Thursday, November 30, 2023

#AuthorInterview with James D. Bell, author of BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Katie Specht is talking with James D. Bell, author of BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero.

FQ: Previously, you have published two legal thrillers for adults. The story of BeeBop is quite a departure from your prior published works. What motivated you to write a story for children this time?

BELL: Thank you for having me. It is an honor to be interviewed by Feathered Quill.

We started thinking about children’s books when my wife and I attended a book signing at a small, independent bookstore. The owner told us she needed more kids’ books. I thought about the stories I used to tell my children every night. One was about BeeBop. Joanne loved the idea and gently and frequently persuaded me to write the story.

FQ: How was the writing process different when writing a children’s book versus your adult legal thrillers?

BELL: The process is similar, but scenes are “toned down” for the youthful audience. The young reader wants action, intrigue, adventure, and mystery, but the story needs to unfold quickly. We need to put easily identifiable good life lessons in children’s stories. That may not be a bad idea for adult stories.

FQ: Now that you have written one book for children, do you foresee yourself writing any more children’s books in the future? Perhaps another adventure with BeeBop?

BELL: There will be more stories. Joanne is planning to have me write a BeeBop follow up. I’m thinking about The Adventures of Sherlock Hound.

FQ: I see from your author biography that in addition to your legal interests, you also give talks to civic groups and churches. In this very divided and stressed-out world, have you found people to be eager to hear your message? And do you think you might consider penning an inspirational book related to your talks?

Author James D. Bell

BELL: I considered my law practice to be a ministry. People brought their biggest life problems to me to help them find solutions. Frequently, I felt the legal problem was a symptom of a spiritual problem. If so, I asked if I could share Scripture that seemed to fit the issue. 100% of the time the answer was yes. Then, after reading the Scripture, the person would say, That’s me! Tell me more!” People are hungry for the truth found in Jesus Christ.

One subject I speak about is the overwhelming evidence that Jesus lived, that he is the Christ, that he died for our sins and rose again, conquering death. I call the program, The Verdict. The audience is the jury. Evidence is presented. We ask for a verdict. The audience wins every time. Turning that program into a short book is a future project.

FQ: The cast of BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero is rather unique. It is not too often that the main character of a children’s book is a bee. Can you share how you decided that your characters would be bees as opposed to any other type of animal?

BELL: I used to call my daughter BeeBop and included her in stories. In one story she was a bee who saved the day. The book was built around that nighttime story from long ago.

FQ: The story of BeeBop is enhanced by some adorable illustrations, which are not always found in a chapter book. What made you decide to include illustrations in your story, and how did you go about finding your illustrator? Did you have in-depth discussions about each illustration and what you envisioned, or did you give a brief overview and let the illustrator's imagination take over?

BELL: Joanne had the idea to add illustrations. We did art contests and invited art classes to submit ideas. Ultimately, she found Wacky World in Florida and we worked with them. They are true professionals. We picked scenes together and met frequently. They did a fabulous job.

FQ: The extra materials included at the back of the book, the parent and teacher’s guide, the test, and the vocabulary list were a nice touch. What prompted you to include them?

BELL: Once again, that was Joanne’s idea. The truth is, she should be considered the author. All I did was write the words that pleased her. She wanted fun facts about bees, and a parent/teachers guide at the back. We added a vocabulary, because I used a few words I hoped would expand a young reader’s linguistic toolbox.

FQ: You have practiced criminal law since opening your law firm in 1977 as well as presided as a judge for seven of those years. Having worked in the world of law from both of those perspectives, would you say there is one career you prefer over the other and why?

BELL: I love them both. As a lawyer, I helped people at critical times in their lives. I made sure that both the person and the Constitution were respected. As a judge, I was charged with giving everyone an impartial forum for the fair resolution of disputes. What an honor it has been to serve in both capacities.

FQ: The premise of BeeBop: The Honeybee WannaBee Hero presents a valuable anti-bullying lesson for kids. What was the impetus for focusing on this issue? 

BELL: Everyone has experienced bullying, particularly when we were young and in school. I hope BeeBop allows the victim of bullying to see that with determination, character, and perseverance, you can overcome bullying. I hope that the bully who reads the story might see his own injustice and recognize that his victim could instead be his best friend.

