Saturday, October 29, 2011


I received a copy of A LASTING IMPRESSION by Tamera Alexander, from Bethany House. It is the first book in the Belmont Mansion series. I had never heard of Belmont Mansion in Nashville before. After reading this novel, though, I have added the mansion to my list of vacation destinations. The atmosphere sounds amazing, and I want to walk the ground just like the characters. I looked up the house online while I read, so I could picture some of the rooms. It brought the story even more to life.

The story involves Claire Laurent, an aspiring painter in New Orleans. Her father, owner of an art gallery, forces her to make forgeries for him to sell. When the art studio is broken into, one of his friends sends her to Nashville where they’ll start a new business. When she gets there, the man she’s supposed to stay with threatens her, and she learns her father is dead. Through the help of a reverend, she is hired as a liaison to Adelicia Acklen, one of the richest women in America. The fact that she is a real woman, and that author used some of her own letters to create dialogue for the character, cemented my love for the book. I felt as if I was traveling back in time, to a grand mansion inhabited by wonderful people.

Through twists and romance, A LASTING IMPRESSION kept me on the edge of my seat, eager to discover more. I even took the novel with me to work to read during my break and lunch. I look forward to reading the next installments in the series.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Daniel Livingston Interview, Part One

Hello, everyone! Slip on your paranormal cloak and join me for an interview with Daniel Livingston. In case you're not sure who that is, you'll definitely know by the time you reach the end of the post. So, without further delay, I give you...Daniel Livingston and the Paranormal Pit Stop!


Thanks, Jordan, for that awesome intro! Don't hurt anyone with those knitting needles!

Welcome Humans, to another addition of The Paranormal Pit Stop. Your one-stop E-zine on the Ethereal-net for everything in the paranormal world. This week, we're playing dentist, cos it's like pulling teeth to get anything out of Terin Global's resident medium extraordinaire, Daniel Livingstone.

Paranormal Pit-Stop: So, Daniel, nice to have you come and visit us.
Daniel: Um, thanks.

P.P.S.: Why don't you start off by telling our human friends something about yourself?
Daniel: Do I have to?

P.P.S.: It would help. It's an interview.
Daniel: Okay. I'm Daniel Livingstone and I'm a medium.

P.P.S.: Not just any medium. You see and understand just about every living creature on either side of the veil, right?
Daniel: Yeah, that's right.

P.P.S.: That must have been tough for you when you were a kid? You being the only one to hear and see all those creatures?
Daniel: Yeah, was kind of…hard to deal with. Especially after Wesley died.

P.P.S.: Is that why you end up in Crawthorne Institute for the Criminally Insane?
Daniel: That's a nasty place. Yeah, they thought I was a nutter, and maybe I did lose it. My parents said I'd get better. It only got worse in that nightmarish place.

P.P.S.: What happened to Wesley? His death still hasn't been solved.
Daniel: I don't know. I haven't seen him.

P.P.S.: What do you mean you haven't seen him? You're a medium.
Daniel: Yeah, I don't get that either. He was my best friend and he never came to say goodbye.

P.P.S.: Rumor has it, Crawthorne is where Aslin found you.
Daniel: Yeah, kind-of, see, couple of the Doc's were followers of a banished Druid clan member. He was trying to protect them, get them to bugger off from the path they were following.

P.P.S.: That didn't happen, did it? They were involved in the Stonehenge incident. I heard it's the reason the human authorities shut the site down for a while.
Daniel: Yeah, it was horrible. I still have nightmares about it. Funny, I haven't seen any of those souls either…

Well, that's all the time we have for this week's interview. We would like to thank our host Jorden Mierek for allowing us to post this interview on the human internet. We feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

If you'd like to learn more about Jezryall and her staff, you can find more information at the links provided below.

More Character Interviews:

Novel Information:

Join us next time when we visit Irish blogger Paul Carroll with the first of our part interview with sexy Barb Dole, Jezryall's personal assistant. So, until next time, this is The Paranormal Pit-Stop saying; just because it's dead, doesn't mean it's not alive!


