Wednesday, January 24, 2024

“Huzza!” Toasting a New Nation, 1760-1815 by Timothy Symington #History #RevolutionaryWar #AmericanRevolution

“Huzza!”  Toasting a New Nation, 1760-1815
Timothy Symington

Genre:  Nonfiction/History
Publisher:  McFarland Books
Date of Publication:  September 29, 2023
ISBN: 978-1-4766-9315-6 Print
ISBN: 978-1-4766-5056-2 ebook
Number of pages: 273
Word Count: 125,000. 

Tagline: Drinking toasts to the American Revolution and beyond!

Book Description:

During the early years of the United States, toasts captured popular sentiments regarding people and events.  Sometimes they were used to spread national ideology and partisan political views.  They could even be “weaponized” against political opponents, such as during the bitter election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in 1800.  “Huzza!”  Toasting a New Nation, 1760-1815 is a retelling of the familiar historical narrative, but toasts are used to tell the story of the events and people between the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

     Israel Putnam of Connecticut, who led the rebels at Bunker Hill in June, was one of the first to be singled out for honors when the war began. The Connecticut Gazette printed toasts from a July 25 dinner in London attended by the Freeholders of Middlesex. General Putnam was toasted “and all those American Heroes, who, like men, nobly prefer death to slavery and chains.” Sons of Liberty leader Dr. Joseph Warren, who was killed on the battlefield, received the following toast from the Field Officers of the Sixth Brigade in Cambridge: “Immortal Honor to that Patriot and Hero Doctor Joseph Warren, and the Brave American troops, who fought the Battle of Charlestown on the 17th of June 1775.” This list of toasts, appearing in the August 21, 1775, issue of the Boston Gazette, or Country Journal started with a toast to the Continental Congress instead of to the British monarch. The officers raised their glasses instead to all the colonies, the Stamp Act riots, Lexington and Concord, and an end to the “present unhappy Disputes.” Dr. Warren would be a consistently toasted figure into the early 1800s.
     George Washington replaced George III as the main recipient of toasts, becoming the most toasted individual in the new nation. The King was now the enemy. Even English supporters of colonial rights, such as John Wilkes and Edmund Burke, were replaced by American military heroes. English support for the rights of the colonists, however, had not disappeared. The Virginia Gazette printed toasts the London Association made in October 1775. Association members wished for “axes and halters, at public expence, to all those who attempt to trample on the liberties of their fellow subjects, either in Great Britain or America,” and that “kings remember that they were made for their subjects, and not their subjects for them.”
     The former British corset-maker Thomas Paine brilliantly explained why the colonists should no longer rely on the King to protect their liberties. His pamphlet, Common Sense, demanded that Americans free themselves of Britain’s control. Paine wrote that “One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in Kings, is that nature disapproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule, by giving mankind an Ass for a Lion.” His words reached everyone in the colonies, and so he and his work were toasted: “May the INDEPENDENT principles of COMMON SENSE be confirmed throughout the United Colonies.”
     Most colonies had already taken Paine’s advice to heart and declared themselves to be independent states. Members of the Virginia convention calling for a resolution for national independence gave toasts in May: “The American independent states” and “The Grand Congress of the United States, and their respected legislatures.” Washington attended a feast at the Queen’s Head Tavern in New York City, where toasts were given to the Continental Congress and the American army, and to the memory of General Richard Montgomery, killed in the disastrous invasion of Quebec in December 1775. The final toast was “to ‘Civil and religious liberty to all mankind’—mankind, that is, except Tories.” Tories, the conservative supporters of the Crown, received extra abuse in the Patriots’ toasts: “Sore Eyes to all Tories, and a Chestnut Burr for an Eye Stone.”

About the Author:

Timothy Symington received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Saint Anselm College and his Master of Arts degree in American History from Adams State University.  A former educator, he now contributes to the Journal of the American Revolution.  “Huzza!”  Toasting a New Nation, 1760-1815 is his first book.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Character Confessions- Walk-Ins Welcome by Sue C Dugan

Character Confessions about the Author, Sue C Dugan 
“Yo there, this is HB Comstock, and I'm about to spill the beans on author Sue Dugan. Now, I didn't like her when I was 'before HB'. You ask what that means, well I'll tell you. (It's not like I got a head transplant or anything—that's another book she wrote—SUPPRESSED). Sue Dugan used to be a high school principal. The ‘before HB’ hated the principal. I was into more creative, mind-enhancing experiences like doing drugs and cutting school. Nope, she and I wouldn't have worked. But that was the 'before HB'. 

I changed when a dude named Robert Larkin's soul took over my sorry-ass body after an accident. In one instance, I went from being in trouble to having the soul of a doctor. Do you know how difficult that is? I suddenly liked author Sue Dugan. She told my story about how I reconnected with my wife, Alison Larkin. Sue told our love story, and I appreciated her doing that. I guess I admire her for writing about weird things. She's sort of like the principal in her first book, A SLOW CLIMB UP THE MOUNTAIN. That principal was a pain in the ass too at first, but she wasn't so bad by the end and that's what I think of Sue—not too shabby!” 

Walk-Ins Welcome
Sue C Dugan

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: May 24, 2023
Number of pages:336
Word Count: 73,299
Cover Artist: Kim Mendoza
Tagline: True love repeats itself in unexpected ways
Book Description: 

Adult education teacher, Alison Larkin has a second chance at love after her husband is killed in a car accident. Her new love interest comes in the form of a 20-year old student called HB, whose reputation as a bad boy and poor student has everyone questioning her attraction to him. Alison finds him to be nothing like his reputation as a drug-dealer and trouble maker. 

Although HB has few high school credits to his name, he is flying through the coursework in adult education. Alison learns she and HB share a memory of a dramatic rescue at a local amusement park. 

HB has a secret he has yet to discover, but when he does, he must convince Alison to give him another chance at love.

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She put the flowers on the coffee table and moved her hand toward the sofa. He sat, and she did too. “Didn’t you have something you want to talk to me about?”
Momentarily, he couldn’t remember what it was.

“Did you forget?” She gave him an encouraging smile. “So much has happened. It seems like ages ago.”

Then it came rushing back to him—Dr. Sims—the things he remembered and the yearbook pictures. He sat with his hands clasped and his head down, thinking. Was now the time to tell her? He jerked his head up. “I’m not sure this is a good time to tell you what I know.”

She frowned. “That sounds serious.”

“It is and a bit weird too.”

She leaned forward and clasped her hands together. “Why don’t you tell me, and I’ll decide how serious it is.”

HB shifted on the couch, trying to find a comfortable position. Finding none, he straightened and looked at her. “You know I felt like a different person when I came out of my coma?”

Alison nodded but remained quiet.

“And I wrote about the rescue at Cedar Springs?”

She remained stock still.

“I started adding one plus one, and I came up with something bizarre out there.”

Clearing her throat, Alison finally said, “You’re scaring me.”

He noisily let out his breath. “I’ve been seeing a counselor, and he told me about one of his patients, Ashton.” HB paused and rearranged his thoughts. “I talked to Ashton, who told me he had tried to kill himself but failed.”

“Oh, no!” Alison cried. “Please don’t tell me you want to kill yourself!” She leaned forward and tried to grasp his hand.

“No, I want to live again!” He let her touch his fingers before pulling back. Although contemplating suicide might be easier than telling Alison he was her dead husband—Robert.

“Anyway,” HB swallowed, “Ashton told me about soul walk-ins.”

“What did you say?” Alison asked, alarm creasing her brow. “Wait!” She jumped up and hurried down the hallway while he waited. He moved his forefinger over his thumb, wondering what would make her leave like that.

She returned with a small book, sat, and clutched it to her chest as if protecting it. Then, slowly, she eased the book onto her lap and opened it.

He murmured the title. “Communicating with the Dead… So you believe in that?”

“I don’t know what I believe. But this book mentions walk-in souls and—”

“I think I have Robert’s soul in my body,” he exclaimed before he could change his mind.

HB didn’t mean to interrupt her, but it just happened. He couldn’t help it. He watched as

Alison’s eyes rolled back, and she slumped over.

“Alison?” He patted her hand and then her cheeks until her eyes fluttered open.
            “How…” She looked confused. “Why? What?” She fell back on the couch. “I don’t believe it,” she said with a shake of her head, and her features turned stony. “I think you should leave.”
            “What?” HB cried. “No! No. I’m sorry!” Tears immediately filled his eyes. “I knew it was a bad time.”
            “What a cruel and mean joke to play on me after what I’ve gone through!” Her eyes flashed with anger, something he couldn’t pinpoint.
            “I’ll let myself out.” He jumped up. He’d blown it with Alison, and she didn’t want to believe him. And he might not have a chance to convince her.

