Saturday, December 9, 2017

#AuthorInterview with John Henry Hardy @midightyankee

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor is talking with John Henry Hardy, author of When Brothers Meet

FQ: This story is a recipe that includes everything from thrills to emotional heartache. Where did this idea first come from? Did it have anything to do with the many years you served in the Marines?

HARDY: Yes, this have everything do with my service in the Marine Corps, an organization that makes its members acutely aware of world events that relate to the security of the United States. Most of the major wars fought by mankind from Genghis Khan, the Roman Empire, World Wars I and II, Vietnam, Iraq etc. etc. were precipitated by countries ruled by dictators. China is ruled by a virtual dictator, who has usurped the human rights of its citizens, and its actions in the South China may be another prelude to war. There it has usurped control of waters and islands that have been claimed by other countries for centuries, and is doing so by a show of military force. The reason for this intrusion is the billions of gallons of oil lying beneath the waters of that sea. I wrote this book to make Americans aware of what is actually going on there. As Dr. Kent Moores wrote in his book, The Great Game, "He who controls oil controls the world." That in my opinion is China's goal - to one day control the world.

As for the heartaches, while being absent from home, well I missed so many of my children's birthdays that I lost count of them.

FQ: When you first began to write, it was while working as a Public Affairs Officer for the Marine Corp., was it not? When did you decide that writing was most definitely the career path you wished to follow?

HARDY: I wrote a book when I was 18 years old, but it was never published. I fell in love and life got in the way. But hundreds of articles I wrote were published in newspapers and magazines around the country when I became a Public Affairs Officer.

FQ: Can you share with readers one of the most interesting experiences you have had throughout your military career? And, as well, have you had any fan experiences – emails and such – that have stuck with you throughout your years as a writer?

HARDY: I had a lot of amusing and not so amusing experiences during my career, but the one I remember the most vividly was when I was a platoon commander with the 4th Engineer Support Battalion. We had a get together for a Staff Sergeant who was leaving his wife and two children and heading for Vietnam in what I remember as being April 1968. In May 1968, we attended his funeral. He was an excellent noncommissioned officer, and had laid out a protective mine field around a military installation somewhere in Nam. As he was inspecting his work, he somehow tripped and fell on one of his antipersonnel mines. It was a grim reminder that you can get killed in a lot of different ways in a war.

FQ: Having your background, and with the world as it is today, can you share your personal views on how we could perhaps make this country better and/or safer for its citizens?

HARDY: What we have right now in the White House is making our country better and safer. Unlike another administration, that roamed the world, bowing to princes or kings, apologizing to the world for America's world-saving military actions, and kissing everyone's ass, we now have a president who wanders the globe kicking ass. I don't care what he Tweets, says or has done in the past. He is the strong leader this country needs right now, particularly fixing the $800 billion dollar trade deficit with China (they became a world power on American money), and the $70 billion dollar trade short fall with Mexico and Canada.

I also believe in an armed citizenry. This country was born on the strength of armed patriots, which I view as a last line of defense for this country. When I was fourteen, our family lived in an isolated location in New Jersey. One day while my mother and father were at work I was home alone with my sixteen year old sister and her girlfriend. We had no phone-no way to call for help in an emergency. Our dogs started barking and I spotted two men crawling through the knee-high cornfield surrounding our house. I got my father's double barreled shot gun and fired a shot above their heads-and that is when I learned the necessity of being an armed citizen. It is the only defense you have when you are alone-the police can't be everywhere they're needed!

FQ: Noting that your book is set in the year 2041, is writing in other realms something that you may wish to do one day? Such as, would you like to try your hand at another fiction or non-fiction genre in the future?

HARDY: I have already written a saga of the Vietnam War, Whisper In My Ear (three volumes), which is a tale based on the historical facts of the war. I also wrote a book called The Place Where the Giant Fell, a story about racial discrimination in pre-statehood Arizona, which is also historically correct. Then I wrote a humorous book entitled The Day God Played Baseball, a story about a little league team that lies and cheats to win baseball games-until it runs into a mysterious and angelic young pitcher who teaches a small town that good can triumph over evil.

FQ: Do you have your own personal favorites when it comes to authors and genres? Who would that/those be, and what about their work appeals to you?

HARDY: I am a Civil War buff and loved Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee is another of my favorites. Both novels portrayed strong women. I like novels where the human spirt triumphs over adversity, and good overcomes evil.

FQ: Can you tell readers about any future projects you have on the horizon that we should be watching for?

HARDY: I am currently working on a book - a tale - of aliens from another world who choose to settle on Earth that I call The Phantom Effect. Their sun is dying and they are very much like the human race that sees them as a threat; rumors abound about them taking over the earth and enslaving the world. Harpie Colcek, a reporter for the Rocky Mountain Times, discovers they are a peace loving race, highly intelligent, and they have the cures for many of earth's most horrifying diseases. But the FBI and the CIA view their presence as a threat and believe they are really agents from other countries that are planting spies and saboteurs in the United States.

FQ: It has to be your book you have a female President. Do you believe that perhaps a woman should be sitting in the Oval Office once day, if she is qualified and the correct person for the job?

HARDY: You can bet I believe that a woman will one day be POTUS. I have five daughters and a step daughter. I learned how strong, smart, and merciful women can be growing up with a strong mother and father, and being taught by nuns in a Catholic school setting-they did a lot more than the priests did! There are also many strong women in the military services. I would certainly vote for a woman to be president who was more or as qualified as a man-but not one who is a lying cheat. We already have enough men like that in public office.

FQ: In conclusion, if you could have dinner with one person, whether this is a historical figure, writer, etc., who would that be and what question would you love to ask them?

HARDY: My hero is Abraham Lincoln, a man who rose from poverty to the highest office in the land, and was married to a mentally ill woman; yet he managed to be perhaps our greatest president. I want to know how he dealt with the deaths of 600,000 men and women (yes a few women served in union combat units disguised as men) who were casualties of that war.

To learn more about When Brothers Meet please read the review.

#BookReview - When Brothers Meet @midnightyankee

When Brothers Meet

By: John Henry Hardy
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Publication Date: March 2017
ISBN: 978-1-541384347
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: December 7, 2017

The snow is falling outside the Oval Office windows in the year 2041, as the latest national crisis breaks out. The person sitting behind the Resolute Desk, however, goes by the name, Madame President Constance Higgins. This is a woman with a great deal of experience and not a whole lot of patience for people who try to disagree or go over and around the law. She has just had the mantle of President passed to her, and with it came an immense amount of garbage that her predecessor and their administration left behind. Now, here she is, sworn in as the fiftieth president, and about to head to her first cabinet meeting hoping for answers.

It is at this meeting that Madame President brings up many topics and speaks the absolute truth about all of them. Everything from the overpopulation of the U.S. because the southern borders were not secured by previous administrations to the higher number of people on Welfare, is addressed. From Social Security turning almost invisible as well as how the strength of the U.S. military has been cut in the last ten years in order to save money, makes everything even worse. It seems that the U.S. has received an ultimatum from the Chinese government: The Secretary General of the Communist Party of China, Zhang Li, insists that the U.S. pay their debts in gold rather than dollars, if what’s currently overdue in interest payments is not taken care of within ninety days.

Secretary of Defense John Mahood feels that money is not what this is actually about. He believes there is something far worse going on. As the only one offering a helpful suggestion, he tells the President that since Zhang Li has given them ninety days to comply, they should not do so. If at that time the Chinese do not go forward with their threats about gold versus paper, then they have revealed something far worse is actually up their sleeves. Mahood is right in his assumption. What is being planned is a scheme of monumental proportions called Operation Dragon, where the U.S. will have to face another battle.

Back in the ‘real world,’ Mike Dalton is the perfect male specimen. Not only is this guy a heartthrob for all the young ladies who call the Columbia University, NY, campus home, but he also just won the NCAA championship with his winning basket. Sean, Mike’s younger brother, also loves his sibling but is envious of the attention he receives. Worse, he hates Mike for his relationship with Kyla MacGregor. A girl from Scotland, she is pre-med, highly intelligent, and equally as stunning as Mike.
When a family fight ensues that leaves the “golden” son to graduate top of his class and head into the U.S. military, the feeling of guilt at what happened with his brother goes with him.