#bookreview of BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero by James D. Bell

BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero

By: James D. Bell
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: October 30, 2023
ISBN: 979-8846879508
Reviewed by: Katie Specht
Review Date: November 28, 2023
Author of two legal thrillers as well as a retired Mississippi Judge, James D. Bell has recently released his first children’s book, BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero. This early reader is the sweet story of a determined young bee named BeeBop, who is abandoned at birth, and his journey to fit in and prove himself among the hive that adopted him.
The story of BeeBop opens as a hive has been destroyed by a bear, leaving nothing but destruction except for one lone egg that is somehow unscathed. The bees, surveying the damage, decide to take the egg back to their Queen so she can determine what to do with it. That egg turns out to be our hero, BeeBop. As he grows up among his adopted brothers and sisters, he learns all he can from the Queen. The time soon comes for BeeBop to begin attending school, where he will learn all he needs to become a productive member of the hive. Once there, he quickly learns that he is not welcome as a big bully named Buzz makes comments about him not being “one of them.” When BeeBop comments about wanting to be a hero one day, Buzz laughs at him, telling him that he’s “too puny to be a hero,” and that he should leave the “hero business” to Buzz. This makes BeeBop feel very alone and miserable.
One of the young bee’s first assignments is to find nectar for the hive, which is running dangerously low with winter quickly approaching. BeeBop partners with his one close friend, BettyBee, and off they go in search of nectar for the hive. Buzz and BeeBop clash again as they argue over the same patch of flowers, which ultimately leads to them losing the flowers to another group of bees. After this, BettyBee flies away, upset with BeeBop for the way he argued with Buzz and lost their nectar, leaving BeeBop to find nectar alone. He soon finds the biggest patch of flowers he has ever seen, but upon returning to the hive to announce his discovery, no one believes him, except for BettyBee. She travels with him to see the patch for herself only to discover that the flowers are gone. It is now up to BeeBop to overcome the most challenging of obstacles in order to gain the respect of his fellow bees and provide much-needed nectar for his hive community.
BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero is a sweet, charming story with a meaningful message about bullying that kids and parents alike will appreciate. The book is written in chapter format and has a few illustrations interspersed throughout. There is also a parent and teacher’s guide, a test, and a vocabulary list at the back of the book to enhance learning. The story is written simply using words kids can understand, but due to the fact that it is a chapter book, and it is 76 pages long, I would recommend the book for grades three and up.
Quill says: With BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero, James D. Bell has penned a touching story of loyalty, perseverance, forgiveness, and belonging that children and parents alike can relate to, complete with a hero that every reader will root for throughout the story.

#BookReview of Danish Connection: The Dansgaard Family Saga

Danish Connection: The Dansgaard Family Saga

By: Keith Thye
Publisher: Classic Day Publishing
Publication Date: January 1, 2023
ISBN: 978-1598493429
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: November 28, 2023
When we first meet Bjorn, the central character in acclaimed author Keith Thye’s latest work, Danish Connection: The Dansgaard Family Saga, he is a soldier in Belgium at the height of World War I. Wounded, he tries to think as positively as he can about his recent past and potential future. The possibilities will unfold through the pages of this vibrant historical saga.
One thing on Bjorn’s mind as he crouches in a foxhole is the last night he spent with Karla – the only occasion when the two lay together. That memory will form a large piece of his later life after he learns that Karla has a daughter – his. This is the beginning of his epic journey from poverty and war-time injury to success in business, and from Denmark and Germany, in both of which he has connections, to the charms of California and elsewhere. Bjorn will have more children, and more loves to add to his storehouse of care and achievement as the years pass. Each child has his or her own story to add to the plausible plot that Thye has constructed. One son, Tor, will join with the Nazi movement and be selected to hunt down Jews as the next world war is in full sway, while Bjorn, at the same time, will be involved with Frieda, whose Jewish connection would make her a target for Hitler’s extermination. Fleeing, first from Denmark and then to the US, Bjorn will make the most of his business acumen while his offspring become well-educated and have their own destinies to explore. Tor will find himself enamored of a Native American woman, forcing him to question his earlier attachments to the Nazi template of despising inferior races. And Bjorn’s last great love, in his waning years, will be a Black woman with whom he can share his uniquely broad worldview.
Award-winning writer Thye is himself a world traveler, having written extensively about his motorcycling ventures in two continents (The Whole Story). He is also, as demonstrated here, a diligent historian whose descriptions of the times that his characters are living through – two world wars, the Great Depression, a succession of American presidencies and the attacks of 9-11 - are offered in rich detail. He has based this book on the heritage of his wife’s German origins and supports his narrative with a lengthy array of references. Still, the central attraction of this creation will be the complex interactions, growth, intimacies, and emerging realizations experienced by Bjorn and his extended family.
Quill says: Thye’s vast panorama of international events tethered to family faith and future will especially enchant readers whose background includes immigration, racial and cultural mixtures, and a sustained belief in basic human values.
For more information on Danish Connection: The Dansgaard Family Saga, please visit the author's website at:

