Thursday, March 15, 2018

Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子): Chinese American Children's Book by Eugenia Chu

Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子): Chinese American Children's Book
by Eugenia Chu

ISBN-10: 1478774088
ISBN-13: 978-1478774082


Mommy surprises Brandon with his grandma from China, Pó Po (婆婆), when she picks him up from school one day.  When they get home, the adventure begins!  While Brandon and Pó Po (婆婆) are making Chinese dumplings, called jiǎo zi (餃子), Brandon makes a mess and he and Pó Po (婆婆) have a good laugh!  They chat and bond over the experience.  Then Brandon eats and eats and eats and makes a surprise at the end that delights the whole family!  

This adorable story includes some conversational Mandarin Chinese (including pin yin – pronunciation) and is written the way a real Chinese grandmother and her Chinese-American grandson would speak with each other.  It is a fun read for families with children who are learning, or are interested in, Mandarin or Chinese culture.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Lemon Bee Book & Blog REVIEW - Bulwark by Brit Lunden

The Lemon Bee Book & Blog

by Patricia Lynn Dompieri

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Bulwark by Brit Lunden

Bulwark by Brit Lunden is a modern day fairytale with a plot twist that horror fans will love.  Ironically, in the midst of the action and the eerie horror, there is a prevailing message of hope and inspiration that may be learned from this paranormal tale, as one of the main characters, Dolly reveals "grace.. comes from maturity, the elegance of a lifetime is experience.  Growing old is not about age, it's learning to look at life and love with the eye of knowing the difference between right and wrong..."   Lunden,B.  ( 2018).  Bulwark: Columbia S.C. These timeless words of comfort and wisdom which will reach out directly to the reader, are found in the most unlikely of places in the most eerie of settings.

Brit Lunden, is the pseudo-name  for the beloved modern writer of both children's fiction and history, Carole P. Roman.  Once again the author proves her versatility and talent in delivering a suspenseful horror tale reminiscent of a  creepy old fairytale involving monsters and witches and an old gingerbread house. For those readers who enjoy scie-fi and paranormal television shows like Grimm and Supernatural, this action packed novel is fast paced, and eerily spooky.  From page one, I could not put the book down, wanting to find the mystery behind the enigmatic old house and the connection with the towns missing children.  People and places are not what they appear to be as an evil lurks beyond a façade of innocence and fantasy.   Fans of modern day horror will not be disappointed in this story  which will keep the reader engaged until the end.  An unexpected treat is the second alternative ending that the author includes after the completion of the story.  Bulwark is Roman's first work of fiction for adult readers.  I look forward to seeing more works published by the author.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.  I definitely recommend this book to all  fans of horror and supernatural fiction.  This book is available on Amazon as well as Barnes and Nobles Online.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bulwark by Brit Lunden - Chapter 1


