Monthly Archives: April 2009

Book Review – Ferryman

Ferryman – Murder on the English Channel!

Rating: 5 of 5, TMBOA Recommended
Author: Carole Sutton

Available: Paperback

After scrimping and saving all his life, Steven Pengelly flies to Guernsey, an island in the English Channel, to buy a beautiful thirty-foot sailboat to live his dream.  Preparing to take his new boat – Touché – back across the Channel to Cornwall, Steven’s luck further improves.  The young attractive blond that had shown him the boat – Angela Dupont, asks him for a lift to the mainland.  Not one turn down a free crewmember or a pretty face, Steven takes her on and their trip across the channel sparks a romance.  All is well until Steven learns Angela to be more opportunistic than partner willing to dump him quickly in search of a greater fish to hook.  Suddenly, she turns up missing and Steven’s world crashes down around him.  Convinced she has been murdered, investigator’s believe Steven to be the main suspect.   Though there is no body, the evidence against Steven mounts leading to his conviction.

Two years later, Angela’s body turns up.  Forensics, however, prove her murder to be recent, confirming Steven’s innocence.  After his release, all Steven wants to do is move on with his life, but another young woman searches him out seeking his help in finding her recently missing sister.  Believing there is a connection between her missing sister and Angela’s murderer, she convinces Steven to help find those guilty.

Carole Sutton’s Ferryman pulses with action, intrigue, and mystery.  Those who love sailing will appreciate the passages describing the thrill of racing, the battling with the elements, the danger, and the teamwork needed to survive and thrive in competition.  The novel’s locals are wonderfully described from the ports on Guernsey to the frequently visited sailing haunts.   Sutton also seamlessly alternates between the novel’s 1970s present day events and the events that unfolded years earlier during Angela’s abduction.  She introduces each subplot carefully wetting the readers appetite throughout keeping the mystery moving forward.  Sutton also shows great care in building the sociopathic foundations for the book’s antagonist.  This ensures credibility and realism to this character that in lesser books would have been flat and unrealistic.

I really enjoyed this book.  I found myself turning the pages at a rapid pace and staying up late to make my way to the end’s climax.  Ferryman is one of this years favorites for me.  I’m looking forward to Sutton’s next release.



Filed under Book review, Reviews, TMBOA recommended

Review – Santuary of Darkness

Sanctuary of Darkness – A Tragic Vampire Story of Love and Loss

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Titus McGuire

Available: Paperback, Hardcover

In his first year of life and after the untimely death of his father, Titus McGuire along with his sister and mother move to England with his new stepfather in the year 1582.  Unfortunately his stepfather is a retched man.  His marriage to Titus’ mother had been arranged and after bearing her new husband a son – he tires of her.  Years later Titus witnesses the death of his mother and sister at his stepfather’s hands – burned at the stake for conspiring against the church.

Titus desires a life of his own as well as a bride.  Unfortunately, he is denied at every turn until Titus’ suddenly finds himself smitten with his stepbrother’s fiancé.  Deciding to risk everything, Titus escapes his life of bondage for true love but is haunted by dreams and visions of another woman pulling him back home.  Soon he is torn between his love for his wife and his enchanting dream girl – he must choose and his choice lays the foundation for a series of events that Titus may regret for centuries to come.

Written under the pen name of Titus McGuire, the first half of Sanctuary of Darkness is a strong story of forbidden love and betrayal.  I was reminded of the way Ken Follett sets up his novels with characters which desire to be together yet are denied at every turn.  The tension between Titus, the stepfather, stepbrother, and two love interests is a compelling read.  However, the second half of the story, once Titus becomes a vampire, takes a different turn.  The story remains a compelling read, but the relationship tension that drove the first half of the novel gives way to the challenges of living life as a vampire.

I found myself frequently frustrated with Titus who becomes a creature of emotion frequently questioning his love and life long dreams with a variety of women.  His desire for revenge at all costs and abandonment of his children (not sure what happened with his first child) had me shaking the book at times.  None-the-less, I was completely drawn into this world and could not stop turning the pages.  Though the end reaches a climatic conclusion, the author leaves open a number of story arcs setting of the fruits of a sequel.  All and all, an entertaining, though at times, frustrating read.