Monday, November 27, 2023

#AuthorInterview with Terry Broxson, author of Santa Claus: The Beginning

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Katie Specht is talking with Terry Broxson, author of Santa Claus: The Beginning.
FQ: I was intrigued when I learned of the premise of your story. What prompted you to write a book based on the character of Santa Claus?
BROXSON: In March of this year, at five in the morning, I had a dream and heard a voice that said, “Terry, write a new version of A Christmas Carol. But instead of the main character being Scrooge, make it about the man who would become Santa Claus.”
As I lay in bed, now awake, I started thinking about the idea. I wondered “Who would that guy be? What did he do before being Santa? How did he grow up? And who would visit him on Christmas Eve, and try to convince him to be Santa?”
I thought this required some good salesmen.
I am a member of a writer’s forum called FanStory. It’s a group of writers who share stories and use each other’s input to do better work. The morning I had the dream I started working on the story. I posted the first draft. The response was very favorable. That is how the book evolved.
FQ: Your bio states that your career was in management in the non-profit and private sectors. Can you elaborate a bit on what that entailed?
BROXSON: My entire career was spent in the health/medical arena. I held management positions in nonprofit and profit fields. The last twenty years before retiring I was the CEO of Advanced Ergonomics, Inc. We provided services to employers by doing pre-employment physicals.
FQ: You also share that you worked with charitable organizations for twelve years. What types of organizations did you work with, and what kind of work did you do?
BROXSON: Upon graduation from college, my first job was with the American Cancer Society. I spent two years in Waco, Texas, and then two years as the director of fundraising in Dallas. I also served for eight years as the Executive Director of the Dallas Chapter of the American Heart Association.
FQ: The pictures that were interspersed throughout the story were a nice added touch. What made you decide to include these in the book?
BROXSON: I thought a book about Santa needed pictures to help illustrate the story. Some of them made me laugh.
FQ: Within the synopsis, you state that your book is suitable for all ages. Do you hope that your book touches any certain age group, in particular, more than another?
BROXSON: That is a great question. My wife and I never had kids, only cats. When I finished the first draft of the short story, I sent a copy to a friend who read it to her grandson. She told me he enjoyed it, but she loved it. That is where I got the idea for the book. I think parents and grandparents will like sharing it. I also think they may smile or chuckle at something and have to explain it. I think that will be cool.
FQ: This is your third published book, but the first you have written in the fiction genre. What prompted you to shift to writing a fictional story?
BROXSON: I have been on the writer's forum I mentioned for a couple of years and have been experimenting with fiction. I had a lot of fun writing this story.
FQ: Do you have any plans for future books, and if so, what can you share about these plans?
BROXSON: It’s possible I might continue the story of Santa. I have a few ideas for more adventures. One might include another marriage of a couple of elves, but I might have to find some pixie dust.
FQ: It was a rather unique addition to the plot to have Jessica, Santa’s bride-to-be, raised by royalty in England and to also include them in their wedding. How did you develop this rather interesting portion of the story?
BROXSON: I wanted the future Mrs. Claus to be interesting. I wanted the wedding to be fun and a bit unique. I thought having some real historical characters would add to the story. I also tried to make sure the names and dates were correct.
FQ: Santa Claus: The Beginning is a heartwarming, classic story that explains how one of children’s most beloved characters began. Are there any lessons or messages that you hope to impart to your readers with your book?
BROXSON: I made up a translation for the name of Santa Claus. At least I hadn’t heard anyone else use it. Santa Claus means to give freely and lovingly. That also applies to each character in the book.
There are some thoughts on fairness, fun, chocolate, and the secret to success—hard work.
FQ: After spending your career in management, what prompted you to begin writing books once you retired?
BROXSON: For some people, publishing a book is a life-long dream, whereas, for others, there may be a motivating event. Would you fit into one of those categories?
My wife died suddenly from a heart attack five years ago. I wrote a poem about her death. The writing of it helped me.
One day, I saw a contest on a website for writers, FanStory, and I entered the poem. It was the first contest for writing I had ever entered. It won second place. I was now hooked on writing. It's kind of like she led me there.