by Brit Lunden
For my family
Chapter 1 - Primordial Soup

“It’s like a primordial soup,” Clay Finnes muttered his hands on his hips.
“A primordial what?” Owen Bishop raised his hangdog face to look at the town sheriff.
“Primordial, ancient, prehistoric…” Clay looked at the deputy’s blank face and finished with, ”old...really, really old.”
“Oh,” Owen shook his craggy head. His bulbous eyes looked like two hard boiled eggs; his hair was matted as if was glued to the top of his round head. Owen never passed any of the tests allowing him to advance on the force. He was a deputy when Clay first got a job in Bulwark right out of the army. As the promotions started coming, Clay eventually became his boss. He wondered if it bothered the older man taking direction from someone who trained under him.
“You mean like dinosaurs?” Owen scratched his head.
“ it, Owen. What else did the couple say?” He listened to Owen drone on about the car that was now sitting in the middle of the greenish pond.
“Appears they were coming from the other side.” Owen pointed vaguely in the other direction.
“How could they? There’s nothing there. That road has been closed off for years.”
Something was missing. He wasn’t sure what, but a feeling of unease enveloped Clay until his body fairly vibrated with it.
Clay looked up, his deep brown eyes scanning the thicket of trees surrounding the strange body of water that seemed to appear overnight. He crinkled his nose; it smelled pretty bad too. It was a greenish color, like a dirty army fatigue. It seemed shallow. He resisted the urge to stick the toe of his boot in the water. It was still, the surface like polished glass. The Ford Fusion was trapped in the what appeared to be the deepest part of the puddle as if they had tried to speed through it. The brackish water about two feet deep.
“If they had skirted the edges they would have made it through. He shoulda used the choke, probably got an entire engine full of water.” Once Owen started talking he could go on about something forever.
“Where the hell were they coming from?” Clay muttered to himself. He moved away as if to see through the gloom. “It’s a road that leads to nowhere.”
He took off his hat, wiping his sweaty forehead with the back of his hand. It was hotter than usual. No breeze ruffled the leafy trees or relieved the stifling humidity that made his shirt stick to his back.
There was nothing, no sound, not the humming of bees, or mosquitoes. Not a bird in sight or the croaking music of frogs in the late afternoon. When he got home, he’d mention it to Jenna...his wandering thoughts came to an abrupt halt. There would be no conversation. Jenna wasn’t there anymore. His family’s old farm house only had one occupant now. His wife had up and left him. He felt his chest tighten, his throat closing up. His entire life changed and would never be the same. Losing Claire was just the beginning of the end. After that had happened, it was as though they were stuck in some nightmare and couldn’t get out.
“Well,” Owen continued, oblivious to his boss’s distracted air. “The car hit, at a high rate of speed, I think. It must’ve started to sink.”
“It’s not deep enough to sink,” Clay observed his deputy scratch his bald head, then turned to look at the enormous puddle. It covered the road from one end to the other. He chewed the inside of his cheek. He had to admit, it appeared larger than when he got here, but it couldn’t be that deep, could it?” Clay forced his attention back to Owen. It helped him stop thinking of his own life. “Where are they?”
“Over at JB’s house. The wife’s pretty freaked out.”
“JB?” Clay liked the old football pro, had shared quite a few stories with the old vet.
“Over what. The puddle?” The interruption was from Dayna Dalton, a reporter from the Bulwark Advance. She was walking toward them, a camera hung around her exposed neck, a spiral notebook clasped in the other. “Think somebody dropped a load of waste here.”
Clay looked at her, his cheek twitched. Her buttons strained to the point that she looked like her clothes had been painted on her body. She shook her mane of red hair like an angry mare. He turned his gaze away, knowing it annoyed her. No matter how much she pranced around in her tight jeans, he wasn't interested. She didn’t do anything for him in high school, and she didn’t do anything for him now. Somehow, it never stopped her from trying to get him to notice her. Clay was tired of it. He sighed gustily.
She came around the back of the car, moving into his personal space. For a minute, Clay thought about backing up, but damn it all, he was the sheriff. He stood his ground, daydreaming of Dayna’s reaction when he threw her into the stinky, green lake that had developed overnight.
Dayna repeated her comment about someone dropping waste. Clay shrugged indifferently, then turned to Owen, ignoring her.
He could feel her bristling but refused to move. He dug his feet in the dark soil, his arms folded over his chest. “JB see anything? Maybe notice something out of place?”
Owen shook his head. “Nope. Nada. I asked. Been quiet. He said this started small. Says he has a few pictures on his laptop he can send us.” Owen paused and then said, “Wait, he mentioned they had a wolf problem lately.”
Clay looked at Owen sharply. “Wolves, there haven’t been...hey!”
He saw Dayna take off, her feet moving quickly toward a thicket of trees.

“Dayna!” Clay called, who was dashing up a small incline toward JB Straton’s small cabin over the ridge.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Discover Author: Erica Graham

Talking Tales: Puppy's Bubble
 by Erica Graham

ISBN-13 #: 978-0997855531
This award-winning book is designed by speech-language pathologist, Erica Graham, to help promote babbling and first words while following Puppy on his search for the missing bubble. Puppy's Bubble is part of the Talking Tales series.

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Mother of Re-Invention, by Carole P. Roman - featured on

The Mother of Re-Invention
by Carole P. Roman

All my friends are retiring. If I had stayed with the school system, forty years ago, I probably would have retired at fifty-five and moved to South Florida to Del Boca Vista Phase 23.

I think back to my senior year of high school when I first met my husband. He barely spoke English and worked in a gas station across the street from my dad’s hardware store. I worked in my parent’s store after school. He would have coffee with my parents while I stocked the shelves. My folks invited him for Thanksgiving dinner and he offered to teach me how to drive.