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Filed under Book review, Reviews

Book Review – An ABC Escapade Through Egypt

An ABC Escapade Through Egypt – A Beautiful Cultural Experience

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Bernadette Simpson

One not only reads but views Bernadette Simpson’s An ABC Escapade Through Egypt.  Filled with beautiful photographs of Egypt’s rich culture, the book reads like a children’s version of The Amazon Race.  Using the alphabet and alliteration as the backbone driving the various excursions through this amazing country, Simpson introduces the reader to the food, entertainment, history, culture, wildlife, transportation, and other facets of Egyptian life.  There is even a recipe for kids to make doe-ah (don’t know what this is – pick up the book!).

Want to learn more about a Camel’s hump?  What about the many uses of date palm trees?  Learn about the many types mangos and what a prickly pear is.  Are hieroglyphics more your interest?  Well it’s all here.

Don’t let the title fool you.  This is not a preschool letter learning book for pre-school children, though they are sure to enjoy the wonderful pictures.  This is a thoughtful, informative journey for 9-12 year olds which can be fully appreciated by adults as well.  Certainly, Bernadette’s rich background, having lived all over the world and now residing in the small town of Dahab in South Sinai, has provided her the sensitivity to experience and convey the wonders of Egypt.

Be sure to visit Bernadette’s website to learn more about her and Egypt (

As an extra treat, visit Ginda Simpson’s (Berndaette’s mother) webpage; she is an artist and writer living in Umbria Italy (



Filed under Book review, Reviews

Poll: When do you Tweet and the Retweet Experiment

As I’ve already posted, Twitter can be a very powerful tool for building a brand and marketing a product or service.  But tweets are a constant stream of information.  Chances are, if you are following a number of people and they are tweeting all day, you’re likely not going to see or read all of their tweets unless you’ve got them streaming to your desktop all day long.

This means that your tweets are likely not seen by all of your followers for the same reason.  So, there most be a prime time for tweets – when folks are most likely to be on twitter tweeting and reading tweets.

To find the tweet prime time, please take a moment to fill out this simple poll below to indicate your tweet times.

The Retweet

Also, as I mentioned in my earlier post, the retweet is one of the most under rated yet most powerful features of twitter.  In theory, a tweet can go viral and reach thousands of people.  To test this, please tweet and retweet this post (use something like bigtweet to make it easy).   This serves two purposes – it tests the possibility of a viral tweet, and if provides more folks to vote in the tweeting poll which means the data is more meaningful.  Thanks and check back often to see the results!



Filed under book marketing, Polls, twitter

Review – The Third Peregrination

The Third Peregrination  – The Relics Re-awaken

Rating: 5 of 5 TMBOA Recommended
Author: Edward C. Patterson

Available: Paperback, Kindle

After vanquishing the evil empress Wu Tze-t’ien, Rowden Gray and Nick Battle believed the Jade Owl to be forever tamed.  But both are wrong.  One year has passed and Nick receives an artifact, an opal ring, which awakens these ancient relics.  Once again The Jade Owl and Joy of Finches are drawn to one another but this time things are much different.  Interacting with a silken banner depicting life of long ago China, they unlock a hidden message.  Learning this banner is one of seven sisters, they set off on an adventure to find the remaining sisters and solve yet another China mystery.

However, it is not only the relics that have changed, but Nick and Rowden as well.  Something is happening to them.  Haunted by dreams and mental glimmers which direct their path forward, they soon realize they are not just solving a mystery but are carrying out an ancient prophecy – a prophecy which could destroy the world.

In The Third Peregrination, Edward C Patterson continues The Jade Owl series.  This installment brings back the wonderful characters introduced in the first book but also offers some new comers including Rowden’s ex-wife.  These characters add to the adventure by providing appropriate emotional conflict and story arcs to augment the driving fantasy mystery they are to solve.  Where the first book was more cerebral and even paced, this 600 plus page novel really amps up the action and fantasy elements.  As always, Patterson’s accomplished technique and writing style are spot on.  His characters are real and descriptions vivid.  Similar to the first novel, I enjoyed the historical fiction and cultural lessons imparted throughout this novel.

This is the second of a multiple book series and while the ending is completely satisfying, Patterson introduces the thread which teases at the next installment.  The Third Peregrination is a great read – 5 stars!


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Filed under Book review, Reviews, TMBOA recommended

Making the most of Twitter!