#Bookreview of Santa Claus: The Beginning by Terry Broxson

Santa Claus: The Beginning

By: Terry Broxson
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: November 7, 2023
ISBN: 979-8891320130
Reviewed by: Katie Specht
Review Date: September 19, 2023
Author Terry Broxson is back with his third published book, this time his first work of fiction, entitled Santa Claus: The Beginning, a heartwarming story of how a young toymaker embraces the role of Santa Claus.
Our story begins as we meet Rudolph Stern, a trained toy maker and owner of Rudolph Stern Toys, located in Boston. Rudolph adopts two young boys, Benjamin Timmons and John Nicholas, from a nearby orphanage and teaches them how to become extraordinary toy makers. Rudolph gives them a good life at the toy shop, making them his apprentices, setting them up with savings accounts at the bank, and announcing the designation of them as partners in the toy shop. Rudolph eventually passes away, leaving the toy shop in Benjamin and John’s capable hands. For the next four years, they busy themselves making quality toys until tragedy strikes as a cholera epidemic spreads across the city. Unfortunately, the disease claims Benjamin’s life. That Christmas Eve, John finds himself lonely and sad when, unexpectedly, Benjamin appears to him as an angel and tells him that he has been chosen to carry out a very special mission. From that moment on, John’s life will never be the same.
John is immediately transported to the North Pole where he is presented with an amazing castle nestled among snow-covered mountains, reindeer, elves and the most incredible workshop he has ever seen. Once there, John is astonished to discover that Rudolph Stern, his former mentor, is also present and is part of this mission as well. Rudolph and Benjamin try their best to explain the mission and what John’s role will be in it. John is stunned as he is faced with an incredible, unbelievable situation...
Santa Claus: The Beginning is an uplifting and easy-to-read story that readers both young and old will enjoy. Broxson has crafted a magical story that explores the origins of Santa Claus in a way that has never been explored before. The adventure is sure to please young adult readers who still like to partake in the fun and imagination of Christmas. Broxson’s writing is simple enough that young readers will have no difficulty reading it. It was also especially fun to see the bright and colorful images that Broxson included throughout the story. This was a lovely added touch to the story.
Quill says: With Santa Claus: The Beginning, Broxson has taken a classic story and added a new twist, resulting in an entertaining, magical, and uplifting story about the wonder of Christmas and its foremost character, Santa Claus.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

#Bookreview of Hologram by Walker Larson


By: Walker Larson
Publisher: Swallow Hill Press
Publication Date: November 18, 2023
Reviewed by: Lily Andrews
Review Date: November 24, 2023

A beautiful and captivating read, Hologram is the story of one man's quest to save his captured family from a fate worse than death.

Aaron, a Taurusian, living in one of the nation's outposts known as Fen, finds himself as a lone fugitive when the only family he has ever known is captured by the ruthless Vanguards. The Vanguards are Voturan shock troops that have an eerie ability to vanish into any surroundings. Using the military technology of developing holograms, the Voturan government sends fleets of nonexistent drones and divisions of ghost troopers mixed with their real forces. The hologram forces appear real and thus, their foes are not able to tell the difference. This gives the Voturan an upper hand against all their enemies.

Aaron has no destination set to go seek refuge, only the dogged determination to keep walking. Unfortunately, he is captured by the Voturans with his life taking an unforseen twist when he is promoted to the rank of a colonel once the power-hungry Voturan General, Druxa, discovers that Aaron has the remarkable and unique gift to tell the difference between the holograms and real soldiers. The general considers him a great weapon to help decipher the deceits of their enemies who have resorted to using holograms as well. With the acquired resolve to find his missing family members who had been taken as prisoners of war, and to save his life, Aaron decides to play the long game, by feigning loyalty to Druxa, while all along concealing his unrelenting desire for revenge and growing hatred for this wicked nation. A lot is at stake and time is of the essence...Aaron realizes that his first duty is staying alive and clawing through every day before carrying out his rescue plan.

