Murder In Duplicate: FIVE GOLDEN STARS


Murder In Duplicate: FIVE GOLDEN STARS.

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Dear God: Letters from a nursing home


Dear God: Letters from a Nursing Home: Mary- Ellen Low

When you open this book and turn to the first letter that was written by the author you enter a world that many find foreign, frightening and unknown. Many people each day enter the doors of different nursing homes and assisted living facilities hoping to find some consolation, understanding and heartfelt compassion from those working there and the many residents that they encounter. But, not every story has a happy ending and not every letter that you will read in this collection of letters to God will invoke laughter, joy or hope. Some will ask God why they are still here and hope that will join him in heaven. Some will praise him and thank him for the wonderful care they are receiving in the home they are living in. Others will find it hard to give up their independence and have to depend on others just to take care of their basic needs. One little girl named Nikki inspires so many when she visits her Nana and draws a picture of her dog and presents it to one of the patients who treasures it. Letters to God reveals what many experience living in a nursing home or working there. One woman describes the cruelty she received from two CNR’s who made fun of her because of her weight. Another discusses her feelings being present when a man died and how special she felt when asked to prepare him for his funeral.

There are so many voices that are heard within the pages of this book. Some provide humor others will bring tears to the reader’s eyes and some will give you hope as one man decides to remarry in her 80’s and another, a total inspiration started a tutoring program helping two people improve their reading skills. Meet Laura and hear her words as she speaks to her daughter and shares a special letter on pages 111-112. Each sentence is not only inspiring but would help any young person deal with the loss of a parent and the hope for a bright future. A letter from Ellie really hit home as she visits her brother each day and is asked by a staff member of the home why she does this. Her response and her feelings are truly remarkable and the fact that this staff member did not really know just how much her brother had accomplished or even know him as a person really says something about some of the people working in this particular home. But the letter that really hits home is the one from Sissy because she reminds me of my mother in so many ways. Never giving up on herself, having the desire to keep going and make something more of her life even though she’s in a wheelchair is truly heartwarming and inspiring. Not only that but to teach someone who needs help in reading, which is what I did for so many years, is so more than just giving back to society it is opening up new worlds and new opportunities for the person being tutored. The nursing staff at this home is truly special as they created a special place for her do tutor. The nursing home art class made the diplomas. But, her special Bucket Not Quite Full list will spark anyone to ignite their minds and find different ways to explore more avenues and feel productive. Good job Sissy!

A letter about Lucy describes how one nursing staff rallied to the bedside of a dying friend and co-worker helping her forget about her illness, talk about old times and know that she is truly loved. Dawn Low must have been really special to have so many come so far and her name included on this special blanket in the home that you can see on page 103. A letter from Bonnie’s friends will bring tears to your eyes as they celebrate her live with a huge picnic and smile, laugh, cry and enjoy their remembrances about this special friend promising to do the same everyone in this group when the time comes.

Dear God: Sidney would like a huge juicy steak, slice of apple pie and hopes you can find a way to fill his request. This letter from Sidney is really quite humorous as he remembers and shares his visits to a small hole in the wall Greek Restaurant and the delicious apple pies. Poor Sidney really misses these pies and we all know that the nursing home cooks could never even come close. Up to you whether he gets is request. Next, Dear God we have a special letter from Virginia which is more like a list of all the things she wants to share with you and why she loves you and let’s start with number 5: I love to laugh. Laughing just brightens your face and Virginia smiling and laughing makes everything seem better. How about my favorite; I enjoy learning new things every day. I do too. Number 8 find out what she says about the world of computers and how amazing she is and how she suffers with a serious illness but it is not getting her down. Don’t count her out because Virginia is here to stay!

I truly love the letter from Julie where she tells about joining the Outreach Program at her church. Reading to an elderly blind woman brings her joy as she reads from the Bible. A married couple has touched her heart as she states in her letter but what is really quite loving and remarkable is what she sees and describes on page 128. Finding out that this particular scene is their daily naptime and the love they share for so long is more than just heartwarming. Twenty-four year old Julie learned a lot from observing Joe and Ida but the ending to this letter you have to read for yourself to find out what an impact it really made.

