Flag Day with Michele Drier

Today is Flag Day, a much more low-key celebration than the Fourth of July, Memorial Day or Veterans’ Day now, but it wasn’t always so.

The first flag day was June 14, 1885 when a Wisconsin teacher created the Flag’s Birthday, in honor of the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes.

The idea caught on and in 1894 the governor of New York directed that all public buildings fly the flag on June 14.

Nationally, Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day in 1916 and on August 3, 1949, President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.

But I remember Flag Day because of events that happened June 14, 1940.

That was the day that Paris fell to the Nazis, and my former husband was a witness.

He was years older than me and a German Jew.  His family had sent him out of Germany to what they thought was safety, a boarding school in St. Denis, just outside Paris.

He talked about watching Nazi troops come through the garden shooting, and then how he and the other children walked most of the way to an orphanage in Vichy France run by a Swiss citizen.

With several other children from the orphanage, he was smuggled to Lisbon where they managed to get on the last refugee ship for the United States and he ended up in an orphanage in Los Angeles.

He was the only member of his immediate family to survive.

As a baby boomer, born and raised in California, this story was only a tale, until I met him and his friends, some of whom still had numbers tattooed on their arms.

When I began writing my traditional mystery, Edited for Death, I thought about both the young GIs who fought and died in the Second World War, as well as those millions of Europeans killed or displaced by the Nazis.

He died several years ago but I used his story as the bones for the Nazi-hunter, Henry Blomberg in Edited for Death.

I don’t really celebrate Flag Day much.  I do, however, always remember the date and remember what happened on June 14, 1940.

And then I married a man who was born on June 14, 1940.  That date won’t live in infamy, but it stays alive in my mind.

So today, the 127th anniversary of the first Flag Day celebration and the 235th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as our national flag, I’ll spend a few minutes with a frightened eight-year-old boy as he watches soldiers come through the garden. And think about the U.S. forces and the Allies who finally chased them out.

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian.  She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism — as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers – she won awards for producing investigative series.
Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review and a Memorable Book for 2011 on DorothyL, is available in paperback at Amazon and B&N.
Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky vampire chronicles, is available in ebook at Amazon.  The first book, SNAP: The World Unfolds, received a 4-star rating from the Paranormal Romance Guild.  The second book, SNAP: New Talent, is now also available from Amazon and the novella Plague: A Love Story will be available this June.

Visit Michele’s website    

Michele’s books on Amazon

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contact Michele at

An interview with Kim Baccellia

Thanks, Kim for taking the time to visit and satisfy our curiosity a bit.

Thanks for having me!

Can you tell us a bit about Earrings of Ixtumea?

Fifteen-year-old Lupe Hernandez dismisses the legend about her Mexican grandmother’s magical earrings as a silly fairytale, despite recurring nightmares of human sacrifice. But when the earrings thrust her into the parallel world of Ixtumea, she must confront the very thing she shuns the most — her cultural heritage.

Crossed Out?

Stephanie Stewart didn’t ask for her gift of guiding the deceased to the other side but she’s stuck with it. Why can’t dead people just follow that bright light and leave her alone? When Mr. Undead wants to use her special talent for his own evil purposes, her little gift becomes a major liability.

Are you still hoping to write a historical romance based on your great grandparents?

Yes, I’d love to write it.  I need to do more research on their backgrounds but what I’ve found so far is amazing.  I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.

Why do you think this would make a good historical romance?

My great grandfather fled the Red Shirts(Mafia) in Sicily after he had a fling with one of their sisters.  Not cool. Rumor has it he ended up in South Africa for a bit and might have even fought in a war down there.  Then he came to Southern Ca and met this really cute Mexican girl who lived with her family on Olvera Street in Los Angeles.  There’s also rumors of them going to find hidden gold in Mexico, fighting Indians, setting up a mineral springs, and having Silent Movie stars come to their rancho for parties.  Cipriana, my great-grandmother, was well known for her authentic Mexican food.

That does sound like a good book!

What other genre do you think you might like to tackle?

Memoir.  Later on I’d love to finish mine based on my teen years living with my bipolar father.

What do you, or your muse, require to get those creative juices flowing?