The book's prose is organic and fresh, and the potent words the author uses evoke the complex relationships among characters and lucid landscapes. This searing story offers concise details - "A snarling blue wolf face was painted on the underside of its wings, and next to it were fixed several small missiles. A little glass dome protruded from its nose — a camera. Wafts of air from the propellers swept over the skiff and awakened the surrounding water into riffles and set the reeds to dancing, frothed in foam..." (pg. 5) - unfolding into unanticipated events that are utterly compelling and gripping.

A study of moral values and ethics gives an unexpected twist to this tale and the cinematic sequence the book builds up to, is not rushed. The author gives readers ample time to connect with the main character, and the secondary ones as well, and this makes them feel part of the story every step of the way. Aaron, the main protagonist, is a flawed character, and some of his decisions are questionable, but it is his character growth along the pages that is most satisfying.

Quill says: A tale that slowly and expertly builds up to a fantastic and satisfying end, Hologram by Walker Larson is a welcome treat for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts as they await the author's next adventure.

For more information on Hologram, please visit the author's website at:

#AuthorInterview with Charles D. Williams, author of Visible Magic

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Ellen Feld is talking with Charles D. Williams, author of Visible Magic.
FQ: Tell our readers a little about yourself. Your background, your interests, and how this led to writing a book?
WILLIAMS: I've been tending trees and land all my adult life, and writing as well. Somewhere along those convergent paths, I found myself at a Zen center in Oahu in 2005, and began to contemplate haiku. Since that time I have written thousands of haiku and published several hundred in four volumes since 2016.
FQ: Have you always enjoyed writing or is it something you’ve discovered recently?
WILLIAMS: Always. My mother read to me as a child. My father was a gifted storyteller. Both parents possessed a great love and respect for the land and all its creatures.
FQ: Tell us a little about your book – a brief synopsis and what makes your book unique.
WILLIAMS: A celebration of the miracles all around us from my observations of living on a Kentucky farm for over 40 years. Visible Magic takes its readers on a journey through the four seasons at West Wind Farm in 2021, 2022, and 2023, with me as their guide.
FQ: What was the impetus for writing your book?
WILLIAMS: To convey to others my experience of the extraordinary.
FQ: Please give our readers a little insight into your writing process. Do you set aside a certain time each day to write, only write when the desire to write surfaces, or ?
WILLIAMS: I have kept over 40 years of daily calendar journals of the farm, a place teeming with life. I walk in the woods and fields and just observe. That is the source I tap.
FQ: What was the hardest part of writing your book? That first chapter, the last paragraph, or ?
WILLIAMS: The hardest part is the most rewarding: careful revision.
FQ: The genre of your book is Poetry/Haiku. Why this genre?
WILLIAMS: American haiku that reflects the Japanese masters' respect for the prime numbers (1,3,5,7, 17) that serve as the structure of the work.
FQ: Do you have any plans to try writing a book in a different genre? If so, which genre and why?
WILLIAMS: No. I find that 17 syllables easily exceeds the limits of my attention span on most days.