Dear God: The letter that really hit home for me is the one from Arianne. My mom had Alzheimer’s but she was at home for the ten years with homecare that was amazing. But, reading about her father brought back memories of her last days in the hospital when she came down with pneumonia and a clot in her lung. Feeding tubes, respirators and heart monitors allowed her to stay alive but the one thing that never dimmed or failed was her spirit and those blue eyes that opened wide whenever I came to visit or called her name. As Arianne writes what she does when visiting her dad, she is so right when she feels that he somehow knows it is she and the sadness of this illness breaks your heart. Describing the past and what she remembers about her childhood brings to light just how special her father was and still is to Arianne. Taking her to her first Girl-Scout father –daughter dance must have been fun. Doing to the local Dairy Queen for banana splits priceless. The picture that the illustrator true worth more than a 1000 words. It is hard to watch someone who was once so vibrant and vital fade away into himself or herself living in a world that only they understand and cannot communicate to others. Describing her son and knowing that his attributes are in him is quite consoling. Read the rest of the letter and make sure you have some tissues. The most poignant letter is the one written by Jeff to God about his wife Anne and their life together. How about these two 86 years young and still just as in love as the day they met when they were 17. Read Dear God: Letters from the Nursing Home. Some are positive and others negative. Some are uplifting and others quite sad. But one thing I will say is that this is quite an enlightening read and I for one recommend that everyone young, older, middle aged, teens and young adults read this book because each letter presents its own special lesson learned by the person writing it to you Dear God.

Dear God: Life is precious and we all need your support, guidance and love. A letter from Belle inspires others not to isolate themselves when in a home and how this experience can foster relationships that she never expected. The letters are about real experiences and written to God letting him know what they appreciate, what they hope for and in some cases wanting to go home. Author Mary-Ellen Low has been a nurse as I read on the back cover for more than 30 years in a long-term care facility. The illustrator Nicole Rose creates so many amazing pictures bringing the letters and their writers to life. At the end of the book the author includes Odds and Ends beginning with Pearls of Wisdom from the Nursing Home. You are going to have to find out what these gems are when you read the book. Okay: I will give you just one: “You’re never too old to share a smile, make a new friend and fall in love.” The rest will bring more than just a smile to your face and warm your heart. The next section is quite priceless as the includes Ten Things her nursing training never prepared her for when working in Long-Term Nursing Care. These are important for all nurses in whether in long-term care, hospital care, hospice or an aide working with a patient at his/her home. Read pages 146- 149 and really focus on number ten. Thank you Nicole for your insight. The most difficult thing is to decide what to bring someone in a nursing home and special ideas are shared on pages 150- 152. Finally, she includes recipes shared by the nursing staff to make their time special and their meals even better. These tasty recipes will make any reader want to join them for one of their meals.

One great book filled with so many special letters. Each letter written from the heart, told in the voice of the letter writer and addressed to God letting him know how much they need his love, support, guidance and how they appreciate knowing he is always there.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

the thieves of stonewood


The Thieves of Stonewood: Book I of the Stonewood Trilogy: Jeremy Hayes

Unions provide benefits for their employees. You get a pension; health insurance and hopefully people to get you pay raises and defend you when things go wrong. But, what happens when you are a down and out thief, which is your profession or trade and cannot get accept into their Guild which is the equivalent of a union in order to be able to commit crimes and steal? Poor Harcourt is sullen, withdrawn, and down and out on his luck and on top of everything else gets caught for stealing and is thrown in the dungeon for four months. Adept at sleight of hand and quite agile, Harcourt, if allowed could reap in a huge haul if no one stopped him. But, alienated from the most powerful guild, hated by the guards and constantly hit, beaten and abused Harcourt needs to find another way to survive. But, how when al he knows and ever wanted was to be a first class thief. Living in a world riddled with crime, corruption, police that are on the take, thieves, muggers and killers Harcourt needs to press hard to survive. Once a thief always a thief but with a good heart and a definite motivation to help his precious, Jalanna, his true love. Jalanna was seriously burned and her face permanently scarred in a fire causing her to cover her face with a black veil. Many shun at the sight of her bringing tears to her eyes. In order to provide the cure Harcourt needs to present a priest, who claims he can cure her with five thousand dollars worth of gold. But, where is a homeless thief to get such a stash? Throughout the start of the book you get to meet many different thieves, hear their voices and find out much about their world. Within this framework or Stonewood where this story takes place not only is there a Thieves Guild, a demon cult more dangerous than the thieves, the City Guard and corrupt police. The people of this city within many economic groups as it are divided into several districts and only those living in other than the South District are treated fairly.