Depends.  Lately it’s been going on daily runs while listening to my iPod.  It helps clear out the cobwebs in my head.

Do you want to write or have to write?

Probably both.  Writing is a huge part of who I am.

Do you believe that some people can actually “see” the future or is it always just in fun?

Yes, I do.  I’ve been to some psychics that I knew had this ‘gift’ while others I could tell were trying to scam you. My one younger sister went to one of the latter who charges up to $500 for a consultation!  Crazy, I know.

What’s your favorite 80’s song?

Never Surrender by Corey Hart

Yep, that’s a good one.

I love 80s music!  While I attended BYU, I’d go to the Star Palace and dance all the time.  I also love Michael Jackson, Madonna, Pat Benatar, Journey, and Lionel Richie 80s tunes.

Favorite movie?

Gone With The Wind is still my favorite movie of all time.

Your last read that you’d recommend?

Grave Mercy is beyond brilliant.  It’s set in the later 1400s with assassin nuns.  What’s not to love?  Think Femma Nikkita meets the medieval world.

Seriously? Now I have to go find Grave Mercy.

Also The Freedom Maze is an amazing tale of a young girl who time travels back to her family Louisiana plantation in 1860.  The writing is luscious and filled with rich details of the South right before the Northern Aggression.  No wonder it just won the Andre Norton 2011 Best YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy book.

It’s funny to hear someone not from the South refer to it as Northern Aggression. That and the Late Unpleasantness are the most common terms back home.
Thanks for taking the time to visit with Manic Readers, Kim!

Visit Kim

Two Firsts and a Giveaway with Shirley Wells

It’s always such a pleasure to drop by this blog so I must thank the lovely Ivy for the invite.

Today, I’m celebrating a first. Actually I’m celebrating two firsts. Dead Calm is the first novella I’ve written and the publication of Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume 2 sees me included in an anthology for the first time. Woot!

Dead Calm features my favourite private investigator Dylan Scott. I usually send Dylan to dreary Lancashire to catch the baddies but this novella sees him on a cruise. High above the Arctic Circle. In November. (I don’t think I’ll be on his  Christmas cards list!) This is from the back cover:



Murder on the Arctic Sea

Detective Dylan Scott thinks cruising well above the Arctic Circle in November is nothing short of madness. He has zero interest in seeing the elusive aurora borealis, but agrees to the Norwegian holiday to keep his wife and mother happy. At least the biggest problem he’ll have to deal with is boredom. But that boredom quickly dissipates when the unpleasant elderly woman in the neighboring cabin is found dead.

Everyone thinks Hanna Larsen had a heart attack. Everyone except Dylan. Dylan is convinced there’s a killer aboard the Midnight Sun — a killer who may strike again…


 Manic Readers DEAD CALM review




I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that Dead Calm in included in an anthology with such fabulous authors. This is from the back cover:


In honor of our second anniversary, Carina Press brings you four gripping novellas by some of genre fiction’s hottest voices! Explore interstellar space, get caught up in a caper, dabble in the paranormal and solve a murder aboard a cruise ship in this collection of stories reflecting the variety of our books!
Edited by Deborah Nemeth, this anthology includes:

Dead Calm by Shirley Wells

Dance of Flames by Janni Nell

No Money Down by Julie Moffett

Pyro Canyon by Robert Appleton





I have to say that I found writing a novella a challenge. My books are around the 80-90,000 words mark and the novella needed to be between 20-35,000 words. (It finally came in at 34,000 words.) If writing it was a learning curve, however, I must say that I love reading novellas. Like a lot of people, my reading time is limited so I have to be very selective indeed. Picking up a novella, a quick read, is great for me because I can sample the worlds of mystery, suspense or romance in the time it would take me to read a long book. It also means I can sample new-to-me authors without handing over too much cash!

What about you? Do you read novellas? Do you prefer a long tome or do you like sampling new authors with a shorter read? I’m curious (some would say nosy) and I’d love to know.

To celebrate these exciting ‘firsts’, I’m giving away a digital copy of Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume 2 to the first name I pull out of the hat and a digital copy of Dead Calm to the second name. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning, is leave a comment on this post. I’ll announce the winners on Friday June 15. Good luck!

Thanks for having me, Ivy!