So what does a patriot of the U.S. who has had an argument with his brother have to do with the Chinese military moving into the U.S.? And who is NSA Agent Jim Hawkins, and what does he uncover about the Chinese government under a table through a trap door inside a restaurant in Chinatown? These answers cannot be given here, but you will simply note that this is one fast-paced, powerful story with questions galore.

The author has done a wonderful job keeping the thrills happening while telling the tale of brothers who are on an emotional path that may make going to war look like a walk in the park.

Quill says: Readers who love everything from history to war to family sagas that hit you directly in the heart, will find that this book answers each and every call.

BookReview - Tamara Turtle's Life So Far

Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far

By: Regan W.H. Macaulay
Illustrated by: Javier Duarte
Publisher: Mirror Publishing
Pubication Date: June 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1612253688
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: December 2017

Tamara the turtle, a red-eared slider, was just a baby when she found herself in the pet store. Placed in a small tank with other red-sliders, she was hopeful that somebody would buy her and take her home. Soon a young boy tapped on the glass and thought Tamara would make a good pet.

Tamara’s new home at the boy’s house was soon set up and life seemed good. She had a tank with clean water to swim in and a little dock for her to rest upon. But as time passed, the boy grew bored with the turtle. The water became dirty, feedings were forgotten, and Tamara’s shell grew soft – not a good sign!

Realizing that her son had lost interest in his pet turtle, the boy’s mother released Tamara into a creek that run behind their house. Poor Tamara! She didn’t belong in that creek! Would she survive being released into the wild, a place she definitely did not belong? Would she ever find a good, loving home?

Author Regan Macaulay has written a heartfelt story about the plight of unwanted pets – particularly turtles. Most of us probably know of a family that bought a pet on a whim – a dog, a bird, a rabbit – that eventually fell out of favor with the family. In the case of small animals such as fish and turtles, people think they’re doing the animals a favor by releasing them into the wild. The author, however, shows what a bad idea that is when readers see what happens to Tamara in that creek. The story does have a happy ending, and teaches young readers an important lesson along the way about the importance of caring for pets and the very necessary work that various rescue organizations do each and every day. At the back of the book is a two-page spread with a list of various organizations where further information on red-sliders can be found, as well as numerous turtle rescues that help find forever homes for these sweet little reptiles.

Quill says: A good tale to engage young readers and teach them the importance of caring for pets, as well as the necessary work rescue groups do for at-risk animals.

#BookReview - Wild Zoo Train

Wild Zoo Train

By: Carmela Lavigna Coyle
Illustrated by: Seve Gray
Publisher: Muddy Boots
Publication Date: October 2017
ISBN: 978-1630763060
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: December 7, 2017

Attention all young boys and girls – the Wild Zoo Train is boarding right now, and it promises to be a very crazy, very fun ride!

Toooot-Toooot!!!! The train is about to leave the station and the kids are eager to get on board. With a map to the City Zoo Tour in hand, they jump on the train. But wait! The conductor says it’s the Wild Zoo Train and the first stop is Canyonlands! How can that be? “I don’t see it on the zoo map,” notes one young rider. Stay tune for a crazy trip! Choo-choo-choo, ding-ding-ding and clickety-clack goes that train as it chugs along. Over a bridge and then the train slows the canyon.

Watch for...lizards and hogs,
coyotes and frogs;
cacti and cats,
vultures and bats!

That wasn’t in the City Zoo brochure! Next stop the Amazon jungle! Just what kind of wickedly fun train are the children riding?

Wild Zoo Train is a very clever tale about a train that takes a decidedly different track to several wild and interesting places. Readers are kept guessing as to where the train will go next, and what they will see in those mysterious places. The illustrations, are bright, colorful and the zany expressions on the animals’ faces will give kids plenty of giggles. There’s no doubt children will want to catch a ride on the Wild Zoo Train.

Quill says: Wild Zoo Train is one ride you’ll love taking with your children every night as it quickly becomes their favorite bedtime story.

#BookReview - Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon

Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon

By: Judy Young
Illustrated by: Jordi Solano
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: December 2017
ISBN: 978-1585369775
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: December 2017

The year is 1572, and the place is just outside Beijing, China. Hu Wan, an inquisitive nine-year-old, lives with his grandfather. The two spend their time tending to their vegetable garden and make their living by selling gourds that they grow and then carve into ladles and bowls.

When a heavy rain comes, Hu Wen proves his mettle by helping his grandfather raise all the gourds above the water that is soaking the ground. Hu Wan’s grandfather soon falls ill from the dampness and it is up to the boy to tend to the garden. Fortunately, grandfather recovers and all seems well.
Every year, one special gourd is grown inside a uniquely shaped clay pot that Grandfather makes and turns into a cricket cage. This year, he has given the honor of making the clay pot, and overseeing the growth of the special gourd to Hu Wan. The boy is honored and takes the project seriously. When it is time for the gourd to be removed from the clay pot and carved into something special, Hu Wan decides the gourd looks like a sleeping dragon.

Hu Wan makes a lovely cricket cage out of the gourd and when he catches a cricket and puts it into the new gourd cage, both he and his grandfather enjoy the cricket’s songs all night. The next day, Hu Wan discovers that the emperor has died and the leader’s nine-year-old son is now emperor. He learns that gifts are being requested in the hopes that the presents may cheer up the new emperor. After some thought, Hu Wan decides to offer his sleeping dragon cricket cage. But when a guard outside the Forbidden City mocks the handmade gift, Hu Wan is saddened at the thought that the emperor may not accept his gift.

Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon takes readers to an interesting point in Chinese history and shows what life was like for the peasants living outside the gates of the Forbidden City. As well as learning a little history, youngsters will see the sacrifice Hu Wan makes in the hopes of cheering up another boy - an important lesson for all. The author was inspired to write the story after seeing a museum exhibit of ancient cricket cages. The art of creating these fascinating cages is explored through Hu Wan’s learning how to make one. And their use, the enjoyment of cricket songs in the house, will ignite children’s imaginations as to how they could perhaps create their own cricket cage.

Quill says: A very interesting story that gives young readers an inside look at what life was like in China so very long ago.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

#AuthorInterview with Linda J. Hawkins

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor is talking with Linda J. Hawkins, author of Southern Seasons: 12 Months of Tea-licious Recipes & Ideas

FQ: The photographs that you include in your book are absolutely stunning! Can you tell readers a bit about the tea plantation shown?

HAWKINS: Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island is right off the mainland in Charleston, South Carolina. I enjoyed a wonderful tea there and had the privilege of dressing in period costume, answering questions, interacting with visitors and signing books. The most amazing thing that morning was the misty island air--as we pulled up you could smell tea permeating the air. For a tea lover this was an AHHH—moment!

FQ: Along those same lines, is this where you first got the desire to create recipes and put together gatherings/events that you spotlight in the book? Have these recipes been passed down through your family, or have you created them over time?

HAWKINS: No, this was a wonderful place to be inspired, but I was already a full-blown tea lover when I first visited. At the time, I had two tea books: Catering to Children with Recipes for Memorable Tea Parties & The Unspoken Language of Fans & Flowers with Recipes. These were already written when I did my first book signing at the beautiful plantation. They invited us for the grand opening after Bigelow Tea became a partner with Bill Hall. The recipes are from my family & friends; and others I created and tweaked over time.

FQ: Considering the various places you have visited, can you pick a favorite locale of yours, or even a locale that perhaps inspired one of your special tea parties?

HAWKINS: Whether it’s by the ocean, down by a river, on a mountainside, in a wildflower field or in our own flower garden, I’d say each and every one inspire me differently. They each allow me to see nature and beauty from all four seasons and in many delightful, spirited tea times. A Victorian Tea with old furniture in our outside garden was a most memorable event.

FQ: In a world that seems to go very fast, would you offer some pointers and/your opinions on the health properties of tea, such as, how much better it is for the heart and how it can help people to slow down a bit and enjoy life?

HAWKINS: Tea is such a delightful drink--hot, cold, iced and mixed with other ingredients, such as fruits and berries. You will find many recipes, mixes and ideas in Southern Seasons: 12 Months of Tea-licious Recipes & Ideas. Sodas and coffee people tend to grab while on the run and down them quickly. Tea seems to change our mood and we relax more, sipping more slowly, relaxing and taking life at a more leisurely pace. Health benefits? Oh, yes! We’ve included lots of information in the book about the health benefits of tea.

FQ: Was/Is there a chef, cook, baker, etc., whom you admire?

HAWKINS: No particular one, yet I have a deep appreciation for any and all tea house owners who take the time to create real presentations of each table they set – be it simple or ornately elegant. The atmosphere in each can vary yet bring people together for relaxing, sipping and nibbling of the many awesome morsels, beautifully arranged.

FQ: Your books have won a variety of national and international awards. If you could pick one that was your favorite book created, which one would that be and why?

HAWKINS: That is a loaded question, but just like moms of several children I’ll answer you this way they do, “How could I pick one above the other. I love them all!” (all 13)

FQ: What is your next goal in regards to your books? Are you working on something right now that you can share with readers and fans?

HAWKINS: My primary goal for all my books is to touch more hearts. This has been my goal from the day they first came out. In regards to my current project, I’m always working on something but I do not share until it’s off to the printer. Sorry! Top secret!

FQ: Can you tell us a bit about the various classes you teach for the tea industry? Do you have a favorite question from a reader, or a fan moment that you can share?

HAWKINS: There are two main ones: tea history and tea etiquette. But, we do design special speaking events to fit different venues. One of my fans from South Carolina sent a large packet of pictures of her very first tea. After reading my book, she wanted to say, “I did it too!” In the bottom of the package was postage to return her lovely pictures. No one had ever done this! Delightful indeed!

FQ: You have a lovely website at (, with great gifts as well as a blog and information on all your programs; can you tell other authors out there the positives that social media have brought into your life and writing career? Are there any negatives when it comes to social media that you’ve found?

HAWKINS: I must confess social media is not something I spend much time on. I write, work my blog and allow younger people I work with to build website, design and maintain my social media. I still write everything longhand--type, then edit by computer. (Technical stuff and modern equipment messes with my thoughts and creativity.) Therefore, my first thoughts must flow from mind, hand to paper—old fashioned, but it works for me! The one negative I see with social media--it’s a time consumer. I am a high energy person, and I must be up and making visible progress.

FQ: A fun question...If you could have tea with one figure – whether it be a historical figure, an author, etc. – who would it be, and why? And, of course, what tea would you choose to share with said person?

HAWKINS: This is not a fun question! (Smiles) Because I’m a people person. I can think of sooo many we’d love to share tea time with; but if I’d have to narrow it down, it would still be with our grandchildren. (We had only sons, now we have only granddaughters.) The most adored event I created just for them was the The Caterpillar Sleepover, and the next day they all turned into Butterflies! How you may ask? Wings for their young shoulders, special foods for their taste buds and a “Nana” that loves spoiling them from the depths of my soul. Such love is beyond great riches. And, I’d serve them their own special flavor. (Lemon Rooibos ,Earl Grey and Chai)

To learn more about Southern Seasons: 12 Months of Tea-licious Recipes & Ideas please read the review.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

#BookReview - Southern Seasons

Southern Seasons: 12 Months of Tea-licious Recipes & Ideas

By: Linda J. Hawkins
Publisher: Heart to Heart Publishing, Inc.
Publication Date: May 2017
ISBN: 978-1-937008-53-6
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: December 5, 2017

To classify this book as a cookbook is just not enough. Yes, it certainly fits into said category by offering recipes that you will most definitely want to create in your own kitchen, but author Linda J. Hawkins has gone far beyond that. For anyone with one of those awesome grandmothers who made those cookies you were salivating over all week long, knowing you were headed to the grandparents’ house for Sunday dinner to enjoy them while spending time with the family you loved (Miss you, Grandma!), this one is most definitely for you.

Aptly fitting the description the author gives in her introduction, this book is full of “Tea-riffic” information! First, we begin with the photographs. This book offers up some of the most stunning pictures imaginable. Cutting the book into seasons, then by month within each season, pictures appear spotlighting everything from a landscape glistening with a blanket of snow to a spring garden filled with the newest flowers just beginning to bloom – waking up in order to give the world a fresh, new look under the much warmer sunshine. Then, you have the words. This is not only a group of recipes with directions and ingredients, but also pages of quotes from poets, inspirational words from the Bible, and kind, fun, peaceful short stories shared with readers about the tea parties that went from events to yearly family traditions in the Hawkins’ household.

The author lets readers in on facts about the enjoyment of tea served with glorious foods, and even shares a list of various signature tea parties that can be held to include friends, families, children, and more. The list talks about everything from a “Little Ones First Tea” event to a “Seashore Tea” that can be held while looking out upon the awesome beauty of Mother Nature’s waves.

Not only are the teas spoken about delicious, but the appetizers – from candy to dips – and the main courses that range from Roasted Maple Glazed Tenderloin to Almond Crusted Chicken with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce, are also provided with easy to follow recipes to make sure the meal you feast upon at your “tea party” is truly unforgettable. Some are even extremely unique, like Delightful Divinity which is served at your “Friendship Tea” to celebrate those close pals who play a large, caring part in your life. Add into all this an Etiquette page, and a slew of extra gifts from the author that show you some of the amazing places she has traveled, and you most definitely have a stellar, high-level guide that shows you how to live an enjoyable life.

Quill says: This is truly a “must-have” for the household, enabling everyone to create tea-riffic family traditions.

For more information on Southern Seasons: 12 Months of Tea-licious Recipes & Ideas, please visit the author's website at:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

#AuthorInterview with Carole P. Roman @caroleproman

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Ellen Feld is talking with Carole P. Roman, author of Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump (An Oh Susannah Story)

FQ: This book deals with a topic that many children have to deal with - fear - whether it is fear of the unknown, dark spaces, or unicorns. What made you want to tackle this subject?

ROMAN: I knew I left off unanswered questions in Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag. Susannah was afraid of Lola's house, (it's old and scary) so I had to let Susannah tell me why. When I start a book, I have no idea where the story is going to go - the characters tell me.

FQ: Fear of attending Lola's sleepover takes over Susannah's entire life, but her parents are slow to pick up on her worries. What advice would you give parents to help their child recognize such a problem and then help resolve the issue?

ROMAN: Kids have such active and full lives. They hold so much in. They are busy and there are deadlines, activities, our lives are very full. People have to multi-task, they are busy on their devices all day. It's easy to miss something. I think we have to spend more quiet time with each other- take time at the dinner table and talk. Not speak to each other- really talk and find out what is going on in each other's lives. My kids are 39, 36, 35, and 34. (I include my in-law children, as well. I may not have given birth to them, but I love 'em like they are my own.) My grandkids are 9, 7, 5, and 3. I spend time with them as much as I can. I want to talk about what's important in their lives at the moment - listen to them. Very often, a simple thing like a sigh or a frown will let you know there is something that needs more exploring.

FQ: I loved reading about "The Plaster Party Event." Would you tell our readers a little about this charity event? Also, is it based on a real event you've attended?

ROMAN: My daughters-in-law make many of the kids parties at a local plaster place. It's fun. They've even taken me and we have spent a very nice morning painting gnomes with the grandkids. The charity event was an invention but I have a blind person in my life who was not. My brother has slowly been going blind since birth. He has a degenerative disease that is taking his eyesight. I work with him every day. He is the CFO of all my businesses and we share an office. I have been sensitive to his "sight" challenges for over fifty years. From the time I was a little girl, I always assess a room, based on his limitation - what could trip him up. How I could make things easier? Since he has had sight, he knows how colors look - but it is something I have thought about - how do you describe colors to someone is blind? Susannah learns at that party some valuable things about fears - they are subjective to the person and their perspectives. What is scary to one person, may not affect another.

