Posted in Anthology, Reviews

Recommended Weekend Reading if you Enjoy Historical Fiction

*****5 stars

I recently finished reading Ernest Lived . . . and other Historical Fiction Short Stories published by Red Penguin Books for their Red Penguin Collection that’s edited by J.K Larkin. These fifteen stories take place during different time periods. The anthology featured a contest for the best story that would be the featured story in the collection. Diane Kane’s “Ernest Lived” won and with good reason. This touching story features a boy who befriends an old World War 1 homeless veteran named Ernest whom he meets by the train tracks and invites to live with him on his farm. Ernest teaches the boy many lessons before he dies. The one he remembers most is “When your days are done, and you meet the Lord, it matters not what day you were born, nor the day you die. All that matters is how you lived.”

David Lange contributed two stories to this anthology. The one I liked most was the last story in the book, “Last Card, First Kiss,” about a boy in 1976 who collected baseball cards and was seeking one special card to complete his collection. Looking for this card, he finds something more valuable when he befriends a girl in his class.

Christina Hoag’s story, “The Night on the Rock,” is another 70’s story but involves teenagers instead of kids and has a very different theme. In this one, a young man learns a lesson the hard way after trying to be cool with the ladies and his friends.

Minoti Vaishnav’s story, “355,” takes place on Long Island during the War of Independence when the Culper Spy Ring existed. I loved the fact this story was local, and the twist at the end was very well written.

“Be Brave” by Valerie Ormond was another excellent story. It involved a young man who lost his family in a fire in 1860 and, after some trials, went on to become a Pony Express rider.

If you like stories with paranormal elements, you’ll enjoy “Snowalkers” by R.J. Erbacher that takes place during World War II and features a soldier who is visited by the ghosts of the people he killed in combat.

All the stories in this collection are excellent reads, but the ones above are the ones I enjoyed most not including my own, “The Pyramid Murder,” which takes the reader back to the building of the Great Pyramids and a murder that occurs there that is solved partly by a cat.

Posted in author news

February Author News

I hope you’re all staying safe and warm this winter. February can be a mixed weather month in some areas, bringing snowstorms one day and sun and warmer temps the next. It’s also the month of Valentine’s Day which also brings mixed feelings. Some people love this romantic holiday, and others don’t care much for it. It also happens to be the shortest month of the year.

For me, February is a busy month. Two of my books were recently accepted by Next Chapter Publishing, a reprint of my Pet Posts: the Cat Chats and the first book of my new Rainbow Gardens Pet cozy mystery series, The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady. Both these books will be published in hardcover, paperback, large print, eBook, and eventually will be produced on audio. 

I also have two books on sale in February. My romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, will be free from February 11 to February 15.

Jackie Riordan’s in trouble . . .

When her jewel-thief father is caught in the middle of a heist, Jackie makes her getaway to his ex-jail pal’s apartment. a man called Ace, who lives in an upscale neighborhood of Chicago. What she doesn’t count on is falling in love with him and becoming his partner in crime. She also doesn’t expect to compete with Ace’s old flame or deal with his cat Roxie who causes her allergy attacks.

All bets are off . . .

After Jackie discovers clues left by her father which lead her to a treasure that Ace may have stolen, she contemplates her next move. Should she trust Ace and believe her father gave him the money, or head home to her mother, a religious hypocrite who would have no qualms about ratting out her own daughter to the cops?

Things that sparkle aren’t always Diamonds . . .

Before Jackie can decide who the good guys really are, she finds herself atop the Willis Tower carrying her father’s ashes in her pocket and aiding Ace in the largest jewelry heist of his life. Things go terribly wrong, and Jackie’s only choice seems to be to walk away from Ace or face imprisonment.

Get this book free February 11 to February 15 at:

My Cobble Cove mystery, Love on the Rocks, is on sale for 99 cents Feb. 11 to Feb. 15.

It’s February in the small town of Cobble Cove. Love is in the air . . . but so is murder!

When Alicia helps plan a Valentine’s Day Party at the Cobble Cove library that also includes a surprise for her newlywed friend, Gilly, things go wrong when a mysterious box of chocolates addressed to the director turns out laced with poison.

Clues Lead to A Dead Suspect

Although Alicia promised John she’ll no longer meddle in crime investigations, she and Gilly set out to find the person threatening Sheila who murdered the courier of the deadly candy. The three people they suspect include the professor from California who’s been romancing Sheila while she assists him with research for his book; the obnoxious patron Rhonda Kleisman who threw coffee at the director after refusing to pay for a damaged book; and a visiting widow staying at Gilly’s inn who’s unnaturally curious about Sheila and earns the nickname of Madame Defarge for her interest in knitting.

New Cat in Town

While Alicia and Gilly are trying to solve this new Cobble Cove mystery, Sneaky is introduced to Gilly’s new kitten, Kittykai, a calico she brought home from her honeymoon in Hawaii. It’s not like at first sight, but the two cats eventually become friends. They also both play a part in foiling the killer’s murder attempts, but will Alicia and Sheila survive unscathed?

Get this book here for 99 cents February 11 to February 15:

Have a great month and a Happy Valentine’s Day!

For more author news including excerpts from my forthcoming books, subscribe to my newsletter, Debbie’s Drafts at

Posted in Reviews

Two More 5-star Reviews for Your Reading Pleasure


I wish I could give this book more than five stars, although it wasn’t what I expected. First of all, I don’t usually read non-fiction or memoirs. Secondly, romances are my least favorite genre. That may sound odd since I’ve written romance into many of my mysteries and also published a paranormal romance. Having said all that, I found this book nothing short of inspiring, romantic, and historically interesting. The author, Ms. Spinelli, shares letters written by her boyfriend during the time he served in Vietnam. We know from the start that he died in the war and that Ms. Spinelli had locked away these letters and other memories from that relationship in a suitcase that she only reopened fifty years after his death after being invited to view a memorial created in her boyfriend’s honor.

The story of Ms. Spinelli’s love affair is interspersed through the book along with the letters in date order of when she received them. Not all the letters are included and some are edited, but they retain the voice of a young man deeply in love and planning to marry his sweetheart. Indeed, both Ms. Spinelli and her boyfriend Lester (known to her as Chip) considered themselves man and wife. Chip was recruited in late 1969 and served through March of 1970 when he was listed as Missing in Action. His death was later confirmed, and a large number of relatives, friends, and residents of his town attended his funeral.

I couldn’t stop reading this book. Having been a child during the Vietnam era, I can only recall the protests, hippies, and “make love, not war” slogan. This book brought home the meaning of those messages. It also gave me a glimpse into war and the sacrifices soldiers and their families face.

I have to say that more than one passage brought tears to my eyes and that I found Ms. Spinelli’s final chapters, decades after Chip’s death, to reflect her growth and the many lessons she shares with us about appreciating the small details of life, embracing the written word through cards and letters instead of texts and emails, and recognizing the way life and death are connected. Some may consider her experience with a psychic that’s included later in the book to be above the top, but I believe people and even pets who have strong connections with their loved ones will reconnect with them one day after they’re gone.

Reading this book will give you historical insight but, more importantly, will touch your heart. Don’t miss it.


This was a fun read. As a time-travel fan (having read a few time-travel books and also written one), I found this book featured a unique concept. Aboard an Amtrak heading for Chicago, several passengers find themselves back in 1860 on an excursion trip arranged by the Union Pacific Railroad. Each of these passengers has a story. There’s an author who was chosen for a writer-in-residence program; a female detective; an elderly couple whose daughters worried about them taking the trip; a couple who were trying to rekindle their romance; a train buff who had traveled many rails; and a family so absorbed with social media and technology to the extent they were losing communication with one another.

As the train passes through a dust storm, these people find themselves dressed in clothes from the 1800’s and that they’ve assumed the identities of real people from that time. There are also other people on the train whom they don’t know. Making the most of the situation, they act out their roles. But besides traveling back in time, there are other surprises along the way for these passengers including a murder, an ill-fated romance, and an Indian attack.

I won’t give away what happens and whether this group returns to the present and if they do, what happens. But I’ll say that they all learn a lot about history and more about one another as they experience this adventure.

I enjoyed this book, the characters, and their time-travel adventure. It’s a great book to read on a train.

Posted in Books

Four of My Books Are Going Wide

Hi, everyone. This is just to let you know that some of my books are now available on other platforms besides Amazon. Below are the links to the books. Right now, the Kindle/Amazon link might be the only one visible from these links but eventually they will include Apple, B&N, Kobo, Google Play and Scribd. Although the links may not be found yet, you can still search for the titles on any of these platforms and chances are they will be there. Thank you for your interest and patience while my publisher makes these changes.

Time’s Relative

It’s the fall of 1998, and librarian Samantha Stewart is looking for a new job. After seeing an ad for a high-paying position at a company called Virtual Software that entails research and travel, Sam investigates the company and learns that its president has gone missing, and that it’s currently being run by the vice-president Greg Parsons.

Before Sam makes it to the interview, she’s visited by a strange woman who introduces herself as Jane Oldsfield: a time traveler whose mission Greg Parsons is trying to prevent.

Sam ignores the woman and goes on the job interview anyway. Soon, she finds herself involved not only with Greg Parsons, but also Philip Montmart, a chain-smoking detective with a vendetta for his wife’s killer, and the time-traveling Oldsfield and her feline accomplice.

Witnessing world events that have yet to happen in her lifetime, including 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, Y2K hysteria and the COVID pandemic, can Samantha figure out Oldsfield’s plans?

Memory Makers

Twenty-five years ago, Lauren Phelps and her sister Patty were kidnapped from their backyard on Long Island. Lauren escaped her captor, but Patty was killed.

Ever since, Lauren has suffered from nightmares of the “Shadow Man.” Trying to recall his face and avenge her sister’s murder, Lauren, now a kidnapping investigator, enrolls in a clinical trial for a new memory drug.

At the offices of Memory Makers in California, she receives the injections of the Memory Makers’ serum, and begins to experience flashbacks of repressed memories. Along with the flashbacks, she receives threats from an anonymous source that point back to her childhood trauma.

Soon, Lauren becomes involved with a fellow trial participant who seeks to recall his own traumatic past. But can Lauren discover the identity of the “Shadow Man” before history repeats itself?

Sea Scope

Sarah Collins needs an escape. Mourning her brother’s death and the impending breakup of her marriage, she returns to her childhood home in South Carolina, where her family operated an inn.

Sarah hasn’t been back to Sea Scope for twenty years; not since she and her brother Glen discovered a body by the nearby lighthouse. She never understood why her parents left Sea Scope so suddenly, or the reasons behind her father’s suicide.

After Sarah returns to the inn, she faces long-buried memories, text messages and strange clues. Something is not right in Sea Scope. Reunited with people from her past, she tries to figure out what’s going on in her childhood home.

When past and present collide, Sarah must face truths about her family, and what happened that summer day by the lighthouse. But will she survive to tell the tale?

Meows and Purrs

*Note: This book’s link has not yet been updated, but it’s still available here:

In this collection of 30 cat poems, author Debbie De Louise shares her love and knowledge of the felines she’s known throughout her life.

Most of the poems are inspired by her current and past cats. Some poems are funny; others are sad, but all reflect the beauty, intelligence, and special characteristics of these animals.

If you are a cat lover or enjoy reading poems about cats, you will be both touched and entertained by this poetry collection that also includes photos of the author’s cats, and notes about how they inspired her to write the poems.

Posted in Reviews

Two 5-star Reviews for Your Reading Pleasure


When I read this book, I didn’t realize it was the first by this author. I was drawn to it because of the cover and the fact that I enjoy reading about and have also written a novel featuring a lighthouse. I was more than pleasantly surprised by this story.

After a young woman’s mother dies, her father, a detective, takes her to a small town called Seabrook where he’s been assigned a missing person’s case. His hope is to give her a change of scene and help her heal. What follows is a series of odd events that may remind some readers of a Twilight Zone episode.

Without giving too much away, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I could hardly stop reading. There were many surprises, romance, and an interesting ending. And, yes, the lighthouse plays a significant role. If you enjoy paranormal novels with touching characters, I highly recommend this book.

If you’re a lighthouse or mystery fan, you might also enjoy my psychological thriller, Sea Scope (, about a murder at a lighthouse. The eBook will shortly be available on several platforms besides Amazon.


Besides an interesting title, A Flamingo Under the Carousel by William John Rostron is also an interesting book. What makes it unique is the author’s preface to each section and each story in this collection. By providing details on how each published work was inspired and the stories behind the stories, the reader is given a glimpse into the author’s mind and heart.

The book starts with a prologue that explains the title and then includes seven sections and an epilogue. Within the sections are multi-genre stories and essays. Some are new but most have appeared in print elsewhere. Some also feature characters from Rostron’s trilogy (that will soon include a fourth book), Band in the Wind, Sound of Redemption, and Brotherhood of Forever.

There’s something for everyone here along with a list of where each story was previously published. I enjoyed this book and believe it will appeal to a wide audience.

Posted in Contest

Votes Needed for Books Running in Reader’s Poll


Two of my books are running in the Readers Choice 2021 Awards. The poll ends on January 14.

My time-travel novel, TIME’S RELATIVE published by Next Chapter Publishing, is entered in the Science Fiction/Fantasy book category. To vote for it, please go to and click on the box next to the book title (note the choices are arranged alphabetically, so this book is further down on the page). Once you vote, you’ll receive an email that you will need to confirm so that the vote will be officially counted.

My latest cozy mystery, BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE: Cobble Cove Story #5 published by Solstice Publishing, is entered in the all other short story category and is listed as the first choice. The link to this category is

Please follow the directions above for casting your vote.

Two of my fellow Next Chapter authors, Brian L Porter, and John Broughton also have books running in the Readers Choice Awards 2021 and would very much appreciate your vote.

To vote for Brian L. Porter’s THE MERSEY FERRY MURDERS in the Mystery category, please go to

To vote for John Broughton’s THE RUNES OF VICTORY in the All Others category go to

Thank you all for your support of my books and those of two of my friends and fellow authors.

Posted in holidays

Happy New Year! Let’s Think Positive Thoughts for 2022

I had high hopes for 2021, and things started to look better until recently when new variants of COVID appeared and are now rampant again worldwide. I don’t want to get into politics or discussions about vaccines or masks. I just want to send my wishes and prayers for a better 2022. The pandemic is only one of the issues that’s troubling the world right now. There are terrible weather-related disasters – tornados, earthquakes, forest fires and more. There are shootings and bombings, and other forms of violence. Yet there is still beauty everywhere. The sun rises and sunsets; the oceans, babies’ smiles; kittens and puppies; a really enjoyable book, TV show, or movie; chocolate. If we can focus on the positives, it will help us cope with all the negatives. Please comment on some of your favorite things that you look forward to in 2022.

Have you made any plans for next year? Travel is still questionable as are large gatherings, but maybe you have some personal goals, a project you’d like to complete, an exercise routine you’d like to start, a diet (don’t we all want to start one of those after the holidays?), or some other new hobby or endeavor. For me, I hope to write and publish more books and also work on improving my craft and growing as an author. I haven’t given up my quest to find an agent to represent my work, but I realize that takes time. I’ve decided, with the help of newsletter subscribers, to submit to one of my publishers the book that I was querying to agents for a long time. This will be the start of a new cozy mystery series featuring the owner of a pet cemetery and shelter who becomes an amateur sleuth when the “cat crazy” lady in her small town is murdered. But I’ve also just finished writing a standalone book that I want to edit and query to agents. I have several other projects that I hope to complete, if not in 2022, then another year. My focus, though, will be on my writing which means I’ll spend less time on social media.

I want to thank you all for reading this blog. I’m trying to post more book reviews of both Indie and popular titles. I’ll also continue to post my updates, sales, and other author news, but less often as I need to focus on my writing.

A reminder that the holiday sale for my four cozy mysteries is running through January 4. For more information and details on how to purchase these books, please read this blog post:

If you’d like to be included in my newsletter and aren’t yet a subscriber, you can sign up at or contact me to ask to join my list. The newsletter comes out monthly and more often for special sales and announcements. I choose a winner from my active subscribers each month for a giveaway, post photos of subscriber’s pets, and feature character spotlights from my books.

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy 2022. Think positive, keep your goals in mind, be thankful for your friends, loved ones, and pets . . . and smile.