Thank you for stopping by, Shirley.  Always a pleasure to see you!







Shirley was born and raised in the Cotswolds, where her headmaster wrote on her school report–Shirley is content to dream her life away. Years later–as an adult living in Cyprus–it dawned on her that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing and that fellow dreamers, in the guise of fiction writers, had been getting away with it for centuries. She’s now settled in Lancashire, where the Pennines provide the inspiration and setting for her popular mystery novels. And she’s still content to dream her life away.
You can chat to Shirley on her website, her blog, on Facebook or Twitter.

Rocking a Pseudonym with Fierce Dolan

That’s a pen name, for those of you out in the open. Authors choose to write under a nom de plume, French for “feather, or quill, name” for lots of reasons. Across history they used pen names to protect themselves, to improve upon their birth names, to produce multiple books at a time without conflict, to write in different genres, or to create mystery and intrigue. In the 19th century many female authors chose masculine pen names, giving credibility to the anti-feminine industry and readership. Likewise, many series are written by several authors, though all are attributed to a single pen name. Today the reasons an author writes under a pen name are much the same.

I chose to write under a pen name for several reasons. One was so that I could cross genres with greater ease. I write quite a lot on many different platforms, and I didn’t want overlapping releases to result in sloppy relationships with readers. In the spirit of order, I opted to branch out, and another me was born. Ironically, another reason I doubled myself is that I don’t relate much to biogender or orientation, and I like to write stories in that blurry sociocultural margin. It only seemed right to free myself with a persona that lies outside such boundaries, as well. That and ‘Fierce Dolan’ just sounds cool as all hell.

It helps that as a hobby, I’m an OED (Oxford English Dictionary) fetishist, which mostly manifests as keen studies on name etymology. So when the name for my new self revealed itself I ran to my word history resources. The earliest appearance of ‘fierce’ in English was around the 13th century, when it meant ‘noble’ or ‘proud.’ By the 16th century it was conscripted by a similar French word and its meaning changed to ‘wild.’ ‘Dolan’ originates from Irish, and translates to ‘dark rebellion.’ So the cosmos said I was: Wild Dark Rebellion. My first thought was that it sounded like a rock star’s name. My second was, “I’ll take it!”

Check out some famous pen names, and a few that aren’t as well known.

Famous Pen Names

Richard Bachman                                  Stephen King                                                  American Horror novelist
Nora Roberts                                                   J.D. Robb                                                      American Novelist
Anne Rice                       A. N. Roquelare/Anne Rampling                                  American horror novelist
George Sand                                     Amandine Dupin                                                 French novelist
Geoffrey Crayon                         Washington Irving                                              American essayist
David Axton                                             Dean Koontz                                                   American horror novelist
J. K. Rowling                                   Joanne Rowling                                                   British young adult novelist

Lesser-Known Pen Names

Paul French                                      Isaac Asimov                                                       U.S. science fiction author
The Brontë Sisters      Ellis, Acton, and Currer Bell                                       American poet and novelist sisters
Louisa May Alcott                       A.M. Barnard                                                       American essayist and novelist
Sylvia Plath                                   Victoria Lucas                                                      American novelist
Dr. Seuss                                Theodore Seuss Geisel                                              Children’s literature author
Voltaire François-                       Marie Arouet                                                      French philosopher

Could you have guessed who they were? What are some other famous pseudonyms?

Fierce is the author of the newly released Gigolo Seduction, by Decadent Publishing…

Long in passion’s service, confident Asif enjoys his life as a thirty-something escort, bringing romance into the lives of metropolitan socialite cougars. Gifted at seducing wealthy white MILFs and bringing them endless pleasure, the arrogant Persian eschews investing in a personal life. A chance meeting with young artist, Cass, while on the job at a gala event, changes his perspective on women forever, and unleashes desires Asif never knew he had.

“Are your works always so intricate?”

She shakes her head, again scanning the tower, though my eyes stay on her. “Frescoes are always detailed and hard work, but this is way above and beyond. Layering in kinetic elements to give moving light and dimensional depth is my dream project come true. Most of my projects are just frescoes.”

Just frescoes.” I laugh. “They’re noble and valiant relics in the art world.”