#Bookreview of Visible Magic by Charles D. Williams

Visible Magic

By: Charles D. Williams
Publisher: West Wind Books
Publication Date: November 11, 2023
ISBN: 978-1737639534
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: November 20, 2023
Acclaimed writer Charles Dowling Williams offers a fresh volume of his observations formed as haiku, moving gently and thoughtfully through a year of adventures and incidents seen through the eyes of a farmer, poet, and philosopher in his newest work, Visible Magic.
His four-part work, encompassing a chronology of the seasons over a several-year span, opens on 21 June, 2023 with a pair of quiet observations about summer’s “first dawn” – celebrating a chorus of bullfrogs, a hillside of daisies, and “a Buddha napping.” Summer's sights will include hummingbird moths, a dawn of waking mimosas, June bugs, and ripening pears. Some of the works, all classic haiku – three lines of seventeen syllables – include a brief introduction, such as the need for a plunge in “a cold cave spring,” as a cure that bathes away the sting of nettles. Eerie nighttime voices of owls bring to the poet’s mind the Pleistocene origin of those creatures. In August, 2022 Williams humorously notes that he beat the birds to his elderberry bushes. On the final summer date, September 20, he reflects upon
turquoise blue mornings
reflecting seas far away
or, that bluebird’s wings?
Fall brings a litter of pups for the author’s kindly concern, and, in October 2021, his homestead’s largest crop of apples since 2013. Chilly breezes and the incursion in his house of cave crickets presage the coming of winter, as “the sun is cooling,” heading “so far southward, crows throw no shadows.” A philosopher’s viewpoint is expressed as Williams reflects that the trees and the seedlings he has tended remind him of his hands. Winter brings snow, stars, and a cold 2022 Christmas morning, with an introductory note that the temperature that day was minus five degrees, with 25mph winds. Williams doubtless refers to himself as, in February of 2022, he observes trees planted in 1982 and questions:
what kind of young man
would plant white pines in oak shade?
a curious one...
As birds begin to migrate back to the farm after the rough winter, it seems to the author that they are returning to their family home. With an eye for nature’s multitude of wonders, an ear for the nuances of sound and a mind clearly absorbed in his surroundings, Williams inhabits a realm that he has inhabited and studied since adolescence. He is the noted manager of West Wind Farm as well as a legal practitioner in his native state of Kentucky. He has achieved awards for his continuing endeavors as a farmer, conservationist and poet, having written previous haiku collections.
Quill says: William’s latest poetic work, Visible Magic, will please his current fan base and reveal him to new readers as an intuitive, sensitive observer of the passing seasons, a man of good sense and good humor who expresses universal concepts and gives new insights within the context of readily recognizable settings and time-framed happenings.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

#BookReview of Never Lost: Chastity Series, Book 3 by Holly Brandon

Never Lost: Chastity Series, Book 3

By: Holly Brandon
Publication Date: November 1, 2023
ISBN: 978-1737784234
Reviewed by: Kathy Stickles
Review Date: November 20, 2023
Author Holly Brandon
Never Lost is the heartwarming and riveting finale to Holly Brandon’s Chastity Series, and it is truly an unforgettable end. This story intertwines comedy, romance, and mystery together in a book that made me smile and brought tears to my eyes. It will keep the reader hooked from the very first page to the very last, and it is a ride that you do not want to miss.
Never Lost is the continuing story of Chastity Morgan, better known to readers as Chase. While heading toward her goal of getting all that she has ever wanted from life, everything changes during her grandmother’s anniversary party. First, there is a strange man who interrupts her first dance at the celebration, and then an earthquake destroys the party and sends Chase on a surprise journey through truth and time. Chase finds herself in the middle of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, meeting with a fortune teller who tells her some very hard-to-believe things about her past. Added to this information are Chase’s vibrant, recurring dreams about things she supposedly wrote in a journal and a meeting with a ghost who wants her help. Chase’s life has gone from almost perfect to completely weird in the blink of an eye.
Along the way, Chase meets a new friend, a little girl named Daphne, who is a psychic and positive that she can help Chase sort through all of these clues and figure out what is happening. As they try to sort through everything and how her present life connects to the past, Chase sets out on a journey that unveils some startling true facts about her own family and their past as well as one that is all about finding herself.
Brandon is an extremely talented writer, and Never Lost may well be her biggest success yet. This book is amazing and so well-written and developed. The story never lets the reader down, with the best part of the book being the very real and charming characters. Each one is fun and with their great humor and steadfast support of each other, it leads to an outstanding group of people who you come to care for deeply. The dialogue is picture-perfect, and you cannot help but laugh out loud at the repartee between the characters as they attempt to figure everything out. In addition, we are granted visits from many returning characters, and we get to see them come full circle as the book plays out. I especially love Chase’s angel, which is her inner conscience speaking to her. This “character” really lends just the right amount of internal dialogue and snarky banter to keep the reader laughing as Chase continues to learn about herself.
Another thing that really made Never Lost stand out among other books is the author’s incredible ability to depict the past. As she describes the past in New Orleans, the reader will actually feel as if they have just taken a step back in time, and they are actually there along with Chase and the entire cast of Never Lost. That is an incredible talent, and Brandon exhibits it flawlessly in her writing.
Never Lost is a book that, while it gives readers a mesmerizing end to this series, is one that is also a joy to read on its own. The writing is pure and perfect, and the characters are so authentic and enjoyable. The plot is completely fabulous and one that all readers will be delighted by as they are plunged into the romance, drama, and comedy that is Chase’s life. I cannot recommend it enough.
Quill says: Never Lost is an incredible end to a series that is one of my favorites. Holly Brandon has given us a finale for this engaging family that will not be forgotten and one that will be read again and again by its delighted fans.
For more information on Never Lost: Chastity Series Book 3, please visit the author's website at:

