’s electrical grid, and an unknown adversary who is taunting him, shutting down the power across the country, crashing the financial markets around the world, kidnapping a young woman, and murdering thousands of people. Slowly, we find out that the perpetrator believes he is the anti-christ, setting into motion the apocalypse, and the catastrophes happening around the world are following the seven seals in the book of Revelations.

The writing bounces back and forth between third person and first person, which is a little distracting, but the story is well worth the effort. It is weaved and plotted exquisitely, with well-crafted characters and a storyline straight out of a million-dollar movie.

It has lots and lots of tech jargon, so if you’re geeky at all, you’ll love it!

Check it out HERE on Amazon.

Also check out Jerry Hatchett’s website HERE.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This week I read “The Secret Place” by Melodie Starkey.

the secret place jpegBefore I say anything at all about this book, I must tell you it involves incest, rape, and extremely dark adult situations. If you are looking for a clean read, this book is NOT for you. That being said, I was drawn into this macabre saga by the incredible depth of the characters and couldn’t put the book down, even though I found the subject matter unsettling.

After Emma and Trey are orphaned by an accident, Trey gives up his part-time job and his dreams for college to remain home and raise his ten-year-old sister. The two have a deep relationship built on trust and isolation, yet over the years, Trey violates their bond. Emma spends the rest of her life struggling with love/hate feelings toward him. After his sudden death, which she thinks is her fault, she finds herself alone in the world, struggling to trust anyone. There are many horrible things that happen to this poor girl, it’s no surprise that the secret place she and Trey discovered as children eventually becomes the psychological secret place she lives in in her mind for many years.

The subject matter is disturbing, but Emma’s character is such a strange mix of strength, depth, and naiveté that it’s impossible to put the book down. Jeremy, the hero who comes to her rescue, is also a very intriguing character, but I find it difficult to believe he would stay with her for so many years when she is certifiably nuts.

I think these characters were superbly crafted and the writing was excellent. The story is far over the top for anyone with delicate sensibilities. It’s like a horrific accident you just can’t turn away from. This is a well-written story if you can stomach it.

Check out Melodie Starkey on Amazon HERE!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This week I read “One Giant Leap” by J.T. Sterling.








imagesThis story takes place in modern times and is the tale of party-boy Harlan Jasper who suddenly becomes the patriarch of the powerful Jasper family. We learn through very, very lengthy history lessons that the Jasper family has been around for thousands of years, and between the fictitious House of Jasper, the Plantagenets, the Iscariots (as in Judas from the Bible), and the Pope, they pretty much run the whole world. Looks like our party-boy is going to have to lay off the coke to be able to lead a family with this kind of power. I found the story to be a lot of fun—a mixture of genealogy, world history, and “The Da Vinci Code.”

From a creative standpoint, the book is full of grammatical errors such as “you’re” instead of “your” and “fowl play” instead of “foul play,” but the story moves pretty fast so you’ll skip right over most of them. One jarring thing is that the point of view changes on a dime, so you’ll abruptly find yourself in the head of a character on the other side of the parking lot.

If you like world history and conspiracy theories, you will love this book. It’s chocked full of them!

If you’re interested, check it out here on Amazon.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This week I’m reading “Redemption Ridge” by Lottie Brent Boggan.

This story takes place in post-Civil-War Mississippi. Well, that’s right up my alley!!






redemption ridge jpegI was so excited to read this story and am about 20% through it on my Kindle, but the formatting is so bad, I’m struggling. There are no indented paragraphs and no spaces between the block paragraphs, so when it gets into heavy dialog, it all runs together, and it’s difficult to figure out who is saying what without re-reading three times.

Honestly, I think the characters and the story are good so far, but I don’t think I’ll finish it. I just don’t have enough energy to sort out who said what. It’s a shame. Maybe the paperback is formatted better.

If you’re a fan of Southern history, this book is for you. Perhaps you will have more patience than I.

Amazon link

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?


“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens!!


This is one of those classic works of literature that I somehow missed, so I decided to get caught up to the rest of the world.

