Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – A Desolate Hour (Point Pleasant Series) by Mae Clair

Delighted to welcome member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae Clair with her latest release published in July, A Desolate Hour, Book Three of the Point Pleasant Series.

About A Desolate Hour

For generations, Quentin Marsh’s family has seen its share of tragedy, though he remains skeptical that their misfortunes are tied to a centuries-old curse. But to placate his pregnant sister, Quentin makes the pilgrimage to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to learn more about the brutal murder of a Shawnee chief in the 1700s. Did one of the Marsh ancestors have a hand in killing the chief—the man who cursed the town with his dying breath?

While historian Sarah Sherman doesn’t believe in curses either, she’s compelled to use her knowledge of Point Pleasant to uncover the long-buried truth. The river town has had its own share of catastrophes, many tied to the legendary Mothman, the winged creature said to haunt the woods. But Quentin’s arrival soon reveals that she may have more of a stake than she realized. It seems that she and Quentin possess eerily similar family heirlooms. And the deeper the two of them dig into the past, the more their search enrages the ancient mystical forces surrounding Point Pleasant. As chaos and destruction start to befall residents, can they beat the clock to break the curse before the Mothman takes his ultimate revenge? . . .

Two of the early reviews

When I find an author whose work I like, I read the whole backlist as fast as I can. I’ve read everything the talented Ms. Clair has to offer and have waited (quite impatiently) for this final installment of the Point Pleasant series.

I was not disappointed. It was SO worth the wait.

A DESOLATE HOUR manages to intertwine the distant past with the book’s present (the 1980s), an advanced planet with our own fragile one, and aliens and witches with human residents of a cursed town. Not only does this all come together seamlessly, it does so while introducing new and interesting characters and revisiting old favorites, solving an intricate mystery, ending a centuries-old curse, and wrapping up all the loose ends in a heart-wrenching and bittersweet way.

I prefer character-driven fiction, and this novel—this series—fits that mold. As was the case with the first two books, I’m still smitten with Caden Flynn in this story. He’s my favorite of the returning cast, but all the protagonists through the series are multifaceted and likable. The antagonists have legitimate motivations behind them, making them realistic and believable. And then there are the characters whose motivations and intents were hazy… I may have loved them most of all. A surprise revelation at the end was a punch to the gut; it’s a poignant resolution I’ll not soon forget.

A DESOLATE HOUR features genuine characters and intricate plotlines, fast-paced action and eerie, palpable settings. I was sucked in with the first word and read the whole novel in one afternoon, desperate to see how it all ended and left breathless when I finished. I highly recommend this book, this series, and this author to fans of this genre.

Wow! That ending made me gasp. A DESOLATE HOUR is the third and final book in the Point Pleasant series, and I think it’s my favorite. Beautifully written, characters I loved spending time with again (especially Eve and Caden), and suspense from the beginning to that last chilling sentence. Throughout this series I loved learning about the folklore and strange happenings in Point Pleasant. In Book 2, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, I felt so bad for Mothman, being the only one of his kind, but in A DESOLATE HOUR we’re left with a better understanding. I can’t really say more without spoilers. The Native American curse really worked for me too. I also loved reading where all the characters are today, after the story ends. It’s the perfect wrap-up to an enjoyable series.

If you enjoy paranormal, folklore, romance, and suspense rolled into one intense ride, you need to read this series. Highly recommend!

*I received an ARC from NetGalley, then bought the book because I felt guilty reading for free. It’s that good!

Read all the review so far and buy the book:

Also in the Point Pleasant Series

Also by Mae Clair

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow Mae on Goodreads:

About Mae Clair

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae loves creating character driven fiction in settings that weave contemporary elements of mystery and suspense with urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania, and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

Connect to Mae Clair


Thank you very much for dropping in today and please share the news of Mae Clair’s lastest release. Thanks Sally



Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Witchlet (Book One The Magical Chapters Trilogy) by Victoria Zigler

Welcome to poet and children’s author Victoria Zigler who will be joining the other authors in the Cafe and Bookstore with her book Witchlet: Book One The Magical Chapters Trilogy.

About Witchlet

In a world where everyone thinks witches are warty old women, a powerful and short tempered 9 year old is trying to find her place in the world, and make amends for something that happened when she was only 3. Her name is Paige, and she can bend the elements to her rather strong will. But can she convince people to accept her for who she is?

This is the first book in the “Magical Chapters” trilogy. The titles in the series are as follows:

1. Witchlet
2. The Pineapple Loving Dragon
3. A Magical Storm

Two of the reviews for Witchlet from Goodreads and Amazon

Thomai Dion rated it Five Stars on Goodreads

I am the mom of an energetic toddler who is eager to explore the world around him. In addition to helping him discover all of the cool and interesting things he could learn about, one of my top priorities as a parent is also teaching him that everyone is unique and therefore different, and to both appreciate and cherish those differences. “Witchlet” is an endearing book that strives to deliver that exact message — Everyone is not exactly like you and that is OK.

Paige the witchlet is a great example of how a person’s differences and unique abilities are not an exception to be noted; rather, they are exceptional and should be celebrated. A heartwarming read for parents and kids alike!

Have you ever noticed that when you hear the term ‘Witch’, you automatically think of a grey haired, gaunt-faced, warty, scary old woman who wears a black, long sleeved dress with an equally black, tall pointed hat, gets about by riding on a willow garden-brush type broom and is usually accompanied by a black cat?

Paige is none of these things, she is 9 years old, has long blonde hair, dresses in normal clothes, travels by foot, or, if in a hurry, gets the wind to fly her and has a vegetarian Dragon called Daisy as a friend!

This is a pleasant little introduction to the Magical Chapters Trilogy, well thought out and written in a descriptive, Hans Christian Anderson like, language children will understand and can use to allow their imaginations to take hold.

Even though I am well past my sell-by date, the child in me is looking forward to reading Victoria’s next book in the series, The Pineapple Loving Dragon.

Read the reviews on Amazon and buy the book:

Read many more reviews on Goodreads:

The other two books in the Trilogy

A selection of poetry books by Victoria Zigler

A selection of other books for children.

All of Victoria’s books are currently in paperback but some will also be available in audio in the future. Victoria has a great many reviews on Goodreads and I suggest that you head there first to read:

You can also buy the books from Amazon:

N.B.. Before the audio versions are released, Victoria would love to have some more reviews for the books and you can contact her directly via her website.

About Victoria Zigler

My name is Victoria, but most of my friends and family call me Tori. Feel free to do the same.

Born in the shadow of the black mountains in Wales, I now live by the sea in the south-east of England with my husband, Kelly, a degu named Joshua, a pair of chinchillas named Mollie and Maizie, and a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie.

Having battled with glaucoma since birth, I now find myself completely blind. But I didn’t let that stop me from chasing the dream I’ve had since I was a young child: the dream of being a published author. I’ve loved to read and write since I learned how, and always wanted to get my work published. Finally, in 2012, I made that dream come true by self-publishing eBooks via Smashwords. Three years later, I began using CreateSpace to make my books available in print. So now I’m a published author of children’s fiction, as well as a couple of poetry collections; all of which are available in multiple eBook formats, and as paperback books.

Reading and writing remain my favourite things to do, apart from spending time with my husband, and our rodent gang, of course. I also enjoy doing crafts (such as card making and knitting). Plus, I dabble in things like roleplaying games (such as Dungeons And Dragons) and figure games (such as BattleTech and Monsterpocalypse) from time to time, and enjoy watching movies and TV shows as well as listening to music. On top of that, I have an interest in history, especially stone age and Egyptian history, and in space exploration. I also love almost anything to do with animals and nature. I have to say “almost” because I’m not too keen on spiders and creepy crawly things, though can pretend they don’t exist if they don’t come too close to me.

Connect to Victoria


Thank you very much for dropping in and I will be letting you know when Tori has her audio books available via the cafe and bookstore updates. Thanks Sally


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – #FREE offer The Fall of Lilith: Fantasy Angels Series by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Delighted to welcome Vashti Quiroz-Vega to the Cafe and Bookstore with the release of her second book – The Fall of Lilith: Fantasy Angels Series. The eBook is FREE for just two days Friday and Saturday this week 4th and 5th August

About The Fall of Lilith:

So says Lilith, the most exquisite of the angels. The two most important pledges an angel makes to God are those of obedience and celibacy, and dire consequences await any who break their oaths.

At first, the angels are happy in their celestial home, learning and exploring together. As they grow older, though, Lilith begins to question these pledges, which now seem arbitrary and stifling. Her challenge of the status quo leads to disagreement, jealousy, and strife among her peers. As the arguing and acrimony grow, lines are drawn and sides are chosen. Is war inevitable?

Filled with robust characters, incredible landscapes, and exciting action, The Fall of Lilith is an epic tale of seduction, betrayal, and revenge.

Free Will involves asking difficult questions and making hard choices, choices that require strength and sacrifice. These decisions can tear apart friendships and cause rifts between allies.

They can even threaten the foundations of Heaven.

An early review for the book by Kirkus Reviews

The Fall of Lilith is a compelling narrative that provides background on several well-known, supernatural figures. Though obviously religious in nature, Quiroz-Vega’s book strays far from traditional biblical text. Sea monsters, mermaids, and vampires share the stage with angels and demons. And illicit (and explicit) affairs, violent battles, and graphic injuries abound. Quiroz-Vega’s prose is incredibly descriptive.

A well-written, descriptive, and dark creation story.”

Kirkus Reviews (or Kirkus Media) is an American book review magazine founded in 1933 by Virginia Kirkus (1893–1980). The magazine is headquartered in New York City.

Download a FREE eBook 4th/5th August The Fall of Lilith:

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

About The Basement

A kid should not be aware of his own heartbeat. Robbie is an ordinary boy in the city who struggles with the desire to prove himself to his friends, his enemies, and himself. When Robbie’s father, a stubborn man determined to teach his son through tough love, witnesses Robbie being bullied, he forces Robbie to face his fears. Robbie is then sentenced to a frightening challenge–staying in the basement alone for a night. But what lies in the dark recesses of the basement? Will Robbie make it out alive and well? Will the urban legend about the terrifying creatures that hide in the dark basement prove to be true? And most importantly, will Robbie prove to his friends and his father that he is brave enough to take on the challenge? The Basement is a tale of angst, teamwork and solutions, treasure hunts and adventure, and facing fears. It is a focus on the small world of one group of preteens and the very real and wondrous world they face.

One of the reviews for The Basement on Goodreads

Jan 21, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it 4 Stars

A story that talks about and emphasizes the emotive subject of bullying. There are some fun aspects too, it shows bullying can come in all walks of life. I have not quite finished it yet but the writer Vashti Quiroz-Vega is very promising, I look forward to reading more of her work.

Well I finished the book quite a while ago now and read it in 2 weeks, very easy to follow and you will find yourself routing for the main Character Robbie throughout his strife’s and troubles. Robbie is a great character and is much stronger than he thinks, it also shows what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. Something happens right at the end of the book, you will not see it coming. A must read indeed!

Read the reviews and buy both books:

Read more reviews and follow Vashti on Goodreads:

About Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Hello! My name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega. I’m a writer of Suspense, Thriller, Fantasy and Horror. I also enjoy mixing in some Humor and Romance into my stories.

From the time I was a young kid, writing has been my passion. I’ve always been a writer I just didn’t know it until much later. For me, it is easier to express my thoughts on paper than with the spoken word. I enjoy making people feel an array of emotions with my writing. I like my audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that.

My love of animals and nature are often incorporated in my stories. You’ll read intriguing things about various animals, nature and natural disasters commingled in my character driven novels.

I love to read almost as much as I love to write. Some of my favorite authors are Stephen King, M. Night Shyamalan, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown.

Connect to Vashti


Thank you for dropping in to read about Vashti’s latest book and it would be great if you could spread the news around. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – A Charlie McClung Mystery – Flirting with Time by Mary Anne Edwards

Welcome to another author who is going to join the cafe and bookstore. Flirting with Time is the 5th book so far in the Charlie McClung Mystery series by Mary Anne Edwards.

About The Charlie McClung Mystery series

The Detective Charlie McClung mysteries are gripping yet tender novels. The books are set in the early 1980s, a time without cell phones or laptop computers making life more simple but solving crime more difficult. The plots are filled with twists and turns. The characters are believable yet complex. They are people you know or want to know.

About Flirting with Time – Book Five of the series

Do you know what it’s like to feel someone stalking you, shadowing every move you make?

For months now, Detective Charlie McClung and his wife have been tormented by an elusive figure, toying with them, almost daring the detective to catch him.

Any hopes that this is the work of a harmless prankster vanish when an innocent man is found brutally murdered.

McClung will go to any lengths to protect his family, but how far is too far?

What people are saying about Flirting With Time –

“Haunting, but in a good way. Twisty, turny, and full of heart.
~Gretchen Archer – author of the USA Today Bestselling Davis Way Crime Capers

“Fans of Nick and Nora, fans of Tracy and Hepburn—rejoice. You’ll love Marian and Charlie. The talented Mary Anne Edwards weaves a charming, entertaining and delightfully romantic tale of small town deceit. It’s as if Agatha Christie wrote Hart to Hart—and happy readers will eagerly await the next page-turning puzzle.”
~Hank Phillippi Ryan – Anthony, Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark, and Macavity winning mystery author. Emmy-winning journalist.


One of the early customer reviews for the book

I love the McClung series. I highly suggest reading the series in order. The first book is deliberately slower paced to introduce the characters. After that, the mysteries get more complex. Each book gets better and better. Which brings me to Flirting with Danger, it is my favorite book so far. I say so far because I hope there are plenty more books in this series. Once again Marian and Charlie McClung find themselves in a mystery. Warning : there is a continuing story line, therefore I recommend reading Sins of my Youth which is the fourth book in the series.

I loved the 1980’s references. Characters discuss Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and they use the slang awesome. They gave me flashbacks. Marian and McClung remind me of a working class Hart to Hart. Their love is never a question , and they both have big hearts.

This mystery is the best one yet. Great pacing, continuing character development, and lots of suspense. There are reoccurring characters from the previous books including my favorite, Charlie’s Ma. She is such a giving person that takes everything that comes and makes it better. There are tons of suspects and revelations. I will not spoil the fun. I highly recommend this book to all mystery lovers. It is a must read.

Read the other reviews and buy Flirting with Time:


Also by Mary Anne Edwards

Read all the many reviews and buy the Charlie McClung Series:

Read more reviews and follow Mary Anne Edwards on Goodreads:

About Mary Anne Edwards

Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne decided to listen to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.

The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January of 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, was released June 30, 2017. Mary Anne is currently working on the sixth book, Good To Be King, with at least four more to follow.

Mary Anne and her husband currently live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is active in the Sisters in Crime Atlanta Chapter and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

Connect to Mary Anne Edwards

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Beyond the Pyre by Steve Costello

Time to welcome another author to the bookstore… Steve Costello with his recently published Beyond the Pyre.


About Beyond the Pyre

When Catharine and Ben go to their French home in Carcassonne, they meet a woman who looks just like Catharine, with whom she shares an instant affinity. Catharine’s spirit guide, Michael, connects her to ancient Carcassonne and the spirit of Elionor, whose thirteenth-century life entwines with Catharine’s modern one.

Ben is concerned, but a journey of his own leads him to realise that not only Elionor’s and Catharine’s lives are interlinked, but his own and those of a whole group of people they know in the present world.

A terrifying encounter with two false friends from the past – centuries past – and meetings with their age-old selves pull Ben and Catharine into the ancient crusades against the Cathar faith, to unearth a long-hidden secret. Can they defeat the evil twins, Les Deux, rewrite history and save their present, or will history repeat itself, 800 years in the future?

Available in print and ebook formats, buy the book:

Also by Steve Costello

About Horando ‘Going Home’

It is written in the stars. . .
Four children will help a herd of special horses to return from our world to Horando, their land of magic and peace.

Banished, Carter and his allies want to rule Horando. Carter kidnaps the horses from their homeland and escapes to our world through a cave that opens every eight years. He imprisons the horses in a paddock with just enough food and water to keep them alive.
The children live in the foothills of a mountain range with their parents and baby sister. Saffron, the eldest of the children has a passion for horses and yearns to care for them. Standing on the paddock fence watching them, she is sure that she hears the stallion speak first to one of the mares and then to her. Speaking directly to her mind, he tells her that she and her siblings are to help them get back to Horando where he and his herd are a crucial part of the Horando community.

Saffron’s two younger brothers and sister discover that they too have a role to play and soon find themselves working toward the goal of reaching Horando. They have two weeks to learn all they need to know. If they are not successful, peace will not return, good magic will fail and Carter and his evil allies will rule.

There are three worlds in this story. The earth as we know it today, a world between earth and Horando where fairies live and of course Horando, where if the balance is correct a beautiful utopia exists.

Well-known fairy tale characters such as, a Christmas Tree Fairy and a leprechaun, complete with a pot of gold with unicorns, dragons, and some characters perhaps never met before join the quest for peace. A challenging journey where the children must learn how to use the magic that they didn’t know they had against the terrible magic that their enemies unleash.

Through action-packed, humorous and sometimes emotional scenes, golden

Two of the reviews for the book

A fantastic bit of clean children’s fantasy. The style is closer to Narnia, with a touch of George Macdonald thrown in. The author handled all three worlds well, and there was much humor mixed in with the seriousness. Highly recommended.

Definitely a 4th-5th grade story, similar to Secret Garden in your enjoying the young people involved, and the grown up problems they have to conquer. Lots of fairy world people and folklore, but I am 59 and I read it to see if my granddaughter would enjoy it, and I found I did, for an escape from pre election garbage on TV. Suspense, mystery and surprises. What could be better??

Buy Horando ‘Going Home’ :

About Steve Costello

Steve was born in the north-west of England in the early summer of 1959. He remembers nothing of the swinging sixties except wondering what he was doing in a buggy one day amidst thousands of screaming people and rather a lot of fuss about a group called The Beatles.

He is a double degree graduate with a string of post-graduate qualifications who enjoyed his work until an accident forced him to retire prematurely. With outstanding support from his family, his first book, ‘Horando,’ grew from the ashes of that broken career when all felt lost.

Steve lives quietly (ha, ha) with his partner and their six children in the south of France where he writes mostly fiction.

When asked, ‘Will there be more from Horando?’ Steve said that he was already working on other stories and didn’t plan on a follow-up to Horando unless demand sent him back to that particular keyboard!

On June 30th, 2017, Steve’s latest novel, Beyond The Pyre was published in paper and digital formats by Austin Macauley. He has almost finished the novel to follow BTP. Both novels follow a historical fiction thread with aspects of Spirit and the tenacity of humanity to make sense from chaos.

Connect to Steve


Thanks for stopping by today and it would be great if you could share the news of Steve’s latest book. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Hippies by Gary Gautier

Welcome to the first of the posts where we introduce a new author to the bookstore. Gary Gautier with his latest release Hippies and his other books.

About Hippies

By 1970, the hippie scene was faltering, a victim of both inner contradictions and external forces. The Vietnam war resistance, psychedelic drugs, sexual openness, the freedom of the commune – it seemed that everything about the 1960s could be incredibly liberating or wildly destructive. Against this backdrop, Jazmine, Ziggy, Ragman and a coterie of hippies discover an LSD-spinoff drug that triggers past life regressions and sweeps them toward a dramatic climax. This is the epic tale of hippiedom we’ve been waiting for, intimate in the lives of its characters but panoramic in its coverage of the sights, sounds, and ideals of the Age of Aquarius.

Two of the reviews for Hippies

I recently read Walden, a book that is considered a influencer on the hippie movement from de 1960’s. Following its track, my next reading on this topic ought to be about the hippies and their impact on society. Then I found this book Hippies (Gary Gautier), which I have just finished reading. A very entertaining and well written novel about the hippies and their lifestyle, living in a hippie post-Woodstock community in New Orleans (the author was born there). The dream of simple life, no prejudices, no races, no limits, living just for today, no consumism, their music, much love and a lot of acid and other drugs mind trips. The negative impacts of drug addiction, particularly LSD addiction and its mind damages, is very richly and vividly described, it almost makes the reader tripping together with the book characters. Last chapters are devoted to how it all ends, hippies back to “normal” society but living by their dreams. I liked the book a lot, I would undoubtedly recommend it.

After running from her neglectful and abusive family, Jazmine has made a new life for herself living in a co-op with a handful of hippie wanderers. It’s 1960-something and she’s still just trying to figure it all out, man. But for the first time in a long while (maybe ever), she’s happy and at peace. As she’s earnestly and innocently finding her way, however, there are certain harsh realities she’s still going to have to face. Most difficult of all will be the realization that some of her free-loving friends aren’t exactly who they say they are. And, unfortunately, their idealistic and (mostly) well-meaning actions will have some serious and lasting consequences.

This isn’t a book I would normally gravitate toward. It’s fiction, yes, but there are a lot of (drug-induced) flashbacks that make the book read almost like fantasy/mystery. I still enjoyed it, though. The storyline is unique and well-developed, and the whole hippie angle is interesting.

Even though there are moments when the discussions between characters go on too long (to the point that I felt preached at), I still could appreciate the balance of cultural perspective. It’s a good mix of “all you need is love” vs. “no justice, no peace.” And the characters do discuss a wide range of interesting cultural topics: war, sex, women’s rights, civil disobedience, drugs, and the list goes on. Even the ending feels balanced. Plus, the story doesn’t end where I expected it to, and that is always refreshing.

Overall, Hippies is a solid, enjoyable story. I think people who came of age in the 60s will especially enjoy it.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Also by Gary Gautier

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow Gary on Goodreads:

About Gary Gautier

Gary has taught writing, literature, and humanities at the University of Colorado, Louisiana State University, and the University of New Orleans. He has published most anything you can publish and not make money at — children’s and scholarly books, articles in peer-reviewed journals, poetry and novels, book reviews in literary magazines, technical manuals, last-minute journalistic pieces for a Catholic newsletter, and such sea-spawn and sea-wrack of no consequence.

His novels include Hippies, which traces the fate of a small group of hippies through comic and poignant moments as they struggle through the end of the 1960s (adult situations and language), and Mr. Robert’s Bones, a ghost story in which kids and old people join forces to save a New Orleans neighborhood from its own past (family friendly). His poetry includes the 2017 chapbook, Year of the Butterfly, and the colorful hard-bound verse book, Spaghetti and Peas, for ages 2-8.

Gary was born in New Orleans, has hitchhiked through 40 states and 8 countries, bartended in 3 states, run two marathons, and once, due to a series of misadventures, spent six months as the chef at a French restaurant.

Connect to Gary Gautier


Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Gary’s books.. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – #Memoir – What Did I Do? by Chuck Jackson

Welcome to another author who is joining the bookstore. Chuck Jackson shares his story of child abuse at the hands of his parents and also the damning statistics that identify that little has changed in the last fifty years. What Did I Do was published on July 4th and is a memoir that lifts the veil of secrecy about not just the American family but the Universal family.

About What Did I Do?

The veil of secrecy over the American family prevails and the covertness of child abuse continues. According to the National Children’s Alliance, approximately 700,000 (683,000 in 2015) children are abused each year. Child Protective Service (CPS) reports they investigate 3.4 million children and place them under the care of the CPS. These are frightening statistics attesting that child abuse is not in decline, but rather the opposite.

Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, or psychological mistreatment or neglect of a child or children. Have you ever suspected or even witnessed child abuse in public or in a home? If you did and did nothing, you are condoning the act and its effect on the child. Child advocacy groups are begging for the public involvement. Yet, little is being done.

What Did I Do? is Chuck Jackson’s true recollection of the abuse he received from both his parents. It is a story where he spent years struggling to please them without succeeding. It is a story where they told him he was irredeemable and unworthy of being their son. When he saw love and happiness in other families, he wondered why not his.

Chuck came out of the darkness to expound on the stigma attached to child abuse. He admitted to the affects of shame, anger, guilt, and depression that he and so many experience. He tells the story of survival where he felt invisible. Follow him where he sought a warm touch and a kind word of praise. Follow his desperation for love from anyone. Follow Chuck’s story and help answer his question, what did I do?

Two of the early reviews

A wonderfully written true story of the cruelty, physically and emotionally, that a parent can inflict on a child. Everyone with children, or thinking of having children, should read and realize that everyone of your actions has consequences. Every child living in an abusive relationship should read, if for no other reason, then to know that are people that love you and are willing to help you once you allow yourself to break your vow of silence. A true story of survival and the strength of the human spirit at the hand of treachery. I highly recommend to one and all.

I had just finished watching the movie My Old Lady, starring Maggie Smith, Kirsten Scott Thomas and Kevin Kline. It is a poignant story about reconciling one’s childhood; a mixture of neglect and child abuse. The mail had delivered Chuck’s memoir that same day. The movie was emotional, so I was in the frame of mind to read What Did I Do? This is actually a story about a hero. As I read the content, all I could think about was how enduring a person is Chuck Jackson. He could have made his life the story of a victim. Instead, this is one of strength and character in spite of history. This manuscript is a testament to one’s ability to make the choices that provide the most positive outcomes, no matter the struggle. Thank you for sharing this powerful story.

Read the reviews and buy the memoir:

Also by Chuck Jackson

One of the reviews for One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake-Up

USAF Pararescue Jumper  on February 5, 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed Chuck Jackson’s new story, “One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake-up – One man’s story of what it meant to be a PJ”. The Navy has their Seals, Army, Green Beret’s, and the Air Force,, Pararescue Jumpers (PJ). One thing to note is that they are all the best of the best and good at what they do.

In this story, readers follow the protagonist and his best friend as they go through basic training and then into Special Forces training to become PJ’s. The training is extremely difficult and those who graduate have a special skill – one that was greatly in need in the Vietnam War.
The friend is first to leave the country and later followed by the protagonist. Once there, he finds that the two of them will be separated during their tours.

The author’s recounting of the training and many rescue operations shared in the book makes readers thankful that people exist who are not daunted by the task at hand. In most instances, the PJ leaves the helicopter alone to seek out the missing pilots or crews of the downed aircraft. One story in particular left me breathless, where the jumper and missing pilot are left on the ground after enemy fire causes their transportation to vacate the area. To avoid spoiling the story, I will leave it there.

Other missions tell the story of rescues where those on the ground did not survive and the mission became one of recovery instead. Initially, I thought this book was about the author writing about his own experiences. He did let me know that the story is a work of fiction and the accounts are those based on the recounting from a close friend. Either way, I’ve a great respect for these men and their special skills. As a result, I feel comfortable knowing that soldiers like those portrayed in this story are keeping me safe.

Highly recommended for those wanting to learn more about what these special people have to go through to earn the burgundy beret and flash…and then, marvel at what it takes to stand between us citizens and those who want to harm us. Great job Mr. Jackson!

John Podlaski, author
“Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel” and “When Can I Stop Running?”

Read all the reviews and buy both books:

About Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

He is a two-time cancer survivor and draws his strength from his faith and church activity. He is his church’s Treasurer and serves on it’s Vestry.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first e-book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake Up. In July 2017 he released his second book: What Did I Do? that is available as an e-book and paperback. He continues to work on his memoir manuscript, in anticipation of releasing a third book in 2018.

Chuck is an avid golfer and a member of a local golf club. He is married to Anthony, his partner of 33-plus years. He has a daughter and a new grandson.

Connect to Chuck Jackson

Website Blog:
Google Plus:
Flipboard –

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could share the news about Chuck’s new memoir. Thanks Sally

If you would like to be in my Cafe and Bookstore and enjoy regular spotlights for your books then take a look at how you can do that.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – 51 Sleepless Nights by Tobias Wade

Welcome to a new author to the shelves of the bookstore… Tobias Wade released his short story collection 51 Sleepless Nights in late June 217 and it is perfect for all horror and paranormal fans.

About 51 Sleepless Nights

A diverse collection of horror stories including the grizzly confessions of a serial killer, parallel dimensions, becoming trapped in a virtual world, and encountering ancient aliens buried beneath the Earth’s crust. Demons, monsters, psychopaths, undead, mad experiments and paranormal – no matter what makes your heart race, you’re guaranteed to face your fear with these terrifying stories.

A short extract

I felt her arms around me, but she wasn’t trying to choke me or restrain me. She was… hugging me. It was such an alien sensation that I immediately opened my eyes. That’s when I saw them. Hundreds – no thousands of gossamer spider webs holding up her body like a marionette doll. I recoiled immediately, and she let me without the slightest resistance.

The spiders were everywhere. Crawling across her face, through her hair. When she opened her mouth, I saw more of them inside her, pulling the threads to work her jaw. Her throat pulsed, and I knew more must be further down to vibrate her vocal chords.

“But he’s never going to hurt you again. You have our word.”

One of the recent reviews for the book

When a magician can convince a person – not a child, mind you, but a rational adult – that a trick is real magic instead of well-practiced sleight of hand, the result can be powerful. Inspiring the magic and joy of childhood in a grown up is one of the hardest things in the world to do, but as any creative type can tell you, it’s one of the most satisfying to achieve. In that way, the horror genre has a lot in common with magic.

All of the stories in 51 Sleepless Nights are unique and well crafted. No matter what you are afraid of, you are sure to find at least one story inside that will deliver on the promise of insomnia. But there is more to this collection of horror stories than interesting plots, creative monsters, and jarring twists – though this collection has all of that and more.

Wade’s writing makes it easy to inhabit the characters telling these stories, and not a single one of them feels lazy. The voice of each story pulls you in, causing you to relate to people who make decisions you’re sure you never would in situations you’re sure you would never be in. But then you start to empathize, or you learn the full scope of a situation, and it makes you question yourself. Then you think back to situations you’ve been in, or that friends have been in, that are even marginally related to the story you are reading and you wonder…what if that actually happened?

These stories feel real, and some of them will leave you in a state of dreadful contemplation long after you’ve finished them. Even the most rational grown up will experience moments of intense belief where the horrors stop being stories. Every sound will break your concentration and send the hairs on your back standing in chilling attention. And there will be moments, however brief they may be, when you will fully believe…in the monsters, the stories, in all of it.

Inspiring the fear and belief of childhood is one of the hardest things in the world to do, but 51 Sleepless Nights makes it seem easy.

Tobias Wade is not only a superb horror writer…he’s also one hell of a magician.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Also by Tobias Wade

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow Tobias on Goodreads:

About Tobias Wade

Former neuroscience researcher, born again horror writer. During my studies, it struck me as odd that I could learn so much about why humans behave without understanding the intricacies of human nature. It occurred to me I learned more about the depths of human experience from reading Dostoyevsky than I ever had from my text books, and I was inspired to write.

But why horror? Isn’t there already enough fear in the world?

Yes there is, and that’s exactly why horror entertainment is so important.

Some people will try focus on “positive emotions” such as love and joy while repressing their fear, anger, jealousy, and other “negative” emotions.

I think this is an extremely dangerous thing to do, because pretending they don’t exist doesn’t make the other emotions go away. It only inhibits our ability to understand and control them – and when we aren’t controlling them, they’re controlling us.

That’s why I’ve decided to write horror. My goal is to dig down to all the nameless terrors rooted in your subconscious and rock you to the bottom of your psychology. I’m going to let all the monsters out from under your bed until you finally get a good look at them and realize that fear can’t hold you back anymore.

It can even be fun.

Connect to Tobias Wade


Thank you for dropping by today and if you would like to join John and the other authors on the shelves of the bookstore then here are the details:


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – The Fountain Short Story Collection by John Maberry

Welcome to John Maberry who is joining the authors on the shelves in the bookstore with two books.. One is his memoir Waiting for Westmoreland and the second, The Fountain, his recently released short story collection.

About Waiting for Westmoreland

Surviving poverty and the deaths of loved ones, the author remains hopeful as he exits childhood. then comes the draft that sends him to Vietnam. With innocence lost and illusions shattered, he seeks answers. College courses are intriguing but offer no solutions. Eventually, hope returns in the form of a life philosophy that comes from a chance encounter at a party. It’s all about cause and effect. Events happen not by chance but as a result of karma. Unseen connections have surprising consequences.

This knowledge comes in the nick of time, as he faces his most serious situation since the perils of Vietnam, the threat of death from a prospective father-in-law. He must take responsibility for the matter, despite being unaware of the underlying reason for it, reform himself and seek only her father’s happiness.

One of the reviews for the Paperback book

I’m apparently about the same age as the author and am always curious to hear someone else’s experience of the times I’ve lived in. In this case, Mr. Maberry and I couldn’t have lived more disparate lives if we’d tried. I don’t think I could have survived Mr. Maberry’s life and I appreciate his sharing the way his inner life as well as his circumstances have unfolded to this point. He survived things that have only scared me from a distance and he has achieved things I’ve only dreamt about from a distance. I’m so impressed with the way he has developed his life. I’m especially delighted to have read his account of his experience of the ’60s and ’70s, two decades I didn’t fit into very well.

Like Forrest Gump, Mr. Maberry made me re-evaluate that era in a more favorable light. In fact, this book made me re-evaluate a lot of things. Even if this were a big book, I would highly recommend it. It would be worth your time. But it’s a small book and reads very fast. No matter what your own experience in life, I think you will find this book interesting and impressive, and it may just lead to a whole new life for you, a new awakening.

A review for the Kindle version

Waiting for Westmoreland is an excellent memoir of John Maberry’s life as a kid growing up in the Midwest, Vietnam War vet, ant-war protestor, law student, pot smoker, and devout Buddhist. The author offers a poignant and eloquent account of the events that shaped his life leading to his enlightenment through Buddhism. I was particularly moved and educated by his observations about the politics involved in the unpopular, yet long-lasting Vietnam War.

The quality of the author’s writing is excellent – it is descriptive and clear. This independently-published work rivals the quality of work produced by the professional publishing houses. I found the story fascinating and it held my interest throughout.
NOTE: I’m posting this review on the Kindle edition because that is what I purchased although I noticed that the paperback has several other reviews.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Also by John Maberry released on 10th July

The Fountain and six more fantasy & Scifi stories.

Humor, twists and more in this collection of seven fantasy and sci-fi short stories. Karma can be painful in “The Fountain”–when a plunderer meets a long-dead shaman. A family adopts a retriever with special talents in “Lily, an Amazing Dog.” A vampire has a strange problem, in “Alfred’s Strange Blood Disorder.” A perennial favorite, dimensional travel, with a strange twist in “The Closet Door.” What could that column of fire be, rising from the Atlantic off the Outer Banks? Read “The Flame” to find out what it meant to troubled writer Carson. A wizard casts a spell that works well for a princess, but will it be as good for him? Check out “The Wizard.” Finally, “The Fribble” offers an alien encounter of an odd sort, to a pharmaceutical company rep searching for new drugs in the Amazon Rain forest.

One of the early reviews for the book

If you enjoy short stories in fantasy/sci-fi genres, and stories that make you think then look no further than Maberry’s tales which will engross you with stories about karma, greed, time travel, aliens and muses.