#BookReview of The Magic Man (The Olympic Peninsula Series, Book 3)

The Magic Man (The Olympic Peninsula Series, Book 3)

By: Cat Treadgold
Publication Date: November 15, 2023
ISBN: 979-8987736333
Reviewed by: Kathy Stickles
Review Date: November 20, 2023
Well, I am back again with a review for author Cat Treadgold for her third book in The Olympic Peninsula series, The Magic Man. As with the previous two stories, I must say that I loved it, and I have become a huge fan. This is not something I can usually say about books from the romance genre, but these stories set in Port Townsend, Washington, have become some of my favorites. These characters have begun to feel like part of the family, and it is so much fun to catch up with each and every one of them.
In The Magic Man, we meet David O’Connell who has arrived in Port Townsend to attend the wedding of his sister Tanya. David was normally a happy and very outgoing man who, his family comes to see quickly, has turned into a person who is very quiet and has become quite serious. He tries to avoid any conversation that involves his career as a doctor in Africa or anything that involves his fiancée. During the festivities leading up to the holidays and wedding, David meets Maddie Leftwood, an actress who is also in town for the wedding. Their attraction is immediate, but, of course, nothing is ever that easy as David’s fiancée Sylvia arrives in town as well. As he tries to make Sylvia happy, Maddie decides that nothing will come of this attraction and decides to move forward and focus on the theater production she is starring in. David likes Maddie because she is kind and funny. Maddie likes David because he seems very smart and down-to-earth. But it is never that simple is it? There is just too much in this “magic man’s” past that is getting in the way. Will Maddie and David ever work things out between them...what happened to him in Africa...what about Sylvia? For these answers, you will just have to read the book, and I am sure you will love it when you do.
Cat Treadgold always brings forth excellent, albeit complicated, relationships in the O’Connell family, but she does it very well. In this story, you have a great female character in Maddie, who is strong and wants to succeed as an actress without compromising her values and beliefs, and you have an excellent male character in David - he is complicated and you know there is more going on in his life. This author is able to bring out their personalities and make them seem authentic, given the situations they are in. It makes the reader really want to follow through and find out why David is this way and what is going to be the final resolution.
As always, one of my favorite parts of these stories is the continued involvement of all the secondary characters we have met in previous books. They are all there in full force, and it is wonderful to keep them all involved. It seems to bring the story together when we can follow not only the main couple and their problems but can still connect with all of our other favorites. Just as in the previous books, the plot is interesting, different, and very well-written, and the characters shine. I hope there are other members of the O’Connell family we have not yet met - I can't wait to read their stories.
Quill says: The descriptive and creative writing and the character development in The Magic Man is just what the reader needs and wants. Cat Treadgold has created another book in the Olympic Peninsula Series that is wonderful and not your average romance.
For more information on The Magic Man, please visit the author's website at:

#Bookreview of The Lighthouse Back Home by Jodi Auborn

The Lighthouse Back Home (Secrets of Salvation Point)