FQ: At the "Plaster Party" we meet Susannah's good friend Macy. Macy is a very interesting girl - while blind, she doesn't let her handicap slow her down and she's super positive. Is she based on a real person you know? If not, what inspired you to create her?

ROMAN: I think I just answered this above. Yes, my brother is an inspiration. He has never let his limitations with sight slow him down. I am so proud of him and his accomplishments. We are a solution-oriented family and whenever any of us has met an obstacle, we work as a team to get around it.

FQ: I'm worried about Mrs. Horn. Will we see her again?

ROMAN: I don't see why not - It's just a cold. lol. She was a bit dramatic, though.

FQ: In the interview for the first book in the series, Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag, you mentioned that you wrote this book in about an hour and a half. That's quite impressive! Did the idea for the story bubble around in your head for a bit before you sat down to write, or did it just pop out all at once?

ROMAN: I wish I gave birth to my kids the way I write stories. They just pop out!! No struggle. Susannah had a story to tell and she ranted until I got the whole thing on paper. I wrote it at work, while I was sitting with my brother. He can't see when I am working and talks to me while I write. I don't have the heart to tell him I'm busy - I have the unique ability to do two things at once - I answer him and write at the same time. It's weird.

FQ: Like real life, while Susannah and her parents discussed their miscommunications and busy lifestyle in the first book, and while they were all making an effort to do better, they still had "bumps" in slowing down their lives and talking. Did you do this to show readers that not all problems are resolved in a day?

ROMAN: Yes - Life is not a sitcom - it's a work in progress. It takes time and effort. Just when you think you've got it down, someone goes and changes the rules. You have to keep evolving and reinventing yourself, because everyone around you is doing it, as well.

FQ: Without giving too much away, I loved the doll scene at Lola's house. It had the makings of a good horror movie, but at the same time, something so innocent. I suspect you had a slight giggle when you thought about writing this - was it fun to put pen to paper and bring that room of dolls to life?

ROMAN: It was a slice of my childhood - only I was in a hamper...with a flashlight. I am laughing just at the thought of my unsuspecting and bratty baby brother coming in to throw laundry in a basket that held quite a surprise. Buwah hahaha

FQ: Have you started book three in the "Oh Susannah" series yet? If so, would you give our readers a sneak peek about what our favorite third grader conquers in her newest adventure?

ROMAN: I just published an Oh Susannah Color With Me Coloring Book. Mateya Arkova filled it with delightful images and questions involving the different books. I will start a new Oh Susannah story after the New Year. I have been writing on Medium - some adult fiction under the pen name Brit Lunden.

FQ: You've written quite a few books, both fiction and non-fiction. How do you find the time to write so much? Do you set a certain amount of time each day for writing? Or do you wait until the mood to write hits?

ROMAN: I write every day - whether it's a magazine, a new book, or even a review, I find time to write about something. I also read every night. To me, that's more important. I can't go to sleep without reading. Very often, my brother and I discuss the books the next day at work. I also read every night with my grandchildren over Facetime. The younger ones get a quick story, the older ones are reading books like Harry Potter. My five-year-old is plowing through my cultural series. She loves learning about the world.

FQ: Do you have any other book projects in the works? If so, would you tell us about them?
ROMAN: I usually have a bunch of projects going on at once, including my day job - which pays the bills. I write for Medium, an online magazine. I have founded and helped produce a new online magazine called Indie Author's Monthly with authors Julie A. Gerber and RL Jackson. I host two monthly blog radio shows, Let's Say Hello to Our Neighbors and Navigating Indieworld. Right now, I am running the publicity campaign for my son's new traditionally published book. I manage promotion on all of our indie books - between us we have published over 70. I write children's fiction and non-fiction for all different ages. I have co-authored a book called Navigating Indieworld with Julie A. Gerber, a self-help book for indie authors and am completing Marketing Indieworld with Julie, and marketing college professor, Angela Hausman. I write adult fiction under the name Brit Lunden and I beta-read for several authors.

To learn more about Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump (An Oh Susannah Story) please read the review.

#BookReview - Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump @caroleproman

Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump (An Oh Susannah Story)

By: Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by: Mateya Arkova
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: July 2017
ISBN: 978-1947188136
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: November 28, 2017

Susannah Maya Logan is at it again, and this time she's taking readers along as she tries to conquer her fears in the second book in the "Oh Susannah" series for young readers.

When we last saw Susannah, in Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag, she had just learned an important lesson about how to handle problems that seem overwhelming. In this book, Susannah tackles her fears of all sorts of things that "go bump in the night."

At the end of the first book, readers were left wondering how Susannah would handle the sleepover invitation from her best friend Lola. She wanted to go to the sleepover, but Lola's house was downright scary. It was old, the floorboards creaked, and there were spiders (eek!) hiding in the dark corners. To make things worse, Lola's brother Kai just loves scaring Susannah. He's told her that there's a ghost in their house...and now the frightened third-grader really doesn't want to go to Lola's sleepover.

Susannah is spending all of her time worrying about going to Lola's house. She had gone there for play-dates and so she knew that the house was full of dark corners and strange noises. Last time she was there a spider somehow climbed in, and then out, of her shoe! As the day of the sleepover approached, Susannah replayed those events over and over in her mind. The more she thought, the more frightened she became. What was she going to do?

Because she was so busy worrying about the sleepover, Susannah had completely forgotten about "The Plaster Party Event." This was a fun charity event where Susannah would get to see her friend Macy. Macy was a great friend and Susannah loved seeing her - too bad they lived so far apart. At the event, because Macy was blind, Susannah would help her with whatever ceramic project Macy wanted to make. She thought it was going to be just a fun party, but Susannah was going to learn something very important about facing your fears.

Soon the day of the sleepover arrived - would what Susannah learned with Macy help? Would she be chased by a ghost? Would she run into some creepy, crawly spiders or would the night pass quietly into morning? She wasn't sure, but she was about to find out...

In the first book in this new series, young readers learned a valuable lesson along with the protagonist about how to deal with problems, especially those that can overwhelm a person. In this story, readers will follow along with Susannah to see how/if she conquers her fears. What child isn't afraid of the dark at some point in their lives? Ghosts and spooky creatures have inhabited many a child's dream, and in this fun tale, children will see how somebody deals with those fears. Without getting preachy, the author manages to show readers how to handle fears that may seem overpowering. Kudos to the author for another story that teaches a lesson while also being a "whole lotta fun" to read.

Quill says: A satisfying follow-up to the first book in the "Oh Susannah" series. Early readers will love learning how Susannah deals with a very scary problem.

For more information on Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag (An Oh Susannah Story), please visit the author's website at:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

#AuthorInterview with J. Rutledge @authorJRutledge

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor is talking with J. Rutledge, author of Truth and The Serpent

FQ: When it comes to a writer’s debut, it is a BIG deal! What made you take on such an enormous subject for your very first novel?

RUTLEDGE: To be honest, I didn’t want to write a story that dealt with religion. Religion is not one of my favorite topics, however it was the only story at the time that had potential to move forward.

The original idea came about during a brief conversation, when the other person said to me, “all snakes are evil because of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden.” I said...“All snakes? rattlesnakes, pythons, boa constrictors...they’re just evil?” Now, I know the garden of Eden story and I was pretty sure it didn’t say that. The person I was speaking to was very religious, and there was no way to argue rationally against that, so I left it alone. Unfortunately, it was stuck in my head. So, when I got home, I reread the garden of Eden story just to make sure, and I confirmed that nowhere in the text does it ever say Evil, Satan, or Devil.

A Law & Order scene popped in my head, where the Serpent was on trial and the prosecution was trying to prove motive and intent. That’s when it struck me to rewrite it from the Serpent’s point of view, to see if it would make more sense. What if you somehow encountered this legendary dark figure, and it speaks intelligently and tells you its version of the events. The same events would happen but now the perspective has been changed. It sounded interesting to me, and it was something I had never heard before with this subject. The original story was only a page and a half, and after 2 years of writing it was at 800 pages, another year of editing cut it down to just under 500 pages.