In this book you will read stories about: a dog with extra sensory perception, a writer battling his own sub-conscience, a wizard who wonders if the spells he casts for others will work for himself, a man who experiences 2 lifetimes by opening a closet door. These are just a few of the stories to stimulate your reading appetite.

Maberry is a prolific writer who knows how to keep a reader captivated till the end and finishes his stories with an unexpected twist. This book also offers an excerpt to the author’s next upcoming novel. As in true Maberry style, he leaves us hanging in anticipation with more to come. A great read!

Read the reviews and buy the collection:

Read all the reviews and buy both books:

Follow John Maberry on Goodreads:

About John Maberry

John Maberry dreamed of being a writer from second grade. Life got in his way. Like what, you may ask. Find out the details in Waiting for Westmoreland, the memoir he wrote about how he came to have a happy and successful life. That, after surviving a hard childhood, failed marriages, an eye opening year in Vietnam and more. He finished the memoir five years after retiring from a local government job in busy Northern Virginia.

That’s John in the photo, relaxing with his friend Larry the Lizard. He met Larry in Mimbres,
New Mexico. John and his wife relocated to scenic New Mexico six years ago. That move and other priorities, stalled the transition to speculative fiction, mysteries and writing genres. Finally, The Fountain, a collection of speculative fiction stories, is coming out in July, 2017. He’s also working on a few novels, planning for one every one to two years. No more delays, time is fleeting.

When not working on the novels or the websites, the family enjoys life in their dream home high atop a hill. His wife of 35+ years has her quilting/craft room. He has an office shared with an energetic dog who lounges on a loveseat behind him when not out chasing rabbits. He’s a happy man and a funny guy (strange/weird his wife says).

Connect with John.

My quarterly webzine on my Eagle Peak Press site
My book website, Waiting for Westmoreland
Writing blog, John Maberry’s Writing
Eclectic blog, Views from Eagle Peak

Social Media:

Thank you for dropping by today and if you would like to join John and the other authors on the shelves of the bookstore then here are the details:

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves Update – Free book promotion


If you are not already in Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore you may like to take a look at what you as an author will gain by being there.  Please read the section on what I need to do this effectively both before and after the promotional post.

Apart from being one of over 200 other authors on the shelves you will be able to share your new releases, great reviews or offers in one of the twice weekly updates on Monday and Friday. This post is shared on my network of over 28,000 contacts. The key is the fact that many of those contacts will share on their own networks giving you access to thousands more potential readers.

I am very happy to feature any author on the shelves every four weeks or so and it means that you will be promoted at least 12 times in the year. To be able to do this effectively I do need you to get in touch with your news so that I can share. I do check authors regularly but it makes my life easier if you can remember to drop me a line to

For authors who are not yet in the bookstore I will do a full promotional post which will include their latest book but also a brief review of their other work including reviews.  

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

For this I will need the following:-

  1. Link to Amazon for the book (preferably your author page even if you only have one book this is an essential marketing tool and makes it a great deal easier for people like myself who are promoting your work) Also if you have a central booklink site on your blog or website that is useful.
  2. If you do not have an Amazon author page yet, then I will need an author profile photo or image and your official author’s bio.  Please send any images attached to the email not inserted into it.
  3. You main social media links including website, blog, twitter, facebook, linkedin, goodreads and google+. Links in full please not short links, as they do not always work when inserted into WordPress..
  4. Please note that my blog has some young followers so I do not accept 18+ books.

What I will do.

  1. I have 28,500 connections around the various platforms and I will automatically link the post to those sites and also boost again during the day.
  2. The post will be included in the weekly round up on Sundays.
  3. Your books (up to 4 covers of recent books) along with your profile photo, book covers, links to Amazon and your main website will then be put into the bookstore where it will stay permanently.
  4. You can then be included in the Cafe and Bookstore updates which will go out twice  a week with any new releases and with exceptional reviews (for the reviews would suggest leaving six weeks between being included in an update)
  5. There is also a separate twice weekly promotional posts for authors – Air Your Reviews which you can take advantage of.

What I would ask you to do.

I love promoting other authors and I am very happy to do so as a FREE service but it does take considerable time during the week to compile and promote five posts with several authors work. But it takes two to tango.

Book promotions work best if it is a collaboration..

On the day I will send you a link to your post that I suggest you send out to all your email contacts.. I also ask you to share on your own social media sites and I suggest that if you are a blogger too; you reblog a couple of days later.

I will tag you on Twitter if you have an account and I would ask that you respond to those people who have shared your post. This is a great way to meet like minded writers and readers who are of course potential purchasers of your books.

I have found in the last three years that there is a very strong connection to sharing and commenting on promotional posts if the author engages with those who have taken the time to leave their comments. So I will ask you to pop in over the first few days to respond to them.

Finally, this is your promotion and the post will be live from then on.. It is a useful tool to help market your books if you come back from time to time and reshare the post on social media.

Finally... I will usually find a notification of a new book when I am checking my social media but it is much simpler if you contact me directly once your new book is available to buy on


Look forward to hearing from you…..thanks Sally