Review of “An Unexpected Gift” by Katherine Grey

an-unexpected-giftAn Unexpected Gift by Katherine Grey

Katherine Grey has taken the Regency Romance and mastered all the complicated rules, settings, and social class distinction in the genre and elevated it to a modern level.  The heroine rescues as often as she is rescued.  Olivia and Will aka Lazarus are not members of the Ton but romp about the inns, carriages, and ballrooms with ease.  The story begins with intensity of a wounded man arriving on a dark night and maintains the excitement throughout the novel.  The characters are complicated and move through the plot logically and emotionally in a realistic manner. I would have liked the subplots tied up sooner and the relationship with the brother drawn out longer in the ending.


The Gettysburg Address

I am working on my fourth book in the Impending Love series which begins at the Battle of Gettysburg.  One of my characters is killed at Culp’s Hill and another is wounded in the cemetery.  The words are as powerful today as they were in

downloadFour score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Author Amanda Flower on Writing to Publish

This article appeared Sept. 18, 2016 in the Hudson Hub-Times at 

Hudson library launches Writing to Publish series

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published: September 18, 2016 12:00 AM

amanda-flowerHudson — The library is offering a Writing to Publish series for the first time.

The first program was Sept. 7 with Plotting the Bestselling Novels by Amanda Flower. Flower is a best selling mystery author with her 20th book due out Dec. 6. She also is the adult service librarian at the Hudson Library and Historical Society.

“As a writer, I’m excited to offer this series to the community,” Flower said. “To get published is hard. I’m in a position to help.”

The remaining three programs are scheduled the first Wednesday of the month and registration is required, with a limit for the Oct. 5 program when literary agent Vicki Selvaggio will talk about Writing Query Letters.

Local authors Shelley Costa, Casey Daniels and Mary Ellis will form a panel Nov. 2 to talk about Getting the Call and Selling Your Book the Traditional Route.

The final program in the series Navigating the Changing World of Self-Publishing is Dec. 7 and includes a panel of local self-published authors, Eric Van Raepenbusch, Matthew Verish, Stephanie Verish and Elizabeth Yurich.

Flower advised writers to start with a bang and set the tone of not only the story but the tone for a writer’s entire career. She gave examples of several first lines in well-known novels to illustrate how the author revealed what was ahead.

“It’s your voice,” Flower said. “No one has the same voice. It’s unique to you. So set it early.”

She talked about using sympathy to make the reader care for the characters and then raising the stakes to put the character in trouble and increase tension in the story.

“The writer needs an emotional connection to the story,” Flower said. “The reader needs to feel the story.”

Flower describes herself as a pantser or fly-by-your-pants type of writer instead of the plotter who has detailed outlines and character sketches before writing the first word.

“Every book has magical moments,” Flower said. “Plotters need to make room for magic when the character makes a hard right turn. Your character may know better than you what will happen.”

The plot needs a turning point where the character makes a decision to resolve a problem before the final confrontation and resolution, she said

“Out of a dark moment, they decide to do something to change their lives,” Flower said.

The final step is to rewrite several times.

“It must be the best book you can write,” Flower said. “Don’t submit a book that could be better.”

For more information or to sign up, go to


Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP


Review of He Loves Lucy by Ann Yost

He Loves Lucy by Ann Yost

Ann Yost knows how to write, and her covers are fun and quirky to match her style.  This new mystery romance creates plentyHe Loves Lucy of problems for accident-prone Lucy who longs to be taken seriously. She has the hots for hunky Sheriff Jake, but he thinks she’s too young to be the mother of his two children.  Frustration abounds.  You root for Lucy from the beginning, and when she investigates a murder for a newspaper story, she butts head with Jake, and sparks ignite into a fire.  The story kept me turning pages to find out what happens next.  Yost knows how to craft a story with interesting characters, suspense, and a strong ending.  I’ll be looking for The Outlaws of Eden, Maine series as well as her other books. This is worthy of an “I Love Lucy” episode.




Review of Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb

Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb

I’ve read nearly every Death mystery by J.D. Robb and very few have failed to satisfy.  Robb aka Nora Roberts, writes more books than I can count, and any writer of romance or mystery should read some of her books. She begins her mysteries with a dead bo_mg_4928dy, and in this one she has twelve.  Eve Dallas is the detective in future New York with her super rich husband Roarke lending a hand. The Death series is mostly detective, a good portion of romance, and a bit of science fiction thrown in to the mix.  Robb builds her story like Dallas builds her case, slowly, methodically, and eliminates suspects with the reader as a witness of everything she learns.  Even if the reader figures out who the bad guy is before the end of the story, Dallas has to gather evidence to prove the killer did it, and arrest him. Usually the arrest is climatic to the story, but this one was a bit tame and rather disappointing.  But every book in a series cannot be the same and this ending adds variety.  If you plan to write a series, begin with the early books to see how Robb establishes the regular characters and uses them in different stories.  She also reveals the very dark past lives of Dallas and Roarke slowly, bit by bit, with their romantic ups and downs to keep the reader coming back to learn how their marriage is progressing.  The early books appeal to the romantic reader as well as the mystery reader.


Review of Dying for Dinner by Miranda Bliss

Dying for Dinner by Miranda Bliss

Dying for Dinner is a cozy mystery.  For those who don’t know what _MG_4927a cozy mystery is, and I was one, it is a mystery where the murder is normally not shown and any sex is off the page. Think “Murder She Wrote” for those old enough to have seen the television series. G-rated. The detective is nearly always an amateur sleuth who discovers the body or is in some way related to the victim.  In this story the heroine is Annie, who has just switched jobs to work for hunk, Jim. She has a talent for solving murder mysteries, which Jim encourages.  Those are plus points for him.  She has a best friend, Eve, who is the opposite of down-to-earth Annie, with glamour and lots of boyfriends.  One of Eve’s former boyfriends is the local cop. Another reason to solve the mystery without involving him.  Annie is debating a serious relationship with Jim because of her cheating ex-husband.  This story revolves around finding a missing witness and friend, who has a lot of secrets in his past.  Bliss introduces the characters with enough detail to set each one apart. The story builds slowly but turns high speed toward the end with a satisfying ending.  If you’re thinking of writing a cozy mystery, this would be a good one to read to understand how the genre is written.  The  book also contains cooking advice and recipes, another characteristic of cozy mysteries.