FQ: Considering the subject, and the fact that people can forget when a tale is “fiction,” were you ever a bit wary that some people might wish to debate you on some of the things your main character states?

RUTLEDGE: You don’t take on a subject like religion or politics and expect everyone to agree with you. Truth and the Serpent is meant as a discussion piece. There really is no 100% right answer with this subject. And as such, I think the best you can hope for is to add something new to the conversation.

As a writer, it was a personal challenge to see if I could FIND SOMETHING DIFFERENT, without it becoming an attack on the subject. How many times have we heard these stories and every time it’s the same old thing. If you even mention religion, Jew, Muslim, Bible, people completely lose their minds.

Once I decided to write it, I wanted it to be for someone like myself. But how do you write a story that deals with religion, for a person who isn’t interested in debating religion? That’s when I decided that the balance of the story would be true versus untrue, instead of good versus evil or right versus wrong. As Good and Evil are subjective and change depending on the point of view. However, there are things in these stories that are universally true and relatable to everyone.

That’s when I realized that the Serpent character was the perfect vehicle to have this discussion. Truth and the Serpent at its core is a talking animal story. It’s an absurdity set in the ‘WHAT IF UNIVERSE.’ Therefore, it’s not an attack, it’s a conversation free from judgment, or fear of reprisal. The Serpent character can ask these questions and pose alternative theories without the reader feeling threatened. Because the reader has no connection to the Serpent character. The same could not have been done with say Noah or Joseph, because our minds just won’t allow it.

FQ: If you had to choose, what would be the one thing you would like readers to take away from this novel?

RUTLEDGE: Most of all, if after reading this book it spurs people to think something different, ask a new question, or go back and ‘READ IT FOR YOURSELF,’ then as a writer, I did my job! The themes of Truth and The Serpent are personal responsibility, and the seeking of truths over myth and lore. I worked very hard to find truths in these stories that unit; and not get caught up in the legends and fables that have come to control, enslave, and divide. As much as people debate the existence of God, or argue Jew versus Muslim against Christian, nothing ever seems to change or improve. So, with this story I had a chance to question and critique as much as I wanted to. I understand that many readers will be apprehensive due to the subject, however if you don’t ask any new questions, you’re not going to get any different answers.

Truth and The Serpent is not about debunking the Bible or explaining existence through science and math. Truth and the Serpent is a fiction that examines the shared stories of humanity through the eyes of the infamous Serpent.

FQ: It is always a thrill to see a new author come to the market. It’s a difficult journey to sit in front of that computer on a daily basis and create a book. Is there a positive piece of advice you would give to a new author in regards to this choice of career? On the other side of that coin, is there a piece of advice you would give them on what to stay away from or beware of when choosing writing as a career?

RUTLEDGE: Be honest to yourself! You need know why you are writing. For me writing is a passion, it’s the process of conceptualizing then challenging my own ideas while being creative to tell a story.

Writing is a blessing and a curse. It is a solitary, isolating, stressful, personal, and grueling endeavor. You literally have to close out the outside world in favor of one you have inside of your head. And then if after torturing yourself and putting your ideas out there for critique, you still want to do it all over again, then you too are a writer.

FQ: How much research went into this particular creation? On the same note, are you a lover of history and research – is there a particular historical time period that attracts your attention that perhaps will be the foundation for a book one day?

RUTLEDGE: On average, I had about 100 pages of notes for each chapter. I researched everything meticulously. From the beginning I wanted this book to be different. So, in order to do that I couldn’t repeat the other theories and explanations that are out there. Meaning it couldn’t be about sun worship, it couldn’t be about astrology, it could be about the devil tricking everyone. If you’re saying, ‘The Bible doesn’t say that.’ Well you’re right...If all I was going to do was write the exact same thing, well that book already’s called The Bible!

I don’t have a particular favorite period of time, but I do enjoy history and research quite a bit. It was interesting taking on this subject, and reading and researching not for purposes of faith. Looking at it from a literary perspective you see how easy it is to distort the truth. It’s frightening, specifically with religion, how many people have not read, questioned, or researched for themselves, yet hold so strongly to a belief in ignorance. The bad thing is, when you educate and inform yourself, you become the bad guy. But oh well, such is the fate of intellectuals...

FQ: What is next up for you? Are you currently working on a second title?

RUTLEDGE: Yes, currently I am working on notes for Serpent book 2. I hope to start writing it sometime after the new year. The story will follow the Serpent and a human character who live during the time of Jesus. It is titled, but I am not releasing it yet.

FQ: As stated in the review, it’s almost like the Serpent is creating mysteries for the reader to solve. Is there a specific reason why you gave nicknames to the characters as opposed to using the ones that are well-known?

RUTLEDGE: Yes, it was mostly for consistency. In the beginning the Serpent identifies the guy as “Man of the Present.” The Serpent states that a person’s name does little to describe a person, hence...what’s in a name. Also, I knew that I would run into a problem later on in the story. There are multiple, John’s, Peter’s, Jesse’s, Matthew’s, and so on. I originally had it where the Man of the Present said, “Adam,” and the Serpent replied, ‘which Adam? I’ve known a lot of Adam’s… could you be more specific.’ The Man of the Present then had to describe Adam, as first man, Garden, Eve, and then there was a recognition.

Again, this story is about how the Serpent views humanity. And since the Serpent has existed since the beginning of time, it wouldn’t make sense for the Serpent to call someone by a name that has been used thousands of times, especially when there aren’t any last names. I looked up the names to see what they meant, for example Noah means Rest or comfort. Some of the others I had to get creative with, for example in ‘The Dagger.’ The woman who accuses Joseph of rape, her name is Zuleika, which means "fair; brilliant and lovely." Which in the book became ‘Love so Brilliant.’ So, the Serpent would identify these people by their actions, that’s why the Serpent describes them.
Additionally, these stories do not exist only in Christianity. For that matter this could be Jewish, Muslim, or Zoroastrian fiction. And within these other religions the names are spelled or pronounced differently. However, the deeds of these heroic figures remain the same and are easily identifiable to pretty much anybody. I wanted to focus on the shared information of these stories, and not take a Christian view opposed to a Jewish or Muslim understanding.

FQ: If there was one person you could sit down with and ask questions of, who would it be and why? Is there a specific question you would like them to answer?

RUTLEDGE: I do have a list of historical figures, that I would like to meet up with for coffee. In the Chapter, The Mirror, there is a scene, where the Serpent and Ruth (The Widow) sit down for coffee. She also performs ‘Coffee Ceremony’ for the Serpent, which is an Ethiopian custom.
As for a specific person, I’m a fan of Bruce Lee, as so many others are. I don’t know what question I would ask. I think just to sit and listen and learn, and share, with him, would be special.

FQ: Is there a way, in your mind, for Mankind to finally change the path of violence we continue to create for ourselves? Can books and learning help that to happen?

RUTLEDGE: Excellent question. While writing the book, I wanted it to be positive, uplifting, interesting, and thought provoking. I hope that is something that was evident throughout the book. I am only one person, and while writing this book I repeatedly had to step back out of my ego, my politics, my race, my gender, and my heterosexual orientation. Because the Serpent character is not bound by those things. But by doing that I was able to see guidance, and hope in these stories, where I didn’t see them before.

Cities, schools, government, medicine, and religion are supposed to be what makes us civilized, however what good does it do if nobody reads the damn books, or wants to learn anything new. I do believe there is hope for humanity, we can do better, and we can be better. Unfortunately, people are slow to remember and quick to forget. It’s difficult to move forward, if you keep tripping over the past!

J. Rutledge

To learn more about Truth and The Serpent please read the review.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

#AuthorInterview with Carole P. Roman @caroleproman

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Ellen Feld is talking with Carole P. Roman, author of Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag (An Oh Susannah Story)

FQ: While you've written numerous books, Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag is your first foray into young reader fiction. What was the impetus for venturing into this new, for you, genre? Was it something you have always wanted to try? Or did you see a strong need for good stories for young readers?