Story Blurb:
His first day of work wasn't what Martin Cunningham expected. A sultry boss, a classy receptionist, the drama-queen foreigner, and a painfully shy techie who prefers hiding to human interaction, was the oddest group of characters he'd ever met. When an assassination attempt is made against his new boss, Martin comes face to face with the stuff of nightmares.

Now he and his new co-workers must race to prevent another attack, but where do they start? There's very little to go on, and the only solid piece of evidence escaped through the u-bend in the toilet. By the end of the day, Martin becomes one of the privileged few who really understands what lies in the shadows, and what it means to work in THE WATCHTOWER.

Darke Conteur is an author at the mercy of her muse. Writing in several genres, she prefers to write in paranormal and science fiction, and has stories published in Brave Blue Mice, Bewildering Stories, and The Absent Willow Review. When not busy writing, she looks after one wannabe rock-star, one husband, two cats, and one ghost dog.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I received a copy of REFUGE ON CRESCENT HILL by Melanie Dobson from Kregel. This book is now one of my favorites, and I’ve recommended it to my friends who love history as much as I do. I’ve always been fascinated by old houses. This book really whets my appetite to discover more about those in my neighborhood, even if they don’t have as cool a past as the Bristow Mansion. It also inspired me to research my genealogy more.

The book began a bit slowly. Camden Bristow is a freelance photographer, but she’s practically penniless, so she decides to visit her grandmother, who lives in Bristow Mansion atop Crescent Hill. When she gets to Ohio, she discovers her grandmother recently died and left her the house. Camden doesn’t want to part with it, but she doesn’t have enough money to support it. Plus, strange things have been happening since she moved in, and the town whispers of ghosts.

Then, there is Alex Yates, who left behind a troubled past to help out the town. He wants to use Bristow Mansion as a means to bring the community wealth, but the citizens keep fighting his ideas. In the meantime, Edward and Jake Paxton, neighbors to the Bristows, believe there is treasure hidden in the house, so they keep sneaking around to search for it. States away, a young woman named Stephanie is researching her family and discovers that a slave fled her ancestral plantation with jewels, planning to send someone back for his wife and child…except, he disappeared while heading toward Crescent Hill. Stephanie sets out to uncover the truth.

After a few chapters in, I really got caught up in the story and couldn’t stop reading. I finished within a day and craved more. There is a perfect mix of history, secrets, underground tunnels, mysterious mausoleums, romance, murder, and maps sewn into Civil War-era quilts. I would have liked to see more emotion from Camden. In a few places, her thoughts weren’t clear. She should’ve been terrified, but instead, she felt a bit two-dimensional. The other characters were well-rounded, though. I also would have liked more descriptions of the mansion. It sounded huge and glamorous, but also rundown. At times, I wasn’t sure how to picture it. Other than those points, the storyline was not only complex, but contained intriguing twists. Anyone who loves mysteries or history – or trying to guess the history of abandoned houses, like I do – will love this story. One of the best parts involved a link at the end that showed the house that inspired Melanie Dobson’s story. Although this is adult fiction/Christian/suspense, this would appeal to young adults, and would work great in a high school history class about the Underground Railroad.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I received a copy of THREE CUPS by Tony Townsley and Mark St. Germain, from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze. It is a children’s book, intended to teach young people how to manage their money. On a special occasion, such as a child’s fifth birthday, they are given three cups from the kitchen cabinet. The first cup is labeled “give,” the second is labeled “save,” and the third is labeled “spend.” Whenever the child earns money, such as from allowance or a job, they divide the money between each cup. When the “saving” cup becomes full, the child learns how to put money into the bank. At the end of the story, the main character’s savings are spent on college.

The money from the “giving” cup is donated to organizations and the church. This teaches children how to help others and feel good about themselves. The “spending” cup allows the child to use their money for things they want. The book encourages parents and guardians to make a list of possible items the child may want.

The three cups method works much better than a piggy bank, for example, where all the money goes into one place. It is a good visual to show children how to manage their money. I have my degree in elementary education, and recognize this as a great book for classrooms. I will keep it for my own, and also share it with my future children someday. The book makes a valuable gift. It could even be presented with three cups.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I received a copy of FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY by Peter Leithart, from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze. It is part of the Christian Encounters series. Like the others in the series, this is an easy to read biography about a prominent Christian figure in history.

I had heard of Fyodor Dostoevsky before, but I only knew him to be a Russian author. His real life is much more fascinating. He lived from November 11, 1821 to February 9, 1881. His most well-known works are CRIME AND PUNISHMENT and THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, which I have read in the past.

In 1849, Fyodor Dostoevsky was incarcerated. He had been part of a liberal intellectual group. He was sentenced to death, but instead, he was exiled to Serbia. There, he worked at a prison came for four years.

The biography is told through a novel format. The characters are engaging, the dialogue realistic, and the imagery breathtaking. I felt as if I traveled his path with him, reveling in his growing strength as a human being. Since it is in novel format, it flowed smoothly, so I managed to read it within two days. The best way to learn history and discover the lives of historical figures is to enjoy it. FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY clearly does that. I have recommended this book to a friend who teaches high school, that she may incorporate it into her class’s biography section.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I received a copy of TO HAVE AND TO HOLD by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller from Bethany House. It is part of the Bridal Veil Island series. The story takes place in 1886, so it instantly endeared itself to my heart – I love historical fiction. Then, the opening snared my attention and I could not stop reading until late in the night.

The story begins with Audrey Cunningham and her father, new residents of Bridal Veil Island. This opening has all the makings of a thrilling read. They have sold their old home, so they cannot go back, expecting a fabulous new start. Instead, they are plagued by back taxes and are in jeopardy of losing their ancestral home. The family does not know the locals, so they are unsure of who to turn to for help. Their predicament reminded me of the tax struggles many families are suffering through now. This will help people, including myself, to connect with the story more. Aunt Thora, who lives with the Cunninghams, reminded me of my grandmother, through her forgetfulness and mannerisms, further connecting me to the tale.

Bridal Veil Island is an excellent setting for a story. It is very detailed and picturesque, with wild turkeys strutting around and water on all sides. The characters mention Jekyl Island, and an author’s note explains it is a real place – now, I really want to visit there.

The descriptions of the food, such as mixing cream into eggs for breakfast, made my mouth water. The story also deals with how Southerners felt toward Northerners during the latter half of the 1800’s. Aunt Thora, for example, hates Northerners, even though Audrey and her father hail from the North. This is an excellent book for fans of historical fiction.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Utica Writers Club - Interview #2

Today's blog will center exclusively on the Utica Writers Club. I've invited Sue Pinto, president of the Utica Writers Club, to join us.

Kissed by Literature: Hello, Sue. In your own words, what exactly is the Utica Writers Club?

Sue: The UWC is a group that allows writers, of all levels and experience, to share. It gives each person the opportunity to receive valuable insight and
criticism on one's work while also allowing them to share opinions and
advice on the work of others.

KbL: How did you first hear about the Utica Writers Club?

Sue: I had asked the librarian at one of the libraries if anyone was aware of a writer's group I could join. At the time, the UWC was meeting at the New Hartford Public Library.

KbL: How long have you been a member?

Sue: I believe I joined in Oct. of 2008.

KbL: What's your favorite thing about the club?

Sue: I can't say that there is one aspect I like the most about the UWC. I enjoy hearing other's stories and enjoy the chance to critically think about a piece. I like being able to confer with others on how to improve writing, whether it's mine or someone else's work.

KbL: What stories do you write?

Sue: I write picture books and have a middle grade novel written. I tend to write what I know. I have five kids so my writing is often inspired by them.

KbL: Anything else you would like to add?

Sue: The UWC has hosted two best-selling authors, Bruce Coville and Maria V. Snyder, in 2010 and 2011. Our hope is to continue to bring authors, agents, and publishers to this area for more workshops and learning opportunities. We will also be looking into coordinating trips to various writing workshops and conferences.