He showed up on our doorstep with a sampler of chocolate candy, a fat plastic pilgrim glued to the top. I peeled it off, put in on my night table and told my grandmother I was going to marry him…not the pilgrim…our guest.

He was everything I wanted in a boyfriend. Charming, mature, and helpful. He was lightyears away from the boys that attended school. He was also different from all the other kids that were attached to the girls in our group.

He didn’t talk sports or any of the other activities the other guys did. He worked long hours, got his hands dirty, and had a certain maturity I didn’t see in my friends.

It wasn’t until we attended a dinner party I realized something had shifted. They were sneering at him. He was not in school to be a lawyer, doctor, or teacher. He had served three years in his country’s army. He was resourceful, diligent, and serious. He didn’t wear a suit to work and I think the college-bound kids looked down on him. He worked in a garage, fixing cars and my crowd of buddies seemed to find this beneath them.

I attended school with these people my entire life. I dressed like them, went to the same movies, liked similar music. You couldn’t tell many of us apart. I found myself making a choice at seventeen. He didn’t fit in, and what’s more, I decided I didn’t want to either. I enjoyed David and decided he was my future, so I reinvented myself.

It was as simple as readjusting my path, opening a new vista, where things took on a different clarity. He wanted to start a limousine business but lacked the communication skills. While my degree was in secondary education, I finished school, married, and took on his back office.

I knew nothing about running a limousine service, neither did he, for that matter. I called one of the largest and most powerful transportation companies in New York, introduced myself and started to ask questions.

I could tell the dispatchers were amused by me. There were no women in the field at that point and though we never met, they patiently taught me how to dispatch.

Dispatching is a lot like a game of chess. You have a certain amount of people to move around and the idea is to place them where they will constantly be “heavy.” So, if your car is traveling to Newark airport, around three o’clock in the afternoon, you try to match it up with a pick-up coming back to the city from that area three hours later. This sounds much simpler than it is. Bookings are made by appointments, and I filled the gaping holes in our dispatch sheets by calling around and looking for jobs that other companies couldn’t handle.

I barely had a driving license myself, had never driven in Manhattan, and yet I found myself moving cars around the city like Bobby Fischer. I shared radio space with most the small cab companies, and they would hear me direct my husband and sometimes my dad who filled in when we got busy. Soon, they all knew me and gave helpful tips when they heard my mistakes. The business grew and within a few years, I had to reinvent myself again.

A company in Los Angeles needed a New York affiliate. Would we be interested? Um…Yeah. Within two years, they went belly up- a bad experience with buses, and we were asked to open up in LA and fill the void. So, with my husband and the kids in the car, I squeezed into pantyhose, ginormous shoulder pads, a power haircut (think Melanie Griffith in Working Girl)and with an attache briefcase I went to business meetings on Melrose Ave. where I wondered if they realized I was an impostor.

I spent most of the meetings afraid they were going to ask me something and laugh at my New Yawk accent. I hid behind the briefcase, feeling like a child wearing my mother’s clothing.

This was a reinvention that made me nuts. I wasn’t hip or sophisticated. I was a housewife selling car service. I had a husband and kids. I made dinner every night. I did laundry and homework.

Most of the other limo guys wore suits. They took people out for drinks. I sat with the secretaries. I waited in the outer offices while the businessmen were ushered in, smirking at me. I was left with the girls…the girls that ordered the cars for their bosses.

So, maybe not such a bad reinvention after all.

We all did homework, laundry, and juggled carpools. We had babysitter and mother-in-law problems. Sometimes we talked about home, and why it wasn’t going so well. Either way, a network began to form. I made it easier for them. I understood their workloads. I thought about what they needed and met their demands before they knew it themselves. We developed a sisterhood. And our business grew. It really grew…a lot.

Reinvention and more reinvention. People working for us. You can’t run it like a mom and pop, anymore. More cars, more cities, more clients. Hey, it’s the nineties, computers are here.

Buy a building, make it two, make room; the kids are coming in. Everybody has to work, but I have less to do. More time on my hands. Reinvention time has come again!

So, when you’ve been a social studies teacher for an hour, a dispatcher who moved people around the city like Napoleon on a battlefield, built a business out of nothing, all while being a daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother, what do you do????
You write a book.

Wait a minute, there’s more. Marketing and promotion…here I come.

For more articles like this one by Carole P. Roman, check out: