Posted in Reviews

Review of Pets on the Prowl: An Animal Mystery Anthology edited by J.K. Larkin

*****5 stars

If you’re an animal lover and a mystery fan, you’ll love this collection of twelve pet mysteries by talented authors.

“Stealing Roscoe” by John M. Floyd is the first story in the anthology. Taking place on a college campus, it involves the dog napping of a bulldog that’s the mascot of the school’s sports team. The next story in this collection, “Murder Gone A-Stray” by Debbie De Louise (me) features an officer who is invited to attend the will reading of a rich, old man whose children may have played a role in his death. When Officer McDonald arrives at the mansion, she discovers that she must spend a night at the house with the relatives and a cat who has witnessed his master’s murder. “The Catbird Seat” by Dawn DeBraal is told in the point-of-view of a cat who also witnesses a murder. “Troubles in Paradise” by Kathy Chencharik features a cat who interacts with other neighborhood animals in a search for missing pets.

Not many would consider a cockroach a pet, but the main character considers it her mascot and uses it as inspiration for revenge in Jeffrey A. Lockwood’s “La Cucaracha.” Another unusual addition to this collection is “My Best Friend is a Ghost Who Happens to be a Dog Named Rosie” by Stephen Johnson. This is a story about a young girl who meets up with a canine ghost on Halloween who helps solve the case of missing pets.

“Fetch” by Ken Goldman was one of my favorites in this anthology. It has a supernatural element to it and involves an old man and his dog who begins to bring home human bones. The ending is quite a twist. “The Daring Duo of Shady Elm” by Shari Held features a Siamese and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as the main characters. The cat and dog help solve neighborhood burglaries. “The Three Lives of Thomasina Bug” by Elizabeth Elwood is a cute story about a cat who, with his favorite toy, leads police to where illegal drugs are hidden.

“His Sister’s Keeper” by Matt McGee features a wildlife sanctuary employee whose brother alerts her about a bear blocking traffic on a busy road. Arriving at the scene with her dog, she figures a clever way to deal with the bear without harming it. “Null and Void” by Rashmi Agrawal is another unusual tale. This one involves a woman whose boyfriend asks her to get a divorce from the dog she married at the request of her parents. Last, but not least, David Lange’s “Bessie’s Cap,” is a fun romp of an adventure involving two raccoons in an air and space museum who set out to discover the thief of two historic aviation artifacts. Lots of fun as they interview the mice and other inhabitants of the museum while trying to avoid the snake.

I highly recommend this book of pet mysteries which is another fine addition to the Red Penguin Collection edited by J.K. Larkin. Pick up your copy here:

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 Anthology, Reviews

Review: The Roaring ’20s: A Decade of Stories edited by JK Larkin

***** 5 stars

The Roaring 20’s: A Decade of Stories is another excellent anthology from the Red Penguin Collection. In this book, eleven authors share tales of various decades. Although I enjoyed every one of these stories and it’s hard to pick favorites, the ones I liked most included David Lange’s “Flapper and the Captain;” “An Act of Senselessness” by Shevaun Cavanaugh Kastl; “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Elaine Donadio; and “Time is Here and Gone” by William John Rostron.

Air Force veteran David Lange tells an interesting tale involving a flapper and an air force captain suffering from PTSD after receiving an injury in World War 1. The story’s origin, which is shared by the author at the end, is even more absorbing than this supernatural-type piece. Also with a strong paranormal element is Shevaun Cavanaugh Kastl’s, “An Act of Senselessness” about a couple on Halloween in 1983 that are involved in a car accident with a twist.

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Elaine Donadio is a fun tale featuring wealthy ninety-something Southampton socialite. Miss Ellen, and her younger companion, Patrice. The ladies come to the aid of a girl at a club where they’re dining who is interested in a man but is having trouble gaining his attention. Miss Ellen gives her some old-fashioned pointers that do the trick. Along the way, Ms. Donadio includes interesting tidbits about Long Island history and popular culture of the 1980’s.

“Time is Here and Gone” by William John Rostron, is the last story in this anthology. Last but definitely not least. Mr. Rostron reveals his own family history from 1900-1970 in seven connected short pieces that tell their own stories about his relatives.

The one story I didn’t include among my favorites is my own contribution to this anthology, “Growing Up in the Summer of ’71” which is my own semi-autobiographical tale about an eleven-year-old girl in 1971 with an older sister and how the two deal with relationships during the 1970’s era of Vietnam, hippies, and drugs.

These stories make for a great read any time of year but especially during the holiday season when people often reflect on the past.

Pick up a copy of The Roaring ’20s: A Decade of Stories here:

Posted in Anthology, Reviews

Review: The Moments edited by JK Larkin

***** 5 stars

The Moments is another interesting anthology from the Red Penguin Collection. In this book, nine authors share a special moment in their lives. There are some amazing stories here and others that are everyday events that are still unique to the author.