Illusions are created in many ways and not everyone or everything is what it appears. Forced to leave Stonewood or be killed or beaten by the guards or the guild again he comes face to face with the most notorious and famous bandit or thief in the world. The One-Hand Bandit is what he is called but most know him as a wealthy nobleman. Listening to Harcourt’s story he decides to present him with something special that would change his life and his destiny. What if you could change your appearance at will? What if you could use this magic to create an illusion so powerful that you could pull off crimes and no one would ever know?

Finding his way to the Den to see his girlfriend the encounter allows readers to know where his heart really lies and that the disguise really works. But, everything has its limitations and as Cinderella had to be home at midnight or her coach would disappear, Harcourt could not use this special present for more than three days. Why? No one knows. Hoping to rob as many rich, get the five thousand pieces of gold to help cure his girlfriend, Harcourt forges ahead. But, not before he helps those that were kind to him and one young girl learns the true meaning of friendship and another will now be able to provide for so many others.

The true villains are Randar, Serdic and a guard named Zenod whose love of inflicting pain is almost as passionate as Harcourt’s goal to succeed and safe so many. But, Harcourt is impulsive and at times does not always think things through. Like a kid who wants ice cream and has to have it now, his capers often run awry. Angered by their lose of gold, the King beefing up security, the guard and the guild are definitely on their own high alert hoping to find out who is taking what they think is belongs to them.

Things take a different turn and Harcourt is able to get the gold need to repair his girlfriend’s face and remove her scars. But, one man’s hate for Harcourt turns his fate in a different direction. Facing a lifetime in jail Harcourt is wrongly accused of a murder he would never forget. Captain Dornell, although not one of Harcourt’s biggest fans decides to become his champion four years later. So, can Harcourt become part of an Investigation unit and help solve crimes? Will he find the man who committed the murder he was accused of? Just who is behind the murders of the guild members and who is behind those of the cult? Who committed a murder to mirror that of the one the cult would commit? What was their fatal mistake? Stonewood is not somewhere most people would want to live. A city filled with corruption, murder, hate and revenge on the part of those that are supposed to protect as well as they that want their bounties paid in gold. The innocent have no recourse and the guilty seem to be running the show. Author Jeremy Hayes takes us inside the minds of thieves, muggers, killers and one man you have to love, Harcourt even though he is a master thief.

Just how Harcourt learns the identity of the person who committed the murder he was accused of and why the Captain enlisted his help you won’t believe the twist of fate. Harcourt is smart and not just a thief and saving the life of one of the members of the Guild might help him get what he was after in the first place. How does he trick them into allowing him in? Who else that is close to him is in a position of authority? So many twists, turns and surprises that the author keeps readers guessing as Harcourt takes on more than just the Thieves Guild but the ghosts and the demon cult too. The scenes are quite graphic so not for the feint of heart but definitely so vividly depicted you can paint your own picture and reproduce it in your own mind.

Who winds up as the top thief at the end? What is Harcourt’s plan for revenge? An ending where you might say some get more than their just deserts and another gets an unexpected ending. What’s next for Harcourt and the Thieves Guild? Will the demon cult be eliminated? What about the corrupt guards? The answers we hope to these and many other questions in Book 2 of this trilogy.

Characters so unique and well crafted and groups intertwined to create this intricate plot author Jeremy Hayes will keep readers spellbound using the special magic that he has given Harcourt hoping to make sure that no one closes the book until you reach that very last page.  Deceit, betrayals, trust, loyalties tested, new friendships formed and a caste system within the city and even within the guild, just how will Harcourt survive and what is next for him? Scenes that will make you hold your breath and others that will bring smiles to your face. Who is more corrupt: The Guards, the demon cult, the Thieves Guild or everyone? Who can be trusted? Would you want to entry into one of these groups? Is it worth being a thief? You decide for yourself or you can ask Harcourt!