ROMAN: When I started writing, I targeted my grandchildren as a reading audience. I read with them frequently - I think it's a result of life mirroring art. My oldest grandson and I started reading early reader chapter books. Bianca Schulz from The Children's Book Review also suggested I write a chapter book. I didn't think I could do it. I was used to my series. However, Susannah popped into my head - actually, her mother did, and said you have to write this story.

FQ: Breakfast is certainly crazy in Susannah's house. It made for a fun, and funny, scene. Did you base this on breakfast at your house?

ROMAN: I was a working mother, but I had a strong partnership with my husband and a wonderful support system with my parents, grandmother, and brothers. I was never overwhelmed. I was super organized, but that didn't mean I didn't see my friends struggle. Susannah's story was based on a working mother buddy of mine, who had three kids down with illness and was being pulled in all directions. It made me wonder what message are we teaching our daughters? That you have to be able to 'do' it all? Many men will 'farm out' things like car repair, or the lawn. Some women work, come home, help the kids with homework, do laundry, name it. We place inhumane standards on our shoulders.

FQ: The dreaded red pen...Susannah gets a math test back with a big red circle on it. We've all been there! The way you built up the scene, with the students taking the test, and then Susannah lowering her head, as if to hide, certainly helped highlight the stress and panic that Susannah was feeling. Was this a hard chapter to write?

ROMAN: No - but it was very real for me. I have been in that seat. I think I had learning difficulties that were never diagnosed, causing me to duck my head and hide. Since my son, and some of my grandkids have been labeled LD, it stands to reason. Back then, you were not paying attention, or not performing to your capabilities. Since I didn't learn to tie my shoes until I was in my late teens, or tell time until I was in my twenties, I think something bigger was going on. However, like I tell my kids, those challenges only made me stronger and my success sweeter.

FQ: The "Dream Bus" scene was quite imaginative. Where did the idea for this bus ride come from?

ROMAN: There is a commercial on television right now where a woman is being annoyed by her demanding boss at the foot of her bed. She keeps reminding her of work she has to do. The bus sort of grew from that. When we are worried, it morphs sometimes into monstrous thoughts that invade our sleep.

FQ: There's a bit of a cliffhanger in this story as we still don't know what will happen at Lola's sleepover...would you give our readers a sneak peek at that party?

ROMAN: Susannah has to overcome her fears, or face losing Lola's friendship. She learns that everybody has fears, and fears are driven by what we don't know. Once we can explain something, usually whatever is scaring us loses it power.

FQ: Have you planned out the whole Oh Susannah series yet? How many books are you planning? Have you written others in the series yet or are they still ideas floating around in your head, waiting to come to life?

ROMAN: I never plan - they happen as they go. Susannah will have more adventures. I'm just waiting for her to tell me where. I have put out a lovely Oh Susannah coloring book with Mateya Arkova's beautiful and detailed illustrations.

FQ: Susannah keeps trying to figure out her mother's superpower. What would your children - or grandchildren - say is your superpower?

ROMAN: I know my kids would say that I am a rock. Nothing shakes my resolve and I meet every deadline, and believe me, we've had a lot. I think my kids respect my ability to transform myself into what we need at the moment and get the job done. I wear many diverse hats. My grandkids adore me- lol. I'm not quite sure why - I think I keep reinventing myself to whatever they need at the moment. They are the center of my world.

FQ: The parents in the story are always busy, busy, busy and they've lost track of what is so important. It takes their daughter's statement, "you are always too busy," to make them realize their mistake. This is so true in today's world. What would you suggest parents do to try and slow down when life demands so much?

ROMAN: YES!!!! Delegate where you can, and sometimes the answer has to be 'no.' Think about priorities in life. What did you want years ago and where has it gone? We get caught in the grind to get ahead and sometimes it direction has to be reevaluated. Time is the most precious commodity- once it's gone you can't ever get it back!

FQ: I like the symbolism you used in the story, with Susannah hiding her problems inside the school bag - and how that school bag eventually couldn't take any more problems. Would you talk a little about the stress school children are under today and how "we" (parents, family and friends) can help them deal with the issues?

ROMAN: We are all cramming so much in our day. We have distractions, the phone, television, devices. Sometimes something as simple as reading a book and discussing it is enough to get to know what's going on in your kid's head. Sometimes we have to think- do we need to go to every activity? How about a stay at home day and cook together, or do a project, plant a tree. Talk, but more importantly...listen to what your kids are saying.

FQ: How would you compare your experience writing this early reader fiction book to writing a non-fiction self-help book. Were the experiences very different?

ROMAN: There is research when I do non-fiction. For the culture books I spent a lot of time speaking to people. I will admit, the historicals come from what I knew. I read history all the time. I was a history teacher a long time ago.

When I write fiction, the story speaks to me. I may have an idea, but the characters take over and the story evolves from them. Sometimes I feel like a conduit. My son says that is the subconscious speaking. Maybe it is, I'm not sure.

Susannah started with a different name and different journey. I had no idea when I started, that was where it was going, or even that there would be a book 2. I wrote the first Susannah in half an hour, the second book took an hour more. When a story wants to be told, it fights to get out.

To learn more about Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag (An Oh Susannah Story) please read the review.

#BookReview - Royally Wed

Royally Wed: The Royals Book 3

By: Teri Wilson
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
Publication Date: November 2017
ISBN: 978-1501160516
Reviewed by: Diana Buss
Review Date: November 24, 2017

Princess Amelia has always been the outsider in her Royal family. Nicknamed “Princess Naughty” from the time she was young, Amelia has had her fair share of wild stunts. Now it's time they come to an end. She is arranged to be married to Holden Beckett, a long-time admired family friend. Amelia has always loved him, especially since he is the father of her best friend Eleanor, but never as a love interest. While they have mutual respect for one another, Amelia dreads the day of the wedding, which is to be a grand and immaculate affair. Although Amelia knows she must do this in order to save her family's reputation, she can’t help but wish there was a way around it. When musician Yo Yo Ma is unable to perform at the wedding and American Asher Reed arrives, her world is turned upside down.

Asher Reed is a cellist who is gearing up for his first performance since he discovered his ex-fiance and maestro have been an item. He has removed himself from the public eye and hasn't performed in quite some time, at least until his talent is requested for the royal wedding. As his first large performance after time away, Asher is struggling to prove that he is ok after his breakup and that his talent is still there. He is nervous about his career and understands how important it is that he proves himself. All goes well until he meets Amelia, there is something about her sadness and spark for life that he is drawn to, although she's engaged to be married to someone else. He finds himself falling for her, but he's not the only one who realizes something special is going on between them. The more he falls for her, the more he and Amelia wish they could stop the wedding, and when a strange twist of events occurs, they may have found a way.

Royally Wed is a sweet and relaxing read. The characters are relatable and the love story is told in a way that is not overly cliche but still very cute. It's easy to put yourself both in Amelia and Asher’s shoes and consider what you would do in the same situation. Just as I have said with Wilson's other books in this series, they just keep getting better and better and always leave you wanting more. I look forward to yet another book in this series, which I can only hope is in the making.

Quill says: This is the perfect book to cozy up with on the couch. Royally Wed is a light, easy read that will warm your heart and leave you rooting for Amelia and Asher.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

#BookReview - Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag @caroleproman

Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag (An Oh Susannah Story)

By: Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by: Mateya Arkova
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: April 2017
ISBN: 978-1543034615
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: November 22, 2017

Susannah is having one heck of a day - will it ever end? Young readers will love following along to see what happens to Susannah when her day goes from bad to very, very bad in this first book in a delightful new series.

It's just another average morning for Susannah as she gets up and gets ready for school. But "average" quickly takes a turn for the worse as the third-grader eyes her math homework that she was supposed to have finished the night before. Oh, well, better just slip that paper into her school bag and ignore it. Susannah's mother calls to her, telling her to hurry, hurry, hurry. Why is her mother always in a hurry?