“They’re actually in high demand.” Her tone is matter-of-fact. “Though few people can afford them.”

“Well, you’ve outdone yourself here,” I affirm. Her smile is sincere, her pride evident, elegant, enchanting.

“It’s taken quite a long time to come together, and I’ve left the plasterer more than a little frustrated on several occasions.”

“I can’t imagine him staying angry for long….”

“They’ve given me deep creative license over the project, so that’s saved my ass a couple of times. It’s kind of mind-blowing to work on something so limitlessly funded.”

Our eyes lock for mere seconds and the silence is disturbing. “I was just going for a bite to eat. Would you care to join me?”

Cass nods. “I’d like to, but I need to finish this section. This medium doesn’t wait well.”

She’s genuinely interested and I want her to be. I want her to be as affected as I am. Before I can prod further she asks, “Maybe another time?”

Reluctantly, I follow her to the elevator. She opens it with a pass card attached to a cord coiled on the drawstring of her pants. My eyes linger on the brilliant green gem in her navel.

“What’s your name?”

“Asif,” I reply without hesitating. The sound is bare, like a secret revealed, though I don’t understand why. I always use my real name.

“Another time, Asif.”

The doors slide closed, and I agree.

Book Trailer                                         Fierce Dolan

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Section 132 Imprisoned In A Polygamous Sect debut by Helga Zeiner

Facts make the best skeleton for a fictional novel.

Picture this: it is 2007. I’m sitting on my porch, enjoying the view of the lake in front of the remote country property I have chosen as my permanent home after years of traveling all over the world. Until now, I have lived and worked in Europe, where I was born, Asia, Australia and America, and have visited many more countries. Canada is my home now because there I found what I had been searching for: a western, civilized society with an open-minded, kind-hearted and courteous population.
I’m totally relaxed. The sky is blue, the lake is calm. I open my lap-top, click on the Vancouver Sun newspaper and start reading an article about a fundamentalist Mormon sect located in British Columbia that is accused of child-bride trafficking with their counterparts in America. This intrigues me. It get all my creative juices flowing. I read on and discover that this sect is located only about three hours drive from my home.
From that moment on I was hooked on the subject.

Now, I don’t consider myself a crusader or an activist, but all my stories feature strong female protagonists. I believe that women are amazingly resilient, resourceful, talented and wonderful human beings. All my novels (so far eight written, six published) are a homage to women who have to overcome enormous difficulties to fulfill their dreams and reach their goals in life.
Until that day in 2007 I would not have believed that a sect practicing polygamy and marrying their teenage daughters to much older men is even allowed to exist in our countries – be it Canada or America. Several years of research followed and opened my eyes. What I discovered not only confirmed the article but brought even more mind-blowing facts to light.

Subsequently I wrote the novel ‘Section 132’. I just had to write it. Not out of cheap sensationalism but because I believe that a novel might reach a much wider audience than a newspaper article. And because I just could not pass on such an incredible story! After all, I write to entertain my readers by surprising them with unexpected stories. I like to carry them away from their everyday life with all their worries and problems. And while relaxing and reading, they become aware of the horrific crimes committed on the compounds of those polygamous sects. The more people know about it, the less chance those pedophile Church Elders have to hide behind their closed doors.

Of course the plot and the protagonists in ‘Section 132’ are fictional. But I have created a mirror-image of the sect that still exists three hours drive from my home. By now their Bishop is under investigation by the RCMP and his American counterpart is serving a life-sentence for sexual exploitation of minors. To round up the story and give ‘the skeleton of facts’ more flesh, I have drawn from my abundant experience in living in the Canadian wilderness.
I hope you will enjoy this story, as dramatic and brutal it may be in parts. Please remember when you read it – and I hope very much that you do – that it is based on facts, as unbelievable as it may sound.


Lillian grows up in an American fundamentalist Mormon sect which still practices polygamy. At thirteen she is forced by her father to become the child-bride of a Canadian Bishop. His compound is located deep in the wilderness of British Columbia, totally isolated from the rest of the world.

Lillian wants out, but rebellion against her omnipotent husband is dangerous.
When the land developer Richard Bergman buys the property next to the Bishop’s compound, he gets drawn into the sect’s secret. After discovering the true nature of his neighbor’s clandestine dealings, Richard is confronted with his own moral shortcomings and has to make some serious life-choices which affect everybody involved.


Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants (an attachment to the Book of Mormon) covers polygamy. It states that members of the Mormon Church who want to enter heaven must enter “the principle” of plural marriage. Men are supposed to have several wives, while women are required to agree to their husbands having more than one wife.
The mainstream Mormon Church (also known as the Church of the Later Day Saints) has renounced the practice of polygamy in 1890. A fundamentalist group, the FLDS, formed who insist on their right to practice plural marriage, usually in secrecy.
The American and Canadian authorities suspect some FLDS members to traffic underage girls between the countries with the intent to marry them to deserving Church elders.


I am a bi-lingual German-Canadian author. At the age of 18, after I had completed my Arts degree in Bavaria, I left Germany. In the following 14 years I have lived and worked in Australia and in Hong Kong. My time there gave me the inspiration for my first 5 novels, which I wrote in my spare time. They were all published in Germany.

Since 2004 I live with my husband on a country estate in the wilderness of British Columbia. There, I’m finally able to devote all my time to writing.

My first novel published in English, titled “Section 132” is a fiction-based-on-facts tale about a polygamous sect tucked away in a remote corner of Canada.

The Importance of Advertising in a Writers Life Leanne Tyler

You might think what’s advertising got to do with writing? For me it has a lot to do with it. The Good Luck Series has a basis in advertising.  Four of my leading characters in the series work in advertising. But as a writer I too have to think about advertising. I have to promote my book through blogs and social media. Like advertising, a writer must spin a catch phrase similar to a slogan that will catch the reader’s eye, we call it a tagline. This is especially true for the indie author who not only has to worry about crisp writing, but also must acquire cover art that attracts the reader visually to compete with an already saturated market.

How did I decide to use advertising as a backdrop for the series? I’m not sure now. I developed the concept several years ago. It worked because I needed a reason for the hero and heroine to compete against one another in the first book. So opposing advertising firms seemed logical.  The second book looks at advertising from a different angle and how it can further the public’s awareness of a service. The third book is less about advertising and more about bringing two people together.

You might wonder do I have any background in advertising. No. I don’t. Though I was a communications major in college and I did take an advertising course as an elective. And as a writer I know how to promote myself through marketing and utilizing social media to create a web presence.


The Good Luck Charm
Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
Keely Jones believes all she wants in life is a successful advertising career and a corner office. However, that all begins to change when she bumps into a Frisbee player while jogging with her dog. When she’s given a good luck charm she’s skeptical about the magic of true love or finding her soul mate. But when things start to heat up between her and Darren, can she truly ignore it? Or will he be the one man who can ruin her career?

Darren Wright has returned to Knoxville to regroup and to join his sister’s advertising agency. He isn’t looking for anything major to happen in his life, yet when he bumps into a cute brunette and her dog, things begin to change. He’s soon promoted to Creative Director and falling for Keely. How can he tell her he works for an opposing firm? And if he doesn’t, will he risk losing her for good?






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The Good Luck Charm

A Country Kitchen Christmas

It’s Always Been You

Season of Love

Victory’s Gate

Award winning author, Leanne Tyler lives in the South and her writing reflects her heritage. She writes sensual Southern romances whether historical or contemporary. Leanne’s debut release Victory’s Gate was the 2007 American Rose winner of the Through the Garden Gate contest and was released electronically by The Wild Rose Press in December 2007. Finally in December 2009 the Through the Garden Gate Anthology is available in print and includes the four winning entries.
Stepping into the Contemporary circle, she debuted with her Class of ’85 Reunion story It’s Always Been You in August 2011. And her first full-length novel Season of Love (Nov. 2011) is a time-travel set in 1850 Charleston, SC. A recent release A Country Kitchen Christmas (Feb. 2012) is a light inspirational romance. Her first indie-publication The Good Luck Charm is a romantic-comedy (May 2012).
Currently she has two upcoming releases from The Wild Rose Press. A short story, Ava is a sweet romance set in the pastoral country side of Georgia in 1836 and Because of Rebecca a full-length novel to be released in print is set in the deep South prior to the Civil War.
She invites readers to step into her world and enjoy the passion.