What the heck?

I’ll be honest.  When I first looked at twitter I thought this seemed worthless for anything practical.  I saw a stream of updates like “at the mall”, “just watched gunsmoke”, “do you think Obama is good looking”, etc.  How could this ever be useful for networking, marketing, etc?  So I ignored it.  Then it kept growing and many authors I knew were “tweeting”.  “Really,” I thought.  What does one tweet about?

Like anything else, the answer is your tweets must be consistent with the brand you are building.  So if you are a book editor, you tweet about interesting articles related to editing, your services, latest edited book, and so on.  If you are a musician, you tweet about gigs you’ve played, local clubs and their crowds, latest artist news – you get the idea. You might want to even have multiple twitter accounts for the different brands you have – for example you might have a personal account where you are updating friends and family and a professional account for your business brand.  That way folks who are following you professionally aren’t confused by your tweet about the baby’s diaper rash.

How and where to start

As I mention above, decide what your brand or brands will be and open the appropriate accounts on twitter.  But what now?  You’ve got an account but how to connect.

Finding friends

So now it’s time to starting following others and inviting folks to follow you.  The best place to start is your email account which Twitter can pull your contacts from.  However, if you are looking to connect professionally as an author, there are a number of sites on the Internet that will help you connect with potential twitter friends.  Instead of listing the gazillion options for this.  I’m going to list two I’ve found useful (please feel free to comment on this post to add your own).

justtweetit1Just Tweet It

This is a site where you add your twitter info to the directory related to your genre/brand.  If you click on the JustTweetIt bird it will link you directly to the writers/authors page.  Check out all of the wonderful writers and authors and follow some.  To add yourself, click the “hey, click your name to add it to the directory” blue text icon at the left hand part of the page near the top.  Give it some time as this is a long site full of folks to follow.

mrtweet Mr. Tweet

Mr. Tweet is great.  This site will analyze who you are following, who is following you, let you make recommendations, etc.  It updates every couple of weeks and let’s you know what changes it thinks you should make.  Not everything is perfect, but it is a good site to help you wade through the huge twitter universe of users (again, click on the graphic to go there!).

Managing Twitter

For me, what you get on the twitter site makes it less than ideal to manage twitter.  The constant stream of information (especially if you’ve missed twitter for a couple for hours, makes it hard to find tweets of interest).  Therefore, here are two recommendations I have:


Download this desktop program as quick as you can.  This is great.  You can create multiple columns to track whatever you like (specific people, groups, your posts, replies, etc.).  Also, this application shortens URLs so that you can put all sorts of links and not use up precious character counts.  The display makes it super easy to reply and retweet as well.  You’ve love it.

Tiny Twitter

If you like to track tweets on your mobile, try tiny twitter.  It’s fast and simple and has a good interface.  However, happy to hear of other apps that work well on mobiles.  Let me know.

Retweet – The Key To Word of Mouth Success

Make sure to interact with your followers and support their tweets to keep your followers!  So now whenever you post, all your followers are informed and hopefully interested and engaged in what you have to say.  Maybe you’ve led them to a wonderful URL that they’ll appreciate and use.  But the real power of twitter is the potential for “the viral effect”.

Einstein is quoted as having said that the most powerful force in the universe is compounded interest.  Well, the viral effect on twitter is exactly that.  If you have 200 followers and you send out a tweet, 200 followers see it.  But, if they retweet it to their followers – watch out!

Let’s say each of them has 10 followers.  If they all “retweet” your post – now it has reached 2200 people.  And what if each of those people retweet it to their 5 friends each.  Now you are well over 10,000 people seeing your little tweet sending them to some URL, product, or whatever.

Starting to see the practical application of Twitter now?

How do you get folks to retweet?  Well, write good content and ask! Taking my own advice.  Please tweet and retweet this blog article as much as possible (assuming you like it)!

How does one Retweet (RT)

If you are using TweetDeck or most desktop Twitter apps there is usually a retweet option.  Otherwise, if you are using twitter off of their homepage, copy the original tweet, then paste it into your “What are you doing” tweetbox at the top of the page. With the original message in your tweetbox,  insert the cursor before the first character in the original tweet and type “RT @” then click on the “update” command button.

Good luck and happy tweeting!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the related post on when to tweet! Take the poll: Click Here



Filed under News, twitter