Fran Lewis: reviewer

FIVE GOLD PIECES


The Thieves of Stonewood: Book I of the Stonewood Trilogy: Jeremy Hayes

Unions provide benefits for their employees. You get a pension; health insurance and hopefully people to get you pay raises and defend you when things go wrong. But, what happens when you are a down and out thief, which is your profession or trade and cannot get accept into their Guild which is the equivalent of a union in order to be able to commit crimes and steal? Poor Harcourt is sullen, withdrawn, and down and out on his luck and on top of everything else gets caught for stealing and is thrown in the dungeon for four months. Adept at sleight of hand and quite agile, Harcourt, if allowed could reap in a huge haul if no one stopped him. But, alienated from the most powerful guild, hated by the guards and constantly hit, beaten and abused Harcourt needs to find another way to survive. But, how when al he knows and ever wanted was to be a first class thief. Living in a world riddled with crime, corruption, police that are on the take, thieves, muggers and killers Harcourt needs to press hard to survive. Once a thief always a thief but with a good heart and a definite motivation to help his precious, Jalanna, his true love. Jalanna was seriously burned and her face permanently scarred in a fire causing her to cover her face with a black veil. Many shun at the sight of her bringing tears to her eyes. In order to provide the cure Harcourt needs to present a priest, who claims he can cure her with five thousand dollars worth of gold. But, where is a homeless thief to get such a stash? Throughout the start of the book you get to meet many different thieves, hear their voices and find out much about their world. Within this framework or Stonewood where this story takes place not only is there a Thieves Guild, a demon cult more dangerous than the thieves, the City Guard and corrupt police. The people of this city within many economic groups as it are divided into several districts and only those living in other than the South District are treated fairly.

Illusions are created in many ways and not everyone or everything is what it appears. Forced to leave Stonewood or be killed or beaten by the guards or the guild again he comes face to face with the most notorious and famous bandit or thief in the world. The One-Hand Bandit is what he is called but most know him as a wealthy nobleman. Listening to Harcourt’s story he decides to present him with something special that would change his life and his destiny. What if you could change your appearance at will? What if you could use this magic to create an illusion so powerful that you could pull off crimes and no one would ever know?

Finding his way to the Den to see his girlfriend the encounter allows readers to know where his heart really lies and that the disguise really works. But, everything has its limitations and as Cinderella had to be home at midnight or her coach would disappear, Harcourt could not use this special present for more than three days. Why? No one knows. Hoping to rob as many rich, get the five thousand pieces of gold to help cure his girlfriend, Harcourt forges ahead. But, not before he helps those that were kind to him and one young girl learns the true meaning of friendship and another will now be able to provide for so many others.

The true villains are Randar, Serdic and a guard named Zenod whose love of inflicting pain is almost as passionate as Harcourt’s goal to succeed and safe so many. But, Harcourt is impulsive and at times does not always think things through. Like a kid who wants ice cream and has to have it now, his capers often run awry. Angered by their lose of gold, the King beefing up security, the guard and the guild are definitely on their own high alert hoping to find out who is taking what they think is belongs to them.

Things take a different turn and Harcourt is able to get the gold need to repair his girlfriend’s face and remove her scars. But, one man’s hate for Harcourt turns his fate in a different direction. Facing a lifetime in jail Harcourt is wrongly accused of a murder he would never forget. Captain Dornell, although not one of Harcourt’s biggest fans decides to become his champion four years later. So, can Harcourt become part of an Investigation unit and help solve crimes? Will he find the man who committed the murder he was accused of? Just who is behind the murders of the guild members and who is behind those of the cult? Who committed a murder to mirror that of the one the cult would commit? What was their fatal mistake? Stonewood is not somewhere most people would want to live. A city filled with corruption, murder, hate and revenge on the part of those that are supposed to protect as well as they that want their bounties paid in gold. The innocent have no recourse and the guilty seem to be running the show. Author Jeremy Hayes takes us inside the minds of thieves, muggers, killers and one man you have to love, Harcourt even though he is a master thief.

Just how Harcourt learns the identity of the person who committed the murder he was accused of and why the Captain enlisted his help you won’t believe the twist of fate. Harcourt is smart and not just a thief and saving the life of one of the members of the Guild might help him get what he was after in the first place. How does he trick them into allowing him in? Who else that is close to him is in a position of authority? So many twists, turns and surprises that the author keeps readers guessing as Harcourt takes on more than just the Thieves Guild but the ghosts and the demon cult too. The scenes are quite graphic so not for the feint of heart but definitely so vividly depicted you can paint your own picture and reproduce it in your own mind.

Who winds up as the top thief at the end? What is Harcourt’s plan for revenge? An ending where you might say some get more than their just deserts and another gets an unexpected ending. What’s next for Harcourt and the Thieves Guild? Will the demon cult be eliminated? What about the corrupt guards? The answers we hope to these and many other questions in Book 2 of this trilogy.

Characters so unique and well crafted and groups intertwined to create this intricate plot author Jeremy Hayes will keep readers spellbound using the special magic that he has given Harcourt hoping to make sure that no one closes the book until you reach that very last page.  Deceit, betrayals, trust, loyalties tested, new friendships formed and a caste system within the city and even within the guild, just how will Harcourt survive and what is next for him? Scenes that will make you hold your breath and others that will bring smiles to your face. Who is more corrupt: The Guards, the demon cult, the Thieves Guild or everyone? Who can be trusted? Would you want to entry into one of these groups? Is it worth being a thief? You decide for yourself or you can ask Harcourt!

Fran Lewis: reviewer

In the Shadow of Elvis: My thoughts


 

In the Shadow of Elvis, Perils of a Ghostwriter

by Rico Austin

 

What would you do if you found out that your father or mother was a famous celebrity and the truth had been hidden from you for most of your life? What would you do if your father was someone that you admired, emulated and revered and just didn’t know you were his son? Well, let’s start from the beginning and introduce two important players. First, let’s meet award winning author Rico Austin who I personally know is the author of My Bad Tequila and Arizona Is Where I Live, which are two outstanding books. One tells of his life and the other about the state of Arizona where he lives. The story begins with some background about the author, his trip with his wife and some friends to Iceland and a chance encounter with a man that would soon become more than just a close friend. Walking into a familiar restaurant he noticed a couple enjoying some hot wings. Not wanting to burn his palette he ordered his medium hot and struck up a conversation with this man and his wife. While talking it came out that Rico is an author and the man in question jumped at the chance to explain that an author was just what he needed and guess why? You got it he wanted someone to write his story for him as a ghostwriter, submit it to an agent, equally share the royalties and hopefully bring to light his well kept family secret.

 

I bet you are now wondering what that secret is and  why Rico decided to take this man up on his offer but not before spending some time with him, getting to know his friends, enjoying some great tequila and finding out they had a lot in common. Just who is this famous person he is related to? Well, he found out in an odd way when he went to visit his sister and happened to see something in one of her drawers. The papers revealed who is really parents were, the identity of his adoptive parents. John Dennis Smith is the legitimate or Illegitimate son of the King himself: ELVIS! During his conversation over chicken wings/ hot and medium he finds out this man is the son of The King Himself: ELVIS.

 

As Rico decides to assist and ghostwrite this story he learns something that might change his mind. What happens when he finds out that someone else was enlisted to write this book? What happens when he learns a proposal was sent to a well-known literary agency? What about this other author and how would this be dealt with in a professional way? Could he trust John or would he face the same fate if things did not go well? But, Rico is smart and when push comes to shove he asked the right questions understood why John released the other author and the steps that he had to follow and guidelines to create a proposal that would be accepted. Let’s not forget that he has a full time job, instructional classes to give and family. But, Rico manages to follow all of the guidelines and the book is written, the proposal shared, the preface and much more as I begin to read: Let the Boy Sing: Elvis is My Daddy: John Dennis Smith and Rico Austin.