By: Jodi L. Auborn
Publication Date: October 18, 2023
ISBN: 979-8856244273
Reviewed by: Kathy Stickles
Review Date: November 20, 2023
The Lighthouse Back Home is a fabulous time-travel adventure story for young adults and this author has hit a home run. The book is the sequel to Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point (which I immediately bought and read because I loved this one so much) and it is, if possible, an even better book than the first, with excellent characters and a great history packed into the travel back in time plot. I would highly recommend this book to anyone ages 9 to 12 and, to be honest, to any adults out there. It is just that good!
The Lighthouse Back Home is the story of 11-year-old Dylan, who lives in the lighthouse on Salvation Point in Maine. Dylan, along with his new friend Alex, are exploring an island nearby where they find a very old ship’s bell in the water and then a skeleton in the woods. As they quickly try to get off the island to contact the police, this bell ends up sending them back to the year 1893 when their boat capsizes. From there, the adventure begins as they attempt to figure out where they are and how to survive long enough to find a way back to their own time. With Dylan trying to find the real Matthias, who is an old friend, and Alex trying to pretend to be a boy, the fun never stops as they attempt to figure out all of the mystery surrounding them. The action goes from page to page and never stops. As the two, along with new friends, try to handle a deadly storm, a whole new world they do not understand, and solve the mystery of how they got there the reader can see them grow and develop as people. Added to all of this, there is a creepy and dangerous local family who discovers their secret. Even with all of this happening, these kids never give up and it keeps the reader riveted.
The Lighthouse Back Home is such a fun story. Author Jodi Auborn brings these characters to life with her amazing descriptive writing and the excellent dialogue that really develops both the characters and the plot to a whole new level. This mystery will entertain both children and adults as Dylan and Alex face danger and complications that we can only dream of in our imagination. While Dylan and Alex are both excellent characters, the secondary ones in the story are just as fabulous. We get to see Matthias, the ghost from the first novel, who is now a real, living person. But now, in his own time, he does not know who Dylan is and really does not want the kids around him at all. But we see that change as he begins to honestly care for them (and this really adds a nice touch to the story). Then there is Mrs. MacMurray, Matthias' mother, who is so funny as she takes the children in and tries to help them, all the while arguing with Matthias and trying to force good manners on the rude sailors at the dock. And there are so many more great characters. Each one is written perfectly and you cannot help but love them all.
While the characters, each and every one, really bring this story to life it is the overall plot that keeps it going strong. It is adventure and mystery at its finest and will be a book that is, I am sure, loved by all. Everyone out there, child and adult, should get their hands on a copy of this book. You will not be disappointed.
Quill says: The Lighthouse Back Home is a perfect example of a book for young readers that involves an excellent plot and great characters. It is a wonderful way to introduce younger readers to the elements of a great mystery story that will, hopefully, keep them reading long into the future.
For more information on The Lighthouse Back Home (Secrets of Salvation Point), please visit the author's website at:

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Meet Author Oliver Dowson

Meet Author Oliver Dowson in his new author bio page at Feathered Quill and learn about his new book, Spies on Safari.  

#meettheauthor @oliverdowson #spiesonsafari #spynovels #industrialespionage

Saturday, November 18, 2023

#Bookreview of Where Do Animals Go For Vacation? by Steve A. Erickson

Where Do Animals Go For Vacation?

Written and Illustrated by: Steve A. Erickson
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: November 7, 2023
ISBN: 979-8891320178
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: November 16, 2023
We can all use a little vacation time now and then…a summer vacation, a winter vacation, maybe a long weekend too. But what about animals? Do they go on vacation? And if they do, where do they go? In author Steve Erickson’s delightful children’s book, Where Do Animals Go For Vacation? , we’ll find out where a wide variety of animals travel for fun.
After asking readers if they dream of a special place to go for a perfect vacation, author Erickson asks where animals might go, and what would they do, if they could get away for a little rest and relaxation. Turning the page, we meet a very happy turtle – where do you think he’d want to go on vacation? (Hint: Not where you’d expect.) He’s dressed to the max in a snazzy red hat and matching scarf, goggles, and green skis and poles. He’s dashing down a ski slope, zooming through the freshly fallen snow, a big smile on his face. What an awesome vacation he’s having!
There’s a lot of other animals to meet, from sharks and spiders to elephants and crabs. Each one has a unique vacation trip that will surprise and delight readers. A kangaroo taking a trip on a scooter or a giraffe in the big city? Each has a fun travel journey to share:
When you stand nearly twenty feet tall
Vacation choices are incredibly small.
But giraffes have learned their great height
Makes escapes to big cities totally right.
Where Do Animals Go For Vacation is a creative, unique story that will trigger a child’s imagination. Do animals really go on vacation? Get ready to have some fun discussions with young readers who will likely want to read the story again and again. The story is written in rhyme, and the story flows perfectly, with no strained lines – that’s not an easy feat! The playful illustrations, created by the author, really bring the story to life. Finally, there are “fun facts” about each animal, tucked away at the bottom of each page. The only issue is that these facts, while very interesting (I didn’t know spiders ate their webs), are in a very small font, and very close to the edge of the page. I suspect many grandparents reading the book won’t be able to read them. Other than that small issue, this book is a delightful, original, and incredibly fun book to read.
Quill says: Author Steve Erickson has penned a winner with his newest book Where Do Animals Go For Vacation? It’s fun, a bit goofy, informative, and activates a child’s imagination with musings about animals going on vacation.
For more information on Where Do Animals Go For Vacation?, please visit the author's website at: