Town Father is great book club material — and it’s on sale for 99 cents!

Dear Reader, do you belong to a book club? Well, here’s a sale for you and your fellow bookies (or book lovers, whatever): Kevin Brennan’s Town Father is on sale for 99 cents but only through Friday so HURRY! And check out Kevin’s post: he has questions that you can use to guide your book club’s discussion!


Front cover smallPick me! Pick me!

Starting today and running through Friday, Town Father is on sale at Amazon for 99 cents. I finally landed an EReader News Today slot!

And this gives me the opportunity to suggest that Town Father would make an excellent choice for book clubs. Don’t just take it from me. Author Carrie Rubin (Eating Bull) introduced the book to her club, which just wrapped up their discussion last week.

Carrie had asked if I might want to prepare a few discussion questions for the group to dig into, which I was delighted to do. I might have gone a little overboard with fifteen questions, but consider them a pick n’ choose menu. You can download a pdf here. (Caution: includes spoilers!)

If you’re in a book club and you’re looking for unique historical fiction about a Gold Country village made up of three…

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What’s the Worst That Can Happen When I Don’t Write? #MondayBlogs #amwriting

I don’t like complaining … in public, anyway.  And I don’t like making excuses.  Unfortunately, complaining and excuses seem to go hand-in-hand for me.  The thing about complaining is that there is always someone worse off than me, which should give some perspective.  And the thing about excuses is, nobody cares.  We all have excuses.  We all have reasons why we haven’t done this and why we’ll be late in doing that.

Lately, all I’ve been doing is complaining and making excuses: to my husband, my coworkers, my cats. Because of that, I haven’t been writing for my blog.  I want to, but when I’m being tormented by the demons of Angst, well, I don’t think my writing is very entertaining or fun to do.

You see, I have very little to complain about.  […]

In fact, I just deleted two whole paragraphs where I complain about … something.  This is my desire for privacy kicking in.  My deep-seated belief that some things just should not be shared publicly.  Not that anything awful has happened.  No, no, no.  It’s just the usual issue of balance and I’m not talking about yoga.

So let’s be positive.  Or, rather, let me in this blog post try to retake control of my life.  The thing is, I’m getting too old for this, among other things.  I want to slow down.  Everyone seems to want to speed up.  I want to simplify my life.  Everyone seems to want more and more things, more bells, more whistles, more distraction.  I want to minimize the distractions in my life.  And I write this after having sent out a slough (for me, anyway) of tweets.

Maybe I want others to feel my pain.  Maybe my use of Twitter and Facebook isn’t so much because I want to “connect.”  Maybe I just want to assault people with the same brain-numbing bombardment of tweets, pokes, comments, Likes, and Mentions that I experience after one of my WP posts goes live.  But that’s not true.  For one thing, I don’t receive that many tweets, pokes, comments, Likes, and Mentions after any of my WP posts.  And I can choose when I respond, should I choose to respond.  So what’s the problem?

You see, there really isn’t any problem.  When I write down my angst, it suddenly seems so trivial.

A couple of decades ago when I was a doctoral student, I fell into a depression.  A mental one.  I once literally fell into a depression and sprained my left ankle.  It occurred about the same time.  Anyway, I digress.  I was seeing a counselor at the university, a wonderful woman recommended by another student.  During one session, she asked me what was the worst thing that would happen if I dropped out of the doctoral program.  How would it ruin my life?  I thought about it and realized that my life would not be ruined if I left the program.  I would be fine.  Although the program was a big part of my life, it didn’t contribute to my happiness … like my husband did, or my knitting, or my friends, or my cats, or my writing, or my walks in the neighborhood.  That one question changed my whole perspective.  I had control.  I could decide to stay, or to go.  I didn’t have to let the program rule me.

Eventually I secured a “real” job (that is, one with better wages than that of the lowly student research assistant), finished my coursework, and simply drifted away.  I admit I toyed with returning to the doctoral program on occasion.  But deciding not to return is a decision I’ve never regretted.

So, what is this about?  Just that I do have control.  I have some control over how things run my life, or, perhaps I should say, whether things do run my life.

I think of my counselor and that pivotal moment in her office, and I ask myself, what is the worst that can come of this?  What are my priorities?  If writing a blog post is not in the top five of my priorities for the day or even the week, what bad will come of that?  If I choose a morning yoga practice, reading The Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen, grooming my cats (alas, they have fleas even with Revolution), going to the gym with my husband, and (finally) knitting while watching a movie with my husband, all of that ahead of writing a blog post, who is there to fault me?  Do you think I’m spending too much time with my husband?

Yes, there is so much writing I want to do.  I started working on a revision of Clemency a few weeks ago.  And I’m writing book reviews in my head.  But there’s time, isn’t there?  Does everything have to be done now?  Taking control means that I believe I have all the time in the world.  It means that I don’t live as if this day may be my last.  It means that as long as I enjoy what I am doing when I am doing it, then I am having a good day.  And if that means I don’t get to my novel that day, well, you know, I think I’ll live.

And what about you, dear Reader and dear Friend?  Have you found a balance between living your life and writing?  Share any and all secrets🙂



I’m experimenting here with trying to share a friend’s WP post and book launch through my phone. And without further ado, I give you Charles Yallowitz and The Charms of the Feykin!

A sweet deal on Fascination: it’s twofer time!

Here’s a twofer for lovers of good reading: Buy Fascination from Kevin Brennan and get one of his other ebooks for FREE! I’ve read all of them and highly recommend each one. So hurry up and take advantage of this deal!



Summer’s over. Bummer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t catch up on your summer reading, and the hottest book this summer is — you guessed it — Fascination!

But to sweeten the pot now that Labor Day has come and gone, I’m offering readers of What The Hell a special deal.

Buy Fascination at any of the price points and earn yourself a copy of any of my other ebooks free. That’s right: it’s a twofer!

Pay at least $3.99 for Fascination, which I’ll deliver straight to your desktop, and select Yesterday Road, Occasional Soulmates, or Town Father in either epub or mobi format.

I realize a lot of regulars around here have already read the other three books, but I’m sure there are some of you who haven’t read all three. Or who haven’t bought Fascination yet. You can always give your freebie to…

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Naked Alliances up for Eversion Pre-Order and Paperback is Published

Line up, readers, S. K. Nichols has a new novel, Naked Alliances, featuring a crazy cast of characters that you might only find in Central Florida. You can get the paperback now or pre-order the ebook version which will be available later this month.

S.K. Nicholls

As you may have noticed, I’ve been off social media for a while. There were too many things on my mind and loads of work to get done. I’m packing to go to Michigan to see my new grandbaby…my first born’s first born. Really excited about that.

We also have a book. Naked Alliances is now available in paperback only and the eversion is up for pre-order. Yay!!!


Had to go this route this time. The publicist package we won at Sleuthfest came with a publicist who insists we have a book before she begins her marketing campaign. (I personally believe in a lot of pre-marketing, but she needed ARCs for reviewers and this is the only way to get them with CreateSpace.)

Mayglenn McCombs, the publicist, will be doing a blog tour, but I’d also like to set one up on my own. Anyone willing to help, let me…

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Introducing the third book in the John J. Cannon Trilogy – Our Justice

Our Justice

Click to go to Amazon


The terrorist leader and financier Matt Jacobs has figured out a way to eliminate the President. He is relying on John Cannon’s stature as a hero to help him carry it off. John finds himself walking the fine line of pretending to help Matt while trying to figure out a countermeasure to the plan.

The action begins with John fearing for his life. Clearly, whoever is trying to get him has a mission to accomplish and the elimination of John is at the top of the to-do list. The quest to survive takes John and his love, Stephanie, from the beaches of Port Aransas to West Virginia and finally to Matt Jacob’s corporate headquarters at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco. There John finally understands what he needs to do to protect both himself and Stephanie from further mayhem.

The third book in the John J. Cannon Trilogy brings together two strong wills for a showdown. The question to be answered is, who will feel the satisfaction that the achievement of justice delivers? John, Matt or neither?

Our Justice is available on Amazon and KDP now in e-book format for preorder at $2.99 with shipments starting on September 23rd. The paper edition will be available on Amazon September 23rd at $14.99. Here is the link for pre-order of the e-book


I see out of the corner of my eye that Ned is on the phone. Hopefully, he’s calling in reinforcements since it looks like the SUV is gaining on us. Just as the rear window of the Focus blows inward, he finishes the call. Hundreds of pieces of glass hit Ned and me. Luckily, it’s shatterproof stuff, so we’re mostly okay cut wise. Ned crouches down and fires three quick shots with his 9MM. In the mirror, the SUV swerves to the left and almost explodes after it rams a parked car. “Stop,” Ned yells.

I slam on the brakes, which nearly tosses Ned through the windshield. “For shit’s sake, I don’t have a seatbelt on, junior, so take it easy. Just stop and turn around.”

John Howell

Author BIO

John’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes fictional short stories and novels as well as a daily blog. His first novel, My GRL, is available on Amazon and wherever e-books are sold. His second, His Revenge, is available on Amazon and KDP Select.

John lives on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of South Texas with his wife and spoiled rescue pets.

Other places to find John

Blog Fiction Favorites –


Twitter –

Authors db –

LinkedIn –

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Goodreads –

Amazon Author’s page –

Martin Sisters Publishing –



A Different Kind of Book Review: Fascination #bookreview #guerillapublishing

Hello, friends, I am overdue for a book review and I’m a poet, doncha know it :)  Silliness aside, I’m reviewing Kevin Brennan’s latest novel, Fascination.  If you’ve been a follower of my blog for any length of time, then you know I’m a yuge fan of Kevin’s writing (and I kind of like the guy too).  Fascination is also special because Kevin is selling his novel by himself, no middle man for this man.  He calls it #guerillapublishing.  I hope you enjoy the review and do, please do, buy the novel!


Mary looked jealously at the colorful display on her cousin Maggie’s laptop, her feelings deepening as Maggie scrolled through the novel, showing her the pictures included with the novel they were to discuss that night.  Even the stark landscape of Colorado was appealing with its white clouds, soft blue sky and camel-colored earth.  She smiled tightly, not wanting to let Maggie to even have a hint of her feelings, but still, she did enjoy her Kindle Paperwhite.  And, now that she thought about it, the black and white version of the photos gave the novel a darker undercurrent, one she could still feel under her skin.

“The thing about Brennan’s novels is that he always creates characters and stories that get under my skin.”

Mary looked up, startled to hear Randy echo her own thoughts.  It was as if he knew her better than she knew herself, much like Clive knew Sally better than she knew herself.  These two characters in Fascination, this latest novel by Kevin Brennan, were two people she wasn’t likely to ever forget.

Randy took a sip of his coffee and then resumed as Mary and her two cousins, Maggie and Melissa, gave him their attention.

“On the surface of this novel, it’s a crazy kind of a road trip for a crazy kind of reason.  There’s a lot of humor in Fascination, with everything and everyone being fair game for a pun.  But there’s a sadness too, especially with Sally.  She is so naive and your heart just aches for her to understand what’s she’s doing to herself and the people around her.”

Melissa nodded her head a bit aggressively, as if to be sure that she would be the next to share her two cents.  But first they all had to wait for her to swallow a bit of iced lemon scone.

“I’m not sure if she was really naive about Mason, her dead-but-not-really-dead husband.  I mean, at first, she thinks they have a good marriage and he doesn’t really do anything to give her a clue that he’s wanting to leave her.  Then when she realizes that his suicide was faked, she won’t let it go.  She has to find him, even though doing so might mean that she won’t get the $500,000 insurance money.”

“And all because he wanted a kid, someone to carry on his name — Speck.”  Maggie snorted.  She had to admit to herself that she didn’t have much empathy for Mason.  Her late husband Bobby had been A-OK when she told him, before they married, that she wasn’t interested in having children.  She had never felt the urge and tended to look at babies as if they were miniature aliens.

“Yes, it does seem extreme for someone to fake a suicide just so they can plant the seed, or speck, with someone else.  But that’s part of the appeal of Fascination, don’t you think?”  As usual, Mary was asking a rhetorical question.  “The characters are quirky, in ways that make you feel fond of them, but they’re also flawed.  And desperate.  Everyone is just trying to find their place in the world–”

“And with each other,” Maggie interrupted.  “Even Stan and Jack, the guys at the Fascination parlor that Sally frequents, there’s some kind of history there.  They have influence.  As she visits other parlors on her road trip with Clive, their names secure her safety as well as help her earn some cash.”

“Which not everybody really likes because she has a preternatural gift with that game.”  Randy smiled as he reached for a chocolate chip scone.  What he would give for a gift like that.

“And don’t forget Warren Peeth and all those puns that Clive was so fond of making, almost like he couldn’t help himself.”  Maggie laughed out loud.  “I even found myself laughing out loud, or groaning depending on the pun.  Warren Peeth — that definitely got a groan.”

Melissa made a half-hearted attempt at stifling her own laughter.  “What about Berries Manilow?”

Randy snorted and then grabbed a napkin as coffee dripped from his nose.

“What about the Secret Society of the Mauve Maidenhead or those crazy, bald people at Homewood Place?  Poor Clive.  With his mutton-chop sideburns and pork pie hat, he was really out of place.”  Mary paused to sip her coffee.  “And yet, it was at Homewood Place where Sally and Clive had their confrontation.”  She looked down at her hands.  That confrontation had hit Mary hard.  “You know, sometimes … Brennan just catches me off-guard.”

Maggie and Melissa looked at Mary, their heads tilted toward her, as if beckoning her to continue.  Randy, sitting directly across from her, reached his hands forward slightly, as if making them available in case she needed to hold on.

“What I mean is, I’m reading this novel and going merrily along with these funny characters, this not-really-funny-but-actually-kind-of-funny fake suicide, this road trip of discovery and deception and potholes full of puns … and then suddenly it’s not funny.  I find myself trying to not cry.  I find myself arguing, in my head with myself, that maybe this relationship is just not meant to be.”

“Like with Occasional Soulmates.”  Maggie spoke softly, recalling the surprise but ultimately satisfying ending to that Brennan novel.

“Yes.  So, like that.  But I had to keep reading.  The story was just so compelling.  But what a experience and as the story unfolded, I don’t believe it could have happened any other way. And I was relieved it happened as it did!”

“Oh, truly!”  Melissa broke in.  “Just like with his other novels, you get a bit scared, thinking “uh, oh, things aren’t going the way I want them to.”  But things go the way they should go, the only way they can once you understand the characters and their history.  Brennan draws his characters slowly, with a lot of subtlety.  And just like with his other novels, I felt good about the ending.  It really fit.”

“Exactly, and that’s what I really enjoyed about Fascination.  He takes the reader on a road trip, giving you experiences that you may never have in real life, introducing you to characters you wish you could meet in real life, and leaves you with an ending that is as much of your own making as his.”  Randy stood up and started to clear the dishes.  He felt like he was finally getting the hang of these book club discussions.


Well, dear friend, I hope this review has whet your appetite for a fascinating novel.  You can get a copy for your favorite ebook device from the author himself, Kevin Brennan, at this link:

It’s easy peasy and you can pay as little as $3.99 or as much as you like.  Consider the cost of some of those bestselling lesser novels on Amazon and you’ll realize what a deal this truly is!

Living in the Moment #HurricaneHermine

As some of you may already know, my husband and I and our three cats survived Hurricane Hermine practically unscathed.  Other than the expected power outage, we had only this heart-stopper:


A rather tall pine twisted and fell between our driveway and our neighbor’s driveway, missing our cars.  As it turns out, even our fence, which helped break the tree’s fall, had minimal damage.  Interestingly, an arborist my husband had recently consulted over some other trees that we want removed, predicted that this particular pine would fall exactly in the way it did.  And the same arborist was able to arrange for a crew to come the next day and take down this pine, although we have to wait for the city to pick up the remains.  Click on the following link below for a time-lapse of the tree removal.  It took about 17 minutes, or …

$100 a minute

Still, I’m feeling pretty lucky.  We ventured out for a bit on Saturday, to get some ice since by then we had been out of power for almost 36 hours.  It still makes my stomach lurch to think of the homes we saw, where trees had fallen, caving in their roofs or crushing their cars.  And I know that as I write this post, in the wee hours of Monday morning, a lot of people still don’t have power.

So I’m very grateful.  In particular, I’m grateful for my husband, for the common-sense survival skills he developed growing up in South Florida when hurricanes were all too common, and for the awesome cooking skills he developed during his two years in the Peace Corps.  He can whip up a mean three egg and brie omelet on a little two-burner propane stove.  I know that without him I would have been a basket case.

I have one confession:  being off the grid was actually nice while it lasted.  We read until dark and then sat in the dark, talking.  And the dark was wonderful … except for the neighbor’s generator, there was a peacefulness to the darkness.  For 36 hours we were untethered.  When I had service, I used my cell phone only to call my mom.  I started to remember how I used to entertain myself before the internet, before Facebook, before blogging.  Somehow I used to keep myself pretty busy back then, knitting, sewing, and writing stories that no one would read.

But I missed all of you.  I missed reading your stories, your adventures, your gripes du jour.  I missed your humor and your thoughtfulness, your poetry. I missed the joy of your latest publications and the angst of your recent rejections.  I missed this community that I now realize I sometimes take for granted.

So I return to the grid, but with a keener appreciation for the wealth in my world:  my husband, my cats, my neighbors, my family, my friends–all those both on and off the grid.

I leave you with a sign of life returning to normal:

Wendy chillin' after the hurricane.

Wendy chillin’ after the hurricane.

Absentee Blogger

My absence from the online social milieu over the next few days will likely be due to this:


My city is more or less in the purple, just above the notch.  We’re about 20 or miles inland.  We are prepared for the worst, of course.  My husband has stockpiled enough H2O for a few weeks (mild exaggeration).  We only wish we had had our trees trimmed.  Ah, yes, complacency.  This area of the Big Bend in Florida hasn’t seen a hurricane since Kate in 1985.  My fingers are crossed that the worst we’ll experience is a deluge of rain, because it’s wind we really fear.

Since it is highly probable that we’ll be without power for a day or two or three, I thought I should let you all know that I will no doubt be well; just reacquainting myself with life literally off the grid.

I know that doesn’t explain my sporadic blogs (mostly reblogs) of late, nor my most recent now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t episodes over the last week.  I’ll save those excuses for later.

‘Til then …


A Conversation With Kevin Brennan, Part Two

This is Part 2 of Mark Paxson’s conversation with Kevin Brennan, author of the newly released (by himself) novel, Fascination. I’m reblogging this post because of something Mark says about Fascination: “In some respects, Fascination is a story that a reader who is looking for light entertainment could enjoy at the same time a reader who is looking for something deeper also could enjoy.” I’m reading Fascination now and, as with ALL of Kevin’s novels, there are layers and layers and layers to the story. If you’re into layers, then order a copy from Kevin and dig in. If you’re not into layers, then order a copy because you can race through with Clive and Sally and enjoy the ride. As for me, I’m digging in.

KingMidget's Ramblings

Part One is here.

MP. As the author of Fascination, is there something about the story that you particularly like?  Is there a part of the story, or an element of it, that you think you got particularly right?

KB. It’s not always easy to be super-objective about your own work, but in this book I like the overall tone most of all. I set out to write something in the mode of, say, Tom Robbins (without trying to imitate him, of course), but I wasn’t sure I could carry it all the way through a 300-page book. I hope readers think I succeeded!

I think the main thing I got right was telling a sprawling, convoluted, funny story that also gives the reader some interesting things to think about by the end. Ultimately, as the characters come to understand, the journey to heaven is heaven.

MP. It’s interesting…

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