 

First of all there are two books, one is Rico’s journey writing this book and the second is the book itself that he ghost wrote. Let’s learn something about John Dennis Smith: I.D. Smith was the half-brother of Gladys Smith Presley. Believe it or not, but Gladys Smith Presley was his grandmother and Elvis’ mother’s brother who helped bring up John. John loves to sing and has received many awards. His high tenor voice can be heard throughout the south with the many bands that he was with. His adoptive parents were related to Elvis but there are tons of family trees that can be sited related to John, Elvis and both families. His real mother’s name is Zona Marie and both authors spotlight her within the first few chapters of the book. Robert Smith was Elvis’s grandfather and have many other children and wives before marrying Doll Mansell his grandmother. He relates how he was on the Lawrence Welk show and many others as a kid. Let the Boy Sing: Elvis is My Daddy is a print on demand book created by a company in Oklahoma.

Rico never really understood why John decided to have him write this book. He was a popular singer with an over 1.5 million dollar book deal, claiming Rico would get over a half a million dollars but first, Tate Publishing wanted their piece of the pie which was thirty eight hundred dollars. So, why did Rico decide to pay for the book? Why did he object to working with the Carlburg the first author? Why was he fired? This book tells the real life story of Smith and describes even more this other man’s work ethic and the fun Rico had promoting My Bad Tequila is equal to the fun he has promoting this one. Karen Albright Lin was the first author or ghostwriter he enlisted to help him. Checking all three of his co-author’s birth certificates, the DNA results he begins by discussing the premise behind the book, the amazing marketing and the many venues they will explore and the sample chapters that are included beginning with how John felt when at 27 years old he learned just who is father was and the mixed feelings he felt. Sharing as John says the same DNA as Elvis would change his life but not his career goals. Wait until you see the photos you won’t be able to put the book down until you read all of the sample chapters and find out how Rico finally got it published and the mystery of the literary agency and whether they agreed to accept his proposal. Can he prove all of this and what about Elvis’s family? Will they believe him? Let’s continue and learn more. The first two sample chapters elaborate on how he learned about his parentage but the heartfelt meeting between him and Zona Marie followed by more about her life is quite compelling and you will have to learn more by reading it for yourself.

 

What makes this novel unique are the many voices you hear, the different books that are highlighted and the many experiences Rico relates. Learning more about his ghostwriting experience, the underhanded scheme pulled by a man named Rich, the reneging of the contract and the miscommunications, you begin to wonder why Rico would even continuing with this endeavor. An encounter that caused Rico to have a serious medical scare, many trips with friends, learning more about Connie and her Elvis collection, this novel has many different layers that the reader will be able to easily uncover. One thing for sure once you start reading the book you won’t stop until you find out just what happened to the final deal with John Dennis Smith. Relating the events using a timeline we get to experience the actual events ourselves, the book signings, meeting Starsky, which is exciting enough, many other celebrities, parties, fun times and even finding time for his tire repair classes, Rico’s energy and drive are never ending or more like an everlasting battery that never wears out.

 

The end result of this project will definitely alert anyone thinking about ghostwriting to think twice about the project, make sure you check out the person that you are ghostwriting for and something my Dad always taught me: Get it in writing and notarized. When a handshake is your word and your word is not gold, the rest is just plain fabricated, forged or just a sham.

 

Learn more about this talented author when you read his bio. Learn more when you read pages 124-125 and read the awards he has received for his first novel My Bad Tequila. Elvis might have been John Dennis Smith’s father and he might have agreed to want Rico to write his story but one thing is for sure and what happens you just won’t believe, but the pictures within this book speak volumes, the original samples are quite interesting and the end result you will learn for yourself. In the Shadow Of Elvis: one thing is for certain: this author does not walk in anyone’s Shadow, he casts a beautiful picture front and center on his own. This is really quite compelling and revealing book with many lessons to be learned including trust, faith, betrayal, lies and much more. So, In the Shadow of Elvis: Perils of A Ghostwriter: A definite Five Gold Tequila Novel. Once again author Rico Austin hits the mark with another novel that takes us across many states, oceans and cities and lands us right back where he belongs.

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer, educator, author and talk show host of Book Discussion on Blog Talk Radio on the World Of Ink

 

 

 

 

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