Air Force veteran David Lange, recounts the birth of each of his children in different places in “Welcoming Life.” Swan Rose, a former musician and current poet, writes about various special moments with his daughters and wife in “The Best Time of My Life.” Retired navy pilot, Jim Tritten, describes a once-in-a-lifetime experience he had on a nine-day warrior expedition to Big Bend National Park in “Touched by Rapture.” Skye Ballantine pens “Christmas Kindness,” a story about sharing gifts with those less fortunate and the true meaning of the holidays in simple pleasures of special moments. “When the Music’s Over” by William John Rostron relates his failed attempts at playing in a band and attending Woodstock and what it taught him about life. Nika Jordan Rose completes the collection with a play called “Lost & Found” which explores the deeply human need for connection in a self-isolated world.

These essays and the others in this anthology make for a great read any time of year but especially during the holiday season when the opportunity to encounter special moments of your own are more likely. I especially enjoyed editor J.K. Larkin’s introduction to this book and how he began the popular Red Penguin Collection during the pandemic.

Pick up a copy of The Moments here:

Posted in Anthology, holidays

Review: ‘Tis the Seasons: Poems for Your Holiday Spirit edited by J.K. Larkin

*****5 stars

This holiday poetry anthology is part of the Red Penguin collection of books edited by J.K. Larkin. It contains 36 poems by various authors that reflect the wonder, joy, and nostalgia of the holiday season. Some poems are funny; others are sad, but they all deal with holiday feelings and experiences.

Some of my favorite poems include David Lange’s “Needle in the Corner,” a poem with a sad twist; J.S. Manino’s “Thrill Before Christmas” which is a clever takeoff of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” song; Lisa Diaz Meyer’s “Merry Christmas Eve (Grandpa’s Walk); Linda Trott Dickman’s “Still Proceeding”; the funny “A Kiss Under the Mistletoe” by Gary S. Watkins; and two poems that deal with the pandemic: “A Pandemic Christmas” by Meldoy Lipford and “Bright Nights” by Kathryn Sadakierski. My short poem “Advent” is also featured.

I can heartily recommend this collection to get you into the holiday spirit. It’s available as a paperback or eBook and also free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers. Pick up a copy at

Posted in Anthology, Recipe, Reviews

Review of Feeding the Flock: Recipes from the Red Penguin Family

***5 stars

Feeding the Flock is part of the Red Penguin Collection of anthologies of various genres. This one focuses on cooking recipes for large gatherings, although the ingredients can be modified for smaller servings. Whether hosting Thanksgiving, a special birthday party, or other occasion or holiday, this is a perfect book to keep by your stove. What’s unique about this collection is that, besides some interesting yet simple recipes for groups, it includes note about how the cook/author created the recipe. It also features illustrations of each dish. Some of the familiar recipes included are Basic Stuffing Recipe, Dutch Apple Pie, Twice Baked Potato, and Linguine with Clams. Other less familiar recipes featured are Cawl Mamgu, a Welsh dish; Hungarian Krumpli Haluska; and Golabki (Polished stuffed cabbage). My favorite was the “Do You Take Your Peppered Peppers Laying Down or Vertical?” because I love stuffed peppers. I also enjoyed Mussels Marinara in Oyster Bay by Elaine Donadio who shared her memories of when she and her family lived and boated around this Long Island town which is one of my favorite places to visit. If you’re looking for a recipe book with a varied collection of dishes along with some great stories, this is the book for you.

Amazon Purchase Link: Purchase Link:

Posted in author news

October News: Sales, New Releases, and More

Just in time for Halloween, my stories “The Last Word” and “Murder in the Mirror” appear in two new anthologies from the Red Penguin Collection published by Red Penguin Books and edited by J.K. Larkin: Treat or Trick: Halloween Horror Stories and Until Dawn: A Supernatural Anthology.

Purchase Link for TREAT OR TRICK:
Purchase Link for UNTIL DAWN: 

Coming October 22-23: The Cat Writers’ Association’s Virtual Conference and Contest Awards Ceremony. See the CWA website ( for further details about the speakers and events and to register. Don’t miss this pawsome event!

My new cat poetry book, Meows and Purrs, will be on sale from October 24 to October 28. Keep an eye out on this blog and on Facebook and Twitter for the announcement. 

My Cobble Cove Halloween cozy mystery, No Gravestone Unturned will be on sale for 99 cents from October 29 to November 1. It’s a great book to read on the Halloween weekend featuring Sneaky, the library cat, and his gal pal, KittyKai, the calico inn cat, along with special guest cat, Salem. This book features a “ghost” and a murder in a cemetery. 

Coming soon . . . Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Cobble Cove story #5. A missing boy, a murdered teacher, and the COVID pandemic are featured in this Cobble Cove cozy mystery story. As in the previous stories and books of the series, Alicia’s four-legged friends help her solve the mystery. Keep an eye out for an October release. This book is in final edits as of this blog post.

Coming October 31, Clues and Culprits, an anthology of mystery stories by Indie Authors including my story, “A Piece of the Pie.”

Wishing you all an awesome October and Happy Halloween.