It’s amazing how our contemporary thought process has changed from not long ago. We’ve become a 30-second sound-bite society, more interested in the quick information than in the whole story. I realized while reading this book that I tend to read quickly. I just want the story. Dickens made me slow down. He took me back to the days when reading was for savor and pleasure, not merely to finish the story. His descriptions are lengthy and vivid, and he breaks nearly every current-day writing rule, but you won’t be able to say you couldn’t see precisely what he was relating. It’s like an old movie where the human relationship and the dialog are prominent, instead of one where things are blowing up in a flaming ball of excitement.

If you have the time to savor a classic work and have not yet read this, I highly recommend it.

It is available for FREE on Amazon…click HERE!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I just finished “Firefly Hollow” by TL Haddix.

firefly hollow jpegWhat a sweet story this was! The characters were rich and compelling, the setting was beautiful, and the story was magical.

Set in the mid 1950s, Sarah lives in Kentucky, a place called Firefly Hollow. As a teenager, she trespasses onto her neighbor’s property and discovers a pond where she likes to be alone and reflect. The owner of the property, Owen, admires her beauty from afar, but doesn’t want her getting too close and learning his secrets. As the years pass, the two find themselves thrown together as young adults and they quickly fall in love. His secrets almost destroy them, but eventually he trusts her enough to let her in on his family heritage. There are adult situations, violence, and sex in this book.

Filled with Appalachian folklore, Firefly Hollow is a magical romance.

Check out her website HERE and her books on Amazon HERE.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?



This week, I read Shades of Honor by Wendy Lindstrom.




91DLpJR01ML._SL1500_I really, really enjoyed this book. It’s set post-Civil War, yet the only thing that really ties it to the time is the hero having trouble adjusting to post-war life. The rest is simply a rollicking good romance.

Radford Grayson returns home years after the war with hopes of joining his brothers in the family business and getting back to an easier way of life. The minor crisis of the story comes when his brother resents his return. The major crisis is when Radford falls in love with his brother’s fiancé…and she with him. I love books where you wonder how in the heck they will ever make this work, but it does, they do, and everything is shiny and happy in the end. This book is a great ride with fantastic characters, following a man’s desire for the one thing he can’t have.

The Grayson Brothers have their own ongoing series, so if you like the characters, you can follow this with other stories.

Visit Ms. Lindstrom’s website

Shades of Honor is available at Amazon

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2This week, I read Sisters in Love by Melissa Foster. It is the first in the Snow Sisters series. I enjoyed Lovers at Heart, the first in the Braden series, so I thought I’d give another of her books a read.


81bwpEZY1vL._SL1500_Sisters in Love is the story of Danica Snow, an uptight therapist, and Blake Carter, a player, who after the sudden death of his friend decides he needs to become a better person. He makes an appointment with Danica and…well, you can already see where this is going. There are also a handful of other characters: Danica’s whorish younger sister, a young goth girl with too many issues to count who Danica is playing ‘big sister’ to, the young girl’s grandmother and alcoholic mother, the dead friend’s angry wife and moody son, and the dead friend’s old girlfriend and illegitimate son who no one knew about. See where I’m going with this? The characters all have heavy, dark sides which is not the light, romance novel I was anticipating. There was also a moment when Danica spoke with the alcoholic woman’s therapist, who gave Danica tons of private information about the alcoholic woman. That moment was so wrong from an ethical standpoint, yet I could have overlooked it if Danica hadn’t spent the whole book telling herself she couldn’t fall for Blake because it would be unethical. For someone so concerned with ethics, she must think they apply only to her, yet she spends the entire story explaining how she’s the smart one of her family. Not too smart, if you ask me.

Ms. Foster’s writing is awesome, and I read the whole book, waiting for the payoff of Danica and Blake getting together, but it came way at the end of the book and there were no fireworks. The issues with the plot and the host of dark, dreary characters didn’t make for good romance. In the end, none of the issues were resolved except for Danica and Blake ending up in bed. She’s needy, he’s a jerk. I’ll give ’em six months.

I think I’ll go back to the Braden series, where the men are super hot, and there are no medical ethics to muck up the relationships.

If you want to give it a shot, you can pick it up here – Sisters in Love on Amazon.