About the Author 

Sue writes five-star LitPick novels that keep readers of all ages turning pages long into the night. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, attending author events, or walking her dogs. She’s has two children and five grandchildren. Snack wise, Sue is a salty-type gal, but wouldn’t say no to an occasional chocolate kiss or two! She isn’t sure she’s a reincarnated novelist, but if she was, she’d want to be Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, or Emily Brontë. When her novels are run through author comparison sites, she gets Anne Rice through Mark Twain—quite a wide spread which makes for interesting reading (Tom Sawyer was a Vampire?). 


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Monday, January 8, 2024

Her Name Was Lola by Karen Janowsky

Eight Ways to prepare for your date with a superhero:

Every so often, a regular guy with a nine-to-five job will find himself foolishly reading a summoning aloud, licked by a radioactive puppy, find a magic Stetson hat and try it on, and wind up...different. As Peter Parker says, with great power comes great responsibility, and their lives are changed forever as they take on the challenge of saving the world. But, superheroes also just want someone to love, like the rest of us. Comics don’t have Happily Ever After’s, but that doesn’t mean your superguy doesn’t long for one. If you make a connection and want to get to know each other more personally, there are some precautions and considerations you need to take into account to make the date go as smoothly as possible.

1.    Agreeing to the date: Whether he asks you out or you him, grab some recent copies of his comic books. Get an idea of what he’s into so you have a few conversation starters. He’s probably bored of reciting his heroic feats, anyway. But, if you read a few issues of his latest comic and find out he loves bedazzling everything in his off-time, and you share that hobby, it’s a win! Get him to talk about himself. Just in case though, find out the best ways to interrupt him and get out if he veers into a monologue. It’s usually bad guys who monologue. You could be with a villain in disguise.

2.    Choose Your Outfit Wisely. Sure, you want to find that balance between hot and cute. But, choose clothing with strong fiber (no gauze or fishnet!) when possible. Superheroes are strong. If he tugs your sleeve to get your attention, you’ll end up with a potentially embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. If he seems to have dated other heroines in the past, decide whether you’re cool with wearing leather and spandex, and whether you can pull off the look. Play to your strengths.

3.    If you’re planning to try and coax him back home with you, wear underwear that you don’t mind getting torn off you, burned by laser beams, frozen until they crack away from you, vanish into thin air, or vaporize. But try to keep it pretty/sexy/cute (whatever you’re comfortable with, except for the slightly overstretched ones you wear under your clothes while doing yard work).

4.    Insist on using a car to get wherever you’re going. Flying or running at the speed of light will ruin whatever you’ve done with your hair and makeup and cause a next-level-from-cataclysmic wardrobe malfunction. No limos or Batmobiles to draw attention when you want to make this an intimate event. More importantly, see advice #7. You don’t want to be left stranded.


On the other hand, if he offers to take you for a slow, romantic flight as you take a moonlit stroll, accept. D’uh.

5.    Order dessert. Take a look at this guy’s caloric intake. Seriously, he’s not judging you.

6.    Be prepared and bring a credit card and phone. He’s a do-gooder. If he senses something happen, like a fender bender or mugging across the street, or sirens go by, or he sees his arch-nemesis, who’s on a romantic date with his evil girlfriend, he’s gonna be off, saving the evening before the check comes. You may end up stuck with the bill and having to pay for a Lyft (see #4). Try not to take it personally. With luck, he’ll come back, or at least apologize.

7.    Coming home: You’re probably going to have to make the suggestion to go back to your place, as well as make the first move. Nice guy superheroes, at least, will be worried about taking advantage. Tell him what you want. Once you’re inside, let him know whether you want your clothes/lingerie lasered off, frozen off, melted off, blasted off, crumbled into small rocks, etc. He’ll appreciate your forthcomingness.

8.    After that: No clue here. Is there such thing as superhero-strength condoms? Is superhero sperm faster than the speed of light, more powerful than the strongest birth control available, and able to leap IUDs in a single bound? Ask him about it. He’s a good guy. He’ll be careful.

Most of all, have fun, you crazy kids!






Her Name Was Lola
Karen Janowsky

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Date of Publication: 12/22/23
ISBN:  978-1-4874-4027-5
Number of pages: 300 
Word Count: 8,859
Cover Artist: Martine Jardin

Tagline: Sometimes you have to lose your heart to gain your dream.

Book Description:

Lover of fairy tales Lola Nelsson learned at an early age that darker truths lay behind their bright facades. At twenty-two, she still hopes for her fairy tale to come true before she graduates college. But she hasn’t met her prince yet and she doesn’t know how to navigate the real world. Then a handsome man at a conference catches her eye. She’s sure he’s out of her league, but tries to get his attention anyway. And she’s successful… until she isn’t.

Only one thing matters to Professor Vance Anderson—gaining tenure. Known as Dr. Casanova on campus, he’s a true love ‘em and leave ’em kind of guy. For now though, he’s sworn off the distraction of women. When he spots a beauty of a different sort at a conference, he can’t stop thinking about her.  But when she accepts his invitation to his room, his insecurities kick in. Everything goes well… until it doesn’t.

The night ends disastrously, and it’s all over. Until Lola and Vance wind up in a working relationship, making it impossible to avoid one another. The situation can only end in one of two ways. They’ll either end up madly in love or they’ll want to kill each other. Before they can discover their real feelings, they need to learn to trust themselves. Only time will tell if their fairy tale is sweet or dark.

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From behind Lola, a pleasant, male alto voice said, “Hi, I’m Vance.”

She turned around and found her five-foot-four self face-to-solid-chest with GQ. Taking a step backward and sure she’d turned pale, she looked up at him. The peeling name badge on his lapel said, M. Vance, but his last name was hidden by a shadow. “Oh, hi. I’m Lola.”

Vance held a shot glass in each hand. He was smiling, lips pulled back a little too much, as if he was unsure of himself. “Your friend told me I was being very obvious about staring at you and to go introduce myself. She said to give you this.” He handed her a whiskey.

His eyes were the color of freshly mown grass with silver flecks of dew at sunrise. When they locked on hers, her hands began to sweat, making the glass slip through her palm when she took it from him.

She grabbed it with the other hand at the last second. “Oh. Okay.”

He clinked his glass against hers, downed the shot, then smiled at her again. His upper lip had a minutely askew cherub’s bow.

Knocking hers back as well, Lola did her best not to react to the five-alarm fire scorching through her esophagus. She was reasonably sure smoke was about to billow from her nose and ears. Then that warm, melty feeling crept in.

Okay, Naomi. Here goes. “To be honest, I was watching you too.”

“Were you now?” He arched his eyebrows.

Silently thanking Naomi, Lola asked, “So, are you a visiting speaker?”

“I’m attending. I teach at Jewett College. You?”

“I’m at Jewett also. Library science department.” Hopefully he wouldn’t ask what she did there.

She’d tell him the rest later…if they hit it off.

His fingers lingered over hers as he took the drink glass from her hand. “Another?”

One was her usual limit, and balancing on heels after two was inadvisable. “Yes, please.” She let him guide her through the crowd surrounding the bar.

He offered her an empty barstool and stood next to it as he waved at the bartender. “How long have you been at the college? I don’t recognize you.” He lowered his eyes and raised them to her again, offering an uncertain smile as he smoothed his hand over his thigh.

Looking down, she noticed her topped-off glass. “I’m going into my fourth year.” Lola swirled her fresh drink and watched the amber liquid make slow, wavy circles. She saw a chip in her pale pink nail polish and fought the urge to tuck it into her palm. “What about you? Where do you work?”

“In the English Department.”

GQ—or probably Dr. GQ—Vance—shivered a little when he slid his hand toward hers until their fingertips were millimeters apart. A tiny static spark jumped between them and they both chuckled.

Lola drank half of the shot. “What do you teach?”

“Comparative and European literature. My specialty is fairy tales.”

“I’ve been obsessed with fairy tales—the real ones, not the kids’ ones—for as long as I can remember.”

Vance leaned against the bar. “Same.”

A new song began, and they listened as he played with his tie for a few moments. “After watching you in action, I’m not sure I can keep up, but feel like a dance?”

Lola blinked then nodded. The rest of the room bobbed slightly with her head. She slid off the stool, and he rested his hand on the small of her back as they wound through the crowd. Heat radiated through the thin fabric of her dress.

He took her hand in his. They were about five paces from the dance floor when a man caught her shoulder, causing her and Vance to stumble backward.

“You’re not gonna pass by without a hello, are you?” The tall, thin man had brown roots and blond tips. His hand was sweaty and his words slurred.

Vance looked at her. “Do you know him?”

Sobering, she shook her head, grateful that the world didn’t move with it.

The man sidled closer and squeezed her shoulder more tightly.

Letting go of her hand, Vance took a step toward him.

Lola tugged her shoulder away and pulled a hair stick from her updo. Stepping closer, she waved the tapered end at the stranger.

He gasped and stepped backward, letting go of her shoulder.

“Leave me alone.” She kept her voice as quiet and stern as she could.

The man muttered, “Slut,” as he retreated.

Lola replaced the stick through what was left of her updo.

Vance licked along his teeth. “You’re already full of surprises.”

The night’s cool dampness draped around the crowded dance floor, covering them like an airy shawl as they found their way to an open space.

“Remind me never, ever to upset you.” He spread his fingers over her mid-back and held her hand to his chest. His heart beat against her palm as he held it there, his hand cool and dry.

They looked at each other and smiled.  He said “ever.” As in future tense. As in "long term." I should probably let him know I’m a student now. That could wait a few minutes more.

She inhaled a mix of tangerines, leather, and something else—ginger, maybe—that she could almost taste as his scent hovered between them. She moved closer, and their hips touched.

There was an unmistakable twitch against her. She was sure it was a trick of the lights that made him appear to blush.

This might happen.

He took a half-step back, face pink against the white lights that  outlined him. She imagined using her finger as a silver gel pen around his jaw, under his cheekbones, and across his forehead, illuminating his face. He brought his hand farther down her back.

She raised her voice over the music. “So, what’s your favorite fairy tale?”

He lowered his head closer to hers. Their mouths were centimeters from each other. “What?”

She asked again.

He said something.

She tilted her head up. “Didn’t catch that.”

Chuckling, he leaned in until his mouth was close to her ear. Cupping it, he repeated,

“It’s hard to talk here. Do you want to go somewhere quieter?” The whiskey on his breath had mellowed to spiced caramel, and his voice melted through her.

The imaginary talking mice scampering under her skin morphed into butterflies. “Okay.”

Holding her hand, Vance led her into the lobby. Her heart thumped like a scared rabbit’s as he threaded his fingers between hers. She glanced toward the quieter, emptier bar, but he kept going straight toward the elevator bank.

“Grimm, Andersen, or Perrault?” Vance winked.

Lola bit her lip and released it. “Why do you ask?”

Vance seemed to stare at her mouth. Narrowing his eyes, he stopped and gave her a closed-mouthed smile. “Good to know whether you’re into physical pain, mental torture, or happy endings.”

“What?” Lola froze as her jaw dropped.

Vance tilted his head back and laughed. “I’m kidding.” He headed toward the elevators again, but Lola couldn’t move. He stumbled back. “I’m harmless. I promise.”

She glanced around the vast lobby, checking for security officers.

“I didn’t mean to upset or scare you.” Leaning in, he lifted the back of her hand to his lips, then smiled that same smile that had dissolved her into a puddle the first time she’d laid eyes on him.

“All right.”

He led her into an empty elevator.

This is happening.

Inside, he let go of her hand and took a step back. “Is it okay to go up to my room? I should’ve asked first.” He gave that earlier, uncertain smile, revealing a tiny dimple in his right cheek and lighter green bands surrounding his irises.

“That sounds perfect, Vance.” Lola’s mouth and throat went dry as he hit the button for the eleventh floor. For the first time in her life, she was going to say, “Yes.”

About the Author:

Karen wanted to be an author and/or Wonder Woman when she grew up. One of those jobs was already taken, though. She lives with her husband, son, and six cats in Maryland, where she works as an English professor. Karen received her MA in literature and creative writing from Florida State University. When she isn't writing, she can often be found sitting at a friend's dining room table drinking wine and playing RPGs, hanging out at the local Indian restaurant with her bestie, or curled up in bed with a few cats, listening to the rain and either reading a book or watching a BBC mystery.

Website and blog:

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