Oatmeal and a banana for breakfast. Bleck! Susannah hates bananas! She decides the best thing to do is hide that nasty fruit in her school bag. That takes care of the banana problem (or does it?). Both her parents are in such a rush that they hardly notice their daughter. Why are they always rushing?
On the school bus, Susannah's best friend Lola reminds her about the sleepover. Lola wants to know why Susannah didn't take the invitation yesterday. Susannah doesn't want to tell her friend that Lola's house is old and creepy, with spiders and maybe even ghosts! Surely Susannah can't be expected to sleep in such a scary house. Better just put that invitation into the school bag and deal with it later.
As Susannah's day continues, things continue to go downhill. Homework, gym class, a school project...every problem gets tossed into that school bag. And that school bag is getting quite heavy. At the same time, the banana, at the bottom of the school bag, is getting very, very smelly. Susannah is overwhelmed and she doesn't know what to do.

Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag is a quick moving story that will keep readers glued to the pages. The story is lighthearted, funny, and it teaches an important lesson. It quickly becomes apparent that all of Susannah's problems are being hidden away in her school bag, and at some point, that bag is not going to be able to take any more "problems." Susannah gets overwhelmed, and she doesn't know what to do to solve all those "things" hiding in her bag. Young readers will likely identify with Susannah's problems and want to see how she solves them. And that sleepover at Lola's? Stay tuned for book 2 in the series, Things That Go Bump to see what happens.

Quill says: A great start to a new series for young readers. I look forward to meeting Susannah again in her next book!

For more information on Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag (An Oh Susannah Story), please visit the author's website at:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

#BookReview - Truth and The Serpent @writerJRutledge

Truth and The Serpent

By: J. Rutledge
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Publication Date: January 2017
ISBN: 978-1-541235489
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: November 20, 2017

Stumbling through a thunder and lightning storm that almost feels like God’s power is being directed specifically at him, a man finds cover in the safety of a cave. But this is not a normal, everyday cave. There is a more dangerous creature waiting inside than just your regular grizzly setting up shop for winter.

We are talking about a cavern filled with treasures. Walls that are tiled with precious gems lead the man deeper into the cave for further exploration. After all, greed is alive and well, and this man is drawn down these glimmering paths by his own curiosity and his own deadly sin. Walking for what seems like miles, following the sound of running water, he enjoys his surroundings. Enjoyment soon fades and greed is soon forgotten, however, when a creature rises up and a forked tongue begins to spit words that no Modern Day Man has ever heard before. This is the Serpent. That snake from the famous Garden that played home to the birth of Mankind. Oddly enough, the creature states that all he wants is company; he wants the man to take a seat and listen to the real truth behind the stories that the Bible made famous.

Readers find out early on, through the first tale told by the Serpent of Man, Woman, and the Garden, that he was not actually at fault. He states that the blame lies solely on Woman for what was done there; the curse for her blasphemy being childbirth. We also find out that before the apple fell from the tree, so to speak, the Serpent was not the scaly creature that became synonymous with evil. He quite literally had limbs; limbs that were used at one time to cover Man and keep him safe. The Serpent tells of the Creator who withdrew his limbs and replaced them with scales – the punishment for his part played in the trauma of the Garden. He was bestowed with the body that would remind Mankind for all time that he was the evildoer...from the very beginning.

The Serpent will answer this man’s questions, usually with sarcasm and a quick flick of the tongue, throughout this tale. He will lead this man through various times on Earth, where he watched humans battle, make rules, create laws, alter the land, and transform their beliefs to either accept change, or banish it by dangling the transgressors of these “sins” at the end of ropes.

The people in the Serpent’s tales have nicknames, from “The Variable” to the “Drawn Forth Son” to the “Beloved.” But along with these odd introductions, he also places them in well-known settings that allow readers to solve the mystery of who these people are. Such as, the Moon City that fell in battle when an army simply circled its high walls...Jericho, perhaps?

The Serpent goes every which way as he describes his love, anger, allegiance, or hatred he had during all of these times and with all of these people. And when it comes to the Creator and the master of evil known to the world as Satan, readers will find the snake’s beliefs even more interesting. the Serpent telling the ultimate truth, or is he simply a wolf in reptilian clothing? It is for you to read and decide.

When it comes to two subjects, religion and politics, books can be highly difficult to review. They are the two subjects that all out there wish to be judges and juries about, no matter if they are created in the world of fiction or non. When it comes to this first novel by author J. Rutledge, this can be said: A book speaking of religion from this slithery point of view has not been written. It is at times great fun, imaginative and thrilling; other times, such as when the Serpent uses language that makes him sound like a high school bully rather than the educated creature he is 99% of the time, can cause the reader to doubt the intelligent character.

Quill says: This is a good book taking on the highly debated and highly believed stories of the “Good Book,” with passion, intelligence, and humor.

For more information on Truth and the Serpent, please visit the author's Facebook page.

#BookReview - A Little Bit of Grace

A Little Bit of Grace

By: Phoebe Fox
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication Date: January 2018
Review By: Jennifer Rearick
Review Date: November 2017

Grace and Brian run an estate law firm that they inherited from their parents. The practice has been in their family for multiple generations. Since they grew up together, the two quickly become best friends. They spent countless hours together growing up. Their families even lived a couple houses away from each other. After graduation, Grace and Brian went to two different colleges.

During their time at college, although they were still friends, their friendship was a little different. Having grown up with each other, Grace developed feelings for Brian. While he was at college, Brian did date other people. During their senior year, he even brought a girl named Angelica home for their Thanksgiving break. Although it was a little difficult for Grace to handle at the time, after graduation when the two moved back to work at their family’s firm, Angelica was long gone. Things changed after they both moved back home. Brian and Grace began to get closer again. After multiple dates, the two eventually got married.

Although they had a good marriage, they did have some obstacles that they had to get over. After 10 years, the two ultimately decided to get a divorce. Throughout the divorce, the two remained civil. Since Grace and Brian were living in his parent’s old house, after the divorce, Grace decided to move back in with her mother, a couple houses away. Even after the divorce they still remained friends and continued working in the family law firm together. Shortly after moving back home, Grace’s mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. After her mother passed away, it was hard on Grace since she had no family except Brian around her.

One day while Grace was at the practice, Brain asked if they could meet up after work. Grace, still not fully over Brian, agreed. When the doorbell rang, she had no idea that her life was going to completely change. When Grace answered the door, it was Brian and Angelica. Grace, still remembering who she was, reluctantly let them in. Instead of Brian coming over to try to reconcile with Grace, he was coming over to tell Grace that he had moved on and that Angelica was moving to Sugarberry to be with him.

Grace was stunned and knew she had to get away. While Grace was sitting there thinking about everything that had happened, she remembered a postcard that had arrived, addressed to her mother. The postcard was written for her mother, but Grace had no idea who wrote it. The writer asked for Grace’s mother Patricia to come visit. Grace, seeing this as a potential getaway, dialed the number. When the person picked up, Grace began explaining the postcard and a little about her mother. It turns out, that the person Grace was talking to was her mother’s aunt Millie. Although Grace had never met her, she decides that going to Florida and meeting her would be a nice way to get away from Brian.

Grace soon leaves to go to Florida to meet her aunt. Although she is excited to get away, she has so many questions. Who is this mysterious person and why hasn’t anyone in her family ever mentioned her before? If she really is her aunt, what happened that caused everyone to forget about her? Grace, although wanting to know the answers, was reluctant to learn the truth. She soon realizes that her little getaway wasn’t just for her to do some soul searching, but to discover decades old family history.

A Little Bit of Grace is a great book that is very well written and not at all a typical women's fiction title. There are so many things going on that people can really connect to, from break-ups, to divorce, moving on and various family issues. Although there is something for everyone to connect to, it does keep you guessing. It leaves you wondering what was so bad that someone could completely disown their own family. Once you find out, although it is a controversial topic, it leaves you wondering what would you do. This book is a wonderful read and definitely gets you thinking.

Quill says: This is a great heartfelt book that will definitely get you thinking.

#BookReview - Ralphie, Always Loved

Ralphie, Always Loved

By: Andrea Yerramilli
Illustrated by: Samantha Van Riet
Publisher: About Something Good, LLC
Publication Date: October 2017
ISBN: 978-0-9987601-0-0
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: November 17, 2017

It’s a rare occurrence when a book comes along that not only teaches a lesson and gives children something to truly enjoy, but also fills the heart with love. This is that book.

Readers meet Ralphie when he is a pup, helping the lovely angels paint the white puffy clouds that will decorate the sky. One day, God picks Ralphie up, draws a white heart on his chest, and tells him that Ralphie is not only loved, but also…he is love. It is on this day that Ralphie comes down from the heavens and is born.

A journey commences where Ralphie must go through some confusion before finding the couple that he will love forever. Then, as time moves forward, he must learn obedience, be educated on what a child is and how great they can be – especially when throwing food from the high chair for the pup to enjoy. Ralphie also meets an older black dog that will be his sibling, and he then ages gracefully with friends and loved ones all around.

The illustrations are adorable and the words are kind, loving and filled with emotion. In addition, the little red “gifts” that come with the book are a whole lot of fun. Here, however, is why this reviewer believes Ralphie is a book that moves from the category of lovely to award-winning:
As a mother (and now new grandmother) who had a big black dog who I loved with all my heart for 12 years, Ralphie brought back the good times when that beloved dog of mine (Reuben) was a constant friend and companion in my life. Now, I watch my granddaughter in a high chair throw food on the ground to a new dog by the name of Chloe, as she smiles wide and screams “Woof! Woof!” while the food flies. I have always believed that my dear Reuben embarked on a journey “home” when he left this earth, and that I will meet up with him again one day. It is a fact that the love, respect, admiration, and kindness dogs bring to our lives is something that goes beyond the norm; they are truly a gift from Heaven, and this author/illustrator team has put on paper what dog owners everywhere feel with all their hearts.

It is important to note that the publisher of this book, About Something Good, was created to curate, inspire, and share goodness in the world. As opposed to the many negative words and images that surround us on a daily basis in the media, ASG focuses on the beauty that is life. ( It will be interesting to see the creations that come from this particular house in the future.

Quill says: You need to jump on board with the many other passengers out there who, I am quite sure, have already fallen absolutely in love with Ralphie!

#BookReview - Secrets Kids Know...That Adults Oughta Learn

Secrets Kids Know...That Adults Oughta Learn: Enriching Your Life by Viewing It Through The Eyes of a Child

By: Allen Klein
Publisher: Viva Editions
Publication Date: September 2017
ISBN: 978-1632280534
Reviewed by: Diana Buss
Review Date: November 17, 2017

“Pretty much all the honest truth telling there is in the world is done by children.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes SR.

Secrets Kids Know...That Adults Oughta Learn uncovers the secret to living a happier, more joyful life. Each chapter reveals a different secret along with a corresponding quote and illustration. Not only does this show the reader the purpose of the following chapter but it is easier to scan through and find the right secret for the right situation.

Within each chapter, stories and examples are told that pertain to the secret as well as a section called "Through the Eyes of a Child" that provides jokes and other fun tidbits to share with others. For example, “Why did the raisin go to the dance with a prune? Because he couldn't get a date!” While some may seem corny, they are sure to make you smile and share with those around you.
Each chapter ends with a section titled "Grow Down," where practical tips and tricks are offered to help you get in touch with the child within. With suggestions from finding ways to be fully present and experiencing everything as if it were the first time to having more fun and brightening up a stressful situation, these 18 secrets will give you a fresh outlook on this sometimes daunting experience called life.

There's something sweet about remembering the way things were as a child. While you may not remember specific incidences it's easy to think about how much simpler times were back then. It's pretty often I find myself wishing things were so simple again, and truly it's often because we lose the child in us. This book helps put us back in touch with who we once were. I think this book was sweet and a nice reminder of what we miss when we grow up and become much too busy in our own worlds. If you get the chance to pick up this book, do it. Your inner child and tired, overwhelmed self will thank you for it.

Quill says: Secrets Kids Know...That Adults Oughta Learn is a cute book to help remind you to stop and smell the roses.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Interview with Celebrity Impersonator Rich Little

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Ellen Feld is talking with celebrity impersonator Rich Little about his new book People I've Known and Been: Little by Little

FQ: You note that one of the things that separated your impersonations from others was that you came up with a "rapid fire" method of going from one impersonation to another. Would you explain this to our readers? Was this an intentional method, taking months (years?) of practice?

LITTLE: I've always had the ability to switch from one person to another. Most of the people before me used to turn around, get into character and then turn back to the audience. I didn't need to do this.

FQ: Did your parents support your career choice before you "made it big," and were they impressed when you made it to "The Judy Garland Show"?

Rich Little with Judy Garland

LITTLE: My father passed at the time. My mother was very supportive, but she was more interested in what I was going to wear during the show.

FQ: I absolutely loved the Jack Benny/NBC Chicken Soup story. What was going through your mind when that was happening?

LITTLE: Jack was very finicky. He was more interested in the little things in life, like food and the weather, than he was in his career. I was just happy to be in his company. He was not a stingy man. In real life, he was very generous.

FQ: You mention in your book how generous Alan Ladd was to you and your brother, and how Richard Todd had no time for two kids who wanted his autograph. When you've had a long day and just want to relax, but a fan comes up for just one more autograph, does that day so long ago with Mr. Ladd keep you going?

LITTLE: Always be nice to your fans, even if you're not in a good mood. It means a lot to them, and I never forget that they're the reason for my success. To be fair, Richard Todd might not have even known that I was out in the hallway waiting. That may have come from his manager.

FQ: It was so enjoyable to read about celebrities who lived up to their "nice" image. Was there a celebrity who enjoyed such a reputation but who you found to be less than what their image projected?

Rich Little with George Burns

LITTLE: Paul Lynde was not the man everybody thought he was. He was very unhappy in his private life. His attitude off the set was not very good.

FQ: In your book, you talk about impersonating Richard Nixon - and the day you had to do the impersonation right in front of President Nixon. Would you tell our readers what that was like?

LITTLE: I don't think President Nixon knew what I was doing. He had no sense of humor. He wore the same dark suit for his whole career and never took the hanger out of it.

Rich Little with Johnny Carson

FQ: Was there ever a person who proved too difficult to impersonate? Somebody whose voice or mannerisms you just couldn't get right? Or, that you did get right, but it took longer than usual?

LITTLE: I could never do Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, or Michael Douglas. They were all great actors, but not very distinctive voices. If ever I could have done Marilyn Monroe, I would have jumped myself.

Rich Little with John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart

FQ: In 1976, you starred in "The Rich Little Show" (not that somebody else would star in the show), a weekly television show. Was the pressure intense to put out a weekly show? And did your other appearances suffer because of it? Any fond memory of the show you'd like to share?

LITTLE: When you do a weekly television show, you're always in a hurry. Sometimes because of the time element, you're not completely happy. I liked working with Charlotte Ray, but I think my shaggy sheep dog Dudley stole the show. He was hoping for a spin off.

FQ: You have "hobnobbed" with both celebrities and politicians. Which do you prefer to hang around? Are both groups equally happy to have you impersonate them? (I realize this could be a vast generalization but thought it would be fun for our readers).

LITTLE: Politicians are more fun to impersonate because they think they're smarter than they are. When you make them say silly things, people like it. It was the same with my teachers.

FQ: Is having "Rich Little Drive" in Ottawa, Canada a highlight of your career?

LITTLE: No, it was not the highlight of my career - it was a dead end. But Paul Anka Drive was shorter.

FQ: You're quite active, currently appearing in Las Vegas. Would you share with our readers a little about your current show?

LITTLE: I'm now doing a show in The Laugh Factory at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. It's based on my career. I use film clips of the actual stars, and I show a lot of my art. I started drawing before I ever did impressions.

FQ: Mr. Little - I'd like to thank you for your time and for writing such a fun book that brought back so many fond memories of both movie stars I've adored for years, as well as watching your impersonations of them. Thank you for bringing so many smiles to so many faces over the years. - Ellen Feld

LITTLE: Thank you for your kind review. I'm very appreciative. Unfortunately, many of my friends have not read my book.They can't read.

To learn more about People I've Known and Been: Little by Little please read the review.